Conrad Black

Diary – 19 May 2012

It is unusual in Canada to have had the same address for 60 years, and for an urban house to have ten acres around it (testimony to my father’s foresight), and these facts made it especially painful not to set eyes on my home for five years while I struggled in the American Gulag. It has been an affecting return, with many kindnesses and very few echoes of the appalling defamations that announced the beginning of my travails (and have ended in generous libel settlements in my favour). Given the correlation of forces between the US government and me, it is ending as well as it could, and the remaining relatively trivial legal skirmishing should also be favourable.


As at my earlier prison, before I was released following the US Supreme Court’s vacation of all my counts, I had made many friendly acquaintances. In such a place, humour is precious and everyone has a story, though most are fables. One of the best, apparently true stories, was that of my friend who was suspected by the Food and Drug Administration of having rats in his refrigerated warehouse. The FDA posted a 300lb female agent on a folding chair in front of what was thought to be an access to the rats’ den. The agent dozed off but was awakened by the startled cheepings of a Norwegian freezer rat, 18 inches long plus a tail of over a foot. The agent levitated in alarm, bumped her head on an overhead pipe, fell down unconscious and soiled herself, and my fellow resident was accused of negligently creating a sanitary hazard and of putting a federal agent in harm’s way. My time in this milieu had its interesting and amusing moments.


As all the arrangements for my departure from the United States and arrival in Canada had been agreed with both governments weeks before, it was disconcerting that they became the subject of confected media and parliamentary controversy.

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