Anti-Cult Squad, anti-cult groups and mental manipulation

State avails itself of private groups
to persecute religious groups

What the establishment of the S.A.S. (Anti-Cult Squad) has to do with the endless attempts of certain anti-cult groups to reintroduce the Fascist crime punishing the mental manipulation? Is it the S.A.S. using the anti-cult groups to get the crime of mental manipulation reintroduced in the legal system or vice versa?

Article 20 of the Constitution says that “No special limitation or tax burden may be imposed on the establishment, legal capacity or activities of any organization on the ground of its religious nature or its religious or confessional aims”.

This writer considers it quite evident that the reintroduction in our legislation of the crime of “mental manipulation”, that in Italy is called “plagio”, would cause “special legislative restrictions” to many religious groups.

Analyzing the behavior of the Department of Public Security of the Ministry of Interior and of the anti-cult groups, it will become clear also for an outsider that somebody is trying to create a climate of intolerance, based on unreliable news to create “the need” for this “special law” .

The S.A.S. and the anti-cult groups make no mystery of the fact that their intent – in disregard of the Constitution and after having changed for the worse the meaning of the word “cult” – is to use mental manipulation to prosecute the groups by them labeled as “cults” .

First we’re going to see the official documents that show the common intent of the Department of Public Security and the anti-cult groups, then we will see how such intent was turned into an activity of pressure both on media and politics in order to get a “special law” approved.

As we saw in the article State alarm, the Department of Public Security of the Ministry of Interior clearly wrote, already in the introduction of its Report of 1998 that “the sectarian unions” are “accused of deviously manipulating mentally their adepts and of pursuing illegal aims”.

Obviously such inferences were taken from “media news” that “more and more called the attention on the dangers represented by the expansion” of such “sectarian unions”.

The author of the Ministerial Report had no hesitation in talking about “cults”, nor in relaying upon alarming media news solicited by anti-cult groups, so much that he adopted as title of the Report the wording “Religious cults and magic movements in Italy”, and that he drafted it mostly using the data provided by the anti-cults.

Encroaching on a field in which he had no jurisdiction, the author also decided which are the “harmless” religious movements (with the obvious exclusion of “League A” religions) and which are the “cults” potentially ‘destructive’, subdividing them in three categories:

1) Western innovative movements
2) Movements of Christian derivation
3) Movement of oriental inspiration

After having arbitrarily so subdivided all the existing religious movements in Italy, the author of the Report issued his “judgment”:

Il primo gruppo

(English translation below)

the first group

These conclusions are clearly a mirror of the prejudice of the author, lacking any ground and based on tabloid press and information spread by the so-called anti-cults. The author, in fact, is not quoting any scientific study nor legal precedents of any kind.

Moreover, it appears evident that the Ministry, or at least its Department of Public Security, has fully embraced the non scientific theory – inexistent in our legal system – of mental manipulation.

Not even the movement in categories 2 and 3 are exempted from judgments, such as “false churches” or having “fraudulent aims”, concluding that:


(English translation below)


Therefore, it doesn’t matter whether or not  the “accusations made against cults” are truthful, it doesn’t matter if the crime of mental manipulation (plagio) was abolished by the Constitutional Court, it doesn’t matter if international scholars and the most important Professional Association of Psychologists (American Psychological Association) rejected the existence of “brainwashing” in the religious groups and, eventually, it doesn’t matter if calling a religious group a “cult” is actually slanderous. The Department of Public Security, based on media or anti-cult reports, has insisted in many parts of the Report on the concept that “cults” are practicing “brainwashing or mental manipulation”.

Eight years later, the then Chief of the Police Giovanni De Gennaro, in drafting his memorandum for the establishment of the Anti-Cult Squad using as reference the same unreliable information, slavishly drew on the same theories. So much true that a very important passage is literally identical in both documents. Here is it:


(English translation below)


Identical and both coming from the same office of the Ministry of Interior eight years later.

De Gennaro did not even took the trouble to reformulate this key passage, at least to disguise somehow his reinterpretation of the Constitution to be able to intrude in the religious field, otherwise precluded to a similar police act.

In fact, this is the passage where he altered the text of the Constitution with regard to article 8, as already covered in the article Anti-Cult Squad and Constitution.

De Gennaro has perpetuated the same alteration, thus revealing that the hand who wrote the Report of 1988 and the Memorandum of 2006 is practically the same one.

De Gennaro’s view on mental manipulation is clearly expressed in many parts of his memorandum and it perfectly aligns with the Report of 1998, i.e.: mental manipulation do exist and “are practiced inside cults for illicit purposes”. Here’s a significant passage:

I comportamenti illegali

(English translation below)

Illicit behaviours

Starting from these convictions, he therefore established the pattern of operations for the “Scientific Police” inside the Anti-Cult Squad, called upon to investigate on the basis of a totally non scientific theory, the mental manipulation. Here are the directives:

Parte integrante

(English translation below)

Parte integrante

In actual fact, a police force has been created to contrast a crime that DOES NOT EXIST in our criminal code. It was declared unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court in 1981. From this derives the fact that the Anti-Cult Squad – ignoring the directives of the Constitutional Court acting – operates at all effects, like an above-law-law police force.

