Not Smarter Than A 4th Grader

Very few journalists want to be the news. In fact, we try very hard to stick to our roles of mere commentators or observers of events.

When the Sheriff of the local Court served me with The Cho Group claim papers, I mused: ‘why would a Hong Kong-registered company with global interests, including here in South Africa and represented by a Global Law Firm Jones Day opt to sue me in an Australian court? I consulted our legal team who advised me not to even think of the jurisdiction defence. “The Internet has created a global jurisdiction,” the team said, adding, “one can now be sued in any territory.”

I deny that I defamed Chairman Cho a.k.a. Michael Honsue Cho. Our investigations, I believe was quite thorough and was of great public importance. For uSpiked calling the scheme a scam, Chairman Cho now wants a pound of my flesh.

Chairman Cho should take responsibility for what other people say or publish about him. Had he wanted me to write positively about him, he should have behaved better. Instead of taking this extraordinary step to sue me in Australia, Cho should have taken the simplest option, which is presented the extraordinary evidence needed to back up his extraordinary scientific claims. The lawsuit he filed is intended to allow him to continue with his questionable scheme.

When I got served with Cho’s suit papers, I made an editorial call to not argue our case on this website. But I reconsidered that decision when Cho decided to publish their understanding of the status of the matter, which could soon land before a South African court, on their own website.

Through my work, I know that no cures for cancer have been found, discovered or invented. So, I didn’t need to be a cancer expert to smell a rat after hearing claims that Cho’s products could completely cure cancer.  I, therefore, don’t believe that I have defamed anybody associated with Photosoft or NGPDT, including Chairman Cho.

I am not an expert on cancer. However, my first encounter with the disease happened when my uncle, Akach Awando, died of throat cancer in 1985. I didn’t know what cancer was then, but if it could kill my uncle who was a Traditional African Medicineman, then I believed, whatever cancer was had to be dreadful. I still remember my mother being utterly devastated by the illness and the subsequent death of her brother. For many days, my mother was in deep and inconsolable grief.

Since my uncle’s demise in 1985, I have endured that type of grief, as several of my friends and relatives succumbed to cancer over the years. I wouldn't wish cancer on my enemies.

I have also witnessed first-hand what cancer does to families of patients. When I worked on The Cho Group investigations, I spent a lot of time in oncology departments of various local hospitals interacting with patients, their relatives, doctors and other support staff. For those who don’t know, the first diagnosis of cancer affects every one of the people involved.

I learned a few things while interacting with cancer patients and their families. But the most important one is that Cancer patients don’t like it when they are treated as if they were invalids who cannot think and reason for themselves. They want to be involved in the decisions we make about them.

A good percentage of the cancer patients I met urged me to treat them as I would a healthy friend. And that doesn’t include being sold down a murky river.

Knowing a few cancer patients doesn’t make me an expert on the illness, but I recognised their vulnerabilities and desperation and in a very personal way.

On December 18, 2017, I awoke from a medically-induced coma to discover I'd shaved close to one and a half days off my life. In my kind of work, time is my currency, and so you can imagine my distress when I couldn't account for about 36 hours. I demanded to know what was going on from the people milling around my bed who kept demanding that I tell them my names. That evening I repeated my names many times and I found it ridiculous!

A man who I later learned was Professor Patrick Semple and a neurosurgeon at the University of Cape Town’s Medical School leaned close to me and said, "You've had brain surgery due to a brain aneurysm that had ruptured and caused a lot of bleeding." I didn't ask right away what could have caused the bleeding in my brain.

A few hours later and with my hands still barely able to hold my cell phone, I turned to Dr. Google for some answers. I learned that brain aneurysms, like the one I suffered, can happen to; especially, smokers with high blood pressure. A vague memory crossed my mind and I thought such a smoker who had repeatedly ignored the pleas of his GP and a sister-in-law to quit smoking cigarettes and start the treatment for high blood pressure, did not stand a chance to survive such attacks. 

The neurosurgeons didn't mince their words when they discharged me two weeks later. The warning was explicit; I'd be back on their operating table if I continued smoking. Also, they all agreed I'd be lucky to survive a similar trauma. At that moment, it dawned on me I'd die if I didn't stub my cigarette habit.

Quitting smoking is hard. Not only is a smoker tasked mentally and emotionally while trying to quit, but the body can also be in a physical ordeal as it fights to overcome the addiction to nicotine. But I had to quit one way or another. And if at that time someone had approached me with an offer for a cure, I would have jumped at it even if the said cure were doing headstands for twenty minutes twice a day.

So, I have an inkling of how a cancer patient feels the first time he or she receives a diagnosis, and especially if the oncologist can predict how much longer they may be left with!

I can't compare my aneurysm experience to the agony and lasting scars suffered by cancer patients. But the anguish I felt during my illness was real and cannot be underestimated. 

My mind is now back to its previous form and is as razor sharp as I reiterate that Photosoft and NGPDT are scams. That combination cannot cure cancer. If the Cho Group’s concoction truly cured cancer, how wonderful would that be for the world!

When they plotted the grand scheme to prey on desperate cancer patients, Chairman Cho and his associates at The Cho Group behaved badly and so we exposed them.

By approaching a Brisbane Court, Michael Honsue Cho has publicly claimed ownership of the false products. And that’s good news to every victim and relatives who have been looking for someone to hold accountable.