The "extreme" of the "most lunatic fringe"  

As in all of Introvigne's papers, there is a rather boring introductory smokescreen, where we are told that the Barlovian cyberspace should be carefully distinguished from the Gibsonian one, and so on. As soon however as the listening sociologists have been lulled to sleep, the real Introvigne comes out, expressing what he thinks about the people he claims to be studying. Besides calling them "terrorists", he uses the word "extreme" no less than 32 times to define them. He even trips up on himself speaking of the "extreme discourse of the most lunatic Internet anti-cult fringe." Apparently there is also a moderate lunatic fringe somewhere. 

After the boring part (which is actually quite short), Introvigne starts to place people like me in context. First with a title about the Malicious use of the Internet and Internet Terrorism, although he politely adds that what he calls information terrorism does not normally involve the loss of human life. However, he discusses the possibility of making crowded aeroplanes crash through "computer terrorism" and goes on to quote the example of three doctors who were killed after their names appeared on an anti-abortion website. 

Those anti-cultists again ...?

He then describes the "anti-cult movement." Anybody knows that in Europe this consists almost entirely of rather obsessive parents and abandoned spouses with no ideological axe at all to grind. But not in Introvigne's fantasy world. Behind the "anti-cult movement", we are told, is an unlikely coalition of "extreme" (that word again) religion haters, left-wing anticapitalists, right wing antiglobalists and "some Islamic fundamentalist movements." The only missing element are the Venetians, the favourite conspirators of Lyndon LaRouche. Introvigne quotes as an example Orion, the private magazine of a young lady in Milan who publishes both right and left wing attacks on globalisation, and whom Introvigne depicts as a "fascist." One wonders how many "anti-cultist" parents in Europe read Orion or even know it exists. However, Introvigne apparently counts on his listeners too being unaware of this magazine, otherwise they would know that Orion regularly published lengthy articles in praise of Introvigne's organisation CESNUR (once they even published two articles in a single issue), and was also once linked to Christian Bouchet, a very close associate of Introvigne indeed. I am not trying to hint that Orion is the secret power behind CESNURů I leave that sort of thinking to Introvigne. 

References to right-wing extremism are always a boomerang for Dr Introvigne. For example, he devotes a long footnote to "Forza Nuova", a organisation which organised a convention against cults in Milan. In order to make Forza Nuova particularly unlovable to his hearers, Introvigne adds some complicated asides about the legal troubles of a former mayor of an Italian town, and about a "rabid anti-semite" Moroccan who appears to have something to do with somebody who has something to do with Forza Nuova. All of this to say his punch line: "Several anti-cultists whose articles are reproduced, or quoted, on the Kelebek Web site" were supposedly present at the meeting. "Several", in Introvigne's arithmetic, actually amounts to one: an anthropologist whose work was fiercely attacked by Introvigne sent out a press release in reply, which we - among others - published on our site. So what Introvigne is trying to say is that a wicked Arab is a friend of somebody who spoke at a convention where another speaker was a scholar whose press release we once quoted. 

Introvigne however forgets to mention a few simple facts. 

  • Forza Nuova is an extremist organisation whose ideology (not language or methods) is very close to that of Alleanza Cattolica, of which Introvigne is a leader. Forza Nuova agrees wholeheartedly with Introvigne in condemning "cults" on the basis of Catholic theology and not on practical considerations about "brainwashing." On the other hand, Forza Nuova believes that "cults" are more dangerous than "secular humanism", whereas Alleanza Cattolica holds the opposite belief. 
  • The only books on sale on cults at the Forza Nuova meeting were the following: Il ritorno della magia, edited by Massimo Introvigne; Jean-François Mayer, Le sette, with an introduction by Massimo Introvigne (on page 7, this book also refers to "those CESNUR leaders who were trained inside Alleanza Cattolica"); La sfida della reincarnazione, edited by Massimo Introvigne. All three books were published by Fabio De Fina, who was also the technical organiser of the convention. 
  • The meeting was presided over by Agostino Sanfratello, the founder of Introvigne's Alleanza Cattolica. Sanfratello was also, ironically, Italy's first (and virtually only) "deprogrammer". 

Introvigne would have done much better not to mention the meeting at all. Just to complicate things even more - Forza Nuova is strongly anti-Islamic and has no love for us immigrants, whether we be Mexicans or Turks.