Dr. Massoud Banisadr speech at London Press Conference

Dr. Massoud Banisadr speech at London Press Conference; “Terrorism, Cult and mind manipulation”

Iran Interlink: Following is the trascript of the speech of Dr. Massoud Banisadr at the London Press Conference, August 2014

Terrorism, Cult and mind manipulation

After September 2001, there is not a single day without some sort of news about Terrorism, its atrocities and our vulnerabilities. These days we are witnessing thousands of people killed, maimed, kidnapped and imprisoned by various offshoots of terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda, ISIS, or the Islamic State, in Iraq and Syria, Al Nusrah in Syria, Al-Shabaab in Somalia, Boko Haram in Nigeria and others in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Libya, Tunisia, Yemen and elsewhere.

Even aside, the terrible traumas inflicted on hundreds of thousands or millions of individuals and their families by the destructive/terrorist cult leaders and the financial damage that they inflict on the society; there are also the further victims; i.e. members and followers of these groups.

In this very short speech, I want to explain what the relation between Terrorism and Cult is and explain how these violent groups recruit in our societies and how they can change normal, ordinary and even intellectual young people into a human bomb.


Terrorism in my view is some kind of a social virus similar to any other we know. We are all vulnerable to be infected by this virus mainly because of injustice, discrimination and double standards. Therefore, Terrorism has been with us since the beginning of civilization and unfortunately will remain with us as long as there is any kind of injustice in any society that makes people vulnerable toward it.

Like any other disease; for terrorism, we either can understand its characteristics and our vulnerabilities and immunise ourselves and our society against it, or fight its symptoms, prescribing a very strong painkiller that can harm healthy part of organism as well.

Unfortunately, as usual, governments have a habit of going for the latter one and only when they are forced by public opinion they will go for the former one. This is why most of government’s policies toward terrorism are aiming to face terrorists, rather than cause of terrorism.

Well I am not going to talk about terrorism in general but terrorist organisations in particular and their metamorphosis into destructive cults. Their victims and what can we do to stop them recruiting.

Terrorist Organisations

I will call an organization a terrorist organization if its only tactic, or at least its main tactic, dealing with outside world or for reaching its goal is an act of terrorism. According to this definition, I will not call any popular political organizations, even if they use terrorism to deal with their enemies, a terrorist organization because they are dealing with other problems of society as well; terrorism is not their sole tactic or the pillar of their actions in dealing with their daily problems and objectives. I argue any terrorist organization to survive; either is a destructive cult or has no choice but to change into one.

Change into a destructive cult

Let say virus of Terrorism like any other has only two principles, values and objectives: first to survive and then reproduce or expand its territory. Not being abided by any set of values, culture, custom or beliefs of the society is the main reason why terrorist organisations have to change into a destructive cult. After all their members are from the same society with the same set of values; therefore terrorist organisations either are able to change belief system, personality and individuality of their followers or will lose them for good and like other viruses without, let say hosts either they will fade away or will hibernate somewhere else. This is why soon or late they have to use some sort of mind manipulation technique to change their member’s set of beliefs and later their personality and their selfhood. This is their path toward changing into a destructive cult.

Here I assume everybody is familiar with definition of a cult and a destructive one, therefore I am not going to talk about that.

Vaccination is the solution:

As other viruses that attack live cells of our body and make us ill or even kill us, Destructive cults also attack our system of believe, our personality and individuality and they too will kill us, if not killing our body, certainly they will kill our personality and our individuality.

If we accept this analogy, then we might ask how we face a new deadly virus? Let say HIV or Ebola that we are facing these days. Do we bomb them or their victims? No. We certainly to stop spread of diseases will isolate victims but not killing them, we try to cure them.

We know that no virus or parasite (another analogy or metaphor for leaders of destructive and terrorist cults) can survive without a host. Therefore, instead of killing the Virus, we immunize potential hosts by vaccinating them against the virus, and without any available or substantial number of hosts, viruses soon or late will die away.

How can we vaccinate our people, and especially our young Muslims living in the west?

Three open gates or vulnerabilities of mind of young Muslims:

To prevent young people, especially young Muslims in Western countries, from being recruited, we should understand how terrorist cults use three vulnerabilities of their victims.

