Category

BBC

Conspiracy and Michael Goldstein

By BBC, Gerald Joe Moreno, Michael Goldstein, Sathya Sai Baba, Secret Swami, Tanya Datta
Dr. Michael Goldstein in The Secret Swami documentary
In 2007, the sectarian blogger Gerald Joe Moreno (Equalizer) made the accusation that “he [Kevin R. D. Shepherd] is a thoroughly biased conspiracy theorist incapable of formulating a sober argument, let alone conducting any semblance of adequate or impartial research.” This charming PR exercise was accompanied by another doubtful compliment, via an assertion that the material in my books (unread by him) “is controversial, convoluted and conspiratorial.”
As if to prove his vehement point, Moreno placed three images of myself directly above these statements, an action which struck many readers as an excessive gesture. The observer may deduce that three photographs mean guilty of conspiracy, whereas only one image might have permitted a loophole for a more rational argument than was afforded at saisathyasai.com (which gained the repute of an “inquisition” site). 
Cultist campaigners often use words like conspiracy. They frequently see themselves as following an all-encompassing cause, which can brook no objections or resistance. The objector is therefore a conspirator or a biased critic who must be maligned. 
Ex-devotees complained that Moreno never revised his extreme statements and numerous errors. He viewed his sweeping judgments as being authoritative, endorsed by his role as defender of the guru Sathya Sai Baba (d.2011). 
Some of the ex-devotee victims believed that Moreno was financed in his web campaign by the wealthy Dr. Michael Goldstein, the key American devotee and international leader of the Sathya Sai Organisation. Moreno obviously spent a great deal of time at his vengeful keyboard; his output was prolific.
Goldstein was not popular on ex-devotee sites. “He let down every abused young person by an assiduous cover-up of all questions of sex abuse by US [American] and other devotees or their families, and ceased to reply to letters to him as head of the [Sathya Sai] Organisation.” Quote from Dr. Michael Goldstein, International Chairman of the SSO (formerly online at saibaba-x.org.uk/11/michael_goldstein).
This leading and influential devotee was one of the entities appearing in the BBC documentary Secret Swami (2004). However, Goldstein was very evasive on the subject of testimonies to sexual abuse, with the consequence that a hidden camera technique was the BBC resort
In this manner, Goldstein was filmed at his home in California, where he was questioned about the sexual abuse. His heated response was considered intimidating by some viewers. Goldstein dismissed the testimonies, claiming that as a physician, he could judge by appearance as to whether anyone had been abused. Goldstein, a devotee since the 1970s, was described as a ranter in this confrontation with the BBC reporter Tanya Datta. Commentators remark upon the fact that, thinking he was in private, Goldstein was very offensive in his aggressive response to Datta. A model devotee was supposed to “speak sweetly,” which Goldstein failed to do in this instance.
This prominent follower was very effectively covering up serious instances of deviation, whether or not he intended this resort as a conspiracy. One sordid drawback was relayed in a report by a psychologist of events concerning an American youth (named as Sam Young), who appeared in the Danish documentary Seduced by Sathya Sai Baba (2002):

Every time we would go back to the personal [interview] room, he [Sathya Sai Baba] wants to be very intimate. He was constantly having me take out my penis and he would hold it, sometimes put it in his mouth and look at me, and then ask me to do the same thing or push my head down and lift his robe up. And I was gagging and almost about to vomit. (Asa Samsioe, How Sathya Sai Baba devotees, like Dr. Michael Goldstein, are weaving protective cocoons of self-deceit around themselves (2009), exbaba.com, Search tab Michael Goldstein)

Kevin R. D. Shepherd
ENTRY no. 9
November 2013 (modified 2021)
Copyright © 2021 Kevin R. D. Shepherd. All Rights Reserved.

