Flag Follows Trade. Abetting Indian Government Corruption
Posted by Barry Pittard on April 1, 2007
Since late 1999, I have extensively investigated worldwide allegations against Sathya Sai Baba, India’s most famous guru. A follower for 25 years, and lecturer for 2 years in one of his colleges, I am gravely concerned at his deep penetration into many cultures, and have contributed research about it to leading world media. This includes television documentaries by Denmark’s national broadcaster, entitled ‘Seduced’ (screened in Australia by its national multicultural broadcaster as ‘Seduced by Sai Baba,’) and the BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’, as well as newspapers in several countries. The latter documentary first aired in June 2004, and has been seen in over 120 countries.
For many who saw the BBC documentary, much of the most convincing evidence was inescapably seen in the reactions of Sai Baba’s high profile devotees. World Chairman of Sai Baba’s organization, Dr Michael Goldstein, a physician of Covina, California, U.S.A., told the BBC cameras that devotees believe Sai Baba is Jesus Christ, Buddha, and “has always been God.” In actual fact, what Sai Baba says is that he embodies the God who sent the saviours and prophets. Dr Goldstein acted very differently to what these and other teachers have inspired. Not knowing he was being televised, he was angry, arrogant and disrespected totally fair questions about processes of accountability. Prominent Sai Baba devotee and minister in the former Vajpayee government, Murali Manohar Joshi, disgracefully tried to browbeat the BBC interviewer Tanya Datta. He was clearly in cover-up mode, too. A further 80 plus hours of investigative BBC footage exist, in a project that took intensive months of travel abroad, including to India. The team was able to uncover for themselves further accounts of sexual abuse of young males by Sai Baba. These were unknown to closely networked former followers and other Sai Baba investigators around the world who already knew of many compelling cases.
Tony Blair and Foreign Office: Don’t Rock the Boat With India on Sai Baba
We know that at the most senior levels of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office British Labor MP Tony Colman, former member for Putney, was abruptly told to back off on Sai Baba because India as a world power must be placated. In January 2002, Prime Minister Tony Blair assured Tony Colman he would not visit Sai Baba in India:
However, India’s then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee (Sai Baba’s long-time devotee) visited Blair in England. But who held the upper hand? The question hangs in the air, for some fifty MP’s who had signed, in February 2002, the Early Day Motion 886 fell silent. As the Whips of both major parties cracked, their silenced motion read:
“This House, mindful of the many accounts and witness statements of the sexual abuse of the male children of devotees by the Indian guru, Sai Baba, calls upon the Foreign Secretary to use the Travel Advice for India page of the Foreign Office website to issue guidance to British families intending to visit the Ashram of Sai Baba about the possible danger to their male children of individual audiences with the guru.”
U.S. State Department Names Sai Baba
In May 2004, the U.S. State Department named Sai Baba to the BBC as the subject of their November 2001 travel advisory for India. Under the heading ‘Andhra Pradesh – Crime Information’ on its website, it warned, of “reports of inappropriate sexual behavior by a prominent local religious leader”. The area information made it clear to all but the innocent that Sai Baba was the ‘religious leader. But a country’s travel advisory is also for the benefit of the innocent!
But to the disgust of many fine and decent former Sai Baba devotee American citizens (and to their supporters around the world) who had courageously re-lived their traumatic experiences to give documentation, the 2001 travel advisory had used the term ‘unconfirmed’ of these reports. It struck us that diplomatic nicety (read, gutlessness) was being expressed, and our subsequent experiences with governments on these issues have reinforced this feeling. The travel warning stated:
“Most of the reports indicate that the subjects of these approaches have been young male devotees, including a number of Americans”.
In fact, around a dozen high echelon State Department officials, both in New Delhi and Washington, had been involved in extensive discussions and two political officers in Chennai had been appointed to investigate Sai Baba and his operations. Despite all this, in the upshot, the diplomatic fear to offend seemed evident. In any event, the response was watery, and Sai Baba’s name was not included in the travel advisory issued. It was not until David Savill, a BBC producer, probed in 2004 that American officials were prepared to name Sai Baba to him. With the same sort of no-nonsense questioning, the BBC was able to enforce compromising admissions by UNESCO officials in regard to a media advisory, which the Indian Foreign Minister had got UNESCO to expunge. See my Article ‘Does UNESCO Really Protect Our Young. The Case of the Missing Media Advisory’:
Do 66 Hawk Class Jet Fighters Really Protect The Young?
