A Civil War Looms

“…In the course of my life I have very often been a prophet, and have usually been ridiculed for it…Today I will once more be a prophet…”

It strikes me, as an outsider looking in, that when one set of Americans (in this case the Democrats and their Deep State allies) no longer subscribes to the fundamental and hitherto uncontroversial proposition that only lawfully cast ballots should be counted in a democratic election then those Americans can no longer be regarded as ones ‘fellow countrymen’ with whom one is experiencing a mere ‘difference of opinion’ about which one can amicably ‘agree to disagree’.

That set of Americans have clearly proclaimed their open enmity towards the American Republic and its founding ideals. As such they have elected to be (and must consequently be looked upon as) enemy combatants no different in moral standing to the slave-owning and secession-seeking Confederates of the Democratic Party at the time of the (first) American Civil War.

And they must be confronted and defeated in the same setting and in like fashion as their predecessors: on the field of battle. No?

Who Was James X Cook?

In his epic 1993 presentation on the Malcolm X assassination, famed scholar Zak Kondo quoted from a redacted FBI document that was believed to have made reference to the possible role played in the killing by Boston Temple #11’s Captain Clarence 2X Gill. I recently discovered the unredacted version and it reveals the (previously concealed) name of the person whom the authorities were seeking to be one ‘James Cook’. 

Cook’s full name would appear to have been James W. Cook, Jr (or James X Cook in the Nation of Islam or NOI) and he may prove to be the long sought-after olive-complexioned ‘second man’ whom Herman Ferguson, a prominent member of Malcolm’s Muslim Mosque Inc. and later his Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU), had apparently seen being taken into police custody outside the Audubon Ballroom following Malcolm’s slaying. Police may have later released Cook having been persuaded (by him) that he was an innocent bystander who had sustained gunshot wounds in the post-assassination melee.

The 22nd February 1965 edition of the New York Herald Tribune had also featured an article penned by the late Jimmy Breslin and in which the journalist described the NYPD’s arrest of two suspects in connection with Malcolm’s killing – only to have the story later altered to reflect the arrest of only one suspect in the afternoon edition of the same paper, in spite of the fact that several eyewitnesses corroborated and confirmed the earlier version of the story.

Cook may now turn out to have been one of the would-be assassins who may have been sent to participate in Malcolm’s murder by none other than Minister Louis X Walcott (aka Louis Farrakhan) of Muhammad’s Mosque #11 in Boston. Following Malcolm’s killing, Cook is suspected of having fled to Miami where he would likely have been harboured by Fruit of Islam (FOI) captain Samuel X Saxon, a member of Elijah Muhammad’s so-called ‘Honor Guard’. 


Paul Bitakaramire is a freelance writer based in Manchester who has previously been published in Britain’s Spectator magazine and has launched a petition to secure the declassification of the FBI and CIA files on the Malcolm X assassination. That petition can be found here.

Why Didn’t Captain Joseph Testify?

According to convicted Malcolm X assassin Norman 3X Butler, New York Temple #7 Fruit of Islam (FOI) captain Joseph X Gravitt had seen him on the morning of 21st February 1965 at the NOI’s Shabazz Restaurant in Harlem (following Butler’s visit to Jacobi Hospital) and would have thus been in a position to attest to whatever difficulty Butler claims he had in walking that day.

Captain Joseph (under whose command FOI lieutenant Butler served) had also telephoned the Butler apartment later that afternoon within minutes of Malcolm’s assassination and had (allegedly) twice spoken to Norman 3X. The FOI captain could have therefore joined Gloria 11X Wills and Juanita 8X Gibbs in having phoned (and thus placed) Butler at home at the time of Malcolm’s assassination.

Indeed, by virtue of his (alleged) in-person and over-the-phone interactions with Butler on the day of Malcolm’s killing, Captain Joseph represented a far stronger witness in Butler’s favour than either Wills or Gibbs. So why, pray tell, were Wills and Gibbs called to testify (at Captain Joseph’s behest) while the FOI captain kept himself at a safe distance?

