Friday 30 March 2012

Like those of 'Scientology', 'Amway's' bosses have hidden behind their own 'cult advisers'

For the benefit of the many new readers coming to this Blog, I opened it by stating that, in 1945, whilst most, contemporary mainstream commentators were unable to look beyond the ends of their noses, with a perfect sense of irony, 'George Orwell' (1903-1950) presented fact as fiction in an insightful 'fairy story' entitled, 'Animal Farm.' He revealed that totalitarianism is merely the oppressors' fiction mistaken for fact by the oppressed. In the same universal allegory, Orwell described how, at a time of vulnerability, almost any people's dream of a future, secure, Utopian existence can be hung over the entrance to a totalitarian deception. Indeed, the words that are always banished by totalitarian deceivers are, 'totalitarian' and 'deception.' Sadly, when it comes to examining the same enduring phenomenon, albeit with an ephemeral 'American/Capitalist' label, most contemporary, mainstream commentators have again been unable to look further than the ends of their noses. However, if they followed Orwell's example, and did some serious thinking, this is the reality-inverting nightmare they would find

(Whilst watching this deceptively-kitsch video of the 'Amway' fairy story, keep in mind that the quantifiable evidence proves beyond all reasonable doubt that, since 1959, tens of millions of individuals around the world have been churned through the so-called 'Amway income opportunity' whilst the actual, hidden net-profitability rate for so-called 'Amway Independent Business Owners' has been effectively-zero). 


Leo J. Ryan (first US Congressman to be assassinated in office)

The ‘Citizens Freedom Foundation’ (‘CFF’), which became the ‘Cult Awareness Network’ (‘CAN’), was created in 1978 after the Peoples Temple,’ or ‘Jonestown,’ tragedy needlessly cost the lives of over 900 individuals, including more than 300 infants and children, California Congressman, Leo J. Ryan, and several members of the press. There had been numerous (timely) attempts to warn the authorities, but agencies of the US government couldn’t intervene, because officially cultism does not exist. Subsequent to the Peoples Temple massacre, several independent initiatives (like that of ‘CAN’) arrived to try to address America’s general misunderstanding of the cult phenomenon. Certain free-thinking observers could see that, despite its violent and bloody end,  the Peoples Temple was neither original nor unique. Therefore, it could not be fully-understood in isolation. It had become a matter of public record, that, since the 1950s, the self-appointed sovereign leader of the ‘Peoples Temple, the ‘Reverend’ Jim Jones, had sought to control all information entering not only his adherents’ minds, but also that entering the minds of casual observers. This was initially achieved by his constantly denigrating all external sources of information whilst constantly repeating his group’s reality-inverting 'religious/humanitarian' key words and images. During this period, Jones was protected by an echelon of amoral attorneys whilst pursuing various, hidden, criminal objectives (fraudulent, sexual and violent). Behind its Utopian façade, the so-called Peoples Temple had always been a brutal totalitarian State in microcosm, and Jim Jones was its first and final Dictator.

Jim Jones

As well as the central structure which he arbitrarily defined as the ‘Peoples Temple,’ Jones organized the creation, dissolution and subversion of a mystifying labyrinth of (apparently independent) corporate structures, including the Jonestown Agricultural Project’, pursuing lawful, and/or unlawful, activities in order to prevent, and/or divert, investigation and isolate himself from liability. Eventually, Jones sustained his activities by the imposition of arbitrary contracts and codes (loyalty, secrecy, denunciation, confession, justice, punishment, etc.) within his group, and by the use of humiliation, intimidation, calumny, malicious prosecution (where he posed as innocent victim under attack), sophism, infiltration of traditional culture, corruption, intelligence gathering and blackmail, extortion, physical isolation, violence, assassination, etc., to repress any internal or external dissent. Sadly, for more than quarter of a century, Jones’ increasingly paranoid delusions went completely unchallenged by an alarming number of unthinking observers in US law enforcement, the media and in the political, and religious, establishment. These people preferred to ignore the quantifiable evidence proving that Jim Jones was a mentally-unstable narcissist turned megalomaniacal psychopath. 

After steadfastly pretending moral and intellectual authority throughout most of his life, faced with ego-destroying reality, Jones not only slaughtered his most-determined critics, but also himself, his family, his followers and even his pet animals, rather be held to account for a gruesome catalogue of clandestine crimes. These chilling events have often been inaccurately described as a 'mass-suicide.' 

