Friday, 27 February 2015

'Herbalife (HLF)' 10K - Once Upon Tme.

Once upon a time, a handsome, but poor, young Prince called Mark Hughes dreamt of building an Empire called 'Herbalife' where he would be Emperor and where, under his benign rule, there would be endless health, wealth and freedom for all folks - so long as they just kept buying, and swallowing, his exclusive, magic economic, and medical, potions and recruiting others to do the same. Mark's potions could not only make fat folks thinner, and thin folks fatter, but they could also cure sick folks and protect them from all illness whilst transforming the deepest believers into millionaires.

Some very wicked and jealous people (called regulators and journalists), began to suspect that what Mark Hughes offered was far too good to be true, but Mark replied that he'd not been lying at all, it was only some of his naughty followers. From that day forward, Mark promised that he would make sure that everyone in the magic Empire called 'Herbalife, would only tell the truth.

Many years later (after Mark Hughes had died), lots more wicked and jealous people (this time, called critics and short sellers) again began to say that 'Herbalife' was far too good to be true; for another well-rehearsed ruler, called Michael Johnson, had come along and had again insisted that there would still be endless health, wealth and freedom for all folks - if they ignored all voices of doubt and just kept buying, and swallowing, 'Herbalife's' magic potions and recruiting eveyone they knew to do the same

Meanwhile back in the adult world of quantifiable reality, the 'Herbalife' racketeers have just been forced to admit to the US Securities and Exchange Commission that belief in their once profitable, self-perpetuating fairy story is rapidly diminishing all over the globe, and that almost everyone who has ever signed up for 'Herbalife' has left the organization.

'Our results in 2014 reflect our ongoing transition to a more consumer-focused organization. 

Our transformation, which first began in 2008 and will continue through 2015, is creating a stronger, more consumer friendly Herbalife and one that is evolving and getting better every single day.

Critical to our transformation has been the focus of Herbalife and our members on daily consumption as well as our emphasis on bringing new sales leaders into a company in a more sustainable way than in the past. This more gradual path to becoming a sales leader is working. As all of the data show that these leaders are more productive and stay with Herbalife longer. 2014 saw record-breaking retention rates for our sales leaders. We achieved what we believe is an industry leading and impressive retention rate of 54.2%, that's up from 51.8% in 2013.

We are continuing to grow our customer base and have more customers in 2014 than any time in our 35-year history, and we reported record net sales for the year of $5 billion.'

When translated into plain English, in Michael Johnson's most-recent thought-stopping propaganda broadcast, he now pretends that most of 'Herbalife's' adherents (who were once all labelled 'Distributors' in the fairy story, but who are now all re-labelled 'Members'), were really only temporary 'customers' travelling through the magic Empire, and who never expected to make any money. Therefore, according to Michael Johnson: even though Mark Hughes' magic potions have never cured anyone of poverty or illness, no one was ever tricked in to buying them and, consequently, 'Herbalife' is not a lie.

Yet if you apply common sense and remove all the arbitrary thought-stopping definitions and confront the simple fact that virtually no one who has not been under contract to 'Herbalife' has been buying anything from this organization (based on value and demand), then you immediately realize what has really been occurring.

In this unoriginal cultic racket, a closed-market swindle has been dissimulated behind effectively-usaleable products, and the reality-inverting term 'customer' has lately been hung round the necks of victims in order to obstruct investigation and continue to commit the same fraud.

This, in a nutshell, is the sustainable racket that US law enforcement agents and prosecutors ought to have been be addressing right from the outset of the 'Herbalife' fairy story.

David Brear (copyright 2015)

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

'Herbalife (HLF)' : Shame on Pamela Jones Harbour!

It is a matter of public record that, between 1973 and 2006, approximately one million UK and Irish citizens were churned through the US-based so-called 'MLM Income/Business Opportunity' known as 'Amway.' Effectively, all of these persons (including my own brother) failed to generate an overall net-profit from their so-called 'Amway Businesses.' During the same period, 'Amway UK Ltd.' never once declared a trading profit. Yet, behind all this apparently illogical, economically-suicidal activity, a parallel labyrinth of apparently independent corporate structures was used to collect an estimated billion dollars of unlawful profits which were secretly shipped to the USA. 

This mountain of stolen cash came from fraudulently peddling so-called 'business building tools' to the never-ending chain of ill-informed British and Irish 'Amway' recruits on the pretext that these exclusive good-value materials contained secrets vital to achieving 'Total Financial Freedom.'

Although numerous (senior and junior) British government officials were clearly informed (by me and others) as to how this monumental US-based cultic racket functioned, no effective-action has ever been taken by the British government to hold 'Amway's' real bosses to account in the USA, and no attempt has ever been made by any agency of the British government, or of law enforcement, to warn the British public about 'Amway,' let alone about the wider, evolving criminogenic phenomenon of 'MLM income opportunity' racketeering.

Yet, a few years back, a British government trade official (who headed the team of accountants tasked with investigating 'Amway UK Ltd.,' but not the advanced fee fraud which lurked behind it)  told me (in private) that he 'considered Amway and other US-based Direct Selling companies (offering the public so-called Multi-Level Marketing Income Opportunities in the UK), to be like the 2nd KKK dressed in a suit and tie.' He also told me that he'd discovered many of his senior colleagues were 'initially unwilling to accept this shocking analysis.' However, I told this unusually-frank civil servant that I had long-since formed the same conclusion.

This civil servant's silence was typical, in that he was constrained not to offer his real thoughts publicly, because British government officials are prevented (by a catch-all piece of legislation called the 'Companies Act') from disclosing their own personal views of any corporate structure(s) legally-registered in the UK. In other words, British government officials are forbidden to apply common-sense and warn the British public (their employers) about companies which they know damn-well to be fraudulent and dangerous, and which they wouldn't touch themselves with a barge pole. Similar blanket laws appertaining to commercial companies have been introduced all over the world. Thus, each time I have encountered government officials, I have asked them the following common-sense question:

What would be your personal reaction if a member of your own family, or a close friend came to you, and told you that he/she had signed up for a so-called 'MLM Income Opportunity?'

Predictably, the overwhelming majority of government officials have been incapable of giving me a straight answer. When pushed, some have become angry and indignant. That said, in certain countries (e.g. France and some Scandinavian states), there are other laws which make it a offence to refuse to go to the aid of a person, or persons, in danger. 

