In episode 66 of the GHOGH podcast, Jamarlin Martin goes solo to discuss Malcolm X and actual facts concerning the allegations that John Ali, the former national secretary of the Nation of Islam, was an operative of the FBI or U.S. intelligence agencies.
The FBI had a high-level operative, according to its files. Who was he? Includes audio of John Ali admitting he interviewed with J. Edgar Hoover.
You can listen to the entire conversation right now in the audio player below. If you prefer to listen on your phone, GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin is available wherever you listen to podcasts — including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube, and SoundCloud.
Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 66: Jamarlin Martin
The Case Against John Ali: Jamarlin Martin goes solo to discuss Malcolm X and actual facts concerning the allegations that John Ali, the former national secretary of the Nation of Islam, was an operative of the FBI or U.S. intelligence agencies. The FBI had a high-level operative, according to its files. Who was he? Includes audio of John Ali admitting he interviewed with J. Edgar Hoover.
This is a full transcript of the conversation which has been lightly edited for clarity.
Jamarlin Martin: I wrote a book about my life named “Moguldom”. You can get more information about this book at Moguldombook.com. I talk about acquiring the knowledge of self, self-determination and building a business over 10 years. There are some gems in this book that you don’t want to miss. One way to support the GHOGH movement and this podcast is to go to Moguldombook.com. Buy the book on presale to support the GHOGH movement. Let’s GHOGH! You’re listening to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin. We have a go hard or go home approach as we talk to the leading tech leaders, politicians and influencers. Let’s GHOGH! Today we have a special episode, “The Case Against John Ali”. We’re going to dive right in and look at the sources of the information that’s going to be presented over this podcast series. So this is part one of a series and so I’m going to introduce the sources and some of the key figures in the case against John Ali and you can formulate your own conclusions once I present the facts over the series. And so, one source you’re going to get in part one, you’re going to get John Ali himself who has kinda come out of hiding a couple of years ago. And he conducted an interview and he addressed a rumor of him being some type of government agent or informant. The first source I want to go to is Malcolm X. But before we get there, here’s an important chronology. So COINTELPRO is launched in 1956. John Ali joins The Nation allegedly in 1957, reportedly in 1957. Another date that’s out there is 1954. So, if we call John Ali joining The Nation between 1954 and 1957 okay. COINTELPRO launches officially in 1956, so around the time that COINTELPRO launches, and this is the entity that was set up within the FBI to break the back of any organization that was looking to liberate Black people or organizations who the United States government thought of as a threat. And also communists.
02:37 — Jamarlin Martin: So, COINTELPRO, the type of stuff that they would do is of course, spy on Dr. King, spy on Malcolm X, spy on Elijah Muhammad, track their movements, try to understand what’s going on. Try to infiltrate the group. And so this is not some type of conspiracy theory. Of course the FBI has released a lot of documents related to the COINTELPRO activity. And so you can go online and read some of this documentation yourself. So I’m going to go through these dates here. So John Ali joins the NOI between 1954 and 1957. COINTELPRO launches in 1956. The health of Elijah Muhammad really starts to decline in 1961. Okay. So, his bronchitis is elevated in 1961. In the Malcolm X movie or in popular culture, they make it out to be, hey, Malcolm’s faith was really shattered when he became aware of Elijah Muhammad’s private affairs with women within The Nation, multiple women within The Nation. And then Malcolm had all these kind of new thoughts about getting along with white folks and changing his ideology. What’s not been the case with Malcolm X, and studying him as a centering of John Ali as a main player in terms of his assassination and tearing Malcolm X and Elijah apart. OK, so let’s go to Malcolm. So in the autobiography of Malcolm X, this is what Malcolm X states.
Jamarlin Martin: “Black agents were sent to infiltrate us. But the white man’s secret spy often proved, first of all, a Black man. I can’t see all of them. Of course, there’s no way to know. But some of them, after joining us and hearing, seeing and feeling the truth for every Black man, revealed their roles to us. Some resigned from the white man’s agency and came to work in the Nation of Islam.”
