Thursday, 19 December 2013

Timothy Conway and Gurus

Timothy Conway

In 2008, Equalizer (Gerald Joe Moreno) described me as “a staunch Anti-New Age advocate and Anti-Guru advocate.” He made no mention of the fact that I had composed such books as Gurus Rediscovered (1986), which provided sympathetic biographies of two Indian saints, including Shirdi Sai Baba (d. 1918). The polemic of Moreno was geared to conveniences of attack format, as distinct from reliable detail. 
 
The above description comes from a Moreno blog ridiculing Dr. Timothy Conway, a prominent American ex-devotee of Sathya Sai Baba (d. 2011) who was deeply concerned about the alleged sexual abuses of his former guru. The Moreno criterion for censure was here: “Kevin Shepherd blindly referenced him [Conway] although Timothy Conway is a true believer and promoter of Gurus.” Numerous other beliefs were added. This very strained argument was part of the apologist campaign of Moreno. 

One feels obliged to add here that Dr. Conway lodged a strong criticism against the American guru known as Adi Da Samraj (d. 2008), whose validity he repudiated. Moreover, his account of this disconcerting  entity included a detail that is neglected in some other accounts, namely that Adi Da was "an avid drug-user over many years." The website of Conway is also critical at some length of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (d. 1990), alias Osho.
 
Conway became an ex-devotee of Sathya Sai Baba in 2001. He is strongly associated with a BBC confrontation in 2004 with Dr. Michael Goldstein, the Sathya Sai Organisation official who allegedly patronised (and paid) Moreno. Both of these doctoral entities subscribed to beliefs about gurus. In contrast to Conway, Goldstein became notorious for evasion on the subject of sexual abuse, which the BBC documentary Secret Swami did much to highlight. 
 
Gerald Joe Moreno (Equalizer) again resorted to misrepresentation. He wrongly stated that “Shepherd often attacks New Age believers and Guru promoters as being brainwashed and mentally sick.” Basing himself on this misrepresentation, the Pro-Sai campaigner accused me of discrepantly citing “New Age believers and Guru promoters” against Sathya Sai Baba. Therefore I was wrong. 
 
The argument is inane that guru supporters cannot be cited by critics who disbelieve in Sathya Sai Baba. Moreno had accused me of being incapable of formulating a sober argument. The sobriety of Moreno argument was in strong contention throughout his web tenure of 2004-2010. His Pro-Sai tactic of justifying a controversial guru, via the use of bludgeoning and defamatory verbiage, is not convincing in the slightest to most non-devotees. 
 
Dr. Conway is an advocate of non-dualism (an outlook associated with Hinduism). His approach to Moreno was relatively amiable by comparison with some other ex-devotees, but this made no difference to the hostility of the attacker. 

Sathya Sai Baba and Dr. John Hislop

Conway refuted the charge of Moreno that the John Hislop letters of 1981 were forgeries. According to Dr. Conway, those letters are important documentary evidence of sexual abuse in the case of Sathya Sai Baba. Dr. John Hislop (d. 1995) was an American devotee of the guru who could not believe that allegations of abuse were valid. Twenty years later, many ex-devotees accepted the truth of such allegations, which had increased substantially by that time. 
 
Kevin R. D. Shepherd 
 
ENTRY no. 16 
 
Copyright © 2013 Kevin R. D. Shepherd. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Ullrich Zimmermann and Sathya Sai Baba

Ullrich  Zimmermann

In October 2008, the Equalizer (Moreno) blog Kevin Shepherd Exposed reproduced the gist of earlier Moreno assertions about Ullrich Zimmermann. This ex-devotee had provided three lengthy online video interviews describing his relationship with Sathya Sai Baba (d. 2011). 
 
Gerald Joe Moreno (Equalizer) opted to caricature my comment that Zimmermann had contributed “one of the most arresting testimonies of sexual abuse” in relation to Sathya Sai Baba. Critics say that Moreno was desperate to distract attention from the basic issue of abuse. 
 
Zimmermann was confused on many points by his indoctrination at an early age; he was only fourteen years old when he first contacted Sathya Sai in the ashram at Puttaparthi. An activity of sexual abuse is discernible in his reminiscences of the guru, accompanied by exaggerated references reflecting some devotee beliefs. Clinically, this sort of material is very evocative, and deemed important by psychiatrists and other specialists. 
 
The commentator Robert Priddy entitled his report Ex-Sai Devotee Speaks Out Convincingly, and in relation to sexual abuse. Moreno countered by saying that the testimony of Zimmermann was unbelievable. The Pro-Sai campaigner invented a series of verbal diversions. 
 
Avoiding the crux,  Moreno resorted to a puerile argument that Kevin Shepherd, a “strong Anti-New Age advocate” was citing the testimony of “a New Age follower against [Sathya] Sai Baba.” I was supposed to be “giving credence to New Age beliefs.” Moreno diverted attention from the basic issue by stating that Zimmermann was “a New Age follower of Ramtha.” This theme was further twisted into the erroneous statement that I was “willing to give credence to New Age beliefs by claiming that New Age followers are intelligent, honest, credible and reliable.” 
 
What I actually wrote on this subject earlier that same year contradicts the Moreno tangent: 
“It is obvious that Zimmermann and other Western devotees were afflicted by concepts and syndromes deriving from the ‘miracle’ projection which Sathya Sai encouraged at their expense. Some of them could not think clearly in emerging from their predicament. Zimmermann expressed misapprehensions about such matters as ‘genital switch miracles,’ and became further distracted by Ramtha channelling.... The due evaluation (by Priddy) is completely ignored by Moreno, who indulges in the injurious subversion of context for which he is notorious amongst ex-devotees.... Diverse analysts have concluded that it is useless to compose responses to such a sectarian agent of misrepresentation. 
“Despite confusions in the reports of Zimmermann, that source does testify to sexual abuse and the common acceptance of this disparity at the Puttaparthi ashram of the guru. Zimmermann narrates a personal experience of oral sex with the guru, and says that the homosexual activities of Sathya Sai were well known to many ashram residents. Such details serve to confirm other accounts such as those of ex-devotee Conny Larsson.” 
In contrast, Moreno (alias Equalizer)  chose the superficial and duplicit strategy of emphasising his “New Age” lore. He presented this distraction in a manner which supposedly passed the final judgment, and much to my detriment. “This information is going to be very disillusioning to Kevin Shepherd’s readers and admirers (as few as they are).” 
 
Again the note of contemptuous dismissal. Of course, in such a Pro-Sai argument I only had a few readers, whereas Moreno was obviously claiming a much larger number, meaning devotees of Sathya Sai Baba who believed his distortions and libels. Zimmermann was only one of the many testifiers to abuse, and Moreno could not stop the passage of information. 
 