Bill Ackman

To date, Bill Ackman says he has invested many millions of dollars researching, investigating, challenging and warning the world about the so-called 'MLM Income Opportunity' entitled, 'Herbalife.' 

Currently, Mr. Ackman's public analysis of 'Herbalife,' is that it is an ultimately-valueless corporate structure fronting a 'criminal organization' run by 'predators' who have been using the 'big lie' (a 'totalitarian/ Nazi' propaganda tactic) to 'sell the American Dream' to millions of vulnerable persons. Mr. Ackman has been widely-described in the mainstream media as 'Herbalife's main critic.' He has also been savagely attacked by 'Herbalife's' reality-inverting propagandists.

I have to say that (slowly), Mr. Ackman (who is undoubtedly a courageous, and determined, man with a strong sense of traditional morality) is getting ever-closer to the extraordinary truth lurking behind the thought-stopping jargon of 'MLM,' but, despite his financial, and intellectual, investment, Mr. Ackman has (so far) not accepted publicly that 'Herbalife,' is neither original nor unique and that, consequently, it cannot be fully understood in isolation.

Mr. Ackman should perhaps also invoke the following piece of wisdom (contained in a poem by Tennyson):

'... a lie which is all a lie may be met and fought
with outright,
But a lie which is part a truth is a harder matter to

Image result for pamela Jones harbour

                               Pamela Jones Harbour (b. 1959).

For a long time I've been saying that 'MLM income opportunity' racketeers have compiled their unlawful fortunes by knowing that you can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time (with the notable exception of the many greedy dunces with law diplomas temporarily holding down low paid jobs at the FTC).

Since October 2014, Pamela Jones Harbour (who truly is a legally-qualified, former, senior US federal regulator) has been part of the 'Herbalife' lie  - i.e. she is under contract to the 'Herbalife' racketeers. However, she's effectively been bought by an organized crime syndicate; because when 'Herbalife' falls, then the entire multi-billion dollar 'MLM income opportunity' lie, will surely follow.

Let's be absolutely clear about this, I consider Ms. Jones Harbour's paid role in temporarily propping-up this reality-inverting cultic tragicomedy, to be not only shameful and criminal, but also a betrayal of everything, and everyone, she has ever claimed to stand for. That said, if Ms. Jones Harbour still sincerely believes that the continued peddling of any part of the demonstrably-pernicious 'MLM Income Opportunity' fairy story, is in the interests of the people of the USA, then she's probably too stupid to be held to account.

A strong clue as to how Ms. Jones Harbour was approached, groomed and co-opted, is that she has claimed to be 'a Herbalife customer.' Indeed, Ms. Jones Harbour has been quoted as saying that she bought her first Formula 1 weight-loss shake powder (Herbalife’s best-selling product), from a family member at a meeting in 2004 just to be nice. She liked it, though, especially the Cookies ’n Cream flavor, and would occasionally mix up a shake for dinner after a long night at the FTC.

In a recent string of anonymous propaganda messages to this Blog (which I didn't post), I was informed that I have been silent on the subject of Pamela Jones Harbour, because:
  • 'she is a legal expert and I am not.'
  • 'she has thoroughly investigated Herbalife and decided that Herbalife is not a pyramid scheme.' 

  • 'she is a friend of Barack and Michelle Obama.'
  • 'she would never agree to work for a fraud.'

Yet, anyone with an ounce of common-sense ought to be able immediately to deduce that Ms. Jones Harbour has (and probably has had) a severe conflict of interest when it comes to examining how 'MLM income opportunity' racketeering actually functions. I personally would like to know exactly when she was approached by the 'Herbalife' racketeers with the lucrative offer of employment (which she has lately-accepted), and exactly how much cash she stands to earn in total, if the 'Herbalife' lie manages to survive, because (based on this key-information) even Ms. Jones Harbour's previous activities at the FTC (2003-2009) should be called into question.

In the above video, 'Herbalife' CEO, Michael Johnson, steadfastly pretends moral and intellectual authority. He is allowed to recite the 'Herbalife'  fairy story whilst posing as an innocent victim of Bill Ackman's greed-fueled ignorance and lies. Predictably, Mr Johnson completely ignores the key-fact that many well-informed people (without any financial interest) accused 'Herbalife' of being a pyramid fraud and a cult, years before Bill Ackman ever appeared on the scene. Furthermore, Mr. Johnson's tightly-scripted performance also confirms my published wider-analysis that more than half a century of quantifiable evidence, proves beyond all reasonable doubt that what has become popularly known as 'Network,' or 'Multi-Level, Marketing' is nothing more than an absurd, cultic, economic pseudo-science, and that the impressive-sounding made-up term 'MLM,' is, therefore, part of an extensive, thought-stopping, non-traditional jargon which has been developed, and constantly-repeated, by the instigators, and associates, of various, copy-cat, major, and minor, ongoing organized crime groups (hiding behind labyrinths of legally-registered corporate structures) to shut-down the critical, and evaluative, faculties of victims, and of casual observers, in order to perpetrate, and dissimulate, a series of blame-the-victim closed-market swindles or pyramid scams (dressed up as 'legitimate direct selling income opportunites'), and related advance-fee frauds (dressed up as 'legitimate training and motivation, self-betterment, programs, leads,' etc.).

Laughably, the bosses of the 'Herbalife' racket have admitted that they have employed Ms. Jones Harbour to root out illegal and unethical practises occurring within their organization;  for on October 6th 2014, they began boasting that they had appointed a former FTC commissioner as their 'first senior vice president for global member compliance and privacy.' Obviously, this impressive-sounding post is a just a new chapter in the pernicious 'Herbalife' fairy story; for in the adult world of quantifiable reality, as part of an overall pattern of ongoing major racketeering activity, Michael Johnson and his criminal associates are now attempting to obstruct justice in the USA, in order to continue to commit fraud on a global scale, by pretending that they have created their own in-house police force - led by a real regulator.

