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

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