("Quid coniuratio est?")
INTERVIEW WITH SHERMAN SKOLNICK -- MARCH 20, 1995
On March 20, 1995, I interviewed Mr. Sherman Skolnick of the Citizens' Committee to Clean-up the Courts [CCCC] by telephone. The following is my transcription of that interview. Note that in this interview I neither necessarily agree nor disagree with either all or some of the statements of Mr. Skolnick.
-- Brian Francis Redman, Editor-in-chief, Conspiracy Nation
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Regarding Waco, Texas: you had, in one of your commentaries, you'd mentioned as far as the Branch Davidian church being a possible CIA brainwashing facility.
Yeah. Because they had, CIA has got a similar facility right nearby there.
However, I don't claim to be that knowledgeable about the Waco thing. And I... It wasn't something that we worked on directly.
O.K. Are you of the opinion that... There's a video that shows a tank with a flame-thrower...
I'm concerned about that. That came from Linda Thompson. And some of us are very concerned. (She distributed the thing from Indianapolis.) And we are concerned whether that particular thing was added to or changed or enhanced, or even so far as being falsified. We don't know.
She's a controversial figure, that...
Yeah, she is.
...that, even myself: I'm just not certain on which way to call...
Well she tried, she tried to organize 100,000 people to march on the nation's capital, armed. And there are laws against that. In other words, you can't come down the highway, armed, and march like a huge army on Washington, DC. It's... There's various federal, criminal laws that would be involved.
She later sent out a bulletin (and I think we have it in the file) trying to explain away why she called it off.
But some of us are very concerned, that she showed up from nowhere, and had all the trappings of an agent provocateur.
And I haven't decided one way or the other. It's just uh, I'm very leery of her. Let's put it that way.
Because, as I understand it, she is saying that this thing about the March on Washington was a ruse by her, in order to get the militia movement going.
Well some of... The facts she sent, about the federal reserve being illegal and things like that, are things that more knowledgeable people may accept. But she used that, we fear, as a smokescreen to put through a provocation. And this comes at a time when a lot of ordinary people, especially those that do not live in large cities, are forming what they call "militias", arming themselves, and are prepared to take the law into their own hands, so to speak, because of the failure of the courts and the government to satisfy what appear to be their grievances.
You know, I've got, personally I've got mixed feelings about these militias: on the one hand, I can see it as a positive thing. But on the other hand, I can see it as a dangerous thing in that it could be infiltrated...
Absolutely. And we are very concerned about that, because the Posse Comitatus has been widely infiltrated by government agents.
All you have to do is look back thirty, forty, fifty years and be knowledgeable about dissident movements, starting in the '30s and then post-World War II. There was a time in the late '40s and early '50s when it was reasonable to say that half of the Communist Party USA were actually FBI members. And they manipulated things until the Communist Party more or less broke apart, about 1956.
And even today, I occasionally, as a journalist, have gone several times over the last 20 years since the Communist Party came out of the underground, following 1968, and held public meetings. I went to their meetings but (as a journalist), but I was given a very hard time. I... Generally, they grabbed the microphone out of my hand when I tried to interview any of 'em in the hallway. And I didn't ask belligerent right-wing questions. I asked reasonable, you know, journalist-type questions. And most of the times I was greatly hassled.
And there are some that I greatly suspect are paid... I wouldn't call 'em provocateurs. I don't know what to call 'em. Well...
Yeah. They generally will not criticize the large banks. And they generally spend a lot of their time on supporting strikes and all that -- which is commendable. I mean... And, but they generally do not go after the very big companies. Once in a while they do. But they will not, in their newspaper (which is now called, I think, the "People's Weekly World" or something), they generally will not condemn the large companies by name. Although they condemn 'em in general. In other words, they don't go into the "nuts and bolts" that the rest of us are prepared to talk about.
And therefore I am wondering just what the Hell... That seems to be an example of a paid situation. I give that as an example, so that now that we have the militias and the Posse Comitatus and that, it may be more of the same, manipulated by the FBI. That's what I'm getting at.