In the weeks following the announcement that Ms. Jones Harbour was working for 'Herbalife,' it was reported that Bill Akman's attorney, David Klafter, had written to her, and told her that 

“Based on our extensive investigation over the past three years, we believe Herbalife operates the largest and best-managed pyramid scheme in the world,”

Mr. Klafter's statement is demonstrably-flawed, in that Mr. Ackman's team has (so far) only publicly acknowledged just one part of a ongoing criminogenic phenomenon of historical significance; for the 'Herbalife' racket is neither original nor unique and, consequently, it cannot be fully- understood in isolation.

Mr. Klafter invited Ms. Jones Harbour to meet with himself and Bill Ackman, but (so far) this meeting has not occurred.

David Brear (copyright 2015)

Saturday, 21 February 2015

60 'Herbalife' victims come forward in Hong Kong with losses of HK$ 50 millions.

The following familiar article has appeared in 'The South China Morning Post (Hong Kong).' 

Claudia Mo (left) and two of the 60 alleged victims of the scam. Photo: Sam Tsang
'Two women who claimed to be presidents of one of the world’s biggest nutrition and weight loss companies took more than HK$50 million in product orders before disappearing, the alleged scam victims said today.
Some 60 people said they had been duped by two women, surnamed Choi and Ng, who claimed to be presidents in the Hong Kong office of multilevel marketing company Herbalife.
Choi and Ng allegedly told the victims they could buy Herbalife products at a cheaper price from them directly on which they could make a resale profit of between 5 per cent and 10 per cent.
The victims said that initially they received the goods and made a profit, so they started to invest more money in the scheme. However, they said the two so-called presidents disappeared at the end of last month and they had been unable to find them.
One of the victims, who gave her surname as Tsang, said she had lost HK$2.6 million in the scheme. She said she had known one of the women for years and that she had approached her around two years ago to invest in the products.
“I believed she was a president of the company. Herbalife’s office had her photo,” Tsang said.
The victims said Herbalife had claimed the two women were only ordinary members of the organisation and were not on its staff.
Herbalife said it was “shocked” and appalled” to hear about the case. A spokesman said the memberships of the two women had been terminated, though it did not specify when.
“Herbalife takes any case of violation of the company’s rules of conduct by our independent members very seriously. Herbalife has a very strict ethics policy and code of conduct, which all our independent members are contractually bound to comply with,” the spokesman said, adding that he could not comment further due to an ongoing police investigation.
Civic Party legislator Claudia Mo Man-ching, who is assisting the victims, said Herbalife should shoulder some of the liability for the victims’ losses.
“Herbalife as a multinational company should take some responsibility. We are talking about business ethics ... You can’t just say some members had inappropriate practices and you have nothing to do with it,” she said.
Mo said the victims had reported the case to police and the commercial crime bureau is investigating.'

Unfortunately, the author of the above article, Timmy Sung, completely failed to comprehend that the fake 'direct selling' company known as 'Herbalife' has itself been the bait in a cultic trap, and only part of an ongoing criminogenic phenomenon of historic significance. Thus, Mr. Sung repeats thought-stopping 'MLM income opportunity' jargon without any detailed qualification or heavy irony.

Predictably, in response to victims coming forward, the bosses of the 'Herbalife' cultic racket have yet again steadfastly pretended that they were totally unaware of, and are not at all responsible for, any criminal activity occurring within the ranks of their entirely 'ethical' organization. 
However, these carefully-scripted reality-inverting denials are clearly an attempt by US citizens to obstruct justice in China in order to continue to commit related-frauds on a global scale. As such, the 'Herbalife' bosses' misleading statements to the Chinese media (and to law enforcement agents) form part of an overall pattern of ongoing major racketeering activity (as defined by the US federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, 1970).

This age-old pattern has been followed all over the world for decades, and by literally hundreds of copy-cat 'MLM' mobs, but law enforcement agents, legislators, prosecutors, etc., never seem to cotton on to how it works (but then, certain law enforcement agents, prosecutors and legislators, have continued to be offered piles of stolen cash by 'MLM' racketeers).

In reality, just like 'Mafia' rackets, 'MLM' rackets have simply been hidden behind mystifying labyrinths of apparently independent corporate structures and individuals, so that their real bosses can isolate themselves from criminal liability.

Thus, once any intellectually-rigorous observer understands how this criminogenic system has functioned, the various 'MLM' front companies are revealed as having been luring countless millions of individuals into essentially the same thought-stopping trap, so that apparently independent individuals and companies can steal their time and money. For decades, whenever a significant number of 'MLM' victims have complained to the media, and/or law enforcement agencies, 'MLM' bosses have followed their classic organized crime tactic, and thrown up their hands in  feigned horror whilst publicly-excommunicating the expendable  front-line thieves from their organizations. 

This truly evil system, has remained beyond the understanding of all casual observers, but particularly, beyond the understanding of its chronic victims - many of whom have sided with the billionaire racketeers who've been exploiting them: rather than face reality.

Herbalife Capitol
Meanwhile, at virtually the same time as the latest chapter in the 'Herbalife' tragicomedy was unfolding in Hong Kong, a claque of deeply-deluded, uniformly-dressed 'Herbalife' adherents turned up at the California State Capitol in Sacramento, and (without producing any quantifiable evidence) attempted to convince State legislators and law enforcement agents that the version of the unoriginal 'MLM' fairy story entitled 'Herbalife,' is entirely true.

It is to be hoped that California State officials had the gumption to take the names and addresses of all these de facto 'Herbalife' slaves, so that checks can be made on their income-tax records. 

David Brear (copyright 2015)

Friday, 20 February 2015

Bahrain bans so-called 'Multi Level Marketing.'

More than half a century of quantifiable evidence, proves beyond all reasonable doubt that what has become popularly known as 'Network' or 'Multi-Level Marketing' is nothing more than an absurd, cultic, economic pseudo-science, and that the impressive-sounding made-up term'MLM,' is, therefore, part of an extensive, thought-stopping, non-traditional jargon which has been developed, and constantly-repeated, by the instigators, and associates, of various, copy-cat, major, and minor, ongoing organized crime groups (hiding behind labyrinths of legally-registered corporate structures) to shut-down the critical, and evaluative, faculties of victims, and of casual observers, in order to perpetrate, and dissimulate, a series of blame-the-victim closed-market swindles or pyramid scams (dressed up as 'legitimate direct selling income opportunites'), and related advance-fee frauds (dressed up as 'legitimate training and motivation, self-betterment, programs,' etc.).

