Sunday 17 November 2013

Equal Life Foundation Trojan Horse: Living Income Guaranteed (LIG)

Ivan Rauscher

On October 17th 2013, the Basic Income News website posted an article, Cult-Debunker Accuses Equal Life Foundation of Deceptively Using the Term 'Basic Income Guaranteed' which is a report on the YouTube video by scam-buster and critic of cults, Robert W. Lester, Desteni Basic Income – Scam? and related matters.

A link to it was posted at the
Cult News Network, the Skeptic Wars blog, and at the Basic Income News Facebook page where one commentator remarked that 'some time ago I tried to draw attention to this fact on fb – they are in many big groups and sites and use basic income as a trojan horse'.

The Equal Life Foundation (ELF) company is indeed using the Basic Income as a Trojan horse
in the form of its so-called 'Living Income Guaranteed (LIG)'. The ELF is attempting to participate in the same arena of activism as the Basic Income Guarantee (BIG) by seeming to support a version of the Basic Income but with the intention of soliciting donations, selling merchandise and online courses and recruiting for Desteni, which as described by many people including another scam-buster, Ethan Vanderbuilt, is essentially a cult that deals in brainwashing.

US BIG Network Facebook post for the article, Cult-Debunker
Accuses Equal Life Foundation of Deceptively Using the Term
'Basic Income Guaranteed'

A commentator on the US Basic Income Guarantee Network Facebook page wrote about ELF: 'Currently I am doing a thesis on a basic income grant, but their proposal for a basic income grant is deceptive. Many of the staff who I work with have also heard of this group, and in turn, turning away from the idea of a basic income grant due to ELF proposal of a BIG'.

It could seem as if some individuals campaigning for the BIG are affiliated with Desteni/ELF. The LIG website features links to news items pertaining to the BIG campaign, as if this has something to do with their LIG. A third commentator at the US BIG Network FB page remarked, 'They have embedded video and used quotes that make it look like people are members of ELF who are not.' However, the same commentator also pointed out that 'This is a very small group that makes itself look bigger on the internet. I don't think they will have lasting harm'.

There are thousands of 'likes' on ELF or LIG Facebook pages but anyone who researches the ELF or LIG finds out that these projects are integral to the Desteni group as founded by recently deceased Bernard Poolman. It involves around 100 people called 'Destonians', and while they claim to stand for equality their basic position is sectarian and totalistic. The LIG is supposed to be towards a global state run according to a Desteni/ELF 'Equal Money System' that is seen by Destonians as the only true 'system' that can and will provide for and police every aspect of human beings' lives. 

All the ideas of Desteni/ELF -- which include imaginary communications with aliens and fictional dead people, public confessions of self-forgiveness, the eradication of consciousness and the mind, microchip tagging, no rights to privacy, a ban on porn and alcohol, Holocaust revisionism, quack cures for cancer, a Techno Tutor to 'accelerate vocabulary', made-up stories about human history, ingestion of hydrogen peroxide, Homeopathy as the primary form of medicine, the revival of eugenics, and 'psychological interventions' for dissenters -- are unmitigated rubbish.

The Destonians' LIG 'proposal' utilises information pertaining to, and could seem to be part of the real BIG campaign, which has, for instance, succeeded in ensuring a National Referendum on Basic Income in Switzerland and in the US the BIG is included in the Occupy Strategy Group's Top 10 recommended strategic objectives. It could look like the Destonians support the BIG, but they don't. The article by Basic Income Earth Network member, Robin Ketelaars, You can also abuse the term Basic Income for personal gain, describes how the LIG version of a Basic Income is not the same as the BIG.  

The Destonians simply copied the BIG proposal and manufactured their own modified imitation of it after their 'Equal Money System' was dismissed as a scam at At first they called it 'Basic Income Guaranteed (BIG)' but after the criticism levelled at their scheme at the Cult Education Forum, in Lester's video, Ketelaars' article and this blog, they changed the name to LIG.    

To lig means to gatecrash an event as a freeloader. The LIG exists to try to guarantee income for Desteni/ELF by being presented as if it is part of a bigger social movement for equality. It is not unlike a charity scam where for its own personal gain a group impersonates a charity or pretends to be part of a charity, except in this case the group is pretending to be part of a political campaign. It should be called the Desteni Income Guaranteed (DIG).

Again, anyone who investigates Desteni/ELF soon learns that its activities
are mostly limited to the internet and a ranch in South Africa, and that since 2007, Desteni/ELF has failed to formulate or carry out any reasonable initiatives or actions for equality, human rights, politics or anything else, but beginning with the Desteni Portal idiot test, has attempted one preposterous scam after another and already been thoroughly discredited.

The LIG 'proposal' is far less likely to cause harm to the BIG campaign than it is to Desteni/ELF, as it has been shown many times before that the more Desteni AKA the 'Equal Life Foundationdraws attention to itself the more there are consequences.  