Another defector from Sathya Sai Baba was the American  therapist Elena A. Hartgering,  whose account includes the following
“Dr. [Michael] Goldstein and other officials in the [Sathya Sai] organisation are suppressing information, and attacking former devotees who have testified against Sai Baba. There is, for example, a letter from a woman in California which was sent to all [regional] Center presidents. In our center it was suppressed by the president and devotions coordinator because they were told to do so by the regional president.... Sai devotees resent the organisation being labelled a cult, yet these are clearly cult practices [of suppression] and mind control techniques.” 
A favoured argument of Moreno was that Sathya Sai Baba had never been convicted of any crime, and therefore allegations of abuse were irrelevant. This theme is evasive and misleading, in view of contextual data concerning the compromised Indian police, and the influence of prestigious devotees in Indian law courts. For instance, a report from the Indian rationalist Basava Premanand informs that a youth was murdered in 1987 after fleeing from being sexually abused by the guru of Puttaparthi. This victim was "murdered by burning in the [Sathya Sai Baba] College campus in daylight." The contested police verdict was suicide. Other students at the College protested to the police, with the consequence that their parents were given a warning of  police action.
 
One of the many sexual abuse instances is graphically described in the statement of a fifteen year old victim (an American). Sordid details in such accounts have been known to shock sensitive readers.

Kevin R. D. Shepherd 
 
ENTRY no. 15 
 
Copyright © 2013 Kevin R. D. Shepherd. All Rights Reserved

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Gerald Joe Moreno and Sai Critics

Moreno (Equalizer) blog depiction of Robert Priddy, 2008

Equalizer (Gerald Joe Moreno) furthered a web campaign of purported exposure. A number of his blogs bore the proclaimer of “Sai Critics Exposed.” The Sai reference denotes Sathya Sai Baba, not Shirdi Sai Baba (I have written two books featuring favourable accounts of the latter entity, but Moreno lore and libel completely ignored these). 
 
The contested Equalizer blogs also bore an explicit campaigning motto, worded as: “Campaign to Stop Anti-Sai Activist’s Abuse.” This motto was deceptive. Anti-Sai was a favourite slogan of Moreno, who declared his own orientation in terms of Pro-Sai. The "abuse" here referred to allegations of sexual abuse, and other problems, in relation to Sathya Sai Baba (d. 2011). Moreno did not recognise the validity of testimonies from ex-devotee victims.
 
There were nine blogspot features pillorying “Sai Critics.” Seven of these were ex-devotees, including retired academic Robert Priddy and Dr. Timothy Conway. Reinier van der Sandt (the Dutch musician) was not an ex-devotee, but the webmaster of exbaba.com, a major website for critique of Sathya Sai Baba. I was the only non-activist represented. The attack and defamation was thus being extended into the public sector. I was not an ex-devotee, and nor a web activist against the guru, although I was an objector to Moreno tactics in my direction. 
 
Three images of myself were used by Equalizer (Moreno) in a much duplicated composite. That triple image is symptomatic of cultist excess. Ex-devotee Robert Priddy received a despising pictorial representation as a primitive ape-like creature. Of course, nobody was supposed to show an image of Moreno, as he prohibited this practice, and in relation to his sole known photograph. 
 
Another ex-devotee on the hit list was Barry Pittard of Australia. He was treated to a very misleading “exposure” as a sexual aberrant. Moreno misrepresented data on a website to mean that Pittard was guilty of “paedophilia,” a verdict posted on yahoo.com. The rebuttal was so decisive that the accuser was obliged to retract his allegation, an action that “was most grudging and manipulative in its wording – a single line buried among a mass of self-justification.” Moreno continued to post his defamation on his website and also bulletin boards. See Defamation of Barry Pittard
  
In 2008, I had cause to comment: “It is very obvious that Moreno’s belief in the priority of Sathya Sai Baba entails a categorical dismissal of any criticism as being a manifestation of perversity or conspiracy.”

The numerous allegations and testimonies of abuse have withstood denials, and provide an indicator to events that cannot be dismissed because of devotee preferences to the contrary.
 
Kevin R. D. Shepherd 
 
ENTRY no. 14 
 
Copyright © 2013 Kevin R. D. Shepherd. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Kevin RD Shepherd Not An Academic

Craig Gibsone

Gerald Joe Moreno (Equalizer) was incensed when some ex-devotees (of Sathya Sai Baba) described me as a scholar. He went to elaborate lengths to snub this classification. His blog Kevin RD Shepherd is NOT an Academic appeared in 2009, and notably capitalised the negative word.
 
Since 1983, when I first emerged in print, I have made clear that I am not an academic, both to avoid confusion and to allay any grievances of specialist academics. The Equalizer treatment of this issue in 2009 was memorable even by the vehemently distorting standards of Pro-Sai web campaign:
“Kevin R. D. Shepherd is a sectarian bigot who obsessively, unremittingly and fanatically attacks and stalks everything and everyone affiliated with the Findhorn Foundation.” 
Equalizer (Moreno) here relinquished completely any credence to accurate reporting. It is well known that I am not a member of any sect. My criticisms of the Findhorn Foundation do not come under the sectarian category, as is obvious to diligent readers. Nor do I criticise “everything and everyone” affiliated with that organisation.
 
Informed readers concluded that the extremist Moreno assertion closely reflected his own ill-repute as an obsessive  stalker of “Anti-Sai” critics and ex-devotees of Sathya Sai Baba (d. 2011). Moreno was much more than a troll, gaining the repute of a cyberstalker who went to almost unbelievable lengths to blacken the reputation of his adversaries. For instance, he was reported to distort images of ex-devotees, and to harass victims by emailing their contacts with adverse portrayals. It became obvious that he targeted Google name lists with multiple entries visibly agitating against the victims. At one time there were seven hostile Moreno web entries listed in a row on my own Google listing, and with many others following in a more scattered density.
 
The peculiar spite of Equalizer (Moreno) was evidenced in his concluding remark at the NOT blog. “The only thing that trumps Kevin R. D. Shepherd’s non-academic role is his big ego.” Equalizer also had a non-academic role, referring to Moreno in the third person, and making many mistakes in his vituperation. The lack of context in his stigmas became a source of amazement, and not merely notoriety.
 
Equalizer urged that my “big ego” was proved by my pointing out the lack of academic credentials in others. The only instance he supplied was that of Craig Gibsone, an influential member of the Findhorn Foundation. No further information was given. The missing context is relevant here.
 
