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of Sathya Sai Baba And his worldwide cult, the Sathya Sai Organization

Archive for June, 2009

A Cult’s Powerful Grip. (Sathya Sai Baba Sect Example)

Posted by Barry Pittard on June 29, 2009

Since leaving Sathya Sai Baba in October 1999, I have counted around 10 major ‘flags’ that I myself ignored. The realization of most of these resistances only occurred over time. Coming out of the spell’s grip is a painful, arduous process. Approached with rigorous self-questioning and the company of loving, caring and insightful individuals, the process can be full of learning, personal renewal, and a sense of release from hard-held self-concepts. One confronts oneself, far more than anyone or anything else.

Many of us ignored the “whistles” or “flags”. They did not seem at all related to the sublimity (very different to the merely euphoric) of my own and many others’ experiences. I had lovely Sai devotee friends and acquaintances from various cultures and educational levels who reported direct experiences, with clearly the utmost sincerity, supraphenomenal Sai Baba-related events occurring in their homes and other places or even as they travelled around the world, and sometimes in his physical presence. I can see now that such experiences do not equate to establishing the divinity of Sathya Sai Baba. I have met others who have had such remarkable experiences, which are not related to his name or form.

What has been unlovely in many Sai devotees’ response to those in dissent has been their forgetfulness that they, over decades, honored the integrity, devotion and dedication to service of many who have since left, among these being long-time foremost leaders. Again the cultic grip on minds is revealed. It is one that undermines and evaporates many people’s commonsense and, all the more sadly, common decency.

The supraphenomena – which I would distinguish from the many proven instances of Sathya Sai Baba faking miracles – I still cannot, in a number of ways, account for. But the contrary evidence to Sathya Sai Baba’s being other than one of history’s profoundly flawed phenomena, is far too compelling. In regard to the faking of miracles, quite apart from much else, See:

BBC and Other Film Footage Shows India’s Top Guru Sathya Sai Baba Faking Miracles

There are disagreements among intelligent, educated former devotees themselves. I think that one of the key reasons for this is that many have not experienced the phenomena, and frequently heard of miracles from others. However, I will not deny my own experiences and am profoundly grateful to have had them. My trust is that a more sophisticated – and honest – science of the future will be able to resolve some of the, for me, as yet unexplained phenomena. 

This acknowledgement of mine does not at all refute – as some voices incapable of arguing rigorously have tried to make it appear – the great amount of evidence for criminal and other abuses by Sathya Sai Baba and certain of his core servitors. This has typically and constantly been opposed by libel, harassment, stalking and personal attacks, even to the point of using children whose parents have spoken out (one of them only nine years old!), naming them on the Internet and attacking the growing business of a young decent extremely hard-working mother on the basis of his badly-flawed information and fallacious arguments. The perpetrator, Gerald Joe Moreno of New Mexico, is known to be regularly connected with cooperative prominent and rank-and-file Sathya Sai Baba personnel. Their support in culumnies and attacks are entirely opposed to the guru’s teachings. See:  

Robert Priddy’s Series On Sathya Sai Baba Man, Gerald Moreno

Nowhere has the Sathya Sai Organization been able to answer the many facts and arguments advanced by writers such as Robert Priddy, Brian Steel, Serguei Badaev (go to Brian Steel’s home page and insert:  Serguei Badaev), Timothy Conway Ph.D., and those many former Sathya Sai Baba devotees who have attempted to raise the matters with top leaders of the Sathya Sai Organization. I include, too, the writings of the independent British scholar Kevin Shepherd, who has never had affiliation with Sathya Sai Baba, but likewise (along, even more miserably, with his mother) who, typically, has been attacked as soon as he raised serious issues.

I will not overlook the tremendous motivation within Sai devotees to do worthy social work inspired by their teacher. However, no matter how much worthy social work a leader or (more to the point, his devotees) may do, there is accountability before the law, and other accountability processes that weigh on all citizens, at least in democratic countries.  

I shall add that Sathya Sai Baba and many of his devotees to hail the education and social uplift works carried out in his name as unique. These statements do grave injustice to many such works conducted by countless admirable service organizations around the world.

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Posted in Morality, New Age, Opinion, Religion, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Iran Outrages Show Importance of Film and Other Evidence Against Oppression

Posted by Barry Pittard on June 25, 2009

The violent suppression by security forces in Iran, just as the oppression practised on a vast scale by China, reminds one of the importance of photographic exposure of various kinds of abuses, and dissemination worldwide.

Who can forget the importance of speedily smuggled photos and the use of fax machines in exposing the massacre at the Tienanmen Square protests of 1989? Or, the use of mobile and Internet technology in recent hours and days in exposing the violent regime in Iran. In this way, a heart-rent world has just witnessed, for example, the killing on the streets of Iran of the 16 years old music student Neda Agha-Soltan. Twitter and YouTube have been able to lead the way.

Importance of Reliable Photographic and Other Evidence 

As a result of BBC, Doordarshan and other footage, fake miracles of Sathya Sai Baba have been exposed. It is by these so-called miracles that he has, along with his powerful charisma, been able to gain such power.  See:

Right Hand. Sleight Hand. Watch Sai Baba Cheat With Sacred Ash (Film clip)

Sai Baba No Shiva. Gold From His Gut Is Regurgitator’s Trick

BBC and Other Film Footage Shows India’s Top Guru Sathya Sai Baba Faking Miracles

Note, too, how the BBC in its 2004 documentary ‘The Secret Swami’ caught Dr Michael Goldstein, Sai Baba’s top man, in a rage.

Dr Michael Goldstein. Love All Serve All

 

Sai Baba’s head man Dr Michael Goldstein. Showing an example in action of:  ‘Love All Serve All’ 

 Also, Goldstein’s circular to many Sai Baba devotees escaped out onto the Internet, exposing how Goldstein related that Sai Baba had ensured, by his all-knowingness and all-seeingness, that all his devotees who would have been in the places attacked on 9/11, that all his devotees were mystically caused to be out of harm’s way. See:

Sai Baba Saved Devotees From 9/11 Says Dr Michael Goldstein

The tragedies and shocking abuses both sexual and of other kinds along the Sathya Sai Baba path have frequently, of course, not been caught by camera – except, e.g.,  in a case such as the incriminating photgraphic material, resulting, it seems fairly patent, in a death which, for now, will have to be documented by India’s most famous Rationalist B.Premanand and those such as his lawyers. The corruption of many Indian police, who are widely hated and feared in India, has not helped them. Too often the Indian justice system is corrupt from the many of the Judges down. See: 

Sai Baba protected by the Supreme Court of India

Well may the Iranians and other peoples whose human rights have been outraged maintain all efforts to tear aside the cover up, piercing it with the sharp lens of the camera, and using modern technology like mobiles and the Internet to surface their plight. Especially given the Iranian government’s crackdown on journalists, it is good to see the BBC encourage Iranians fighting for their freedom to make contact with it, given their accounts and views.

In the meantime, our thoughts are with Iranian people who have for so long desired democracy to come to their culturally rich and magnificent country.

The BBC has put up the following notice, which some of my readers may wish to spread ever further:

Are you in Iran? What do you think of the current situation? Are you taking part in the demonstrations? If you have any information you would like to share with the BBC you can do so using the form below: Send your pictures and video to yourpics@bbc.co.uk  or text them to +44 7725 100 100. If you have a large file you can upload here. Read the terms and conditions At no time should you endanger yourself or others, take any unnecessary risks or infringe any laws.