In theory, Bahrain has banned all  'MLM Income Opportunity' cultic rackets, but in  practice, they are still operating there.

Hierarchical, network marketing banned
09 : 24 PM - 17/02/2015

Manama, Feb. 17 (BNA) The Minister of Industry and Commerce today issued edict 2/2015, banning hierarchical and network marketing. Increasing consumers' complaints about such business practices have prompted the ministry to issue the ban.

"Hierarchical and network marketing flouts rules and regulations, particularly the law on consumer protection", said Consumer Protection Director Senan Ali Al-Jabery. The concept of hierarchical and network marketing consists in convincing a person to buy a product and then persuade others to purchase the item which allows the chain to expand. The first buyer obtains more commissions in case he integrates more members into his network and increases the volume of sales.

Al-Jabery said that some companies adopting such operations have been contacted and urged to correct their activities and adhere to the ministerial edict. The Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry has also been approached to direct the trading sector to comply with the ban and instruct hotels and hall-renting companies not to allow meetings that promote these two marketing practices at their venues.

"The ministry has started taking administrative and legal measures to ensure compliance with the ban", Al-Jabery said, calling upon consumers to cooperate. In a statement today, he announced that the ministry will take the required procedures in cooperation with concerned bodies at the General Directorate of Anti-corruption and Economic and Electronic Security to stop such marketing practices. Violations can be reported via hotline 17007003, email or the ministry’s twitter and Instagram accounts.


BNA 1835 GMT 2015/02/17

Monday, 16 February 2015

'Zinzino' is yet another a 'Prosperity Gospel' cult disguised as a 'business'.

 Finn Ørjan Sæle.

The unoriginal Scandinavian-based  'MLM Income Opportunity/ Prosperity Gospel' cultic racket known as 'Zinzino,' was ostensibly instigated by an otherwise-mediocre, Norwegian narcissist, Finn Ørjan Sæle. 

Former jailbird and failed-businessman: turned 'MLM Multi-Millionaire,' Randy Gage

Ørjan Saele seems to have learnt his self-deluded act, almost word for word, from a notorious American 'MLM' shill, Randy Gage, whom he encountered in his youth.

Randy Gage is yet another absurd loud-mouth who is fluent in 'MLM' jargon. Following the classic ordinary poor little man turned mighty 'MLM' superman fairy story, Mr. Gage has variously boasted of being a once-penniless high-school drop out substance abuser who was briefly jailed for armed robbery, and who (aged 30) went bankrupt (for a second time) trying to open a restaurant, but who finally transformed into an 'Amway Diamond and multi-millionaire MLM motivational author and speaker.'

In reality, more than half a century of quantifiable evidence, proves beyond all reasonable doubt that what has become popularly known as 'Network,' or 'Multi-Level, Marketing' is nothing more than an absurd, cultic, economic pseudo-science, and that the impressive-sounding made-up term 'MLM,' is, therefore, part of an extensive, thought-stopping, non-traditional jargon which has been developed, and constantly-repeated, by the instigators, and associates, of various, copy-cat, major, and minor, ongoing organized crime groups (hiding behind labyrinths of legally-registered corporate structures) to shut-down the critical, and evaluative, faculties of victims, and of casual observers, in order to perpetrate, and dissimulate, a series of blame-the-victim closed-market swindles or pyramid scams (dressed up as 'legitimate direct selling income opportunites'), and related advance-fee frauds (dressed up as 'legitimate training and motivation, self-betterment, programs, leads,' etc.).

'MLM' racketeer, Terje Duesund
'Zinzino' has not been Ørjan Saele's only corporate front for racketeering. Indeed,  Ørjan Saele and his criminal associate, Terje Duesund, have been leading members of a veritable Scandinavian 'MLM' Mafia. 

Terje Duesund has lately been the boss of 'Lyoness Norway.' 

Ørjan Sæle andTerje Duesund also ran 'Nature's Own' (a.k.a. 'Natures of Scandinavia').

Claiming 600 000 adherents (i.e. more than 10% of the Norwegian population), 'Nature's Own' was openly described in the Norwegian media as a pyramid scam. At first, Norwegian Government agencies (including the Justice Dept.) seemed to be taking a tough line against the counterfeit  'direct selling company', but strings were evidently pulled and what seemed to be just a case of mass-consumer fraud began to show all the classic signs of major ongoing racketeering activity.

Anita Apelthun Sæle

Former, Right-Wing Norwegian Member of Parliament, Anita Apelthun Saele (Christian Democrats - KrF) who just happens to be Ørjan Sæle's mother, was publicly accused of trying to influence Norwegian public prosecutors. Anita Apelthun Saele was even reported to have been directly involved in promoting 'Nature's Own,' but later she claimed only to have used the products

Finn Jarle Sæle

Ørjan's Sæle father, Finn Jarle Sæle - is an influential newspaper editor in Norway. 

Gudmund Restad

At the time 'Nature's Own' came under investigation in Norway as a suspected pyramid scam, Norwegian Minister of Finance, Gudmund Restad, was reported to have had his three daughters involved in 'Nature's Own.'

Evidently not wanting to open this embarrassing can of Norwegian worms, an extensive investigation allegedly conducted by the Norwegian Ministry of Justice and Public Security, was apparently shelved by prosecutors with jurisdiction in the case. However, all the bad publicity surrounding the front company obliged its bosses to change their corporate camouflage to 'Natures of Scandinavia.' The restyled front company was used to expand its bosses' criminal activities into the mobile phone market, offering adherents Internet subscriptions (in the false expectation of future reward) under the name 'PGOne' - a corporate structure which was later integrated into 'Ventelo'.

Now believing themselves to be above the law, Sæle and his criminal associates began to instigate a labyrinth of copy-cat rackets in Scandinavia and elsewhere, including 'Zinzino' which has lately been used to infiltrate financial markets in Sweden. However, 'Zinzino' has attracted more, unwelcome attention in Sweden, Finland and Estonia.

In Sweden, 'Zinzinotruth' has challenged the racket, but the bosses of 'Zinzino' have already started to export their clandestine criminal activities to the USA.

