Cover page and Signature Page of Affidavit


Case No. SF 88-2286 (C)




YOGI BHAJAN, et al.,

P 4 : 3 S


State of California

County of Alameda


Richard Ofshe, Ph.D., first being duly sworn, states:

  1. I am of sound mind and more than eighteen years old.
  2. I hold a Ph.D. in Sociology from Stanford University (1968); I also hold a B,A. degree in Psychology (1963) and a Master's degree in Sociology (1964) from Queens College, City University of New York.
  3. I am presently a Professor in the Department of Sociology, University of California at Berkeley, having been on the faculty at Berkeley since 1967. I have held the rank of Professor there since 1982.
  4. My particular fields of interest are social influence, decision-making, and the organization of highly controlled groups. This would include organizations commonly identified by the general public as cults. I have been involved in the study of such matters throughout my career, and as my principal area of concentration since the mid-1970s.
  5. In 1979, work that I did together with David and Kathy Mitchell was awarded the Pulitzer Prize Gold Medal for Distinguished Public Service. The work consisted of a series of articles and editorials analyzing a cult-like organization called the Synanon Church.
  6. I have served as a consultant to the United States Department of Justice, the Internal Revenue Service, several state attorneys general, and a number of district attorneys and other-prosecutorial agencies in connection with cult-related matters.
  7. I am a member of numerous professional societies, and have served on the editorial boards of several refereed journals; I am currently a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Cultic Studies. I have authored several books and monographs, and have published more than two dozen articles in scholarly journals, a number of which have to do with cult-like organizations. I have also made more than two dozen presentations in my areas of interest before scholarly conferences.
  8. I have served as a consultant and expert witness in more than 30 cult-related cases in Arizona, California, Florida, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, Puerto Rico and other jurisdictions, as well as in Canada and Great Britain.
  9. When I refer to the "Sikhs' in this affidavit I am not referring to the worldwide Sikh religion in general, or to the Sikh population group or religious community in India, or to any follower or member of the Sikh religion anywhere who does not acknowledge Yogi Bhajan as his or her leader or "guru." Rather, when I refer to the “Sikhs" in this affidavit I am referring specifically to that Sikh community in the United States which consists only of organizations and individuals recognizing Yogi Bhajan as their leader, or having close affiliations with such individuals or organizations.
  10. In addition to the experience described in paragraph 8, I have served as an expert consultant in litigation involving the Sikh movement in the United States, and its New Mexico contingent. In the course of that service I studied the organization and operation of the Sikh movement in the United States and in New Mexico, including the roles of the various Sikh corporations, and of Yogi Bhajan and those close to him. I have continued to follow issues involving the Sikh movement in the United States, and am aware of the indictment of Guru Jot Singh Khalsa on RICO violations and large-scale international drug trafficking, presently pending in federal court here in California. I am also aware of related official court documents describing money laundering and attempted arms trafficking in addition to the crimes alleged in the indictment itself.
  11. I have interviewed Mark Baker at length and in depth concerning his personal history, military history, involvement with Sikhs and the aftermath of that involvement. I have also interviewed a number of former high-ranking Sikhs who have a detailed knowledge of the organization, and of the inner workings of the Sikh movement in the United States and New Mexico. I have reviewed Mark Baker’s application to the New Mexico State Police Recruit School, and other documents relating to this lawsuit.
  12. Based on my professional knowledge, on my previous study of the Sikh movement, on documents I have reviewed, and on interviews I have conducted with former members of the movement, I have reached the following conclusions:
    1. The Sikh movement in the United States exhibits characteristics common to cult organizations, including the use of intimidation and other forms of coercion to impose control and enforce norms within the group.
    2. The success or potential succes of a departed member is viewed as a challenge to the teachings of the cult, which typically hold that departed members are doomed to eternal misery, rejection, failure and disgrace. One motivation for retaliation against departed members is the coercive and threaten ing effect such measures will have on those who remain. It is hard to contemplate leaving the Sikhs when one becomes aware of what happens to people like Mark Baker after they leave.
    3. The Sikhs therefore engage in a pattern of harassment of former members and of those outsiders who are seen as a threat to the movement. This has sometimes taken the form of false accusations to law enforcement agencies concerning former members, including at least one instance in which a former member was reported to the Houston United States Attorney's Office as a threat to the life of Yogi Bhajan, resulting in his being interrogated by the FBI. Other former members have been the subject of character assassination, surveillance, and physical and mental harassment.
    4. I am informed that Yogi Bhajan personally interceded to attempt to prevent Mark Baker from leaving the organization, and that Mark's insistence on leaving despite the Yogi's personal pleas frustrated and angered Yogi Bhajan.
    5. The Sikh community is known to act in concert in response to a threat to it or to any of its members, I am informed and believe, for example, that many members of that part of the community which was led by Guru Jot Singh Khalsa, Yogi Bhajan's former second-in-command who is presently under indictment for RICO and drug-trafficking violations, offered to put up their homes as security for bail when he was arrested. This is typical of the degree of loyalty demanded by the cult, and of the lengths to which members will go to protect the cult and its leaders from danger or difficulty.
    6. Yogi Bhajan exercises control over virtually ever major action taken by the organization. In particular, to the extent that the activities alleged in the indictment of Guru Jot Singh Khalsa and in related documents filed with the Court are true, they would have been known to and approved by Yogi Bhajan, at least in broad outline and concept, and would have been undertaken in furtherance of the aims of the movement.
    7. Any activity on the part of any Sikh to contribute to the destruction of Mark Baker's law enforcement career would very likely have been undertaken with the specific awareness and express approval, or general awareness and strongly implied approval, of Yogi Bhajan himself, of the other named defendants, and quite probably of others. It would have been consistent with established Sikh policy and practice.
    8. Mark Baker's potentially becoming an officer in the New Mexico State Police, coming as it did before the Sikh community became aware of any official law enforcement knowledge of the drug smuggling and money laundering alleged in the indictment, represented to the Sikhs a major and intolerable threat of exposure of these illegal activities. One strategy to remove this threat would have been to engineer Mark Baker's removal from the State Police before he became a commissioned law enforcement officer.
    9. The Sikhs' communications with New Mexico offi- cials (Exhibits 3, 4, and 5 to the Complaint) represent a concerted Sikh effort to destroy Mark Baker's law enforcement career. Mark’s success after leaving the Sikhs, his personal rejection of Yogi Bhajan's effort to have him remain, and his imminent membership in the official New Mexico law enforcement community, would have been a sufficient basis (given community norms) for making the sorts of false and inflammatory statements about Mark that are reflected in Exhibits 3, 4 and 5.
    10. The motive for such an effort would not have beneath general public welfare, but rather only the self-interest of the group's leadership.
    11. It is likely that every named defendant participated actively in the effort to destroy Mark Baker's State Police career, in concert with many or all of the other named defendants and others. At the very least, all named defendants would have been aware of what the organization was doing to Mark Baker, and would have beef prevented by their genuine or coerced loyalty to the movement from disclosing the truth.

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