December 12, 2007
So there you have it. Conrad Black gets six and one half years in the pokey for—as far as I’m concerned—absolutely nothing, except for the fact he saved a moribund group of British newspapers, enriched his investors and stockholders, as well as himself, and refused to bow down to left-wing envious hacks who wanted him to eat humble pie once publicity-seeking prosecutors decided to emulate Rudy Giuliani and make themselves famous.
Let’s take it from the top: The Telegraph Group was about to go under when Black stepped in and saved it. He poured money into it, and through force of personality and intelligent business moves turned it into not only a money maker, but also restored it to its rightful place in British political life. His great crime? He turned it a bit to the right, something for which envious and left-wing phonies like Christopher Hitchens and the rabble that make up the British tabloids will never forgive him. And another thing. Unlike past proprietors, who asslicked their own journalists, he knew more than they did, could correct them at anytime with indisputable facts, and did not suffer drunks gladly. (Except for yours truly).
Now for what he did “wrong”: When a Canadian tycoon bought a large part of his newspaper and TV empire—but not the Telegraph group—he paid Black 3.5 million big ones not to compete with him. So I ask you, dear readers: Let’s say some of you had shares in Takimag. If I sold this website to some fool, (he would have to be a fool) and he paid me X amount not to start another one, who gets the moolah? I would say to yours truly. The fool who bought Takimag was not afraid of my shareholders, but me, Taki. It is as simple as that.
Black refused to give anything to the shareholders and that’s what originally got him into trouble. A greedy “blackmailer stockholder” demanded Conrad share the rather petty amount, and Black said no. Which means it should have gone to arbitration. But no, the press got involved, the hacks went ballistic, and, well, you know the rest. The thing that hurts me the most is that the hacks were baying for Black’s scalp because he refused to “show remorse.” Remorse for what? All the judge should done is look at the stock. When Conrad was at the helm, the stock was, say, ten. Since his overthrow, it’s three. So who has screwed whom in this deal?
Three weeks ago Seth Lipsky, Bob Tyrrell, Mark Steyn and I went down to Palm Beach and gave a dinner for Conrad. As Bob Tyrrell wrote in the
New York Sun after the verdict, the prosecutors and the hacks demanded an “affect” of remorse on Conrad’s part. But as Tyrrell writes, “they wanted him a broken man, but Black was unbroken and as always dignified.” What I’d like to know is since when does a man who believes himself as innocent as Conrad does, affect remorse and scrape for pity? There is a Christian story about someone who refused to play the game, but I will not go into it right now. Innocent men do not bargain and compromise. That’s for guilty people to do.
Conrad’s boldness in life, his amazing knowledge of history, his kindness towards people like me whom he disagreed with to the nth degree where Israel is concerned, has worked against him. He is 63 years old. As Bill Buckley wrote, some of his friends thought his defense was crazy—in other words he should have made a deal—but as I just wrote, honest and great men do not make deals. There are many things that trouble me about this case—in fact more than trouble me, they sadden me. I haven’t heard a lot on Conrad’s behalf from the neo-cons (people I tried to warn Conrad against, but he would not hear a word). Where are Kristol, Frum, Podhoretz, Ledeen, Cohen, Abrams, Perle—men who all benefited from Conrad’s support and well meaning backing of their ideas, which have betrayed this country—when he needs them? (Are any of them lobbying for a pardon, ala Scooter Libby?)
Conrad Black’s only crime is to have backed the neo-cons. Otherwise he was the most benevolent, kind and understanding “boss” I’ve ever had the privilege to write for, and I’ve had a hell of a lot. This is a miscarriage of justice, fueled by the left wing media which hates success and knowledge even more.