Escape From Rajneeshpuram
by Paul Morantz
(c) January 2011
“He moved about, going to Crete where he was arrested. He tried Geneva, Stockholm, Heathrow, Canada, and Ireland but was refused entry. Ireland let him land to refuel but he could only stay two weeks on agreement not to publicly speak. When he landed in Madrid the Guardia Civil circled the plane. He was tossed out of Dakar and Uruguay told him to leave when he spoke publicly. Jamaica gave the group 12 hours to leave.”
In the early l980’s while I was litigating against the now defunct Center for Feeling Therapy the flavor of the decade thought reform and destructive cults was Orange.
The middle class found retreat in an Oregon commune where sex was urged similar to the freedom of the Manson family at the Spahn Ranch in the l960’s creating a media controversy as well as did the Indian founder Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh’s passion for purchasing Rolls Royces with his followers assets and an L.Ron Hubbard and Howard Hughes obsession over germs.
Like Charles Manson, Chuck Dederich, Jim Jones, Richard Corriere and Werner Erhard, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh gained popularity by using the language of Abraham Maslow’s Human Potential Movement, luring to his commune—Rajnesshpuram– those seeking self realization, the popular meditation craze of the 70’s, benefits and dressing in orange robes.
One follower, Learjet Heiress Pat Lear, was so infatuated with his charisma and philosophical poetry she made an agreement to publish a small book containing quotations from the guru. After she was finished, when they came to disagreement, the Bhagwan withdrew his consent and filed suit against Ms. Lear to prevent publication. Ms. Lear concluded he was villain and not saint and sued back for her loss of expected profits and other claims. I was the attorney she chose.
The Bhagwan’s attorney was former top Los Angeles defense lawyer, Philip J. Toelkes, now going by an Indian name, Swami Prem Niren , who was always, without success, trying to convince me that Rajneeshpuram was not like Synanon, Jonestown, Spahn Ranch, Center for Feeling Therapy or other bad movements I had litigated against; that the Bhagwan was a true religious humanitarian.
When I noticed the Bhagwan’s deposition in Oregon, Niren informed me that I must take several special showers, wear a robe, bow and question from a kneeling position. I told him I would not shower for several weeks and show up in sweat clothes having just come from the gym and a two-mile run. And I expected Bhagwan to shake my hand.
“He may be God to you,” I said, “but he is not to me.”
The Bhagwan actually made a motion to try enforce his rules and it was hard not to laugh in court. The motion was denied.
But later there was no humor when I warned authorities in Oregon that based on upon personal telephone conversations with, television observations and press releases of, Ma Anand Sheela, the power behind the throne, the Rajneesh were completely paranoid and the group’s “we vs. they” mentality now supported the use of violence which was inevitable. To this date, I don’t know if I was believed. They asked what proof I had and all I could say the only evidence I had was “experience.” I knew cults. I also felt I knew evil.
Two weeks later the plot to murder members of the population of surrounding Oregon citizens became public ending the Bhagwan’s reign, as well as the murder plots against several attorneys. Like the People’s Temple, the Synanon snake in my mailbox and later a Japanese cult, poison was the weapon of choice.
Many historians, although mistaken (see very end), call it the first act of mass bio terrorism in the history of the United States, 16 years before letters delivered death following 9/11.
Born Chandra Mohan Jain in 1931, the eldest of eleven children of a cloth merchant living in a small village in the Raisen District of Madhya Pradesh, Bhagwan was first an atheist, dabbled in hypnosis and explored socialism. He changed to spiritual enlightenment in 1953 following an alleged mystical experience in the Bhanvartal garden in Jabalpur, typical of most religious founders.
He called himself Acharya Rajneesh from the 1960s onwards and Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh during the 1970s and 1980s. In the 60’s Bhagwan warned, as did Jim Jones, eventually, that “the third and last war is now on the way” and frequently spoke of the need to create a “new humanity” as did most cult leaders of those times.
His rise to fame and power came at the use of two wealthy women. His secretary and his first disciple took the name Ma Yoga Laxmi and used her wealth to build his empire.
In 1970, Bhagwan lectured and received visitors, including Westerners, and became teacher to sannyasins. In 1971, he changed his name again, this time to “Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh”. Bhagwan means “blessed one.” His criticism of socialism, Mahatma Gandhi and institutionalized religion such as Hindu, along with a penchant for material things, made him controversial as well as did his press designation as the “sex guru.” He said socialism socialized poverty and Gandhi worshiped poverty.
