Monday, 16 July 2007

Conrad Black goes down

Conrad Black, the former proprietor of the Daily Telegraph and the head of a media empire whose pension funds and shareholders' money he used like a personal cash machine has been convicted in an American court for fraud and the obstruction of justice: in other words, for being the neoconservative equivalent of Robert Maxwell. Report here from his former flagship newspaper. With sentencing coming soon he faces years in jail.

Black (right) has committed other crimes for which he will unfortunately receive no jail time. One of these is the writing of a mammoth biography of Franklin Roosevelt in which he champions this virtual dictator and corrupter of capitalism as a Champion of Freedom. Such a crime deserves all the condemnation honest men can muster.

Roosevelt is a reliable litmus test of statism: as an unreconstructed apostle of big government, exuberant interventionism, voodoo economics, and state welfare used as an electoral club, anyone who calls himself an admirer can be seen immediately as a statist of the first water. "Lord" Black and his 1134-page apologia is no exception. Readers of The Free Radical can enjoy my own review of this monumental piece of trash in the current issue. As I say in the review,
This is a book that had to be written after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Not because it relies on any new documentation released from Soviet vaults after that great event – in fact most of the documentation from that source simply confirms the depth of Soviet penetration of the Roosevelt administration -- but because one of the author’s major claims for bestowing the accolade of ‘Champion of Freedom’ upon one of the least likely historical candidates is that Franklin Roosevelt’s “skill and diplomacy” paved the way for that great event to happen.

That, dear readers, tells you as much about this hagiography as you really need to know. It is only one of many fatuous claims made in its gushing 1134 pages...
Why fatuous? Because as the review summarises, "Far from being a ‘champion of freedom,’ Roosevelt very nearly helped throttle it.":

  • Far from “solving the depression” as Black and countless others claim, the truth is that in 1932 when first elected there were 11,586,000 unemployed. In 1939, when Germany and Soviet Russia invaded Poland, there were 11,369,000. As Leonard Peikoff notes, “The [unemployment] problem was not solved until the excess manpower was sent to die on foreign battlefields.” And as Gene Smiley notes, the depression itself was not solved until after the war when private savings had built up sufficiently to finance a genuine recovery.
  • Roosevelt was indeed the “masterful” political operator that Black claims, but Black ignores the half of it: buying elections with Federal money; throwing registered Republicans off the relief rolls and out of the explosively-expanding bureaucracy; ensuring that the millions on unemployment relief voted FDR or not at all. He did help get rid of the corrupt political machines he found when first elected, it’s true, but only by flooding the country with a new, much vaster, and much more self-serving form of electoral corruption.
  • Roosevelt was the first American president to find and exploit the holes in the constitution in order to vastly expand both the power and the flatulent of big government with a menagerie of “alphabet agencies,” all but killing freedom in the process.
  • During Roosevelt’s occupation of the White House, the American government openly swarmed with known communists; Soviet documents released in 1995 confirm 329 Soviet agents were active in the Roosevelt administration, and at the very highest levels. As John T. Flynn points out, “Roosevelt not only permitted but actively encouraged the activities of the Communist conspiracy in the US. The gentlest comment one can make on this is that the man simply did not know what he was doing—a curious defence for one hailed as a master mind.”
  • He entered the war while promising to keep out of it, with the transparent ruse of actively inviting either a German or Japanese attack that would so outrage American public opinion that they would demand to be in it -- a strategy that on the “day of infamy” in Pearl Harbor worked all too successfully, and all too tragically.
  • He fought the war in the name of the ‘Four Freedoms’ – after which he delivered half of Europe into slavery.
  • He ‘won the war’ at a cost of over 418,000 American dead and a deficit of $280 billion, (which you can multiply by about 30 times to find the sum in today’s money). That you do need to multiply it is in part Roosevelt’s doing – most of that sum was financed through the printing press and too years of subsequent inflation to pay off. As John T. Flynn noted in 1955, “the interest alone on the public debt [created by the Roosevelt and Truman Administrations] is now over twice the total cost of government when Roosevelt denounced Hoover for extravagance” in that 1932 election.
  • Through his wartime alliance with Stalin – who began the war as Hitler’s ally, and who was the century’s undisputed “greatest” mass-murderer – and during which he sent the Soviets billions of dollars of military equipment and money, Roosevelt helped deliver 170,000,000 people into communism (to which figure you can add the 600,000,000 delivered into Chinese communism s an indirect result of Roosevelt’s bungling), and with the victims of Yalta helped send several millions of those directly to their deaths.
There is nothing about the Great Manipulator to admire, and Black's wholehearted admiration for this immoral cripple makes all too clear his own lack of moral compass.