Other rackets which Sæle and/or Duesund have been involved with have included: 

'SaferWaver' (targetting people who fear radiation), 

Many of the blame-the-victim rackets which have lately been the constituent parts of a cultic epidemic in Scandinavia, turn out to have been instigated and dissimulated by Sæleand/or Duesund, or persons who have been closely linked to them (like Peter Jakobsson in Sweden and Jimmy Larsen from Denmark). These rackets are neither original nor unique and, consequently, they cannot be fully-understood in isolation.


'The Universal Identifying Characteristics of a Cult' (David Brear, Axiom Books):


Apart from its use in the sense of ‘a popular fashion especially followed by a specific section of society’ or ‘a person or thing popularised in this way,’ the traditional definition of the English noun, cult (Latin cultus worship), has been ‘a system of religious worship (Latin religiosus obligation, bondage) especially as expressed in ritual,’ or ‘devotion or homage to a person or thing.’ However, the word is now also used as shorthand for what is more accurately described as a pernicious cult. This evolving, criminogenic phenomenon can be briefly described as: 

any self-perpetuating, non-rational/esoteric, ritual belief system established or perverted for the clandestine purpose of human exploitation.

Such groups are identified by the following, essential characteristics: 


1). Deception. Pernicious cults are presented externally as traditional associations. These can be arbitrarily defined by their instigators as almost any banal group (‘religious’, ‘cultural’, ‘political’, ‘commercial’, etc.). However, internally, they are always totalitarian (i.e. they are centrally-controlled and require of their core-adherents an absolute subservience to the group and its patriarchal, and/ or matriarchal, leadership above all other persons). By their very nature, pernicious cults never present themselves in their true colours. Consequently, no one ever becomes involved with one as a result of his/her fully-informed consent.

2). Self-appointed sovereign leadership. Pernicious cults are instigated and ruled by psychologically dominant individuals, and/or bodies of psychologically dominant individuals (often with impressive, made-up names, and/or ranks, and/or titles), who hold themselves accountable to no one. These individuals have severe and inflexible Narcissistic Personalities (i.e. they suffer from a chronic psychological disorder, especially when resulting in a grandiose sense of self-importance/ righteousness and the compulsion to take advantage of others and to control others’ views of, and behaviour towards, them).* They steadfastly pretend moral and intellectual authority whilst pursuing various, hidden, criminal objectives (fraudulent, and/or sexual, and/or violent, etc.). The admiration of their adherents only serves to confirm, and magnify, the leaders’ strong sense of self-entitlement and fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beautyideal love, etc.

‘Narcissistic Personality Disorder,’ is a psychological term first used in 1971 by Dr. Heinz Kohut (1913-1981). It was recognised as the name for a form of pathological narcissism in ‘The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 1980.’ Narcissistic traits (where a person talks highly of himself/herself to eliminate feelings of worthlessness) are common in, and considered ‘normal’ to, human psychological development. When these traits become accentuated by a failure of the social environment and persist into adulthood, they can intensify to the level of a severe mental disorder. Severe and inflexible NPD is thought to effect less than 1% of the general adult population. It occurs more frequently in men than women. In simple terms, NPD is reality-denying, total self-worship born of its sufferers’ unconscious belief that they are flawed in a way that makes them fundamentally unacceptable to others. In order to shield themselves from the intolerable rejection and isolation which they unconsciously believe would follow if others recognised their defective nature, NPD sufferers go to almost any lengths to control others’ view of, and behaviour towards, them. NPD sufferers often choose partners, and raise children, who exhibit ‘co-narcissism’ (a co-dependent personality disorder like co-alcoholism). Co-narcissists organize themselves around the needs of others (to whom they feel responsible), they accept blame easily, are eager to please, defer to others’ opinions and fear being seen as selfish if they act assertively. NPD was observed, and apparently well-understood, in ancient times. Self-evidently, the term, ‘narcissism,’ comes from the allegorical myth of Narcissus, the beautiful Greek youth who falls in love with his own reflection.

Currently, NPD has nine recognised diagnostic criteria (five of which are required for a diagnosis):
  •       has a grandiose sense of self-importance.
  •       is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, ideal love, etc.
  •       believes that he/she is special and unique and can only be understood by other special people.
  •       requires excessive admiration.
  •       strong sense of self-entitlement.
  •       takes advantage of others to achieve his/her own ends.
  •       lacks empathy.
  •       is often envious or believes that others are envious of him/her.
  •       arrogant disposition.

3). Manipulation. Pernicious cults employ co-ordinated, devious techniques of social and psychological persuasion (variously described as: ‘covert hypnosis’, ‘mental manipulation’, ‘coercive behaviour modification’, ‘group pressure’, ‘thought reform’, ‘ego destruction’, ‘mind control’, ‘brainwashing’, ‘neuro-linguistic programming’, ‘love bombing’, etc.). These techniques are designed to fulfil the hidden criminal objectives of the leaders by provoking in the adherents an infantile total dependence on the group to the detriment of themselves and of their existing family, and/or other, relationships. Pernicious cults manipulate their adherents’ existing beliefs and instinctual desires, creating the illusion that they are exercising free will. In this way, adherents can also be surreptitiously coerced into following potentially harmful, physical procedures (sleep deprivation, protein restriction, repetitive chanting/ moving, etc.) which are similarly designed to facilitate the shutting down of an individual’s critical and evaluative faculties without his/ her fully-informed consent.

4). Radical changes of personality and behaviour. Pernicious cults can be of any size, duration and level of criminality. They comprise groups, and/or sub-groups, of previously diverse individuals bonded by their unconscious acceptance of the self-gratifying, but wholly imaginary, scenario that they alone represent a positive or protective force of purity and absolute righteousness derived from their leadership’s exclusive access to a superior or superhuman knowledge, and that they alone oppose a negative or adversarial force of impurity and absolute evil.Whilst this two-dimensional, or dualistic, narrative remains the adherents’ model of reality, they are, in effect, constrained to modify their individual personalities and behaviour accordingly.

