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.