The overwhelming sense when reading of Roosevelt is precisely this: one realizes in a crucial sense that he never ever was a “man of the world.” As Walter Lippmann observed so tellingly of Roosevelt after their first meeting, “He is a pleasant man who, without any important qualifications for the office, would very much like to be President." That really is all that this soft-shelled cripple amounts to.

"[Seventy] years ago Europe's 'diplomacy' with Hitler encouraged him to start World War II.” Sixty years ago Roosevelt’s diplomacy with Stalin -- who Roosevelt pathetically thought he could charm -- delivered half of Europe into communism and began a Cold War that lasted forty-five years and nearly destroyed the world. Such is the creature that Lord Black of Crossharbour calls, non-ironically, a ‘champion of freedom’ for precisely those “achievements.” That perhaps says more about the biographer than anything else possibly could.

Readers of The Free Radical will already be enjoying the complete review of this disgraceful tome. You can subscribe to the print edition or buy a digital copy here.

UPDATE: Paul at Fundy Post wonders about something: "Black could go to jail for fifteen years for crimes in which he received 1.7 million Pounds. Is it just me or is Lord Black incredibly stupid? He already had millions, lots of them, but he squandered his businesses and his liberty for less than two million quid." The Independent has the answer: "He and Barbara Amiel were millionaires who wanted to live like billionaires."

And Derek de Cloet at Toronto's Globe and Mail points out something that Richard Nixon found out: "Sometimes it's not the crime that gets you, but the cover-up..."
Conrad Black and his associates spent years skimming money for themselves out of deals made by Hollinger International, once the world's third-largest newspaper empire. And of the crimes of which he was found guilty in Chicago yesterday, which one is most likely to put him in prison for the rest of his life? Obstruction of justice."
It seems that's easier to prove than the dishonesty itself. Meanwhile The Scotsman reports: "Friday, he was kicked out of the Conservative Party because of his conviction," stripped of the privilege of sitting in the House of Lords, and "Now his status as a lord could be in jeopardy."


  1. Re Conrad Black, the trial has been well covered by Mark Steyn who gives a complete other view. He quotes a federal prosecutor not associated with the case as saying that Black is every defense lawyer's worst nightmare; an innocent man.

    Black's admiration for Roosevelt is fairly inexplicable apart from the fact Black is Canadian, another country like NZ that socialism has so rotted its reasoning powers that it doesn't know which way is up any more.

    Re Stalin. America likes to think it won the war. Churchill was less sanguine about that, he asked the world to not forget that it was the Red Army that tore the guts from the Third Reich. By the time the US section of the Allied forces were taking their first few thousand casualties in Normandy the Russian army had several million behind them and had pushed their enemies several thousand km to the borders of Poland. Do you seriously think Roosevelt or anyone could have stopped them, by diplomacy or military might, from taking over what they did? Short of nuking Moscow and immediately re-arming a busted arse Germany as allies, the conquored territories were doomed to stay that way. By Yalta the Red Army was within 40km of Berlin. What did the hapless Roosevelt and Churchill have to threaten Stalin? He was on a roll, and none but idiots knew it.

    Without the US providoring the Red Army they could not have prevailed in the East or a Western front. Having done so they had spawned a monster.

    Blaming Roosevelt for the tyranny that followed is easy.

