Mike Donner discussing the attack on Pat Halley
Almost immediately, upon learning of the botched assassination attempt in Denver, Maharaji personally directed DLM cult official Michael Donner to aid and abet the fugitives and "get Fakiranand out of the country" - in order to prevent their imminent capture and arrest by U.S. law officers.
Donner then flew to Detroit per M's instructions, and upon retrieving the assassins from a cult security hideout, received further instructions from the top, and then drove Fakiranand and another mahatma [instructor] to Chicago, whereupon they fled international justice by escaping on a commercial airline to India via London.
Several years later (in India), Fakiranand denounced Maharaji and said he [Fakiranand] had been ordered and coerced to kill Halley.
On the Prem-Rawat-Talk forum Donner's posts are often short and abbreviated with spelling errors, lots of ellipses and m stands for Maharaji ie Prem Rawat.
On 3/9/2001 Michael Donner wrote on the Forum:
"I have seen some of what has been posted on the site re this situation. I was asked by m (at Bob Mishler's suggestion) to fly to Detroit and 'get Fakiranand out of the country'.
Bob arranged for me to see m before I left to 'do pranam' at which point m told me the above quote as well as expressed his displeasure with the mahatmas involved.
There were (as I remember) probably 4 mahatmas involved in the planning and discussion of revenge on Pat H. after the pie incident. Rajeshwar was one and the other names I do not remember.
From the culture in India it was completely 'normal' to physically attack anyone who would dare touch the guru. Revenge was a matter of honor among the mahatmas and those premies such as Fletcher under their sway.
Hence, whereas m seemed very upset on one hand he was quite understanding on the other, knowing the culture he brought them from.
Seems like there were two mahatmas that I drove from Detroit to Chicago to put them on a plane to India. Chicago-London-India.
(Not Canada as has been suggested elsewhere inaccurately).
Obviously, my head space at the time was to obey the directions I was given as a reasonable (at the time) road to follow resulting from the incident."
3/20/2001 on the Forum. More Donner recollections (responding to the following post:
VERY IMPORTANT - bringing something to closure for many people after 28 years:
There are some serious questions about the timeline and m.'s knowledge of/involvement in: 1) the conspiracy to murder reporter Pat Halley in August '73, and 2) the subsequent felony conspiracy he personally authorized to get the fugitives out of the US before they could be apprehended by the law.
It appears m pretended to disavow any impending revenge or assassination, on the one hand, but encouraged it on the other hand through his outright displays of anger [after the pie-throwing incident at the Detroit City Hall], his verbal asides to the mahatmas and DLM honchos, and the fact that he made no effort whatsoever to prevent the 'hit', given that it's very unlikely that he could not have been aware beforehand that some retaliation was imminent [what did he know, when, and what did he do, etc.?].
Then, after the murder attempt barely failed, you recently related here that m. ordered you to Detroit to 'get Fakiranand out of the country' -- thereby committing a criminal felony and engaging others in criminal racketeering -- just like the Mafia's Godfather. What do you know about Fakiranand and Fletcher's involvement/arrangements, r.e. how they set it up, who paid for their plane tickets to Detroit [and later out of the country], where they [and m.] were when m. told you to go to Detroit [was this the same day as the 'hit' , or the next day, etc.?]
Since statutes of limitations have clearly expired and there was a $10,000 settlement later paid to Pat, anyway, could you now Please tell everyone here EVERYTHING you know and can possibly remember about the facts/details/those involved in the 1) assassination attempt and the 2) subsequent flight from justice conspiracies, what you heard/or were told/was said, Witnessed, what you/they did, what Happened, the Logistics: in a Factual Chronological Sequence -- in Denver, then in Detroit, then Chicago, etc. and right afterwards organizationally [DLM spin-doctoring, settlement] r.e. this situation?
Other participants, witnesses you are aware of, and who else besides Fakiranand and Fletcher, who else in the car to Chicago, + you mentioned Rajeshwar's and other mahatmas' involvement? [thought he was once a judge, too!], etc.