5). Pseudo-scientific mystification. The instigators of pernicious cults seek to overwhelm their adherents emotionally and intellectually by pretending that progressive initiation into their own superior or superhuman knowledge (coupled with total belief in its authenticity and unconditional deference to the authority of its higher initiates) will defeat a negative or adversarial force of impurity and absolute evil, and lead to future, exclusive redemption in some form of secure Utopian existence. By making total belief a prerequisite of redemption,adherents are drawn into a closed-logic trap (i.e. failure to achieve redemption is solely the fault of the individual who didn’t believe totally). Cultic pseudo-science is always essentially the same hypnotic hocus-pocus, but it can be peddled in an infinite variety of forms and combinations (‘spiritual’, ‘medical’, ‘philosophical’, cosmological,’extraterrestrial’, ‘political’, ‘racial’, ‘mathematical’, ‘economic’, New-Age’, 'magical', etc.), often with impressive, made-up, technical-sounding names. It is tailored to fit the spirit of the times and to attract a broad range of persons, but especially those open to an exclusive offer of salvation (i.e. the: sick, dissatisfied, bereaved, vanquished, disillusioned, oppressed, lonely, insecure, aimless, etc.). However, at a moment of vulnerability, anyone (no matter what their: age, sex, nationality, state of mental/ physical health, level of education, etc.) can need to believe in a non-rational, cultic pseudo-science. Typically, obedient adherents are granted ego-inflating names, and/or ranks, and/or titles, whilst non-initiates are referred to using derogatory, dehumanizing terms. Although initiation can at first appear to be reasonable and benefits achievable, cultic pseudo-science gradually becomes evermore costly and mystifying. Ultimately, it is completely incomprehensible and its claimed benefits are never quantifiable. The self-righteous euphoria and relentless enthusiasm of cult proselytizers can be highly infectious and deeply misleading. They are invariably convinced that their own salvation also depends on saving others.

6). Monopoly of information. The leaders of  pernicious cults seek to control all information entering not only their adherents’ minds, but also that entering the minds of casual observers. This is achieved by constantly denigrating all external sources of information whilst constantly repeating the group’s reality-inverting key words and images, and/or by the physical isolation of adherents. Cults leaders systematically categorize, condemn and exclude as unenlightened, negative, impure, absolutely evil, etc. all free-thinking individuals and any quantifiable evidence challenging the authenticity of their imaginary scenarios of control. In this way, the minds of cult adherents can become converted to accept only what their leadership arbitrarily sanctions as enlightened, positive, pure, absolutely righteous, etc. Consequently, adherents habitually communicate amongst themselves using their group’s thought-stopping ritual jargon, and they find it difficult, if not impossible, to communicate with negative persons outside of their group whom they falsely believe to be not only doomed, but also to be a suppressive threat to redemption.

7). False justification. In pernicious cults, a core-group of adherents can be gradually dissociated from external reality and reformed into deployable agents, and/or de facto slaves, and/or expendable combatants, etc., furthering the hidden criminal objectives of their leaders, completely dependent on a collective paranoid delusion of absolute moral and intellectual supremacy fundamental to the maintenance of their individual self-esteem/identity and related psychological function. It becomes impossible for such fanatics to see humour in their situation or to feel pity for, or to empathise with, non-adherents. Their minds are programmed to interpret the manipulation, and/or cheating, and/or dispossession, and/or destruction, of inferior outsiders (particularly, those who challenge their group’s controlling scenario) as perfectly justifiable.

8). Structural mystification. The instigators of pernicious cults can continue to organize the creation, and/or dissolution, and/or subversion, of further (apparently independent) corporate structures pursuing lawful, and/or unlawful, activities in order to prevent, and/or divert, investigation and isolate themselves from liability. In this way, some cults survive all low-level challenges and spread like cancers enslaving the minds, and destroying the lives, of countless individuals in the process. At the same time, their leaders acquire absolute control over capital sums which place them alongside the most notorious racketeers in history. They operate behind ever-expanding, and changing, fronts of ‘limited-liability, commercial companies,’ and/or ‘non-profit-making associations,’ etc. Other than ‘religious /philosophical’ and ‘political’ movements and ‘secret societies,’  typical reality-inverting disguises for cultic crime are:

‘charity/ philanthropy’; ‘fund-raising’; ‘lobbying’ on topical issues (‘freedom’, ‘ethics’, ‘environment’, ‘human rights’, ‘women’s rights’, ‘child protection’, ‘law enforcement’, ‘social justice’, 'peace,' etc.); ‘publishing and media’; ‘education’; ‘academia’; ‘celebrity’; ‘patriotism’; ‘information technology’; ‘public relations’; ‘advertising’; ‘medicine’; ‘alternative medicine’; ‘nutrition’; ‘rehabilitation’; ‘manufacturing’; ‘retailing’; ‘direct selling/ marketing’; ‘multilevel marketing’; ‘network marketing’; ‘regulation’; ‘personal development’; ‘self-betterment’; ‘positive thinking’; ‘self-motivation’; ‘leadership training’; ‘life coaching’; ‘research and development’; ‘investment’; ‘real estate’; ‘sponsorship’; ‘bereavement/trauma counselling’; ‘addiction counselling’; ‘legal counselling’; ‘cult exit-counselling’; ‘financial consulting’; ‘management consulting’; ‘clubs’; etc. 

9). Chronic psychological deterioration symptoms. The long-term core-adherents of pernicious cults are psychotic (i.e. suffering from psychosis, a severe mental derangement, especially when resulting in delusions and loss of contact with external reality). Core-adherents who manage to break with their group and confront the ego-destroying reality that they’ve been systematically deceived and exploited, are invariably destitute and dissociated from all their previous social contacts. For many years afterwards, recovering former core-adherents can suffer from one, or more, of the following psychological problems (which are also generally indicative of the victims of abuse):

depression; overwhelming feelings (guilt, grief, shame, fear, anger, embarrassment, etc.); dependency/ inability to make decisions; retarded psychological/ intellectual development; suicidal thoughts; panic/ anxiety attacks; extreme identity confusion; Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder; insomnia/ nightmares; eating disorders; psychosomatic illness ( asthma, skin disorders, headaches, fatigue, etc.); sexual problems/ fear of forming intimate relationships; inability to trust; etc.