  2. I don't agree with Steyn. Dishonesty such as Black's and Maxwell's deserves punishment.

    Black's admiration for Roosevelt is totally explicable: both see the achievement of their goals by lies deception and duplicity. Words for them are not a means for explication of the truth, but a means by which to attain and obscure their goals.

    RE Stalin: The question of what Roosevelt might have done about Stalin if he opposed him is irrelevant, since the question of opposition never arose. His policy at every step was appeasement of Stalin, of arming Stalin, of pretending he could "get to" Stalin and bring him into the "coummunity of nations." Stalin just thought he was an idiot out of his depth, which he was.

    Roosevelt not only made no attempt at any time to oppose, impede or expose Stalin (the butcher of Katyn, and already the murderer of millions), with Lend Lease he did much to build up Stalin's army, and at the end of the war he was more concerned with appeasing Stalin than with winning the peace.

    Forcing the Soviet handover of Tehran and Vienna suggests that opposing Stalin could show results, as did Truman's recalcitrance at Potsdam, but instead having Eisenhower stop at the Elbe three weeks before hostilities ceased and appeasing a butcher helped deliver Eastern Europeans to nearly fifty years of communism.

    Black calls this a victory. But Black is a dishonest fool.

  3. Being an admirer of Roosevelt hardly seems such a serious crime. I like Conrad Black because he is a supporter of the Anglosphere Perhaps he overlooks the selling into slavery of half of Europe after WW2 because they didn't have any British heritage and solving that problem could have led to nuclear war and ruin. Better that they be ruined than we all be ruined. Perhaps it's not up to us to try and solve all the worlds problems but to instead focus on our great strength which is the common history, language and kinship of the people of the Anglosphere. These people are governed by unwritten laws of trust, respect for law and order and property rights that are unequalled in most other parts of the world. Black was a champion of this notion and for that he is being taken down.

  4. It's not possible to be a champion of law and order and property rights AND be a champion of Roosevelt. The two are antithetical.

    Besides, Black was not taken down for being a champion of the anglosphere (if such a concept has any meaning), he was taken down for being a thief.

  5. George

    An interesting point that is not well known in the West is that the Soviet army was stopped dead in its tracks by the Hungarians and some remnants of German Army Group South. One Hungarian, who survived the battle told me that the Russians had serious supply problems (of the order the Germans had experienced in their campaign against Russia). Their logistics chain was over extended and breaking down.

    It was the speedy intervention of US Airpower and supplies direct from the Western Allies that turned the situation around. By then the writing was on the wall and the Germans had lost the war anyway. Hungary was another matter. So was the rest of Eastern Europe.

    The battle for Eastern Europe was not over. Churchill knew it but for Hungary it was all bad news from that point on. Roosevelt allowed those EE countries to be given away to the Soviets (something even Hitler had refused to do when he was in cahoots with Stalin). He very nearly succeeded in giving Austria away as well.

    Roosevelt knew exactly what he was doing. He was no fool and not at all out of his depth. He knew exactly what Stalin and his system was about. It was worse than the German one (if that is possible to imagine!) and he had the intelligence reports and witness information to prove it. Roosevelt's goal was to preserve the World for the big centralist state system. He did not care what type of state each member was as long as they were centralised and large and powerful. Hence his "family of nations" should be seen for exactly what it was intended to be. That was what he strived to build and that was what he saw as his legacy.

    At the time it was well known that the Russian Army was exhausted and on its last. Much of it was an ill disciplined rabble of looters and rapists. The Allies were in a different situation and were well positioned to take full advantage of the military weaknesses (in particular they had provisioned the USSR and could have turned the tap off- they didn't do that for a long time).

    Roosevelt choose to give away millions of people to the same totalitarian ideals he kidded Americans into thinking they were fighting to eliminate. In frustration and despair Churchill got drunk- he used to do that.

    Conrad Black? Innocent? May well be and may well be guilty. He's certainly an unpleasant crawler and schmoozer. Where are all his 10 minute friends now....? Parasites and scum!