I had indeed criticised Craig Gibsone, and more than once, but not for a mere lack of academic credentials. The reason was because Gibsone had been disastrously influential in pioneering commercial Grof therapy (holotropic breathwork) in Britain. He could only be offset by the combined warning of Edinburgh University and the Scottish Charities Office in 1993. Even this setback did not prevent Gibsone’s further resort to dubious “workshop” practices of hyperventilation, connoting a medical risk. I had pointed out that Gibsone and his team did not possess medical credentials in their “new age therapy” pastime, a lack which meant a potentially substantial risk. See further my Letter to BBC Radio, dating to 2006.
 
Medical doctors considered my objection to be perfectly valid. But in cult lore, such reservations are caricatured in terms of “big ego.” To extend that argument in due proportion, the Equalizer category of “big ego” discrepantly covers many medical doctors, psychiatrists, and other professional parties of scruple. Ethical complaint at discrepancy is set at naught by cult lore, an endangering activity involving a blanket dismissal of criticism and a hate campaign against any objector.

Observers of this situation pointed out that the Moreno (Equalizer) slurs, aimed at diverse victims, comprised an attempt to distract attention from the allegations of abuse made against Sathya Sai Baba. 
 
Kevin R. D. Shepherd
 
ENTRY no. 13
 
Copyright © 2013 Kevin R. D. Shepherd. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, 29 November 2013

New Age Sceptic Kevin RD Shepherd

Stanislav Grof

In 2008, Gerald Joe Moreno duplicated some contents of his aggressive website (saisathyasai) on blogspot, producing a blog cycle pitched against me. The blog feature bore his pseudonym of Equalizer, with Moreno being deceptively referred to in the third person. Of course, Moreno really had nothing to do with the hostility; he was merely mentioned in this troll exercise. At least, that is what some uninformed surfers assumed. 
 
The header title of this fresh attack comprised the words: 
“Exposing the vanity self-publisher, pseudo-intellectual, Findhorn Foundation and Stanislav Grof critic, new age sceptic and pseudo-philosopher Kevin Shepherd.” 
Equalizer (Moreno) was here demonstrating the aggressive nature of trolling. This manifestation of zealous “guru defender” campaign did not convince all observers as to the propriety of blog graffiti. 
 
Equalizer evidently believed that he could not have been a pseudo-intellectual, or indeed pseudo in any way; he was promoting the authentic cause of Pro-Sai activism. He emphasises his point by repeating the accusatory word pseudo. My books included 4,000 (four thousand) annotations, which is not the sign of a vanity publisher, as the book trade knows very well. 
 
The category of new age sceptic is not stigmatised outside cult circles. To be a critic of the Findhorn Foundation and Stanislav Grof  is not necessarily any proof of dire error. In my case, this disposition can  be viewed as a symptom of resistance to new age capitalist pursuits such as Grof Transpersonal Training Inc., which had a presence at Esalen and the Findhorn Foundation. The Grof activity has notably included LSD "psychotherapy," which is not one of the conventionally accepted enterprises. 
 
Kevin R. D. Shepherd 
 
ENTRY no. 12 
 
Copyright © 2013 Kevin R. D. Shepherd. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Missing Image of Gerald Joe Moreno

An ex-devotee version of the forbidden Moreno image

In the normal way, I would supply an image of my subject. Unfortunately, in the case of Gerald Joe Moreno (alias Equalizer), this has proved very difficult. There is only one known image of Moreno that has ever been reproduced online. This originally appeared on one of his sites, and was subsequently preserved by ex-devotees of Sathya Sai Baba. 
 
The image of Moreno reveals a handsome man, apparently in his early thirties, with neatly groomed hair in conventional style. There is no “hippy” look or anything else suspicious. However, when I reproduced this image on my first website in 2007, the subject reacted strongly, even sending me an email demanding that I withdraw his image.

Some time elapsed before I could fathom what was going on. I consulted my web host, who commented that there was nothing wrong, according to British standards, about reproducing an image, providing that the image was not tampered with in any way. So I retained the image of Moreno, especially as there was no other form of visual identification for names like SSS108 and Equalizer. 
 
I also consulted ex-devotees of Sathya Sai Baba on this matter, a contingent from whom the image was derived. I was informed that there had been much acrimony about images between Moreno and ex-devotees. Some of the latter had suffered distorted images at the hands of Moreno. I was shocked by this revelation, and was supplied with proof that appeared on the web.

Reinier van der Sandt with an imposed large nose. Courtesy Gerald Joe Moreno.

Sathya Sai critic Reinier van der Sandt and ex-devotee Sanjay Dadlani are now well known victims of image distortion. Moreno embellished their respective images with a big nose and exaggerated breasts. Robert Priddy also received extremist treatment in a notorious depiction.
 
One rumour circulated that Moreno feared exposure of his image in case anyone disfigured this, as he himself had done with the images of ex-devotees. Another interpretation is that he was simply averse to being recognised in his private life, and during his travels in India to the Puttaparthi ashram of Sathya Sai. Whatever the precise reason, he continually aggravated against my use of his sole image. He declared that this image was copyrighted and must not be used by anyone.

Eventually Moreno contacted my web host, and proved so insistent that this agent now advised me to remove the image. I did so forthwith, and deleted the Moreno image from all three sites where this was showing. That development occurred in April 2010. Certain other parties were rebellious against the prohibition by Moreno, and continued to show his image
 
Many people noticed that, despite my polite gesture of removing the contested image, Moreno (Equalizer) continued to display three of my images in a derogatory context of blog defamation. The “triple image” of myself was displayed on both his major attack site and his blogspot extension.
 
Critics say that, by refusing to concede the need for standard procedures of visual identity, Moreno justified his classification in the category of trolls, who are adversely noted for their visual anonymity. 
 
Kevin R. D. Shepherd 
 
ENTRY no. 11 
 
Copyright © 2013 Kevin R. D. Shepherd. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Troll Boast, No Image

Wikipedia manager Jimmy Wales in 2006 at a Wikimania conference discussing the identification and elimination of trolls.

The activity of internet trolls has recently become a major issue, with new measures in process and in debate. A well known Wikipedia article refers to different applications of the term troll. Standard advice is to ignore rather than to engage with a troll. Wikipedia is strongly associated with trolling. Larry Sanger of Citizendium explicitly referred to trolls in his acute dissatisfaction with the "anyone can edit" policy on Wikipedia, which has granted a general license to the use of pseudonyms. 
 
At large, the pseudonymous phenomenon of trolling varies from militant teenage aggression to more sustained and menacing attack by seasoned cyber agitators. Some critics say that all web users must be registered with their real name, and that all websites in defiance of this precaution should be eliminated from the web. Until such a development  occurs, the internet is uncivilised.
 