In 1974 the second wealthy woman, Catherine Venizelos (Ma Yoga Mukta), a Greek shipping heiress, aided the purchase of property in Koregaon Park, Pune. The ashram, which had an arts/crafts center producing for sale clothes, jewelry, ceramics and organic cosmetics, attracted the West during its New Era religion craze. In 1975, Human Potential Movement therapists added meditations and therapy encounter groups to the ashram which Westerners paid for despite criticism of physical aggression as well as sexual encounters as had already existed in the 70’s in Chuck Dederich’s Synanon, Jime Jone’s People’s Temple and Richard Corriere’s Center For Feeling Therapy and in the 60’s in Charlie Manson’s Family.
Richard Price, co-founder of the Esalen institute, which existed to exalt the new age touchy-feely groups, alleged to have exited the Pune ashram with a broken arm following a period of eight hours locked in a room with participants armed with wooden weapons.
Like Werner Erhard before him, Bhagwan could adjust to criticism. In 1979, he admitted the violence and announced it had ended having “fulfilled its function” in evolving a spiritual commune. But there were other concerns, stories that Western sannyasins raised money through prostitution and drug-running with Bhagwan approval.
By 1981 it has been claimed Bhagwan hosted 30,000 visitors per year, aided by an attraction, some said, to his use of ethnic or dirty jokes ala some washed up Las Vegas comedian.
Then in 1981, having discoursed daily for nearly 15 years, Bhagwan started more than three-years of public silence and satsangs (readings from spiritual works).
It was during this era entered a third wealthy woman who Bhagwan relied on– Ma Anand Sheela (Sheela Silverman). Sheela, from Baroda, India, at age 18, came to America to be educated at Montclair State College. She married wealthy Marc Silverman, resident of Highland Park, Illinois.
Upon returning to India in 1972, Sheela and Silverman became “sannyasins” and she took the name Ma Anand Sheela while her husband became Chinmaya. Her husband later died and she married another sannyasin.
The India government hostility increased. It, as the U.S. would do with Synanon, canceled the ashram’s tax-exempt status retrospectively resulting in an estimated $5 million tax bill.
Sheela stated in public Bhagwan was in grave danger medically if he remained in India and needed to go to America. On 13 June 1981, Sheela’s husband paying $5.75 million bought a 64,229-acre ranch–The Big Muddy Ranch–located in Oregon counties and renamed “Rancho Rajneesh.” Bhagwan’s move created local hostile community reactions which probably started seeds of paranoia, as did the same for Synanon founder Charles Dederich who found attacks wherever he and Synanon located.
Within a year a series of legal battles ensued, as did With Synanon, over zoning and permits. In May 1982 the residents of Rancho Rajneesh incorporated it as the city of Rajneeshpuram which brought on more violation claims. As with Synanon, the Rajneesh was uncompromising, confrontational and accused critics all of bigotry.
Bhagwan lived in a trailer next to a covered swimming pool with other trimmings of the good life. Daily he drove past his followers lined up on the road in one of his many Rolls-Royces. As did Synanon, he had a fleet of vehicles, eventually 93.
But as Bahgwan never sought outside medical attention the Immigration and Naturalization Service ultimately would conclude that he had lied with a preconceived intent to remain there.
In November 1981 the former atheist applied for residence as a religious worker, which was refused on the grounds that he could not lead a religion while unwell and in silence, a ridiculous position that was later overturned and left to stay status as a religious leader was granted three years later, in 1984.
Significantly, Bhagwan gave Ma Anand Sheela power of attorney in 1982. In 1983 Sheela announced that Bhagwan would henceforth speak only with her. From this unholy alliance were the roots of eventual terrorism. She then ran the ashram backed by loyal women called moms.
Bhagwan continued his prediction that the world might destroy itself by nuclear war or other disasters sometime in the 1990s which he said required the quick building of the Oregon commune. In March 1984 Sheela announced that Bhagwan had predicted the death of two-thirds of humanity from AIDS. Sannyasins were required to wear rubber gloves and condoms if they had sex , like Synanon’s Dederich, being ahead of society on multple health issues.
Bhagwan ended his period of public silence in October of 1984 resuming daily speech discourses. It appears Sheela did not like losing command and a rift began. Almost a year later, in September of 1985, just after Sheela and her cronies suddenly departed for Europe, Bhagwan held a press conference and shocked the world by accusing Sheela’s gang of having committed crimes starting in 1984 (the year of George Orwell’s prediction) including the attempted murder of his personal physician, poisonings of public officials,bugging the commune (including his own home) and a biological attack (salmonella) on the neighbor town of Dulles, Oregon.
