Sherman H. Skolnick
by Sherman H. Skolnick 08/15/01
The original hearings of the National Transportation Safety Board, N.T.S.B., into the crash of United Airlines Flight 553, near Midway Airpport, were in February, 1973. From that point to May of that year, I as the spokesperson of our investigation and research group, was numerous times on late-night radio talk shows, by phone hook-up. Several sizeable stations throughout the nation had me on the air. To use me as their punching bag, some moderators purposely put me on the air, so they could holler me down that I had no proof of airplane sabotage. It was a way of limiting what I could say between commercials, thus using up the time. It prevented me from going into too many details. I mentioned, or vainly tried to mention, the substance of our numerous interviews with witnesses, without divulging their names, to avoid risking our eyewitnesses.
Since I am an independent and not one of the media "favorites", they persistently heckled me, "Where are your documents?" In that period, I never publicly divulged that we had already "liberated" and had in our possession, a copy of the entire original file of the N.T.S.B. on Flight 553. It consisted of some 1300 pages of documents and reports and pictures. [Months later, the N.T.S.B. to try to down me, released a censored, sanitized version of their original file. We were in a position to show they were using fraud to cover up airplane sabotage, a forbidden subject. BUT, at that point, the monopoly press did not permit me to be further heard on radio talk-shows and such.]
In that period up to May, 1973, the American CIA, through their front, Katharine Graham, supposed head of the Washington Post, dispatched to Chicago the Post's super-duper expert on CIA matters, Ronald Kessler. We picked him up at O'Hare Airport and went with him to a reassonably nearby restaurant. After an interview of only a few minutes, Kessler said he wanted to be driven back to the airport. He said he wanted to be back in the District of Columbia. I asked him why he had come such a distance and yet only talked to me for a couple of minutes. He did not explain.
Kessler wrote a two-part series about me that ran on the front page of the Washington Post. It condemned me for having no details of the sabotage. Savvy folks, however, from all over North America, called me, stating, "Sherman, you must really have something for the Post to have you on the front page twice, heckling you for your investigations of the Watergate plane crash."
[For more about the Washington Post and Ronald Kessler, visit our website story, "The Late Grand Dragon of The Washington Post".]
In the 1970s, the major owner of UAL, Inc., parent of United Air Lines, were the Rockefellers and they also owned all three news networks (and to this day, still have a large ownership), of CBS, NBC, and ABC. The bosses of United Air Lines were getting increasingly disturbed by my public statements. So, in May, 1973, the general counsel of the air lines, sent a letter of demand to the N.T.S.B., contending that Sherman H. Skolnick had no proof whatever of sabotage. United Air Lines demanded that N.T.S.B. subpoena me to take my deposition. This would prove, they contended, that I was making unfounded statements. [The various wire services ran the letter of demand of United Air Lines.] After being served with the subpoena, I arranged with the Safety Board, and they agreed, that I was going to represent myself and supply and direct the testimony of others.
The Safety Board panel figured that the way to handle this was through the subpoena. They arranged for re-opened public hearings at the same large motel meeting room in Chicago, as in February, 1973. They set two full days for my deposition, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., with very short recesses for lunch, for June 13 and 14,1973.
On the scheduled time and day, I rolled in with my wheelchair, with a large suitcase. Accompanying me were eight of my eyewitnesses. As the hearings began before the five-person N.T.S.B. panel, I informed them I have two preliminary matters to bring to their attention. First, I demanded that three of the Safety Board panel disqualify themselves because they and/or their immediate family are substantial stockholders in various air lines that have a joint interest that air sabotage remain a secret, forbidden subject. That they have an interest to hem me in to prevent the truth from coming out.
Without referring to federal statutes, administrative proceedures, or reasons, to support her ruling, the Chairperson proclaimed, "Mr. Skolnick, your motion to disqualify, is denied." Then, with the assistance of my associates, I opened up the large suitcase and spread out on a good-sized table in front of myself and the Safety Board panel, the entire N.T.S.B. file we had "liberated".
I stated to the panel, "Secondly, I am telling you straight in front, that I have the possession of a copy of your entire original file on Flight 553. I admit responsibility of purloining your records. I challenge you to now arrest me for so doing. Arrest me right here, in front of this audience of mostly reporters from all over the world." The audience was estimated at 250 persons.
The woman chairperson, with as much shock on her face as when we had a deputy sheriff serve her a copy of my lawsuit against her in the midst of a Safety Board hearing in February, said only one word in a low voice, "Proceed".
The CBS Network as well as their local TV station, WBBM-TV, Channel 2 Chicago, was by close circuit videoing and observing the entire proceedings. It was primarily to immediately inform the Rockefellers and other bigshots, of what is being presented. The network did NOT use any of the video on the air. Their local TV station used only a meaningless, sanitized few seconds of the proceedings, revealing almost nothing.
I started out by stating, "I will show from your own records that all the air tower and airport instruments for guiding in Flight 553, which I call the Watergate plane, were turned off just as that plane approached. They were all turned back on, the moment after the plane was steered falsely into the ground short of the designated runway at Midway Airport. Contrary to established rules and procedures, Midway tower steered a small private plane to go right in front of Flight 553 as Flight 553 was on the path of in-coming, thus obstructing the commercial plane. The flight recorder in the tail of the plane was arranged to stop at a key point, censoring all that happened to Flight 553 as it was on the flight-path for landing. The electric buss bar of the plane was arranged to short out, burning out key instruments, and the plane was coming in dark, as shown by your own pictures, records, and reports and by a witness. The altimeter was sabotaged, so the pilot and co-pilot were at a lower altitude than they should have been, causing the plane to pancake on top of some residences, killing some onnoard and some on the ground. Persons in Midway Control Tower as well as those in charge of the hand-off signals from O'Hare, caused false and erroneous signals to be relayed to Flight 553."