The reasons are obvious. Had Captain Joseph been foolhardy enough to take the witness stand in Butler’s behalf, prosecutor Vincent Dermody would have run a buzz-saw through this FOI thug and unmasked him as one of the plotters in Malcolm’s slaying. After all, there was no way that either Butler or his accomplice Thomas 15X Johnson could have visited the Audubon Ballroom that day without Captain Joseph’s nod.

The FOI captain’s testimony risked dragging all of the key Temple #7 plotters in Malcolm’s murder (such as Minister James 3X McGregor, FOI chief lieutenant Clarence 7X, FOI lieutenants Alvan X Walcott and Richard 8X, FOI investigator Robert X and temple secretary Maceo X Owens) out into the open and ultimately implicated Chicago officials like NOI national secretary John X Ali and FOI supreme captain Raymond Sharieff in the atrocity.

Indeed, throughout Butler’s 1966 trial, Captain Joseph along with one of his Temple #7 henchmen Mitchel 5X Sonson had sat in the courtroom and menaced Butler and Johnson from the spectator’s gallery in a manner that recalls Michael Corleone’s threatening appearance at the Frankie Pentangeli Senate hearings in ‘Godfather II’ (and which prompted Pentangeli to change his testimony)….  

One can only hope that New York DA Cyrus Vance’s staffers have pondered these questions for themselves as they review Butler’s conviction.


Paul Bitakaramire is a freelance writer based in Manchester who has previously been published in Britain’s Spectator magazine and has launched a petition to secure the declassification of the FBI and CIA files on the Malcolm X assassination. That petition can be found here.

Was Butler at the Ballroom?

Were the makers of the Netflix docuseries ‘Who Killed Malcolm X’ played for fools by their central protagonist, the convicted Malcolm X assassin Norman 3X Butler?

In order to appreciate the sheer absence of any hesitance to lie under oath on the part of the wives of the Malcolm X assassins one need look no further than the perjurious testimony of convicted Malcolm X murderer Talmadge Hayer’s spouse, Betty. Like her husband, Betty X Hayer was an active member of Muhammad’s Mosque #25 in Newark. And yet when she took the witness stand on 23rd February 1966 to submit to examination, she unblinkingly lied through her teeth in answer to direct questions as to whether she or her husband were members of the Nation of Islam (NOI). Her shameful testimony can be found from page 2663 onwards in Vol. 4 of the ‘People v. Hagan, Butler and Johnson’ transcript.

As to the credibility of the People’s witnesses, Assistant District Attorney Vincent Dermody used his sensational closing argument (from page 3840 onwards in Vol. 6 of ‘People v. Hagan, Butler and Johnson’) to dispel any suspicion that John Farrell, Cary Thomas, Vernal Temple, Edward De Pina, George Whitney, Jasper Davis, John Davis, Ronald Timberlake, Charles Blackwell and all the other eyewitnesses who testified against the accused assassins Norman 3X Butler and Thomas 15X Johnson may have had any motive to deceive (or were otherwise mistaken) when they identified the two men at the Audubon Ballroom on the afternoon of 21st February 1965.

I defy any of the Malcolm X scholars to place whatever research they’ve conducted or any sources they’ve relied upon for their hypotheses of the Malcolm X murder case up against the visceral immediacy and compelling power of the testimony to be found in the court transcripts themselves and the manner in which the damning evidence was laid out in Dermody’s dazzling summation.

There is a simple reason why the jury returned the verdict that it did: the combination of eyewitness testimony against Butler/Johnson on the one hand and the blatant lies, farcical fabrications and self-contradictions to be found in the testimony of Talmadge and Betty Hayer, Thomas and Etta Johnson, Norman and Theresa ButlerEdward and Muriel Long, Gloria Wills and Juanita Gibbs on the other. When taken together the Butler/Johnson defence case was doomed to collapse under the dead weight of its own sheer mendacity.   

If, after having read the 1965 Grand Jury and 1966 murder trial testimony of the Butler/Johnson/Hayer witnesses, one concludes that they were lying (as the jury did) then one has no choice but to concede that they were doing so in order to conceal Butler and Johnson’s role in the crime for which both men stood accused, namely, their participation in the murder of Malcolm X.

