Cults have several vulnerabilities.
1. Their perceived illegitimacy.
2. People who are resistant to recruitment.
3. Their recruits can leave.
4. Outsiders can identify them and expose their methods.
5. They need to stay within the law as far as possible.
The limitations that apply to cults are broadly the same as the limitations con- artists operate under.
Criminal/political/mafia style gangs need not concern themselves with legitimacy as they make no secret of their criminal methods. They concentrate on recruiting those already sympathetic to their cause. Use intimidation/bribery/corruption on resources they need to recruit. And practice omertà with draconian penalties for whistleblowing. The threats are more likely to be threats to the victims family than actual brutality, as the former is more effective – and leaves no evidence.
Corruption in any of the law-enforcement services is inordinately difficult to deal with. Doing deals with serious criminals will have serious consequences if secrets are not kept. Don’t expect to survive betrayal or a clean death. The legal services have always practised their own in-house brand of omertà.
And these top rank criminals both inside the legal services and outside are major power and money grabbers who will do absolutely anything inside or outside the law to protect their positions and continuing activities.
All this we know, is common knowledge.
Now I suggest something speculative. What if corrupt elements in the legal services – and here I include the spy agencies – working hand-in-glove with major world-wide organised criminals, having at their disposal all legal knowledge and specialist crime knowledge on every type of serious crime, including how some very effective money-making cults operate, exploiting mind control techniques, decided as a side line to go after anybody in society with substantial resources. By substantial that could mean even the resources an ordinary working person could amass over a lifetimes work – the value of their house and savings. Obviously the resources of a middle class person would be even more substantial.
Cult methods would be used. The recruit would be subject to mind control after recruitment. Suddenly the limitations on cult recruitment, retaining recruits, maintaining secrecy, and staying within laws disappear.
The recruiter presents/perhaps is, a member of the security services. He has immediate legitimacy. He is allowed to lie to persuade his potential recruits to join. His recruits are silenced with confidentiality agreements/gagging orders/OSA -with heavy prison sentences for breaking. The recruits cannot leave. He can pursue his agenda using the full gamut of legal resources and every criminal method.
The perfect cult.