Posted in Opinion, Religion, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Issues, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Indian Newspaper Reports of Killings In Sai Baba’s Bedroom

Posted by Barry Pittard on June 22, 2009

Reading through the press reports written at the time of the police killings in Sathya Sai Baba’s bedroom under hugely suspicious circumstances on June 6, 1993 is instructive. At first, word had escaped too far and fast for the Puttaparthi officials to slam a suppressive lid. But then followed the monstrous machinery of cover up. For the Anantapur District Journalists’ Union (ADJU) unanswered questions, see:  Press Council of India Long Silent On Sathya Sai Baba Bedroom Killings

Sathya Sai Baba was known to be in charge of situations in the hours before the intruders were slain. Robert Priddy’s accounts of his (and my) friend V.K. Narasimhan’s private depictions to him are very disturbing – they detail some of the processes – such as a remark to Sai Baba’s brother Jankiramaiah (also known as Janakira Ramiah, Janakiram, Janakiramaiah and Janaki), made within VKN’s hearing, of the then Home Minister, S. B. Chavan, a Sathya Sai Baba devotee, who had come poste haste to Puttaparthi, about “dead men tell no tales”.

The powerful central, state, local and ashram cover up that that followed was known to many in India, and beyond. In a properly functioning democratic country, there would have been rigorous, accountable police and jurisprudential processes. Many Indians have pointed out that Sathya Sai Baba will never be prosecuted. He, they say, is far too powerful in his sway over politicians of the major political parties. Travel virtually anywhere in India and you will find, as many travelers report, that this view is very wide-spread. Puttaparthi propaganda ceaselessly tells us that Sathya Sai Baba is being hailed through the world. In our many countries, we know, of course, that this is simply untrue. In India he is not only famous but infamous. Many Indians heartily abhor the way in which Puttaparthi scandals have for so long been covered up. Many deplore the incredible pomp and circumstance that forever surrounds him. All you will need to do is to ask your Indian contacts whether this is so. Many are too polite/embarrassed or not wanting to get involved in an unpleasant discussion. Some feel a deep sense of shame at the international ignominy which he has brought upon India. See:  Sathya Sai Baba: ‘Considerable Concern’ In Wider Hindu Community and Sai Baba, Kubla Khan, Citizen Kane, Bill Gates et alia

A major Hindu leader (to whom on request I shall gladly direct responsible and reputable media or scholars, authors, etc) once wrote to me:

“There is considerable concern among the Hindu Community, especially among the educated. It is very hard to get any action from the temples as they do not wish to cause difficulties with the Sathya Sai Baba groups. People are starting to distance themselves from Sathya Sai Baba. It’s going to be gradual process of education. The biggest impact it appears was the ‘The Secret Swami’ … it seems it has had a tremendous negative effect on Sathya Sai Baba”.

As the reader can see from the following quotation, there is no subtlety about the antidemocratic, authoritarian nature, even in certain public statements, about Sathya Sai Baba and his then chief functionary, Indulal Shah:

“When press persons met Mr. Indulal Shah, chief functionary of the Sri Satya Sai World Trust, after the murders of six young Sai followers in Sathya Sai Baba’s bedroom in 1993, Indulal Shah is reported as having said: ‘the matter is purely internal and we do not wish to have any law enforcement agency investigating into it.” (from The Hindu, 10-6-1993).

N.B. Examine, pray, Shah’s photo. Does he appear brimful of spiritual joy? But why should he be? Sai Baba devotees who know the facts know that he has long been a ‘supreme’ hatchet man, widely feared.

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Public Petition for Official Investigations of Sathya Sai Baba and His Worldwide Organization

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Robert Priddy (a major commentator, along with B.Premanand, on the killings and cover up):

Indulal Shah, cover-up man for Sai Baba

General ResourcesFurther Reading

The BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ – A Revision

BBC Hidden Camera in ‘Secret Swami’. Ethical?

Guru Sex Abuse Testimony To BBC – After Years of Silence

Indian Minister Shields Sai Baba on BBC television

Probed On Male Sex Abuse, Sai Baba Evicts BBC TV Team

V.P.B. Nair. B.Premanand. R.Priddy: Sai Baba Bedroom Killings

Exposure of Sathya Sai Baba. Media Source List

Video Resources

The Secret Swami (BBC Television):
(154 MB, Broadband)

Seduced (DR, Danish Broadcasting, Denmark’s national television and radio broadcaster):
(80 MB, Broadband)

http://home.hetnet.nl/~seduced/seduced.wmv
(21 MB, Modem)

Right Hand. Sleight Hand. Watch Sai Baba Cheat With Sacred Ash (Film clip)

BBC and Other Film Footage Shows India’s Top Guru Sathya Sai Baba Faking Miracles

BBC Footage Exposes Fake Sathya Sai Baba Miracle « Call For Media and Government Investigation

Sathya Sai Baba Chief, Dr Goldstein, Explodes. “I am the consummate professional” (See Film Clips)

Raising ever more serious questions about how spiritual is the head of what Sathya Sai Baba has called THE divine organization in the world,

Michael Goldstein explodes with anger (710kbs)

at the BBC’s perfectly reasonable questions about accountability

Dr. Goldstein again reveals his higher self (1.500Kb)

Michael Goldstein and the sexual allegations (2,10 Mbs)

Michael Goldstein admits his view is merely a belief (456kbs)

Sathya Sai Baba Cult Exposure By Major TV Channel In Australia « Call For Media and Government Investigation

Posted in Morality, Opinion, Religion, Scandal, Social and Politics, South Asia, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Press Council of India Long Silent On Sathya Sai Baba Bedroom Killings

Posted by Barry Pittard on June 22, 2009

Scribes seek probe into Baba criticism by press council

From: Express News Service. Anantapur. July, 1993

Anantapur District Journalists’ Union (ADJU) at its emergent meeting here on Monday passed an unanimous resolution requesting the Press Council of India to inquire into the criticism of Sri Sathya Sai Baba against the Press for publishing news items and special articles on the June 6 incident that occurred in Prashanthi Nilayam in which six persons were killed.
It may be recalled that Sai Baba in a scathing attack on the media on Saturday said, “all arguments and theories carried in the newspapers for the past four weeks are nothing but flights of imagination and are false.” Baba also said such reports were motivated and called them “malicious”.
The meeting adopted an unanimous resolution “disapproving” of the Baba’s criticism against the media and sought the Press Council’s intervention to inquire and take action if the journalists had acted with any “malice”.
Besides the meeting also posed some questions to Sai Baba requesting him to give personal replies.

The questions asked are:

When six persons were killed in Prashanthi Nilayam why none from the Prashanthi Nilayam organisation had lodged a complaint with the police?
Where was Sri Baba after the incident on June 6 till the next morning? During the period who met him and what did they discuss with him. Did Sai Baba himself press the siren button?
There is a widespread opinion that the four slain assailants were shot dead by the police only at the instance of some persons belonging to the Prashanthi Nilayam management. How far is it correct?
Why was the Sri Sathya Sai World Trust abolished? Why was it decentralised?
Will you publish a White Paper on the present properties, including cash assets in the name of various Sri Sai Trusts?

Posted in Morality, Neglected/sidelined News, News and Politics, Politics, Religion, South Asia, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

No Nobel Peace Prize For Self-Claimed God of Gods Sathya Sai Baba

Posted by Barry Pittard on June 18, 2009

Not far short of a decade ago, it had been announced in Sathya Sai Baba centers round the world that Sathya Sai Baba was a candidate for a Nobel Peace Prize. On behalf of our networked group of former followers of Sathya Sai Baba, I wrote to Dr Geir Lundestad, then Director of the Nobel Institute. An exchange of emails ensued, and I provided him with in-depth documentation concerning Sathya Sai Baba and his sect. 

Dr Geir Lundestad ex-Nobel Institute Director. No Prize For Sathya Sai Baba

(Photo: But no Nobel Prize for Sathya Sai Baba. Dr Lundestad is on the Left of H.H. the Dalai Lama, recipient of that Prize in 1989).

Dr Lundestad emphasized that the policy of the Institute is never to issue any list of candidates, either before or after the winners of the Peace Prize are announced, and that the names of Nobel Prize recipients are announced, while the names of failed candidates are not revealed.

