The short answer to this question is, yes, because the deluded fanatics who committed, and filmed, this heinous crime (and who have threatened to behead other US journalists and aid workers whom they hold captive, if their demands are not met), are evidently controlled by a self-perpetuating, non-rational, two-dimensional scenario of 'good vs evil.' However, a more detailed answer is as follows; for legalistically, cultism does not exist:
|Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi|
An organization ostensibly led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, which claims to have volunteer fighters from all over the globe, has arbitrarily declared the establishment of a 'Caliphate' (an 'Islamic State') - comprising parts of Iraq and Syria, forcing many minority communities to flee their homes.
A United Nations report indictates that mass public executions have become a common sight in the 'Islamic State', this has been confirmed by media reports.
It has been estimated that, during the past several years, well over 500 British citizens (many of whom have been teenage boys) have suddenly undergone radical personality transformations - abandoning their friends and families to travel to Syria and Iraq to become expendable combatants in a 'Jihad' (or Holy War) against 'Infidel' (or non-believers). A number of these self-righteous, young 'Jihadists' have then returned to Britain where the authorities fear that they remain in a dangerously-delusional state - unquestioning robots programmed to continue their leaders' imaginary struggle against the forces of evil (i.e. their fellow citizens).
The US has carried out strategic air strikes against the 'Islamic State' in Iraq, and President Obama has described it as a 'cancer.'
- 'Islamist militants in Iraq and Syria will seek to strike us on British soil.'
- 'The Islamic State is turning a swathe of Iraq and Syria into a terrorist state as a base for launching attacks on the West.'
- It was 'horrifying to think that the killer of US journalist, James Foley, was British.'
- The UK government was 'investing significant resources to tackle a barbaric ideology which could threaten Britain.'
- 'The threat from Syria and Iraq' would 'last a generation.'
- 'It is an utter betrayal of our country, our values and everything the British people stand for.'
- The UK had 'assisted Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, who are battling against Islamic State, with military aircraft delivering equipment.'
- Britain would 'soon start sending Kurdish fighters Eastern European ammunition and weaponry with which they are already familiar.'
- The UK government was 'scoping out' what the UK might supply itself - such as night vision equipment, weapons and ammunition - although no specific request had yet been made.
- 'Our strategy is clear. We are investing significant resources to tackle this problem for the long-term.'
|Senior Conservative Member of Parliament, David Davis.|
- 'Since these young men are in effect swearing allegiance to a hostile state, they should all forfeit their British citizenship - not just those who are dual nationals.'
- 'Since this is an incredibly serious penalty, it should be done only after a proper public trial carrying all the public seriousness and opprobrium of a murder trial, because in many cases that is what it would be.'
- 'As the home secretary reiterated yesterday, lawyers would say you cannot render someone stateless.'
- 'Perhaps, perhaps not. Whitehall lawyers have been wrong before. Democracies have a right to defend themselves.'
'The UK government is looking at new powers to tackle the threat of extremism in Britain.'
It would seem that members of the current British government, led by David Cameron, now realize that the much-vaunted 'Good vs Evil War on Terror' (a comic-book description coined by PR advisers to George W. Bush) is having completely the reverse effect to that which was advertized. As far as I'm aware, to date, no UK politician has demonstrated that he/she has a fully-deconstructed understanding of what has been instigated in Syria and Iraq, but then, successive British governments have been funding a group of academics at the London School of Economics who have sought to obstruct all intellectually-rigorous political/public debate of the cult/totalitarian phenomenon in Britain, for decades.
Since 1989, UK tax-payers have been financing, via the UK government's Home Office, a registered charity known as 'INFORM,' housed at the London School of Economics, Dept. of Sociology. In recent years, 'INFORM' has been receiving around £140 000 annually of public funds. Part of this has been used to assemble a labyrinthine 'data base,' allegedly to provide free and objective, up-to-date information about 'cults and New Religious Movements,' for legislators, academics, law enforcement agents, members of the public, etc.
|'Members of a minority religious movement.'|
Whilst reading the following, typically-nonsensical, sweeping statements (which could have come straight out of the 'Ministry of Truth' in George Orwell's 'Nineteen Eighty-Four'), bear in mind the reality of the world we live in (as shown in the above, chilling photograph). These statements are to be found on 'INFORM's' external Website under the apparently objective title:
'When is a religion a cult?'
When translated into plain English, the sociological 'Thought-Police' at 'INFORM' have effectively issued the unbelievably-arrogant edict that:
No one is allowed to challenge the authenticity of anything labelled 'religious movement ,' whilst 'sociologists of religion' are the only people wise enough to define and use the terms, 'cult' and 'sect.' Therefore, anyone else employing them, is not to be trusted!