Gerald Joe Moreno, alias Equalizer, was not a typical troll, being known by his real name at his website. However, many of his blogs exhibit a pseudonym, and in this respect he can be considered a type of troll. Many readers of Equalizer blogs did not understand that Moreno was the author. An increasingly general public impression of the troll phenomenon  (certainly in Britain) is that of a miscreant who attacks and slurs while concealing personal identity. 

A basic problem in the case of Moreno (Equalizer) is the aggressive and defamatory verbal style demonstrated by the role of “guru defender.” He was also accused by ex-devotees of being a cyberstalker, which is a very undesirable category.
 
Moreno (SSS108, Equalizer) assumed that he was victorious in his 2007 online repudiation of myself. Using the pseudonym of Joe108, he posted a brief item of a few lines on digg.com, a popular American site. He asserted:
“Attempting to portray himself as a serious researcher into the Sai Controversy, Kevin Shepherd wrote a rambling diatribe against Joe Moreno. Moreno responded to Shepherd and exposed him as a shabby and biased researcher.” 
Troll boasts are notorious for a deceptive sense of inflation. The so-called “diatribe” was my complaint arising from Moreno’s censorious Wikipedia User page (dated 2006) against my publishing venture. Some observers say that the complaint did not ramble, but made a point, as indicated by the acute reaction of the web militant. I did not claim to be a researcher into the “Sai Controversy,” which is an apologist phrase, but instead referred to some relevant data in relation to my own case (the updated version is at Wikipedia Issues).
 
I responded to the overbearing gestures with a detailed refutation of the supposed victory. My lengthy Response to Moreno (2007) was conveniently ignored by the contested entity, in preference for the five line frivolity posted on digg.com.

Improvised triple image of Kevin R. D. Shepherd displayed on Equalizer blogs. 

Another factor that emerged was the aversion of Moreno to any presentation of his image. I had included the sole known image of him in my original article of protest. I was berated for this disclosure of his appearance, and threatened with legal consequences if I included his image in any book (which was not my intention). Moreno was so opposed to the employment of his image that eventually I deleted this from my sites in April 2010. He failed to respond in due measure, and retained all three of the images he displayed of myself so frequently and abusively (along with five of my mother).
 
The fact emerges that my image was reproduced over eighty times on the Equalizer blog cycle of 2008-9. Yet the image of Gerald Joe Moreno (Equalizer) was conveniently prohibited by the subject. The "guru defender" version of the troll code may be considered questionable.
 
Kevin R. D. Shepherd
 
ENTRY no. 10
 
Copyright © 2013 Kevin R. D. Shepherd. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Conspiracy and Michael Goldstein

Dr. Michael Goldstein in The Secret Swami documentary

In 2007, the pro-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 has 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 is 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, and 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 is 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
 
This leading and influential devotee was notably one of the entities appearing in the BBC documentary Secret Swami (2004). However, Goldstein was very evasive on the subject of allegations about 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 allegations. His rather heated response was considered intimidating by some viewers. Goldstein  dismissed the allegations, and claimed that as a physician, he could judge by appearance as to whether anyone had been abused. Goldstein had been a devotee since the 1970s. He has been described as a ranter in this confrontation with the BBC reporter Tanya Datta. An ex-devotee version comments
“Thinking he was in private he [Goldstein] was most offensive to the young lady interviewer, Tanya Datta, and – as his aggressive body language shows – he was very far from being a model devotee who always replies obligingly, speaks sweetly, and so on.” 
Kevin R. D. Shepherd
 
ENTRY no. 9

Copyright © 2013 Kevin R. D. Shepherd. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

BBC Secret Swami Documentary

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 has become so well known and applauded that his reservation may be considered an apologist feat.
 
The BBC investigated Sathya Sai Baba, and 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, and 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 allegations made against Sathya Sai Baba, i.e., fake miracles, sexual abuse, and the bedroom murders.
 
An interview with the Rahm family (Alaya Rahm and his parents) was accompanied by clips of the guru at the Shiva-ratri festival, and performing a supposed miracle. The major Indian critic Basava Premanand was interviewed, and described 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, and the ash could appear via sleight of hand.
 
A contrasting interview with the wealthy American devotee Isaac Tigrett disclosed his belief that the allegations of sexual abuse were probably true. "I believe there is truth to the rumours." Yet 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 (and there were many such testimonies from other victims).
 
In relation to the notorious murders of 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, and urged a verdict of “cold-blooded murder.” A cover-up is strongly implied.

According to Nair, “the killing of the boys [or young devotees] 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
 
Kevin R. D. Shepherd
 
ENTRY no. 8 
 
Copyright © 2013 Kevin R. D. Shepherd. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Serious Citations Are Not Comical

Simon Kidd

A very misleading item of Gerald Joe Moreno (Equalizer) appeared under the heading of my “Comical Citations to Anonymous Scholars.” On my first website in 2007, I referred to two Wikipedia editors who had argued in my favour. Following his policy of opposition, these two were blacklisted by Moreno (Equalizer), who caricatured them as impossible subjects for any significance or authority. Moreno asserted that Kevin R. D. Shepherd “attempted to con the general public with anonymous and alleged ‘scholarly’ references (whose credentials he exaggerated and embellished) that cannot be verified whatsoever.” 
 
The attacker was keen to imply that I was unaware of the Essjay controversy, signifying the episode in which a Wikipedia administrator lied about his credentials, claiming to be a tenured professor of religion at a private university. Essjay transpired to be a 24 year old college drop out. Moreno argued superficially that this meant I fitted  a similar situation of error in referring to two Wikipedia editors as academics. His theory did not stand up to the test of time. 
 
One of these editors (The Communicator) stated on Wikipedia that he had a degree in philosophy. In November 2006, he gave information on a discussion page about his longstanding critical interest in the controversial practice of holotropic breathwork; in 1994 he had corresponded directly with Regius Professor Anthony Busuttil  and other medical authorities on this subject of Grof therapy. I knew very well that the eminent Professor Busuttil would not respond to non-academics, having some acquaintance with this matter myself; Busuttil had advised against holotropic breathwork on medical grounds, but this matter was not public. 
 
The Communicator argued very competently on Wikipedia against the obscurantism evident in the Holotropic Breathwork article, which would not at first acknowledge any published criticism of  Stanislav Grof and his therapy
 
Moreno implied that I was collaborating with The Communicator against Stanislav Grof and holotropic breathwork on Wikipedia. I denied this fiction, which was evidently designed to detract from the recommendations of my output provided by the two editors he opposed. Moreno clearly had no conception of what was involved in the Busuttil-Grof issue, revolving around the dangers of hyperventilation for therapy clients. He omitted reference to Busuttil and other matters of relevance. The Scottish Charities Office had been so alarmed at complaints received that they commissioned a report by Regius Professor Busuttil, who represented the Pathology Department of Edinburgh University. 
 
