[DEBATE] : (Fwd) Rath, Brink retreat
pbond at mail.ngo.za
Mon Sep 15 04:52:19 BST 2008
Rath drops million-pound libel
14/09/2008 21:18 - (SA)
Cape Town - Vitamin entrepreneur Matthias Rath has dropped a
million-pound libel claim against the Guardian about his activities in
townships in South Africa, the British newspaper has reported.
Rath sued about a series of articles by columnist Ben Goldacre that
condemned the German's claim that his pills were preferable to
antiretoriviral drugs, and that they could reverse the course of Aids.
South Africa, said Goldacre in one of the articles, was a haven for Aids
denialism, and was afflicted by "a madness that has let perhaps hundreds
of thousands of people die unnecessarily".
The Guardian said that following the dropping of the case, the High
Court had ordered Rath to pay initial costs of just under a quarter of a
Its editor, Alan Rusbridger, said: "We are very glad that Rath has
dropped his libel action, doubtless designed to discourage other
journalists - in Britain and abroad - from looking too closely at his
dubious claims and methods."
Reacting on his website (http://www.badscience.net/) to the news,
Goldacre, a medical doctor, said Rath had been promoting his pills in a
country "where hundreds of thousands die every year from Aids under an
HIV-denialist president and the population is ripe for miracle cures".
'Will be carefully written'
"This libel case has drawn on for over a year, with the writ hanging
both in my toilet, and over my head.
"I will probably now write a swift book on Rath and South Africa, as a
way to make all the fascinating extra information I've had to dredge
through useful to others, and to try and recoup something so that my
time was not wasted.
"It will be meticulously well referenced and carefully written.
"I genuinely believe that the madness of the South African government's
approach to Aids is one of the most-important stories of our time."
The Guardian said Rath had unsuccessfully sought at one point to exclude
from the court's consideration part of one of Goldacre's articles.
The article mentioned an attempt by lawyer Anthony Brink, who at one
point was a spokesperson for Rath in South Africa, to have former
Treatment Action Campaign leader Zackie Achmat indicted for genocide at
the international criminal court in The Hague.
Had the case proceeded, the court would have learned that Brink
suggested to The Hague that Achmat should be permanently confined "in a
small white and concrete cage, bright fluorescent light on all the time
to keep an eye on him" and force-fed his Aids drugs or, "if he bites,
kicks and screams too much, dripped into his arm after he's been
restrained on a gurney with cable tied around his ankles, wrists and neck".
In June this year, following an application brought by TAC, the Cape
High Court barred Rath from claiming his product, VitaCell, was a
treatment for Aids, and declared that the clinical trials he had been
conducting in townships were unlawful.
Judge Dumisani Zondi also said Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang
and her department had a duty to investigate Rath's activities.
The minister, cited as a co-respondent, had opposed the application.
Rath also had claimed that antiretrovirals were toxic, and that the
apartheid regime was part of a plot by the pharmaceutical industry to
"conquer and control the entire African continent".
More information about the Debate-list