High Times Greats: Malcolm X

Who killed Malcolm X?
High Times Greats: Malcolm X
Malcolm X in March, 1964. Photo by Ed Ford/ Wikimedia Commons

In observance of the anniversary of Malcolm X’s death on February 21, 1965, we’re republishing the following item from the June, 1993 issue of High Times, edited by Steven Hager.

On Sunday, February 21, 1965, Malcolm X, a leading spokesperson for the black power movement, was assassinated at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem. Although at least five men were involved in the execution, only three were ever arrested and their subsequent trial was riddled with irregularities. Despite evidence of conspiracy and cover-up, the official investigation made little attempt to track the real motives behind the murder.

Like many of the political assassinations of the ‘60s, however, this case seems to be gradually unraveling. Today, we know the FBI conducted an intensive campaign of harassment against Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, and any other activist with the potential of becoming “a black messiah.” On December 3, 1992, the CBS show 48 Hours broadcasted “Malcolm X: The Real Story.” The most astounding evidence given in the show was the testimony of Gene Roberts, a former undercover agent for New York City’s highly secret Bureau of Special Services (BOSSI), who said: “A week before Malcolm was killed, I saw what I believed to be, and what I still believe was a dress rehearsal for the assassination.” Roberts told his superiors, who promised to pass the information on.

Naturally, Roberts was startled when he showed up at the Audubon Ballroom the following week for Malcolm’s appearance and discovered the usual 40-man police team missing. (The squad had been called away and sequestered several blocks away.) If the police knew Malcolm was in imminent danger, why did they remove their presence from the Audubon Ballroom that fateful day?

The release of The Judas Factor: The Plot to kill Malcolm X, by Karl Evanzz [of the Washington Post] may provide the answer. After extensively researching documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, Evanzz draws a compelling case for government orchestration of Malcolm’s death. His strongest evidence is the uncovering of an alleged FBI operative John Ali, who managed to worm his way into the highest ranks of the Nation of Islam. Ali’s movements and activities just prior to the assassination are extremely suspicious.

High Times called Evanzz recently to get his thoughts on Spike Lee, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King.

What did you think of Spike Lee’s movie?

I thought it was a good introduction to Malcolm X, but as a serious study of his life it was totally incomplete. One of the main criticisms of the movie is that Spike Lee failed to include the international aspects to Malcolm’s life, even though he consulted with a number of Malcolm’s former aides.

Where is John Ali today?

I’m told he’s living in Atlanta, Georgia, where he works as a consultant. I called an individual on the phone, but he claimed he was not the John Ali I was looking for.

Did you see the recent 48 Hours special?

Yes. Gene Roberts would not grant me an interview, but I did read two interviews with him, one in New York Newsday, and another in Upscale. He conceded in both that he told his superiors at BOSSI that Malcolm was going to be assassinated. During the trial, one of the defendants testified that he had given the German Lugar used in the assassination to Roberts. He changed this testimony during the trial.

Who assassinated Martin Luther King?

I suspect there was government involvement in that as well.

What needs to be done?

I think people need to turn off their TVs and read more. That’s why this government is leaning more and more to the right. If you don’t read, you don’t know what the government is doing.

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  1. This guy was a nation of Islam founder; they are some the most anti drug, anti pot people on Earth, I don’t see how this fits into a theme of hightimes.

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