]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]      SCOUNDREL TIME       [[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[ 
             Letter to the editor of THE ECONOMIST      (12/21/1988)
                        by Sidney Hook, 
     Fellow of the Hoover Institution, Stanford Univ., Calif.
                 (THE ECONOMIST, 12/17/1988)

Sir: 
    Judging by your review of Alger Hiss's autobiography (9/3) he 
still seems to enjoy a credibility in the English press that is not 
shared by most students of the evidence in the famous perjury -- 
actually espionage -- case against him. The sleaziness of the 
witnesses may have some bearing on the evaluation of oral testimony 
against a defendant, but Mr Hiss was convicted primarily on the basis 
of the documentary evidence introduced at his trials. As Mr. Alistair 
Cooke and other correspondents have testified, Whittaker Chambers' 
allegations found little popular credence until the incriminating 
documents were entered into evidence.
     Mr Hiss alleges that his readmission to the Massachusetts bar 
constitutes a vindication of his innocence. Although you are ignorant 
of it, Mr Hiss is perfectly aware of the fact that when he was 
readmitted the presiding justice of the court declared: ``Nothing we 
have said here should be construed as detracting one iota from the 
fact that in considering Mr Hiss's petition, we consider him guilty 
as charged.'' Hiss's failure to mention this is certainly not an 
oversight and indicates something more serious than sleaziness.
     This is not the place to consider the evidence in detail. It has 
been exhaustively and brilliantly evaluated in Mr Weinstein's 
monumental 1978 study, "Perjury: the Hiss-Chambers Case.'' I recommend 
it to you and other skeptical members of the British press. I find 
the intensity of that skepticism puzzling in view of the ease with 
which the KGB and its predecessors were able to infiltrate the highest 
levels of the British security services during the past 50 years.

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     [Sysop's comments: Although I doubt that there are many Freemen 
who have been taken in by claims of innocence of traitor and perjuror 
Alger Hiss, I recommend this letter to Freemen for several reasons: 
the details on the DOCUMENTARY conviction, and the declaration at 
Hiss's disgraceful readmission to the Massachusetts bar (I, for one, 
had not known about that), for example. By the way, author Weinberg, 
mentioned in the letter, was originally influenced by conventional 
academic wisdom, and started out trying to show Hiss's innocence, but 
after studying the evidence ended up writing a very different book.
     But my main purpose of exhibiting the letter in FF is its 
implicit accusation of the ECONOMIST for publishing a favorable review 
of such a swinish book. To stay abreast of what the other side is 
doing I read the ECONOMIST every week (an my blood boiled when I read 
the review). Should you believe the myth that the ECONOMIST is 
"conservative," let me disabuse you of that notion. It is leaning ever 
more strongly to the Left in all its departments (it always WAS 
antinuclear), but its US correspondent is a raving "liberal," who not 
long ago "reported" that the editors of the DARTMOUTH REVIEW had 
accused Freedman of being a Nazi and implied that they were 
antisemitic (see Rathole, fl.   ). I have heard that in the coming 
year he is to be replaced by an editor of the NEW REPUBLIC -- to what 
extent this is an improvement remains to be seen.
     The usual argument in favor of the ECONOMIST, whose circulation 
in the US is growing, is that it is better than SLIME and NEWSPEAK. 
Yes, it is: in the sense that the smell of a goat sty is sweeter than 
that of a skunk.]

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