Dr. Edward Lottick
Until 1996, ‘CAN’ was a US-incorporated, non-profit-making association attempting to provide enquirers with free independent advice, and accurate information, about deceptive cultic movements which are presented externally as traditional associations. For a while, ‘CAN’ was run by Patricia Ryan (the daughter of Leo J. Ryan). By the 1990s, leading representatives of ‘CAN’, including Dr. Edward Lottick and Cynthia Kisser, had become widely-respected critics of more than 200 movements, including ‘Scientology’ and Landmark Education’ (about which ‘CAN’ received the largest number of enquiries). At this time, the leadership of both these wealthy groups launched typically, relentless campaigns of malicious prosecution (in which they posed as innocent victims under attack). Finally, more than 50 civil lawsuits citing religious discrimination’ were filed against ‘CAN’ by ‘Scientology’s’ own echelon of in-house attorneys in multiple jurisdictions across the USA. The ‘plaintiffs’ (some of whom later admitted to having been paid) were deployable agents of ‘Scientology’s leadership. They had simultaneously applied for, and been refused, membership of ‘CAN.’ Even though this was obviously part of a centrally coordinated conspiracy to infiltrate and silence the organization, ‘CAN’ was ultimately forced into receivership (due to uninsured legal fees) and, in 1996, the association was bought out in bankruptcy court by Steven Hayes (one of Scientology’s’ attorneys). Since that time, any ill-informed person who has contacted ‘New CAN,’ falsely believing that he/she will receive independent advice, and accurate information, from free-thinking individuals specialising in the study of cults, has, in fact, been speaking to the deployable agents of ‘Scientology’s’ leadership.

Self-evidently, no association can provide wholly-independent advice, or wholly-accurate information, if any of its representatives are acting under the thought-stopping influence of any group(s) exhibiting the identifying characteristics of a cult. However, although anti-racketeering legislation exists in the USA, and in many other countries, it has not yet been rigorously applied to the control of cults. Consequently, there is no effective legal mechanism to prevent the leaders of cults from creating, and/or dissolving, and/or subverting, all manner of corporate structures, including their own 'cult -advice associations.' Unfortunately, without sufficient complaint coming through to authentic cult advice associations (whose representatives can pass this intelligence on to legislators, law enforcement agents, journalists and members of the public), numerous deceptive groups have survived all isolated, low-level challenges to their authenticity and spread like cancers, enslaving the minds and destroying the lives of countless individuals in the process. At the same time, their leaders have acquired absolute control over capital assets which place them alongside the most notorious racketeers in history.

Noah Lottick

In 1996 (just before ‘Scientology’s’ attorney bought ‘CAN’), I met Dr. Edward Lottick (a notable physician from Pennsylvania and former Chairman of ‘CAN’). We were both attending a seminar in Paris organized by ‘UNADFI’ (the ‘National Union of Associations for the Defence of the Family and the Individual’) - an authentic, French cult advice association broadly resembling the original ‘CAN’. Dr. Lottick began studying cultism when his 24 year old son, Noah (a student of Russian studies), had needlessly plunged to his death from a 10th floor hotel window in New York city, May 11th, 1990. A few months earlier, Noah had been deceived into handing $5000 to a gang of relentlessly enthusiastic proselytizers for the Church of Scientology,’ believing that a ‘Free Personality Test’ had proved he needed to buy ‘Self-Betterment Courses.’ In reality, Noah was subjected, without his fully-informed consent, to co-ordinated, devious techniques of social, psychological and physical persuasion designed to shut down his critical, and evaluative, faculties and provoke an infantile total dependence on the group to the detriment of himself and of his existing family, and other, relationships. At first, Dr. Lottick had also been thrown by ‘Scientology’s’ Utopian façade and celebrity endorsements. He had not opposed his son’s involvement, believing the organization to use harmless ‘Positive Thinking’ techniques. Dr. Lottick soon realized his mistake as he witnessed his son undergo a sudden, nightmare personality change. However, by that time, it was too late to save him. In essence, Noah lost his grip on external reality, becoming totally convinced that Scientologists’ alone represent a positive, protective force of purity and absolute righteousness derived from their founder’s exclusive access to a superhuman knowledge and that all persons challenging the authenticity of this ‘truth’ (particularly, doctors and psychiatrists) are unenlightened ‘Suppressives’ who represent a negative, adversarial force of impurity and absolute evil.