I knew that the other editor (Jedermann) was a Ph.D. because he had informed me about a Wikipedia article he had written.  Jedermann divulged his real name on Citizendium six months before Moreno insisted that this academic was anonymous and, by implication, a mere projection of mine. The inability of the pro-sectarian polemicist to keep track of events was a significant disadvantage for his version of citation. 
 
The two maligned editors transpired to be very tangible academics, one in Australia, and the other in Britain. The one in Australia, Simon Kidd, was indeed as I assessed him,  and Dr. M. E. Dean had even greater status in the academic world. In November 2006, the latter stated on a Wikipedia discussion page: “It is clear that Kevin Shepherd’s work is in good repute with academic researchers in comparative religion.” Serious citations of academics with credentials are not comical, only in the cartoon supplied by cultist preference and ignorance. 
 
In the same misleading blog of 2007, Moreno accentuated his cartoonist plot when he affirmed that “Kevin Shepherd.... publishes the writings of Stephen J. Castro and Kate Thomas through Citizen Initiative Publishing.” This evidences the extent of his misconceptions about who was doing what. There was no such logo as CIP in my case, an extra word having been added. Moreno had also mistaken distributor details for publishing action, which are quite separate activities. 
 
I never published the writings of either Castro or Thomas, who were represented by completely different publishing imprints to my own. Citizen Initiative only published three books, all of these being written by me. For a period of limited duration, I agreed to distribute a few titles I had not published. 
 
In the face of cult misrepresentation, some authors and publishers might have to spend years correcting erroneous lore. This onus will not necessarily be assisted by the “anyone can edit” convenience of Wikipedia. Some observers have concluded that, in my case, Wikipedia has afforded one of the most memorable instances of error and abuse that they know of (via SSS108, alias Moreno, and other erring editors and administrators).
 
Moreno was ignorant of the fact that Dr. Dean had registered his discontent with Wikipedia on the rival Citizendium in early 2007, and using his real name, thus clarifying his obsolete Wikipedia identity (as Jedermann).   Another drawback followed. The same Wikipedia article that this academic transferred (in the original form) to Citizendium acquired a complicating Wikipedia discussion page which featured an attack upon myself via a Moreno (Equalizer) blog. 
 
The Moreno-influenced discussion page remained so discrepant that Wikipedia manager Jimmy Wales  deleted the offensive entry when he investigated the matter in 2012. Wales also knew that the disputed SSS108 (Moreno) User page of 2006 had been widely influential (and detrimental to myself), and he deleted that item also. Wikipedia troll problems can be substantial.
 
Even after revealing his real name identity, the academic Simon Kidd was mocked by the pro-sectarian polemicist Gerald Joe Moreno for supporting me in his Wikipedia discussions, on webpages influenced by Moreno blogtalk. The “Exposer” mentality, committed to a “guru defender” campaign, is not the best guide to Wikipedia events, academic roles, medical complexities, or citations. One drawback involved is that Moreno continued to promote his fictions and misrepresentations on Google.
 
Kevin R. D. Shepherd 
 
ENTRY no. 7 
 
Copyright © 2013 Kevin R. D. Shepherd. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Introduction to Kevin RD Shepherd

Cambridge University Library

In October 2008, Gerald Joe Moreno (alias Equalizer) duplicated his “vanity publisher” theme on a blogspot feature, under the heading of Introduction to Kevin RD Shepherd.  This was examined by my legal adviser, who expressed a negative verdict.
 
The troll blog stated that I am “a garrulous writer adept in writing loose, tabloid-like diatribes composed of rumour, hearsay and poorly researched claims.” More specifically, Equalizer asserted that his blog was “created to refute and respond to Kevin RD Shepherd’s articles against Joe Moreno.” Third person Moreno did not tell the reader that those three articles were written in protest at his stigma and libel. 

The invective of Gerald Joe Moreno was expressed in the original 2007 sub-heading “Kevin Shepherd: The ‘serious amateur’ non-academic writer  who conducts seriously amateurish and biased research.” Moreno did not understand the academic tag of “serious amateur” and himself was a non-academic blogger who had not written any books. He was attempting to justify his cordoning tactic on Wikipedia, an episode which had preceded his indefinite ban.

Moreno expressed the erroneous verdict that the unofficial phrase “serious amateur” was used exclusively in relation to astronomy,  photography, and botany. He derived this acute contraction from a very literal reading at the websites of Cambridge and Oxford universities. This tactic reveals the dependence of bloggers on web entries, as distinct from active participation in research activities. 

On his Equalizer blog, third person Moreno repeated his error of misrepresenting me as having four publishing imprints instead of two. He blatantly  ignored my clearly expressed complaints on this score. He even reproduced his error of New Media Books Ltd, there being no publishing imprint with that name. In contrast, New Media Books did exist, but I was not the publisher of the two books bearing that logo. The only two imprints that were my own were Citizen Initiative and the discontinued Anthropographia. 
 
Moreno had become notorious for never altering his statements; no revision was applicable to him, who was always right. Complaints and protests could be totally ignored as trifling reflections of victims who had dared to counter Moreno, the blog campaigner in the cause of Sathya Sai Baba. 
 
The accusation was made that “Kevin Shepherd has no claim to any sort of academic credentials.” This is not a crime, especially as third person Moreno had no such credentials, no history of library research, and no books to his credit. He contemptuously mentioned my “private research project” at Cambridge University Library (CUL). Equalizer was here anxious to reiterate that CUL was “not to be confused with Cambridge University itself.” This improvisation ignored the major participation of CUL in the life of Cambridge University. 
 
Third person Moreno went on to accuse me of having boasted that I followed “academic rules in citing sources to a greater extent than many academic philosophers.” The context of this reference was lost upon the sectarian apologist. I had protested at the confusion in my Response to Moreno (2007), but the objection was completely ignored by Moreno, whose reporting is unreliable to an acute degree. 
 
Very briefly, some academics had noticed my annotations in published books, and commented that these were more detailed and extensive than the notes found in many works by academic philosophers. The latter are rarely historians, and often employ conceptual sources only, drawn from philosophy. Whereas I did employ references to a variety of scholarly works, including journals and books applying to the history of science, the history of religion, and also social science. I do not claim any distinction in this; I have merely pointed out that the academic assessment did occur in relation to citizen books. 
 
