At the outset, it is impossible to deny the vital role that the volume A Lie of Reinvention: Correcting Manning Marrable’s Malcolm X (2012, Black Classics Press), edited by Drs. Jared Ball and Todd Steven Burroughs, played in the formation of this article.

In 2011, Manning Marable, a legendary Marxian African American Studies scholar at Columbia University with longstanding allegiances to social democratic projects such as Michael Harrington’s Democratic Socialists of America and the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, died after a long struggle with a degenerative pulmonary condition. Three days after his passing, Viking Books, an imprint of the publishing conglomerate Penguin Random House, issued the hardcover edition of his long-awaited biography Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention, a title that went on to earn numerous accolades and the Pulitzer Prize. This volume has now gone on to be adapted into a documentary on Netflix, Who Killed Malcolm X?


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  1. FBI’s sets Goals for COINTELPRO in a ‘Gay’ Edgar Hoover memo circa Feb-March 1968:
    } For maximum effectiveness of the Counterintelligence Program, and to prevent wasted effort, long-range goals are being set.

    Prevent the COALITION of militant black nationalist groups. In unity there is strength; a truism that is no less valid for all its triteness. An effective coalition of black nationalist groups might be the first step toward a real “Mau Mau” [Black revolutionary army] in America, the beginning of a true black revolution.

    – 2. Prevent the RISE OF A [black] “MESSIAH” who could unify, and electrify, the militant black nationalist movement. Malcolm X might have been such a “messiah;” he is the martyr of the movement today. Martin Luther King, Stokely Carmichael and Elijah Muhammed all aspire to this position. Elijah Muhammed is less of a threat because of his age. King could be a very real contender for this position should he abandon his supposed “obedience” to “white, liberal doctrines” (nonviolence) and embrace black nationalism. And Carmichael has the necessary charisma to be a real threat in this way.

    – 4. Prevent militant black nationalist groups and leaders from gaining RESPECTABILITY, by discrediting them to three separate segments of the community. The goal of discrediting black nationalists must be handled tactically in three ways. You must discredit those groups and individuals to, first, the responsible Negro community. Second, they must be discredited to the white community, both the responsible community and to “liberals” who have vestiges of sympathy for militant black nationalist simply because they are Negroes. Third, these groups must be discredited in the eyes of Negro radicals, the followers of the movement. This last area requires entirely different tactics from the first two. Publicity about violent tendencies and radical statements merely enhances black nationalists to the last group; it adds “respectability” in a different way.

    A final goal should be to prevent the long-range GROWTH of militant black organizations, especially among youth. Specific tactics to prevent these groups from converting young people must be developed. {

    If it seems this reads like a damn-‘bloody’ FBI COINTELPRO ‘hit list’ w Malcolm, Martin & the BPP at the top of the list, IMO oft-times things are indeed just what they seem!!

