Introvigne then moves on to the next element of the alleged anti-cult conspiracy: the anti-globalist right. The Italian monthly Orion is presented as "an exemplary case", and we are told that
"it has been quite active in the anti-cult fight, seeing cults as one of the most dangerous agents of US-led globalization projects."Reviewers of Introvigne's article may be forgiven for letting this false statement pass. First of all, because Orion is a tiny magazine published privately by a lady in Milan. Orion has indeed dealt with "cults". It published a couple of articles in praise of Introvigne and CESNUR by CESNUR scholar, Marco Pasi. It regularly publishes articles by Massimo Maraviglia, another admirer of Introvigne who by the way also claims to be a member of Alleanza Cattolica. Orion also published an interview with Jean-François Mayer, a well-known right-wing extremist and member of the CESNUR board. The interview first appeared in a Belgian neo-pagan publication, and was picked up by Orion without the author objecting in any way. However, when the fact was pointed out, CESNUR suddenly became ungrateful: although there is no imaginable connection to the issue of "Internet anti-cult terrorism", Introvigne in his article accuses Orion of having picked up the article "without Mayer's knowledge or permission" and of not caring very much for copyright. Introvigne of course is missing the point: Orion published Mayer's article because they liked it.
However, Orion prides itself on publishing conflicting views on various issues. And it has published critical articles, not on cults at all, but on Alleanza Cattolica and CESNUR, the two organizations that Introvigne manages to straddle. The reason was quite simple: a minority of the "anti-globalist" camp objected to the way Alleanza Cattolica was trying to take over their milieu. I put some of these articles up on the Kelebek website, since they provide an interesting, close-up view of CESNUR and its world.
So, again, Introvigne is deceiving his
readers. This piece of evidence of an anti-cult conspiracy is non-existent;
he is simply using a scholarly journal to settle personal scores.
Envy and the Anthropologist
The other piece of evidence of right-wing collusion in the "anti-cult" plot which Introvigne presents is a convention of a group called Forza Nuova held in Milan in May 1999, calling for the outlawing of cults, freemasonry and the "New Age." The convention certainly took place, and we have discussed it in depth elsewhere.
Introvigne carefully keeps a few elements out of sight. First, Forza Nuova is an extremist Catholic group which has virtually the same agenda as Introvigne's own group, Alleanza Cattolica. They differ basically in language - Alleanza Cattolica is much more careful in the words it chooses when speaking to the general public - and in their approach to cults. Forza Nuova believes that the main enemy of Christendom is the supposed "cult of Man" behind Freemasonry; Alleanza Cattolica on the other hand subscribes to the idea that the main enemies are Communism and rational thinking in general. Though the practical conclusions may be very different, the underlying ideology is so similar that the only books on cults for sale at the convention were by Introvigne and the founder of Introvigne's own movement was among the speakers.
While this difference between Alleanza Cattolica and Forza Nuova may not interest the readers of Terrorism and Political Violence, it is definitely unscholary for Introvigne to hide the radically Catholic nature of Forza Nuova. However, we have seen that in both cases analyzed so far - Ummah Net and Orion - Introvigne's real target is a personal critic of his own. And his mention of Forza Nuova is no exception:
"Although [Forza Nuova] was able to enlist some respectable anti-cultists (including an anthropology professor associated with the mainline anti-cult movement in Italy)…"There is no "mainline anti-cult movement in Italy", but it is interesting to note that the "anthropology professor" is Introvigne's long-standing professional rival and was also mentioned on my website.