Generally the press all laughed at the “sex guru” claims until U.S. authorities not only confirmed it but convicted Sheela and some of her assistants.
(The salmonella attack has been claimed to be the first known use of chemical or biological terrorism to have occurred in the United States, but that is not true and those who make the claim have short memories and do not want to acknowledge what our government has done –see end below discussion)
While Bhagwan stated he was unaware of the crimes until Sheela and her gang left, other sannyasins claim Bhawgan was behind everything and blamed her only as revenge for leaving and further to exonerate himself if plots were discovered.
Sheela admitted she bugged Bhagwan’s living quarters but said it was in fear she would be scapegoated and made her tapes available to the U.S. authorities as part of her own plea bargain. Bhagwan was never criminally charged but some law enforcement officials who listened to hundreds of hours of tape recordings and conducted investigation believe the guru was guilty of more crimes than those prosecuted. One expert asserted Bhagwan’s philosophy was not “disapproving of poisoning” and that he felt he and Sheela had been “genuinely evil”– the same thing I told authorities in l985 from listening to and observing Sheela.
In October of 1985, months after my telephone warnings, a federal grand jury charged Bhagwan and several other disciples with conspiracy to evade immigration laws. As would happen in Waco in l993 to David Karesh’s Branch Davidan’s commune, fears of a National Guard invasion and arrest of Bhagwan led to tension and fears of shooting. Just as the SLA and Jim Jones had done in the 70’s, and would happen in Waco, there was fear followers would die protecting him.
In October of 1985 Bhagwan and some sannyasins were arrested while aboard a rented jet on a North Carolina airstrip waiting for takeoff to Bermuda to escape Rajneeshpuram and prosecution. They had aboard $58,000 cash, 35 watches and over a million in jewelry.
Instead of photos in Rolls Royce, the world now saw the sex guru pictured in chains. As would Dederich did years earlier when charged with my attempted murder, Bhagwan entered a guilty plea through which a suspect does not admit guilt but does contest the charges of having concealed intent to remain permanently in the U.S. at the time of his original visa application in 1981 when claiming medical need and to having conspired to have sannyasins do sham marriages to become U.S. citizens. Per the plea bargain, similar to the one Synanon’s Dederich made in l980, he received a suspended sentence, five years’ probation and a $400,000 penalty. While Dederich agreed to have nothing to do with the running of Synanon, Bhagwan agreed to leave the United States.
I never concluded Pat Lear’s litigation. Niren had two good defense arguments. One, new businesses with no record of profits can’t collect damages as they are too speculative. To counter, I tried to establish the mean profit of Bhaghwan’s other books and claimed that at the very least the books would be bought by his followers. Niren also asked me how was a jury going to conclude Pat was harmed in not publishing her collection of Bhagwan’s sayings when in fact she now considered him a manipulative destructive cult leader.
Given those arguments, Niren offered what seemed a reasonable settlement but Pat turned it down. While she had that right I no longer felt comfortable taking her money as I did not think I could accomplish anything for her, i.e. a greater award then offered. A few years later a similar occurrence would happen with a former Scientologist in litigation with Scientology. I thought Scientology surprisingly made a reasonable offer and I did not feel comfortable continuing believing I could not get a better result. These were only two cult cases I did not complete to a satisfactory outcome, leaving them before they ended.
I don’t know what happened to the case but since shortly after my exit the Rajneesh ceased to exist I doubt it had any outcome. But I am confident Ms. Lear found the end of Rajneeshuram and arrest of Bhawgwan more exhilarating than any financial award to the Learjet heiress.
My interest in the Rajneesh did not drop even though the case was. My main source of information was Win McCormack, the editor of the Oregon. Like Dave Mitchell of the weekly Point Reyes Light that pursued relentlessly Synanon all the way to a Pulitzer Prize, McCormack obsessively reported on the orange people. As I had been a subscriber to the Light in Marin in the 70’s, now I subscribed to the Oregon paper in the 80’s.
The irony was that McCormack was my client for five years having been one of the many victims of the Center for Feeling Therapy that destructed in l981 (See Escape from the Center For Feeling Therapy). He particularly hated Richard Corriere who was accused of forcing the abortion of Win’s unborn child by making the mother see what carrying a child around would be like by directing she carry a doll with weights tied to it. After learning about cults from me, and his experience, McCormack believed Corriere should have been arrested for murder.
