Are Buddhsist Racist

Read my one & only interview in the New Statesman

What is Racism?

 

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.

The Holy Spy

Unmasking a CTA Intelligence Officer

16th March 2015

Initially it may seem a ludicrous concept to associate the Dalai Lama with spying, however that's only because of the carefully crafted media persona most people assume he lives up to.

From 1959-1974 the Dalai Lama received $180,000 a year from the CIA just for his own personal expenditure. They trained and armed resistance fighters and used the Dalai Lama extensively to promote anti-communist propaganda.

Throughout the entire history of the Dalai Lama in exile you will find the fingerprints of the US intelligence community. Bearing in mind the direct and indirect involvement of the CIA with all aspects of the exile leadership it is unsurprising then that the Dalai Lama uses spies in much the same way other leaders do.

 

Unmasking a CTA Spy

For those of us who grew up in the 80's the concept of a spy is very much like James Bond, a tough guy risking his life behind enemy lines to get secrets for his government. Dramatic, daring, dangerous and completely unrelated to reality.

Since June 2013 the world's concept of spying was irrevocably changed by Edward Snowden when he chose to reveal exactly how far and wide the reach of the US intelligence community was. Rather than tales of derring-do it was more a case of being geeky, wearing glasses and sitting behind a computer screen. The spy was actually an Intelligence Officer, James Bond was James Bland.

In February 2014 Snowden released to the media a file which has an incredible bearing on the Dalai Lama controversy. It was a Power-Point presentation from the UK Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) entitled, "The Art of Deception: Training for Online Covert Operations."

For those who have been living in a cave or shipwrecked on an island for the past few years GCHQ is the UK's intelligence and security organisation responsible for spying on communications. The document Snowden released was part of a training course for GCHQ's Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG). It's function was to train intelligence officers how to control and manipulate online resources to affect a target.

In an article for The Intercept entitled, "How Covert Agents Infiltrate the Internet to Manipulate, Deceive and Destroy Reputations", Glenn Greenwald wrote:

"Among the core self-identified purposes of JTRIG are two tactics: (1) to inject all sorts of false material onto the internet in order to destroy the reputation of its targets; and (2) to use social sciences and other techniques to manipulate online discourse and activism to generate outcomes it considers desirable.

"To see how extremist these programs are, just consider the tactics they boast of using to achieve those ends: “false flag operations” (posting material to the internet and falsely attributing it to someone else), fake victim blog posts (pretending to be a victim of the individual whose reputation they want to destroy), and posting “negative information” on various forums."

If we compare the GCHQ training with the activities of Tenzin Peljor it becomes quite apparent that there are some alarming similarities. For the purposes of comparison it is easier to look at both tactics separately.

 

(1) Injecting False Material onto the Internet

In 2006 Michael Jäckel visited Dharamsala, India, the home of the Central Tibetan Authority (CTA) and its leader, the Dalai Lama. He claims he was ordained as a Buddhist monk and received the name Tenzin Peljor. He then began his main work for the CTA as an intelligence officer tasked with discrediting the Dorje Shugden protest movement.

For the purposes of clarity I will refer to Tenzin Peljor throughout the remainder of this article by his legal name, Michael Jäckel, as I remain unsure whether he genuinely is a Buddhist monk, or whether this is a cover he has been given by the CTA.

As explained in previous articles for someone with a vow against lying Mr Jäckel has been caught lying with a shocking freqency already. In addition, as a footnote to his online biography he claims to have no affiliation to any specific Buddhist tradition stating, "I am just a Buddhist monk in the monastic order of the Buddha", which seems somewhat vague.

The process of undermining or discrediting protest movements is quite widespread amongst the intelligence community. For instance in East Germany, where Michael grew up, the Stasi would routinely engage in such operations against groups who promoted ideologies that were opposed to the state.

Such operations fell under directive 1/76 of the Ministry of State Security and were referred to as Zersetzung. One commentator referred to the similarities between the GCHQ briefing document and the Zersetzung:

 

zersetzung

 

Having grown up in East Germany and served in its armed forces for nearly two and a half years these methods would not have been unfamiliar to Mr Jäckel. In fact when he first contacted the religious website, Dialogue Ireland, to try and exert some influence over their articles about the New Kadampa Tradition he stated, "I am much interested into the dynamics of Nazi, Stasi, dictatorship, totalitarian systems".

