Conrad Black goes down

Peter Cresswell's picture
Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Sun, 2007-07-15 08:07

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 (pictured here) 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 has always been 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 Black's disgraceful tome. You can subscribe to the print edition or buy a digital copy here.

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Elijah Lineberry's picture

To my utter astonishment I read that Black received 6 1/2 years! Shocked

That is all! gosh! I was expecting about 20 years (like Bernie Ebbers) there is a certain level of surprise.

I still say he should make a run for it Sticking out tongue

"I create nothing. I own"


Elijah Lineberry's picture

cannot understand why he more or less voluntarily went to America to stand trial. Silly bugger.

He should have taken the view that "When the going gets tough, the tough live to fight another day" and moved to Switzerland....passed his days off in a mansion overlooking the lake at Lugano with the money.

However, all jokes aside it is very annoying when Directors of Public Companies start stealing money.

Get your private company registered in Australia, to send an invoice for 'Services Rendered' or the commissioning of some unnecessary nonsense report (consisting of information downloaded from Wikipedia), to your Public Company in New Zealand, which is paid...effectively stealing shareholders money.

You would be astonished who does that sort of thing here in NZ and it really does make me angry.

"The best thing about Conrad

Peter Cresswell's picture

"The best thing about Conrad Black is his wife, Barbara Amiel."


Barbara Amiel

Wayne Simmons's picture

The best thing about Conrad Black is his wife, Barbara Amiel. If you haven't already, read up about her, Peter, she has been a champion of liberty.

Black gone in 2004

Peter Cresswell's picture

Hi Stuart, Black's been gone from the Telegraph since 2004. Not that such a long bow would bother warmists, of course.

Daily Telegraph and Global Warming

Stuart Hayashi's picture

The Daily Telegraph has been a thorn in the environmentalist movement's side because it has published articles unsympathetic to the prejudice that any scientist who disagrees with the notion that anthropogenic global warming will bring about catastrophe must necessarily be a bribed corporate hack.

I trust that SourceWatch.Org and other radical anti-capitalist smear sites will make the ad-hominem argument that the conviction of Conrad Black invalidates anything published in the Daily Telegraph that does not regurgitate Al Gore's views on anthropogenic climate change. Perhaps the anti-capitalist ad-hominem sites have already begun this process.

You're all evil. :-)

Peter Cresswell's picture

Perhaps I should take a cue from Mr Otani (who called us all swine for being indifferent to his ten-part exegesis of rationalism) and call you all evil for not caring enough to comment on this post; to comment on either the demise of another dishonest publishing icon, or the demise too late of America's worst president.

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