    Bro Prof Dr Ball’s critique of NetFlix’ Docu-‘Drama’ ‘Who Killed Malcolm X’ focuses on the who but not the why. IMO focusing on the who could be useful if you focus on the right who [or whos] in combo w the why. NetFlix’ ‘flix’ apparently dangles COINTELPRO in the background as clever bait [& switch], while shifting its main focus on the NOI as the only true culprits.
    Why we KNOW elements of the US Govt whom ‘Public Enemy’s’ Pro Griff calls the ‘Alphabet Boys’ [IE: the FBI, CIA, NSA, the NYPD’s Bossi Unit, Military Intel, etc…], were in on Malcolm’s assassination- Well beyond just instigating the rift & feud between Malcolm & Elijah Muhammed’s NOI, not only knowing about it advance but also helping to plan & orchestrate the actual assassination.
    First we [now] know the NYPD apparently tried to kill Malcolm back in 1957 in a raid on a home he shared w John Ali [more on him below], based on bogus reasons w no search warrant, when they shot-up their home w a pregnant Betty Shabazz potentially in the line of fire [IMO this is almost a precursor to the infamous COINTELPRO raid on Dec 4, 1969 in which the FBI & CPD assassinated Chicago BPP head Fred Hampton in his sleep while his pregnant was in bed w him].
    We know that there was an attempt to assassinate Malcolm by poisoning him while eating dinner in Cairo Egypt in 1964. We also know that the CIA was following Malcolm as he met w different African leaders. Even Malcolm concluded this attempt to poison him to death could not be an NOI plot, It Had to be a CIA Plot. Malcolm also said he recognized the ‘waiter’ who served him the poison, as a guy that had-been ‘spying’ on him in NYC.
    Just 2 – 3 weeks before his murder Malcolm had travelled to Paris to speak there, but the French authorities turned him around in the airport. Malcolm concluded this must have been the unseen hand of the US Govt at work -But- It has come out that the real reason the French govt refused to allow Malcolm to make his speaking engagement is that they apparently got word from a reliable N.African diplomatic source that the CIA was planning to kill Malcolm in Paris & leave the French holding the bag such that they’d get the blame. Thus then French Pres deGaulle’s reaction was: ‘Not on My Watch & Not on My Soil’!
    As Malcolm became the NOI’s national spokesman, John Ali became the NOI’s national coordinator & was moved to Chicago w direct day- to-day access to the ‘Messenger’. This means Ali basically held the same rank as Malcolm, tho without Malcolm’s hi public-‘profile’.
    According to early Malcolm X & MLK researcher Louis Lomax author of ‘To Kill a Black Man’ an early expose’ on the assassinations of both Malcolm & Martin & likely USG involvement, John Ali was a hi-level FBI informant who became one of Malcolm’s chief nemesis in the NOI. Remember Ali, unlike Malcolm, had direct day-to-day access to Elijah Muhammed & IMO when ‘The Messenger’ became too chronically ill, Ali along w Captain Joseph [head of the ‘Fruit of Islam’ & another chief NOI Malcolm nemesis] were effectively running the NOI’s day-to-day ops.
    On the evening before Malcolm’s assassination, apparently John Ali visited the Newark NJ mosque [then headed by one Louis X Farrakhan]. It’s known that Malcolm’s 5 assassins were all affiliated w the Newark Mosque & apparently Ali met w at-least 1 [or more] of them. Again this was the evening prior to Malcolm’s assassination.
    It turns out that Gene X Roberts who was part of Malcolm’s OAAU security detail & who was on the scene when Malcolm was killed & the first to reach Malcolm as he lay dying; was an undercover NYPD BOSSI Unit cop. The same type of scenario played out w Martin’s assassination 3 yrs later, when an undercover Memphis PD cop [then headed by a close ‘Gay’.Edgar Hoover associate] name Merrell McCullough [who later actually joined the CIA] was the first to reach Dr King’s body as he lay dying, which there’s a famous picture of McCullough kneeling over Dr King’s body at the Lorraine Motel. IMO it’s blatantly obvious that Roberts’ & McCullough’s roles couldn’t have been to try to stop those assassinations.., just how much was Roberts involved in the actual ‘execution’ of Malcolm’s assassination is an open question, but McCullough was actually named as plotter in Martin’s assassination in the Loyd Jowers civil-trial in 1999 [Jowers vs the King Family].
    Baba Zak Kondo along w confessed Malcolm assassin Talmadge Hagan / Hayer IDed Malcolm’s shot-gun wielding assassin as early as the 1990s [or even in the late 1980s as per Hayer], as Newark resident William X Bradley. But a 3rd person who IDed Bradley as the shotgun assassin, was actually an on the scene eye-witness who’s a white Marxist named Roland Sheppard; & his testimony is key & telling. Me Sheppard says he was one of the few white guys who regularly attended Malcolm’s meeting at the Audubon, such that he even had a regular seat near the front of the ballroom. However on Feb 21, 1965 he found 3 guys [one was Hayer & one was Bradley] sitting in the seats where he regularly sat. Sheppard said he was then told by one of Malcolm’s security GENE ROBERTS, that he couldn’t sit there that fateful day, so Sheppard moved to some other inner seats that were on the same row as Bradley. When the shooting started of-course Sheppard ‘hit the deck’, but he could see out the corner of his eye Bradley wielding the shotgun- It was this shotgun blast that was the real killer for Malcolm, the pistol shots from Hayer & the other guy might have been recoverable [Note: the 3rd gunman, Bradley & the 2 guys who started the initial distraction including throw smoke-bombs, were never charged nor went to trial]. -BUT- Mr Sheppard’s story does not end there, per ‘Shep’ the NYPD cops were unusually absent that day, as they regularly were visibly out in force at Malcolm’s public venues. This is also a pattern re hi-profile ‘hits’ ala MLK & JFK. On April 4th 1963, a special detail of Memphis Black cops generally would do special duty security for ML.King when he was in Memphis, was ordered to stand-down that day. In fact one Black Lt was personally pulled him off duty at a fire-station across the street from the Loraine Motel at around 3 pm that day [FYI: MLK was shot at 6pm] by one of his superiors who said the FBI gave them a tip there’d be an attempt on his life, which of-course never happened [also note a black fireman who was regularly stationed at the same fire-station, was reassigned elsewhere that day]. Also note on Nov 22, 1963 a secret service guy was ordered off of the back of JFK’s limo where he’d been stationed directly behind JFK [IE: directly in the line of fire], just as JFK’s limo was riding off into the kill-zone in Dealey Plaza!
    Then a couple weeks after Malcolm’s assassination Mr Sheppard was called in by the NYPD to give his eye-witness testimony, & asked if he could potentially ID any of Malcolm’s assassins. At some point ‘Shep’ asked to go to the bathroom, & ‘lo & behold’ who does he see there but the shotgun guy William X Bradley, walking about freely uncuffed & unescorted!! ‘Shep’ also notes that when Bradley left the bathroom he went into an office & sat behind the desk, almost like he was a regular in that police station! It was at that point ‘Shep’ got so scared, he just played the Sgt Schultz ‘nut-role’ w those NYPD cops & got the hell out-of there!! At that point ‘Shep’ says he KNEW the NYPD & USG were in on Malcolm’s assassination [Again Note: undercover cop Gene-Roberts, one of Malcolm’s ‘security’ guys, was a NYPD BOSSI unit agent, & BOSSI had direct ties to the FBI & CIA]!!
    Now I suspect Roland Sheppard’s name never came up in this NetFlix docu-‘drama’, nor in Manning Marable’s overhyped book on Malcolm, let alone his key testimony. Nor that the NYPD apparently tried to kill Malcolm back in 1957, nor that apparently the real reason the French stopped Malcolm from entering France just a couple of weeks before his assassination, was they apparently got a tip from a reliable source that the CIA was planning to kill Malcolm in France. Did NetFlix &/or Marable even bring up the attempt to poison Malcolm in Cairo Egypt in 1964? IMO likely no, because there’s no way to ‘spin’ & pin the blame on the NOI..! Ditto re FBI hi-level asset John Ali [then the NOI’s national coordinator], meeting w Malcolm’s assassins in the Newark mosque on the evening before his assassination!! I mean if this NetFlix ‘flix’ & Marable’s book, barely even mention COINTELPRO, IMO they almost certainly won’t mention any of the above either! In CIA parlance it’s called ‘Limited Hangout’, that’s what this NetFlix & Marable’s book too, truly are!

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