Yet when they asked him to explain his background in relation to these issues he wrote, "I appreciate your interest in the Stasi / Nazi / East German dictator ship issue. I am interested in these too and I would be happy to meet you and to discuss this. But I don’t seek a public discussion about my background or person."

 

Back to 2006

Skipping back to 2006, after he received his 'ordination name' Michael then proceeded to set about his main work for the CTA, undermining the Dorje Shugden protest movement by using the Zersetzung methods in a more up to date context.

Since the main organisation supporting the protests was the New Kadampa Tradition (NKT) the CTA's approach was to try and discredit it. Since 1996 they had been trying to present the NKT as a rogue tradition, a dangerous cult which was not to be trusted.

In 2006 Michael began to work on the NKT's Wikipedia entries, injecting false information and trying to promote the CTA's agenda. As previously explained his attempts were quite unsophisticated and drew the attention of various Wikipedia editors who raised concerns about the accuracy of his information.

In 2008 Michael began to develop his own websites after proclaiming to the members of his anti-NKT 'survivors' group, "maybe we use the power of the many people here and the motivation to protect others (giving fearlessness) by setting up 1-2 websites."

In order to maintain a pretense that the websites were not solely directed at discrediting the NKT he included various academic articles and some limited criticism of other traditions of Buddhism. Despite this, all of his websites shared the main theme of being critical of the NKT and seeking to discredit them in line with the CTA agenda to which he was working.

Whatever the pretense it is very clear from the above quote that Michael's main intention behind establishing his websites was to discredit the NKT.

The advantage of using his own websites rather than Wikipedia was that he could strive for credibility whilst being able to control criticism of his information. In this respect he was fulfilling the intelligence officers role as described by GCHQ, "to inject all sorts of false material onto the internet in order to destroy the reputation of its targets".

 

(2) Manipulating Online Discourse

Whereas the first aspect of the GCHQ briefing document is fairly straightforward it is the second aspect which is the most disturbing, and as Glenn Greenwald says, "extremist".

Within strand two of the GCHQ document subtitled, "Influence and Information Operations", they state:

"People make decisions as part of groups. People make decisions for emotional reasons not rational ones."

It is this part of the training which encourages intelligence officers to become influential members of the groups they seek to manipulate online. It is also this area that has the most alarming parallels with Mr Jäckel.

He became a member of the Buddhist forum e-sangha as he was scouring online groups to find disenchanted members, or ex-members of the NKT, he could form alliances with. It wasn't long before the ideal candidate appeared.

David Cutshaw, a disillusioned NKT member was on e-sangha discussing doubts about the tradition and his experiences within it. Very quickly Michael struck up a friendship with David and persuaded him to establish an exclusive online forum dedicated to ex-NKT members and people thinking of leaving the NKT.

On 22nd May 2007 David created the group which was called "NKT survivors" and after David, Michael was the first person to post on it. Michael had now created his very own group dedicated to discrediting the NKT by gathering disgruntled former members and those with some doubts.

Within strand four of the GCHQ document it details the qualities intelligence officers should look for to bond groups together: shared opposition, shared ideology, and common beliefs. It also details some of the attributes that pull a group apart: competition, and ideological differences.

For the survivors group to work in line with the CTA's agenda it was essential that it was focussed solely on opposition to the NKT and anyone who showed ideological differences such as supporting the NKT needed to be quickly removed.

For this reason the group established the following rule:

"No NKT members/followers/students are allowed.
If you are happy with the NKT, and have no desire to leave, this group is not for you. If you join anyway trying to post and try to get Yahoo to delete this group, we can only assume you are a troll trying to cause disharmony. Such people will be banned and removed at once from the group."

Anyone posting comments which were deemed in any way supportive of the NKT were dismissed as 'trolls' trying to promote 'NKT propaganda'. In this way they ensured that members self moderated their comments avoiding anything that could be accused of being 'Pro-NKT'.

Now Michael had a group of people who were either ex-NKT members who were unhappy about their previous treatment in the tradition or current members who were thinking of leaving.

 

Fake Victim Blog Posts

In order to get the ball rolling Michael created a false identity online which he used to join the group and post comments. The fake identity was called "York Johns" and he posted as if he was an ex-NKT member with bad experiences.

Unfortunately for Michael his trade-craft wasn't very good with 'York Johns' and he used the same persona to create a YouTube account for some videos he wanted to use on his websites. The 'York Johns' account also uploaded some teachings in German by Dr. Birgit Schweiberer who was at Instituto Lama Tzong Khapa in Italy with Michael.

'York' was meant to be English, yet he was uploading German videos of Michael's friend. 'York' also recently uploaded footage Michael had recorded of the protesters outside the Dalai Lama's teachings in Frankfurt in 2014. Either Michael has multiple personality disorder or he was creating fake victim posts using his 'York' persona.

This wasn't an isolated incident, Michael's friend Rory Tasker also joined the 'survivors' group and posted under a false name. Rather than using his ordination name (Jamyang Khedrup) he posted using the name Lobsang Jangchub.

Over the course of 6 months several people replied to him using this false name, yet Rory never corrected them. An account of his time at Sera monastery was also published by Michael on one of his websites but attributed to, "the monk Lobsang Jangchub", even though Tenzin knew it was written by the monk Jamyang Khedrup.

Exactly how many of the other victim posts are fake is anyone's guess, there's no way to prove who the person is who posted the account or if it's accurate. This aspect of the 'survivors' group made it an incredibly potent tool in Michael's work for the CTA.

At this point I'd like to note that I am not trying to dismiss or belittle anyone's actual experience of dissatisfaction with the NKT. The issue is with the ability to ascertain if the accounts are truthful or if they are fake. Michael has demonstrated a willingness to use fake accounts within both the 'survivors' group and his own websites, which raises a valid question about which are accurate and which are false.

 

Posting “negative information” on Various Forums

In addition to using false identities within the 'survivors' group Michael also runs various different online identities which he uses to post negative information throughout the internet. He often comments on any articles which present anything other than a negative portrayal of the protests and almost always includes links within the posts to his own websites. Needless to say he pretends that the websites are not connected to him.

So far I'm aware of the following online identities he runs, although there are probably several more not included here:

  • Tenpel
  • Mick
  • Mick Jackman
  • York Johns
  • Tashi
  • KT66
  • Losang Tashi

 

Generating Outcomes with the 'Survivors'

With respect to using, "social sciences and other techniques to manipulate online discourse and activism to generate outcomes it considers desirable.", we need to consider what outcome the CTA would find desirable. If you bear in mind that their tactic is to discredit the NKT by calling it a cult, their desired outcome would be to create an appearance that accords with that narrative.

For this reason the main outcome that the CTA want from the 'survivors' group are statements or testimonies that support this premise. Such testimonies can be used to encourage others to see faults in the NKT, as evidence to the media to support the CTA claims, and as a method to influence the views and comments of religious research organisations such as Inform.

Inform is a UK charity based at the London School of Economics that specialises in researching minority and new religious movements. It's use by the CTA has been so widespread and significant that it warrants an article in its own right, which is due to be published in the near future.

For the time being if we return to how the 'survivors' group is used by Michael in relation to the aims of the CTA its importance comes sharply into focus.

Within strand two of the GCHQ briefing document there is a section they term 'Social Creativity' and illustrate with the diagram below:

 

Diagram taken from GCHQ briefing document:
"The Art of Deception: Training for Online Covert Operations." (p.32)

 

When considering that the function of the 'survivors' group for Michael is to generate negative testimonies about the NKT this diagram explains the route an intelligence officer would take. Note that NKT members who are not thinking of leaving the NKT are not allowed in the 'survivors' group, so consequently those who are considering leaving are welcome.

By planting seeds of doubt within the minds of people considering leaving the NKT and nurturing those doubts you eventually arrive at converts, people who have left the NKT and are 'survivors'. Only those posting negative comments about the NKT are allowed in the group, so the only converts allowed a voice are those who are negative ex-NKT members.

According to this diagram converts function in two ways, firstly they help to sow seeds of doubt in the minds of people still thinking of leaving the NKT and they also transition to those converts who share their experiences. When the 'survivor' has shared their experience and written a 'survivor testimony' that is shared with the group it functions to sow more seeds of doubt in those still in the NKT and also to encourage those who have left to write their own testimony.

This is the theory for how the 'survivors' group should function according to the people who train intelligence officers for the UK's Government Communications Headquarters. In other words this is the model a spy working for GCHQ would follow to manipulate an online group.

So how does this theory compare to the way that Michael Jäckel uses the 'survivors' group?

From my research into the group it follows exactly this pattern. Visitors who are still within the NKT are encouraged to leave the tradition. They are directed to several 'survivor testimonies' and encouraged to see negative aspects of the NKT.

After someone announces that they have left the NKT there is a steady increase in pressure on them to write about their experiences, to share with the group. This functions to encourage others, but also there is a strong pressure running throughout the group that members should contact Inform.

This step highlights the fact that the 'survivors' group isn't intended as an end process, but a stage within a larger process. Its function is to generate testimonies and also to share those testimonies with Inform and influence their opinion of the NKT. In so doing the 'survivors' group forms the very heart of Michael's methodology in that it generates statements used to influence an independent research group in order to lend credibility to the CTA's claims.

This trend is apparent and starkly obvious to anyone who looks through the archive of posts on the group. Time after time people are encouraged to contact Inform, to send their accounts to them. In one case a 'survivor' was strongly encouraged to ask Inform for advice on publishing a book based on their experiences within the NKT.

Inform are so entwined with the CTA's campaign that they regularly feature in official press packs for the Dalai Lama's events and they are promoted as a point of contact to the media to prove the CTA's narrative that the NKT is a cult. The CTA even go as far as to say that the NKT must be dangerous because they have a 'survivors' group.

 

Conclusions

In conclusion to his own article Glenn Greenwald stated:

"Claims that government agencies are infiltrating online communities and engaging in “false flag operations” to discredit targets are often dismissed as conspiracy theories, but these documents leave no doubt they are doing precisely that."

If the UK and US intelligence communities are engaged in discrediting targets who oppose them through manipulating online communities is there any doubt that the exile Tibetan government would do the same? They have a long history with the US intelligence community and Michael Jäckel has a history within the East German armed forces and an interest in the Stasi/Nazi approach which would include Zersetzung methodologies.

Interestingly Mr Jäckel's response to my previous expose of his web of lies was to state that I am an"ill-informed conspiracy theorist". Yet here we have an official training document from the UK intelligence services which mirrors the exact methods he uses for the CTA.

How can Mr Jäckel manage to recreate the same methods of operation that GCHQ use unless he is working as an intelligence officer for the CTA and is following the training he has received?

  1. Is it just coincidence that he was 'injecting false material onto the internet' via Wikipedia and his own websites?
  2. Is it accidental that he was 'manipulating online discourse' through the survivors group?
  3. Was it a random chance that he created 'fake victim blog posts' and published one of them on his website?
  4. Is it incidental that he has been 'posting "negative information" on various forums' using multiple false identities?
  5. Is it unintended that his use of the 'survivors' group follows the plan explained by the GCHQ 'Social Creativity' diagram?
  6. Why is it that Mr Jäckel's online activity to counter the Dorje Shugden protest movement follows the GCHQ document, "The Art of Deception: Training for Online Covert Operations" ?

 

Bearing all of this in mind there is only one question to answer:

 

Is Mr Jäckel a Buddhist monk, the victim of some ill-informed conspiracy theory, or is he an intelligence officer working directly for the Central Tibetan Authority?

 

 

©2014-15 Are Buddhists Racist - The author asserts copyright over all content of this publication unless otherwise stated.

For any legal notices or media enquiries please email: pressrequest.abr@gmail.com