The simple fact remains that every scholar of the Malcolm X assassination thus far, with hardly any exceptions, has been operating within a fatally flawed paradigm which, for decades, has held as an article of faith the notion that, of the three persons convicted for this crime, two of them (Butler and Johnson) were ‘innocent’ men who were nowhere near the Audubon Ballroom at the time of Malcolm’s slaying. By obsessively referring to the Butler/Johnson/Hayer convictions as the ‘official version’ or the ‘government theory’ the Malcolm X scholars have sought to discredit the verdict and avoid staring the clear evidence in the face for fear of what it may reveal.  

What nearly all of the scholars neglected to do was to revisit the original Malcolm X grand jury and court case proceedings in order to evaluate the strength of the Butler/Johnson alibis. Scholar after scholar instead chose to bury themselves in (heavily-redacted) FBI records and NYPD reports as though the elusive truth about this atrocity was to be found there. Nearly all of the scholars forgot that this was a criminal case that was decided in a court of law and that in order to establish the bona fides of the Butler and Johnson alibis at the time of Malcolm’s murder one would have to assess their credibility.

Fortunately for us all, Butler and Johnson were not the brightest bulbs in the chandelier and both men settled on an idiotic scheme that placed them both at home, both with contrived ill-health conditions and each man wholly reliant on a single eyewitness (their wives) as to their whereabouts at the time of Malcolm’s murder. So that all that one had to do was to revisit the testimony which those two aproned housewives offered to the jury by way of an explanation for their husbands’ whereabouts on the wintry afternoon of 21st February 1965 in order for the prosecution’s job to do itself.

Butler and Johnson’s role in Malcolm’s assassination now appears to have been the ‘get your hand out of my pocket’ ruse which Hayer had ascribed to either ‘Ben Thomas’ or ‘Wilbur Kinley’ as can be gleaned from the testimony of Jasper Davis to be found on page 1090, Vol. 2 of ‘People v. Hagan, Butler and Johnson’.

Hayer, for his part, told so many falsehoods throughout his entire courtroom sojourn as to render his 1977-78 affidavits of zero worth. Which is not to say that the four accomplices he named in those affidavits didn’t exist. But if the fables he told in court are anything to go by then it is a damning indictment of the sorry state of the Malcolm X scholars (and their muddle-minded credulity) for them to have ever taken those affidavits as gospel and relied upon them as the Magna Carta of this case.

There is, to this date, zero eyewitness evidence to support the presence at the Audubon Ballroom of any ‘Leon Davis’ or ‘Wilbur Kinley’. There are, however, enigmatic references in the case file to the person whom Hayer referred to as ‘Ben Thomas’ but whose real name appears to have been ‘Robert 16X’ or ‘Benjamin 3X’ – and who was seen entering and leaving the Audubon Ballroom with none other than ‘Lynwood Cathcart’ aka Linward X Cathcart


Paul Bitakaramire is a freelance writer based in Manchester who has previously been published in Britain’s Spectator magazine and has launched a petition to secure the declassification of the FBI and CIA files on the Malcolm X assassination. That petition can be found here.

Primal Fear

Did the LIES told by Theresa 7X Butler and Etta 2X Johnson seal the fates of Norman 3X Butler and Thomas 15X Johnson?

I was rifling through the Manhattan DA case files for the Malcolm X assassination when I chanced upon the March 1965 Grand Jury testimonies of Etta 2X Johnson (wife of Thomas 15X Johnson) and Theresa 7X Butler (wife of Norman 3X Butler) and they make for truly eye-opening reading.

For one thing, the notion that Norman 3X and Thomas 15X had ‘airtight alibis’ for their whereabouts on 21st February 1965 has always been a complete  myth. Both Etta Johnson and Theresa Butler brazenly lied under oath when they claimed that their husbands were at home “all day” (in the case of Thomas 15X) and at home “from 1.00pm onwards” (in the case of Norman 3X):



Not only did both women provide utterly non-credible accounts for their husband’s whereabouts during the timeframe in which Malcolm was murdered (3.00pm – 4.00pm) but they made matters worse by offering up alibis in the form of Edward and Muriel Long (for Thomas 15X) and Gloria 11X Wills and Juanita 8X Gibbs (for Norman 3X) even less credible than their own:




In addition, the multiple and overlapping eyewitness accounts provided by persons who positively ID’ed Norman 3X and Thomas 15X in the Audubon Ballroom now demand that we cast aside the absurd fiction that these two scoundrels were ‘innocent’ men who were ‘nowhere near’ the venue at the time of Malcolm’s assassination.

