Sherman Skolnick discusses
"The Einsteins of Conspiracy Theory"
(Interview from July 18, 1995)
(Preliminary note:   Mr.  Skolnick's  phone,  due to bureaucratic
bungling, had recently been disconnected.  When we spoke  on  the
evening of July 18th, his phone service had just been restored.)
CONSPIRACY  NATION:   Let me run this by you:  this is my theory.
You've got this  Einstein  connection  that,  where  you had been
taught by this protege of Einstein,  at  Spaulding  High  School.
And Einstein was a brilliant theorist...
SHERMAN SKOLNICK:  Yeah.  But he was hounded all his life,  until
his  death  in  1956,  by the FBI who thought he was some kind of
spy.  It didn't come out, until years later, that they thought he
was subversive.   He  was...   He  invented  things  that...  The
atomic bomb was used to, supposedly, terminate the war and save a
lot of American lives.  Not everybody agrees 50 years later,  but
the  people  at  the  time  agreed.   And  he  did a lot for this
CONSPIRACY NATION:  Yeah.  But see,  what  I'm sayin' is, the way
that Einstein -- because he had to theorize,  because  there  was
just so much in the area of physics that was not accessible, that
he couldn't access...
SHERMAN  SKOLNICK:   I'm  glad  you brought up his name.  Because
(not everybody's gonna agree with  the  next thing I say)...  But
Michael Riconosciuto  --  because  I  spent  4-and-a-half  months
interviewing  him  in  the federal jail in Chicago in the fall of
'92 -- I call him  "Albert  Einstein  in jail".  He is absolutely
brilliant.  In finance, in computers:  he's a wiz!  A wizard.
CONSPIRACY NATION:  Okay,  but  Ted  Koppel,  for  example,  he's
knocking "conspiracy theorists", this is my analogy:  that you've
got,  again  you've  got  information that is unknown.  Like with
Einstein, there was information  unknown,  so he had to theorize.
All  right?   And  with  these,  what   they   call   "conspiracy
theorists",   they've   got   information   that's  unknown;  the
government is not letting them access the information; so they've
got to be  theorists!   That's  the  only  way...   It's the same
thing, just like Einstein.
SHERMAN  SKOLNICK:   Yeah,  we   could   be  documentors  if  the
government will release the stuff!  I mean, the government knows.
Doesn't...  Isn't there an agency, a unit in the government, that
really knows, the bottom line, who killed John F. Kennedy,  which
way  the bullets really went in Dealey Plaza; who exactly was the
second gunman with Bobby Kennedy;  and  how exactly did this guy,
Raoul,  frame  James  Earl  Ray.
    Somebody in the government would know.  But what they do  is,
they  protect.   So  that,  when  the  rest of us come along with
theories, they says, "You lie!  You're a 'conspiracy crackpot'."
CONSPIRACY  NATION:   Yeah!   And   if  they  would  release  the
information, then we wouldn't need to theorize!
SHERMAN SKOLNICK:  Yes. We're not allowed to see the real stuff.
CONSPIRACY NATION:  Yeah.  And I was just thinking in  terms  of,
you  had  been  taught  by  Einstein's  protege at Spaulding High
School, and I  just  kind  of  thought  that there's an "Einstein
SHERMAN SKOLNICK:  Yeah, but now  that  you've  mentioned:   what
happened  is,  his  politics  were  "wrong".   He  taught  for  a
"crippled"  childrens'  high  school, he taught for the jail.  He
was a brilliant math teacher, but he had the "wrong" politics.
CONSPIRACY NATION:  It's just an  idea that occurred to me:  that
you  could  be  viewed  as,  like  "The  Einstein  of  Conspiracy
SHERMAN SKOLNICK:  Yeah but the ultimate thing is, you want me to
create the "atomic bomb of conspiracies"?!  [laughs]
     There is an "atomic  bomb  of  conspiracies":  the mother of
all conspiracies, the one that's gonna "blow up" the White House!
     Well....   I  tell  ya  somethin':   an  early  "Einstein of
conspiracies" was the late  Danny  Casolaro with his theory about
"The  Octopus".   Someday  they're  gonna  prove  it,  just  like
Einstein's theory of  relativity,  there's  gonna  be  Casolaro's
theory  of  the  mother  of  all conspiracies.  He's gonna have a
formula how to work it, too!