Also, during the last phone calls between Denver and the Detroit ashram while Fakiranand was still there, some said you were going up and down the stairs relaying info to Fakiranand and someone else waiting in the car outside in front, and that one of the last phone calls [if not the last] before you left in the car for Chicago was a conversation with maharaji (according to Richard Royal, ashram general secretary, as related that night to other premies). What was Really going on?
Been wondering (along with others) for 28 years… Your indepth thoughtful response will also help clarify this subject in regard to the related epo site info already posted about the very serious m-Fakiranand-Halley matter.
Also, even believing that m might be the Lard of the Universe at that time, didn't you question his agya to commit a felony and to engage you and others in a criminal felony [on top of the murder attempt], and didn't you have any doubts, or misapprehensions? Why didn't you simply refuse the Godfather's assignment or immediately contact the police? Were you fearful, brainwashed to justify it somehow, or was this just more heavy business for the Lard? It frankly seems, in retrospect, that he deliberately selected people as his close subordinates who would do just about anything for him, unquestioningly, and without remorse or critical thinking…
Some of the former premie 'pawns' innocently and unwittingly involved in related 'service' in these same matters have expressed how they literally Agonized for years over the fact that they were 'used' by the DLM and/or ashram honchos to somehow assist the perpetrators, and that they didn't realize the ramifications of what was even happening until later; they were simply lied to by the premies in authority. Some DLM and Detroit ashram honchos obviously knew all along and didn't tell them, as these 'pawns' were ordered about on important organizational business, getting gas, food, reservations, guarding telephones from eavesdroppers, keeping Fakiranand away from the other inquisitive premies, etc.
For their sakes, please…
"hi again about this Fakiranand thing…I do not remember who I was on the phone with…most likely Mishler..mostly likely about flight arrangements from Chicago.
Where were they hiding before arriving to ashram to leave for Chicago airport? I do not remember except that it was arranged to keep Fakiranand and the unremembered other under control until I arrived. Probably WPC thing…Did they have their own ashram in Detroit? [yes]
No, Chicago ashram was not involved.
Richard Fletcher…no memory of him later though he and his brother (twin) were considered 'bongos' in Denver.
Criminal conspiracy? in some sense yes in retrospect … though no charges were brought before they fled, were flown.
Yes to the general story line above."
"…WPC clearly top-down from Denver. Also, Raja Ji angle: yes, Denver WPC controlled WPC in States for few years until m slowly put it under his control…not wanting to move too fast to do so as Raja Ji was the WPC top guy and that was his power base and in the whole holy family thing m was trying not to alienate Raja Ji…still does what he can to not do so even though Raja costs m a fortune over the years (premies a fortune really). Often stuff would happen via WPC that m would only find out about later and usually not happy about it. Lemon was raja Ji's right hand…all clock and dagger stuff with lemon."
"p.s. on Raja Ji: I think Raja Ji gets off pretty easy around here. I gather he is in UK on m's business, touring to support m's message. He knows all this stuff about m, much more…how can he continue to support him…why does he? Ask him about his part in the Detroit, Halley, Fakiranand story…he stirred that pot good back then. How Raja Ji and m shared women…Raja Ji is in it for the free ride…at least that is what m always contended about Raja Ji. The whole idea of keeping your potential enemies close."
12/10/2001 on the Forum. "Swami Suchabanana" recollections:
My own recollections: I was at the ashram on the day Donner arrived in Detroit. Most of us did not know about the assassination attempt, but we had heard that Fakiranand was in town. It was curious to me, however, that Fakiranand had not shown up at the ashram that day, which would have been standard procedure. Early that evening I was in the packed "satsang" room for guru worship and holy discourse of truth; it was very hot and muggy inside. Suddenly, through the window I saw an American car from the ashram pull up with Fakiranand inside, another passenger, and Donner at the wheel. I decided to split the satsang room, get some fresh air, and see what was happening outside.