As you peruse the 1965 Grand Jury and 1966 murder trial testimonies of both Mrs Johnson and Mrs Butler (to say nothing of the sickening falsehoods spouted on the witness stand by Betty Hayer, the wife of the sole confessed assassin Talmadge Hayer) just ask yourself whether they read like the accounts of women who are desperate to prove their husbands’ innocence by fully and forthrightly accounting for their spouses’ whereabouts at the time of Malcolm’s killing.

Any unbiased reading of their testimony will leave you in little doubt as to its utter lack of credibility. And when combined with the blatant lies that both Norman 3X and Thomas 15X themselves told, under oath, during their 1966 trial you will be left wondering why they weren’t charged with multiple counts of perjury on top of their main crime:  



These discoveries now demand that we completely throw out decades of received wisdom about this case and surrender to the strength of the prosecution’s argument that Norman 3X and Thomas 15X both participated in Malcolm’s brutal assassination and have shamelessly lied about it ever since. For the verdicts in the 1966 Malcolm X murder trial ultimately came down to whether or not the jury, having seen all the evidence and heard all the testimony, believed the accounts of the only two people on Earth who vouched for both men being somewhere other than the Audubon Ballroom at the time of Malcolm’s assassination.

Those two people were Theresa 7X Butler and Etta 2X Johnson, the wives of Norman 3X Butler and Thomas 15X Johnson respectively. Both women, in testifying that their husbands were at home with them at the time of Malcolm’s murder, were as much on trial as his assassins were. In lying under oath about their spouses’ whereabouts at the time of Malcolm’s killing, both Theresa Butler and Etta Johnson implicated themselves as accessories to the crime. And that they acted out of ‘love’ in telling the fables they did affords them no absolution in the murderous deed in which their partners participated.


Paul Bitakaramire is a freelance writer based in Manchester who has previously been published in Britain’s Spectator magazine and has launched a petition to secure the declassification of the FBI and CIA files on the Malcolm X assassination. That petition can be found here.

Breslin’s Detour

“Well, I was supposed to receive a journalism award in Syracuse that evening, but I got a tip [from the NYPD] that I should go up to Harlem to see Malcolm X speak. I sat way in the back smoking a Pall Mall cigarette…” – Jimmy Breslin interview with Toby Rogers in ‘The Ganja Godfather: The Untold Story of NYC’s Weed Kingpin’ (2005)

Establishing for a certainty whether or not the widely-acclaimed Jimmy Breslin was scheduled to receive a journalism award in Syracuse, New York on the wintry afternoon of 21st February 1965 (as he has claimed) is of cardinal importance. For it would make his fateful ‘detour’ to the Audubon Ballroom that same day all the more noteworthy.

And if it be true that Breslin’s Detour came about as a result of a tip-off he received from the NYPD that Malcolm X was likely to face harm that afternoon and Breslin, rather than notifying Malcolm’s security guards of the danger that loomed (and potentially saving a life in the process), instead opted to sit himself “well-back” from the ‘kill zone’ and, while pulling on his Pall Mall cigarette, elected to gleefully await his ‘exclusive’ then Breslin will go down as the single most despicable figure in the history of American Letters and a man who had reserved for himself a special place in Hell.

For such an act as his is the kind for which human souls earn for themselves Eternal Damnation.

