Thursday, January 22, 2009

You Find the Weirdest Things in Your Mailbox: A Conrad Black Update?

Subject: Conrad Black update

I know these messages from Facebook groups can be annoying. But this club has existed for more than a year and a half and this is the first message to ever go out.

Yesterday was an exciting day for America and the world with the swearing in of a new President. It also brought disappointment in that Conrad Black did not receive a presidential pardon or a sentence commutation from President Bush. Nevertheless, I thought you might be interested to know just how Lord Black is holding up.

I was fortunate to see him recently in Florida and you will be pleased to know he is doing extremely well. Indeed, both physically and mentally, he was in virtually the same condition as before he went in. And he is as determined as ever to clear his name. Anyone hoping or expecting him to come out of this ordeal a broken or even dispirited man will be sorely disappointed.

He asked me to pass on a few messages to members of this group.

First, conditions at the Coleman low security prison, while naturally somewhat regimented, are not severe or even uncivilized, and he has no serious complaint with the administration. He is occupying his time reading, writing, tutoring educationally disadvantaged individuals in English, and teaching US history. You have probably been reading his bi-monthly contributions to the National Post comment page and his columns on The Daily Beast, Tina Brown's riveting new online publication. He is receiving great volumes of supportive messages from many countries, particularly from Canada and the U.S.

He has also become an advocate of reforming the U.S. judicial system. He is in touch with many justice and penal reform organizations, and does what he can to help some of the victims of America's unjust prosecution system. As he put it, "the US has become a prosecutocracy and a carceral state, and the relevant sections of the Constitution, especially the Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments, have been imprisoned in the world of the cooperating witness and the whistle-blower. It is a distinct, though unsought honour to play a small role in the restoration of American due process, and respect for the rights of the accused."

Lastly, you should be hearing a lot from Lord Black in the coming months. His legal counsel recently submitted an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. He won 85% of the case at trial and his hope is to win the remaining 15% there. His widely-anticipated book about the travails of the last six years, which he has been working on for some time, will be published this spring.

Lord Black is already planning and looking forward to re-launching his career upon his release. He is extremely grateful for the solidarity of those who have supported him throughout these difficult years and looks forward to resuming normal life before too long.

Thanks for your support of this group.

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