Jamarlin Martin: Okay? So this is from the autobiography of Malcolm X. Okay. So Malcolm X is saying here, look, we had agents come into the mosque and they said they came in there and they were an agent, but then they flip to the NOI. They said, hey, after listening to this, I don’t want to work for the FBI anymore. So Malcolm is acknowledging that, the FBI has sent people in and then some of these agents, they revealed to Malcolm, according to the autobiography that they were agents, but now they’re riding for the NOI. So John Ali, in his interview that you’re going to hear later in the podcast, he’s going to tell you, his words that yes, he interviewed with J. Edgar Hoover with the FBI and of course John Ali, he comes to the Boston mosque where Malcolm was and he joins under Malcolm.
Jamarlin Martin: So, most likely, in my view, Malcolm X is talking about John Ali here. Okay. So, Malcolm says, agents come into the mosque and then they have flipped towards us. Okay. John Ali says, hey, out of Bryant College in Rhode Island, class in 1950, “I was the first Black guy ever to graduate from Bryan College.” J. Edgar Hoover and some really elite folks, including officials with Bryant University flew, John Ali to D.C. to interview with J. Edgar Hoover. So John Ali himself says that he told Malcolm that he interviewed with a J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI. Malcolm says agents came in and told him that they were with the FBI, but they switched up. But John Ali says that he wasn’t hired, they just flew him out there, but they didn’t hire him. Another source that we’re going to lean on is the FBI files.
07:01 — Jamarlin Martin: So in an FBI memo dated May 7, 1968, this is what the FBI says, and this is after Malcolm X has passed. The FBI says, “If Herbert Muhammad could be removed as successor to the leadership of the NOI, it would place our top level NOI informants in a better position to neutralize the extremist cult.” So at this time in 1968, John Ali is a major, major figure in Chicago. Malcolm puts John Ali in Chicago and he’s rising and rising and rising. And one of the reasons he’s rising according to the FBI file is the FBI file says he’s U.S. Military. Okay. So he has military training. Two, he’s graduating first Black guy from Bryant University in Rhode Island. He has an accounting background, the military, the accounting, potential FBI training, whatever it is, brothers and sisters from the hood or from prison in terms of how a lot of the ministers came up or through HBCUs if they were educated, he’s kind of out of this box. Okay. This is a special Negro in a sense where folks like J. Edgar Hoover’s gonna fly him out. Meaning that white folks have a lot of prospects for him. He’s going to school with all white folks and he’s looked at as kind of as he says, in this Black hierarchy that is a Negro who the white establishment loves. But between 1954 and 1957, he pops up with this elite background, coming out of the military, coming out of Bryant College, the first Black guy to graduate from Bryant College. He shows up in Boston and like, “Hey, the white man is the devil. I want to join the Nation, but you can trust me, essentially. So the FBI file says that they have someone very, very high up, they say multiple NOI informants okay. Multiple. And they say in 1968 when John Ali is arguably top three, top four in The Nation, the FBI’s memo states that they have somebody very, very high up in the rank.
09:16 — Jamarlin Martin: So that should establish that there’s somebody who has not been named. Okay. Very high up in The Nation of Islam at this time, who was feeding the U.S. government information. They were in partnership with the U.S. government. So you can use the U.S. government’s documentation and they’re telling you how they infiltrated the NOI and how high level their people were. One source, of course, is gonna be the FBI files. And of course, they say that they have somebody pretty damn ready to take over if they could get Herbert Muhammad, Elijah Muhammad’s son out the way. Louis Lomax was a Yale Ph.D journalists and Mike Wallace gets a lot of credit for bringing Malcolm on, The Hate That Hate Produced on 60 minutes. But Louis Lomax worked with Mike Wallace and so he is really largely responsible for bringing Malcolm into the mainstream from a television perspective.