     The man was put in his  grave  by a vast conspiracy, made to
look like a suicide.  And apparently [Vince] Foster, too!
     And so  now,  Ted  Koppel,  who's  apparently  getting a CIA
subsidy instead of CBS, he wants to put us all down:   we're  all
"conspiracy  peddlers".  The thing is, us "conspiracy peddlers" I
don't think are getting  well-off  with  it.  Whereas these other
guys are trying  to  sell  newspapers  and  TV  ads  putting  the
conspiracy   theorists   down.    And   we  could  be  conspiracy
documentors if the government  will  just  let  loose of the real
stuff!  And turn off all the shredding machines.
CONSPIRACY  NATION:   Speaking  of  the  "Einsteins of conspiracy
theory", you mentioned  once  Mae  Brussell.   Had  you known her
SHERMAN SKOLNICK:  Oh I knew her for a good 15 years.  She was  a
brilliant  woman.   And  her  great dream as she was dying (I was
among the last to  interview  her,  while she was still coherent;
she was dying of uterus cancer.)  And her dream was to  use  some
money  that  she  inherited to set up a library for assassination
researchers.  But her family (she's part of the Magnin department
store  fortune),  they  wanted   the  money.   And  they  weren't
interested in setting up any libraries in her honor.  So  all  of
her  records  that  she  gathered,  from the time of the death of
President  Kennedy  until  she  died   in  October  of  '88,  are
languishing, I believe,  in  a  garage  someplace  in  Vancouver,
CONSPIRACY NATION:  Yeah.  That's sad.
SHERMAN  SKOLNICK:  Well...  It's, you know what it is?  It's not
as popular as the latest "gangsta  rap" or whatever they call it.
Digging out the truth to the world is  not  always  popular.   It
became  popular  just  briefly  when the JFK movie came out.  And
then some of these counter-conspiracies, that is, the put-down of
those that dig into  things  --  Chip  Berlet  and others -- came
along to harass and hound the rest of us as, what [Ted] Koppel  I
understand  is  gonna call "a cottage industry".  In other words,
we're busy in the  secret  basements  of the world, investigating
     The idea that there are no plots is itself a plot.
CONSPIRACY  NATION:   Yeah.  That's what I was gonna say, that it
sounds like Koppel is getting paranoid.
SHERMAN SKOLNICK:  Well anyone that makes $2.5 million a year and
drives in a limousine is not gonna believe  that  there  are  any
plots  -- except those that are plotted by the ones that he works
     The  idea  that a clever person can force a massive group of
liars to tell the truth is a wrong view of the world.  You cannot
force big-time liars  like  the  New  York  Times, the Washington
Post, and Time magazine and others to tell the  truth.   The  top
brass  of those magazines go to these secret society meetings and
don't report what went on there.  And so why should anybody  say,
"Well,  we're clever.  We're gonna force them to tell the truth."
You cannot force a massive liar  to  tell the truth.  It is *not*
CONSPIRACY NATION:   All  right,  but  here  is  my theory, okay?
There's a point where everybody already knows the story.  I mean,
as far as, say, Waco.  All right?  The mass media really tried to
dismiss that and to  demonize  the  Branch  Davidians.   But  the
public  was so insistent and began producing their own videos and
telling about what  happened  there  that it became...  Everybody
already knew it already, anyway.  And it became a point where...
SHERMAN SKOLNICK:  Okay what would they do to the rest of us  who
documented and detailed and demonized the media?  What would they
do to us?
CONSPIRACY NATION:  But see, what I'm sayin' is, that there comes
a  point  where everybody already knows the story anyway.  So the
media, at that point, to "save  face"  is gonna have to tell what
it knows.  Or offer a "limited hangout".  And I can  notice  that
with  the  Branch  Davidian  massacre,  that,  at first, all they
showed was this one short  clip  of Koresh -- constantly.  It was
as if that was the only clip that was available of him.  And they
didn't mention any kind of alternative view.  These were  "crazed
cultists".  And they put out that movie almost right away; it was
one  of  these  made-for-TV  movies.   They  really propagandized
against these people.
SHERMAN SKOLNICK:  You  should  continue telling subscribers that
one of the most wonderful things in our time is Internet.  That's
why the media is attacking it from all sides.  Why?  Because  the
rest of us, when some big liar of the press, when we talk to 'em,
what  is  the  one  magic word that we whisper into their ear and
they go  completely  nuts?   We  whisper [whispers], "Internet!!"
