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 Weight of Evidence

7th June 2015 - updated

As the Dalai Lama began his tour of Australia a rather unusual set of events occurred in which I was targeted by Tenzin Peljor's small but loyal troop of female fans and attacked online. Usually they attack the protest movement, but this time they attacked me, so I felt it appropriate to address some of their claims.

Apparently I am a 'blackmailer', a 'liar' who inhabits a 'sinister world', a 'crazy mofo', and so out of touch with reality I am 'diagnosable'. These ad hominem attacks are in response to my exposing Carol McQuire and Tenzin Peljor's relationship with the Dalai Lama's government, the CTA.

Overall I find ad hominem attacks quite entertaining, and often humorous, especially since I use a pen name. This use of a pen name is described as a covert tactic which destroys any credibility I have - apparently I'm untrustworthy.

Pen names have a rich history within both literature and investigate reporting. My use of the 'Indy Hack' pen name is based on security arrangements following credible death threats. I'm sure if Salman Rushdie had his time again he may have opted for one.

The essential point my critics fail to grasp is that by using a pen name I immediately begin with zero credibility. Any that I build up has to be established solely on the basis of the evidence I present, the facts, not the reputation.

If my byline said Glenn Greenwald, Nicky Hager, or Claire Newell, then anything I wrote would have a high degree of credibility from the first word. It doesn't, therefore I've had to back every statement I've made with facts and hard evidence.

No one believes what I write simply because it's online. I present readers with an explanation supported by facts, quotes, research, and interviews. They can then consider the information before them and decide for themselves what conclusions to draw.

 

The Evil Blackmailer

As well as journalism I apparently enjoy a spot of blackmail on the side and I 'punish' people if they don't 'obey' me, which all sounds a bit Christian Grey to me.

What I actually do is spend a considerable amount of time researching and investigating the subjects of my work.

As an outsider when you investigate a group of people you have limited access to information. Some journalists infiltrate the groups and gather information that way, others seek to develop a network of contacts within the group who share information with them. Sometimes people offer information and sometimes you have to ask for it.

I recently asked someone in Tenzin's group to help with my research and in return I offered to redact their name from any exposés. I was on the verge of breaking a story about their involvement in targeted harassment and online bullying using the @kelseylotus Twitter account, so I offered them a trade.

Offering to spike a story about one person in return for help with developing a bigger story is not blackmail. Likewise when the person declines the offer it is not 'punishing' them to run the story that would otherwise have been spiked.

This melodramatic over-reaction to normal investigative processes helps no one and just makes Tenzin's group appear prone to exaggeration.

 

Tenzin's False Identities

Whenever I have exposed any of Tenzin or Carol's fraudulent activities or false identities their response is always to say that I'm lying. They conveniently ignore all of the evidence I present, they fail to refute any of it, and yet they claim the moral high ground.

One such example is Tenzin's use of the 'York Johns' identity which was revealed in this article. Aside from being a very obviously fictitious name 'York' also shared striking similarities with Tenzin.

For instance, 'York' set up a YouTube account to upload video clips that Tenzin then used on his own websites. He also uploaded videos in German of a friend of Tenzin's giving teachings. The teachings were by Dr. Birgit Schweiberer who was at Instituto Lama Tzong Khapa in Italy at the same time as Tenzin. Quite why 'York' would be associated with these videos wasn't clear. More recently 'York' also uploaded a video that Tenzin recorded outside the Dalai Lama's teachings in Frankfurt in 2014.

Tenzin is a qualified computer programmer, he has developed multiple websites for his online activities and yet we are expected to believe that he has to rely on York's YouTube account rather than set one up himself? All of the videos on the account directly relate to Tenzin, so why are there none of York's videos if they are two completely separate people?

'York' is one of several false identities that Tenzin invented to create the illusion of multiple people interacting online. Even on Facebook Tenzin uses another false identity, 'Mick Jackman' so that he can add comments to articles in the US media without the journalists realising it's him.

This is his own explanation for why he doesn't use his real name on Facebook (as explained in this article):

"I prefer to remain anonymous. I had to create the account because you can only post comments on US media with a FB profile."

Either Tenzin is knowingly using multiple false identities to deceive and manipulate people or it is he who is 'diagnosable' with multiple personality disorder.

So that leads you to the question of why a fully ordained Buddhist monk with strict vows against lying is using multiple false identities? Surely that behaviour is more synonymous with deception than Buddhism?

Here is an example of how this evidence is refuted by one of Tenzin's supporters:

"There can be no trust for Indy until he/she/it/they disclose his/her/its/their own identity. So from Indy’s anonymous, covert perspective, it makes perfect sense to claim that Tenzin and York are the same people—because nobody is as they appear. We see people from our own lens and Indy’s lens is covert."

