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Ritual and often public confession of "sins"

<< Go to Steven Hassan's B.I.T.E. Mind Control Model

Michael Winstead (2003) describes "ego-stripping sessions" where the targeted person was prevented from leaving the room. May shed light on the case of Jeremiah Duggan, who attended high pressure LaRouchian indoctrination sessions in Germany prior to his death.
Comments and text from published at

Brainwashing and Lyndon LaRouche

by Michael Winstead
Monday, March 03, 2003

"Don't let her leave!" The group leader had thoroughly worked her over, hammering her with guilt about her previous actions, accusing her of being delusional, telling her to confess, until she was no longer recognizable as a woman, but only as a blubbering mess of tearful convulsions. The tearful woman got up to flee the room.

"Don't let her leave! Keep her in here!" Someone got up and physically blocked her from leaving the room.

"SIT DOWN. Now M-----," the leader said in a calm voice, "You know you've got to stop doing this..." She went on calmly for some time, and then everyone else left the room. I sat across the room and watched her sob hysterically with her face in her hands, and not for the first time wondered what the LaRouche organization was all about.

Throughout the summer I witnessed similar scenes over and over again in different forms; in personal meetings with the leadership, in small group meetings, Sunday "Field Meetings," at "retreats," and one-on-one conversations. There was a clear pattern being used in each case; the sowing of guilt (real or imagined), fear, confusion, and the use of "sore spots" (personal shames or shortcomings) to browbeat someone into an extremely worked up emotional state. Once the person has been whipped up she is then questioned until she contradicts herself on some minute point. This contradiction is then used as a stick to beat her with until there is a complete emotional breakdown, then they admit their faults (confess), after which the leadership then redefines the "mission" for them. I recognized it as manipulation. I recently took interest in a book by William Sargant, "The Battle for the Mind," and he had another name for it: Brainwashing.

From ex-recruit "Nicholas" at

Cheminade (leader of LaRouche organization in France, note) despises everybody except Lyndon LaRouche. It happens often that he will humiliate the members in public, even his wife. He often makes fun of the foreign members, above all the Americans. Sometimes he may make disobliging remarks against Helga Zepp LaRouche, his higher authority. This may appear normal, even quite sane in certain conditions, but this attitude is forbidden for the members who must show allegiance towards their seniors in rank and even more so towards the LaRouche couple, their true saviours.


One Friday afternoon we attended a meeting set up like a law suit where everything had to be thought out before hand. Cheminade started thus – “ I asked you to meet here, because something serious is happening in Paris. You think you know what it is but this is false. I want you to listen to me to the end without interrupting me, as a classical music composition.”

But later on he goes on “I want to make changes and I will use shock tactics if necessary. A change must come in the behaviour in some members. It is a question of life or death.” This gives you a good idea of his one hour monologue.

Afterwards, the members marched one by one to spit out their venom on the one singled out member in question. This person did not have any possibility to defend herself. Even the members who shared our opinions about Cheminade did not react. They had already undergone that kind of treatment and had given up.

From that day, we didn’t go back to the office except a month later to meet Helga Zepp LaRouche. She received us with her feet on the desk and said to us – “We are perhaps only two days away from a nuclear world war I do not believe what you are saying Cheminade has all my trust.”

We asked her to question other people and we answered that the people we alluded to were frustrated, jealous, depressive, and even some of them mad. As for our intention to go to the States, there was no question of it. Lyndon LaRouche’s wife did not want to add “another burden” to her husband’s Presidential campaign. What she asked us was to go straight away to Germany to stop that supposed world war.

You must know that it is not the first time that this kind of situation happens, and every time the couple renews its trust in Cheminade, the members accept by nodding their heads, having an infallible trust in Lyn and Helga.

From ex-recruit "Giselle" at

Let me explain: Specific methods are used on you to get you recruited.

These methods induce you to share a part of your life, of your experience, a recollection of some event, a certain trait of your personality. By doing this I came to trust some of the members of the group and in the end I was cornered by the leader Cheminade and asked very private and personal questions about my family and my past experiences. They were deeply personal questions. In another case I know about a member was asked about whether he was having sexual relations with his wife. If the member can answer then you prove your loyalty and this is the way you have passed the test.

So there is a concentration on making you reveal or expose your inner most secrets. It may sometimes have to do with “psycho-sexual problems.” They will attempt to portray it as something extremely negative, a horrible sight in your eyes, and you will start feeling guilty about it. This makes you feel that yes you do need to change. Sometimes your “problem” is exposed publicly to the whole group in a meeting in order to further humiliate and inhibit you even more.

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