In such a delicate matter, i.e. that of the right constitutionally sanctioned of freely professing one’s religion, a State entity, funded with the money of the taxpayers who would like their rights safeguards indeed from that Ministry, passes over the limits of its competence to look after, investigate, contrast, repress and restrain those same rights.

Here’s the observation that – despite the verdict of the Constitutional Court and the scientific literature stating the opposite – the Department of Public Security of the Ministry of Interior is since years convinced that mental manipulation exist, that a good number of religious movements are “cults” pursuing illegal acts and that the sources of information, the anti-cult groups, are reliable.

They were so convinced of the validity of their sources that – with De Gennaro’s memorandum – they have directly entrusted those same anti-cult groups as representatives of the S.A.S., particularly the association headed by the Catholic priest Aldo Bonaiuto:

In tale ottica

(English translation below)


This is surely the “agreement protocol” that Don Aldo Bonaiuto, leader of both the associations, announced during the congress held at Regina Apostolorum in 2007, few months after the publication of this memorandum.

In that occasion, Doctor Francesco Gratteri, officer of the Ministry of Interior, stated that “the establishment of the S.A.S. was made possible also thanks to an agreement protocol signed indeed with the Association Comunità Papa Giovanni XXIII and the activation of a hot line”.

De Gennaro wrote that the S.A.S. has to work “in particular” with Don Aldo Bonaiuto, his deputy told that the establishment of the S.A.S. was made possible “thanks to the agreement” with the association of Don Aldo Bonaiuto .

These statements clearly indicate that between the Department of Public Security and the associations of Don Aldo Bonaiuto a tight relationship existed even before the creation of the S.A.S.. What’s more, such cooperation has made possible the establishment of the latter.

Later on in De Gennaro’s memorandum the connection appears even more evident and also the operational procedures have been set for the utilization of the information provided by Bonaiuto to the S.A.S. to investigate the “cults”.

A tal fine

(English translation below)

With this object

It should be noted that the “reports arrived at the anti occult cult hot line” mentioned in the extract of the above Memorandum, are the unreliable statistics presented during the congress held at Regina Apostolorum, issue that we covered in the article Falsifying statistics to scaremonger.

Let’s briefly see who are the known representatives of S.A.S.; later on we will thoroughly analyze their activities and relationships with the various media and politicians supporting their intrigues to create a climate of alarm and to get “special laws” approved to the detriment of new religious movements.

Aldo Bonaiuto As seen, the main representative of S.A.S. who is not a State officer is Don Aldo Buonaiuto .

He is a Catholic priest who – in March 2004 – having overcome the accusations of pedophilia which prompted judicial proceedings ended with the dismissal of the case, threw himself into the fight to the “occult cults”.

Successor of Don Oreste Benzi, acting under the aegis of Comunità Papa Giovanni XXIII, a powerful international Catholic organization, Don Buonaiuto has an ideal stage from which he can utter his judgments on new religious movements.

Don Aldo Bonaiuto tightly cooperates with an entity defining itself the “FORUM of the ITALIAN ASSOCIATIONS of RESEARCH INFORMATION and CONTRAST of the SECTARIAN MOVEMENTS and of the ABUSING CULTS”, led by Maurizio Alessandrini .

Maurizio Alessandrini Alessandrini, is also the founder and president of the association “FAVIS”, that stands for “Relatives of Cults’ Victims”.

This very small group of people, thanks to Internet, managed in less than ten years to create an exaggerated uproar about some religious, mystic or spiritual groups.

Maurizio Alessandrini is not a scholar of history of religion, nor a retired sociologist. It is a retired bookkeeper of the Province of Rimini.

Since years he contacts media and politicians alleging that his son Fabio has been trapped by a “cult”. The son strongly denies this version of the facts, as one can hear in an interview released by Fabio Alessandrini on 6 October 2011 to the TV channel TeleRimini, see here and here.

Alessandrini presents himself as “Representative at the Ministry of Interior, State Police, Central Operational Service, SAS – Anti Cult Squad.

Macchiorlatti Another representative of S.A.S. is the graphologist Ilaria Macchiorlatti, from Piedmont. Although declaring herself an “expert in handwriting psychology” there is no evidence that she ever achieved a degree in psychology.

Her role of “teacher for the Course of Graphology” and the “Triennial School of Specialization in Criminology Sciences” at the “Université Européenne Jean Monnet” have been the object of polemics since when, in 2006, the Guarantor for Unfair Market Competition had ascertained some deceitful advertisements of that institute, whose qualifications were put in doubt.

Besides these professional engagements Ilaria Macchiorlatti is the holder of a lingerie shop in Ciriè, province of Torino.

This really prompts a question: quis custodet custodes ?


31st may 2012