    In the end he'll likely die in chains. No loss really. He was a man who had it in his power to do much for Liberty and Freedon but choose to waste his life on deception and the promotion of lies. Either way, he's been convicted by the lies and imprisoned by them.


  6. Churchill was a heavy drinker way before the end of the war.

  7. Roosevelt considered that the Soviet empire and British empire were the same and both to be countered by the UN. Stalin though for Roosevelt was always a man he could do business with and trust.

    Roosevelt’s VP Henry Wallace was an open admirer of Stalin and the Soviet Union. Roosevelt’s cabinet was full of commie admirers. Stalin described many of Roosevelt’s cabinet as useful idiots. Wallace being a particular favorite.

    “ An interesting point that is not well known in the West is that the Soviet army was stopped dead in its tracks by the Hungarians and some remnants of German Army Group South.”

    Soviet manpower was exhausted by 1945. Stalin asset striped his southern armies for the final assault on Berlin. In the ten days it took the Soviets to capture Berlin they duly suffered 300,000 casualties.

    The war was over as soon as the Allies had won the battle in Normandy. Normandy was the most critical battle in the war and thereafter it was a moping up operation. Had Patton been given the resources after the Normandy break out the war would have been over by the end of 1944 and Patton could have moved much further east past Germany.

    Roosevelt trusted Stalin’s promises in respect of the Pacific war and the UN, Roosevelt then sold Churchill and the British out and gave Stalin Eastern Europe.

  8. angloamerican

    ...and that's all you can say? Your entire argument has been upended and shown to be false and all you come back with is that Churchill drank?

    If there's one thing to be detested it's another ignorant American. There is just no excuse for it.

    You need to study and learn.


  9. Sorry Hitman, I meant to write that it didn't take much for Churchill to hit the bottle so I thought that bit about him drinking was a bit unnecessary. Just getting up in the morning was good enough reason for him to have a drink. He was one cool dude though.

    But, hey, at least I read your work of fiction, "ill disciplined rabble of looters and rapists" indeed.

    BTW I'm English and trying to rebuild the glorious empire under the guise of the Anglosphere.

  10. Leaving Black's trial alone with the comment that the disquiet among the US law circles that there is the liklihood of a vicious and tunnel minded prosecution of the order that Nifong wanted with the Duke case. The key ingredients being prejudice, jealousy and the usual egomaniac attitudes of prosecutors everywhere, the Hitler Youth no longer being an outlet for their talents.

    Roosevelt was a statist that surrounded himself with a phalanx of people loyal to him not the Constitution of the United States. Such are socialists in that they use democracy but will do all to deny its power. He was an afficionado of Russia and his administrative and diplomatic appointments were made of like people. His overuling or dismissal of all who alarmed by the access inroads the communists were making into all facets of US defense is nothing short of treacherous. The White House was full of Sovietist cranks and their New York media mates. The 'gallant ally' uncle Joe was a master of deception, the president a master of self delusion. Roosevelt wanted to succeed where Woodrow Wilson had failed with the League of Nations and Stalin gave pledges to recognise national governments post war, lying that Bolshevism had changed to this stance. The only promise he kept [inexplicably] was to stay out of suporting the Greek Communist guerillas. A hopeful and politically naive public brought the lie, suitably dressed up by the mostly New York media. Back at the international coalface the only thing that could have saved part of eastern Europe from soviet domination was Churchill's push to open a Balkan front. The Serbs fought the Nazis the Croats and the Bosnians sided with Germany and they all fought each other. Invading that mess could be filed under 'practising bleeding' Roosevelt played right into Stalin's incredulous hands by vetoing this excursion and instead opening up Operation Hammer the invasion of southern France--away to the west and diverting material from threatening Russian ambitions.