As you can see there is no attempt to even begin to address the evidence regarding Tenzin's use of false identities, nor York's close similarity with Tenzin's activities. Instead the logic is presented that I believe York to be Tenzin because I use a pen name.

Whilst that logic may make sense to the person who wrote it, based on their own cognitive dissonance regarding Tenzin, it doesn't make it logical or coherent for anyone else. But then what can I realistically expect from someone who states that I have, "a mind that can only be described as hate-filled".

 

In Trouble with the Authorities

Another claim that Tenzin's cohorts seem to delight in making is that I am in trouble with the authorities, as if my activities are somehow outside of the law and a joint team are busily tracking me down.

This website has been online for over a year and in that time it has never been subject to any take-down action, unlike some of Tenzin's websites.

No one has ever served me with a legal notice of infringement.

No one has ever taken legal action against me.

No police authority has ever investigated me or my activities.

In short I have never been subject to any legal process of any kind in terms of both civil law and criminal law.

For example, Linda Ciardiello once claimed that I had threatened her and published her home address online. She claimed to have reported this to the police.

Fact: I never revealed Linda's address online.

Fact: Thames Valley Police (Linda's local police authority) stated that at no time had she been threatened by me.

Although I use a pen name I'm not above the law. This is not some Hollywood movie where journalists get issued with a special badge to show the police. You're lucky if they let you through a police line with a press card these days. In fact they're more likely to place you on a register of 'domestic extremists' than let you off anything.

There seems to be an almost hysterical reaction to any articles that deal honestly with Tenzin and Carol's work for the Dalai Lama. Whilst they brag in private about how important their work is and how the Dalai Lama values it, should you expose that to the public there is a melodramatic outcry.

For example when I exposed Carol's close ties to the CTA and said that she was rewarded by them for her work by receiving free VIP attendance at the Dalai Lama's teachings in Basel (including a private meeting with him), this was Linda's response:

"I wonder whom this blackmailer gets his spin-doctoring coaching from! His theories are cockamamie barking mad. Absolutely ludicrous!"

Yet this was Lynne Cracknell's response:

"A well deserved reward for all her hard work and for putting up with abuse from turkeys like the above [Indy Hack]"

It seems that even between the small number of devoted Tenzin fans they can't agree on what to admit to publicly and what to deny.

 

Conclusion

Whilst Tenzin's core group of supporters attack me as being some kind of bully out to prey on the weak and vulnerable nothing could be further from the truth. My work is always focussed on the vulnerable, seeking to lend support to the oppressed, such as in this example of the exile Tibetan Shugden community.

My work is well researched and every statement I have made is backed up by facts and evidence. If someone disagrees with it that's fine, but if you want to call it lies you have a responsibility to back up your claims.

Just because you don't like what's written doesn't make it untrue. Wherever and whenever there have been factual inaccuracies pointed out to me and evidenced I have corrected them or removed them. Such is the nature of journalism, we never know the full truth, and as further aspects become apparent it changes and adapts. Journalism is fluid, not fixed.

For example, when one claim in an extensive article was proven to be inaccurate it was amended. The person this related to wrote to me saying, "I do VERY MUCH appreciate your willingness to remove the claims proven false, and to do so, so quickly."

Unfortunately not all of Tenzin's associates understand how journalism works. They somehow think they can publish articles and comments yet remain free from scrutiny. They erroneously believe that anyone who challenges their view or the Dalai Lama must be an agent of the Chinese, an NKT member, or an 'enforcer' out to 'punish' people.

Such paranoia is not uncommon amongst groups of people who hold strong religious beliefs, such as those held by supporters of the Dalai Lama. I am not the first journalist to investigate the Dalai Lama's darker side. Several have done so previously and similarly been the focus of death threats and unfounded attacks from his more zealous supporters.

Any journalist who goes up against a religious leader will encounter strong opposition, sometimes fanatical, from their followers. They can perceive any question or criticism as an attack and can respond irrationally or over-emotionally. Whilst such a response is to be expected it has the habit of dissuading some journalists from continuing their work.

Just because I am addressing one dysfunctional aspect of the Tibetan exile community doesn't mean that I am attacking or somehow against Tibetans. I am attacking injustice and I am against oppression, just like the Dalai Lama claims to be.

If you feel an article is inaccurate or contains false information please explain why. Show me the evidence to support your claims and if it is shown to be inaccurate I will change it. We all want the same thing, truth and justice.

If however you disagree simply because you dislike the article or find the facts hard to bear then please show some dignity. Just saying it's lies because you don't like it never changes the truth.

What I'm saying here is really quite simple: put up or shut up.

 

Update

Controversy still rages about the identity of York Johns, the now infamous member of Tenzin's "survivors" group. According to one of Tenzin's fans my evidence is "silly", so to put the matter to rest once and for all here is some more "silly" evidence.