Now Win applied what he had learned at the Center and from me to his paper’s efforts to inform of the malignancy in Rajneeshpuram. And I became his pupil in learning more of what was happening in the Dulles ashram.
Sometimes Ma Anand Sheela, who called herself the Queen and met everyday with Bhagwan, spoke directly with me during litigation by telephone, with unusual attorney allowance, and her arrogance and attitude of self importance and power was unnerving as I heard it all before from Synanon and the People’s Temple.
I watched Sheela in action on Television and read in McCormick’s paper the battles going on in Dulles that so reminded me of Synanon’s battles against Santa Monica, Marin and Badger.
Ma Anand Sheela felt the Wasco County Court, a county commission, was out to get Rajneeshpuram; the only explanation of its demands Rajneesh follow codes and zoning laws. Sheela, as Synanon also tried in Marin for same reasons, attempted to get two followers in November 1984 publicly elected. At the time there were 15,000 registered voters in Wasco. Rajneeshpuram had 4,000 inhabitants but most were not United States citizens and thus could not vote.
Synanon in late 70’s tried to bring outside members to Marin County to win elections but Marin held it off by passing a zoning law for limiting the Ranch’s population per it now being re-zoned as an agriculture area. Now in 1984 Sheela brought in 2,000 transients, all voter eligible, to Rajneeshpuram proclaiming it was to aid the homeless. After a judge ordered registration hearings the majority of the transients left ending Sheela’s plan. In several appearances on national television, I watched as Sheela called officials “bigoted pigs”, “fascists”, “full of shit”, and threatened that, “If they touch any one of our people, I’ll have 15 of their heads, and I mean business.” I had heard the same from Charles Dederich in a l977 press conference after refusing to let health officials (which I had pushed) to enter the property and in TV interviews where Dederich said “bombs could go off” in the homes of those “clowns” against Synanon.
I remembered Synanon’s Dan Garrett shouting to a defense firm secretary, “Paul Morantz does not get it. I am going to get him. If I don’t my children will and if they don’t my grandchildren will.”
Eventually NBC asked Sheela about Bhawhan racial slurs and she responded defining the holocaust as “five hundred jews in the ashtray.”
Once when the Rajneesh won a case in Oregon, Sheela called me so she could tell me the news and have me to listen to the celebration in her ashram office.
So I, too, made some long distance calls. McCormack believed me when I said violent attacks were just around the corner. But he had known me for five years and knew my expertise. When I called law enforcement officials I wasn’t sure they just concluded I was a nut case.
In reality, my prediction was slightly off. Violence was not about to commence, it had been already going on for some time, just not discovered, and if it hadn’t been discovered eventually I might have faced a second murder attempt—and once again the agent might have been a poison.
Rajneeshpuram, as also occurred with Synanon and People’s Temple, frustration over not having their way turned it criminal. Sheela by her own eventual admissions conspired to cause the salmonella outbreak to prevent the locals from voting in the county council elections.
It was also later admitted Sheela and mom Ma Anand Puja discussed with Rajneesh leadership using “bacteria and other methods to make people ill”. Sheela claimed Bhagwan preferred not to hurt people but, ala Synanon’s Dederich, “if a few died not to worry.”
Puja, a nurse, former Dianne Y. Onang, and Sheela thought of using Salmonella typhi, which causes typhoid fever, before settling on Salmonella typhimurium. Salmonella typhi it was feared might cause such an outbreak of typhoid fever that it would cause an investigation. They obtained the salmonella from a medical supply company called American Type Culture Collection.
It was as easy as that.
Discovery was aided by citizens who counted the number of ill and concluded they had to have been deliberately poisoned. The culprit seemed obvious. As would be found out, by then the Rajneesh had a complete “germ warfare” laboratory. It has been asserted Sheela congratulated Puja for making people sick, but added “too bad you didn’t make more people sick.”
Affidavits of ex-members stated the murder conspirators belonged to a group known as “the 38,” and, as similarly happened in Synanon, were trained in “commando tactics,” the Orange using Uzi semiautomatic rifles and handguns. Synanon 7 years earlier bought over $300,000 worth of weapons and trained the elite “Imperial Marines.”
After her capture, my former client McCormack quoted her in The Oregon as calling Bhagwan a liar. “The hell with Bhagwan!,” she was quoted.