Dr Lundestad’s statements are a far cry from the announcement of Sathya Sai center leaders worldwide. Great had been the rejoicings of devotees, despite the fact that a Nobel Peace Prize – in an odd come-down from the dizzy heights of Heaven – would sit oddly encircling the neck of God.

The fact of the matter is that this was a time when there was great and organized dissent by former devotees. Increasing numbers – including very prominent and respected leaders – were leaving the Sathya Sai Organization. The Sathya Sai Organization had a problem of huge dimensions on its hands.  See:

 

In Memoriam – Glen Meloy (“Standing up for truth and goodness”).

 

Any straw to clutch onto was welcome, or even the hope of a plum from the Nobel Insitute ‘tree’.

 

To the Nobel Institute, we offered, among other compelling evidence, material that referred to UNESCO, Interpol, FBI, Australian Federal Police, and so on. We had witnesses with credentials of outstanding service and repute in their own communities. These came from many professions, trades and cultures. We had decent families who have invested years of dedication and sacrificial service to Sathya Sai Baba. Sathya Sai Baba’s serial sexual molestation of their children, and other grievous abuses, had shattered their lives. The names of most we have not allowed to be publicized, though they have long stood ready to cooperate with well-reputed media, institutes, etc.

 

Moving into Scandavavian waters, we also cited  ‘Seduced’ by DR, Denmark’s national television and radio broadcaster, subsequently shown by SBS in Australia, retitled: ‘Seduced By Sai Baba’, which, as it had done with DR, the Sathya Sai Organization threatened to sue. In a phone conversation with me, when I mentioned the (then) Australian head of the Sathya Sai Organization T.Sri Ramanathan’s threat to sue, a senior Producer with SBS laughed, and said: “Let them!”.  As always, when Sathya Sai Baba’s officials have threatened instrumentalities like the BBC and other leading media, they failed to carry out their threats. It is a behaviour seen in many groups widely deemed to be cults that reveal a strong autocracy, perhaps most famously Scientology.

 

Among other documentation available to the Nobel Institute was that from former devotees from several countries, including sworn testimony, earlier provided for UNESCO, resulting in a stern Media Advisory. Furthermore, UNESCO successfully intervened with a complaint to the Press Trust of India when The Times of India (with a leading member of the Sathya Sai Central Trust on its Board of Directors, ex-Chief Justice of India P.N. Bhagwati) tried to water down the Advisory. See:

 

The Case of UNESCO’s Missing Media Advisory.

UNESCO and Indian Government – Were Up To Tricks

BBC Caught UNESCO Head Bowing To Indian Government

Note:  Puttaparthi officials and the Indian Foreign Minister (himself a follower of Sathya Sai Baba) tried to get UNESCO to suppress the Media Advisory – but were sharply thwarted by the BBC.  

Further Reading

 

‘Black Sheep’ Of Sweden’s Nobel Family Called By Ba-Ba (Sathya Sai Baba)

Posted by Barry Pittard on June 14, 2009

QUOTES

‘One of Sathya Sai Baba’s many hugely expensive and major Sai propaganda efforts has been the setting up of Sai Global Harmony via WorldSpace International Satellite Radio Service. It broadcasts 24/7 to many countries. A director of WorldSpace is Dr Michael Nobel.”

Note:  Sai Baba publicly mistakenly stated thatThe man who gives the Nobel Prize (Chairman of the Nobel Prize Committee) is coming here on the 22nd November. The ones who will show this to the whole world, TV people, are all coming here on the 22nd”.

‘In fact, Michael Nobel has been repudiated by the Swedish Nobel Committee and exposed in the New York Times.

There are many instances that show how Sathya Sai Baba, far from his being, as he claims, all-knowing and all-seeing, has behind him a trail of egregious blunders and unfulfilled predictions, promises of cures, and much else. In this article, I quote the mess he made in the (would-be) Nobel Peace Prize incident. Repeatedly, he hangs his claims on their own petard. His apologists are too blinded to see, not the ‘Glory of Puttaparthi’ but the absurdity of Puttaparthi’. 

http://robertpriddy.files.wordpress.com/2008/06/nobel.jpg

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UNESCO Media Advisory 

UNESCO WITHDRAWS FROM CONFERENCE

Paris, September 15 – UNESCO has decided it will no longer sponsor nor take part in a conference it had been due to co-organize with the Institute of Sathya Sai Education (ISSE, Thailand) and The Flinders University Institute of International Education (Australia), in Puttaparthi, India, from September 25 to 29. The decision means UNESCO is no longer associated in any way through sponsorship, organization or participation of any kind with the conference on Strengthening Values Education: Innovative Approaches to Teacher Education for Peace and International Understanding.

UNESCO’s withdrawal was prompted by several factors. Certain decisions were taken by the ISSE without consultation, such as plans to hold some of the sessions at the Ashram of the Sathya Sai movement in Puttaparthi, and the inclusion of some speakers in the conference programme without their previous consent. Furthermore, the Organization is deeply concerned about widely-reported allegations of sexual abuse involving youths and children that have been levelled at the leader of the movement in question, Sathya Sai Baba. Whilst it is not for UNESCO to pronounce itself in this regard, the Organization restates its firm moral and practical commitment to combating the sexual exploitation of children, in application of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which requires States to protect children from all forms of sexual exploitation and violence.

Posted in Morality, Opinion, Politics, Religion, Scandal, Skeptics, South Asia, Spirituality, Trends, Uncategorized, World Issues, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

‘Black Sheep’ Of Sweden’s Nobel Family Called By Ba-Ba (Sathya Sai Baba)

Posted by Barry Pittard on June 14, 2009

There are many instances that show how Sathya Sai Baba, far from his being, as he claims, all-knowing and all-seeing, has behind him a trail of egregious blunders and unfulfilled predictions, promises of cures, and much else. Below, I quote the mess he made in the would-be Nobel Peace Prize incident. Repeatedly, he hangs his claims on their own petard. His apologists are too blinded to see, not the ‘Glory of Puttaparthi’ but the absurdity of Puttaparthi.

One of Sathya Sai Baba’s many hugely expensive and major Sai propaganda efforts has been the setting up of Sai Global Harmony via WorldSpace International Satellite Radio Service. It broadcasts 24/7 to many countries. A director of WorldSpace is Dr Michael Nobel, who, contrary to long-uncorrected statements (in Wikipedia and in various promotions) by Sai Baba activists, is NOT the son of the Nobel Peace founder Alfed Nobel – who died in 1896! But he, though widely considered ‘black sheep’ of the Nobel family, has answered the Ba-ba call of Sathya Sai Baba who, absurdly, told the Australian journalist Howard Murphet that, historically, when Jesus, the Lamb of God, called ‘Ba-ba’, he was referring to Sathya Sai Baba! The Nobel ‘black sheep’ is making more than a bleat or two of his own, for he has extended his international satellite broadcasting corporation to send Sathya Sai Baba propaganda across the air-waves of the world. 

http://robertpriddy.files.wordpress.com/2008/06/nobel.jpg

Michael Nobel is a great grand nephew, although Alfred Nobel, were he here today, might not feel too grand about the descendant who has been repudiated by the Nobel authorities.

The director of Sai Global Harmony is Dr G. Venkataraman, who is also deputy world chairman of the Sathya Sai Organization. See: Sathya Sai Baba’s ‘Minister of Propaganda’ – Dr G. Venkataraman and:  Sathya Sai Baba’s Deputy Head, Dr G. Venkataraman, Speaks of “Mr Idi Amin” .

G.Venkataraman (retired Indian nuclear scientist, left).  K. Chakravarthi (Secretary of Sathya Sai Central Trust, sacked by Indian Administrative Service, IAS, for embezzlement, right).

