Nov 10, 2020

CultNEWS101 Articles: 11/9/2020

Terrorism, NXIVM, Legal, Duggar family, Jerry Falwell Jr

(New York, N.Y.) - Major European cities are experiencing a wave of devastating terrorist attacks, highlighting the continuing threat extremists pose to Europe and the rest of the international community.

Vienna was the latest city targeted on the evening of November 2, when a gunman wearing a fake explosive vest and armed with an automatic rifle, a handgun, and a machete attacked the city center, including areas busy with people in bars and restaurants as well as outside the Seitenstettengasse synagogue. Police identified the assailant as 21-year-old Austrian-North Macedonian dual citizen Kujtim Fejzulai, who had previously been convicted for attempting to join ISIS but was released early after serving only part of his 22-month sentence. The assault, which Chancellor Sebastian Kurz described as "clearly an Islamic terror attack," began the night before Austria was set to begin a new coronavirus lockdown, with bars and restaurants closing for a month at midnight. ISIS claimed responsibility the following day through its Amaq News Agency. Amaq circulated a picture of the alleged attacker, whom they called "Abu Dagnah Al-Albany."

The Vienna attack comes on the heels of a knife attack at the Notre Dame Basilica in Nice, France, on October 29 that left three dead, including one beheaded victim and another with a slit throat. The assault in Nice occurred at the hands of a Tunisian-born extremist one day after ISIS released a video titled, "Defend him [Prophet Muhammad] by striking [their] heads," on Telegram. In the video an ISIS operative urges followers to use violence and cut off heads in revenge for the French government's stance on allowing the publication of controversial cartoons featuring the Islamic prophet. The statement was released following French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo's republication of cartoons featuring Muhammad and the October 16 attack in which an ISIS sympathizer decapitated French teacher Samuel Paty for showing the caricatures in class as part of a lesson on free speech.

France has experienced a series of deadly terrorist attacks in recent years, including the May 2019 explosion near a bakery in Lyon, the December 2018 shooting at a Christmas market in Strasbourg, the March 2018 attack in Carcassonne, the July 2016 Bastille Day attack in Nice, the November 2015 ISIS attacks in Paris, and the January 2015 Charlie Hebdo and kosher supermarket attacks. Since 2015, more than 240 people have been killed in France by people claiming allegiance to or inspiration from ISIS, spurring France to adopt a variety of preemptive and reactive counterterrorism measures.
Decider: 'Seduced' Episode 2: 11 More Revelations About NXIVM You Didn't Know
"Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult is only in its second episode and already it's delivered more shocking details than The Vow or any feature article. Whereas Seduced's first episode explained how India Oxenberg came to be involved in the organization and who financed this operation, Episode 2 explored the grittier day-to-day details of NXIVM.
Marketed as a self-help group, NXIVM told its members that by taking its classes they could reach their full potential. That was a scam. In reality NXIVM's courses were designed to break down the wills and critical thinking abilities of its members, leaving them to be molded and used by its leaders, Keith Raniere and Nancy Salzman. Wondering how people made money off of this organization? Curious how The Vow's Mark Vicente fits into India Oxenberg's story?"

Indie Wire: 'Seduced' Showrunners Don't Want to Compete with HBO's 'The Vow'
"It needed to be told in the voices of women, by women," said Cecilia Peck, executive producer of the Starz

"In the final episode of Starz's documentary "Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult," there's a discussion about how cult founder Keith Raniere — sentenced this week to 120 years in prison — specifically preyed on smart, intelligent women of influence. Cecilia Peck, director and showrunner of "Seduced," might have been one of those women. "I had a personal experience with NXIVM," Peck told IndieWire. "Someone who I had worked with on a previous project actually targeted me for recruitment. [She] emailed me over the course of about a year and a half about an incredible women's group that she was a part of; she told me it would change my life and, eventually, she wanted me to meet Allison Mack."

Mack, the former "Smallville" actress, was one of Raniere's most devout acolytes, and the women's group was DOS, a subsidiary of NXIVM revealed in 2017 to be branding and trafficking women as sex slaves. Peck said she never answered the recruiter's emails, but a year later Peck heard from the woman again. "She reached out and said, 'I'm so sorry. I was in a cult and I didn't know it.'" In 2019, Mack plead guilty to racketeering and racketeering conspiracy charges; she has yet to be charged."

CafeMom: Another Duggar Lands in Hot Water After Reportedly Accepting 'Illegal' Money
The latest member of the Duggar family to pursue political aspirations — Jed Duggar — may have just landed himself in some hot water. Reportedly, Jed has accepted illegal campaign donations, and it could end up costing him a pretty penny in the long run.
"Former Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. filed a state lawsuit Wednesday against the evangelical school founded by his father, claiming he was wrongly ousted from his leadership post.

Falwell had led the school for 13 years before he resigned under pressure in late August amid a series of embarrassing scandals, culminating with him posting to Instagram a photo of himself on his yacht with a woman who was not his wife and with his pants unzipped.

In a complaint in state court in Lynchburg, Virginia, Falwell's lawyers alleged that Liberty defamed Falwell and breached the former president's contract.

"Mr. Falwell has suffered damage to his reputation, damage to his profession, humiliation, and anguish; lost business opportunities; and suffered other pecuniary damage," according to the plaintiff's complaint.

Liberty University "would need to read and review a lawsuit before making a comment, and as of this moment we have not been served," the school's senior vice president and spokesman, Scott Lamb, said in a statement to NBC News on Thursday.

The lawsuit did not ask for a specific dollar figure sought in damages."

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