*…………………………………………..*……………………….< Arriving back in Delhi Bhagwan was given a hero's welcome by his Indian disciples who denounced the United States and declared "Either America must be hushed up or America will be the end of the world." He moved about, going to Crete where he was arrested. He tried Geneva, Stockholm, Heathrow, Canada, and Ireland but was refused entry. Ireland let him land to refuel but he could only stay two weeks on agreement not to publicly speak. When he landed in Madrid the Guardia Civil circled the plane. He was tossed out of Dakar and Uruguay told him to leave when he spoke publicly. Jamaica gave the group 12 hours to leave. Finally the guru returned to Mumbai, India, in July of 1986 and in l987 he returned to his original ashram in Pune where business resumed as a "Multiversity" with therapy, meditations and an array of colored robes. Bhagwan claimed his health was failing due to due to poisoning by the U.S. authorities while in prison, a charge similar to one Dederich made when imprisoned in the early 60’s for operating Synanon out of zone. In 1988 the guru turned to Zen and in 1989 re-named himself "Osho.” He spoke last publicly in April 1989 and returned again to sitting in silence with his followers. He died January 19, 1990, age 58, allegedly of heart failure. His epitaph was eerily like Heaven’s Gate cult leader Marshall Applewhite seven years later, stating he had no life nor death but “Visited this Planet Earth between Dec 11 1931 – Jan 19 1990." *……………….....................................……………..*………………………………………………….* Following his death some India scholars put Bhagwan in the category of Gautama Buddha and Mahatma Gandhi; and he is considered among the ten people who had most changed India's destiny. In 2006 Indian singer Wasifuddin Dagar held a festival celebrating the 75th year since Bhagwan’s birth. In Nepal by 2008 there were reported 60 Osho locations with 45,000 initiated disciples. His entire works have been placed in the Library of India's National Parliament in New Delhi. It has been claimed over 650 books quote his views on all facets of human existence. His books, none by Pat Lear, are in 55 different languages and have been on best-seller lists in Italy and South Korea. More than ever Rajneesh has been classified as one of the modern age religions. His followers present a history appearing far less benign to today’s outsiders. Just as Center For Feeling Therapy’s Richard Corriere re-arose as a life coach and business consultant, the Osho group runs stress management seminars for corporate clients such as IBM and BMW with a claimed 2000 income somewhere between $15 and $45 million annually in the U.S.
Bhagwan’s ashram in Pune is now the Osho International Meditation Resort, popular with tourists, calling itself a “sacred space” for discovering one’s true self and claiming it attracts some 200,000 people each year, including entertainers, actors, politicians, media and the Dalai Lama.
It has not been reported whether visitors have to take showers, wear robes, bow or remain in a kneeling position.
And as the beat goes on, cult experts claim the Bhagwan was typical of other charismatic leaders first described by Edgar Shein in his book Battle For the Minds in early 60’s. –In his paper The Narcissistic Guru: A Profile of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, Ronald O. Clarke, Emeritus Professor of Religious Studies at Oregon State University, observed fit the bill of narcissistic cult leaders, characterized by unrealistic belief in self-importance and uniqueness; a preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success; a need for constant attention and admiration; typical responses to threats to self-esteem; disturbances in interpersonal relationships; a preoccupation with personal grooming, a penchant for outright lying; and, most importantly, a complete lack of empathy.
Generally, he fit the classification of an anti-social personality (sociopath). I have no idea if he ever underwent psychological testing.
Two moms, Sally-Anne Croft and Susan Hagan, were extradited from Britain in 1994, after an unsuccessful attempt to block it, and were convicted in 1995 for their participation in the murder plot.
Ex members, some per plea bargain, testified to their guilt and both women were sentenced to five years in prison.
Judge Malcolm Marsh described them as “people of obvious goodwill who had committed an extremely serious offense against the criminal justice system. It is a statement I said once similarly of Synanon—it consisted of people wanting to give help or seeking it, all victimized. The same can be arguably said of the SLA, Center for Feeling Therapy, People’s Temple, Heaven’s Gate, People’s Temple, Branch Davidians, etc.
Croft and Hagan were released from imprisonment at FCI Dublin, California in April 1998, and returned to Britain.
In December of 2002 mom Phyllis McCarthy, aka Ma Yoga Vidya, pled guilty to conspiracy to commit murder, and was sentenced to one year in jail and a fine of $10,000. In court statements, McCarthy stated, as I have heard from so may former cultists, declared,” “I cannot forgive myself for not being tougher at the time,” and called her time with the group “psychological torture.”
I believe her.
Hard for me to believe looking back is that in one lifetime I conversed with Tex Watson, Charles Dederich and Ma Anand Sheela.
