Sherman Skolnick

Sherman Skolnick
Sherman Skolnick
Sherman Skolnick reigns as the elder spokesperson of the conspiracy mindset. For many years, he held court at the River Flame restaurant outside of Chicago, Illinois, circulating information about current affairs that barely makes it onto the Internet, let alone the mainstream news.

Although a paraplegic and wheelchair-bound since childhood, Skolnick has been exchanging information with friends and contacts since the 1960s. Since the River Flame days, he has developed an arsenal of alternative broadcasting outlets. He founded his Committee to Clean Up the Courts in 1963, and used it to mount a successful legal challenge to court corruption in Illinois.

Skolnick began a news phone-line in 1971, and since 1992 has served as the producer and moderator of Broadsides, a Chicago-area, local access, cable-television talk show. The committee, the phone line, and the cable show all still exist, and, even at advanced age, Skolnick shows no sign of slowing down.

Skolnick was first brought to national attention in the 29 August 1969 edition of Time, which included a photo of him being hoisted into a paddy wagon in his wheelchair. His offense had been a contempt citation in the aforementioned corruption proceedings, which successfully exposed influence-peddling involving two Illinois supreme court justices.

The trial also launched the judicial career of John Paul Stevens, who headed a special commission to investigate Skolnick’s claims, and now serves on the U.S. Supreme Court. Stevens has since resisted court rules limiting the petitioning rights of “in forma pauperis” litigants like Skolnick.

Almost immediately after the conclusion of the corruption case, however, Skolnick went on to investigate many other conspiracy-related facets of the court and U.S. political life. He was arrested again for violating a camera ban at the conspiracy trial of the Chicago 7. He ferreted out details of a pre-Dallas Kennedy assassination plot in Chicago, using documents uncovered by a black Secret Service agent named Abraham Bolden.

In 1973 he demonstrated to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) that the probable reason for a crash at Chicago’s Midway Airport was sabotage, aimed against the wife of E. Howard Hunt and eleven other Watergate figures. The NTSB nevertheless concluded that that the crash was an accident due to pilot error.

During the 1990s, Skolnick did extensive interviewing of individuals connected to the Inslaw affair, a scandal supposedly involving the theft by members of the Reagan administration of a hightech tracking software known as PROMIS. Skolnick also unearthed a great deal of information on connections between business interests of George H. W. Bush and Iraqi president Saddam Hussein.

Although he has been criticized for allowing his work to be used by outlets such as the Spotlight, long seen as a crypto-fascist and antisemitic newspaper, rarely have the merits of his research work been challenged successfully. Skolnick remains a paradigm of the citizen-critic that many “conspiracy theorists” strive to become.