Nov 10, 2020

CultNEWS101 Articles: 11/7-8/2020

Aum Shinrikyo, Japan, New Audio Book, Brainwashing, Cult Recovery, Legal, Human Trafficking, NXIVM

Japan Times: Continued surveillance sought for Aum-linked groups in Japan
"The Public Security Intelligence Agency requested Monday an extension of the surveillance period for three groups deriving from the Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult.

The agency filed the request with the Public Security Examination Commission, as the current surveillance period expires in January 2021.

The three groups are Aleph, which is Aum's successor organization, Hikari no Wa, which is a splinter group of Aleph, and another group separated from Aleph in 2015, called Yamadara no Shudan, which mainly consists of female members.

The request for an extension is the first since former Aum leader Chizuo Matsumoto, then 63, and other senior members of the cult were executed in July 2018 over a series of crimes, including a deadly sarin nerve gas attack on Tokyo's subway system in 1995.

The extension of the surveillance period will allow authorities to conduct on-site inspections of the groups' facilities for three more years.

The security agency pointed out that the three groups are still under the strong influence of Matsumoto, who went by the name of Shoko Asahara. It also claimed that they are following principles based on Aum's doctrines, such as one encouraging murder."

"Written by a cult survivor and renowned expert on cults and totalitarianism, Terror, Love and Brainwashing draws on the author's 25 years of study and research to explain how almost anyone, given the right set of circumstances, can be radically manipulated to engage in otherwise incomprehensible and often dangerous acts.

Illustrated with compelling stories from a range of cults and totalitarian systems, from religious to political to commercial, the book defines and analyses the common and identifiable traits that underlie almost all these groups. It focuses on how charismatic, authoritarian leaders control their followers' attachment relationships via manipulative social structures and ideologies so that, emotionally and cognitively isolated, they become unable to act in their own survival interests. Using the evolutionary theory of attachment to demonstrate the psychological impact of these environments, and incorporating the latest neuroscientific findings, Stein illustrates how the combined dynamic of terror and 'love' works to break down people's ability to think and behave rationally. From small local cults to global players like ISIS and North Korea, the impact of these movements is widespread and growing."

Website: Alexandra Stein, Ph.D.: Understanding Cults and Extremist Groups
"Dr. Stein offers programs and materials to help people understand how to identify and protect themselves and others from recruitment to cultic or extremist groups."

Cult Recovery: DANIEL SHAW, LCSW
Specialized Counseling

I have been providing professional counseling for former members of cultic groups, and friends and family members of those involved in cults, since 1994.

What makes a group or a community a cult? I define it like this:  a cult is a group dedicated to the mission of the leader, who is always a traumatizing narcissist. This kind of narcissist claims to be pursuing a mission to help others empower themselves, either spiritually or financially, and to change the world in some uplifting or purifying way. Followers are introduced to practices and rituals meant to strengthen and purify them, which actually are designed to test their devotion to the leader and to train them to depend on and submit to the leader. Followers are exploited in every way to fulfill the cult leader's actual mission, which is always to bolster and maintain his or her delusion of omnipotence.

Because of the limited number of mental health professionals specializing in the field of cultic studies, I provide counseling both in person, and if needed because of geographical distance, by telephone and Zoom video chat.

I use psychoanalytically informed psychotherapy and trauma therapies to support former members of abusive groups in their post-cult recovery.  Post-cult recovery is for many former cult members a difficult process, involving struggles at many levels to return from a restrictive, authoritarian culture to a life of freedom and autonomy.

While in many cases counseling from a qualified, licensed mental health practitioner can be helpful in post-cult recovery, I offer special familiarity and expertise with these issues, and can provide adjunctive consultation specific to cult issues to those already in psychotherapy.  In addition, I also provide supervisory consultation to mental health professionals with cult-involved clients.

I have successfully coached parents and siblings in interventions designed to help their cult-involved family member exit abusive group situations.  I have also helped many family members of cult-involved loved ones determine the best course of action to take in order to maximize their ability to stay in relationship with the cult member.  An important guiding principle is never to advise the use of, or participate in, coercive interventions.

To speak with Dan about counseling regarding any of these issues, call (845) 548-2561; or send e-mail to

St. Petersburg police worked with other police agencies in a 2-day human trafficking operation that helped rescue victims, police said.