[During the hearings, I mentioned that the small private red plane, according to our investigations, which was falsely steered in front of Flight 553, had onboard known mafioso from Indiana and had let loose right in front of 553 a blizzard of thin metal chaff to screw up 553.]
With a series of enlarged charts, documents from the original N.T.S.B. file, and supporting eyewitness testimony, I step by step began to present the proof of air sabotage. [The specific technical details will be in a later part of this series.]
During a short lunch break, the national correspondent of the Hearst Publication chain stopped me in the hallway. "Mr. Skolnick, you don't have anything", he contemptuously proclaimed. Puzzled, I answered, "What? Were you watching everything I was presenting or were you asleep?"
Starting to shout at me, he blurted out, "Nowhere have you demonstrated that there was a bomb aboard that plane. No bomb. No proof. Period."
Trying to contain my own anger, I said "Where did you get the idea that the only way to sabotage a plane is to plant a bomb onboard?" He quickly retorted, "No bomb. No proof. No sabotage." I rapidly responded, "And that is what YOU are going to report for YOUR chain of publications?" He dismissed me, "That's right. You have mislead the public."
Toward the end of the day, during a short recess, the Chicago Tribune Transportation Editor, Tom Buck, arranged to photograph me sitting at the table with all the N.T.S.B.'s documents, reports, and pictures there spread out. Guess what? The Tribune later ran his story stating that Chicago legal researcher Sherman Skolnick (which is what they called me in those years) has shown no proof whatever to support his allegations that a United Air Lines plane crashed last December near Midway Airport because of sabotage. With the story, they ran a picture showing me only head and shoulders. The part of me sitting at the table with all the documents, reports, and pictures of the N.T.S.B. was cropped out. [The Rockefeller Family, at the times owners of United Air Lines, were also major owners of Tribune Company, parent firm of the Chicago Tribune.]
After a long day, later in the hearings, to sort of relieve the tension in the air, I told what I thought would be a little joke. I referred to United's general counsel, Mr. Streit, as Mr. Alley, as if I had made a Freudian slip. I quickly said I am sorry. Then I said, "I am here to categorically ADMIT that I have no proof whatever that Richard Nixon and the head of United Air Lines were on the plane with guns and shot dead Mrs. E. Howard Hunt, the Watergate bag-lady." Guess what? Donald Schwartz, covering the hearings for the Chicago Sun-Times, under his byline later ran a story with a big headline, "SKOLNICK ADMITS HE HAS NO PROOF WHATEVER". The story went on to state that Sherman Skolnick at a Safety Board hearing into the crash last December of a United Air Lines plane near Midway Airport, said he categorically admits he has no proof whatever of sabotage.
[At that time, the Chicago Sun-Times was owned by Field Enterprises, owned by a combination of the Marshall Field Family and the Rockefellers.]
After the publication of that fraudulent story, when I next saw Donald Schwartz, I did not restrain myself. "Look, I am going to take my metal crutch and twist it around your neck, you lying crook." He just smiled and walked away.
On the other hand, the wireservice, Associated Press, to their credit, in a Chicago date-lined story stated that Chicago legal researcher Sherman Skolnick in a heavily-documented presentation of sabatoge has appeared before a re-opened hearing of the National Transportation Safety Board inquiring into the crash last December of a United Air Lines plane near Midway Airport, Chicago. This story ran on AP's "A" wire, their national and international wire. Guess what? Only ONE newspaper in the United States ran this story. A newspaper in Seattle, Washington. All the other press outlets, print, radio, and television ignored the AP's straight forward, factually correct story. All the rest of the monopoly press went with a combination of the false stories of the Tribune and the Sun-Times and the Hearst Publications.
Several news outlets overseas, however, did use the Associated Press story. Following up on that was Swedish National Television, their major network. They sent a film crew to Chicago and arranged to meet me in the crash site, right where several residences were destroyed by the pancaking Flight 553 coming down. They interviewed me again at a later date. It was made into a 90-minute documentary with me talking in English, and below my picture, Swedish subtitles. I became a volunteer, unpaid consultant to the project which was quite a sensation in parts of Europe.
In later years, a highly-skilled journalist, Tom Valentine, started and ran a magazine exposing the real stuff, called REEL-NEWS. It was successfully distributed, some 150 thousand copies each issue, at places like airports. Then they printed an issue with the usual press-run, about the story of the sabotage of Flight 553 with references to the specific technical details. By a strange combination of events, the magazine was blocked in the printer's warehouse and was not distributed. It became the death warrant of the magazine which then went under.
[Please note, a very skilled writer with a long background in aviation, Rodney Stich, has written and privately published a book, "The Unfriendly Skies" which details the incompetence and blundering of the airlines. He also has books of his documented work in exposing high level fraud in the government.]
The next part of this series will deal with the specific details of
Since 1958, Mr.Skolnick has been a court reformer. Since 1963,
founder/chairman, Citizen's Committee to Clean Up the Courts, disclosing
certain instances of judicial and other bribery and political murders.
Since 1991 a regular panelist, and since 1995, moderator/producer, of
one-hour,weekly public access Cable TV Show, "Broadsides", Cablecast on
Channel 21, 9 p.m. each Monday in Chicago. For a heavy packet of printed
stories, send $5.00 [U.S. funds] and a stamped, self-addressed business
sized envelope [4-1/4 x 9-1/2 #10 size] WITH THREE STAMPS ON IT, to
Citizen's Committee to Clean Up the Courts, Sherman H. Skolnick,
Chairman, 9800 South Oglesby Ave., Chicago IL 60617-4870. Office, 7
days, 8 a.m. to midnight, (773) 375-5741 [PLEASE, no "just routine
calls]. Before sending FAX,