Because of the gross misinterpretation, I had removed the afflicted reference the previous year from my (first) website. Moreno failed to report this action. With typically misleading negligence, he instead gave the impression that the abused quote was ongoing on my site.
 
A curiosity in Equalizer blog labels was noticed. One of these read “Findhorn Foundation Radical.” This was an erroneous definition of myself. I have never been a member of the Findhorn Foundation. I am known as a critic of that organisation, and in a completely independent capacity. 
 
Some blog readers received the impression that I was some sort of new age rebel from the Findhorn Foundation who had wandered into a scruffy minor library in Cambridge, there to boast about my achievements in citing sources, and ultimately to slur the angelic blog giant Joe Moreno with “tabloid-like diatribes.” 
 
Beware of blog introductions, in case these are misleading. 
 
Kevin R. D. Shepherd 
 
ENTRY no. 6 
 
Copyright © 2013 Kevin R. D. Shepherd. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Countering SSS108 and Jossi Fresco



In 2007, I countered the SSS108 (Gerald Joe Moreno) User page on Wikipedia, which dismissed my book Investigating the Sai Baba Movement (2005). The annotated contents of that book were not described by Moreno. The book was referenced in relation to a very brief Wikipedia editorial quote, which Moreno disliked because of explicit associations with his ex-devotee opponent Robert Priddy. The 1993 "bedroom murders" at the Puttaparthi ashram of Sathya Sai were too controversial to be mentioned on Wikipedia (entry no. 4).
 
The stigmatising User page had been assisted by Jossi Fresco, a figurehead for the promotion of religious sects and “cults.” Fresco was influential on Wikipedia as a supporter of the guru Prem Rawat. He eventually became  the subject of much criticism,  and “retired” at the end of  2008. 
 
The offensive User page was quite specific about the subject of censorship, being entitled User:SSS108/Kevin Shepherd. On my first website (2007), I protested at the cordoning gesture, and the evident sectarian complexion of the hostile tactic (this protest, in amplified format, is now Wikipedia Issues). Moreno quickly retaliated from his website saisathyasai.com. He attempted a complete justification of his policy, and presented me as the erring party. His counter included expressions deemed vitriolic and libellous by some readers. A strong underlying theme was that any criticism of Sathya Sai Baba amounted to the critic being wrong and deserving censure.

The guru defender here argued that none of the allegations against Sathya Sai had been proved in a court of law, as though this factor negated all criticism. The allegations were described  in terms of "frenzied Anti-Sai speculations." My protest was dismissed in terms of "just another foaming-at-the-mouth Anti-Sai ruffian (who come a dime a dozen in the Anti-Sai Movement)." I was not a member of any movement. I had written a book with over 500 annotations that was peremptorily dismissed on the basis of appendices associated with the accuser's major ex-devotee opponent.

Extract from an ex-devotee site reproducing an Equalizer (Moreno) blog

Moreno contrived various arguments supposedly proving that I was wrong about all the subjects I had mentioned online in relation to Sathya Sai Baba. For instance, a critical article in The Guardian (2006) was overshadowed by a theme that Moreno’s opponent Sanjay Dadlani had known about that article in advance, and therefore the article was biased, being part of the Anti-Sai conspiracy. My subject was the journalist Paul Lewis, not the ex-devotee  blogger Dadlani. The Lewis article was relevant, though comprising only a fractional part of the information available on Sathya Sai Baba.
 
Avoiding the content of the Lewis article, Moreno preferred to dwell upon polemical references and pornographic associations of his erratic opponent Dadlani, while treating these as proof that criticism of Sathya Sai Baba is erroneous. This recourse answers to a form of diverting commentary and a simplistic pattern of apologist tactic. The acrimonious blog duel between Moreno and Dadlani (both young men) led absolutely nowhere, and included many personal attacks.

Dadlani had composed a blog called Sai Baba Exposed. Moreno countered with Sanjay Dadlani Exposed. Dadlani also produced the blog Gerald 'Joe' Moreno Deception, which  had an entry about The Guardian issue. This was entitled Moreno's Guardian Lies and Speculations, and dated November 2006. Dadlani denied a close collaboration with Paul Lewis, and emphasised that Moreno had misconceived this matter.

The Moreno theme of "exposure" was evidently in retaliation for the proclaimed exposure of the guru by ex-devotees. I belonged to neither of these contending camps, but was regarded by Moreno as a member of the opposition. 
 
I was now stigmatised by Moreno as a “vanity publisher,” an accusation he had also levelled at a prominent ex-devotee (namely Robert Priddy, a retired academic and webmaster). This meant that my eleven books could be treated with contempt and totally ignored. Moreno attacks were the sole gauge for assessment; an insidious implication was that Moreno could not be wrong because he represented the lofty cause of the guru.
 
Not only did he caricature my career as a writer and publisher, but Moreno also made pronounced errors. He even attributed to me two publishing logos that were not my own. He also misleadingly stated that the publisher Routledge “turned away Shepherd’s manuscript.” Routledge never saw that manuscript, merely being told about it, the length being a deterrent to their schedule at the time.
 
In the cult world, unread books can be categorically dismissed. Thousands of annotations do not count against libellous attacks emanating from the troll sphere. Wikipedia activist editing was here revealed in full profile. This is where Jossi Fresco emphases lead: to arrogant misrepresentation and vindictive dismissal.
 
No complaint was legitimate against the elevated spiritual plane of saisathyasai. Here the unassailable and ubiquitous mandate was: “Exposing Critic’s Smear Campaigns Against Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.”
 
My crime had been to insert three short appendices in a lengthy annotated book, appendices that gave space to ex-devotee reports. This meant that all eleven annotated books must be stigmatised and my role misrepresented as that of a vanity publisher. Daring to counter Moreno (Equalizer) himself, the proclaimed Exposer, was a further crime. In the cult world, criticism is not tolerated; instead, critics are made the target of pro-sectarian vitriol.

Kevin R. D. Shepherd

ENTRY no. 5

Copyright © 2013 Kevin R. D. Shepherd. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Wikipedia and Jimmy Wales

Jimmy Wales (Jimbo)

Censorship on Wikipedia is a varied phenomenon, meaning the problem of manipulated articles in which suspect editors gain ascendancy. 
 
The Church of Scientology become widely known for interfering with Wikipedia articles. According to Wikimedia UK, Scientology was the first organisation to be officially banned from Wikipedia, an event dating to 2009. A prolonged arbitration case confirmed that partisan editors had been removing and adding information in Wikipedia articles related to Scientology. The Church of Scientology was accordingly banned from editing, having violated the NPOV (neutral point of view) guideline of Wikipedia. 
 
