Race can be defined as:
"A classification system used to categorise humans into distinct populations or groups by anatomical, cultural, ethnic, genetic, geographical, historical, linguistic, religious, and/or social affiliation.”
Racism can be defined as:
“The belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.”
When a group of people are labeled according to a certain religious belief or affiliation and their access to public services, jobs, livelihoods and social freedoms are denied or restricted on the basis of this belief or affiliation this is racism.
In over 800 tweets none have provoked such an immediate and bitter response as the one I posted about @manjushriNL and a Twitter account linked to LamaGate.
The image in question had been tweeted by @TenzinPeljor at 12:04pm on November 29th 2014. I was informed about it the following day and posted two tweets.
The first tweet made no mention of Jamyang Khedrup or Rory Tasker, but the second tweet did, by virtue of the image which was included in it.
My intent in posting the tweet was simple - I was trying to identify if @manjushriNL was the same person who was behind the @OpTsampa account, which was involved in the LamaGate hacking scandal.
The reaction to this question was surprisingly swift and intense. Just 15 minutes after my tweet, Jamyang Khedrup posted a comment on Tenzin Peljor's blog, "Tenzin I will be writing an appeal letter to IndyHack to stop harassing me on your site. Hope you will consider publishing it."
The "appeal letter" was published a little over 90 minutes later and consisted of various threats of legal and official action along with accusations that I was targeting him for attack. This was followed by a lengthy series of accusations, threats, and colourful comments about my work throughout various social media platforms.
It seems I had touched quite a nerve.
In his letter Jamyang was accusing me of harassing him by using his identity and making false accusations against him. He asserts that he does not run any of the Twitter accounts named in the image, in fact he goes as far as to intimate that he doesn't use Twitter at all.
He stated, "I don’t like twitter, in fact, someone else emailed me about your misuse of my identity, otherwise I wouldn’t even have known."
According to Jamyang's time-line of events, after I published the tweet at 4:58pm, one of his friends saw it, and contacted him about it. He must then have viewed the tweet, decided that his best course of action would be to write a public appeal letter, and then posted his intentions on Tenzin Peljor's blog at 5:13pm.
I consider myself quite a connected person online, and I have a number of followers on Twitter who help to bring things to my attention. I also regularly view Twitter and try to stay up to date with developments.
Yet when I ask myself how long would it take for these events to play out I find a time-frame of 15 minutes incredulous to say the least. The very idea that someone would successfully alert Jamyang to the tweet within 15 minutes seems quite far fetched. That he would then have enough time to find it, view it, contemplate his course of action and then post to Tenzin's blog I find very difficult to believe.
In contrast if I was mentioned in a tweet and received an automatic email notification from Twitter about it, I would then have enough time to view it and decide my course of action within 15 minutes.
Another interesting aspect of Jamyang's open letter is that he asserts there is no evidence to prove he is responsible for the @manjushriNL account.
In the letter he states:
"You have no evidence other than I live in Holland and the person who posts at @manjushriNL lives in Holland."
In subsequent comments he also states:
"IndyHack and the other twitter accounts have ZERO evidence behind the allegations they make."
The interesting thing about his reaction is that my request was for information about @manjushriNL, not Jamyang Khedrup or Rory Tasker. I wasn't making allegations against Jamyang Khedrup, I was asking if @manjushriNL was the same person as @OpTsampa.
Granted the image I had included in the tweet was making certain assertions, however they were not my assertions. I included the image because it had been widely re-tweeted, was current and contained information about @OpTsampa, who I have been investigating in relation to the LamaGate scandal.
Also interesting was the fact that Jamyang was so strong in his assertion that there is "no evidence". I find his use of this phrase odd because in my experience it's usually associated with people who are guilty rather than innocent. The same goes for threats of legal action.
I have only ever been threatened with legal action by people with something to hide. Usually when I'm researching allegations against someone I find that those people who are falsely accused are straightforward and helpful.
Usually when someone is defensive they are trying to hide the truth. They often question your integrity as a journalist or researcher and add in a few threats and demand to know what evidence you have. 'You've got nothing', or 'You can't prove it', are quite common responses in such situations.
Quite why this tweet caused so much outrage is beyond me, but it's fairly obvious that there's more to it than meets the eye. I originally made no accusation that Jamyang Khedrup was @manjushriNL or @OpTsampa.
I did question why @manjushriNL seemed to try and pretend they were based in the UK when the initial accusation broke. I also questioned why @manjushriNL then retracted this claim when I pointed out it had been made in response to the allegations.
I question why @manjushriNL reacts at all to these accusations.
I use a pen name and have been accused of being various people. I rarely if ever react to any of the guesses as to my identity.
Maybe as the criminal investigation into LamaGate progresses we will get some definitive answers to these questions.
Since this article was first published Jamyang Khedrup has now responded. In particular he has cast doubt on the time-frame of 15 minutes that is referenced.