10). Repression of all dissent. The leaders of the most-destructive cults are megalomaniacal psychopaths (i.e. suffering from a chronic mental disorder, especially when resulting in paranoid delusions of grandeur and self-righteousness, and the compulsion to pursue grandiose objectives). The unconditional deference of their deluded adherents only serves to confirm, and magnify, the leaders’ own paranoid delusions. This type of cult leader maintains an absolute monopoly of information whilst perpetrating, and/or directing, evermore heinous crimes. They sustain their activities by the imposition of arbitrary contracts and codes (secrecydenunciation, confession,justice, punishment, etc.) within their groups, and by the use of humiliation, and/or intimidation, and/or calumny, and/or malicious prosecution (where they pose as victims), and/or sophism, and/or the infiltration of traditional culture, and/or corruption, and/or intelligence gathering and blackmail, and/or extortion, and/or physical isolation, and/or violence, and/or assassination, etc., to repress any internal or external dissent.



Who hasn’t heard about cults? The word, ‘cult,’ has been thrown around so often that most of us now take it for granted that we must know exactly what it means. To be honest, very few people have sought out sufficient background material to be able to form the lucid picture of cultism contained in the essential identifying characteristics presented in this booklet. Even the most-diligent news reports have tended to examine individual cultic groups in close-up, leaving the wider phenomenon either out of shot or out of focus. However, in recent years, it has become a matter of public record that, as a result of unprotected exposure to one of an ever-growing and evolving catalogue of apparently diverse and innocent groups, almost anyone can begin to exhibit remarkably uniform symptoms. In everyday terms, it is as though they’ve fallen head over heels in love. Although this initial euphoria is often short-lived, a significant minority will subsequently undergo a nightmarish transformation and recklessly dissipate all their mental, and/or physical, and/or financial, resources to the benefit of some hitherto unknown person(s), whom they continue to trust and follow no matter what suffering this entails. Only when enough victims of one of these latter-day ‘Pied-Pipers’ wind up in psychiatric hospitals or on mortuary slabs is the word, ‘cult,’ liberally applied by the popular press. It is then always revealed that there had been some timely attempt(s) to warn the authorities, but they couldn’t intervene, because, legalistically, cultism does not exist. That said, all cosmopolitan people readily accept that cults most-certainly do exist, but, due to the prevalent style of media coverage, we habitually think of them only as remote, and grotesque, freak-shows.

In my experience, if it is suggested that ‘we should all be on our guard against cultism, because it is actually much closer to us than we like to think,’ the average person is immediately convinced that such an idea is absurd. This instinctual reaction is usually accompanied by one, or more, of the following comments:
·     ‘Don’t worry, I wasn’t born yesterday, a cult couldn’t fool me or anyone in my family… only idiots and weaklings join cults.’

·     ‘In a free society everyone has the right to believe in what they want… if adults decide to hand over their time and money to some charismatic guru, it’s their own business.’

·     ‘One man’s cult is another man’s religion.’

·     ‘I suppose you’re including all the people who believe Elvis is still alive.’

·     ‘Unless they are being physically held as prisoners, adults always have a free-choice to walk away if they don’t like what’s happening to them.’

·     ‘Perhaps some cult members get harmed, but that’s their problem not mine.’

·     ‘Cults have been around for centuries, there’s nothing new to learn about them.’ etc.

Whilst these opinions can all seem valid to the ill-informed, the underlying facts prove them to be nothing more than ego-protecting self-deceptions, which completely miss the point. It’s easy to understand that ‘knowledge itself is power,’ but it’s altogether harder to accept that (by the same token) ignorance is vulnerability. Obviously, cults never announce themselves, but their many disguises continue to adapt to mirror the changing spirit of the times. Throughout the ages, a dangerous minority of mythomaniacs, charlatans and would-be demagogues have always been able to get their human prey to sail blindly into positions of subjection, by first bedazzling them with all manner of false beacons which seemed so welcoming and authentic that the majority of people could not have been expected to determine exactly what was lurking behind them. Even though most of us want to deny it, at a moment of weakness all of us can need to listen to the latest cultic voice of insanity; especially when it appeals to our existing beliefs and instinctual desires, and originates from the apparent face of reason. To casual observers, the phenomenon might seem to be a ridiculous anachronism, but cultism or occultism has survived the tide of history and continues to wreck countless lives, simply because its instigators keep updating the lyrics of their siren song. Totalitarianism itself is enduring, its camouflage is ephemeral.

Young children’s unconscious acceptance of ‘Santa Claus’ as total reality, stems from a fictitious scenario reflected as fact by the traditional culture in which they live. Up to a certain age, children are not equipped to challenge the model of reality offered to them by authoritarian figures within their family groups; particularly, their parents. Therefore, once children have been converted to a self-gratifying, non-rational belief in ‘Santa,’ the truth (that they are actually being deceived by the people whom they instinctively trust and follow) is unthinkable. The scenario can then be expanded to modify children’s behaviour — ‘Santa’ has magical powers… he can see and hear everything they do at all times… he will reward them for unquestioning belief and punish them for dissent. Only when they attain the necessary level of intellectual/psychological development, can children begin to use their critical and evaluative faculties and come to realise that ‘Santa’ is merely a game of make believe. If you think about it, what I’ve just described is the most elementary form of self-perpetuating, non-rational/esoteric, ritual belief system - perfectly tailored to fit infantile minds, and reliant on the maintenance of an absolute monopoly of information presented using a constant repetition of reality-inverting key words and images combined with pseudo-scientific mystification and closed-logic.

When analysed with the same level of intellectual rigour, many of the basic procedures and conditions required to establish cultic groups turn out not to be a mystery at all. They are revealed as only more-sophisticated versions of those which also propagate the benign ‘Santa’ deception. As such, they are frighteningly easy to replicate. However, the instigators of cults are anything but benign and, interestingly, many of their most-deluded subjects and convincing apologists turn out to be well-educated adults who have simply become incapable of facing the ego-destroying reality that they’ve been fooled by what is merely a game of make believe. No sane person would ever suggest trying to ban ‘Santa,’ and everyone lies to their children at some time to modify their behaviour, but consider the variety of destructive behaviour that an authoritarian adult (with hidden criminal objectives) could get dependent children to follow by exploiting their unconscious acceptance of the same imaginary, but nonetheless emotionally and intellectually overwhelming, narrative as total reality. The unpalatable truth is that, just by perverting the closed-logic rules of the game, anything - from theft by proxy to sexual, and/or violent, abuse - becomes possible.