Noah Lottick’s tragic death was later profiled in an award-winning ‘Time’ magazine article, ‘Scientology, The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power,’ by Richard Behar. In this, Dr. Lottick and his wife had the guts to blame openly ‘Scientology’ for their son’s death. Dr. Lottick was memorably-reported as stating that he considered Scientology’ to be a ‘school for psychopaths.’ Dr. and Mrs. Lottick subsequently submitted affidavits confirming the accuracy of the reporting of their statements, in defence of ‘Richard Behar and ‘Time’ magazine. The publication and its editor were unsuccessfully sued for US$ 416 millions by the leadership of ‘Scientology’ in yet another blatant attempt to repress all external dissent. It was then implied in a heartless statement, issued by a representative of ‘Scientology,’ that Dr. Lottick’s unfounded opinions were due to his own inability to accept responsibility for his son’s death.

'Amway's' own cult adviser, Ian Howarth

Dr. Lottick and I had a lot to discuss. Several months prior to our meeting, I had contacted (separately) two (apparently independent) 'cult advice associations' (legally-registered as ‘charities’ in the UK), Catalyst’ and the ‘Cult Information Centre,’ with an urgent enquiry about ‘Amway.’ I explained to their directors that my brother (a teacher)  had completely changed personality and become a would-be 'Amway' superman/millionaire,  and that my confused, widowed, elderly mother (with whom my brother was now living and whose large house he had turned into an 'Amway' recruitment centre) was in the process of signing over all my family's considerable capital assets into my brother's name, falsely - believing that she was supporting him in building a philanthropic business that would soon transform his life, and the lives of his recruits, bringing them freedom, prosperity and happiness. In ignorance, I had assumed that Graham Baldwin (Director of ‘Catalyst’) and Ian Howarth (Director of ‘CIC’) were free-thinking individuals who specialised in the study of cults, and who provided independent free advice, and accurate information, to enquirers. However, both systematically excluded all quantifiable evidence to the contrary, and steadfastly pretended that ‘Amway’ is a multi-national corporation offering individuals a business/income opportunity which a minority of participants have imagined to be a pyramid scam because they have lost money, but that my concerns about ‘Amway’ being a cult were ridiculous, unfounded rumours spread by the organization’s commercial competitors and repeated by biased and ill-informed journalists. Amazingly, this was in reference to ‘Amway’ having been profiled in the UK (in 1994) in a major ‘Time Out’ magazine article entitled, ‘Hidden Persuaders.' The article was published despite typical threats from the legal representatives of ‘Amway UK. In factGraham Baldwin was even briefly mentioned by Tony Thompson as a 'London-based cult adviser and former University Chaplain' who had received various calls from concerned 'Amway' adherents. Whilst, newspaper reports, variously described Baldwin as a 'former Army, or Military, Intelligence officer.' 

 'Amway's' own cult adviser Graham Baldwin

In reality, Graham Baldwin obtained a standard degree in 'religious studies' at Kings College London in 1986. He then apparently persuaded members of the faculty of Kings College that there was a growing problem with cult  recruiters on campus, and that he was going to tackle it by offering information and advice to students. This led to Graham Baldwin briefly styling himself as 'Chaplain' (a meaningless title). When I made enquiries to the religious studies Dept. of Kings College London to establish whether Mr. Baldwin had once been employed there, and why he had suddenly abandoned his self-appointed post of 'Chaplain,' I was contacted by the college's aggressive legal representative who informed me that, due to data protection legislation, none of my questions could be answered.  However , when I contacted the UK Ministry of Defence, I discovered that Graham Baldwin's career as another James Bond, is a fairy story.

Author Tony Thompson
Tony Thompson

The ‘special investigation’ by "Time Out' News Editor, Tony Thompson, was headed:

‘Amway says it can make you rich beyond your dreams with its multi-level marketing system; critics say it only makes money for a very few at the top, and its techniques are worryingly cult-like.’

Prof. Robert Jay Lifton

Far from being ill-informed, Tony Thompson had cited in his article the work of Professor Robert Jay Lifton who, in 1961 (after 10 years of detailed research, interviewing US servicemen held prisoner during the Korean War), published, ‘Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism.’ In this standard, medical text-book, Dr. Lifton identified 8 ‘themes’ which, if present in any group, indicate that its members are being subjected to a mixture of social, psychological and physical pressures, designed to produce radical changes in their individual beliefs, attitudes and behaviour.

1). ‘Milieu control’ — the attempted control of everything an individual experiences (i.e. sees, hears, reads, writes and expresses). This includes discouraging subjects from contacting friends and relatives outside the group and undermining trust in exterior sources of information; particularly, the independent media.