Farrakhan, Cathcart & the Obstruction of Justice

“An accessory-after-the-fact is someone who assists 1) someone who has committed a crime, 2) after the person has committed the crime, 3) with knowledge that the person committed the crime, and 4) with the intent to help the person avoid arrest or punishment. An accessory after the fact may be held liable for, among other things, obstruction of justice…”

“Whoever, knowing that an offense against the United States has been committed, receives, relieves, comforts or assists the offender in order to hinder or prevent his apprehension, trial or punishment, is an accessory after the fact… An accessory after the fact is defined as follows: Access after the fact is a person who with knowledge of the other person[‘s] guilt gives assistance to a felon in an effort to hinder the felon[‘s] detection, arrest, trial or punishment…” – Morgan v. Lafler, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93580 (E.D. Mich. Oct. 7, 2009)


Nation of Islam (NOI) leader Minister Louis Farrakhan has maintained a decades-long association with (and had in his organisation’s employ) a man – Abdul Karriem Muhammad aka Linward X Cathcart – of whose role in the Malcolm X assassination (which occurred at New York’s Audubon Ballroom on 21st February 1965) Mr Farrakhan has undoubtedly been fully aware.

And that by providing Mr Cathcart with safe harbour and ongoing employment in the NOI (while feigning ignorance of Mr Cathcart’s role in Malcolm’s murder) Mr Farrakhan stands guilty of obstructing justice in a manner that indicts the NOI leader of being, at a minimum, an ACCESSORY-AFTER-THE-FACT in the crime.

On the Death of Elijah Muhammad Jr

Malcolm X historian and filmmaker Abdur-Rahman Muhammad (of the Emmy-nominated Netflix docuseries ‘Who Killed Malcolm X’) delivers a blistering response to the news of the death of former Nation of Islam (NOI) assistant supreme captain (and Malcolm X murder suspect) Elijah Muhammad Jr.

Elijah Jr. reportedly died on 2nd August 2020 and was buried Aug. 6 in New Medina, Mississippi. He was infamous for a murderous 28th June 1964 speech, delivered at a gathering of the Fruit of Islam (FOI) in New York City, at a time when the NOI was locked in a bitter legal dispute with Malcolm over his East Elmhurst residence. At that FOI rally Elijah Jr. issued a despicable order for Malcolm’s home to be destroyed in a terrorist act believed to have been carried out, months later, by Norman 3X Butler, Thomas 15X Johnson, Harlem Temple #7 Captain Joseph X Gravitt and Boston Temple #11 Captain Clarence 2X Gill. Said Elijah Jr.:

“That house is ours, and the ni**er don’t want to give it up. Well, all you have to do is go out there and clap on the walls until the walls come tumbling down, and then cut the ni**er’s tongue out and put it in an envelope and send it to me, and I’ll stamp it approved and give it to the Messenger…”

Elijah Jr is believed to have issued several direct orders to kill Malcolm during 1964-5 and is most likely the person who directed the NOI’s National Secretary John Ali to assemble the New Jersey Mosque #25 hit squad which carried out the 21st February 1965 assassination of Malcolm X.

Looking for Leon X

Could Leon X Davis – the Luger-toting thug suspected of being one of the three shooters in the ‘Newark Six’ hit squad that murdered Malcolm X at New York’s Audubon Ballroom on 21st February 1965 – still be alive?

If so is it possible that, like suspected shotgun assassin William X Bradley who appears in the Netflix documentary series ‘Who Killed Malcolm X?’ (and who later changed his name to ‘Al-Mustafa Shabazz’), Leon Davis is now going under a Muslim name and attending the local mosques in New Jersey?

And given the collective guilt that New Jersey’s NOI Muslims share for Malcolm’s murder don’t they all now have a moral obligation to help us to locate Davis and finally bring him to justice?


Linward X Cathcart, a Fruit of Islam (FOI) lieutenant from Muhammad’s Mosque #21 in Jersey City, has stated that upon arriving at the Audubon Ballroom on 21st February 1965 he took up a seat on the same first row where he would later be joined by Newark Mosque #25 assassins Talmadge X Hayer and Leon X Davis. In an account provided by undercover NYPD-BOSSI agent Gene Roberts (which features in Jack Baxter’s ‘Brother Minister’ and Ark Media’s ‘Who Killed Malcolm X’agent Roberts reported that, upon arriving at the venue to assume his guard duties for that afternoon, he had noticed three men seated on the first row reading newspapers and seemingly engaged in silent communion.