There are other manifestations of zealous partisan editing on Wikipedia that are less less widely known. Such problems arise from the “anyone can edit” situation in which pseudonyms are a common resort. Critics say that there are many “cult” partisans on Wikipedia who influence articles in the religious category. 
 
Gerald Joe Moreno, alias Equalizer, commenced his attack on myself from Wikipedia in 2006. He was an editor of the article on Sathya Sai Baba, and strident in the delivery of his opinions. One of his ex-devotee opponents, namely Robert Priddy, had been cited favourably in a book of mine entitled Investigating the Sai Baba Movement (2005). To Moreno, this meant that my book must be eliminated from reference on Wikipedia, especially when this book was listed in the (Wikipedia) article on Priddy. 
 
Moreno here used the editorial pseudonym of SSS108, and produced a Wikipedia User page which stigmatised my books. He had not read those books, and was solely concerned with his attempt to suppress the Wikipedia article on his opponent Robert Priddy. Moreno  resorted to the pretext of my self-publishing as legitimation for his hostility, although the general context was clearly an argument in favour of Sathya Sai Baba, an argument strongly resisting criticism. 

 
The Moreno (SSS108) User page revolved around a Wikipedia quotation featuring Priddy and the notorious bedroom murders  occurring at the ashram of Sathya Sai Baba. The editorial quote in dispute read: 
“According to Kevin Shepherd the former national leader of the Sathya Sai movement in Norway, Robert Priddy, expressed the opinion that SSB [Sathya Sai Baba] was an accomplice to the 1993 murders, among others based on information given to him by his friend V. K. Narasimhan.” 
The editorial quote was dismissed. The same User page featured the collaborating "cult" sympathiser Jossi Fresco, whose profile on Wikipedia became controversial. The following year, in 2007, Gerald Joe Moreno (SSS108) was banned indefinitely from Wikipedia  for activist editing. Fresco eventually encountered problems which led to his withdrawal from Wikipedia. 
 
The same SSS108 (Moreno) User page was deleted from Wikipedia several years later (in 2012) by the Wikipedia manager Jimmy Wales, who made private comments. Meanwhile, that User page had been influential on Google and on Wikipedia. The issue is one of Wikipedia troll activity adversely influencing internet audiences. 
 
Kevin R. D. Shepherd 
 
ENTRY no. 4 
 
Copyright © 2013 Kevin R. D. Shepherd. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Basava Premanand and Moreno Attack

In his attack on Professor Tulasi Srinivas  (entry no. 2 on this blog), Gerald Joe Moreno correctly observed that the anthropologist cited the present writer as a “biographer of Shirdi Sai Baba” (Srinivas, Winged Faith, p. 354 note 24). Moreno was decidedly averse to this favourable reference; he insisted upon describing me as “a vanity self-publisher who admitted he is not an academic.”
 
An academic status is not necessary for a biographer, and the Moreno version of publishing is very much in question. Moreno himself was not an academic, and had no books to his credit. His phraseology is deceptive. I did not need to make any admission, never having posed as an academic.

Basava Premanand

In the same attack feature, Moreno identified me as “a malicious critic of Sathya Sai Baba who has ridiculously accused the Guru [capital G] of being ‘closely allied with terrorists’ and who fanatically accused Moreno [third person] of being an ‘internet hit man’ and an ‘internet terrorist’.” 
 
These remarks typically lacked context. Moreno had often been accused of fanaticism by victims. My reference to guru-related terrorism followed the reporting of Basava Premanand (1930-2009), the Indian rationalist and major critic of Sathya Sai Baba. Premanand opposed Sathya Sai for many years, contesting the supposedly miraculous feats of that famous guru. Premanand also referred to numerous murders and other problems which he associated closely with Sathya Sai. Many of the details here are unconfirmed, but it is legitimate (and even obligatory) to cite the output of the major Indian critic,  One is not necessarily being at all malicious in so doing. Amongst other matters, Premanand informed the BBC (quite credibly) that he had been attacked by violent pro-guru extremists.
 
I did indeed accuse Gerald Joe Moreno (alias Equalizer, SSS108) of being an internet terrorist, a phrase which appeared in the title of a web article composed in 2009. That description arose because of his continued hostility, despite my complaints commencing in 2007, complaints which had appeared on two websites of mine. One of those complaints related to the fact that Moreno had duplicated hostile and misleading accounts of myself (found on his website saisathyasai) on a blogspot cycle featuring the pseudonym of Equalizer (i.e., Moreno).
 
This belligerent excess in my direction was matched by similar gestures against ex-devotees. Many observers were prepared to credit my description of “internet terrorist.” Moreno had gained the reputation of a cyberstalker.
 
The Moreno output is classifiable in the basic sense implied by the phrase “hate campaign,” meaning attack blogs which exhibit vehement and distorted arguments frequently tending to libel. See Hate Campaign Blogs. Obsessive multi-entry blogs targeting  the same victim are an indication of strong antipathy. Gerald Joe Moreno (Equalizer) achieved nine of these inquisitions at blogspot, in addition to his deadly website saisathyasai.com, described by some victims as the portal to hell. Such treatment can easily arouse retaliation, which may be necessary for self-defence.
 
Equalizer (Moreno) resorted to an animation device on his blogspot attacks. This device declared a “Campaign to stop Anti-Sai Activist’s Abuse.” The word Abuse here alternated with Defamation, Libels, and Dishonesty. This verbalism reflected the attitude of Moreno that all allegations of abuse made against Sathya Sai Baba were hopelessly wrong, and therefore all condoning reference to those allegations was a crime. In Moreno language, any emphasis on allegations meant Dishonesty and Abuse.
 
In this perspective, the informants about abuse, including the ex-devotee victims of abuse, were despicable Anti-Sai Abusers. That was the basic gist of Moreno’s aggressive argument about the “Anti-Sai” contingent. This conceptual scheme was viewed by Moreno (Equalizer) as granting him the right to denigrate all critics, who were treated to vehemently contemptuous dismissals.
 
From 2004, Moreno became the major (though unofficial) web apologist for the Sathya Sai Organisation. His attack site demonstrated fervent “Pro-Sai” enthusiasm, and denounced critics of Sathya Sai Baba. Gerald Joe Moreno also maintained an extensive blog at sathyasaibaba.wordpress, which again exhibited the pseudonym of Equalizer, and rather deceptively claimed to mediate “love and spirituality.” 
 
Critics objected that the "love and spirituality" decodes to an intensive mode of hate campaign discernible across the spectrum of Moreno web activity. At blogspot.com, Moreno (Equalizer) specifically described his presentation in terms of a campaign against critics of Sathya Sai Baba. 
 
