Indonesia has been “deprogramming” terrorists successfully, and such efforts have yielded meaningful results, as formerly “brainwashed” fanatics provide helpful inside information about their organizations.

Some “civil libertarians” insist upon labeling this process “torture.”

However, deprogramming typically consists of discussion between the designated “deprogrammer” and the “brainwashed” member of a “cult” or as reported within Indonesia a radical Islamic group linked to terrorist attacks.

Australian Minister Downer considering 'deprogramming' as tool against terrorismIndonesia has used a former member to do its deprogramming of convicted terrorists. The man is also a Moslem cleric and has effectively turned extremists to a more moderate faith. Subsequently, those turned have reportedly provided information on terrorist operations to authorities.

The same deprogramming process has been used in Singapore, the United Kingdom, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. And the Australian government is currently considering using deprogramming tactics too reports The Age.

“In many parts of the world, in Europe, in the Middle East and certainly in Indonesia, those governments have made an attempt to persuade extremists and terrorists who’ve been held in prison to change their point of view and to understand that it’s not the Islamic way to kill, it’s not the Islamic way to murder. And in some cases that process has been successful. It’s something that we will give thought to,” said Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer.

The word “deprogramming” was demonized by groups called “cults” in the United Stated beginning in the 1970s as part of an ongoing propaganda campaign to end the practice. Groups called “cults” such as the Unification Church led by Rev. Sun Myung Moon lost many members through such interventions.

Cults despised deprogramming because it worked.

Seemingly in response to the cult propaganda campaign new terms and descriptions were coined to describe essentially the same practice such as “exit-counseling,” “thought reform consultation,” “strategic intervention therapy” and “cult intervention.

Psychologist Margaret Singer, the preeminent cult expert of the 20th Century, defined “deprogramming” as simply “providing members with information about the cult and showing them how their own decision-making power had been taken away from them.”

Noted psychiatrist and author Robert Jay Lifton defined the process often used to compromise “decision-making power” as “thought reform.” His lauded book Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism became a seminal classic and the guide used by deprogrammers to define and determine “cult brainwashing” techniques.

The first cult deprogrammer was Ted Patrick, often called “Black Lightening” by the cults he opposed.

Some of those deprogrammed during the 1970s and later subsequently became deprogrammers themselves. 

Osama bin 'brainwasher'?Now the families of terrorists, such as the followers Osama bin Laden, say their loved ones are also the victims of “brainwashing” and thus became terrorist pawns. An article recounting such stories and reviewing the parallels that can be seen between terrorist training and thought reform has been archived for some time at Cult

It is interesting to observe that Islamic countries are now largely leading the way in an effort to effectively adapt deprogramming as a response to terrorist indoctrination. 

Waleed Kadous, spokesman for the Australian Muslim Civil Rights Advocacy Network, does not oppose deprogramming if it’s voluntary.

“It’s important to highlight that already many respected scholars in the Muslim community are informally deconstructing terrorism and condemning terrorism to their congregations” reported Al Jazeera.

Understanding the process of thought reform and how to unravel its effects is an important step in the fight against global terrorism. Rather than simply blaming culture, religion or politics for the increase of terrorist attacks this response recognizes the reality that almost every nation or region around the world has been affected by “cult brainwashing” and related tragedies.

As deprogrammers have proven in the past and as they are proving within Islamic nations like Indonesia today, those programmed by radical and extremist groups can be helped and that destructive mindset unraveled


only 1 comment untill now

  1. Faith based belief systems fall mostly into 3 categories:

    1.”mainstream” mostly benevolent in my observation, you go to services once a week & socialize

    2.the “sects” sort of on the fanatical fringes

    3. the CULTS destructive, high demand,high control often apocalyptic

    How are cults destructive? they destroy:
    A). identity
    B). sanity
    C). bank account

    The above is my opinion.What does the Bible (Jesus) say?Jesus tells us how to determine the malevolence/benevolence of a group.

    Matthew 7:15-16 “be on the watch for the false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inside they are ravenous wolves”by their FRUITS you will know them”

    The fruitage of the Watchtower cult is rotten to the core,no other major religion alienates and disenfranchises so many victims as Jehovah’s Witnesses.
    Watchtower Jehovah’s Witness Whistleblower Danny Haszard Bangor Maine usa
    (( Remember-You just can’t fool all the people all the time,you can only fool all of the people some of the time,or some of the people all of the time.))