The Secret Swami. BBC Docu. Review. Condensed
Posted by Barry Pittard on October 16, 2007
Many have sought out my article, The BBC’s The Secret Swami – A Revision. However, it is very long, and many readers are very busy. So, for the sake of condensation, here, in the form of quotes, are some key pieces of information from it. Downloadable video footage is in the clickable references at the foot of this present blog.
- Focus on One Family Obscures Vast Extent of Allegations
- Governments Placate India
- Supposedly God, Sai Baba Woos Heads of State and other Big Players
- Foreign Goose Lays Multi-billion Dollar Eggs For Sai Baba
- BBC’s Tanya Datta asks: ‘Is Sai Baba Above The Law?’
- Oiling Penises Not A Hindu Ritual. (Nor Of Other World Faiths)
- Top Indian Minister Shows Ugly Face of Indian Government Sai Baba Patronage
- Dr Goldstein Tells BBC “I am what I am – a consummate professional”
- “He Could Go Out And Murder” Says Billionaire backer, Isaac Tigrett
- “Absolutely Cold-blooded Murder”, Says Former Home Secretary, V.P.B.Nair
- Room For Many More Documentaries
“The BBC’s cameras at Sathya Sai Baba’s ashram at Puttaparthi in South India catch the pomp, circumstance, opulence and the highly stage-managed atmosphere of the crowded Mahasivaratri festival, February 2004”
“V.P.B. Nair, former Home Secretary in Sai Baba’s State of Andhra Pradesh at the time of the killings, is seen in the BBC television documentary on Sai Baba, The Secret Swami, (2004), where he says that the police killings were “cold-blooded murder””.
“The Secret Swami confines itself to four areas:
- Accusations down many years of Sai Baba’s serial sexual molestation of young males from various countries
- His implication in police executions in his private quarters on June 6, 1993
- Cover-up by him and the leadership of his worldwide organization, and as well as by successive Indian governments, of major criminal allegations
- His faking of miracles”
“BBC producer Eamon Hardy and his team’s view was that serious questions are raised about India’s political maturity”.
“Focusing on one family meant no examination of anything like the full extent of the allegations. It also meant no examination of the multiple billions (that’s a ‘b’ not an ‘m’) that pour into the Sathya Sai Central Trust coffers from all over the world, or of financial scams by his administration (e.g., the selling of apartments which are sometimes later taken away from the paid up owners), which devotees blindly accept, as “tests of faith”. It meant no examination of Tony Blair’s and also the Conservative Party Whips suppression of over fifty British parliamentarians (an earlier list showing, as I recall 47, was incomplete) to raise Sai Baba-related issues in the House of Commons. This was at a time when Blair wanted to placate the then Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee so as to win a contract for 66 jet fighters for India. The BBC had evidence from a former British diplomat that Vajpayee demanded of Blair that he cool down the activity concerning Sathya Sai Baba, whose long-time devotee Vajpayee was, and is. The urgency to win the deal was bi-partisan”. For futher information, see my article, Flag Follows Trade. Abetting Indian Government Corruption
“Other documentaries will need to look at the supposedly miraculously materialized jewelry which independent international assayers like the Queen of Denmark’s crown jeweler attest are faked”
“Caught by the BBC cameras for all time, Sai Baba pretended to vomit up pure gold Siva Lingam. A few minutes later, he told his vast audience:
“Out of the stomach emanated Shiva Lingas of the weight of three tonnes. That’s the reason why some strain on the face and the body”.
“BBC producers say that Sai Baba’s top leaders at first thought the documentary would present a ‘positive image’ of their guru and the works of his organization to the world. Hence the rare permission for the BBC to shoot at Sai Baba’s ashram”.
“The exposure by Denmark’s national broadcaster in its 2003 documentary Seduced (renamed Seduced By Sai Baba in the English language version by Australia’s national multicultural broadcaster SBS), seen by millions in Denmark, Norway and Australia – when the top Sai leaders in Denmark and Australia made unavailing threats of legal action – must still have haunted their minds”.
