Mind-control techniques work at all levels – from the state all the way down to small communities, says Mike Garde, Director of Dialogue Ireland

Losing a friend to a cult is like a death in the family – with no funeral

Sunday Independent

24 November 2013

Mind-control techniques work at all levels – from the state all the way down to small communities, says Mike Garde

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Lambeth Cult

ON BEAT: A volunteer police officer helps with the ongoing investigation into the London ‘slaves’

Are the victims of domestic slavery in London part of a cult? A 57-year old from Ireland is the only reference we have to this person and leaves us guessing about how much she knows about Ireland, her family and if they even know she is missing.

As an organisation assisting the victims of cultism, we were contacted on a number of occasions last week as journalists were trying to understand what was happening in London.

First there was the fact that this was happening in the UK was rare. We have this idea that this is Silence Of The Lambs territory. Then there was the length of time that had elapsed. Also, how could people be so controlled for so long?

That is what led to our door, as it seemed to exhibit the characteristics of a cult.

Was it a cult? Obviously we do not know but if it was, the worst thing to do at this stage is to focus on that issue as the priority is to give assistance to the victims. However, unless influence theory is introduced, counselling can miss the point and go down a cul de sac.

What do we mean by influence? In law, people are regarded as having competence as adults to make decisions and it is very difficult to introduce the idea that people can be under undue influence.

Research by Dr Robert J Lifton, from his book Thought Reform and The Psychology of Totalism, using evidence from the Korean War and from Chinese citizens who fled Maoist China, was the first to highlight this issue.

The book itself is not about China or Korea but rather about universal issues of mind control and psychological manipulation.

The 9/11 attacks, the 7/7 bombings, the beheading of a British soldier in South London and the recent Westgate attack in Kenya all point to us needing to reference these behaviours outside using simple concepts like brainwashing.

Understanding how the human condition reacts to outside stimuli is the basis for understanding how undue influence over another can be cultivated, developed and expanded into forms of mind control.

Two other thinkers who have given us an insight into this issue are Stanley Milgram and Dr Philip Zimbardo.

Milgram, in talking about obedience to authority, said: “The power an authority figure can have over an individual is much greater than one may think. Indeed, this power appears to be of sufficient strength that it can cause individuals to act against their own personal sense of morality.”

Starting at the state level, we can show how a total population can be brought under influence.

One of the most sophisticated and culturally rich countries came under one of the most malign dictators of history.

Germany was a new state, but an Austrian, Adolf  Hitler, was able to bring this great nation under his influence.

Another more current example is North Korea, where influence has reduced a rich country to “mental domestic slavery”.

Down from the nation-state level, we come to the 35th anniversary of the murders of Jonestown, Guyana, which we commemorated last week.

Here a preacher from Indiana, who had been a social organiser in San Francisco, California, moved a whole community and set up a dictatorship in the jungle.

When the real world began to impinge on him he then dispensed the cyanide-laced Kool-Aid – first to the children, women and after that to the men who had lost the will to live.

These examples are assisted by using the word ‘cult’, but it is only a sign post on a continuum of explanation.

Sometimes it is used to describe someone we disagree with, and is therefore to narrow, but often it is the best word to describe what we are observing.

Dialogue Ireland is receiving requests for help from the Irish people who could be the anonymous 57-year-old in London.

Pleas include “we do recognise her any more”, “they have stolen his mind”, and “we have lost them and we are no longer their family”. Our former chairperson, Fr Louis Hughes OP, compared it to the death of a loved one without the funeral.

Mike Garde is director of the Dialogue Ireland Trust.

Visit the website http://www.dialogueireland.wordpress.com/  for more information.

Additional articles in the Sunday Independent:

http://www.independent.ie/world-news/europe/brainwashed-slaves-including-irishwoman-57-subjected-to-decades-of-physical-abuse-29778812.html

http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/invisible-handcuffs-of-fear-bound-three-slaves-29778353.html

http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/freed-irish-woman-has-not-contacted-family-yet-29778350.html

Read unedited article here for completeness:

 

Title: London Domestic Slavery Cult?

By Mike Garde The Director of Dialogue Ireland Trust

A Centre for the study of Cultism.

https://dialogueireland.wordpress.com

Are the victims of Domestic slavery in London part of a cult? A 57-year old from Ireland is the only reference we have to this person and leaves us guessing about how much she knows about Ireland, her family and if they even know she is missing?. ….

As an organisation assisting the victims of cultism we were contacted on a number of occasions this week as journalists were trying to understand what was happening in London. First there was the fact that this was happening in the UK was rare, we have this idea that this is Silence of the Lambs territory – USA? Then there was the length of time that had elapsed. Also how could people be so controlled for so long? That is what led to our door, as it seemed to exhibit the characteristics of a cult.