2). ‘Personal or mystical manipulation’ — charismatic (psychologically dominant) leaders create a separate environment where specific behaviour is required; leading to group members believing that they have been chosen and that they have a special purpose. Normally group members will insist that they have not been coerced into group membership, and that their new way of life and beliefs are the result of a completely free-choice.

3). ‘Demand for purity’ — everything in life becomes either pure or impure, negative or positive, etc. This builds up a sense of shame and guilt. The idea is promoted that there is no alternative method of thinking or middle way, to that promoted by the group or by those outside it. Everything in life is either good or bad and anything is justified provided the group sanctions it as good.

4). ‘Confession’ — personal weaknesses are admitted to, to demonstrate how group membership can transform an individual. Group members often have to rewrite their personal histories and those of their friends and relatives, denigrating their previous lives and relationships. Other techniques include group members writing personal reports on themselves and others. Outsiders are presented as a threat who will only try to return group members to their former incorrect thinking.

5). ‘Sacred science’ — the belief in an inexplicable power system or secret knowledge, derived from a hierarchy who must be copied and who cannot be challenged. Often the group’s leaders claim to be followers of traditional historical figures (particularly, established political, scientific and religious thinkers). Leaders promote the idea that their own teaching will also benefit the entire world, and it should be spread.

6). ‘Loading the language’ — a separate vocabulary used to bond the group together and short-circuit critical thought processes. This can become second nature within the group, and talking to outsiders can become difficult and embarrassing. Derogatory names, or directly racist terms, are often given to outsiders.

7). ‘Doctrine over persons’ — individual members are taught to alter their own view of themselves before they entered the group. Former attitudes and behaviour must then be re-interpreted as worthless, and/or dangerous, using the new values of the group.

8). ‘Dispensing of existence’ — promotion of the belief that outsiders — particularly, those who disagree with the teaching of the group — are inferior and are doomed. Therefore, they can be manipulated, and/or cheated, and/or dispossessed, and/or destroyed. This is justifiable, because outsiders only represent a danger to salvation.

'Amway Diamond' Shills, Dexter and Birdie Yager
In 1994 'Amway' claimed '73 000 Independent Business Owners' in the UK, but acknowledged a staggering overall annual churn-rate of 50%. Tony Thompson discovered that almost all 'Amway' adherents were losing money, whilst the majority of financial activity within the ranks of the organization in the UK, was actually the sale of publications, recordings, tickets to meetings, etc., on the pretext that these 'optional' materials were 'vital to achieving total financial freedom.' He also discovered that, since 1973, this one branch of a global 'Scientology'-style advance fee fraud had secretly generated hundreds of millions of pounds in cash (without the payment of UK tax) and that it was being run behind various (apparently independent) UK-registered corporate fronts, including, 'International Business Systems UK,' but that the bulk of the illegal profits were being shipped to 'Amway Diamonds' in the USA, like 'Pastor' Dexter Yager. In other words, the so-called 'Amway MLM income opportunity' is the bait in an unoriginal, blame-the-victim cultic trap.  

Almost a decade after Tony Thompson's 'Time Out' article exposing 'Amway, ' American network television discovered the identical racket in the USA, but hidden behind the corporate front of  'Quixtar.'

From my own disturbing experience with members of my family, after reading Tony Thompson’s article and examining other similar evidence collected by UNADFI, I had immediately realized that my brother (at a vulnerable time in his life) had (in exchange for an illusory Utopian offer of 'future freedom, prosperity and happiness') sold his soul to a gang of sanctimonious, American-based racketeers, and that all Lifton's published ‘thought reform themes’ were present within ‘Amway.’ However, this obvious analysis was systematically rejected by Messrs. Baldwin and Howarth. Laughably, they actually tried to undermine my trust in the independent media (an information-control technique, clearly-explained in the first of Lifton's 'themes'). Yet, at this time, Baldwin admitted to having around 70 ‘Amway clients’ on file, whilst Howarth acknowledged having at least 50. When I asked: Exactly why , if 'Amway' wasn't a cult, had all these people contacted 'Catalyst' and the 'Cult Information Centre'?; and: If any Amway clients’ had been passed on to legislators, law enforcement agents or to journalists in the UK?; Messrs. Baldwin and Howarth refused to reply. Furthermore, they then began to challenge the authenticity of my own encounter with ‘Amway.’ When I refused to accept their inflexible opinion of ‘Amway’ as 'non-cultic,' both posed as innocent victims under attack and steadfastly pretended moral and intellectual authority, treating me as though I had absolutely no right to question them, because they were experts. I was finally asked for money by Ian Howarth in return for his ‘advice,’ whilst Graham Baldwin told me that he had once been an ‘officer in British Army Intelligence’ and that although he didn't 'charge for advice,' it was customary to give his charity a 'donation.'