As soon as I stepped into the front foyer of the house, the head of the ashram, Richard Royal, approached me. He took me aside and said he had some urgent and important service for me. There was a telephone in the foyer. Royal said he wanted me to guard the telephone -- not to pick up the receiver, and by no means to let anyone near the phone, let alone try to use, or eavesdrop. Royal kept repeating that it was very Very important that Nobody disturb or listen in on the phone calls which were taking place upstairs.
I asked Royal about the calls. At first, he would only say that they concerned important business with DLM headquarters in Denver. During the next 20 minutes, I saw Mike Donner going back and forth between the car outside and upstairs in the ashram relaying communications. Then, to my surprise, Royal came quietly downstairs once to check and confirm that I was still guarding the phone from the other people and had not been listening. He told me to keep guarding the phone, as the most important business call of all was taking place.
Finally, Donner came back downstairs and went outside to the car and the waiting occupants. Royal returned downstairs, and I asked him who was on the phone. Was it Mishler? No, he whispered. He then indicated that the call was from the highest power of all in the cult -- with the Boss himself.
Then, Royal directed me to go outside and act as a guard near Fakiranand, to keep the premies [devotees aka students] away from the mahatma [instructor], so they wouldn't talk to him (which seemed a bit strange to me). When Fakiranand saw me, he was startled and exclaimed, "You are Here?!" He was surprised to see me, since he had last seen me at an event with M. in Los Angeles. I was surprised, too, since Fakiranand was not wearing his usual saffron robes, but rather American civilian clothes and a wool cap [on a hot summer evening]. He was almost unrecognizable in this disguise. Someone opened the trunk and something was removed, and then replaced with luggage. After some more goings-on, Donner and Fakiranand got into the car with the other passenger, and Donner drove away fast. I never saw Fakiranand again.
Several weeks later, I learned about Fakiranand's murder attempt on reporter Patrick Halley in a media publication. I never did make the connection in my mind with the events of that evening until this year , from details and articles posted on ex-premie.org .
As we prepared for the Millennium festival in Houston in October 1973, amidst rumors, cult officials tried to portray Fakiranand as a fanatic on a rogue operation. When Maharaji himself was subsequently asked one question by a reporter about the incident, he deflected the question, without answering it. To the best of my knowledge, he has never been interrogated by the police or FBI regarding his possible involvement in the cult murder conspiracy to kill Halley, or his direct criminal involvement and federal racketeering in ordering the aiding and abetting of the fugitive cult operative thugs.
When I learned more about the entire incident on ex-premie.org from articles and the accounts of others this past year, my memory stirred, and I began to reflect on what I had observed many years ago. It filled me with both anger and deep remorse, that I [and other innocent people] had been unwittingly used like pawns in the process of expediting a criminal conspiracy involving cult fugitives' flight from justice -- as personally ordered by Prempal Singh Rawat.
(Based on these legitimate, extremely serious abiding concerns, I asked Mike Donner to share his recollections of the events, and I also requested some responses from Pat Halley, including the following letter (which was forwarded to me). A number of related articles and letters are now permanently posted at ex-premie.org for worldwide inspection and education, pertaining to the patently criminal nature and extent of some of the Maharaji cult's operations.)
In conclusion, I hereby submit the final letter of the series received from Patrick Halley himself this year. My own conscience is clean.
Fakiranand touring in Switzerland after the 'Detroit Incident'
Still functioning as a mahatma after the incident- even though m. and almost everyone involved with DLM in America knew what he had done.
Posted: Fri, Feb 01, 2002 at 16:30:12 (EST)
Original: Fri, Feb 01, 2002 at 15:26:30 (EST)
Posted by: Nick Subject: One important error
As I wrote her a while ago, the general understanding in the States and Canada is that Fakiranand was retired straight after the Pat Halley incident.
In fact, he was flown to Switzerland where he toured around as a fully fledged mahatma for several months leading up to Millennium, spreading his terrifying brand of obsessive devotion to m. No-one there knew what he had done with the hammer - I spent many weeks driving him around and looking after him, and was not given not the slightest hint of how dangerous he was.