O.K. And this, you know, your dealings with these so-called "progressive"-type people, would lead into this question I have that, there seems to be a split in the so-called "progressive" movement. And I would exemplify that as "Chomsky versus Parenti". Chomsky does not see any problem, from what I can tell, with conspiracies -- the JFK assassination, et cetera -- versus Dr. Michael Parenti, who has a Ph.D. from Yale...
Yeah, I know. The other thing is, that other so-called "lefties", like Alexander Cockburn -- you know who I'm talkin' about?
He "pooh-poohed" the whole JFK conspiracy thing.
I read his stories in The Nation, and I find 'em interesting. However. The two so-called "left wing" progressive magazines, that is, Progressive magazine from, I think, Madison, Wisconsin, and The Nation, take heavy funding from foundations that we greatly suspect. The Nation, in particular, gets money from the Roger Baldwin Foundation. They couldn't function without it. And I began an investigation of them in 1969. And I could make out a convincing case that the Baldwin Foundation is a CIA conduit.
So I have misgivings about The Nation.
However, they do some interesting work, I must say.
Yeah, I also read The Nation, and it's kind of uneven; sometimes there'll be really excellent articles, and sometimes I just throw it away.
Well they put down, they put down political murder conspiracies as being far-fetched. And a few other things along those lines. And they will never cover... O.K. One subject that they did cover, reluctantly, but eventually they did, was how the ACLU was closely aligned with the FBI and J. Edgar Hoover for about 25 years. They did a lengthy piece on that a few years ago. What they will not do is show how the Roger Baldwin Foundation, which is a successor to the ACLU, is closely tied for about -- well, since 1967 -- with the CIA through another group of foundations. And the reason they can't go into it is, the Baldwin Foundation principally finances The Nation magazine.
O.K. It's just something that I, it confused me for awhile there that, we've got a local radio station down here that's excellent. It's a community-based radio station, WEFT. And they've got a very good show on, on Saturday morning, called "News From Neptune". But my problem with them is, they're very heavily Chomsky-based. And I've even, I've sent them a tape of a talk by Dr. Parenti dealin' with... The name of the tape was, "Conspiracy and Class Power," where he goes into, "Yes! There's conspiracies!", you know, with all these political assassinations.
And they seem, they're very close-minded about it, O.K.? It's like...
Well who publishes his [Chomsky's] books? He's quite a prolific writer. I think he's in with the Z Magazine crowd in Cambridge.
And the one's... They came from nowhere, they put out a very slick magazine. And one of their principals is Chip Berlet, who I strongly suspect is funded by CIA. He has no other visible income. And he has written articles, that those of us who are in the political assassination research movement are actually Nazis. And he's gone quite a bit, and written about me -- and others like that. As to me, it's completely false. Because I conducted some of the first seminars, in the United States, on Nazi war criminals that were living amongst us. And this was in 1976, when it was not popular to even discuss anything of the sort. Now, with a lot of 'em [Nazis] old and dead, or so old that they're (you know), it's not important 20 years later. But in 1976 it was. And I conducted one of the largest seminars that I could.
And here is Chip Berlet, says that Skolnick and some of his associates are actually Nazis! I mean it's, it's terrible.
His real name is John Foster Dulles Berlet. His parents were very much in with the one that ran the State Department years ago. And they've had very close CIA links. That whole Z Magazine crowd in Cambridge appears to be financed and promoted by entities of the CIA.
The CIA... I used to teach a course in this at a radio-tv broadcast school, 25 years ago. On how you investigate foundations through their tax-exempt status, which requires them to have their income tax form as a public record. And I developed methods of showing which foundations are actually conduits for the Central Intelligence.
You know, Chip Berlet for awhile was active in one of these newsgroups that I kind of "hang out" in, in cyberspace. He was puttin' out somethin' called, he called "The Baloney Busters Bugle", O.K.? And to make a long story short, he just basically got laughed out of the place. Because...
He purports to be a "lefty". However, there's substantial... You could make substantial arguments against it.
And his magazine... When the JFK movie by Oliver Stone was coming out, or about to come out, they did a, they did an establishment- type put-down. Let's put it that way.
[...to be continued...]
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Coming to you from Illinois -- "The Land of Skolnick"