 

Nobel Foundation and Head of Nobel Family Repudiate Michael Nobel

 

I quote from the Wikipedia entry under ‘Nobel Foundation’:

“In 2007 Dr Michael Nobel (born as Michael Oleinikoff), a great grand nephew of Alfred Nobel, attempted to start a prize called the “Michael Nobel Energy Award” that would award innovations in alternative energy technology. The plan was announced at nanoTX 07. The Nobel Foundation quickly reacted by threatening legal action for “clear misuse of the reputation and goodwill of the Nobel Prize and the associations of integrity and eminence that has been created over time and through the efforts of the Nobel Committees”. The Director, Michael Sohlman, of the Nobel Foundation and the elected Head of the Nobel Family disapproved to the institution of the so called ‘Dr. Michael Nobel Award’ as well as the Nobel Charitable Trust and Nobel Family Benevolent society.  Michael has (as of June 2008) not abided to the advice of the Nobel foundation and the Nobel family head, but continues his efforts to establish a new prize in his own (taken) name.

New York Times Exposes Sathya Sai Baba Man, Michael Nobel

Michael Nobel has been exposed by the New York Times:

“…the organizers received a disturbing fax from The Nobel Foundation in Sweden. It advised them that Mr. Nobel had been voted out as head of the Nobel Family Society at a meeting in August of 2006 “mainly because of his unauthorized activities and involvements in the name of the Nobel Family Society.” And it threatened legal action against those involved in creating “The Dr. Michael Nobel Award”, as Mr. Nobel had indicated it was to be named.” (The Nobel Prize that Wasn’t – New York Times ). 

Sathya Sai Baba Exposed In Serious Error Concerning Nobel Prize Personnel and Process

“Aerodrome has come. Super Speciality Hospital has come. These things are not even in big towns. More, more, more, more will come. To show this to the whole world, it (Sai Global Harmony Channel, a satellite digital radio channel set up to broadcast Swami’s discourses, bhajans, etc.) begins within this month. To bring about these changes, numerous people will be involved. I am also telling you a few names.”

They are giving the Nobel Prize to many people. The man who gives the Nobel Prize (Chairman of the Nobel Prize Committee) is coming here on the 22nd November. The ones who will show this to the whole world, TV people, are all coming here on the 22nd. Who called them? Who invited them? If all things like these are seen, all sorts are coming here. No one has invited them at all. No one is giving them (a special) welcome. Yet they themselves are coming. What is the reason? That Chaitanya Jyothi (meaning Swami Himself) is here and It (He) is pulling them!” (Applause) [From Premsai translation. The Premsai editorial clarifications are in round brackets]

  • To be continued

Posted in Opinion, Philanthropy, Propaganda, Religion, Scams, Social and Politics, South Asia, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Issues, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

BBC and Other Film Footage Shows India’s Top Guru Sathya Sai Baba Faking Miracles

Posted by Barry Pittard on June 11, 2009

The Sathya Sai Baba Organization has tried to stem a major exit from congregations via an entity it internally refers to as ‘the waverer’s committee’.  This wealthy and highly authoritarian organization, which seeks to infiltrate mainstream civic, religious, education and political venues, will not be so frank as to show the waverers the following videos. For the Sathya Sai Organizations recruiting drives in luxurious venues, See: ‘Secret Swami’ Cult Recruits At Prime Public Venues. For the dangers posed in its infiltration of unsuspecting communities, while concealing its agendas, and often from its own rank-and-file, See, Sathya Sai Baba Sect and Its Hidden Agendas. A Caution

To carefully go through these stark video revelations that expose Sathya Sai Baba cheating with his (so-called) miracles is to see why his chief defenders like Dr G. Venkataraman and Gerald Moreno have raised profound smokescreens and engineered such markedly distorted ‘pictures’ of hundreds of former Sathya Sai Baba devotees. Many of the latter, from many countries, spent deeply dedicated years of their lives serving him. Some of these were leaders such as Terry Gallagher (Australia), Stephen Carthew (Ph.D Program Candidate, Australia), Al Rahm (USA), Richard Nelson, Rick Raines (USA), Timothy Conway Ph.D (USA), Dave Lyons (USA), Serguei Badaev (Russia), Artur Wisniewski (Poland), Britt-Marie Anden (Sweden),  Robert Priddy (Norway) …. Although it is men who in real fact lead the Sathya Sai Organization, prominent women leaders who have left after years of work on behalf of the organization include:  Shirley Pike, Sharon Purcell and Elena Hartgering (both deceased), Lori Kaplowitz, Ella Evers, and many others …. Shirley Pike and Elena Hartgering have a long professional background as very qualified, experienced mental health counselors, as are a number of former devotees who have very carefully studied the accounts of Sai Baba’s sexual abuse survivors – and some have had personal contact with the terribly stricken individuals and their families and others who know them well.

Despite extraordinary attempts to blacken their names, such former devotees have spoken out on behalf of the many boys and young men Sathya Sai Baba, has sexually abused, and large numbers of other individuals abused in a variety of shocking ways. Four individuals were killed in Sai Baba’s bedroom on June 1993 – when he was in control of the cirumstances at the Puttaparthi ashram – and the circumstances extensively covered up by successive Indian central, state and local governments. Former devotees have been attacked libelously, stalked, themselves and their families harrassed (including those who have had nothing to do with the exposure of Sai Baba and his cult), and constantly disparaged. The fact that Sai Baba devotees who have known, respected and loved those who have left the organization having investigated the facts bear a great weight of failed conscience. They know perfectly well that their earstwhile co-faithful are not, and have never been, the devils Sai Baba has said that they are. I add that most Sai devotees do not actively attack former devotees – because, simply, they are not like this. However, some who are prominent followers, and close to Sai Baba himself, have been long engaged in the attacks on the Internet supporting their proxy, Gerald Moreno.

The BBC, DR and other footage is a valuable resource for those who, in their families, friendhip circles, professions, communities and so on are deeply concerned and wish to have evidence by which to confront those who have been attracted by the Sathya Sai Baba sect. Although approaches through reason and evidence frequently will not work with members who are blinded to the facts, there are many others who have successfully been shown the facts before they got around to joining or else those who having joined are nonethless still of a mind capable of questioning.

For Longer Video Viewing

The Secret Swami (BBC Television):

(154 MB, Broadband)

Seduced (DR, Danish Broadcasting, Denmark’s national television and radio broadcaster):
(80 MB, Broadband)

http://home.hetnet.nl/~seduced/seduced.wmv
(21 MB, Modem)

Video Clips

‘The Secret Swami’ showcased with selected transcripts and brief
video clips

Sathya Sai Baba Chief, Dr Goldstein, Explodes. “I am the consummate professional” (See Film Clips)

BBC Cameras Catch Sai Baba Cheating With Gold Sivalingam. (Film Clip)

BBC Footage Exposes Fake Sathya Sai Baba Miracle

Michael Goldstein explodes with anger (710kbs) (i.e., the world chairman of the Sathya Sai Organization. The BBC’s hidden camera caught Dr Goldstein in a display far from spiritual. Though the BBC’s team asked perfectly reasonable questions about accountability)

Dr. Goldstein again reveals his higher self (1.500Kb)

Michael Goldstein and the sexual allegations (2,10 Mbs)

Michael Goldstein admits his view is merely a belief(456kbs)

Reading (With Links to Video Clips)

BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ and British Press Praise

Sleight Of Hand. The Sleightness of Sathya Sai Baba (Exposing film clips)

Right Hand. Sleight Hand. Watch Sai Baba Cheat With Sacred Ash (Film clip)

Censored Indian National Television Film of Sai Baba Cheating

The BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ (Sai Baba). Revealing Footage

Articles At: https://barrypittard.wordpress.com Referring to the BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’

The BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ – A Revision

BBC Hidden Camera in ‘Secret Swami’. Ethical?