Jamarlin Martin: So Louis Lumax is very curious about Malcolm X and of course he’s responsible for working with Mike Wallace on The Hate That Hate Produced, that really helped blow Malcolm X up even more. But Louis Lomax receives a letter from the FBI in the 60s telling him not to print anything related to John Ali being a former FBI agent. So Louis Lomax says he has sources within the FBI or a source within the FBI that has verified and told him that John Ali had some type of relationship with the FBI. He used to be an agent. Louis Lomax wants to print this and the FBI contacts Louis Lomax. So we’re going to go through that. Louis Lomax is a central figure in the case against John Ali. So, right now I’m going to be reading out of “The Judas Factor: The Plot To Kill Malcolm X” by Karl Evanzz. Let’s turn to page 198. On Mar. 20, 1964, 12 days after Malcolm X officially broke with the Black Muslims, Sullivan, who was in charge of the high level FBI informant, received communication from the Seattle field office advising him that the following passage appeared in Lomax’s book.
Jamarlin Martin: So here’s the passage from Lomax’s book. “It is now clear that Elijah has delegated to Chicago responsibility for turning out the movements, publications, and overall policy statements. It is equally clear that the finances and other administrative chores of the movement are carried out in Chicago. This decision by Muhammad was made possible because John X Ali, a former FBI agent, and perhaps the best administrative mind in the movement, was shifted from New York to Chicago.” So Louis Lomax wants to write this or publish this in his book. So the FBI reacted to the passage with the rapid flurry of memorandums. In a second memo to Sullivan, an FBI official wrote, “It is felt that the Seattle office should be advised concerning the true status of John Ali Simmons and his alleged connection with the Bureau and that the New York office should be instructed to contact Lomax to advise them concerning the inaccurate statement contained in his book regarding Simmons and that he be instructed to have the statement removed from any future printings of the book.”
13:04 — Jamarlin Martin: I’m reading from “The Judas Factor: The Plot To Kill Malcolm X”, page 198. “Under recommendations to Hoover, the memo again suggested that the New York field office be advised to contact Lomax regarding the incorrect statement in his book. ‘Ok’, Hoover wrote on the memo, which was illuminating for a number of reasons.” First of all, we need to highlight this. If J. Edgar Hoover, the head of the FBI, the CEO of the FBI and Sullivan who runs COINTELPRO. Okay. These are like the owners. You can’t go higher in the FBI than Sullivan and Hoover. So, first of all, they’re interested in the subject enough where they’re talking about Louis Lomax printing something about John Ali, but obviously J. Edgar Hoover and Sullivan. They’re not going to be dealing with some low-level punk agent off the street. They’re going to be dealing with somebody very, very sensitive. Okay. Very, very high level. If they are working somebody inside the Nation of Islam, this is somebody that’s going to be higher up. Okay. Or ready to make a move higher up. So let’s establish that J. Edgar Hoover and William Sullivan in the FBI, Sullivan was the director of COINTELPRO. They are writing communications that you can read online in the FBI files where they’re concerned about Lomax coming out, saying that John Ali worked for the FBI. Did Louis Lomax listen to the FBI? A lot of journalists, if the FBI contacts you or they’re involved, you may say, “Hey, I’m not going to print this. I’m not going to get in trouble with the FBI, the U.S. government”, particularly in the 60s. Okay. Louis Lomax says, “Look, my sources are rock solid. I’m going to print it anyway.” Louis Lomax after this, according to Karl Evanzz, he was working on a documentary covering how Malcolm X was killed and Louis Lomax prints that passage about John Ali being an FBI agent, at least at one point, and he dies in New Mexico from a car crash, his brakes failed on him. That’s a whole other story in terms of potential foul play.
