Anatomy Of A Cover Up; The Media, The NYPD And The Assassination of Malcolm X

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Malcolm X -- Malik El Shabazz

"I have a dead brother. He was killed by a bullet to his head. I asked the bullet where it came from. It said: 'From the rifle of a soldier of the government of a powerful person who serves another powerful person who serves another powerful person who serves another."--Subcomandante Marcos

In the twelve weeks between the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Malcolm X on February 21, 2015 and the 90th anniversary of Malcolm's birth on May 19, 2015, some new startling information has come to light about his assassination.

Black Star News publisher Milton Allimadi and BSN reporter Colin Benjamin broke the news that a new book, "The Ganja Godfather," by author Toby Rogers (Trine Day 2015) contains an interview that Rogers had with Jimmy Breslin, who as a New York Herald Tribune reporter witnessed and wrote about Malcolm's assassination at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem on February 21, 1965.

During Rogers' interview Breslin makes a shocking claim that's included in "The Ganja Godfather." That on February 21,1965, officials from the New York Police Department (NYPD) had encouraged him to go see Malcolm X speak in Harlem hours before the 1960’s civil rights leader was assassinated.  Breslin told Rogers he was "supposed to receive a journalism award in Syracuse that evening" but that he canceled his planned appearance Upstate, went to the Audubon Ballroom that evening and "sat way in the back, smoking a Pall Mall cigarette."

BSN contacted Breslin, who, through his wife, did not dispute the quotes Rogers attributed to him. The NYPD also demurred.

(That the NYPD might have known Malcolm X was going to be killed 50 years ago and/or played a role would be beyond vile). So BSN independently confirmed that Jimmy Breslin- a well respectedand celebrated journalist in New York spanning five decades- said on the record that the NYPD tipped him off and to go witness Malcolm X speak the night he was killed. The NYPD- also on the record- did not refute Breslin's comments in Rogers' new book.

Yet the media looked the other way- including the progressive media like the Nation, Mother Jones and Democracy Now with Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez- to the dismay of many in the Black community who have been reading about Rogers' Breslin bombshell for weeks thanks to BSN, The Amsterdam News (which was the first newspaper to publish the writings of Malcolm X) and Frost Illustrated in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Meanwhile Toby Rogers and his book "The Ganja Godfather" has garnered a whirlwind of mainstream media attention since its release. Rogers has appeared on dozens of radio shows in the U.S. and abroad. He has been asked about almost every aspect of his book, all except the one factthat is the most journalistically grounded- with an on the record source that was independently verified by BSN; Breslin's NYPD tip off about Malcolm X.

On Sunday, Toby Rogers himself broke in the New York Post That Vincent "The Oddfather" Gigante whacked Genovese Boss Tommy Eboli in 1972 and also what really happened to Patsy Eboli in 1976.

Again, not a word about the NYPD, Breslin and Malcolm X.

We expect the New York Times (Rogers' new book reveals some startling information about the "old gray lady" and the Genovese family) and the New York Post to drop the ball. What disturbs me more is the recoiling of the "progressive media" in this blatant NYPD/Breslin cover up.

We all know that the day after he was gunned down in front of his wife and five daughters, that the New York Times wrote Malcolm X was a "twisted man" who "turn[ed] many true gifts to evil purpose" and that his life was "strangely and pitifully wasted."

But on Tuesday, the 90th anniversary of his birth -when Democracy Now host Amy Goodman will run a long "special" broadcast on the life and legacy of Malcolm X- her silence regarding the recent NYPD/Breslin saga will be painful to observe.

The Huffington Post and the Nation Magazine will also remain silent this week about the NYPD's role (by commission or omission) in Malcolm's death.

With police brutality finally front and center in the national dialogue and while the Black Lives Matter movement slowly organizes a "Black Spring" around the nation, it is jarring, but not at all surprising, to see the ideological lines being redrawn in progressive circles, including the progressive media.

But hey, when Democracy Now starts their next fund drive and the coffee mug peddling begins, we will remember what happened on May 19, 2015 when Goodman ignored what Breslin said on the record about the NYPD and the assassination of Malcolm X.

 

Shareef Nasir is a documentary filmmaker. He is the executive producer of the film, "The Evolution of the Nation of Islam" and the forthcoming film,  Behind The Trigger: The Killing of Malcolm X. 

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