In 2000, the U.K. government made desperate efforts to beat off its fierce aeronautical competitor the U.S. for a contract to sell India fighter aircraft. Labor and Conservative lobbies combined, and the sale of Britain’s 66 Hawk class jet fighters from BAS, British Aeronautical Systems, worth over a billion pounds sterling succeeded. In the midst of intense negotiations, the then Indian PM, Atal Bihari Vajpayee wrote a public letter defending Sai Baba, and met Blair at the prime minister’s official country residence Checkers:
See also: ‘Tony Blair Was to Visit Sai Baba. Plan Thwarted’: https://barrypittard.wordpress.com/2007/03/17/tony-blair-was-to-visit-sai-baba-plan-thwarted/
Trade Preoccupation Threatens U.K. Citizens, Young and Old
We found that Blair himself ordered the Fraud Squad of the London Metropolitan Police actions to desist from further investigation of Sai Baba related matters, on the grounds that these were “International matters”. The British government – with intense participation of Labour Friends of India and Conservative Parliamentary Friends of India and the Indo-British Parliamentary Group – was far more interested in trade bonanzas with India than in investigating consequences of entanglement with Sai Baba to many British citizens. This includes not only the moral interests particularly of boys and young men but, for example, the elderly and sick who mistakenly travel at great risk to Sai Baba having believed Sai Baba when he says to come and lay all their sicknesses and suffering at his feet. A proper investigation of the supposed effectiveness or otherwise of Sai Baba’s supposed miracles of healing is vastly overdue. Devotees know that many of his promises of healing have not, like so many of his prophecies too, not been fulfilled. They take refuge in certain extraordinary cases, but inexplicable disease remissions are known to occur in countless contexts throughout the world. Governments, in close coordination with the healing professions, need closely to monitor those who make unusual claims to healing powers.
Current Indian Heads of State in Sai Baba’s Grip – like Predecessors
(Or is it – he in theirs?)
The BBC cameras showed India’s President Abdul Kalam and recently elected Prime Minister Manmohan Singh attending Sai Baba’s birthday celebrations. Singh had visited him before. It has been said that Kalam wants, in time, to retire to Sai Baba’s ashram. It is a place where so many of India’s power brokers flock. The ashram is a veritable armed camp, a bit like post WW2 Berlin. Evidence abounds that Singh’s party, when earlier in power, suppressed official investigations into the 1993 police killings in Sai Baba’s private quarters. The very powerful politician S.B. Chavan was Home Minister at the time, and reports indicate that he was closely connected with the enormous cover-up that was rapidly put in place, and has been kept in place by successive administrations. Police investigators and journalists were made to shut up. A former Home Secretary of Sai Baba’s state Andhra Pradesh, V.P.B. Nair, told the BBC, these were “absolutely cold-blooded murder.” Braving immensely powerful vested interests in the Indian police force and central and state governments, Nair has said that he seeks to re-open the case. Even after all these years later.
Old-Fashioned Moral Outrage Still Lives – Occasionally
In 2003, at the time of the screening of ‘Seduced’ by Denmark’s national broadcaster, Danish public outrage cancelled a US $6 million International Sai School, which was to have been largely funded by the U.S. multimillionaire Bob Bozzani, one of the foremost Sathya Sai Organization leaders in the U.S.A. The sale to Sai Baba’s organization of the famous historic Arresødal castle in a fashionable suburb of Copenhagen was stopped. In Australia, thousands follow Sai Baba. There is a Sai School, in Murwillumbah, 70% funded by the New South Wales Government. We have school minutes that reveal the parents and teachers at this Sai School being told that those making the allegations are only two or three. Some concerned parents have withdrawn their children. UNESCO withdrew its sponsorship of a major Sai Baba education conference at Puttaparthi in September 2000. Vice Chancellors of the Universities of Flinders and of Adelaide and heads of several UK institutions have cut ties – e.g. the University of Manchester, the University College of London, Downe House public school, Lord Wandsworth College.