Sheela’s robes, along with 5,000 copies of the Book of Rajneeshism, were burned by 2,000 Rajneesh followers. After her rift with Bhagwan on 60 Minutes Sheela asserted Bhagwan was responsible for “exploiting people by using their human frailty and emotions.” She called the religion simply a confidence trick.
Sheela maintains that Bhagwan directed every criminal act she did.
Helen Byron loaned money for Rolls Royces and in 1985 she filed a lawsuit to get it back. As Synanon did when Dederich was arrested, the organization submitted a survey suggesting it could not get a fair trial but it was ignored. Sheela testified the money was a donation but the jury awarded Bryon her money plus punitive damages. It has been claimed it was the jury decision that led Ma Anand Sheela and others compiled a hit list of people, as many claim Synanon’s hit on me was motivated by a civl judgment of $300,000. The list is claimed to have included Byron, Byron’s daughter, United States Attorney Charles Turner and Oregon Attorney General David Frohnmayer. Sheela and other followers did obtain handguns in Texas and false identification in New York, but the plot was never known to be attempted.
After fleeing Sheela was arrested on October 28, 1985 in West Germany and extradited to the U.S. in February 1986, on charges of immigration fraud, arranging more than 400 sham marriages, and an attempt to murder Rajneesh’s personal physician, Dr. George Meredith, by poisoning.
The prosecution of Sheela and Puja was split between state and federal law enforcement. Sheela and Puja ultimately plead guilty in Oregon state court in July 22 of 1985 to charges of first-degree assault and conspiracy/assault related to the poisoning of a Judge in 1984. Sheela and Puja also plead to the poisoning of a court Commissioner.
Sheela and her co-conspirators also admitted to the attempted murder, poisoning two county officials, setting fire to a county office, and setting up an elaborate wire-tapping network at the commune’s telephone system, among other charges. Sheela and Puja were sentenced to 24-year jail terms in federal prison and fined $470,000. Sheela received three concurrent 20-year terms in prison. The State of Oregon agreed Sheela’s jail time be spent in federal prison and Sheela and Puja served their jail time in Pleasanton, California, oddly in a prison for nonviolent white-collar criminals. She was released after just two and a half years and immediately left for Switzerland in December of, 1988. The State of Oregon intended to charge Sheela and Puja with additional crimes when their federal sentences were over, but caught off guard by early release, the two left for Europe before the United States Department of Justice had given notice to Oregon.
But she did lose her green card.
Sheela returned to Europe and married Urs Birnstiel. She gained immunity from extradition from future charges, including those related to the 1985 plot to assassinate US prosecutor Charles Turner; however, she was convicted by a Swiss court in 1999 for “criminal acts preparatory to the commission of murder”, but did not serve additional time.
In Switzerland she started a new profession managing two nursing homes.
After the former mayor of Rajneeshpuram, Krishna Deva, aka David Berry Knapp, plead guilty to racketeering and conspiracy to commit immigration fraud, the Rajneeshees abandoned Dulles and sold off the property.
Meanwhile my old adversary Swami Prem Niren claimed the federal government poisoned the Indian guru in 1985 while he was in Oklahoma City jail in order to get him to leave the United States.
Also, as would happen to former Synanon attorneys, he was subpoena to testify in front of a grand jury and his assertion of attorney-client privilege, as it was with Synanon lawyers, was denied.
He also asserted his fifth amendment rights but in January of 1986, Niren was granted immunity under 18 U.S.C. Sec. 6002. Reportedly, he then revealed one source of information but refused to divulge from whom that source had received its information.
Niren returned to practicing law in San Francisco. But first he asked an Oregon court to to change his name back to Philip J. Toelkes.
In late 1990’s Toelkes on behalf of the Institute for Justice and Human Rights filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act asking for the release of government’s Bhagwan Rajneesh files.
Today is he inactive living in Washington having retired in 2010.
Pat Lear was most likely a continuation of Bhagwan using wealthy women. Thus her road, and therefore mine to Bhagwan and Ma Anand Sheila ending with bio terrorism, before she woke up and escaped from the Rajneesh, started in 1952 with the development of the the Swiss fighter aircraft FFA P-16 which first flew in 1955 and was later abandoned following a crash of a prototype in 1958.
Bill Lear, who also invented the first car radio (“Motorola”) in the 1920’s and developed the 8-track cartridge which dominated the 1960’s and 1970’s, purchased the tooling for building the FFA P-16 in1962 for a plant near the Wichita’s airport which was then under construction. The company was renamed in l964 the Lear Jet Corporation.