15:49 — Jamarlin Martin: So Louis Lomax in terms of how deep he was in the game, the FBI file on this journalist before his brakes went out and he died, the FBI file, they had at least what was released was 150 pages on this one journalist. So he’s deep in the game. So we have to establish that Louis Lomax is a big player while all this stuff is going on. You’ll see the New York Times or Wall Street Journal or Financial Times, they have folks inside of corporations, government entities that will leak information, including the FBI, the NSA. They have folks at times, where they can scoop a story and they have a source directly in the FBI, NSA, CIA. Louis Lomax was so good that he had sources too back then in the FBI who told him who John Ali was. Okay, and the FBI did not like that. Louis Lomax is an important figure. Now we’re going to go to Wallace. So Wallace is Elijah Muhammad’s son. He took over The Nation when Elijah died. This is what Wallace had to say. “The FBI had key persons in the national staff, at least one or two maybe, they were preparing for the death of the honorable Elijah Muhammad in terms of determining his successor. I believe that the members of The Nation of Islam were influence to do the things that they were doing, not just by the national staff and my father, but also by the intelligence department.”
Jamarlin Martin: So here I agree with Wallace. My findings and the facts point to a weakened Elijah Muhammad, the government is in the national secretary position in the name of John Ali. Nobody wants go ahead and center him in this stuff. Elijay Muhammad’s health is declining. John Ali gets into the national secretary position. If John Ali is a government informant, okay. If he’s working with the government and he’s a administrative mastermind, this guy’s military trained, this is one of the big reasons Malcolm X loved him is this guy, he’s doing what he says he’s gonna do. He’s gonna execute. Nobody can touch him on his administrative abilities. Okay? This guy is a operations hitman, okay? He knows how to get stuff done, okay. And Malcolm respects him. He sees that he’s helping Malcolm lay the foundation of The Nation and scale The Nation. John Ali is on Malcolm X’s right side, so much so that John Ali is living with Malcolm. Okay? So John Ali has proven himself. And if you prove yourself to Malcolm, number two, then you prove yourself to Elijah.
18:55 — Jamarlin Martin: Now, if Malcolm is going to stick his neck out and sponsor John Ali for Chicago, Elijah knows that this guy, this is the man. More money’s coming in, more memberships. John Ali is helping Malcolm get the machine moving. He’s helping to make sure that the trains run on time. Okay. So John Ali, his mission is to impress first Malcolm and then impress Elijah. And he does just that with that promotion to national secretary in Chicago. So, with Malcolm out the picture after he leaves The Nation, John Ali can step into that void, particularly with Elijah’s health declining. And John Ali becomes the man. Okay? He becomes very powerful. He’s over the finances. He sees everything. Okay? So Wallace here is saying that based on what I know, and Wallace took over The Nation when Elijah died. Wallace is saying, based on how things are moving, the U.S. government had to have one or two agents at a very high level.
Jamarlin Martin: So whoever you talk to out there, whatever you read, no one can really center one agent authoritatively who was in the high level ranks of The Nation. Now, some people may not want to center someone and go ahead and convict someone in the jury within Black America of being the high-level informant or agent working for the U.S. government. There are some potential considerations of why some people may not want more evidence to come out against John Ali. One reason why some people may not want the evidence against John Ali to come out and they want this more suppressed is it gets to the fallibility of Elijah and Malcom, meaning that some folks may say, “Hey, if Elijah Muhammad was the messenger of God, how could the messenger of God be relying on the FBI?” Okay, so if John Ali equals FBI, or if John Ali equals U.S. intelligence agencies, how could this messenger of God, who met God, how could he be relying on someone who’s working for the U.S. government? Okay, that’s one question where you could have spooky resistance from the facts and case against John Ali, and whether you’re an Elijah loyalist or a Malcolm loyalist, on his side is, hey, if Malcolm is so great, why would he send the FBI all up on Elijah? Why would you send the U.S. government into the center of The Nation where obviously this is not intentional, but this, after the fact you say that, hey, this was really bad judgment, considering that Malcolm himself said that agents came to him and told him that they flipped to The Nation and they’re not with the white men any more.