The Roman Catholic Bishop of Clifton, Glastonbury, ended a tie with Sai Baba leaders David and Ann Jevons and their Ramala Centre. The Roman Catholics Bishops’ Conference have made moves to prevent Sai Organization links. In Australia, the Katoomba Christian Convention Center, Australia, like the two Universities in South Australia, cancelled a link. See: Three Stooges Meet ‘The Secret Swami’: https://barrypittard.wordpress.com/2007/03/28/three-stooges-meet-the-secret-swami/
Sai Baba has often unaccountable billions in his exchequer, and millions of devotees globally. He has a secular front in many countries the idea of which is to insert the influence of his devotees into mainstream education as a lead-up to what many devotees have termed ‘the Sai Revolution’. As Dominic Kennedy in the Times of London August 27, 2001, has documented, Sai Baba’s devotees introduce programs into schools. He wrote:
“Sai Baba’s children’s course, Education in Human Values, is taught in schools in 100 countries. It promotes five qualities: truth (satya), righteousness (dharma), peace (shanti), love (prema) and nonviolence (ahimsa). Education in Human Values rejects rote learning, emphasising Indian techniques such as “silent sitting”, quotation, story-telling, song and group activities …… Another British charity, the Human Values Foundation, says it has reached more than 500 schools. Its chairman, Dennis Eagan, said ‘The foundation has nothing to do with Sai Baba’.
“But the Human Values Foundation’s programme is also called “Education for Human Values”. It promotes Sai Baba’s same five virtues, using “silent sitting”, activities, songs, quotations and stories. Its president, June Auton, has been a regular visitor to Sai Baba’s ashram”.
In various social service programs, the Sathya Sai Organization strives to link with respected mainstream charities and institutions. It works among indigenous peoples. There are recruitment drives at extremely costly venues such as the Copley International Conference Center, a Hilton Ballroom, the Cooper Union, La Mirada Theatre, Sydney Superdome, Melbourne Town Hall. The Sathya Sai Organization typically hides from the public their belief that he, God incarnate, ‘Father of Jesus Christ’, the same One to whom Jews, Mahomedans, etc., pray, will soon take charge of the world, before he dies in AD 2022, God fully incarnate for the first and last time in history. In short, Sai Baba’s leaders engage in misrepresentation and false advertizing.
Will India Be a Morally Impotent Superpower?
“The Secret Swami” raised serious questions about the social maturity of successive Indian governments – which have profoundly protected Sai Baba. Will she flourish as a genuine democracy? Will her plethora of power brokers who run their lives – as does Sai Baba himself – on the vagaries of the two ‘karmic control planets’ Rahu and Kethu equip her for superpower status? Will so many of her supposedly educated classes, no less than the superstitious masses with their simpler gods, ever stop running after myriad gurus, and elevating flawed human beings into the status of demigods? The Indian media is often emasculate and cowed, and has a shocking record of suppression in matters adverse to Sai Baba. With a rare exception like India Today, it has been afraid to move on Sai Baba. Only recently, in the face of continuing Sai Baba exposures by the foreign media, did some of its media take a news feed the Indo-Asian News Service, one of whose journalists, Sudeshna Sarkar (an Indian domiciled in Nepal) undertook some investigations in London at the time of Paul Lewis’s story, November 4, 2006, in The Guardian, ‘The Indian living god, the paedophilia claims and the Duke of Edinburgh awards’:
Advanced Democracies In Retreat
What to speak of the moral and ethical status of so-called advanced democratic governments that refuse to ‘rock the boat with India’ (as, in relation to Sai Baba, senior foreign service staff have expressed it)? To be sure, some big trade, finance and other players do worship Sai Baba as God. However, notionally linking India’s interests to those of Sai Baba and his influential devotees is extremely insulting to many in India, who have no truckle with him. When realpolitik prevents the protection of our children and our elderly, we lose any title we may have to be called civilized.