Gerald Joe Moreno, sole known image
I have contributed a critical site entitled Kevin R. D. Shepherd Not Exposed: Analysis of a Cultist Defamation. This comprises a repudiation of the stigma expressed by Gerald Joe Moreno, an American internet apologist for Sathya Sai Baba (d.2011) during the period 2004-2010. The militant strategy of Moreno encompassed many victims, over a hundred according to one informed estimate. I was unusual for being an outsider to the Sathya Sai Baba movement, not an ex-devotee like most other victims.
I was subsequently informed by ex-devotee Brian Steel of Moreno’s death. I was at first incredulous when receiving belated news that Moreno had been stated by a relative to have suffered expiry in early July 2010. The recipient of this information was ex-devotee Barry Pittard. The reason for decease had not been divulged by the relative. Moreno was only forty years of age at his demise.
I expressed my view (in private) that confirmation was necessary before acceptance of the report that Moreno was dead. Some thought that the news might have amounted to a hoax. However, Brian Steel convincingly reasoned that the reported date of decease closely tallied with the fact that Moreno’s last known web activity occurred in June 2010.
I mentioned the opinion existing, amongst some people in Britain, that Moreno may have stopped his output because his funding had ceased. He was for years strongly rumoured to be in receipt of financial assistance from a wealthy American devotee, probably Dr. Michael Goldstein, international leader of the Sathya Sai Organisation.
The prolific web output of Gerald Joe Moreno at first remained much in evidence on Google, thus giving the impression that he was still alive. A suggestion came that Moreno websites were paid up long in advance. Google blogs are free. A deceased blogger can still appear to be alive. The Moreno output subsequently diminished online. Victims had the option of denying unjust accusations, and explaining the context of Pro-Sai attacks.
I will add here some remarks about the content of Kevin RD Shepherd Not Exposed. In the opening entry, I stressed the identity of Moreno as Equalizer, perhaps the most pervasive of his blogger pseudonyms. Under that name, he duplicated on a blogspot feature libellous and misleading materials from his activist website saisathyasai. That attack site became notorious for defamation. Moreno called his new blogspot copy feature kevin shepherd exposed. This extravaganza included many misrepresentations and slanders.
Sathya Sai Baba
In general, the Moreno strategy was vehement, repudiating all criticism of Sathya Sai Baba, treating any critic as a virtual criminal. His targets ranged from the Indian Rationalist Basava Premanand to the British journalist Paul Lewis. Testimonies of sexual abuse were adamantly denied. When Moreno’s own policy was criticised, he reacted even more strongly.
The Moreno attack strategy can scarcely be comprehended unless his influence, via Wikipedia, is taken into account. Under the pseudonym of SSS108, in 2006 he launched an editorial campaign against ex-devotees, principally Robert Priddy of Norway. Many observers could not understand what was happening. Moreno was to some extent successful. Nevertheless, the activist editing of SSS108 came under internal critical scrutiny on Wikipedia. As a consequence, this agitating editor (Moreno) was banned indefinitely from Wikipedia in March 2007.
The contradictory fact is that Moreno (alias SSS108, Equalizer) exercised an enduringly strong influence upon Wikipedia editors, mainly those who did not trouble to check out the background. Of course, the pseudonymous nature of many Moreno attacks was resistant to general analysis. Informed observers were familiar with missing details. Yet sometimes these critics were repudiated as being in error by confused Wikipedia editors.
I was never a Wikipedia editor. As a non-participant, I had the unfortunate experience of being dismissed on a Wikipedia User page by SSS108. That document of 2006 was assisted by Jossi Fresco, who became notorious for his advocacy of “guru cults.” A Wikipedia article on myself was subsequently deleted in 2009, the deletion page commencing with scandalous links to defamatory Moreno blogs. Not until 2012 did Jimmy Wales (the Wikipedia manager) intervene in the widespread confusion by deleting the influential SSS108 User page from Wikipedia files. Much damage had been done in my direction by that time.
Moreno gained the reputation of an internet terrorist and cyberstalker, his output being submitted to legal analysts who passed a negative judgment. He multiplied his attack entries against diverse opponents, furthering obsessive emphases that often sounded crazy to impartial readers. One of his disreputable web documents was the so-called Introduction to Kevin RD Shepherd, which I repudiated as being extremely misleading.
Another blind alley adventure of Moreno was his adverse reflection upon two Wikipedia editors who transpired to be academics with university roles. Because these entities had supported me, Moreno ridiculed them as being irrelevant. Under their disguising pseudonyms, the academics Simon Kidd and Dr. M. E. Dean were subsequently inverted in Moreno lore as ignominious and rascal Wikipedia “sockpuppets” for myself. The truth places superficial assessment in permanent jeopardy. Serious citations are not comical.
Moreno also exercised his ingenuity in denying validity to a significant BBC documentary, entitled The Secret Swami (2004). This programme caused an international stir, providing an insight into the controversy developing between ex-devotees and Sathya Sai supporters. Moreno failed to annul strong testimonies of sexual abuse, likewise implications of the “bedroom murders” at Puttaparthi ashram in 1993. He nevertheless did his utmost to provide a counter-version of events, creating much confusion in the process.
In June 2010, Gerald Joe Moreno adopted another extremist tactic when he cast aspersions upon a university academic, namely Professor Tulasi Srinivas. At the same time, he ridiculed many other victims. Moreno expressed an opinion that Professor Srinivas had ignored his own contributions. He failed to take into account that libellous and distorting personal attacks are not the best form of recommendation.
Kevin R. D. Shepherd
November 2013 (modified 2021)
ENTRY no. 56
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