He states, "Also, it was not 15 mins to respond I think but 1hr 15 mins, there is a time difference." adding, "He should know UK is an hour ahead of Dutch time, and the time stamp here reflects that (TP’s site is run from Germany, whose time is also 1 hour behind the UK’s, same as Holland’s)."
According to Jamyang the timestamp applied to comments on Tenzin's blog should reflect the time in Germany as that's where the site is based. Jamyang insists that he did not respond within 15 minutes, but that his response definitely took longer, approximately an hour longer.
Tenzin's blog is actually hosted on a wordpress server which is located in San Francisco, however the timestamp function applied to comments does not use the local time in San Francisco, it uses a European time. At this point my head was hurting as I tried to untangle timezones, timestamps and the general theory of relativity.
So I tested the theory.
I posted a comment on Tenzin's blog and in the preview "comment waiting moderation" page the timestamp was the UK time, not the German time. When I checked on the blog later the comment had been approved and the timestamp was still showing the UK time when it was posted.
I thought maybe it was clever and timestamped the comment according to my own timezone, so I asked someone to post a comment from elsewhere. The comment was posted from Romania at approximately 5:32pm UK time. This was 7:32pm in Romania and 4:32pm in Germany. The comment was timestamped according to UK time, 5:32pm.
This means that according to the time-frame my tweet was posted at 4:58pm UK time and Jamyang's comment about it to Tenzin was timestamped 15 minutes later at 5:13pm UK time.
Why Tenzin's blog timestamps comments according to UK time I have no idea. However the main question on my mind is how can Jamyang's comment to Tenzin have been timestamped 15 minutes after my tweet when he asserts it took him over an hour to see it and comment to Tenzin?
I don't know but there is a serious question that needs to be clarified - is the timestamp wrong or is Jamyang's version of events wrong?
That's where I need your help - if you live outside the UK in a timezone that isn't shared by the UK. It would be even more helpful if you live in Holland, but wherever you live you can help.
I would like to ask people to post comments on Tenzin's blog and check to see what the timestamp says on the "comment waiting moderation" page.
Step 1: Visit a page on Tenzin's blog and find a comment you can reply to - maybe this page would work
Step 2: Check what time it is in the UK by clicking here
Step 3: Click "Reply" and type a comment, maybe something like this so that Tenzin can easily identify it's a test and it won't waste his time, "Please do not approve this comment. It is just a test comment to see how the timestamp works. Sorry for any inconvenience"
Step 4: Add your name and email address - you don't have to use real ones, any old name and email address will be fine.
Step 5: Click post comment and wait. The page should refresh and you will see your comment along with a timestamp and a message saying that your comment is awaiting moderation.
Step 6: Compare the timestamp with the UK time and your local time.
Step 7: Let me know what the results are.
Please don't post any rude or disrespectful comments. Ordinarily I wouldn't ask people to do this, but I feel it is very important. I don't want to say that a Buddhist monk is lying, but I do feel compelled to get to the bottom of this quandary.
If you can help I really appreciate it - thank you.
So far someone in New York state and another person in San Diego have tested the timestamp on Tenzin Peljor's blog and the results are the same as above, the blog timestamps according to UK time.
This means that Jamyang Khedrup posted his comment to Tenzin's blog 15 minutes after I published the tweet he objected to.
It also means that he lied when he said, "Also, it was not 15 mins to respond I think but 1hr 15 mins, there is a time difference."
It's suspicious enough that he responded within 15 minutes to my posting the tweet, but then to deny that time-scale and instead claim it was 1 hour and 15 minutes raises serious questions about his credibility.
If Jamyang is lying about the time it took him to respond, what else is he lying about?
As a Buddhist monk he has vows against lying, so what is going on and what is he trying to hide - was he @OpTsampa as well?
In the latest twist Tenzin Peljor has now confirmed that his blog runs according to UK time. In the post below he agrees with my findings which prove that Jamyang Khedrup posted his comment to the blog 15 minutes after I had tweeted the image naming him as @manjushriNL.
Unsurprisingly Tenzin then goes on to accuse me of spinning the facts and "inventing stories", which is at least a little less offensive than many of his previous comments about me.
Jamyang Khedrup reacted to my tweet within 15 minutes of its posting, which indicates he was in all likelihood alerted to it by Twitter. The only way this could happen is if he is the person behind @manjushriNL as that account was named in the text of the tweet.
His claim that someone saw the tweet, contacted him about it and the whole subsequent chain of events simply does not fit with the 15 minute time-frame. Jamyang knows this which is the most obvious reason as to why he lied about the time-frame.
The 'smoking gun' is this lie about his response time, claiming that it took him one hour and fifteen minutes. If that was the case the timestamp on his blog comment would be 6:13pm, but it wasn't. As Tenzin has now confirmed, the timestamp was according to UK time, 15 minutes after my tweet was posted.
Could Jamyang have been mistaken and accidentally thought it was 75 minutes rather than 15? If he suffers from pre-senile dementia then that scenario would seem reasonable, however I personally think he suffers from compulsive lying, not dementia.