Yet again, this represents to a clear indication that m really has never cared for his premies and only cares about fulfilling his own self-serving mission at any cost.
Posted: Sat, Feb 02, 2002 at 05:00:21 (EST)
Original: Fri, Feb 01, 2002 at 20:49:33 (EST)
Posted by: Nick
Subject: Re: ***MAJOR EXPOSE***
According to the Penthouse article reproduced on EPO, the attack on Pat Halley took place on 3 August 1973. At the end of August 1973 I went to live in Alsace, in Eastern France. I lived just a few miles away from the Swiss border city of Basel.
On an almost weekly basis, I would travel to Basel to get involved in the propagation activities of the ashram in that city. The only person's name that I can remember of the people who lived there was Matthias, later to become the notorious instructor. But that's a different story.
Since this is almost 30 years ago, I am wary of my fading memory. However, I first saw Fakiranand at a public programme in Basel in early October 1973 - I remember it well, because it was there that I saw my wife for the first time and she was there as an aspirant. I can still visualise many of the details of the programme (as well of my first impressions of my wife!). At that time, his driver and translator was an Australian premie, also called Nick. He also had a very, very strange 'valet', a Scottish guy, called Dougie I think, who had done some very early propagation in Iceland.
Being one of the few premies to have a half decent car, I soon found myself driving him around to a number of programmes. I have tried to find documentary evidence of this and still have a leaflet advertising 2 programmes on 18 and 19 October in Delemont, a town in French speaking Switzerland. It advertises that a Mahatma will speak - the leaflet neither names Fakiranand nor has the year - but I know when I was there! I also accompanied Fakiranand to other programmes in Zurich, Bern, and Biel - maybe other towns as well, but I prefer to stick with facts I am sure of.
This was all before the Millennium Programme in Houston - 8-10 November 1973. I remember personally asking Fakiranand why he wasn't going to Houston, and he simply said that Maharaji had other plans for him. He did not want to speak about it.
I have a vague memory that at the same period, he spent a few days either in Austria or Germany. I asked him to come to France to do a programme in my town. He was keen, but I was then told that he did not have the necessary visas - so I am a little dubious that he actually went to France then at all. I have been looking back through old copies of 'Lumière Divine' (French equivalent of Divine Times) and found no reference to him, but the ones I have got date from early '74. His tour was full of incidents, reflecting his insane fanaticism. But I was young, naive and, being very very pliable, got on with him fine and enjoyed my time with him. It is only in retrospect that I realise how totally outrageous it was that m sent him to Europe at this time.
Again, from what I remember, Fakiranand went back to India just before Millennium and didn't come back. It was subsequent to this that various tidbits of information started to filter through about what he did to Pat Halley. Swiss 'luminaries' of that time included Willow Baker, a photographer Gabi, Daniel Staeli. Willow is still very heavily involved in the cult and I have no idea at all where the 2 others are. Apart from that, I can only remember faces but not names.
Did M tell Fakiranand to attack?
Posted: Tues, Mar 19, 2002 at 12:08:52 (EST)
Original: Tues, Mar 19, 2002 at 00:25:37 (EST)
Posted by: Michael Donner
Subject: Re: Did M tell Fakiranand to attack?
For what it is worth, I think that Raja Ji inspired Fakiranand to act…incited at least. At that time, the WPC ('world peace corp') was in charge of security for m .. and Raja was the WPC 'commander'. Raja had major egg on his face for not 'protecting' m.
I do not believe that m instructed him to attack Pat Halley. Nor do I believe that m was happy about the attack actually. I know that he was angry about the attack and not just show anger … my opinion.
Also, Fakiranand was sent to India, not Europe. I do not remember that Fakiranand ever left India after that. Not completely sure however. But he went from Detroit to Chicago by car…I was in that car…and ticketed to India via London.
It would not have taken much for the mahatmas (Rajeswar was also in on the meetings with two other mahatmas to plan the attack…which I learned later) to have acted alone…to even be proving their loyalty and balls to the 'lord'. Halley's act was considered a mortal sin within the context of the then prevalent theology.