BBC Caught UNESCO Head Bowing To Indian Government

Indian Minister Shields Sai Baba on BBC television

Probed On Male Sex Abuse, Sai Baba Evicts BBC TV Team

Guru Sex Abuse Testimony To BBC – After Years of Silence

The Genesis of the BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ (Sai Baba)

India A Mature Democracy? BBC Probes

V.P.B. Nair. B.Premanand. R.Priddy: Sai Baba Bedroom Killings

Recent Exposure of Sathya Sai Baba Cult in Australia By Channel NINEMSN

(Note: Video footage Links available within these articles)

Sathya Sai Baba Cult Exposure By Major TV Channel In Australia

Australian Current Affair Exposes Sathya Sai Baba Cult

Australian Current Affair: ‘Infiltrating A Cult’ (Sathya Sai Baba)

Sathya Sai Cult Under Media Scrutiny In Australia

Posted in Miracles, New Age, Opinion, Rationalism, Religion, Scams, Sikhism, South Asia, Spirituality, Theosophy, Uncategorized, World Issues, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

Isaac Tigrett. Selling Out Those Condemned to a House Of Blues

Posted by Barry Pittard on June 9, 2009

One of many Sathya Sai Baba backers, who have donated fortunes to the Sathya Sai Central Trust, is Isaac Tigrett, of the USA. The BBC’s documentary ‘The Secret Swami’ (2004) exposed the attitudes of major figures connected with Sai Baba. Only Tigrett granted the ‘probability’ that the allegations of sexual abuse of boys and young men were true, but he still adheres to his guru, and has recently been reported living at Puttaparthi. Tigrett sold out his world-famous Hard Rock Cafe and House of Blues chains. But, too, he can be regarded as having sold out honoured families and their children (many of them with a life-long devotion to Sathya Sai Baba) around the world who have been shattered by their treatment by Sathya Sai Baba and those in the international Sathya Sai Organization who have been involved in years of far-reaching cover-up. 

Isaac Tigrett. With Hollywood Associates John Goodman and Dan Akroyd
Isaac Tigrett. With Hollywood Associates John Goodman and Dan Akroyd

Isaac Tigrett donated the many millions of dollars that built the Superspecialty Hospital at Puttaparthi. He has been a chief agent in spreading Sathya Sai Baba to many countries, an influence which has included the White House in the case of Al Gore. Politically, the hospital is used as a showpiece and a propaganda tool to impress politicians and medical authorities both in and well beyond India. In the first raptures of their enthusiasm, some of these visitors are shepherded into keynote speaking roles, and used to showcase Sai Baba as all-beneficent, etc. An example of this  outreach is Dr Michael Nobel, a great grand nephew of Alfred Nobel, of Sweden, who bequeathed the Nobel Prize. The New York Times has exposed Michael Nobel as an imposter, and he is repudiated by the Nobel authorities but not by Sathya Sai Baba, whose Sai Global Harmony satellite broadcasting company WorldSpace, of which Nobel is director, beams Sathya Sai Baba and the Sathya Sai Organization internationally .

ISAAC TIGRETT
Interviewed by the BBC in the one-hour documentary ‘The Secret Swami’. This is a brief except. Transcript and Video clip details are below.

                                             

BBC Interviewer Tanya Datta: But even if it was proven to you that Sai Baba was a paedophile and a serial sex abuser, you’re saying it wouldn’t change the fact that he is your guru. (Tigrett laughs at this rather wildly …
Isaac Tigrett: Absolutely not. Absolutely not. He could go out and murder someone tomorrow, as I said, it’s not going to change my evolution, it’s not going to change the good things that have come out of my relationship down there.
Tanya Datta: Does that mean that some part of you believes there could be some truth to the rumours?
Isaac Tigrett: Oh, absolutely I believe there is truth to the rumours.
Tanya Datta: You believe there is truth to the rumours?
Isaac Tigrett: Sure, there probably is, probably is.
(Click to view video clip of this episode- file size 1.34 MB)
. And –  Transcript and Commentary

Smitten by Sathya Sai Baba, who claims (a fantasy now fast and absurdly being forced to recede in all but his blinded followers) that he will save the world and save it before he leaves it, Tigrett tells Tanya Datta:

“India’s so unique, it’s so incredible. If there’s a spiritual train then India is the engine. All this mysticism, all the strangeness that surrounds Sai Baba and all that stuff, this is the perfect home for it.”

…………………………………………………………

Robert Priddy On Isaac Tigrett (2008)

The fall and fantasies of Sai Baba supporter, Isaac Tigrett

A known appreciator of the Pythonesque, Priddy writes of ….:

‘Tigrett’s strange antics involving a crystal skull which he claims was ‘materialised’ for him in an interview by Sathya Sai Baba. He implanted this skull in the top of the Pyramid Arena in Memphis, Tennessee and, when it was removed by the powers-that-be, an Internet source reported:“According to Mr. Tigrett: “You don’t have any idea what you have done,” he said upon being told that the crystal skull had been removed, adding somberly that the cosmic balance of the earth could be disturbed as well.”’

…………………………………………………………

The BBC interviewed other major figures covering up for Sathya Sai Baba, allowing them to expose themselves badly: 

Dr Michael Goldstein world chairman of the Sathya Sai Organization,, who (with a BBC hidden camera trained on him) lost his temper and makes unsupportable remarks about accountability and transparency).  For commentary and BBC video footage of the angry and evasive Dr Goldstein, see: Sathya Sai Baba Chief, Dr Goldstein, Explodes. “I am the consummate professional” (See Film Clips). Millions of viewers in over 120 countries have seen ‘The Secret Swami’. As a shocking example of belief in a spiritual elect, which has been documented from Goldstein’s widely-distributed email to Sathya Sai Baba devotees, see:   Sai Baba Saved Devotees From 9/11 Says Dr Michael Goldstein. See also: BBC Hidden Camera in ‘Secret Swami’. Ethical?

Murali Manohar Joshi, a senior minister in the then Vajpayee right-wing government of India, lost his temper, bullied and jabbed the air with pointed finger at the BBC’s Tanya Datta, accusing the BBC and people in England of plotting against Sathya Sai Baba, A.B. Vajpayee and P.N. Bhagawati (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.” See:  Indian Minister Shields Sai Baba on BBC television

By their fruits ye shall know them!

…………………………………………………………

Robert Priddy

Indisputable facts about Sathya Sai Baba by BBC

Barry Pittard at https://barrypittard.wordpress.com

The Genesis of the BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ (Sai Baba)

The BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ – A Revision

BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ and British Press Praise

Probed On Male Sex Abuse, Sai Baba Evicts BBC TV Team

Guru Sex Abuse Testimony To BBC – After Years of Silence

India A Mature Democracy? BBC Probes

V.P.B. Nair. B.Premanand. R.Priddy: Sai Baba Bedroom Killings

Posted in New Age, Opinion, Religion, Scandal, Successful People, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Attacks By Hooligans Against Foreign Students In Australia

Posted by Barry Pittard on June 5, 2009

In relation to attacks against foreign students in Australia, there are some tough questions. A number of reasons exist why the majority of these attacks have occurred on Indian students, and the issue is complex. The situations are not as portrayed, with a dangerous, irresponsible oversimplification, either by certain sections of the Indian media that are clearly committed to jingoism, hysteria, sensationalism and burgeoning of sales, who gravely misrepresent the view of a great many Indians who live in Australia (See e.g., statement by Federation of Indian Associations of Victoria president Vasan Srinivasan) or by an isolated but powerful and  disgraceful class of radio talk-back hosts who are biggots and their poorly-educated audiences we alarmingly still have in Australia, known as ‘shock jocks’.

