Tag Archives | Brainwash

Upstate New York’s NXIVM: Marketing Business Or Extreme Cult?

raniereIn the 21st century, combining a brainwashing sex cult with a Ponzi-scheme-esque multilevel marketing company makes perfect sense. The Times Union reports:

In a Saratoga County townhouse complex, a man who wears a Jesus beard and seeks to patent his philosophies keeps a cluster of adoring women at his side. He has drawn more than 10,000 people to his mission of ethical living. But some disciples say he has delivered a much darker reality.

Keith Raniere, a multilevel-marketing businessman turned self-improvement guru, has peddled himself as a spiritual being to followers, most of them women. A close-knit group of these women has tended to him, paid his bills and shuttled him around. Several have satisfied his sexual needs. And a few have left their families behind to wrap him in their affections.

Claiming one of the world’s highest IQs and holding three degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Raniere has evolved over the past two decades from the fresh-faced founder of Consumers’ Buyline Inc., a buying club business investigated for being a pyramid scheme, into the 51-year-old intellectual commander of NXIVM, a Colonie-based company promising followers from Canada to Mexico it can “help transform and, ultimately, be an expression of the noble civilization of humans.”

Raniere has convinced some followers he doesn’t drive because his intellectual energy sets off radar detectors.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Strange Rooms And Devices Inside Scientology’s Super Power Building

Via the Village Voice, unbelievable renderings of the chambers to be used for testing, training, and sensory enhancement of Scientology adherents:

The Voice has obtained hundreds of new renderings of Scientology’s Super Power Building in Clearwater, Florida. L. Ron Hubbard devised the “Super Power Rundown” in 1978. He envisioned it as a series of counseling routines with the use of elaborate and futuristic platforms and machines. In 1998, Hubbard’s successor broke ground on a massive new building project, “Flag Mecca,” known commonly as the Super Power Building, where the new rundown would be housed. Thirteen years and $145 million in fundraising later, the building is thought to be largely completed, but it is still not open for business.

scientologyRead the rest

Continue Reading

Horror Stories From Christian Group Homes For Troubled Youths

xtian1x400Via Mother Jones, a look into the networks of unregulated, fundamentalist Baptist troubled-teen boarding homes active across the South and Midwest. Worst summer vacation ever…ex-residents describe programs of brainwashing through violent punishment, sensory deprivation, lack of contact with the outside world, and memorization of the bible:

New Beginnings describes itself as a character-building facility for “troubled teens,” and what Jeannie Marie heard in church that day was that this might be a place for her daughter to heal. While jogging earlier that year, the 17-year-old (whom I’ll call Roxy) had been pulled into a vehicle and assaulted by a group of men. Since then, she had begun acting up at home, as well as sneaking out and drinking. Two weeks after seeing the girls in church, Jeannie Marie and her husband left Roxy in McNamara’s care with the promise that she would receive counseling twice a week and stay at New Beginnings no longer than two months.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Mythology of Business Part 1: The Veil of Ignorance

shell.jpgThis is part 1 of an excerpted series for Reality Sandwich from the anthology The Immanence of Myth published by Weaponized.

Myth’s central importance does not end with our art or religions. It is not solely a dusty world of broken clay pots and tablets written in dead languages. Our myths determine how we engage with the world, how we enter into it. How we treat ourselves and one another. Far from being archaic relics of the past, myths will determine our future. Even if we are unaware of them, they will continue to affect us.

The advertising used to disseminate films, books and music shows the profound value that mythology has within modern markets. You just need to know what you’re looking for. However, it does not end with the entertainment industry. A brand, any brand in an increasingly interactive media environment, is myth.

This role is made all the more pervasive thanks to the proliferation of instantaneous and virtually limitless communication mediums.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Burundanga: The Drug Against Free Will

BurandangaIt turns out that ‘free will’ is a brain process that can be shut off. Wired UK explores the plant-derived drug — currently all the rage in the South American criminal underworld — that does this:

Burundanga is a scary drug. According to news reports from Ecuador, the last thing a motorist could recall, after waking up minus his car and possessions, was being approached by two women; in Venezuela, a girl came round in hospital to find she had been abducted and sexually assaulted. Each had been doped with burundanga, an extract of the brugmansia plant containing high levels of the psychoactive chemical scopolamine.

News reports allude to a sinister effect: that the drug removes free will, effectively turning victims into suggestible human puppets. Although not fully understood by neuroscience, free will is seen as a highly complex neurological ability and one of the most cherished of human characteristics. Clearly, if a drug can eliminate this, it highlights a stark vulnerability at the core of our species.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

KidZania: The Consumerism-Brainwashing Amusement Park Coming To The U.S.A.

The Morning News visits KidZania, a surreal amusement-park-of-the-future with locations in Dubai, Portugal, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, and soon, the United States. Its a Sims-like miniature world in which children play-act at being adult worker-drones and consumers:

The children are learning factory work, it’s in a job bottling Coca-Cola, and when they’re working at a restaurant, that “restaurant” has golden arches. The dentist office is sponsored by Crest.

At the heart of the concept and the business of KidZania is corporate consumerism, re-staged for children whose parents pay for them to act the role of the mature consumer and employee. The rights to brand and help create activities at each franchise are sold off to real corporations.

Smith-Kidzania3

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Pakistani Teenager Tells Of Failed Suicide Bomb Mission

154px-Arms_of_the_Islamic_Emirate_of_Afghanistan.svg

Coat of Arms of the Taliban regime (1996-2001). Photo: Falerístico (CC)

With the increasing number of suicide bombing, it is often asked, what were they thinking? Why did they do this? After 14-year-old Umar Fidai’s explosive vest failed to detonate, he discusses how the Taliban trained him and his regret towards his actions. BBC News reports:

In early April a suicide blast ripped though a Pakistani shrine packed with thousands of devotees, leaving scores dead. Both attackers were schoolboys in their early teens. But one survived and told the BBC’s Aleem Maqbool what made him want to take his life and the lives of others.

“All I was thinking was that I had to detonate myself near as many people as possible. When I decided it was the right time, it was a moment of happiness for me,” said 14-year-old Umar Fidai.

“I thought that there would be a little bit of pain, but then I would be in heaven.”

Umar did not make it to paradise.

Read the rest

Continue Reading