 I later discovered that, at the time I contacted them, Messrs. Baldwin and Howarth were both under contract to ‘Amway UK Ltd. as ‘consultants.’  I had, in fact, been speaking to the de facto agents of the ‘Amway’ leadership.

I am reliably informed that not long after I had contact with them, Mr. Howarth (and possibly Mr. Baldwin) had direct contact with my mother, to whom he was presented by my brother as a 'cult expert'. Obviously, he never declared his connections with 'Amway.' In this way, an unqualified charlatan convinced my mother (who had begun to have some doubts) that 'Amway' is not cultic and that I was dangerously-deluded to say so. Indeed, she subsequently became totally-convinced that I was being paid by the British inventor/industrialist, James Dyson (who was in litigation with 'Amway' in the USA), to defame 'Amway' in the UK, and she even signed, along with my brother, a false deposition stating that I had made a full-confession. My mother died in 2004, never having recovered her critical and evaluative faculties.

Unfortunately, since the mid 1990s, Messrs. Baldwin and Howarth have promoted themselves as 'cult experts' whilst simultaneously living off funds deriving from a classic, self-perpetuating, blame-the-victim, cultic fraud which, for obvious reasons, they have both completely denied the existence of. Indeed, despite their self-righteous façade of honesty and philanthropy, their clandestine activities in Europe on behalf of their billionaire American paymasters, undoubtedly forms part of a pattern of ongoing, major racketeering activity (as defined by the US federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, 1970).  Messrs. Baldwin and Howarth have been reported in the UK media as having helped thousands of cult victims, and their relatives, in the UK. However, these frequent, glowing portraits seem to be based largely on Messrs, Baldwin and Howarth's own unsubstantiated, and unchallenged, anecdotal statements about their own alleged activities which they have gradually fed to the press (particularly, to one freelance journalist of their acquaintance). Sadly, these absurd lies have been repeated so often, that eventually they have become accepted as the truth.

Meanwhile, in the adult world of quantifiable reality, Ian Howarth's painfully low-level of understanding of the cult phenomenon, is perfectly demonstrated in this video of a BBC debate on 'Scientology,' from 1996 where he appeared alongside, Heber Jentzsch, David Mellor MP and John Wadham, claiming to be representing thousands of cult victims in Britain. For some unexplained reason Ian Howarth was apparently calling himself 'Hayworth,' at the time.

For a while, Ian Howarth succeeded in infiltrating a French government-financed, pan-European federation of cult research/advice associations, FECRIS. In 2004, at my instigation, during a FECRIS conference in Marseilles (at which I was present), Mr. Howarth was privately invited by the board of FECRIS to participate in an internal enquiry (to be conducted by Anne Edelstam and Jean Pierre Jugla) into the extent of his connections with 'Amway.' Howarth's initial response, was to admit that, yes, he was a paid consultant to 'Amway UK Ltd.' He then told the astonished board members of FECRIS that he wanted the other FECRIS associations to pass any complaints they had received about 'Amway' to him because he had already negotiated compensation for people who had lost money. Subsequently, Howarth was given a series of written, common-sense questions about his 'Amway' connections by Anne Edelstam and Jean Pierre Jugla, which (not surprisingly) he flatly refused to respond to. However, before he could be kicked out of FECRIS, Mr. Howarth resigned and accused its board of 'behaving like a cult.'

Ian Howarth has more recently published a simplistic, and unoriginal, 44 page booklet entitled, 'Cults, a Practical Guide.' Whilst the following quote is taken from the Graham Baldwin's 'Catalyst' website: 

'Clearly the word cult is highly controversial and is normally used in a negative way, which conjures up visions of people committing suicide (thankfully an extremely rare occurrence) etc. We do not like using this word because everyone has their own idea as to its definition. Sometimes these definitions are very emotive and the use of them unhelpful.'

Presumably, this thought-stopping Orwellian 'double-think' was penned by self-styled 'therapist and ex-Chaplain/intelligence officer,' Graham Baldwin, who is currently appealing to the UK public to give his charity £1.5 million to create a centre for training cult counsellors and for helping cult victims, where he and his associates, will offer pyschiatric therapy, counselling and legal advice.

David Brear (copyright 2012)

No comments:

Post a Comment