Thus, through the constant repetition of the thought-stopping word, 'religion,' the obvious truth that (in the hands of narcissists and psychopaths) the phenomenon of self-perpetuating, non-rational, esoteric, ritual belief systems, can be easily perverted for the clandestine purpose of human exploitation, has been excluded from UK government policy for more than 20 years. Readers of this Blog should take note that, contrary to what the members of 'INFORM' have implied, no phenomenon can be accurately defined (arbitrarily or otherwise, and certainly not by a country). However, all phenomena have universal identifying characteristics. Indeed, as George Orwell proved, once you know how they work (by dissociating their exploited-victims from external reality whilst giving them the illusion that they are making free-choices) all totalitarian deceptions (which are reality-inverting constructions of twisted human minds) can be deconstructed by one universal allegory.
Sadly, whilst the members of all-encompassing organizations like 'INFORM' grudgingly accept that some crimes have been committed by the adherents of some 'religious movements,' they also continue to include in their 'doublethink' view of the cult/totalitarian phenomenon what narcissists and psychopaths claim to have been doing, in apparent ignorance of what they have actually been doing (i.e. steadfastly pretending moral and intellectual authority whilst pursuing various hidden criminal objectives - fraudulent, and/or sexual, and/or violent, etc.). In reality, the inflexible members of groups like 'INFORM' (who have obstructed and denigrated common-sense inquirers into the cult phenomenon) have been a significant part of the problem and not the solution to it.
|Prof. Margaret Singer|
Another giant in the field of academic research into the cult phenomenon, is Prof. Margaret Singer (1921-2003). Her major work which was published in 1996, is 'Cults in Our Midst.' (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cults_in_Our_Midst). In this, Prof. Singer set out 'six conditions' in which totalistic thought-reform can be achieved:
- 1). Keep the person unaware of what is going on and how attempts to psychologically condition him or her are directed in a step-by-step manner.
- 2). Control the person's social and/or physical environment; especially control the person's time.
- 3). Systematically create a sense of powerlessness in the person.
The members serve as models of the attitudes and behaviours of the group and speak an in-group language.
Strip members of their main occupation (quit jobs, drop out of school) or source of income or have them turn over their income (or the majority of) to the group.
Once the target is stripped of their usual support network, their confidence in their own perception erodes.
As the target's sense of powerlessness increases, their good judgement and understanding of the world are diminished (ordinary view of reality is destabilized).
As the group attacks the target's previous worldview, it causes the target distress and inner confusion; yet they are not allowed to speak about this confusion or object to it - leadership suppresses questions and counters resistance.
This process is sped up if the targeted individual or individuals are kept tired - the cult will take deliberate actions to keep the target constantly busy.
- 4). Manipulate a system of rewards, punishments and experiences in such a way as to inhibit behaviour that reflects the person's former social identity.
The target's old beliefs and patterns of behaviour are defined as irrelevant or evil. Leadership wants these old patterns eliminated, so the member must suppress them.
Members get positive feedback for conforming to the group's beliefs and behaviours and negative feedback for old beliefs and behaviour.
- 5). The group manipulates a system of rewards, punishments, and experiences in order to promote learning the group's ideology or belief system and group-approved behaviours.
The only feedback members get is from the group; they become totally dependent upon the rewards given by those who control the environment.
Members must learn varying amounts of new information about the beliefs of the group and the behaviours expected by the group.
The more complicated and filled with contradictions the new system is and the more difficult it is to learn, the more effective the conversion process will be.
Esteem and affection from peers is very important to new recruits. Approval comes from having the new member's behaviours and thought patterns conform to the models (members). Members' relationship with peers is threatened whenever they fail to learn or display new behaviours. Over time, the easy solution to the insecurity generated by the difficulties of learning the new system is to inhibit any display of doubts—new recruits simply acquiesce, affirm and act as if they do understand and accept the new ideology.
- 6). Put forth a closed system of logic and an authoritarian structure that permits no feedback and refuses to be modified except by leadership approval or executive order.
Members are not allowed to question, criticize or complain. If they do, the leaders allege the member is defective, not the organization or the beliefs.
The targeted individual is treated as always intellectually incorrect or unjust, while conversely the system, its leaders and its beliefs are always automatically, and by default, considered as absolutely just.
Conversion or remolding of the individual member happens in a closed system. As members learn to modify their behaviour in order to be accepted in this closed system, they change—begin to speak the language—which serves to further isolate them from their prior beliefs and behaviours.
Building on Lifton's and Singer's solid foundation (and after much research) I concluded that pernicious cultism is an evolving criminogenic phenomenon which can be briefly defined as:
'any self-perpetuating, non-rational/esoteric, ritual belief system established or perverted for the clandestine purpose of human exploitation.'
However, since phenomena cannot be accurately defined; I set down the following, essential, and universal, identifying characteristics of a pernicious cult and I published these in 2005:
- 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.