    The domestic US was more consumed with the task facing them with Japan. Given that most US casualties occured after V-E Day, it was a reasonable fear. China was not sold down the tubes by anything that Roosevelt did with Russia. It was sold down the tubes by the meglomaniac Chiang Kai Shek. Supporting that perfidious bastard was backing the wrong horse entirely but once again the same old east coast media were in thrall to their Wesley alumni Madame Chiang, and the US taxpayer ante-ed up and dumped money and material into that hole. [A financial nest egg that bankrolled the 'Taiwan Economic Miracle' after the Chinese arseholed them from the mainland]

    Germany and Japan could not have been defeated without the communists but they were dealing with the devil. Those deals always go sour. Roosevelt was deliberate in his support of them but could not have prevented them reverting to type, even if he wanted to. The battle for western Europe was not a 'mopping up operation'. It was a slog against an efficient, fierce, well armed enemy who knew their business. Without having their backs to the wall on two fronts, they could well have mauled the western allies for a much protracted period.

    Roosevelt was a disaster for the US and Europe. He is gone and only the butchers bill is still being paid, but the same old media still plys its deceptive trade without rebuke, undermining the freedoms and their cost that protects them.

    Nothing has changed with them.

  11. Those photos at Yalta of Churchill, the dozing Roosevelt, and the smirking Stalin tell the tale.

  12. anglo

    You don't know the history obviously. Your ignorance shames you. You should spend the effort to go find out what happened before posting here.


  13. Hitter, Hitman whatever, I don't profess to know everything about WW2 but I've read a book or two. I recommend you read Viscount Alanbrooke's War Diaries to get a better idea about Churchill and broaden your perspective. To write off the Soviet army as "ill disciplined rabble" is just nonsense. They had their faults but they were ruthless and clever too. For example The T34 tank is ranked as one of the best tanks of the war and the Americans didn’t supply that. Of course they had logistic problems the further away they moved from the war industries but they still rolled into Berlin with plenty of tanks, artillery, munitions and men. Hungarians may claim they halted the advance but then the Soviets may have been stopping for a breather or something.

    You do the Russians and their allies a great disservice by disparaging their war effort and huge sacrifice. 29 million Soviet civilians were killed by the Germans but I guess that was ok because at least the Germans were disciplined.

    Also read this guy.

  14. By August 1944 5 months before Yalta and 3 months after D-Day the Allies had liberated France and destroyed a veteran German army of 500,000. On Patton’s front the undefended Rhine was only hundred miles away thereafter southern Germany, Czechoslovakia and Austria. At the time vital war materials was still being shipped to the Soviet Union while the three Allied armies on the border with German had stalled due the lack of supplies giving the Germans time to reorganize.

    When the Germans did get reorganized although the Allies armies in western Europe were one fifth the size of the Red army the Germans deployed half their troop numbers and 2/3 their armor against the Allies. The Nazis recognized the ability of the Allies to end their thousand year Reich in a matter of months. Contrast this to the Soviet army who they had been fighting for four years which only made the huge territorial head way once the Germans begun preparing to repel the D-Day landings and then organizing the defence of the western Germany borders.

    No doubt the long slaughter of the Eastern Front helped the Allied cause with the Germans losing millions in dead. But in 1944 the Allied armies defeated an enormous German army quickly and efficiently and then crossed more area in under a year than the Red army did in four. Instead of the slaughtering millions of Germans millions of Germans simply choose to surrender to the Allies.

    It was under this backdrop of rapid Allied success in 1944 & 1945 when Roosevelt made concessions to Stalin handing Eastern Europe to people as inhuman as the Nazis.

  15. angloignorant, anglofwit, anglodoodledandy

    You should also learn to think about what is actually presented to you, not what you would like it to say.

    Regarding the Soviet Army, I wrote, "much of it", not "all of it." There is a difference. Think hard and you'll get there...perhaps.

    Also, I did not write about the engineers who developed the T34 (such as Christie, the American who visited Russia and demonstrated his technology.... which remarkably enough was incorporated in the T34 by some very clever Russian engineers who understood well what they were shown). I didn't write about Russian engineers like Lavotchkin, who designed aircraft that could out-climb and out-perform the Messerchmidt 109G series at low to medium altitude.

    Anglo, what did I actually write about? Have you got any idea?