Was it a cult? Obviously we do not know but if it was the worst thing to do at this stage is to focus on that issue, as the priority is to give assistance to the victims. However, unless influence theory is introduced counselling can miss the point and go down a cul de sac. What do we mean by influence? In law people are regarded as having competence as adults to make decisions and it is very difficult to introduce the idea that people can be under undue influence or Thought Reform. Research by Dr. Robert J. Lifton from his book ‘Thought Reform and The Psychology of Totalism,’ using evidence from the Korean War and from Chinese citizens who fled Maoist China,  was the first to highlight this issue. The book itself is not about China or Korea but rather about universal issues of mind control and psychological manipulation. The 9/11 attacks, the 7/7 bombings, the beheading of a British soldier in South London and the recent Westgate attack in Kenya all point to us needing to reference these behaviour outside using simple concepts like brainwashing. Understanding how the human condition reacts to outside stimuli is the basis for understanding how undue influence over another can be cultivated, developed and expanded into forms of mind control.

Two other thinkers who have given us an insight into this issue are Stanley Milgram and Dr. Philip Zimbardo.

Stanley Milgram:

Obedience to Authority: The power an authority figure can have over an individual is much greater than one may think. Indeed this power appears to be of sufficient strength that it can cause individuals to act against their own personal sense of morality.

Dr. Philip Zimbardo.

Stanford Prison Experiment: How situational pressures can corrupt. Originally scheduled to last for two weeks this experiment was terminated after only six days. There has been much criticism over how much the results from the Stanford Prison experiment can be generalised, but there remains little doubt that this provided a shocking glimpse into situational pressure can have a deeply corrupting influence. Lucifer effect: is a further example the corrupting influence of situational pressures and how those lessons apply to the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison.

Here in Ireland Prof Ian Robertson has done a lot of research on this area and in the UK Irish born Dr John Butler is an expert in the field.

Starting at the State level we can show how a total population can be brought under influence. One of the most sophisticated and culturally rich countries came under one of the most malign dictators of history. Remember Germany was a new state, but an Austrian Adolf Hitler was able to bring this great nation under his influence. Another more current example is that of the hermit Kingdom of North Korea where influence has reduced a rich country to “mental domestic slavery.”

Scaling down from the nation state we come to the 35th anniversary of the mass murders of Jonestown, Guyana which we commemorated this week. Here a preacher from Indiana, who had been a social organiser in San Francisco moved a whole community and set up a dictatorship in the jungle. When the real world began to impinge on him he dispensed the cyanide-laced Kool-Aid first to the children, women and after that to the men who had lost the will to live.

These examples are assisted by using the word “Cult,” but it is only a sign post on a continuum of explanation. Sometimes it is used to describe someone we disagree with, and is therefore to narrow, but often it is the best word to describe what we are observing.

Dialogue Ireland is receiving requests for help from the Irish people who could be the anonymous 57 year old in London. We do not, ‘recognise her anymore,’ ‘they have stolen his mind.’ ‘We have lost them and we are no longer their family.’ We struggle with people who have lost loved ones every week. In Scientology, Tony Quinn in some abusive Evangelical group or elder abuse in the House of Prayer. Our former Chairperson, Fr Louis Hughes OP,’ ‘compared it to the death of a loved one without the funeral.’

One Response

  1. Some comments:

    1. – It was Flavor Aid that Jones used, not Kool Aid.
    2. – I think taking ownership of a phrase or term, when such has explanatory utility, is the way to go. For a term like ‘cult’ there is indeed a great deal of ambiguity, but that is all the more reason (in my opinion) to clearly define the term before usage. Defining it, as I do, in the manner of “a group or organisation that, due to exerting an extreme level of undue influence, causes severe mental, financial and/or societal harm” helps the discussion hone in on the crucial aspect of undue influence.
    3. – The strength of Milgram’s and Zimbardo’s argument is that they provided a demonstration of people being influenced. The Milgram experiment (and the countless replications since) have shown, empirically, human susceptibility to being coerced by a perceived authority figure. The Stanford Prison experiment led to the cultivation of abusive (almost psychopathic) behaviour in those assigned the role of guards – indeed, such was the extreme nature of this behaviour (with even Zimbardo himself coming under influence) that the experiment has never been repeated due to ethical concerns.

    4. – It is difficult to capture the essence of any topic when there is a lack of a frame of reference which can be used as an explanatory basis. The notion that any victim would (or even could) remain in such a situation for 30 years absent physical restraint is so far beyond the bounds of our experiences that we simply cannot fathom it. A phrase I like is that this can be like trying to describe how a computer works to a long-lost Amazon tribe – with no frame of reference whatsoever upon which to build your explanation of what a computer is, such an endeavour may be doomed to failure.

      But it is important to realise that the victims in this case do not share our concepts of normalancy – concepts which determine how we perceive and react to the world around us. Prolonged deception and brutalisation are powerful tools that can shape a person’s concept of normalancy, and such are quote capable of cultivating the pillars of control such as fear and dependency.

    5. – The present case is not the only such case of this nature and, sadly, nor is it the most extreme (eg: http://www.koamtv.com/story/13132902/sex-slave-case ). In the linked case it is interesting to note how the enslavement started in ‘voluntary’ manner (albeit due to coercion, deception and bribery). FV’s signing of a contract showed how her concept of normalancy had been drastically altered to point where she believed she had to do this. Many similar cases start on a ‘voluntary’ basis like this – while we wait for more details from the present case, I suspect that at some point a similar ‘voluntary’ decision was involved for the elder two.

    Like

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