In his 1977-78 affidavits confessed assassin Hayer revealed that he and his fellow murderers had agreed to get to the Audubon early, drifting into the venue individually or in pairs to avoid suspicion and taking up seats on the front rows from which they would later launch their attack. Having agreed among themselves that Hayer and Davis would sit on the first row, with William Bradley and Ben Thomas immediately behind them on the second row and Kinley located to the rear of the venue, it seems likely that the three men whom Roberts observed on the first row were none other than Hayer, Davis – and Cathcart himself. And since Cathcart and Bradley, who was seated on the row behind him, were FOI lieutenants who both answered to Minister James 3X Shabazz of Newark, the likelihood that these two NOI adjutants may have recognised each other at the venue cannot be ruled out.   

Most damningly, however, was an 8th March 1965 witness report from Malcolm X associate Earl Grant which relates to Cathcart’s presence at the Audubon Ballroom. According to the report:

“Above subject interviewed by the undersigned and stated that one of the guards was a Charles Blackwell of 53 Grant Ave., Jersey City, Tel. 201-435 8096 and a former member of the Mosque in Jersey City (Linward’s Jersey City Mosque #21); was stationed on the left side of the rostrum looking at the stage alongside of Booth #2. He states that Blackwell told him that he saw a fellow named Linwood (Linward) from Plainfield N.J. enter the room and sit on the front row on the right side facing the platform and two other men who had entered with him separate, and sit on the left front row of chairs. These two men were dressed alike and were wearing trench coats. All three subjects kept staring at him during the talks, he feels because they recognised him. He then heard a commotion in the back of the Ballroom and then the shooting started…” – Earl Grant witness statement, 8th March 1965 

Grant’s account corresponds with the Hayer affidavits with respect to Hayer’s testimony that he and his fellow assassins entered the venue in pairs and that Hayer and Davis took their seats to the left side of the front row. Missing from Hayer’s account, however, was any reference to the fact that both he and Davis had entered the venue with Cathcart who then parted from them and took his seat on the right side of the front row as Grant described.

The remarkable overlap between Grant’s report, Hayer’s testimony and the accounts provided by BOSSI agent Roberts and Malcolm X associate Benjamin Karim in ‘Brother Minister’ regarding the three men whom they had both observed on the first row while performing their duties at the Audubon is reinforced by an additional detail in Grant’s interview that is found in this line:

“He (Charles 26X Blackwell) also noticed another person who he knows as Benjamin from Paterson or Newark seated about the third row on the left side…” – Earl Grant witness statement, 8th March 1965 

The reference to ‘Benjamin’ (aka Ben X Thomas aka Albert Benjamin Thomas of Newark Temple #25) seated on or about the third row’s left side represented (1) the first time this member of the Newark hit squad had been identified by name prior to the affidavits which Hayer swore a full 12 years later and (2) Thomas’ seating location marries up with the seating arrangements of the assassins first provided by Hayer in 1977-78.

Like Grant’s account of the manner in which Cathcart, Davis and Hayer, upon entering the venue together subsequently parted ways, with Cathcart heading to the right of the first row while Hayer and Davis made their way to the left of that same row, BOSSI agent Roberts has indicated that the demeanor of the three men on the first row suggested to him that they were there together.

This, in turn, buttresses Grant’s account of what Blackwell had told him regarding the manner in which all three men (Cathcart, Davis and Hayer) were behaving as if of one mind and kept staring at him either to intimidate him or in apparent concern that they may have been recognised by Blackwell who once belonged to the same New Jersey mosque network to which they were affiliated…


Paul Bitakaramire is a freelance writer based in Manchester who has previously been published in Britain’s Spectator magazine and has launched a petition to secure the declassification of the FBI and CIA files on the Malcolm X assassination. That petition can be found here.

Copyright © 2020 Paul Bitakaramire. All rights reserved.

Did Norman 3X Butler Firebomb Malcolm X Home?

Evidence for the suspected participation of Norman 3X Butler (aka Muhammad Abdul Aziz) and Thomas 15X Johnson (aka Khalil Islam) in the 14th February 1965 firebombing of Malcolm X’s East Elmhurst residence is of the same ‘open secret’ character as that which ultimately led to the successful identification of Newark Temple #25 shotgun assassin Al-Mustafa Shabazz (William X Bradley) by Abdur-Rahman Muhammad in April 2010.