Lear had no formal education past the eighth grade other than the courses which he took in the Navy during World War I. He married four times and had seven children.
In 1971 the successful Learjet 35 hit the market and by 1974 the company produced its 500th jet. By late 1976, the company produced ten jets each month. From thereon new models were designed all leading the field.
In 1978, the year Synanon and People Temple cults dominated the news, Bill Lear at age 75 died of Leukemia.
While daughter Pat Lear in l983 was in orange robes in Rajneeshpuram, Oregon, her father’s company produced the Model 55 which set time-to-climb records.
In 1984, while Pat’s following out with Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh commenced, Learjet started an Aerospace Division. In 1985, the Aerospace Division was awarded a contract to produce parts for the Space Shuttle’s main engines.
A Learjet at one time held the record for the journey from Los Angeles to Washington DC at 4hrs 12mins. The Lockheed SR-71 later did it in 64 minutes.
In 2009 Learjet honored the 45th anniversary of its first flight. One of the designer’s sons died at 81 later that year. I have no information as to Pat.
By 2009 a new industry existed of a handful of specialists who set out repossess unpaid for Gulfstream II Learjets from neo-Nazi freaks and drug lords.
When authorities arrested Bhagwan he was on board and waiting to take off in a Learjet.
My son, born the year Bhagwan was arrested, is part of the team that will send a robot to Mars in 2011 to search for indicators life once existed there.
While historians consistently call the Rajneesh the first to attack in the United States by bio or chemical-terrorism such statements are very short sided and simply not true.
Fact is not only were there such prior attacks, but it was government personnel who did it, all long before Saddam Hussein used such warfare on his people.
Native American Indians lacked immunity to white man” infectious diseases that for eternity engulfed Europe and Asia. While such diseases as measles, chicken pox, typhus, typhoid fever, dysentery, scarlet fever, diphtheria, and later cholera were deadly even together they could not equal the horror to the Indians in the form of smallpox.
Smallpox enters the air from discharges and spreads from the lungs to lungs of non-resistant. It can survive years on clothing and bedding.
While many historians-in-denial argue it never happened to the Indians there are many stories reported of small pox blankets given to the Indians.
At least one incident is undeniable. During Chief Pontiac’s siege of Fort Pitt (Pittsburgh) in 1763, Captain Simeon Ecuyer showed the Indians good faith by delivering blankets and handkerchiefs to the Indians surrounding the fort, concealing they were small pox infected, which started an epidemic. Letters indicates Jeffery Amherst, then commanding general of British forces in North America during French & Indian war (1754-1763, encouraged Ecuyer to carrying out the bio-terrorism.
Existing in Library of Congress is a letter from Colonel Henry Bouquet to General Amherst, dated 13 July 1763, suggesting a distribution of blankets to “inocculate the Indians.” Another existing letter from Amherst to Bouquet, 3 days later, dated 16 July 1763, approved the plan along with efforts “to try Every other method that can serve to Extirpate this Execrable Race.”
Many other letters exist between the two referring to Indians as vermin that should be eradicated. At the same time Amherst would refer to the French they also fought as noble and worthy.
In the following spring, Gershom Hicks, who had been amongst the Indians, reported at Fort Pitt that the small-pox was raging amongst the Indians.
The Journal of William Trent, commander of the Pittsburgh local militia during Pontiac’s seige of the fort, has an entry for May 24, 1763, stating:
“.. we gave them two Blankets and an Handkerchief out of the Small Pox Hospital. I hope it will have the desired effect.”
The United States allowed the Tuskegee syphilis experiment, a clinical study conducted between 1932 and 1972 in Tuskegee, Alabama, by the U.S. Public Health Service, to study the natural progression of untreated syphilis. While the disease was not intentionally inoculated it might as well have given what occurred.
The Public Health Service, working with the Tuskegee Institute, in 1932 enrolled to study 399 poor African-American sharecroppers from Macon County, Ala. infected with syphilis. In return the men got free medical exams, free meals and free burial insurance. None were ever told they had syphilis, nor treated for it. They were instead told they were being treated for “bad blood.”
The failure to treat patients by government researches went on for appropriately 40 years; way past the 1940’s discovery of the cure, i.e. penicillin.
Our own government also used chemical warfare unwittingly on its citizens. In 1953 after military prisoners returned from the Korean War spouting Communist doctrine, the CIA, upset the Communists were ahead of us on brainwashing, and in an effort to “catch-up,” from 1953 to 1966, without permission experimented—code name MKULTRA–by using dangerous drugs, including LSD, aimed at obtaining the same brainwashing effect on unknowing members of the American public. The secret project, thought up by Richard Helms and approved by Allen Dulles, consisted of 149 sub-projects involving over 80 universities, research foundations, similar institutions and 185 private researchers. Many victims suffered impaired health and at least two died.
