Millennium cults pose bigger threat than terrorists

The Times (London)/August 20, 1996
By Kathryn Knight

A Disaster such as the Waco siege is inevitable in Britain if the Government does not act to control the growing number of violent and irrational cults, a report says.

Some of the 500 cults operating in Britain are so unpredictable that they are potentially more dangerous terrorist groups according to The Prophets of Doom: The Security of Religious Cults, published by the Institute for European Defense and Strategic Studies, an independent think-tank. Many use mind control techniques to indoctrinate their followers, who number up to half a million.

Martin Hubback, author of the report. said that, as the millenium approached, cult activity was likely to become more intense. He called for the immediate intervention of the security services to prevent cult violence leading to mass deaths. "Only a small minority of unorthodox religious groups represent any danger to society, but those that do are capable of wreaking havoc out of all proportion to their size or importance. 

Thousands of unorthodox cults exist around the world, varying from single congregation churches to big international organizations. In Britain they often fall info two categories: religious groups, which are popular among people in their 20s, and therapy-based sects, offering help for physical or mental problems, which appeal to the middle-aged. All tend to insulate themselves from society.

"It is the combination of individuals belonging to a group without rational ends, who are not in a bargaining relationship with the authorities, who are reckless as to their own survival and who possess the ability and inclination to use hitherto taboo methods of destruction, which makes cults such a serious threat to society," Mr. Hubback said. "If anything we are moving away from a world where conflict is between relatively rational players and towards one threatened by irrational cults who want to make the Apocalypse a self-fulfilling prophecy." 

The report follows a number of mass cult-related deaths. At least 70 members of the Branch Davidian cult, led by David Koresh, died in their compound in Waco in 1993 after a gun battle with police and a huge fire. A third of the people who died were British. In 1994, 48 members of a Canadian-based cult died in fires in Switzerland. 

More disturbingly, recentattacks have involved the public. In March of last year, nerve gas was released on the Tokyo underground. Killing 12 and injuring hundreds. [At least one of the] activists [possibly had] connections to a cult [within the so-called] Christian Identity [movement who was] responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing, which killed 168 in April last year.

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