“Showing three zealous western devotees eccentrically rhapsodizing about Sai Baba fails to indicate his appeal to people of many cultures and socio-economic backgrounds. Filming eccentrics detracts from the serious purpose seen elsewhere in the documentary. It obscures the interest he has evoked in figures of great power (e.g., Bill and Hillary Clinton (more particularly Hillary), Al Gore, Mikhail and (the late) Raisa Gorbachev (a friend of mine informed me that Mrs Gorbachev told her that Gorbachev had a book of discourses by Sai Baba as his bedside reading). Confirmation of the Clinton connection and their readiness to meet Sai Baba, which was thwarted by security advisors on both sides, was given to me by my beloved friend, one of Sai Baba closest of all servitors, the great Indian author and newspaper Editor (the late) V.K. Narasimhan. The sheer penetration of Sai Baba’s influence is of real concern”.
“One learns that The U.S. minerals magnate James Sinclair got upset when Sai Baba officials announced sums of money that he had donated, so it is likely that his continuing donations are now not being disclosed. However, we know that he twice donated U.S. 600 million dollars. I shall have to see whether I can check the figure but I think Sinclair further donated $100 million for Sai Baba’s first water project, a sum announced by Indulal Shah (then head of the Sathya Sai Organization) at Sai Baba’s 70th birthday celebrations, when Shah listed every donor to the Water Project who had given at least one crore. U.S. devotee friends who knew Sinclair and his wife, (the late) Barbara Sinclair said that Sinclair was very shocked that his name would brought out”.
“Would many Indian politicians, notorious for their extreme corruption, dare expose the foreign goose that lays the (cosmic!) golden egg? Driving this question would have reinforced the documentary’s fundamental query about whether India is a mature democracy”.
“We see the hospital by English architect Keith Critchlow for Sai Baba (a long-time conduit to Prince Charles). Largely funded by Isaac Tigrett and inaugurated in 1991, this hi-tech heart and kidney hospital even outdazzles the many-splendoured architecture of the ashram. BBC cameras miss the names of other big donors, overseas and Indian, which are on a Roll of Honour in the hospital portico. Indeed, The Secret Swami fails to mention the billions that pour into the Sai coffers from various countries such as Australia, Canada, Hong Kong (indeed, the Chinese diaspora), Germany, Indonesia, Japan, UK, USA … Like the American James Sinclair (who often works from Canada), the precious metals speculator, alone has donated several hundreds of millions of dollars)”.
“To convince the most critical, the BBC needed demonstrations as sophisticated as those in the Danish documentary Seduced (a copy of which the BBC possessed) where the Danish magician Nils Krøjgaard exposes the deceptions involved”.
“Confronted by the BBC’s Tanya Datta, Murli Manohar Joshi, one of the most powerful ministers in the since-defeated right wing Vajpayee government, soon loses his temper, jabbing away with pointed finger at Ms Datta, accusing the BBC and people in England of plotting against Sai Baba, A.B. Vajpayee and P.N. Bhagwati (a key Sathya Sai Central Trust member and former Chief Justice of India). He arrogantly shouts at her: “No, no, no… You don’t know the meaning of interviewing a minister in my capacity, as a minister of my stature””.
“So repeatedly evasive was Dr Michael Goldstein that the BBC team gained permission from BBC heads and legals to film him with hidden cameras. The BBC cleverly gets him to admit the correctness of the Rahm family’s report of his words. Unlike his archangelic namesake and just like Joshi, his finger repeatedly jabs at Tanya Datta as he snarls, blusters and fulminates. Seemingly in need of a child’s first dictionary, Dr Goldstein hurls the questions, “Transparency in what sense?” and “What do you mean by thorough investigation”? He says that his “heart and his conscience” know that the allegations of sexual molestation could not be true. But what about the heart and conscience of families and individuals around the world who give accounts of Sai Baba’s tragic harming of their boy children?”
“We see the President of India Dr A. P. J. Abdul Kalam and Dr Manmohan Singh (now India’s Prime Minister) visiting Sai Baba on his birthday. The ‘secret swami’ does not have to go to Indian Presidents, Prime Ministers and other power brokers on all sides of politics. They go to him!”
“In exposing a dangerous and influential cult, The Secret Swami is plucky and perceptive. Canada’s national broadcaster CBC was waylaid by hundreds of phone calls and emails by Sai Baba devotees, both before and after the screenings of the documentary in Canada. The program host said on air “We stand by the professionalism of our BBC colleagues”.
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