- Brad Pitt cleared of wrongdoing after child abuse investigation
- Cult or Commune? How Utopian Communities Turn Dangerous
- Marina Abramovic mention in Podesta emails sparks accusations of satanism
Brad Pitt cleared of wrongdoing after child abuse investigation
By Sandra Gonzalez, Chloe Melas and Lisa France
Thu November 10, 2016 CNN
Actor Brad Pitt has been cleared of wrongdoing by officials after a child abuse investigation.
A source familiar with the situation told CNN on Wednesday that Pitt has been cleared by the Los Angeles County Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) in its investigation of an alleged incident of abuse involving Pitt and one of his children.
The accusation stemmed from an incident on a private plane in September -- occurring one day before Angelina Jolie filed for divorce from Pitt after two years of marriage.
At the time, a source with knowledge of the situation told CNN that Pitt was "taking this very seriously" and had cooperated with authorities...
Cult or Commune? How Utopian Communities Turn Dangerous
From religious factions of the 1840s to the Buddahfield community profiled in this year's 'Holy Hell,' a look at how a community can cross a line
By Elizabeth Yuko November 10, 2016
In 1985, 22-year-old aspiring filmmaker Will Allen joined a community called Buddhafield at the suggestion of his sister, after his family didn't accept him when he came out as gay. For 22 years, Allen documented life inside the cult as their videographer. The resulting 35 hours of footage comprises the basis of the documentary Holy Hell, which provides audiences with an intimate look at life inside this non-traditional community.
In the beginning, at least, it appeared that Buddhafield was attempting to revive the 19th-century concept of a Utopian community: a group of people living together working towards enlightenment. The leader, Michel Rostand, kept his followers focused on healthy living (no alcohol, drugs, caffeine or red meat, along with mandatory exercise), abstaining from sex and meditating frequently.
The group appeared to be a positive force on its members – yet the documentary tells a story of sexual, psychological and emotional abuse that allegedly took place behind-the-scenes at Buddhafield. On the surface, it looked like Allen found his place in a group of happy, healthy, like-minded individuals – but underneath, the community had problematic secrets....
What's the difference between a group of people that live and work together to achieve well-being, and a full-fledged cult?....
Yet communes, for many, evoke the potential for groups to become more controlling and sinister in nature. Many of the most notorious cults in America started in the mid-20th century yet remain vividly in the public consciousness because of their bizarre and sometimes violent practices. These groups originated as offshoots of established religions or were influenced by social and civil movements. For example the Branch Davidians and the Children of God – formed in 1955 and 1968, respectively – both have their roots in Christianity, but because of deceptive and charismatic leaders, they devolved into cults. In 1993, more than 80 people died during the Branch Davidians' standoff with the FBI in Waco, Texas, and the Children of God – also known as the Family – not only believed having sex with children was permissible, they claimed it was a divine right. Other cults like the Manson Family and the Peoples Temple – infamous for the Jonestown massacre of 1978 which left 909 people dead – attracted members based on social and cultural beliefs. In the case of the Manson Family, it was the fringe idea of inciting a race war, while the People's Temple drew more mainstream followers as a progressive organization advocating for civil rights....
....there are four important elements of mind control to consider when attempting to determine whether a group can be considered a cult. Known as the BITE Model, it takes into account the group's control of an individual's behavior, intellect, thoughts and emotions (hence BITE) and can be applied to anything from religions to terrorism organizations to cults.
The BITE model includes something Hassan calls the Influence Continuum, providing examples of healthy and constructive – and unhealthy and destructive – actions for individuals, leaders, organizations and relationships. The continuum indicates that a person free from influence has an authentic self, capable of critical thinking, free will and creativity. On the other end of the spectrum is an individual with a false identity whose actions are motivated by fear, guilt and obedience....
Marina Abramovic mention in Podesta emails sparks accusations of satanism
An email from the artist forwarded by Clinton's campaign chief has been seized on by the right as proof that the Democratic candidate has links with the occult
Performance artist Marina Abramovic has become an unlikely source of fear for rightwing groups after her name was mentioned in the Podesta emails.
‘I face so much jealousy': Marina Abramovic talks friends, enemies and fear
In a leaked email between Clinton's campaign chairman, John Podesta, and his brother Tony Podesta, an invitation from Abramovic is forwarded. It reads: "I am so looking forward to the Spirit Cooking dinner at my place. Do you think you will be able to let me know if your brother is joining?"
The act of spirit cooking involves Abramovic using pig's blood as a way of connecting with the spiritual world, to cook up thoughts rather than food. A video of the practice shows her writing various statements with the blood, such as "with a sharp knife cut deeply into your middle finger eat the pain".
Abramovic is known, and lauded, for work that focuses on pain, blood and the relationship between the performer and the audience. Her work has won many awards, including the Golden Lion at Venice....
Abramovic spoke about the reaction today to Artnews. "I'm outraged, because this is taken completely out of my context," she said. "It was just a normal dinner. It was actually just a normal menu, which I call spirit cooking. There was no blood, no anything else. We just call things funny names, that's all."
She also claimed that those referring to her body of work as satanic are mistaken. "My work is really more about spirituality and not anything else," she said. "I've been doing my work for so long, and this is a misunderstanding. It's absolutely outrageous and ridiculous … I mean, this world is really turning to hell. I am completely amazed, something is taken out of context for the purpose of winning. We are living in such a strange world."
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Neil Brick Celebrates Twenty Five Years of Research, Education and Advocacy in the Child Abuse Prevention Field
Neil Brick has developed Internet resources to publish scientific information about child and ritual abuse. He publishes a bimonthly newsletter and organizes informational conferences. The goal of these resources is to help stop child and ritual abuse through public education.