BBC Secret Swami Documentary

By Alaya Rahm, Basava Premanand, BBC, Gerald Joe Moreno, Isaac Tigrett, Sathya Sai Baba, Tanya Datta
BBC reporter Tanya Datta
In his attack on myself at saisathyasai.com in 2007, Gerald Joe Moreno blacklisted the BBC Secret Swami documentary of 2004. The title of the G. J. Moreno blog proclaimed accusingly: “Kevin (R. D.) Shepherd referenced the BBC Secret Swami Documentary.” This BBC programme had become so well known and applauded that his reservation may be considered an apologist feat.
When the BBC investigated Sathya Sai Baba, they contributed some provocative insights, detailing both sides of the controversy about that guru. Yet Moreno (Equalizer) presented me as being in error for referring with approval to this documentary. He also misrepresented a court case occurring in California, which he associated with the BBC programme via the American ex-devotee Alaya Rahm, who testified to sexual abuse. According to Moreno, Alaya Rahm resorted to street drugs and alcohol, therefore his testimony was invalid.
The one hour documentary featured the BBC reporter Tanya Datta, who conducted varied interviews. The schedule covered basic components of the charges made against Sathya Sai Baba, i.e., fake miracles, sexual abuse, and the bedroom murders (see Anomalies and Testimonies).
An interview with the Rahm family (Alaya Rahm and his parents) was accompanied by clips of the guru at the 2004 Shiva-ratri festival,  performing a supposed miracle. The major Indian critic Basava Premanand was interviewed, describing how he had been investigating the guru since 1968. He and his colleagues were shown explaining how “miracles” could easily be performed in a deceptive manner, e.g., the materialisation of ash (vibhuti) and the ejection of a lingam (sacred object) from the guru’s mouth. The lingam could easily be concealed in a towel. The ash (and cheap jewellery) appeared via sleight of hand.
A contrasting interview with the wealthy American devotee Isaac Tigrett disclosed his belief that the “allegations” (actually solid testimonies)  of sexual abuse were probably true. “I believe there is truth to the rumours.” Tigrett also said condoningly: “He [Sathya Sai Baba] could go out out and murder someone tomorrow, as I said, it’s not going to change my evolution.”
An American ex-devotee named Mark Roche was also filmed. He relayed the attempt of Sathya Sai to engage him in oral sex during the year 1976. The Rahm family (in America) referred to similar experiences (see exbaba.com, Witnesses tab).
In relation to the notorious murders of June 1993, occurring at Puttaparthi ashram, the BBC interviewed the ex-Home Secretary for Andhra Pradesh, Veluyudhan P. B. Nair, who was in charge of the state police. He early discovered that the official police report of the controversial event was “riddled with lies and inconsistencies.” This commentator disputed the official version that police officers shot the four intruders in self-defence, instead urging a verdict of “cold-blooded murder.” A cover-up is strongly implied.

According to Nair, “the killing of the boys was only to buy silence.” Basava Premanand insisted that the central government stopped an investigation of the murders to prevent “economic offences, sex offences” emerging into the light of day.

Such factors were not welcome to the polemical campaign of Gerald Joe Moreno (Equalizer), who strenuously denied all the negative reports as being an error of the “Anti-Sai” contingent.

See further the BBC Transcript. See also BBC Documentary and A Reflection. Another documentary also assisted to support criticism of the Puttaparthi guru.  In 2002, the national television and radio broadcaster (DR, or Denmark Radio) of Denmark transmitted the evocative feature entitled Seduced by Sai Baba. This programme was viewed by millions in Denmark and Norway, afterwards being shown in Australia during 2004. The 54 minute Danish documentary investigated the sexual abuse of minors, and also revealed Sathya Sai “miracles” as sleight of hand (a Danish conjuror knew what really occurred).

In Denmark, the Seduced documentary caused a public outcry, revoking the purchase by Sathya Sai devotees of Arresodal manor estate. The devotee plan was for a Sathya Sai College at this famous location. Elsewhere, such colleges were scenes of sexual abuse. In Denmark, devotees made threats and launched litigation cases, failing in their apologist tactic. 

Testimonies to sexual abuse were strongly denied as “wild allegations” by Sathya Sai devotees. However, some partisans eventually portrayed the abuse as a form of “spiritual healing,” a contention appearing online in 2006, via an item by devotee Ram Das Awle. This writer claimed endorsement from Sathya Sai. The “sexual interventions” of the guru were here acknowledged as a fact. By now, there were so many reports of the guru’s sexual abuse appearing online that a more convergent strategy was evidently approved. Some devotees nevertheless continued to deny all the testimonies, confirming the widespread confusion. Critics described the new apologist strategy as a “sick rationalisation” of perverse habits.

Many converging testimonies and reports were the basis for critical assessment of Sathya Sai Baba as a homosexual and paedophile who liked to fondle males in the 6-24 age bracket. He never molested girls. He often favoured oral sex, which in his personal instance, he is reported to have described as union with God. He told his favourite boys that marriage was bad; a number of men around him were identified as homosexuals. The fate of Indian student victims at the Sai Colleges was particularly tragic, because their devotee parents were opposed to all realistic details, being indoctrinated by beliefs prevalent at Puttaparthi ashram.

Kevin R. D. Shepherd

ENTRY no. 8 

November 2013 (modified 2021)

Copyright © 2021 Kevin R. D. Shepherd. All Rights Reserved.