     And they go nuts!  Why?  Because, in effect, if we're really
loud-mouthed we can  say,  "The  hell  with you, Washington Post!
I'm puttin' this on Internet and people all  over  the  world  --
clever people, intellectuals -- are gonna know the truth and know
that you, Washington Post, are liars!"
     And   so  all  you've  got  to  do  is  whisper  [whispers],
     And it's powerful.   Because  the  Washington  Post, on July
4th,  referred  to  your  category  there,  "Conspiracy  Nation".
Listen.  When an ant is able to make the elephant or horse  move,
hey:  that's Internet.
CONSPIRACY NATION:  Yeah, well they're struggling to find ways to
shut  things  down.   I  mean,  their way with, where it's just a
place filled with child pornographers and it's gotta be shut down
or whatever -- that hasn't worked I don't think.
SHERMAN SKOLNICK:  What are you talkin' about?  That the networks
are loaded with child pornographers??
CONSPIRACY NATION:  Well in  the  newspapers, for awhile there it
was like...
SHERMAN SKOLNICK:  Well we  put  on  the  air recently a cable TV
show about two terrorist organizations.  Can  you  imagine  which
two that we put on?  They weren't Abu-Nidal and some other group.
They  were  the  IRS and a group in Illinois, a state agency that
terrorizes sole practitioner lawyers, trying  to chew 'em up.  We
described them as "terrorist groups" [laughs].
     The  picture  of their leaders should hang rightfully in the
post office.
     One of the stories I  did,  which has been 20-some odd years
in the making was, the reasons why  the  CIA  and  other  federal
agencies  will  not  squelch  the  Chinese secret police that are
operating in the United States.
     I told a short version of the story.  Actually it would take
a good book to go  into  it.   I  happen to have been a long-time
friend, over a period of 20 years, to a retired "spook"  who  was
an  expert  on  the Chinese secret police.  He'd been a parachute
spy for the O.S.S. during the  second  war.  And when he got back
here, in the '50s, they more or less put him to work, part  time,
to  track the Chinese secret police that the government, the U.S.
government, never did anything to stop them.  In other words, the
Vietnam war came along, they  didn't  want  to stop them -- for a
little-known reason:  historically and traditionally China was  a
long-time  enemy of Vietnam.  In fact when the Vietnam war ended,
they had a border conflict!  Remember that?
SHERMAN SKOLNICK:  So the Chinese secret police are  functioning.
     Although a friend of one Chinese  scientist  called  up  and
bitterly  berated  me.   I  says, "Friend, what are you hollering
about?  I'm not talking about your  man.  Why is your man telling
you to scream at me?"
     Maybe he is with the secret police.  I wasn't even  thinking
about  him at all!  And he says, "Why do I..."  I mentioned about
a sneaky scientist being the head of the Chinese secret police in
the United States.  And  somebody  called  up and says, "Will you
stop condemning my friend?"  I  says,  "I  wasn't  even  thinking
about   your   friend!   Is  your  friend  feeling  guilty  about
something, that he told you  to  heckle  me?"  I says, "The one I
was thinkin' about isn't your friend at all!"  [laughs]
     (But now that he  mentioned  him,  I'm  gonna put him on the
list.)  [laughs]
CONSPIRACY NATION:  Is your phone workin'  now?   5741,  is  that
SHERMAN  SKOLNICK:  Yeah, right.  It is.
     All political activists curse the phone  company.   I  mean,
they're  the  great  boogeyman of the world.  And it's justified.
Because during the  anti-war  period,  whenever  there  was a big
rally, they would try to stop the rally  by  sabotaging  people's
phones.   When  you'd  pick  up  the  phone,  you'd  want to call
somebody.  You says, "Hey, you  goin'  down to this peace rally?"
And all of a sudden, your phone is  dead,  your  pal's  phone  is
dead.   And then when you'd get to a pay phone, to call the phone
company, they said,  "What?!   I  don't  know what you're talkin'
     Well how was it that all these guys that were  organizing  a
peace rally, that their phones all went dead about the same time?
Now that sounds beyond coincidence.
     There  was  a movie about there was a vast conspiracy in the
world, and at the end of the  movie it turned out to be the phone
company.  "The President's Analyst" I think it was  called.   And
actually, the whole conspiracy was conducted from a phone booth!!
     Maybe the movie was correct.  [laughs]