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’. 

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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.

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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

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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):

ETTA 2X JOHNSON (WIFE OF THOMAS 15X) MARCH 1965 GRAND JURY TESTIMONY

THERESA 7X BUTLER (WIFE OF NORMAN 3X) MARCH 1965 GRAND JURY TESTIMONY

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:

EDWARD & MURIEL LONG (DEFENCE WITNESSES FOR THOMAS 15X) MARCH 1965 GRAND JURY TESTIMONY

GLORIA 11X WILLS, CROSS EXAMINATION (1966 MALCOLM X MURDER TRIAL TRANSCRIPT, PAGE 3093)

JUANITA 8X GIBBS, DIRECT EXAMINATION (1966 MALCOLM X MURDER TRIAL TRANSCRIPT, PAGE 3114)

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:  

NORMAN 3X BUTLER, DIRECT EXAMINATION (1966 MALCOLM X MURDER TRIAL TRANSCRIPT, PAGE 3244)

THOMAS 15X JOHNSON, DIRECT EXAMINATION (1966 MALCOLM X MURDER TRIAL TRANSCRIPT, PAGE 3516)

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.

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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.