QAnon and the BITE Model (Control of Behavior, Information, Thoughts and Emotions)

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To help discern the member hierarchy of a destructive cult, I typically use the pyramid below. To apply this structure for Trump’s followers, let’s first start outside the pyramid with “fringe members,” people who are affiliated very loosely in a behavioral sense and may be indoctrinated into the authoritarian belief system. They are influenced and involved with the destructive cult, but not to the extent of someone who may work for Trump in the administration or one of his businesses. That individual may be evaluated as less extremely mind controlled than the staffer but is still involved in a destructive, mind control (BITE) experience. People mostly use smartphones and these digital devices serve as the personalized delivery system for cult indoctrination–if they believe all critical information is “fake” or evil.

QAnon is a political cult. It has a coherent black/white, good vs. evil and us vs. them ideology. Trump is the putative savior, a messianic figure able to end and bring to justice an international cabal of satanic child traffickers. Underlying the story is Q, a super patriot digital soldier who clarifies and magnifies the spiritual mission of Trump and the faithful. A so-called “Great Awakening” will lead to  the arrest of all high profile  pedophiles or traffickers (the “enemies” of children). Judgement Day, known as “The Storm” will arrive at any moment, in advance of the 2020 US Presidential election. People are influenced through their smartphones, their computers, and media they consume that all reinforces the notion of an all or nothing, good versus evil ideology. To be a follower of Qdrops is to enter into a version of a live action game, where there is no individual critical thinking. Everyone who criticizes Trump is labeled an enemy, a brainwashed agent of the left, a member of the cult of Soros etc. When you realize that so many prophecies have utterly been wrong and start to question and dare verbalize doubts to other believers, you will be chastised and punished. Family members and friends who ask critical, confrontational questions in factually based conversations are seen as a problem and they are avoided.

It is important to state that people can become involved with authoritarian cults like Putin’s Russia, or the Chinese Communist Party, or organized criminal cartels; for these people, the BITE model is even more extreme. Trump true believers have accused me of being brainwashed by the left or the mainstream media. If they take the time to evaluate my books, writing and interviews, they will understand that I do listen to pro Trump sources like Fox, conservative sources like the Wall Street Journal, as well as follow on Twitter many people I do not trust as fact based. There are also left-leaning political cults such as those presented by Mao or Lenin and Stalin. The BITE model is a vehicle for understanding the phenomenon of mind control, not for assessing left or right leaning ideology as representing good or bad and/or evil. I use the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights as the basis for my analysis.

  • Green means does not apply
  • Orange means it partially applies
  • Red means it absolutely applies

Behavior Control

  • Regulate an individual’s physical reality (only in terms of attending rallies and protests)
  • Dictate where, how and with whom the member lives and associates or isolates
  • Dictate when, how, and with whom the member has sex
  • Control types of clothing and hairstyles (only insofar as wearing tee shirts, hats, etc)
  • Regulate diet -food and drink, hunger and/or fasting
  • Manipulation and deprivation of sleep (only in so far as some believers are not getting 7-9 hours of sleep- pertains to everyone)
  • Financial exploitation, manipulation, or dependence (only about pressure to give more money)
  • Restrict leisure, entertainment, vacation time
  • Major time spent with group indoctrination and rituals and/or self-indoctrination, including the Internet
  • Permission required for major decisions
  • Thoughts, feelings, and activities (of self and others) reported to superiors
  • Rewards and punishments used to modify behaviors, both positive and negative
  • Discourage individualism, encourage group-think
  • Impose rigid rules and regulations
  • Encourage and engage in corporal punishment
  • Punish disobedience by beating, torture, burning, cutting, rape, or tattooing/branding
  • Threaten harm to family or friends (by cutting off family/friends)
  • Force individual to rape or be raped
  • Instill dependency and obedience

Information Control

  • Deception
    • Deliberately withhold information
    • Distort information to make it more acceptable
    • Systematically lie to the cult member
  • Minimize or discourage access to non-cult sources of information, including:
    • Internet, tv, radio, books, articles, newspapers, magazines, other media
    • Critical information
    • Former members
    • Keep members busy so they don’t have time to think and investigate
    • Control through a cell phone with texting, calls, and internet tracking
  • Compartmentalize information into Outsider vs Insider doctrines
    • Ensure that information is not easily accessible
    • Control information at different levels and missions within the group
    • Allow only leadership to decide who needs to know what and when
  • Encourage spying on other members
    • Impose a buddy system to monitor and control member
    • Report deviant thoughts, feelings, and actions to leadership
    • Ensure that individual behavior is monitored by the group
  • Extensive use of cult-generated information and propaganda, including:
    • Newsletters, magazines, journals, audiotapes, videotapes, YouTube, movies, and other media
    • Misquoting statements or using them out of context from non-cult sources
  • Unethical use of confession
    • Information about sins used to disrupt and/or dissolve identity boundaries
    • Withholding forgiveness or absolution
    • Manipulation of memory, possibly false memories

Thought Control

  • Require members to internalize the group’s doctrine as truth
    • Adopting the group’s ‘map of reality’ as reality
    • Instill black and white thinking
    • Decide between good vs. evil
    • Organize people into us vs. them (insiders vs. outsiders)
  • Change a person’s name and identity
  • Use of loaded language and cliches which constrict knowledge, stop critical thoughts and reduce complexities into platitudinous buzzwords
  • Encourage only ‘good and proper’ thoughts
  • Hypnotic techniques are used to alter mental states, undermine critical thinking, and even to age regress the member
  • Memories are manipulated and false memories are created
  • Teaching thought-stopping techniques which shut down reality testing by stopping negative thoughts and allowing only positive thoughts, including:
    • Denial, rationalization, justification, wishful thinking
    • Chanting
    • Meditating
    • Praying
    • Speaking in tongues
    • Singing or humming
  • Rejection of rational analysis, critical thinking, constructive criticism
  • Forbid critical questions about leader, doctrine or policy allowed
  • Labeling alternative belief systems as illegitimate, evil or not useful
  • Instill new ‘map of reality’

Emotional Control

  • Manipulate and narrow the range of feelings – some emotions and/or needs are deemed as evil, wrong, or selfish
  • Teach emotion-stopping techniques to block feelings of hopelessness, anger, or doubt
  • Make the person feel that problems are always their own fault, never the leader’s or the group’s fault
  • Promote feelings of guilt or unworthiness, such as:
    • Identity guilt
    • You are not living up to your potential
    • Your family is deficient
    • Your past is suspect
    • Your affiliations are unwise
    • Your thoughts, feelings, actions are irrelevant or selfish
    • Social guilt
    • Historical guilt
  • Instill fear, such as fear of:
    • Thinking independently
    • The outside world
    • Enemies
    • Losing one’s salvation
    • Leaving or being
  • Extremes of emotional highs and lows – love bombing and praise one moment, and then declaring you are a horrible sinner
  • Ritualistic and sometimes public confession of sins
  • Phobia indoctrination: inculcating irrational fears about leaving the group or questioning the leader’s authority
    • No happiness or fulfillment possible outside the group
    • Terrible consequences if you leave: hell, demon possession, incurable diseases, accidents, suicide, insanity, 10,000 reincarnations, etc
    • Shunning of those who leave; fear of being rejected by friends and family
    • Never a legitimate reason to leave; those who leave are weak, undisciplined, unspiritual, worldly brainwashed by family or counselor, or seduced by money, sex, or rock-and-roll
  • Threats of harm to ex-member and family (threats of cutting off friends/family)

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