Are LGATs like Con Artists?

This post will examine the similarities between helpful information posted at the advocacy website FraudAid: First Aid for Fraud Victims, and a description of common Large Group Awareness Training tactics, as outlined in Dr. Philip Cushman’s 1993 book, The Politics of Transformation, also another excerpt from the work here at Mass Marathon Trainings.

Aggressive recruiting tactics
“As a result, participants and leaders may unconsciously distort their feelings and responses when reporting to researchers about the group or recruiting for future groups. This might result in a deceptive “oversell” that could undermine informed consent and lead to unrealistic regressive expectations in new recruits, the specific type of problems that have been found to lead to psychological casualties. Since these liabilities are so similar to the techniques used in some mass marathon training’s, they may also cause psychological damage in that setting as well.” – Dr. Cushman

“On the other hand, sometimes a con will merely play the game on someone who may not have a lot of money himself but who has relationships with others who do. In that case, you will not be aware that you have been duped. Or you may be made aware at a later date and threatened with repercussions if you do not continue to bring in money. ” – FraudAid

Obsessive compulsive manipulation
“Participants are instructed and guided to move directly to the seat nearest to the front I the room. They are not allowed to save seats, move the chairs around, or take a seat at the back or on the side. After everyone is seated the unused seats are quietly “whisked away-” One subject noticed this and thought this was done in order to hide the number of no-shows. Participants are instructed to be seated before the music stops, or they will be considered late and will not be allowed to continue the training. Then there is silence until the trainer strides quickly and purposefully onto the center of the stage and takes the microphone. The staff applauds loudly.” – Dr. Cushman

“In most instances, the middleman stars in the first two scenes. Once you have been carefully manipulated into a state of confidence and excitement, the middleman introduces you to the insideman. In today’s world of financial scams, the insideman – the person running the show – is often the one who directly approaches you. If that’s the case, then there is always the concept of someone higher up. This higher-up person is frequently a myth, created in order to apply pressure on you once money has changed hands. He is created to provide the con artist with an alibi, allowing the him the appearance of being at the mercy of a higher authority and therefore in the same fix as you, and therefore making him appear to be your friend. Regardless of whether you are approached by a middleman or the insideman himself, the con artist will always present himself to you as one who has to respond to a higher authority, in whatever form will pose the greatest threat.” – FraudAid

Intimidation and legal threats
“This is where terror tactics are used. This is the step where the swindler will use every sort of threat imaginable to induce your deepest fears in order to prevent you from contacting the authorities for as long as possible, or maybe never. The swindler will threaten you with anything from total loss of all funds, convincing you that you have involved yourself in some sort of questionable activity, or threaten you with maiming or death. The swindler will use stall tactics by telling you that funds are tied up in a bank audit, or that transfers are frozen during bank mergers, or that the SEC is investigating the investment fund and no money can be disbursed until the investigation is finished… The results are always the same – it gives the swindler time to wrap up his scam and make a clean get-away, and/or it gives him time to clean out other victims he has on the hook before making his getaway.” – FraudAid

Certain Large Group Awareness Training organizations have historically developed policies which involve the use of copious legal threats and indimidation as a form of inducing a chilling effect amongst their would-be critics. In fact, certain LGAT organizations have actually initiated litigation in their history against virtually every single media/press organization and individual who has publicly criticized these groups. This is not the standard of practice amongst reputable for-profit companies. Most companies will simply spend money on advertising campaigns – illustrating the postive nature of their organizations as a way to counter negative criticism in the press. However, most LGAT’s do not operate in this manner, and instead of attempting to advertise and reinforce positive ideas, they will often go after critics in an attempt to silence negative ideas and destroy their enemies financial resources and their reputations.

Attorneys Peter L. Skolnik & Michael A. Norwick elaborate on this type of legal methodology:

“This type of lawsuit — typically accusing the defendant of defamation and related torts — is known in various American jurisdictions as a SLAPP suit: i.e., a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation; a lawsuit brought not for its merits, but for the specific purpose of silencing a vocal critic, often one who is unlikely to have the financial resources to defend himself. “

The organization in question which Skolnik and Norwick refer to here will not be mentioned in this particular post, for fear of similar reprisal in the form of frivolous intimidatory legal actions, as further mentioned in their article. Now isn’t that funny and ironic?

Actually, this particular segment of the typical Large Group Awareness Training’s tactics – the heavy usage of frivolous legal threats, lawsuits and intimidation as a way to permanently silence critics – could be a book unto itself, and will be elaborated upon in further posts.

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One Response

  1. […] 7, 2010 My second encounter with these LGAT groups was more recent and a little more, perhaps, insidious. It is what really prompted me to begin […]

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