22:28 — Jamarlin Martin: I think most likely that interaction or that statement was naive. And I think John Ali probably told Malcolm that he was an agent, although John Ali says, he just told Malcolm that he interviewed with J. Edgar Hoover. Now in terms of looking at this matter, if someone comes to you and you’re working for the liberation of Black people, and they tell you that they interviewed with the U.S. government, you may say, hey, they came over to me, you know, great that they told me. However, that person should be automatically disqualified, irrespective of performance and execution. You can’t put that person right up on the leader and the finances. Okay. Because of this previous contact with the U.S. government, meaning that, hey, you could be loyal, okay? You could have true intentions where you’re changing gangs, in a sense. You were blood, but now you’re crip.
Jamarlin Martin: Okay, you were FBI, but now you’re Nation. Okay? You may allow that person to stay in The Nation, and you say the teaching is so strong, we can flip people. Like governments flip spies that had been sent in to spy on them and they flip them, okay? However, if this person has a background with the U.S. government, you can’t put them on the Messenger. You’re not taking a chance of putting them at the center of the Black organization because what if you were wrong? What if you know there was a 30 percent, 20 percent chance that this guy’s lying and he’s still in bed with the U.S. government and he’s playing you. What if there’s a 20, 30, 50 percent chance, okay. So, because the risk is there, you can’t put this person next to the Messenger, okay, this person is going to destroy the organization and he worked to destroy the relationship, of course, between Malcolm and Elijah.
Jamarlin Martin: So the FBI memos, they talk about what COINTELPRO wanted to do specifically is separate Malcolm from Elijah. So that’s their goal. And so that’s exactly what happened. So the FBI documentation is saying we want to separate Malcolm and Elijah. We want to cause confusion, we want to cause paranoia and start spreading rumors about ministers and fake letters that Malcolm wrote and the FBI is trying to pull these great leaders apart from one another, the teacher and the student. They’re trying really hard and they have what looks to be a prize inside of The Nation of Islam in John Ali. Thomas 15X Johnson, who changed his name to Khalil Islam. Now he’s one of the alleged assassins who served hard time for killing Malcolm. But many people believe on the inside and scholars such as Manning Marable that he didn’t do it. Okay. So the reason he went to jail according to him is that his testimony, he was trying to cover for John Ali. A New York magazine article entitled, “The journey of Khalil Islam. The man who didn’t shoot Malcolm X”. Khalil says that John Ali was an agent and he can’t believe that he was trying to kind of ride or die for The Nation. And when the investigators came in to look at this, he was trying to cover for what turned out to be an FBI agent. So this is what Khalil Islam, one of the alleged assassins of Malcolm X who did our time. This is what he says. “Khalil also pointed out the agents. Every other men was a cop, said Khalil, who was compromised at his trial by dutifully lying to protect John Ali, Elijah Muhammad’s national secretary who many came to believe was an FBI agent.”
26:35 — Jamarlin Martin: This is Khalil. “I screwed myself lying to protect an informer,” Khalil says, shaking his head. So when you look at, let’s call it the Black jury in terms of what the words of Malcolm said about FBI agents coming in and then flipping to The Nation. When you think about Wallace saying that the way stuff was moving at that time, the government had to have one or two agents. When you look at John Henrik Clarke telling Malcolm to his face that John Ali was an agent, and we’re gonna play that audio clip. When you look at Louis Lomax in real time when all this stuff is going on and the FBI was trying to punk him into not printing actual facts that John Ali at some point had worked for a FBI agent according to sources within the FBI. So, you’re starting to see this list build up, I believe a damning list, build up in terms of the case against John Ali. And so we’re going to cut to John Ali himself and then we’re going to have John Henrik Clarke, a short clip from him and then of course, we will continue in part two.
Interviewer 1: “It appeared that you knew how to handle the media but also John, there were rumors that you were an agent of the FBI, you understood governmental tactics and you knew everything about the inside. So you were head and shoulders above us because you came in to destroy The Nation as an agent, but it appears that you got a helluva, belief. So explain that rumor.”