Keith Raniere, the group's leader, styled himself a visionary, but a jury found him guilty of racketeering, sex trafficking and other charges.

Keith Raniere was convicted last year on charges stemming from his running of a cultlike group called Nxivm, in which a harem of sexual "slaves" were branded with his initials on their pelvises and coerced into having sex with him.

These women were taught to revere him and were ordered to maintain near-starvation diets to achieve the physique he found desirable. One of the victims was 15 years old when the abuse began.

Mr. Raniere, 60, who has been in a Brooklyn jail since his conviction, is scheduled to be sentenced on Tuesday for federal crimes including racketeering and sex trafficking. He faces up to life in prison.

Keith Raniere - You have done irreparable harm to peoples psyches. To their self-esteem, their belief in themselves and their experience of sanity and well being. Their qualia of existence.

" ... Keith Raniere,

You have done irreparable harm to peoples psyches. To their self-esteem, their belief in themselves and their experience of sanity and well being. Their qualia of existence.

I believed in you. I believed in your mission. Because I thought it was the same as mine. I believed you knew what goodness was. Finding out the truth about you and your actual motives turned my world upside down. You broke goodness. You cracked the firmament of my belief in nobility and honor and righteousness. I do know how to repair it. I do not know if it can ever be made whole again. I fight everyday to try and recapture something that now feels lost.

This was not by accident on your part. When I was writing the film Carbon Crimes, you wanted me to craft a female character of innocence and good will. Someone who worked for a leader she believed in with all her might. She then finds out he is in fact a very bad man with very bad intent, using everyone's pursuit of goodness for his own ends. You described to me how it would break someone like that and how she would never be able to heal from it. She would never be able to find goodness again. It would be forever poisoned. You knew exactly what you were doing to me and many others. The loss and the pain is incalculable.

And the worst part… the truly sick part of this is that my trauma, the desolation of my psyche is your great joy."

For victims, long road to justice reaches courtroom where they urge judge to impose stiff sentence and describe abuse by the NXIVM founder

"More than a dozen victims of Keith Raniere slammed the NXIVM leader at his sentencing Tuesday as a manipulative and self-absorbed "monster," "parasite" and psychological "terrorist" who sexually preyed upon a 15-year-old Mexican girl and tore her family apart.

"I still hear his voice in my head and it continues to be a daily struggle," said the now-30-year-old woman, formerly of Halfmoon, giving the first of 15 victim statements offered in court.

She was the youngest of three sisters who became sexually involved with Raniere. She became a high-ranking member in Raniere's secret "master/slave" club, Dominus Obsequious Sororium (DOS), a group which was all female except for Raniere.  Former members testified that women in DOS approached them and asked if they wanted to join a sorority-type group for women. They were asked to hand over "collateral" in the form of naked photographs or highly embarrassing information about themselves or family member that, if they ever left DOS, could theoretically be released.

They only learned after joining that they would be "slaves" under "masters" to whom they took a lifetime vow of obedience. Some were branded in their pelvic areas with initials of Raniere. The slaves would also be ordered to live on 500-calorie daily diets, answer "readiness" text messages at all hours of the night and, in many cases, to seduce Raniere.

She spoke as did her older sister, a woman who was ordered to be confined for a room for almost two years because she dared to kiss another man.

She had become involved with Raniere starting at 16."

Yahoo: NXIVM victims describe Keith Raniere's sexual abuses at sentencing
"Keith Raniere, the NXIVM founder convicted of running a cult-like criminal enterprise, is in court Tuesday facing a life sentence. The hearing is underway in a Brooklyn, N.Y., courtroom with the first victim, identified only as Camila, testifying how she was sexually abused by Raniere starting at age 15.

Camila said Sept. 18, 2005, was her "anniversary" with Raniere, then 46, a date he insisted they both recognize. According to the New York Times, Camila's voice was trembling as she recalled Raniere repeatedly summoning her, sexually abusing her and taking nude pictures of her during their 12-year relationship. She said she attempted suicide once."

News, Education, Intervention, Recovery to help families and friends understand and effectively respond to the complexity of a loved one's cult involvement. assists group members and their families make the sometimes difficult transition from coercion to renewed individual choice. news, links, resources.




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