No amount of misrepresentation can alter the facts that most Australians do not engage in or approve of racism. Many from some 200 countries who have migrated to this country attest to this fact. The situation is not assisted by those who, whether out of sensationalism or simple-mindedness or agendas of hatred resort to the fallacy of confusing part with whole, branding the behaviour of a few a whole group, who do not think, or feel or act out that for which they are being assailed.

However, the question of whether we in Australia are in danger of being selfish, cocooned, complacent and far too unquestioning of our ‘authorities’ and ourselves is quite another question. It was communities in the suburbs, far more than forces within governments, which won Australia’s great achievements in  forging a multicultural society. Sometimes the word ‘multiculturalism’ has been used but it can be a confusing and systematically misleading term.  The Australian experience – or experiment –  needs to be carefully distinguished from the performances of other countries, and discussed with proper regard for the facts.  One starting-point for those who wish to survey the area is the Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Council, which has many resources both practical and academic. The Council’s website is HERE.

But there is a work undone: those communities especially in the outer suburbs to which many foreign students are driven by their economic constraints will have to do some of it. They will need to rise to an occasion. Or will they expect the police and other authorities to do it for them? To stand by when bones are being broken and lives destroyed does not add up to self-respect and a sense of justice within those in whose midsts violence is happening.

I offer some questions – very preliminary – that I think my fellow Australians will need to consider:

Why have not messages got through to increasingly bold urban hooligans that attacks on anyone are not to be tolerated?

Why are these uneducated hooligans being permitted to sway Australia’s standing in the fellowship of nations?

What is there about our education, justice and parental support systems that allow for the existence of hooliganism?

What, if any, community-based, imaginative, proactive steps are being taken to make foreign students, migrants and refugees to feel welcome, valued and safe in Australia?

If the police are engaged in a losing battle, as in other areas such as drugs, are the Federal, State and Local governments failing in being upfront and in ensuring the widest public awareness and debate?

Why have attacks escalated to such a point where it has taken organized protests by Indian students studying in this country – and giving up their valuable time in which to raise their voices – before there is strong action directed to remediation?

Are outer and working class suburbs embraced by the powerful ethos  in this country which has generated so many distinguished achievements in bringing about Australia’s in many ways successful multicultural society?

What, if anything, has been the responsiveness by police, the three tiers of government, welfare, civic, religious, cultural, sporting organizations, especially in the outer suburbs to the conditions in which many overseas students are economically forced to study, travel back and forth, and reside?

What, if any steps, have been taken to raise public awareness about the enormity of contribution foreign students make to Australia, both in immediate economic terms but in many, and often intangible ways, in regard to the quality of lasting ties of friendship and cooperation internationally?

What, if any steps, have been taken to raise public awareness of the difficulties many overseas students face in regard to finance, language, culture, cuisine, arduous travel times back and forth between residence and place of study, the perils of landlordism, their being forced to take part-time jobs and somehow coping with demanding courses of study, and so on?

Have the police forces examined their own assumptions? For example, how could police possibly know whether many UNreported attacks were racist or not? The notion is absurd.

Are some police authorities refusing to see that a crime can be BOTH opportunistic AND racial?

Many Indian students, supported by their government and by leaders in the Australian Indian community, attest that the police have not been – qualitatively – listening. Why are the police listening now, and why, in certain ways, too late? Young students at this very moment lie bloodied and broken.

What is the accountability of those policemen police who manhandled parts of the crowd, in attendance at what the responsible media has reported as, except for rare exceptions, a peaceful protest by thousands?

Why are the State and Federal Governments and the education institutions at which foreign students study suddenly galvanized? Why not before this?

A question for those who cry racism at every turning: Has it been noticed that extremely few along the path of the march have been reported, on any side, as having been racist or insulting in any way?

A Helpline for Indian students who are victims of crime is available: 1800342800. From 10am to 5pm, and 7pm to 11pm, Monday to Friday.  Hellplines for ALL foreign students need to be provided and made extensively-known through the student fraternity.

Further Reading

Indian Students Attacked In Melbourne Australia: Cricket Star Brett Lee Voices Concerns

Posted by Barry Pittard on June 4, 2009

Attacks Against Indian Students in Melbourne, Australia

Posted by Barry Pittard on June 2, 2009

—————————————————————

UPDATE

From ‘Hindustan Times’ – which shows a sanity lacking in the sensationalists sections of the Indian media

See article details at this Blog:

Posted in News and Politics, Opinion, Politics, Protest, Sikhism, Social and Politics, Uncategorized, World Issues, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Indian Students Attacked In Melbourne Australia: Cricket Star Brett Lee Voices Concerns

Posted by Barry Pittard on June 4, 2009

Brett Lee is a prominent example of strong ties between India and Australia. It is good that someone with his credibility has stepped forward to bring calm to the situation following recent attacks on Indian students in Melbourne.

Australia is in for a test of another kind than cricket. Our country will be tested for whether democracy and muticulturalism truly flourish, as well as respect for the well-being and physical safety of all citizens of, and guests to, our country. Along with implementing changes to policing, law, education and greater public awareness of the issues, the Federal Government and State Governments in Australia face tests in how truthful and responsive they are when there is review of their performance in approaching urban crime.

Many have left the Sathya Sai Organization because of its pronounced lack of democracy, transparency and accountability. There has been monumental failure to address issues raised (often not publicly, and in many countries and Sai centers, by those quite other than prominent critics) such as sexual abuse of boys and young men from India and other countries by Sathya Sai Baba and certain leading members who work in his service, profound cover up of the circumstances surrounding the killings in his bedroom, massive misappropriation of donations for around the world utilized for lavish displays, property scams, and other scandals. Successive Indian Central, State and Local governments and large sections of the media have been involved in these cover ups. See below for some readings (which contain video footage from the BBC’s hour-long documentary which has been seen by millions worldwide, The Secret Swami)

Aside from sad incidents such as “sledging” (badmouthing on the sporting field), India and Australia share a great love of cricket, and many players on both sides have done their countries proud in the spirit in which they conduct themselves both on and off the field. Many friendships have been forged. It also means that forces from the community, apart from political figures are standing forth. Unless leaders with credibility in both countries make their voices heard, discussions about the relative roles played by racism and sheer, opportunistic street thuggery looking for “soft targets” will not have a proper chance to be heard.

I observed in my previous blog:

‘Racism thrives on ignorance, and on unreal social structures where persons and groups cannot get to interact with and appreciate persons and groups who are different. The locus of Australia’s achievements in multi-culturalism were not the politicians, but were staged in the Australian suburbs. They belong to the people, both older Australians and migrants, and they must not let political elites obsure or attempt top down solutions’.

Quite apart from policing aspects, areas such as student welfare infrastructure in learning institutes where students from India and many other countries study need urgently to be looked at. There are reports that some arrangements fall far short. Not to have excellence in an area such as this amounts to false pretences, given the importance those institutions place on overseas student study. The fees are large and the duties of care enormous. There must not be a single shortfall.

Because of the events in Melbourne, reports now surface that there have been widespread attacks in Sydney. Australia’s re-think will need to be far-reaching, and embrace all aspects of student wholistic welfare, and extend to foreign students from all countries – many of whose parents must at the moment be beside themselves with anxiety.

In the last days, Brett Lee was involved in arrangements to have a street cricket match with Indian students. This had to be called off because of still further violence perpetrated against an Indian student. Indian students who were in favour of the match were, however, uset by the renewed outbreak and naturally in no shape, emotionally, to play.

Unless all the facts are made plain, it will be very difficult to reconcile continuing reports of lack of foreign student safety and general wellbeing  with the statement, widely reported in the Indian media, issued via the Australian High Commission in India:  “We know through surveys of the many thousands of enrolled and graduating students that the overwhelming experience of international students is positive. This should be the outcome for every student”.

A Helpline for Indian students who are victims of crime is available: 1800342800. From 10am to 5pm, and 7pm to 11pm, Monday to Friday.  Hellplines for ALL foreign students need to be provided and made extensively-known through the student fraternity.