His strategy on Google Search aroused increasing resistance. Moreno continually accused his critics of "deception." His entries on Google Search name listings (of his victims) became notorious for disparaging statements and aspersions which showed on those listings. See further Moreno and Ex-Devotees and Pro-Sai Detractors.

Kevin R. D. Shepherd

ENTRY no. 3 

Copyright © 2013 Kevin R. D. Shepherd. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Tulasi Srinivas and Moreno

Professor Tulasi Srinivas

From 2004, Gerald Joe Moreno (Equalizer) conducted an intensive internet campaign against critics of Sathya Sai Baba (d. 2011), and also critics of himself. Significantly perhaps, his campaign worked against this guru, who did not look good as a figurehead for aggressive denunciations. There were many resentful victims of Moreno taunts and libels, so frequently operating under pseudonyms like Equalizer. Moreno also attacked families and friends of his victims. Ex-devotees of Sathya Sai Baba listed his extensive breaches of etiquette.
 
Moreno made a very big mistake when he attacked a university Professor in June 2010. See Politics of Religion.  This attack occurred at his website and also featured on a blog. Professor Tulasi Srinivas was well disposed to Sathya Sai Baba, and certainly not a critic, a fact which makes the attack particularly discrepant. The web aggressor accused Srinivas of “tattered research,” and described her book Winged Faith (2010) as “poorly researched, highly biased.” He opined that Srinivas was too inclusive of critical ex-devotee reports concerning Sathya Sai Baba, reports which Moreno stridently denounced. The Moreno accusation of poor research resembles his criticism of the present writer.
 
The book of Srinivas was published by Columbia University Press.  In his agitation against that book, Moreno negated his depreciatory theme in my direction about self-published works. The truth is that he reflected adversely upon any writing that contradicted his own militant campaign in the cause of Sathya Sai Baba.
 
Moreno accused Professor Srinivas of “errors, inaccuracies, misrepresentations and subjective inferences.” This disparagement accompanied his familiar refrain that all critics of Sathya Sai Baba are unreliable sources, and indeed too ridiculous to merit any credence. In this manner, testimonies to abuse are eliminated.
 
Moreno even cast aspersions upon the academic role of Professor Srinivas as an anthropologist at Emerson College.  “There is little doubt they would all laugh her out of Emerson College.” Moreno says this more than once, the implication being that his version of the controversy would have such an effect of dismissal. In his adamant perspective, the anthropologist was laughable because she had cited ex-devotees who were beyond serious consideration.
 
Another accusation was that she (Professor Srinivas) “never attempted to contact Moreno even once.” The accuser is here typically in the third person. The academic was upbraided for describing Moreno as a devotee of Sathya Sai. He had disavowed this orientation on his website in 2005. However, the purported non-devotee programme of attack clearly evidences a partisan attitude, and a circumspect tactic has been suggested. The present writer had earlier been admonished for not contacting Moreno, who had a habit of parading emails of contacts as proof of error.
 
The Moreno broadcast served to alert some academics to the confusion and misrepresentation created  by internet polemic in “guru defender” format.
 
The book by Srinivas gained different responses. An ex-devotee spokesman urged that the author of Winged Faith had not gone far enough in presenting the critical arguments against Sathya Sai. See Research into Sathya Sai Baba Issues. Cf. my own review Srinivas and Winged Faith.
 
The Moreno website (saisathyasai) declared “Joe Moreno” as the webmaster. His attack on Srinivas also appeared at wordpress.com. As a result of strong criticism, Moreno was now also using his real name (in full) on a new blog feature. Yet many of his blogs are pseudonymous, a convenience extending from his deposed Wikipedia role as SSS108.
 
Professor Srinivas had named Moreno in a footnote: “Sanjay Dadlani and a devotee called Joe (Gerald) Moreno have also engaged in such vituperative arguments that they have been banned from contributing material to some portions of the Internet” (Winged Faith, p. 372 note 48). No further details are given. Moreno was banned from Wikipedia in 2007, though not in relation to Dadlani. The blog duel between Moreno and Dadlani occurred earlier, with no resolution emerging.
 
Kevin R. D. Shepherd
 
ENTRY no. 2
 
Copyright © 2013 Kevin R. D. Shepherd. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Cult Campaign of Equalizer

Sathya Sai Baba (d. 2011)

A sectarian apologist, calling himself Equalizer, created a defamatory blog against me at blogspot.com. The real name of that offender is Gerald Joe Moreno. An American living in New Mexico, he gained the reputation of being a cyberstalker and libeller. Lawyers in three different countries passed a negative verdict on his output

Moreno, alias Equalizer, launched the notorious website called saisathyasai.com. This features many attacks against critics of his guru Sathya Sai Baba (died 2011). Most of these critics were ex-devotees of the guru, disillusioned people who complained about strongly alleged misdemeanours that are now well known. Moreno treated the allegations of sexual abuse as crimes of dishonesty. He resorted to a scenario of Pro-Sai versus Anti-Sai,  the latter being depicted as aberrant in his denunciations. 

In 2008-9, Moreno undertook a separate blog cycle against me at blogspot.com. He duplicated numerous hostile items appearing on his website. This was after I had protested more than once against the misrepresentations he furthered. He claimed to “expose” me in his hate campaign. Very aggressively, he called his blogspot cycle Kevin Shepherd Exposed. There were 27 entries. 

The contents of that hostility are not reasoned critiques but attack blogs composed in an excessive style of invective. The Moreno (Equalizer) attacks include misconceptions, distortions, and libels. Despite my continued repudiation of his attacks and my protests at defamation, Moreno has not deleted his aggressive blogspot cycle, evidently hoping to maintain his deceptions.

On the present blog, I will counter a number of his distortions and defamations. This is a supplement to my existing web protests, e.g., Internet Terrorist

The Moreno attacks on myself featured an excess of vehement denunciations, accompanied by such stigmas as “Anti-Sai Extremist.” In fact, I did not mount any web campaign against the guru, and was not an ex-devotee. Instead, I complained about the Wikipedia tactic of Moreno (User SSS108), who proscribed all my books on the basis of ex-devotee reports found in the appendices of only one book. Observers noted the extremist action of Moreno in bracketing me with ex-devotee activists.

This issue has various dimensions of interest to analysts of contemporary religious movements. When affiliates of such movements are seen to adopt extremist attitudes and manifestations, then I agree with those analysts who apply the term “cult” to deviations from due conduct. 

Kevin R.D. Shepherd

ENTRY no. 1 

Copyright © 2013 Kevin R. D. Shepherd. All Rights Reserved.