Ukpabio Supporter Writes Again: Suggests I Might be a Witch

Despite the recent exposé of children suffering in Africa due to witchcraft accusations and the subsequent outrage, there are still some true believers. One has just left a comment, suggesting that even I might be a witch. Over to Idongesit Elijah Okpombor (links added):

Yes Richard. I have read your reply to my mail some time ago. Well richard, some adults do prompt children to confess witchcraft, but not the child I told you about. She was not prompted to do so. The mother was tested and confirmed to be HIV positive alongside other ailments. When she was not responding to treatment, they decided to yield to the conditions the little girl gave and the woman came up alive. Now, Richard, I’m not writing this to convince you that children can be witches. I do not need to convince you for it to be true. Your not believing it does not change anything.

Something else you should know is that, children do not learn witchcraft. it is a possession in the spirit that a child contracts in many different ways, the most rampant being from edible products. You may not agree with any of these. At least, I know that the environment you find yourself has made you extremely ignorant of this.

Well, you say there are no child witches in the UK, Japan, etc. Richard, there are. That you’ve not heard of any yet, as rampant as it is in Africa, does not deny their existence. And You know something, witches always try to get people to believe that they do not exist, so they can perpetuate their secret wicked acts. And the way you sound, are you sure you aren’t one?


Developer Sues Critics for Libel in USA

Those of us who have looked across the Atlantic for a beacon of hope against oppressive UK libel laws will be disurbed by a new case. The Institute for Justice reports (links added):

In perhaps the most striking example of a disturbing national trend, Dallas developer H. Walker Royall has launched a lawsuit spree to silence any media or public affairs commentator who dares expose his [alleged] attempted abuse of eminent domain.  Similar suits have been filed in Tennessee, Missouri and elsewhere by developers and governments looking to silence critics of eminent domain for private gain.  

Royall worked with the city of Freeport, Texas, to try to condemn a generations-old shrimp business owned by the Gore family to make way for a luxury marina.  The project became the subject of the book, Bulldozed: “Kelo,” Eminent Domain, and the American Lust for Land, authored by veteran legal journalist Carla Main…After journalist Main wrote her book exposing the [alleged] Freeport land grab, Royall sued her as well as her publisher, Encounter Books, for defamation.  He even sued nationally renowned Law Professor Richard Epstein who wrote a blurb for the book’s dust jacket.  When someone reviewed the book, he sued him.  When two newspapers published that review, he sued them.

“Eminent domain” is known in the UK as “compulsory purchase”. Libertarian conservatives dislike it on the grounds that that it allows big government to infringe private property rights, although liberals will surely share concern that governments would prioritise the wishes of developers over less-powerful land-owners. And everyone will hopefully be equally appalled that libel law is again being used as a response to criticism.

As Ed Brayton notes, conservative libertarian attorney Timothy Sandefur has some commentary on this:

This is an absurd violation of freedom of expression. Mr. Royall is clearly a “public figure” under the Supreme Court’s decisions in cases like Gertz v. Robert Welch and New York Times v. Sullivan, which means he can’t use accusations of libel to shut down criticism of him. But I suppose if you have contempt for private property rights, it isn’t hard to also have contempt for freedom of expression. Mr. Royall’s lawsuit is an outrage: a clear violation of the First Amendment, and a frivolous abuse of the legal process.

Our friends at the Institute for Justice have taken on the defense of Ms. Main and Prof. Epstein…

That’s nice, but what if Main and Epstein had not been able to secure the support of this organisation? Royall’s claim may be “absurd”, but such a strategy could still cause someone a lot of misery and stress – even in America.

Incidentally, the “public figure” distinction is one basic reform we could do with in the UK. But momentum for reform is slow  in the UK; and while in the USA we see true libertarians opposing the use of libel laws in the name of free speech,  in the UK right pseudo-libertarians are quite happy to make libel action threats themselves to shut down debate.