Where Was Norman 3X On Valentines Night ’65?

As Fruit of Islam (FOI) lieutenants and trusted members of the Nation of Islam (NOI) ‘specialty squad’ to which Malcolm referred during his 15th February 1965 press conference at the Audubon Ballroom (while seated alongside a former member of said squad, Leon 4X Ameer), Butler and Johnson would have likely been among the FOI ‘soldiers’ whom Captain Clarence X Gill of Louis Farrakhan’s Boston Temple #11 enlisted to carry out actions against Malcolm following Gill’s 28th June 1964 ‘promotion’ over Captain Joseph X Gravitt of Harlem Temple #7 by Assistant Supreme Capt. Elijah Muhammad Jr.

In Jack Baxter’s 1994 documentary ‘Brother Minister’ mention is made of Captain Joseph’s confession, before his death in 1993, of his role in the firebombing of Malcolm’s home. This admission was reportedly issued in connection with the publication of Spike Lee’s 1992 book ‘By Any Means Necessary: The Trials and Tribulations of the Making of Malcolm X’ to which reference is made in this 1993 article in the NYT. And in this 1984 interview with William Buckley of the National Review, Butler affirms (at 15:55 on the video) that, in his capacity as a member of ‘NOI security’, he took his instructions from Capt. Joseph. It is therefore inconceivable that Capt. Joseph would not have enlisted proven Temple #7 enforcers such as Butler and Johnson to aid him in carrying out the Valentine’s Day arson attack on Malcolm’s home.

Many have found it noteworthy that neither Butler nor Johnson, whenever faced with questions about their role in Malcolm’s murder, hardly ever mention the shooting of Benjamin Brown for which they were awaiting trial at the time of their arrest for Malcolm’s murder – not even as a ‘circumstantial alibi’ that would have rendered them unlikely participants in Malcolm’s killing.

That is just one example of the guarded way in which both Butler and Johnson had become practiced when discussing their violent pasts and of just how adept they were at concealing anything that might extinguish the halo of their presumed innocence.

In all of their numerous TV interviews over the years with Mike Wallace, Tony Brown, Gil Noble and others neither Butler nor Johnson (who died in 2009) ever so much as mention the name ‘Benjamin Brown’ nor allude to the fact that they were both awaiting trial for his shooting (likely ordered by Capt. Joseph) at the time of their arrest for Malcolm’s killing. Far more puzzling is the fact that the topic never seems to occur to those interviewing them as one worthy of raising.

Indeed, one of the most infuriating aspects of the various efforts to resolve Malcolm’s cold case has been the lack of investigative or interrogatory rigour on the part of those placed in a privileged position to question the likes of Butler, John X Ali, Larry 4X Prescott and the other characters involved in this saga.

Were Temple #7 Muslims Present At the Audubon?

Evidence for a Temple #7 presence at the Audubon on 21st February 1965 derives from a number of sources. One such source is Sharon 6X Poole who was present at the Ballroom on the day Malcolm was slain, was later interviewed by the news media in the immediate aftermath of the shooting and to whom she disclosed the presence of Temple #7 members at the venue. Her interview can be found in the UCLA newsreel archive and can also be briefly heard in one of the ‘Who Killed Malcolm X’ episodes. 

Another source is to be found in a Thomas 15X interview on Tony Brown’s Journal (from 6:55 on the video) where Johnson provides details of a meeting which took place at the 119th street offices of the Muhammad Speaks newspaper in NYC, organised by NOI National Secretary John X Ali and attended by five FOI lieutenants and two FOI ‘investigators’. The fact that this meeting occurred (according to Johnson) “a few days” before Malcolm was murdered suggests that (1) the attendees were likely made aware of the imminence of Malcolm’s killing and may have even been briefed on the exact date and (2) the New York FOI were expected to participate in some capacity. This would corroborate the Sharon 6X claim of a Temple #7 presence at the Audubon.