York Johns is a false identity that Tenzin invented very early in the days of the "survivors" group. His reason for doing so was because the group wasn't very active in the beginning, so he started some false accounts to create the impression that there were more people involved.

It's understandable when you consider that Tenzin was under a lot of pressure to make the group a success otherwise he would lose face with the Dalai Lama and the CTA. Tenzin also created a YouTube account for York Johns and a Facebook account for him.

The Facebook account contains someone else's photographs and is there to help create the illusion that York is a genuine person. The Facebook account and YouTube account both share the same nickname, "boboluna".

 

York Johns

 

Tenzin has a long standing relationship with the Alexander Berzin archive team in Germany. They are based in Berlin, as is he. Tenzin is friends with both of the archive team web designers, Christian Steinert and Marlene Eltschig. Tenzin is also a web designer, having created several different sites for himself as well as Bodhicharya Centre.

Here is a link to the Alexander Berzin website that shows both of these people are the web designers for the site.

Marlene is also a teacher at Bodhicharya Centre in Berlin where Tenzin is the resident monk. Below is some publicity posted on Facebook for a meditation event she was leading in November 2014.

 

marlene

 

On the publicity it says: "Marlene leads a meditation course at Bodhicharya Buddhist Center and regularly gives the sojong vows for fasting on each full moon."

The reason Tenzin's connection with the Berzin archive web designers is relevant to York Johns is because in 2013 the Berzin website listed York as their "Technical Assistant" along with another photograph of a person who is not York Johns.

 

York Johns

 

It is very easy to grab photographs of someone from the internet to make it seem that they are the person you claim them to be. For continuity Tenzin used the same persons photograph for the Berzin archives as he did for the Facebook account.

From 2007-2013 the Berzin archives Technical Assistant was Jorge Numata. In September 2013 Jorge then became Technical Chairman. At the same time the website listed York Johns as their new Technical Assistant. You can see the current listing here.

York Johns is an entirely fictitious identity. There is no one in Berlin who has that name: York Johns is not on any residential list, public archive, or government register in Berlin city nor within the entire state of Berlin.

Also if you search for "York Johns Berlin" the first relevant result Google gives is the website for Tibet Centre Berlin. The website states at the very bottom of the page it was designed by York Johns.

There are also 2 LinkedIn profiles set up for York Johns. One claims that he is a self employed professional in the field of design, whilst the other claims he is a project manager at the Berzin archives. There are no other relevant results.

Neither LinkedIn profile has a picture and both of them say he is based in Berlin and only have 2 connections each. The other interesting aspect of York Johns on LinkedIn is that no-one else in their entire worldwide database has the name York Johns.

 

York Johns

 

Tibet Centre Berlin's website was re-designed in June 2010 and it is from that date that the designer is listed as York Johns. There never was and still is no link to the designers website which shows it's a false name.

I have never heard of a web designer that doesn't have a website for themselves or their business. I also know of no web designer that would include their name at the bottom of a client's site without linking it to their own website.

The Tibet Centre website was designed by someone with ties to the Tibetan Buddhist community in Berlin. It was designed by someone who wanted to make it look like York Johns was a real person.

Someone has gone to considerable effort to make it look as if York Johns is real. They've created a Facebook page and 2 LinkedIn profiles for them, they've given them a job on the Berzin archives team, and they've designed the Tibet House Berlin website in their name. There is a problem though, no one by that name exists in Berlin, yet York Johns' activities are all based there.

Also if you search for any web designers with the name York Johns there aren't any. The one and only website ever created and credited to him is the Tibet Centre website in Berlin.

Even if you discount all of the previous connections between Tenzin and York that I've already published there remain some rather large nagging questions:

 

  • Who is based in Berlin, has ties to the Berzin archives web designers and the influence to have them add York Johns as a Technical Assistant to their website?
  • Who also has ties to Tibet Centre in Berlin, who is technically skilled enough to create a website and credit it to York Johns?
  • Who is also connected to the survivors group in 2007 at the same time that York Johns first appeared there?
  • Perhaps York Johns is a real person? If so why is there no record of him anywhere in Berlin other than those organisations that Tenzin is connected to?

 

The mistake Tenzin made was in picking a name as unique as York Johns. For a web designer he doesn't appear anywhere online except where Tenzin also appears. There may be some photographs of a random person, but there is no record of him ever existing other than in places where Tenzin also exists.

If York Johns only exists in the same places as Tenzin, with connections to the same organisations and groups as Tenzin, then either they are well known to each other or York is Tenzin's creation.

It's very easy for Tenzin to prove that York is real - all he has to do is publish a photograph of him and York together. After all, they live in the same city and know the same people.

It shouldn't be too much of a problem should it?

 

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