John Ali: “Well, I went to school in Rhode Island, Bryant University in Rhode Island. And so the graduating class of 750. I was in that class. And they had the secretary of commerce, Charles Sawyer as the commencement speaker. And Dr. Jacobs, who is the president of university, he had arranged for me to go down to Washington to see secretary Sawyer about employment. Because in the fifties, I graduated with an accounting and economics degree, but in those days, if you were the clerk at Woolworth, that was considered a big thing. They didn’t have no Black clerks, that was the same as being a doctor or a lawyer.”
Interviewer 1: “Right.”
29:30 — John Ali: “Or at the post office. You wore your uniform to formals. Right. That was considered a high position.”
Interviewer 1: “I want you to finish, but that’s what I’m saying. Here you were, this elite, so-called American Negro, what would you been doing in The Nation of Islam, other than somebody said, ‘Well, let’s send that Negro in because this is a powerful group we want to destroy.’ Even before Malcolm, why not use you? You knew Malcolm, you knew Jeremiah.”
John Ali: “Yeah. Well, when I came into The Nation, it did not have the popularity or acceptance that it had now. Or the term ‘being Black’. So I accepted and I had been part of the Black hierarchy, the elite, you know, doctors, lawyers and all that. Not because I was smart, but they recognized my association with white.”
Interviewer 1: “Yeah.”
John Ali: “You know, I had gone to a white university in New England where most Blacks attended Howard, Tuskegee. So I was like a celebrity. I had gone to a white university and in New England, so this was unique. And I had told Malcolm when I came, he was the minister in the temple, that when I graduated from university, the president of the university, Dr. Jacobs arranged for me to go to Washington to see Charles Sawyer who was secretary of commerce. They were trying to employ me because of the 750 graduates, those graduate in my class, I was the only Black, in fact, I was the first Black to graduate from Bryant University in Rhode Island. So I went down there and Charles Sawyer, the secretary of comments arranged for me to go to different departments of the United States, you know, treasury…”
Interviewer 1: “The federal government period…”
32:15 — John Ali: “The federal government. And at that time, the FBI, they only hired lawyers or accountants for ages at that time and all were been hired personally by J. Edgar Hoover. So it was secretary Sawyer of commerce. He arranged for me to have an interview with J. Edgar Hoover, which I was interviewed by him. But even though he was the head and did all the hiring of agents and senior positions in the FBI, they didn’t hire me because the federal government had very few people in high position above what they call a GS4 civil service rating. And I had a civil service rating of a GS7.”
Interviewer 1: “Yeah. You were higher than what they needed, right? I mean, and you were over-qualified.”
John Ali: “I was qualified.”
Interviewer 1: “But you were overqualified?”
John Ali: “Well, I wouldn’t say overqualified cause he, I don’t know what criteria Hoover used to hire people. One, you had to be a graduate in accounting or law. So I satisfied being in accounting, and so I interview with them. But at that time, very few people were in the FBI. I think it was about five Blacks. Very few Black and they didn’t have any Black agents back in 1950.”
Interviewer 1: “But why did you let these rumors go on for so long? You knew they were out there.”
John Ali: “And while I was out there and like the Messenger, he knew, uh, he wasn’t intimidated. Like they say, they asked me, I was more vicious than the church. No, they was all the same to him you know. You can say I belong to the boy scouts. Could have been the boy scouts. He was gonna say, ‘Oh, that’s okay’, or say he was recruited for the FBI, that he would start shaking in his boots. He viewed them all as pockets on the same pants of the devil.”
Interviewer 2: “Sylvester Leaks and yourself had exposed a person in the Nation of Islam to Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm as having government ties, but they did not believe you. Was that person John Ali?”
John Henrik Clarke: “Yes.”
Jamarlin Martin: Thanks everybody for listening to GHOGH. You can check me out @JamarlinMartin on Twitter and also come check us out at Moguldom.com. That’s M O G U L D O M.com. Be sure to subscribe to our daily newsletter. You can get the latest information on crypto, tech, economic empowerment and politics. Let’s GHOGH!