Conspiracy Nation -- Vol. 6  Num. 87
                    ("Quid coniuratio est?")

-- While Crusading Ahead of the Parade

By Sherman H. Skolnick

One of the most dangerous of Life's voyages is to set sail, at an early age, as a crusader against the nation's injustices and the Establishment. By the time you are forty, you most likely will be a burned-out hulk, cynical to the extreme, mouthing off to yourself and your few surviving friends the darkest humor you can think of. The rarest of tilters against windmills keep going to a ripe old age, having learned how to survive the negatives.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, as an example, had some extreme negatives. He had great political ambitions, but, he became disabled, as an adult, from polio. With full-length heavy steel leg braces, he could drag himself along for a few feet on his crutches. He most often travelled in a wheelchair. Being a rich man, he had an entourage of press agents and advisors -- to avoid being seen as disabled. As President, elected for four terms, he had the Secret Service to break the head, and the cameras, of anyone who tried to get a picture of him in his wheelchair. For political affairs, he travelled in an open car, his leg braces not visible. When giving a public speech, he was rolled in with the curtains drawn, and his leg braces hidden behind furniture and floral arrangements.

Why all this dealing with negatives? Because there apparently is a widespread perception that someone in a wheelchair is also mentally infirm, or a "nut" or a "crackpot", not qualified to lead or to be publicly heard from.

The Chicago Tribune, the world's greatest hate sheet, delighted in railing against FDR, as "that cripple in the White House."

This writer became disabled, from polio, much like FDR, except as a child. Because of a series of events, he became a crusader since 1958. Every week or so, he would be on the evening TV, for 40 seconds or so. This as a result of his role in public commotions resulting from his court campaigns for "one man, one vote", re-districting lop-sided election districts.

The mass media tried to emphasize, however, the negatives. No aides, advisors, or press agents were there. So the TV liked to film him with the cameras and lights way up high, viewing him as a bug in a wheelchair. Friends finally admonished him -- "stop letting the press bastards photograph you in your wheelchair."

Another negative is the so-called demonstrating of "proof". The mainstream press considers crusaders, free lance journalists, and such, as inferior beings. Hence, as such you are supposedly obligated to turn over your sources, your witnesses, your confidants, to them. The pressfakers, however, would not do that for you.

In well over three decades of being on the cutting edge of major scandals and commotions, with few exceptions, I have never had a source, witness, or confidant identified and terrorized; none of my sources, and such, have been found murdered or mysteriously fallen off buildings or bridges due to anything I leaked out about them.

A crusader has to learn to survive on a shoe-string and take the heat. Those not on the cutting edge of major controversies, or otherwise poorly informed, are inclined to be skeptical of crusaders. Few ever point to purveyors of the "Big Lie" like the New York Times or Time Magazine and say, "where is your proof". So-called documented books have footnotes or chapter notes, referring to yet other books. And, of course, even so-called court "evidence" or "testimony" might be perjured.

To crusade, you have to survive and endure brickbats.

As the head of a crusading group, Citizens' Committee to Clean Up the Courts, I have learned to survive. A few examples:

(1) In 1969, I accused Illinois' highest Court of being riddled with corruption. The Judges on the Illinois Supreme Court ordered me to tell them how I knew of what I claimed as their bribery. I refused to identify my sources, and so, they had me dragged away to jail for contempt of court, wheelchair and all. After a great public commotion, three of the high court judges went to the wall and I was vindicated.

(2) Six months ahead of the mainstream press, at public speeches at colleges, I accused Vice President Spiro Agnew of bribery. College newspaper editors called me a "liar" -- I refused to reveal my sources. I was called a "liar" right down to October, 1973, when Agnew resigned, while facing bribery charges.

(3) I publicly accused Chicago Federal Appeals Judge Otto Kerner, Jr. of bribery, 1969. For some 4 years, most every establishment press organ -- newspaper, radio, TV -- in Chicago carried Kerner's statements calling me a "liar". He became the highest level federal judge in the nation's history to be sent to jail for bribery while still a sitting judge.

(4) I was the first to accuse the Chief Judge of the Traffic Court in Chicago of corruption. In a taped interview in his office, 1977, he said I was imagining things; there was, he said, no corruption in his court division. The work of our group triggered off the Justice Department's "Operation Greylord"; from 1983 to 1993 some 20 local judges, including that chief judge, and 40 lawyers, were sent to jail for bribery. The pressfakers never bothered to mention the role of our group in the whole mess.

Though certainly not infallible, we as a group have never knowingly falsely accused anyone. Going soon on our fourth decade, we have again and again been vindicated on our accusations. We make no idle charges -- we have no political or financial benefit to gain.

A case in point is our accusation that the Oklahoma City bombing could be considered the American Hiroshima because of undisclosed radiation. That, of course, nullifies the official government version of what happened. Others that dissented from the government version could not, in our view, go all the way and tell what we believe happened. Either they do not truly know, or are restrained by government links. For example, a former top FBI official says a different sort of bomb was used, not the one the pressfakers say. But he has close links with those currently in the FBI -- does he get consulting fees in some way recommended by them? Another critic of the official version of the bombing is a retired general. Is he restrained by national security considerations? As a military officer, is he pledged not to violate "national security"? Assuming he knows about the radiation, would the former FBI official and/or the general, nevertheless, stay shut on this question?

Those who do know about the radiation talk in whispers, emphasizing that it is damned dangerous to say or know anything about this. Question: Why was the building site covered over with concrete? A mere oversight, or to cover up dangerous radioactivity which may last for many, many years? How many months, or years, will it take until details "come out"? Who will risk their neck bringing out such details?

Our group has for all these years been involved in some of the most profound commotions centered in some way or another in Chicago. I have rejected the idea of writing an autobiography, since those not involved in such doings would not be inclined to believe that one group could get so involved and have key sources worldwide. We don't mind being considered as "having no credibility", "having no proof", or even worse, being "liars" -- it has happened to us again and again. There is a danger to one's ego to be "ahead of the parade" -- until others catch up, there is a great danger of being misunderstood.

We have compiled thousands and thousands of files and data about our work. Would it be wise for us to divulge such a mass of material, just because someone, not as well informed as us, thinks we do not know what we are talking about?

To us, protecting our witnesses, sources, and confidants, is a deadly serious work, more important than "proving" that we are right. Some of the greatest scandals in American history were triggered off without so-called "documents" or signed "affidavits" by anyone involved or knowing about it.

Not being financial animals, it is of no concern to us that getting vindicated in the Oklahoma bombing, as somehow involving radioactive materials, may take months, if not years -- meanwhile we would suffer heckling by critics.

To be a crusader, you have to carefully consider the voyage. You have to not fold up because you are ahead of the parade and are the target of brickbats. Otherwise, involve yourself in something less hazardous.

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Aperi os tuum muto, et causis omnium filiorum qui pertranseunt. Aperi os tuum, decerne quod justum est, et judica inopem et pauperem. -- Liber Proverbiorum XXXI: 8-9