1- Injustice: We know that injustices are perpetrated all over the world against individuals and minorities, sometimes even against whole populations. Young people especially are particularly sensitive to these injustices and seek ways to put them right. This is their first ‘vulnerability’, or the first ‘open gate’ to their minds that terrorist cults can enter to infiltrate their thinking and ostensibly offer a solution to the problem. Governments, the media and politicians generally fail to understand and accept the nature and extent of injustice or to give young people ways to vent their anger and frustration about the sorry state of the world. Instead, they tend to turn a deliberate blind eye to wrongs and injustices and try to project a rosy picture of things. Hence, they aggravate and themselves become promoters of the problems, and it is left to the police to deal with protests and public unrest. Among young people, this creates resentment and hatred, not only towards the police and authorities but sometimes towards all of society. Rage leaves the ‘open gate’ of the minds of victims and sympathizers even wider for infiltration by terrorist recruiters.

2- Ideology or doctrine: Nowadays, positive nationalism, public ethics and morality, family traditions, cultural ties and tolerant religions are all diminishing in importance in the everyday lives of young people, especially in the West, and being displaced by pure individualism, celebrity worship and the assumption that, to be of value, you have to be talented, beautiful or rich. Young Muslims in the West are increasingly turning to religion as a cure for all their ills and dissatisfactions. This can be very positive and helpful, but, in the absence of intelligent and progressive preachers in the mosques who understand their frustrations and show them the tolerant and moderate face of religion, this merely opens the second ‘gate’ into the minds of the young devotees for terrorist recruiters and preachers (the main export of Saudi Arabia to other countries after oil). Using a few misrepresented and misinterpreted sentences of the Koran or the Bible, it is easy to radicalize them.

3- Mind manipulation: Unfortunately, schools and universities fail to educate young people about the dangers that destructive/terrorist cults pose to innocent minds unprepared to fend off their influence and their blandishments. Ex cult members, experts in this field can show the methods of mind manipulation that cults, terrorist cults in particular, use to alter young people’s personalities and make them capable of turning into slaves, and even suicide bombers. Lack of education and awareness about what freedom and slavery are in the modern world and how mind can be manipulated by a cult leader is the third vulnerability of these young people. Here we might be able to help; With such education, it might be possible to close this third ‘gate’ into young people’s minds.

How do I define Mind Manipulation?

According to my Mathematical model that I am not going to bore you with mathematical part, I have divided the mind manipulation in three stages:

The first stage is the use of rational and Influence techniques to engender a change of beliefs among new recruits. The next phase is to instil and stabilize the new beliefs and prevent the new recruit from returning to his previous belief system under the pressure of his pre-existing personality and his feelings towards his old way of life, family and friends. This is done mainly via isolation and forcing a change of behaviour, which I call it mind control (control of old feelings and control of behaviour). Finally, a destructive cult leader has to change a disciple’s personality into a collective cult personality; this is done mainly by the use of emotion, which I have called it brainwashing. If you are interested to know more, you can either refer to my articles on RIDC.info web site or see my new book that hopefully will come out next month: [Destructive/ Terrorist Cults are a new kind of Slavery]

What can we do?

How should we stop suicide bombers or punish them? By arresting them before they act? Or after their act, when they are in their own paradise? The first option goes against our values and principles, and risks fatal errors and the victimization of innocent people; the second is a joke and impossibility. However, we can and must stop people from becoming human bomb or a killing machine. Therefore, in my conclusion I suggest that we need, urgently and seriously, to conduct more research in order to understand the phenomena of destructive cults and mind manipulation. We need to inform and educate society and especially young people about these phenomena and the dangers they pose. We must criminalize the brainwashing and enslavement of people, just as we banned the old slavery. We need to help people who are on the road to killing their personality and individuality, just as we try to prevent would-be suicides. We have to help the families and friends of those who are enslaved in cults to rescue their loved ones, and encourage and give moral and financial support to those who want to escape cults. In this way, we will save many thousands of individuals from the new slavery and protect our modern way of life from the terrorism perpetrated by organizations that can only survive by changing into destructive cults.

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