Prior to publication, a number of people were given unfinished copies of this booklet to appraise. Although no reader could refute its content, the reactions of a minority were split into two groups; these were as different as chalk and cheese. Those who had already survived a direct personal experience of cultism devoured it. Others, who had never knowingly encountered the phenomenon, found the booklet less easy to digest; they generally described its tone as ‘alarmist.’ One man (a middle-aged, American academic) was sure that it had been written by a naïve soul who had suddenly discovered the world to be a cruel place, and who now wanted to shout about it. Several years ago, when I was naïve, I might have agreed with him. In fact, I now blush when I remember a conversation I once had with a senior citizen of the Czech republic (a survivor of rule by the ‘Nazi’ and ‘Soviet’ myths), in which I coolly dismissed his passionate contention that any country whose own citizens mistakenly believed themselves to be immune to totalitarianism, faced the greatest risk of from it. Today, in the light of a traumatic personal encounter in Europe with the large, American-based cultic group known as 'Amway,' I have come to understand that I could not have been more wrong. However, many of the crass opinions which cultism continues to attract are completely predictable, because, even as adults, we all instinctively want to shut out of our minds any information that disturbs our habitual model of the world. Sadly, anyone who searches for the truth about cultism, and who then speaks plainly, is forced to ask a lot of people to think the unthinkable; so I make no apologies for this.

Another man started to read the booklet and decided that it contained ‘intemperate language.’ He felt sure that it was  ‘going to be a sermon’ in which I would ‘attempt to impose ideas of morality’ on him. That opinion made me go back to my original text and remove any suggestion of preaching, because that’s the last thing I want to do. I don’t pretend to be perfect, and I fully recognise that morality is only what is generally regarded as an acceptable standard of behaviour by whatever culture we live in. I tried to base my investigation of cultism on quantifiable evidence, and my analysis on rules made by democratic institutions defining what is criminal, and/or unethical. I didn’t invent this evidence or write these rules, but I couldn’t escape the fact that cultism involves the subversion of traditional codes of morality. Like my wise Czech acquaintance, I have had the dubious privilege of witnessing for myself how unsuspecting individuals can be tricked into entering a counterfeit culture in which their existing perceptions of right and wrong are overturned and then made absolute. As a result, I now accept that apparently rational persons can suddenly abandon all reason and allow themselves to be systematically abused, exploited and even slaughtered whilst participating in the systematic abuse, exploitation and slaughter of others. In short, I am describing how it is possible to enslave any human being, but without the use of chains. This, in itself, is an ego-destroying reality which, self-evidently, many onlookers will wish to deny. However, when this reality is faced, at first it can become impossible to find appropriate words (other than expletives) to describe the results of cultism. Even presiding judges, in related cases, have felt it necessary to deliver verdicts using emotive terms such as ‘evil,’ ‘sinister,’ ‘depraved,’ ‘obnoxious,’ etc., to express publicly their own private outrage. Unfortunately, many other well-intentioned people have been, and continue to be, completely fooled by the seductive words and images shielding the instigators of cultism. The great paradox of the phenomenon is that persons under cultic influence will steadfastly claim to be absolutely righteous, even when all the quantifiable evidence proves their behaviour to be (at best) misguided, or (at worst) downright evil. Although they are demonstrably dissociated from external reality, cult adherents are always certain that they alone represent the ‘truth’ and they act accordingly.

In this booklet, I have tried to demystify cultism by using an accurate, deconstructed vocabulary to describe the phenomenon. As a result of my own extensive investigation, I am entirely satisfied that all groups exhibiting the essential characteristics given previously, are manifestations of the same problem. The historical evidence has led me to the inescapable conclusion that the only real differences between cults are the exact motives and mental state of their leaders, and the length of time they survive before they face a well-informed and determined challenge.

Cultism is a trap. Obviously, anyone who only examines the bait in a trap and who remains unaware of its true purpose, risks getting caught themselves. Just like a mousetrap, the basic design for the cultic trap has remained the same down the centuries even if the presentation of the bait has become evermore sophisticated. Sadly, many commentators have found it impossible - when faced with the apparently illogical results of cultism - to abandon their existing academic, and professional, disciplines, which are anchored in the logic of the traditional world. Consequently, their understanding has often been made impossible by misplaced objectivity. However, it must be remembered that a counterfeit banknote might be 99.9 % perfect, but the bit that is not makes all of it a fake. Similarly, in order to have any chance of understanding cultism, it must be approached from the apparently subjective point of view that its results are always the product of a contagious deception, the victims of which unconsciously accept fiction as fact. Only then, can the phenomenon be examined with genuine objectivity. Once this vital principle has been learned, the apparently authentic words and images reflected by persons under the influence of cultism - like those printed on counterfeit banknotes - are revealed as dangerous distractions. They should never be taken at face value and, therefore, I try to remind the reader of this at all times. Any commentator who repeats the reality-inverting shielding-terminology of any cultic group, but without detailed qualification (or heavy irony), demonstrates that he/she remains at a pitifully low-level of understanding.

In truth, if it wasn’t for its tragic consequences, then cultism would be nothing more than a sick joke. However, until an individual is confronted by a nightmarish change in the personality and behaviour of a loved-one, then they can never really appreciate the full horror of the phenomenon. I realised a long time ago that there are always some people who will never be able to accept what I describe, because, for them to do so, they would have to abandon too many self-deceptions supporting their own view of themselves. Like many others before me, a soul-destroying experience with members of my own family forced me to abandon most of mine. Then, through close contact with the survivors of various cults and my research into the deeper origins of ‘Nazism’ and the ‘New Global Terrorism,’ I came to the further, inescapable conclusion that it is actually impossible to exaggerate the potential menace posed by the creators of these counterfeit cultures, or their significance to the history and future of civilization. I then found great comfort in the opinions of some of my critics, because the people who first tried to warn the world of the horror lurking behind an apparently absurd, little gang of sanctimonious charlatans - calling themselves the ‘National Socialist German Workers Party’ and led by a hitherto unknown, German Army veteran playing the comic-book role of ordinary man turned superman - were also dismissed as ‘alarmists.’

Whilst it remains generally misunderstood, cultism will continue to be an unnecessary threat to the lives, liberty and happiness of all communities, families and individuals all over the world.

David Brear (copyright 2015)