Ironically Jamyang has in the past tried to cast doubt on some of the protesters ordinations claiming they are not proper monks and nuns. He holds himself to a high standard believing his ordination to be superior to that of the protesters, and yet he seems perfectly at ease with lying, which is in direct contravention of the most basic Buddhist ordination vows.
If he is prepared to lie about something as simple as his response time in this instance what else has he lied about?
Most people don't question whether Buddhist monks are lying because it is seen as a serious act for a monk to lie.
As Tenzin Peljor himself stated, "If you lie you create negative karma of speech and it will have consequences." adding, "From this is becomes rather clear that lying is a thing that is not encouraged but a total exception for very rare circumstances."
Were these "very rare circumstances", or was Jamyang trying to protect himself and cover up for his actions?
For me the very rare circumstances here are that I managed to prove categorically that Jamyang was lying. In my research I have encountered numerous statements which are clearly lies, deceits and attempts to manipulate the media and throw the spotlight away from discrimination.
Tenzin, Jamyang and their colleagues all take exception to my research and questioning of their claims. They believe my approach to be "unethical" and "immoral", however I simply follow the old journalists approach - even if your own mother says she loves you, you still check it out.
The difference now is that Tenzin's house of cards is beginning to fall apart, and like all similar structures, when it begins to collapse the end is highly predictable and completely inevitable.
The only question now is how long will it take?
In what is typical of this controversy I find I now need to post a further update on this issue as Jamyang Khedrup continues to refuse to accept that he lied.
To be perfectly frank it gets quite tedious at this point. It's bad enough that this Buddhist monk lies, but then to continue to squirm and lie rather than hold their hands up makes me at times appreciate the honesty of politicians.
Jamyang now claims:
"All I stated was that I THOUGHT there was a time difference, my original words: Also, it was not 15 mins to respond I think but 1hr 15 mins, there is a time difference. Note the words I think, and the statement about there being a time difference (between countries). I think indicates that it is a hunch, but IH spins this into an elaborate deception."
Apparently I am now spinning Jamyang's lies into an elaborate deception.
Yes, Jamyang said "I think", apparently this is his excuse for trying to deceive people. According to Jamyang if you add on the words, "I think" it means you can say whatever you like.
If we are to believe Jamyang this means that he cannot remember whether it took him 15 minutes or 75 minutes to respond to the tweet he so disliked.
Let's put that in perspective:
He posted to Tenzin's blog at 5:13pm on Sunday Nov 30th, 15 minutes after the tweet was published.
He then stated, "Also, it was not 15 mins to respond I think but 1hr 15 mins, there is a time difference." on Tenzin's blog at 11:12am on Tuesday Dec 2nd.
Now he claims that because he said "I think" this means he was unsure when exactly he had responded. In less than 2 days Jamyang Khedrup forgot how long it had taken him to respond.
Of course people forget insignificant events and are confused over the timings of trivial occurrences. This event was neither.
We are asked to believe that this troubling, deeply disturbing event which so outraged Jamyang that he felt he had no choice other than to write a public appeal letter simply slipped from his mind less that 2 days later. Such was his inability to recall its time-frame that he thought it was 75 minutes.
He was however quite clear that it was not 15 minutes though.
Of course in his reply he fails to explain how he managed to respond within 15 minutes if he isn't the owner of the @manjushriNL account. We are expected to believe two separate sets of quite unbelievable circumstances have occurred.
Firstly we are asked to believe that Jamyang's 'friend' saw the tweet after it was posted and emailed him about it. He then read the email, visited Twitter, read the tweet and contemplated his response. Then he decided to contact Tenzin after concluding that it was better to write a public appeal letter rather than simply trying to email me. This all took place within just 15 minutes from when the tweet was originally posted, as Tenzin has now confirmed.
Secondly we are also asked to believe that in less than 2 days after the event, Jamyang's recollection was so hazy that to his mind it couldn't have occurred within 15 minutes and probably took 75 minutes.
By now you are probably as bored and fed up with Jamyang's whole charade as I am. Very rarely when you have proved someone is lying do they admit it. As in Jamyang's case he continues to squirm, make counter-claims that I am lying, and basically behave like a child caught with his hand in the cookie jar.
For the interest of brevity and drawing a line under this event I will now state quite clearly and unequivocally that Jamyang Kedrup, also known as Rory Tasker lied when he said that it was not 15 minutes he had taken to respond to my tweet.
He has then compounded this lie with further lies and deceitful comments.
Note that I haven't used any "alleged" or "I think" caveats because there is no doubt remaining as to his intentional lying.
What amazes me is that he goes to such trouble to try and cover up his involvement in this. That only leads me to conclude that his role in this is much murkier than simply running the @manjushriNL account.
Rory Tasker's behaviour is not what I expect from a Buddhist monk and I would like to make very clear that in the course of my research unsavoury characters like Rory are rare. The majority of Buddhist monks and nuns I have encountered do actually cherish their vows against lying and try to uphold a moral code.
I think Rory and his friends could learn a lot from them.
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