Yet another source was an anonymous 14 November 2009 online post by a ‘Bill X’ celebrating Malcolm’s murder and about which a number of things stood out. (1) The poster of that vile comment was praiseworthy of Malcolm’s assassination and complimented Talmadge Hayer for his role in the killing. (2) The poster claimed that there were ten participants in the murder plot and not merely the five shooters from Temple #25 who were identified by Hayer in his 1977-78 affidavits to Kunstler. (3) The poster implicated Temple #7 in the crime. (4) The poster provided some manner of military-style codename for the hit squad (‘Task Force Fard’) that murdered Malcolm – the first time I had ever encountered any such designation for the team that carried out Malcolm’s killing. And (5) but not least, the poster went out of their way to praise FOI lieutenant ‘Linward X’ (aka Linward X Cathcart aka Abdul Karriem Muhammad) in connection with the assassination – but remained silent regarding whatever role Cathcart may have played in the crime and that made his name worthy of mention.

This I found odd. The guarded manner in which the poster referred to Cathcart suggested to me that, as praiseworthy as they were about Malcolm’s murder and as willing to share little-known details about the crime as they seemed to be, they nevertheless knew enough not to say too much regarding Cathcart’s own role. This made the post stand out as not just another routine piece of online trolling but as the likely musings of someone with direct knowledge of Malcolm’s assassination and its participants. 

And viewers of the Netflix docuseries ‘Who Killed Malcolm X’  saw enough in the evasive behaviour and responses of Newark Temple #25 veterans like Qasim Nathari, Wali Muslim, Earl Siddiq and others questioned in the program to glean that Malcolm’s murder was a crime the details of which appear to have been known to a wider circle of people than was previously supposed.

Could Butler and Johnson Have Entered The Ballroom?

An 8th April 1965 witness statement from a George Matthews debunks the enduring hypothesis that neither Butler nor Johnson, as Temple #7 members, could have succeeded in entering the Audubon on 21st February 1965 because Malcolm’s security guards “knew them well” and would have turned them away.

As can be seen in the Matthews statement to Detective James Rushin (2244) of the NYPD, Butler along with twelve men from Temple #7 were present at a 12th December 1964 Harlem Youth Opportunities Unlimited (HARYOU) rally that Malcolm held three months prior to his assassination.

Butler and his gang, who were clearly up to no good, were spotted in the audience by Malcolm himself but permitted to remain at the event. Why then should anyone believe that either Butler or Johnson would have encountered any more resistance upon their visit to the Audubon three months later unless there was a specific and unique threat they were deemed to pose to Malcolm’s life?

Malcolm’s security guards were drawn not merely from the New York area but some of them, like Charles 26X Blackwell and Robert 35X Smith, were from New Jersey and had recognised Jersey City FOI lieutenant Linward X Cathcart upon his arrival at the Audubon. Cathcart was searched, ordered to remove his NOI lapel pin but permitted to remain at the venue. Nothing would therefore support the contention that either Butler or Johnson would have been treated any differently had they sought entry into the Audubon on 21st February 1965.

We can thus dispense with the fallacy that Malcolm’s murder was purposefully assigned to the New Jersey FOI since they were unlikely to be recognised by Malcolm’s New York guards who, by contrast, were purportedly on notice to bar Temple #7 members from entering the venue. Malcolm had no such policy in place at any of his previous meetings and there is nothing to indicate that such a policy was in place on the day he was killed.

Indeed, at this 15th February 1965 rally at the Audubon held on the evening that followed the Valentine’s Day fire-bombing of his home, Malcolm alluded to the presence of members of the FOI at that same rally when he stated: “(Elijah Muhammad) Junior stood up and told the Fruit, many of whom are here now also, that I should have been killed, that my tongue should have been put in an envelope and sent back to Chicago by now…”

Malcolm had clearly spotted members of the FOI in the audience at his event and, notwithstanding the fact that he deemed the NOI responsible for the arson attack on his home the previous night, continued to hold out the (false) hope that they could be won over were they afforded an opportunity to hear him for themselves.


Paul Bitakaramire is a freelance writer and filmmaker based in Manchester (UK) who has previously been published in Britain’s Spectator magazine and has launched a petition to secure the release of the FBI files on the Malcolm X assassination. That petition can be found here.