In l973 the CIA destroyed all known records relating to MKULTRA, although some financial records accidentally survived and were discovered in l977, one year before the stories of brainwashing in cults would dominate the news following catastrophic events at Synanon and Jonestown, and 7 years before the Rajneesh plan to poison Dulles, Or.
An Entire Southern California County is named after Mexico’s Santa Ana who led the assault killing all the Texans at the Alamo, refusing to let them surrender. L. Ron Hubbard, an alleged unindicted (could not be found) co-conspirator in a 70’s plot to destroy lives of his perceived enemies has a Los Angeles street named after him. Chuck Dederich had trained the Imperial Marines to attack, even kill, the enemy and experimented on his followers by ordering abortions, vasectomies and changing mates every 3 years. When he died in l997 a Congressman stood up and honored him for his contributions to fighting addiction and his experiments to better society.
Following Synanon’s closure in l981 UCLA established a Synanon archives existing of water-downed documents for historians and led one poor soul, Rod Janzen, to write an inaccurate book on Synanon–The Rise and Fall of Synanon, Inc.
Named after Sir Jeffery Amherst are Amherstburg, Ontario, (including General Amherst High School), Amherst, Massachusetts, the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Amherst College (school’s athletic nickname is “the Lord Jeffs”), Amherst, New Hampshire; Amherst, Nova Scotia; Amherst, New York; Amherst County, Virginia; Amherst Island, Ontario, and Amherst Island, of the Magdalen Islands, Quebec
In 1818 the New York senate named the Town of Amherst, 20,000 acres that King George III rewarded Lord Amherst, but never visited by Lord Amherst. The town contains an Amherst Museum.
Fn1. Similar to Bhagwan taking power back from Sheela, forcing her to split, in Synanon after Dederich became incapacitated from alcohol, Dan Garrett took over. When Dederich recovered he demoted Garrett who then left.
Fn2. Dan Garrett saying his children would get me was ironic since his son Mike split Synanon, went into hiding, then testified to the violence and a belief his father would want him dead for talking.
Fn 3 Following revelations of the syphilis study where blacks were denied treatment, the U.S. passed laws and regulations to protect participants in clinical studies. Now studies require informed consent (unless excepted by Executive Order), disclosing diagnosis, and advising of test results.
Fn 4 One reason I left the ex- Scientologist case is that Scientology officials had sued him for defamation claiming he called them liars. Although the case against him I believed was very weak I felt eventually his insurance carrier could avoid defending on the ground that to be liable he had to have intentionally stated a falsehood as they were public figures and therefore I made a cash out settlement with the carrier that was suitable to another attorney to take over and allowed me to concentrate on other cases I felt more important in terms of public consequences, including eventually another Scientology matter.
Afterwards a legal decision issued saying insurance companies did not have to so defend. But the ex Scientologist with his new attorney did get a better settlement with Scientology than the one I and Tom Girardi had reached, which I believe was to Scientology’s credit to see what would happen if they went to trial based upon the facts and the many civil judgments that had been going against Scientology.
Fn 5 A couple of years ago a former Iranian was repairing my computer. Upon realizing I was of Jewish heritage he asked me what facts I had to prove the Holocaust ever happened? I responded, “A better question to ask is why is it so important to yourself to believe it never happened?”
Fn 6 When I used to lecture on cults and was asked how do you know when a group is a destructive cult I responded, “Count the number of Hollywood celebrities in attendance and if there is more than 5 you get the hell out.”
Fn. 7 Switzerland recently made history for refusing to extradite fugitive Roman Polanski.
Fn 8. As I graduated USC law school, being young, I considered a phony marriage to my brother’s opar from Japan who converted from robes to blue jeans and did not want to go back. But then I realized I could not participate in deceit, as well that was not the way to start a legal career.
Fn 9. In l974 Rolling Stone Magazine held a party for me in San Francisco to celebrate my publication of the Jan and Dean story for which I later wrote the story for the movie Deadman’s Curve. I ended up spending the night in a small town outside of San Francisco I thought accurately was named Pleasanton. I never forgot the place and often wished I could live in a small town like that, and in Los Angeles choosing Pacific Palisades was as close as to Pleasanton I could get. Sheela served her prison time in Pleasanton.