……………………………………………..

Excerpt from The Age, Melbourne – For full article, click on story title

Cricket star Brett Lee voices concerns over Indian student attacks

Vance Mikin-Laurie. June 3, 2009 – 3:56PM

Cricket star Brett Lee voices concerns over Indian student attacks Vance Mikin-Laurie

Cricketer Brett Lee has voiced his concerns over the attacks on Indian students in Melbourne. As the Australian team prepares for the Ashes tour of England, Lee – an ambassador for Deakin University – has moved to calm growing anger in India over the violence

…. (Brett Lee said) “The university is doing everything it can to ensure the safety of students. Deakin will be providing advice on how to keep out of harm’s way, and also counselling for anyone who feels unsure at this time” …

…. Both Lee and Deakin University have long-standing ties with India – Deakin was the first foreign university to open an office in India and Lee is is involved in charitable work through the Deakin India Research Institute.

…. The cricketer’s popularity has continued to grow in India recently through the Indian Premier League and he appears heavily in Indian media through his numerous endorsement deals .

…. A popular figure on the subcontinent, he even reached number two on the Indian singles chart in 2006 with the self-penned You’re the One For Me, a duet he performed with Bollywood star Asha Bhosle. ……………………………………………….

See my other articles of the violence against students in Australia:

Attacks By Hooligans Against Foreign Students In Australia

by Barry Pittard on June 5, 2009

Attacks Against Indian Students in Melbourne, Australia

Posted by Barry Pittard on June 2, 2009

Former articles with a cricket theme at: https://barrypittard.wordpress.com

International Cricket And The Secret Swami

Sai Baba Vs Kerry Packer

……………………………………………………..

BBC Exposes Cover Ups By Sathya Sai Baba and his international Sathya Sai Organization

Indian Minister Shields Sai Baba on BBC Telivision

BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ and British Press Praise

Probed On Male Sex Abuse, Sai Baba Evicts BBC TV Team

The BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ – A Revision

BBC Footage Exposes Fake Sathya Sai Baba Miracle

BBC Cameras Catch Sai Baba Cheating With Gold Sivalingam. (Film Clip)

Posted in News, News and Politics, Opinion, Sikhism, Social and Politics, South Asia, Uncategorized, World Issues | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Attacks Against Indian Students in Melbourne, Australia

Posted by Barry Pittard on June 2, 2009

There have been most shocking physical attacks against Indian students in Melbourne, Australia. Some 90, 000 Indian students now study here, second to China in the number of foreign nationals studying.  Australia intends to attract many more. They need to feel safe and respected. Yesterday’s news reported what is alleged to have been a peaceful demonstration waylaid by a small number of anti-social elements.

In March 2009, this blog reported Channel NineMSN’s exposure of security personnel violence against protesting staff and disabled clients at SWARA (run by one of the superluminaries of the Sathya Sai sect, Moyia O’Brien) in Brisbane. Reports that suggest the Melbourne protest was derailed by over-reaction of authorities, brought back eerie reminders of those accounts which a number of those involved (including those who remain Sathya Sai Baba devotees) have given.

In both the Brisbane case (security personnel) and the Melbourne case (police, including mounted police), violence by authorities has been seen. Irresponsible commentators see no reason why the actions of security and police should be examined. They fail to ask whether proactive, peaceful methods could have been used, instead of the violent handling of what had been organized as a peaceful protest. It is an old theme – and authorities in modern democracies cannot hide, though they try to, violent propensities. 

(For the SWARA case, see under Reading and Viewing, below)

As a nation, we need to decide whether we wish small numbers of louts to shopfront us to the world. More fundamentally, we have to find solutions to  danger posed by those marginalizing forces which create unemployed, dispossessed angry  young people who lurk by day and night on street corners unleashing their contempt for human life and property. Boldness and imagination can address these problems. We cannot depend on politicians to be bold and imaginative; we have to be bold and imaginative ourselves.

Melbourne newspaper The Age yesterday reported (May 31, 2009)  Gautam Gupta, a spokesman for the Federation of Indian Students of Australia (FISA) as saying:

“We want a multicultural police section and we want crime statistics made public so that we know the extent of the problem,” he said.

The protesters also wanted on-site accommodation for Indian students at all universities and colleges.

“We want blanket cover for all international students, covering them for accidents and assaults and the government should run an ad campaign highlighting positive influence that migrants and international students have made to this country.”

           Mr Gupta blamed outsiders for the trouble outside the station, saying it was always meant to be a peaceful rally.

“People have been angry over the past few weeks, especially the young people, but it was supposed to be a peaceful rally. Unfortunately there were some agitators there, stirring things up … They had their own agenda,” he said.

Many Australians with experience of Indian students know of their characteristic politeness and hard-working qualities. They do credit to their country. Let me give a small, though I think iconic, example of an arrangement that could, badly handled, have gone terribly awry. Because of huge outsourcing by Australia to India of telecom handling of public enquiries and complaints, the extraordinary politeness and patience of the Indian operators have become a byword among millions in Australia.

But something nasty is astir, though it should not deflect attention away from the fact that a great many Australians support multi-culturalism, a fact that has been strongly shown in poll after poll, including at the height of the Mrs Pauline Hanson’s deplorably simplistic political presence in the nineties. However, support is more than sentiments stated to pollsters. The real fairness and justice require that we do not pass by, and turn blind eyes, and cocoon ourselves or fail to inform ourselves. It is not by our deploring racism that our humanity will be guaged.

At the same time, heated debate over whether the attacks were based on racism or opportunistic, soft-targeting should not be allowed to obscure the fact that all citizens and visitors alike have every right to feel safe. Politicians in Australia of all complexions have been characteristically unbold in looking for solutions to poverty.

One question that has to be driven is this:  Are tougher sentences and proposed clauses such as ‘hatred for or prejudice against a particular group of people’, remedies that are anywhere near sufficient? The question about the extent of racism in a country may not, in the present context, be the most pressing or relevant one. Pressures in a changing society can make an issue that may be relatively isolated grow much larger. Emphasis on tough policing and judicial solutions, without a far wider suite of remedies, can ensure. counter-productively, that the hateful violent are increasingly sent to one of the best-known ‘colleges’ of hatred – the prison system, itself in grave need of reform. Australia’s Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s prompt assurances to India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh must be accompanied with sophisticated action. The raw-nerve (sometimes knee-jerk, sometimes cynical) reaction evinced by many politicians about finding and punishing the culprits will not do. The problem is far more complex.

Radically, we need to ensure that a false sense of ‘justice’ having been done is not engendered. Especially in dealing with aftermaths of crime (and for preventive capacity over time), I would point to far wider notions of ‘Restorative Justice’ – which some institutions, including police, have had success with. See, Restorative justice: An Australian perspective.

Racism thrives on ignorance, and on unreal social structures where persons and groups cannot get to interact with and appreciate persons and groups who are different. The locus of Australia’s achievements in multi-culturalism were not the politicians, but were staged in the Australian suburbs. They belong to the people, both older Australians and migrants, and they must not let political elites obsure or attempt top down solutions.

Racism and urban crime and violence greatly worsen in times of economic hardship and unemployment. India’s High Commissioner to Australia, Sujatha Singh, has said that she thinks Australia is not a racist society, but that there were are elements in Australia that hold “racist attitudes”. Referring to the Victoria Police, she spoke of a “lack of sensitivity” towards Indian student victims of crime. Mrs Singh has very rightly criticised the suggestion from the Victoria Police, with whom she has had an urgently-called meeting, that Indian students should move to safer suburbs. This police reaction the students’ realities lacks aliveness to the situation of many students. For many Indian and other foreign students, since they have to use their money extremely judiciously, live in lower rent suburbs, at a sacrifice of long periods of travel to and from their places of study. This fact lends futher strength to the call by the Federation of Indian Students of Australia (FISA) for a multi-cultural police section. I recently had the pleasure of meeting a busload of young Indian students who were visiting Steve Irwin’s famous Australia Zoo, and had a great chat. They studied Catering here.  They were by no means all from well-to-do sectors.