    I wrote about many members of the Soviet army. They are not the same people as the engineers who designed the weapons. Think hard and you might pick up the difference. Come on. You can do it.... Read and think.

    You'd do well to get your head out of your colouring books and actually visit some of those EE countries (as I did) and speak to some of the locals to find out what actually did happen (as I did- sure the survivors are getting thin on the ground these days and I have been regularly visiting Eastern Europe for over twenty years but still, the point here remains that you should make some effort to repair your ignorant ways by finding out for real).

    Some examples to consider. It was not uncommon for Soviet soliders to fight and kill each other. There were hand-to-hand fights and fire-fights among them over loot such as watches, over who was going to be first to rape a young woman and who was going to be allowed to mutilate or kill her when the gang was finished. There were fights over who was to guard prisoners or who was to take them to the trains (going East to the forced labour camps). On several occasions one group killed the soldiers they were sent to relieve. Sometimes the fighting got so fierce and so complete that the prisoners simply walked away unmolested and unharmed! No-one was interested in them. There were fights when a stolen watch stopped working since it hadn't been wound up (the soldiers would fight each other to get their hands on a looted watch that was still ticking). There was a well documented case where a Soviet soldier who had been shown how to wind a looted watch (by a prisoner) was killed by his "comerades" when he attempted to demonstrate his new knowledge to them.

    In the first fortnight of Soviet occupation of Southern Hungary over 900 young women were raped. Some were as young as 11. Unlucky survivors were stripped and cricified with bayonets to the side of buildings. Some soviet officers did not approve of this behaviour. They were murdered by their own men when they made their disproval known. And on it went.

    This is just a sample of what was going on. It certainly was the work of an ill disciplined rabble of looters and rapists.

    You use the term "or something". That illustrates your lack of specific knowledge. You should remedy this weakness prior to demonstrating your ignorance here.

    Last point. The Soviets were able to defeat the Germans because of the involvement and aid of the Western Allies (particularly the munitions and supplies sourced from USA industry and manufacturers). Even the drug addled Herman Goring understood that well enough. So should you.

    Anyway, you have not got the knowledge to pass accurate comment on this topic. Your "contributions" are making that more and more obvious.


  16. Sorry stopped reading after the first paragraph. How old are you?

  17. History will be kind to me for I intend to write it

  18. anglo

    Now you're telling lies!

    It is strange how you're into irrelevancies and not the substance of the issue. You need to improve.


  19. Sheesh, you mentioned Churchill's drinking problem first!

    Anyway I think your arguments may carry more weight if you refrained from personal attacks. You are obviously passionately interested in this subject and there can't be too many people around willing to read and comment on your views. I think I should be appreciated more! How come Simon's lucid comments get nary a mention? You need a bit of a foil to make things interesting you know.

    Just a thought about those T34 tanks though...seems amazing that people who couldn't wind a watch could wield a tank - ok I've read your comment now but I truly hadn't before. I'm at a loss as to why you need to be so offensive at the beginning of the comment and then proceed to take the time to tell an interesting tall story.

    PS - Americans raped too

  20. anglo

    OK. Fair enough.

    ...interesting how people who'd never seen a watch before could weild a sub-machine gun. But, so what? That does not alter the fact of what occurred.

    Seriously, don't concentrate on irrelevancies and spurious details while evading the point. No good ever comes of it.

    Simon's contributions are interesting. I've read what he wrote and thought about it. Whether I correspond with him is a matter for myself.


    PS No I didn't mention that Churchill had a "drinking problem". I wrote that he got drunk. He used to do that from time to time. Whether he had a drinking "problem" or not and when he had it are not issues of relevance to todays subject really. Stick to the guts. that's the best policy.

    Having said that, it is true that Churchill was not an ethical man but at the least it can be said that he well understood what Stalin was (and eventually Roosevelt as well).

  21. OK I'll try harder to be more relevant, although it'll be hard to change the habits of a lifetime.
    Apologies to everyone for veering off topic.


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