Founder, chairman (and, for all I know, sole member) of Chicago pressure-group Citizen's Committee to Clean up the Courts (CCCC), which aims to expose corruption and flagrant illegality operating in the judiciary, Skolnick, a paraplegic who uses a wheelchair, has also written extensively on dire conspiracies threatening political integrity in America and beyond, and has operated his "HOTLINE NEWS" newswire by phone-message service (a regular call, on [773] 731-1100) since 1971 and has been a regular contributor to Chicago public access cable show Broadsides since 1991, and its moderator and producer since 1995.

Skolnick, who rose to national prominence with his 1973 book The Secret History of Airplane Sabotage, which attempted to document skulduggery at play in the December, 1972, crash of United Airlines flight 553 in which the wife of ex-CIA Watergate burglar Howard Hunt died (maintaining that she was in possession of valuables worth over $2m which were the result of blackmail operations conducted by Hunt against Richard M. Nixon, over his role in the JFK Assassination) as well as elsewhere, has also been a regular contributor to Willis Carto media operations The Spotlight and Radio Free America and (he says) has contributed material to Canadian newspaper, the Toronto Star

According to his website, skolnicksreport.com, he and the CCCC were instrumental, in 1969, in bringing to public attention the largest judicial bribery scandal in American legal history, leading to the "collapse" of the Illinois Supreme Court. After Skolnick made accusations that the Supreme Court judges were inappropriately benefitting from the largesse of a banker, Theodore J. Isaacs, recently acquitted by them on appeal, whose bank was conveniently situated across the street from the offices of the high court in Chicago,

the high court judges demanded that Skolnick disclose to the high court judges how he and his associates went about investigating the high court. When Skolnick refused to disclose, the high court judges had Skolnick, a paraplegic invalid in a wheelchair, hauled off to prison for "contempt of court". The imprisoning of Skolnick touched off a public commotion and the chief justice and an associate justice of the high court resigned, and a third accused high court judge suddenly died in the ruckus and Skolnick was vindicated. Caught up in a further mess involving the same bank was the former Illinois Governor [a lacuna, here, in Skolnick's text. Presumably Otto Kerner, jr..] by 1969 he was a federal appeals Judge in Chicago. Skolnick accused that judge, Otto Kerner,jr., of bribery as well. Kerner held press conferences and on all the local media called Skolnick a "liar". Despite his denials, Federal Appeals Judge Kerner was prosecuted and sent to prison, the highest level sitting federal judge sent to prison in U.S. history. Also imprisoned was Kerner's crony, former chief state tax collector Isaacs
The case has recently been treated at book length by Illinois professor of law Kenneth A. Manaster in his Illinois Justice, and Manaster (currently, 04/2003) has a motion filed by Skolnick, and other related documents online at http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/manaster/.

Skolnick seems to have had less success at getting his targets arrested these days. When I first encountered him (listening to Radio Free America, on WWCR, via shortwave, in 1991) he was primarily occupied with George Herbert Walker Bush, making a series of allegations, the most stunning of which concerned secret business deals between Bush and Saddam Hussein in the region of several billion dollars. His complaint was that Bush had never filed these deals properly with the IRS. Skolnick backed up his claims by referring to a court case, in Chicago, involving records belonging to Atlanta branch of Banca Nazionale Del Lavoro, a large Italian bank, part owned by the Vatican.

Intrigued by this story, I contacted a British journalist, who related to me that he'd met Skolnick, and Skolnick did indeed have some interesting court records about that case in his possession, though, not having seen these myself, I would hesitate to believe Skolnick's version is the straightforward truth. In any case, ex-President Bush and the bankers from Atlanta are all still out of jail. A different branch of Banco del Lavoro, however, went on to be much implicated and investigated in the 'Iraqgate' scandal of 1992-93, having apparently been one of the main conduits of the intelligence-backed funding of Saddam's military buildup by the U.S. Govt. during the late eighties, in the form of agricultural loan guarantees. That much is certainly uncontroversial.

Skolnick is a full-time conspiracy theorist, and cataloguing his output here would hardly be appropriate (you can keep up to date with it via his website). I'll just say that as the 90's wore on he became increasingly immersed in ever more fantastic scenarios, involving Vince Foster, Bill Clinton, Nuclear footballs, secret lists of bribed congressmen and senators, Swiss banks, etc. all of which make for highly entertaining reading, if you enjoy that kind of thing. I have a soft spot for him, as a sort of modern Mae Brussel, and I would contend that no other reporter can vocalise the words "complex international financial instruments accruing to the interests of high-ranking judges and politicians" with quite the same winning combination of conviction, righteous indignation, and sheer pleasure at the disclosure.


Biographical information from Skolnick's website at

http://www.skolnicksreport.com/bio.html

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