A very real question is: why is some given suburb unsafe? If it is unsafe, then the situation is not only a policing matter but also a matter that needs to be addressed by the whole community, with inputs from all the civic, religious, cultural, sporting, political and social welfare groups. 

It is to be hoped that other countries will not be shy of demanding strong accountability of Australia for the most proactive welfare of their students who study in this country.

The Age reports that The Deputy Commissioner of the Victorian Police Walshe believes ‘some Indian students were being attacked because they were by nature quiet and passive people, they travelled late at night, often alone and carried expensive gadgets’.

But if the situation is not fast and well-addressed (and one of the criticisms of the police and Victorian Government is that they have not acted sensitively or properly), India will not be too quiet and passive, and nor should she be.

We in Australia cannot forever, and unchallenged, pose ourselves as the great and successful multicultural undertaking on which many of us have felt a pride. Though there is truth and remarkable accomplishment, there is a point at which the resting on laurels, lazy assumptions and government propaganda have to be ground to a halt by our strong effort.

Among other authorities, Australian educators are going to have to address these issues very seriously and proactively. No ethnic group, or individual, should have to suffer any slight. A few years ago, I learnt that my former Indian yoga teacher, a woman, one of the most gracious and loved people one could ever meet, had been spat on. The disturbingness of this act dealt to one person is serious, but what to speak when reports of horrible actions are wider-spread.  

Having been a University student at the time of the great moratoriam marches against the war in Vietnam, and close enough to some of the events to know the facts, it was easy to see how very small but vicious agitator elements posed a danger to triggering off trouble. Key dangers were a minority of rabble, and the governments of the day and their police forces. Over the years, there have been reforms to police practice, including raising the educational qualifications, greatly increasing the presence of women, breaking down cultures of sectarianism, nepotism, and so forth. The Victorian government will need to probe whether any of the police acted outside proper professional guidelines.

It is no use Australia’s Prime Minister Kevin Rudd simply “deploring” to India and “assurring” her of urgent action. The problem lies far deeper than political accommodations can reach. All of us need to be engaged in the peaceful solution.

A Helpline for Indian students who are victims of crime is available: 1800342800. From 10am to 5pm, and 7pm to 11pm, Monday to Friday.

Reading and Viewing  – with link to the Channel NineMSN Australian Current Affairs program. This shows the sickening conduct of security personnel, seen by millions of Australians. The security detail was called by SWARA, when, to judge from the wide and separate questioning of those who had been involved, and from careful examination of the footage, the position appears to be clearly this: that social work professionals, volunteers and disabled clients were assailed without SWARA’s recourse to those pillars of Sathya Sai Baba’s teachings which SWARA professes to hold: Truth, Right Conduct, Love, Peace and Non-violence. There are those close to the issues who still regard themselves as Sathya Sai Baba devotees who have used such terms as “disgusted” when they describe the conduct of SWARA committee personnel.

On The Attacks on Students

Indian Students Attacked In Melbourne Australia: Cricket Star Brett Lee Voices Concerns

Australia’s Channel NineMSN Exposes Security Violence At SWARA

Sathya Sai Baba Cult Exposure By Major TV Channel In Australia

Sathya Sai Cult Under Media Scutiny In Australia

Australian Current Affair: ‘Infiltrating A Cult’ (Sathya Sai Baba)

(see the original video and report here)

Posted in News and Politics, Opinion, Politics, Sikhism, Social and Politics, South Asia, Uncategorized, World Issues | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Sathya Sai Baba Man, Gerald Moreno: Islamic Terrorism Issue

Posted by Barry Pittard on June 1, 2009

One of Gerald Moreno’s myriad character assassination forays against former Sai Baba devotee critics (and others like the Indian Rationalist B.Premanand and the independent British scholar Kevin Shepherd) has been the attempt to make it seem as though I would incite Islamic terrorism.

In fact, I had long ago written a cautionary piece showing how terrorists might regard a famous religious figure like Sathya Sai Baba, who claims to be the One who sent the Prophet (may Peace be upon his name). The whole upshot was – well before the events of 9/11 – that to be forewarned was to be forearmed.

My point was that the Sai officials have not been upfront to their congregations about this danger, not least at a time when those of Christian (Christmas) and Jewish background (for Haneka, shortly before Christmas) visit Puttaparthi.

Moreno, showing the breathtaking profundity of his patently poorly educated analytic abilities, made much about my releasing such details, as though Islamic terrorist planners needed an obscure article of mine to let them know of India’s most famous religious figure and the whereabouts of the most famous ashram in India.

Nor saw he fit to consider that among my readers may be counted any of that great majority of Muslims who deplore terrorism and who, if anyone, can work to counter the great evil that so badly misrepresents those positive tenets of their Faith. In fact, one of the grave difficulties besetting that religion, as it does Christianity, Hinduism, etc., is that of the dangerously simple-minded, who think, if thinking it is, in tight boxes, and would box in the rest of us.

Nor did Moreno think anything of himself ensuring wider coverage of the issue by posting his wild misinterpretations to a major Indian Internet portal.

I also sent a note of concern – on what struck me as very real dangers – to a former colleague of mine in Puttaparthi, at Sai Towers Publishing, Chris Parnell, who had become webmaster for the offical Australian Sathya Sai Organization website in Australia. He did not write back to me, but straight on the heels of my email to Parnell, the Puttaparthi police head of security did write.

To experts in the Federal Government of Australia, I also detailed aspects drawn from my knowledge of Puttaparthi and other Sai Baba-related matters. Two of them who were interested enough to have contact with me by phone gave me a detailed and serious hearing. See Robert Priddy: Terroist-related Slurs Used By Sai Baba Internet Fanatic

Gerald Moreno’s swashbucklings are meted out upon all sides – except, of course, in relation to Sathya Sai Baba and the Sathya Sai Organization. On these he has long been uncritical in the extreme, and, as our evidence reveals, works in with a number of those close to Sathya Sai Baba as well as other members of the organization. Everyone who has critically examined the Sathya Sai Baba issue – the BBC, DR, SBS, Times of London, Telegraph, Guardian, and so on – are all, as he deems it, wrong, and warrant his terrible and swift sword. More recently, eight Wikipedia editors were involved in an exhaustive process that led to Moreno’s banning for appalling behaviour, of a kind which he forever denies –  see the ban recorded here (Gerald Moreno = User SSS108). For but a minute percentage of Moreno’s ‘hot’, aggressive language, see HERE:

Select Reading

Robert Priddy (Former Head of Sathya Sai Organization, Norway. University of Oslo, Rtd)

Gerald Moreno – Christian Fundamentalists, Anti-Semitism, Fascism

G.J. Moreno’s ’senile dementia’ slurs, avoidances & irrationality

Gerald Moreno’s fundamentalist Christian slur campaign

Joe Moreno – massive internet abuse

Smear Campaign against critics of Sathya Sai Baba

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Brian Steel (Scholar and author of books, including those widely read when he was a follower of Sathya Sai Baba. University of Monash, Rtd)

Diversionary Tactics by an Internet Demagogue

The pro-Sathya Sai Baba Campaign of Gerald (‘Joe’) Moreno

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Timothy Conway, Ph.D., (Scholar in the sociology and author of books on Eastern philosophy and religion. California Institute of Integral Studies)

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Kevin Shepherd (Independent British Scholar, author of many works on philosophy and religion, who has had no affiliation with Sathya Sai Baba or his Sathya Sai Organization)

Wikipedia Issues and Sathya Sai Baba

Posted in Opinion, Religion, September 11, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »