At least one-time media magnate Conrad Black is putting his free time to good(?) use. The former chairman of Hollinger International, who is now serving time for fraud and obstruction of justice has penned a jail diary for Spear’s Wealth Management Survey. Black, you may have heard, has requested a Presidential pardon from Bush, and more than one person at the Follies event we attended on Friday thought he was likely to get it (someone actually speculated he was not only likely to get it, but that he might be a candidate to buy the New York Times should the recent cut of its divend prove too much for the Sultzberger family).
Anyway! According to Black jail is like going back to boarding school and “there has not been the slightest unpleasantness with anyone.” This disclosure is followed by a number of paragraphs devoted to Black’s persecution at the hands of the U.S. justice system, after which he mentions the devotion of his “magnificent” wife Barbara Amiel. Excerpt after the jump.
Apart from missing terribly the constant companionship of my magnificent wife Barbara, who visits me once or twice or even three times each week, and lives nearby in our Florida home with her splendid Hungarian dogs, I enjoy some aspects of my status as a victim of the American prosecutocracy.
It has been immensely gratifying to receive a steadily increasing volume of supportive messages from all over the world, many from the UK, and from almost every state of the US, expressing outrage at what a disgrace this entire proceeding has been.
It has also been a grim pleasure to expose the hypocrisy of the corporate governance establishment…They have vaporised $2 billion of public shareholder value; fine titles in several countries have deteriorated, and for their infamies, the protectors of the public interest have cheerfully trousered over $200 million themselves.
However! Black still hearts America.
And it surely has earned the respect of the world in elevating a very capable leader as the first non-white to head any Western nation. I would be distinctly consolable if the United States really was in decline, and I have more legitimate grievances against that country than do the Guardian or the BBC, but it is still a country of incomparable vitality, even as its moral, judicial soul atrophies and reeks.
Those of us who are appalled by some foibles of the United States do not do ourselves a favour by announcing an American sunset two centuries prematurely.