By Allen ‘Alanzo’ Stanfield
Coercive control is not unique to cults. Coercive control exists in the mafia, the military, in corporations, and in the flipping of witnesses in the Keith Raniere trial. In most of these situations, the judge would have let the Lauren Salzman cross examination continue.
In any case… brainwashing is a superstition… If ‘brainwashing’ starts to be taken off the table in thinking about minority religions and sub-cultures, maybe we can see criminals and criminal behavior for what it is – consciously chosen, intentional behavior.
And maybe anticult ninnies … will stop shilling for criminals just because they’ve been ‘deprogrammed’ now and are ‘no longer brainwashed’….
As for coercive control, yes there are degrees. But don’t be blind to your own culture’s use of coercive control.
For instance, the government threatened witnesses with life in prison in the Raniere trial and had the power to carry that threat out. And indeed, did carry it out and used that threat to coerce others.
The point is that coercive control is not unique to cults. It is used throughout the human species. Most people just believe that certain minority religions and sub-cultures are illegitimate. Many Catholics, for instance, believe it’s perfectly fine for their church to exert control over their members because they believe their church is legitimate. But other religions or sub-cultures they don’t like?
What was also necessary for the Raniere conviction was for the judge to be played in the lenient sentencing of Allison Mack was his belief in “brainwashing”.
He and the prosecution used deprogrammers throughout Raniere’s trial.
The judge believed that Lauren Salzman had been “brainwashed” and so he cut off her cross examination because she was “broken” and not responsible for her actions. And the judge believed that Allison Mack was undergoing deprogramming, making progress in her “recovery” and coming out from her brainwashing.
So he went easy on her.
Brainwashing is completely false. It has been debunked by dozens of scientific studies since the 1940’s.
But it has become an incredibly useful excuse for sociopaths to explain away the crimes they’ve committed, and with the pity it generates, criminals can even use brainwashing to cover up their criminal acts.
Brainwashing does not exist.
But the widespread belief in brainwashing works like a bomb.
My point was never that Lauren Salzman did not take responsibility for her actions. My point was that the judge, and the prosecutors, believed in brainwashing. This was one ploy they used, among many, to flip witnesses, prejudice the jury, and get convictions on charges with almost non-existent evidence.
Not all the charges were without merit, and did have plenty of evidence to support them, and I believe those convictions were sound.
MR AGNIFILO: Judge this repeated sort of system questions for each witness that looking back at it, ‘What did you think by a certain set of facts,’ and the witnesses, just like in this case, ‘I thought I was being groomed to join a harem.’ That’s not the witness testifying to eyewitness observations. This is a lay witness that’s here to talk about what she saw what she heard what she did. She is not an expert. She is certainly not an expert on another person’s intention in the context of her own life. It’s highly prejudicial. It’s been going on throughout the government’s case in chief, and I object to it, and I renew my motion to strike the court
THE COURT: Thank you. [AUSA prosecutor] Mr Lesko. Do you want to comment on that?
MR LESKO: Your Honor, I mean, I think it is highly relevant, and not only with respect to this witness, but for other witnesses and victims, that the jury understand their understanding of what happened to them, and particularly after they were, in essence, deprogrammed.
Did you get that? “So that the jury understand their understanding of what happened to them.”
This means that before these witnesses were deprogrammed, their testimony of their understanding of what happened to them would not have been ‘understandable’ to a jury. This is a use of deprogramming by the government so that their witnesses change their testimony to what the government wants them to say – under the ruse that the jury may then “understand” it.
This belief in deprogramming expressed to the judge – and accepted by him – proves the judge believes in deprogramming, and thus brainwashing, and it was a huge part of Raniere’s trial.
This prompted me to re-watch “The Crucible” and to restudy the Salem Witch Trials, to see how those prosecutors and judges believed in witchcraft, and how that belief corrupted their proceedings.
You should study the Salem Witch Trials, “All the best to you”.
By the way, if you want to give me arrogant and insulting life advice, see if you can muster the courage to do it under your real name.