Desteni/ELF is an intriguing example of the phenomenon of groupthink, and how an extremely silly cult can be formed through the delusions and blatant deception and exploitation of a few people who are fooled by certain aspects of spirituality, New Age self-help psychology, conspiracy theories and occultism and/or have social or mental health issues. Apart from that, however, Desteni/ELF and its LIG are irrelevant. 

Related posts:

Wednesday 20 February 2013

Public Consequences - Desteni Doomed - 7

Ivan Rauscher

(continued from Desteni Doomed - 1: The Voice of a Sane Organization? / 2: Cult Awareness / 3: Cultish Behaviour Patterns / 4: Related Material Elsewhere / 5: The Best Cult EVER? / 6: The Equality Lie)

Changes to the System

Desteni is supposed to be a group of people developing a new global system of equality called Equal Money System (EMS) which can be applied at every level of human, plant and animal existence. Putting aside the question of how equality could ever be a 'system', why is it that the people involved in Desteni only use social networking websites, make blogs and YouTube videos and do practically nothing else to communicate their message to the public?

In 2011, as previously reported, some of the Desteni channels featuring thousands of their videos were terminated by YouTube and Vimeo. This was after Desteni had issued numerous copyright claims against other channels.

Destonians say they were banned because their 'message of equality' is a threat to the system.

In fact, Desteni had been reported (not by anyone associated with this blog) for violating the user guidelines of YouTube and Vimeo which do not allow spam, 'commercially deceptive content' or Multi-Level Marketing. Desteni videos are in order to advertise the Desteni I Process MLM scheme, and any form of MLM is widely regarded as commercially deceptive.

More on this at: Desteni material banned by web host.

The Desteni organisation has been active on the internet since 2007, and still runs countless YouTube channels, blogs and websites. Thousands upon thousands of their videos and texts have been and are published on a daily basis. But there are still only around 100-150 members of the group.

After the DesteniProductions and BernardPoolman YouTube channels had been terminated there were some changes to the public image of the organisation. Before the end of 2011, the founder, Bernard Poolman and the 'Desteni portal' Sunette Spies had been publishing talks nearly every day. Nowadays, however, they release a lot less videos, with several weeks or months between new releases. (note: this changed soon after the publishing of this article as Spies has taken to releasing public audio-based videos more frequently but not as yet Poolman)

Destonians started posting at last year, but apart from brief comments of approval, they rarely discuss each other's posts. Sometimes they post in other sub-Reddits, but then get criticised for being a cult, just as they were two years ago. Here are links to commentary about Desteni at Reddit:

The first e-sect ever made? / What makes people turn to religion?  / Interesting cult I found surfing youtube  / A friend of mine is part of a South African cult called Desteni that forces its members to shave themselves bald and work on the farm of their leader. What should I do? / Are Atheists Prisoners of the Mind as Well?  / Lao Tzu in Modern Society: "Do Your Work, Then Step Back"  /   Let's identify conspiratard groups  / Rolling Jubilee - Clear Debt to get More Debt - Why this is no solution / Proposal: Exclude the Desteni cult
After some years of denouncing capitalism and after having been denounced as communists, Desteni began promoting Equal Money Capitalism this year, and have set up a board for it. 'Equal Money Capitalism' is supposed to involve 'research' into how there can or maybe possibly could or will be a transition phase as 'the current system' changes into EMS.

Internet Movement

Recently an article about Desteni was published at Wikipedia in Swedish (discussed at the Desteni forum). Editors quickly deleted it, describing Desteni in translation as 'a South African cult of some kind' and decided content of the article did not explain relevance of the topic. This is because for an article to be included in the Wikipedia encyclopedia it has to reference enough independent sources to show that its topic is worthy of attention.

Most of the independent sources discussing Desteni are online. Usually the group has been described in terms of being a cult (including by members of the ex-Scientologists forum); as Wikipedia editors in English also described it back in 2008 when they deemed Desteni non-notable.

Destonian, Anna Brix Thomsen mentions that in 2010, host of 'The Keiser Report' on the Russia Today TV channel, Max Keiser posted EMS promotional videos on his website. Dean Robinson has pointed out that Keiser removed these videos after viewing Robinson's Max Keiser & the Money Cult video (EMS is discussed from around 5 mins 30 sec). There is no record of Keiser ever having publicly written or voiced any comment on EMS or Desteni.

Another thread at the Desteni forum posed the question, Desteni: Cult or not?, but it was soon locked down. The suggestion is the question should be regarded as irrelevant because they already dealt with it in YouTube videos tagged Anti-Hate a while ago, and what Desteni are about is 'standing up for equality'. 

Bernard Poolman wrote in his blog that Desteni is the BEST CULT ever. But Poolman's 'desteni' has only ever been referred to as a cult, which is an authoritarian, hierarchical group that views outsiders as corrupt and itself as having the monopoly on the truth. No cult can represent equality.

Terri Kirchner, a contributor to Wide Base UK, an 'activist multimedia foundation' for 'Inclusive Political Media and Opinion Dissemination' recently described Desteni as a '"channeling" sect' and 'failed Internet movement' which created 'a minefield of disapproval' for itself. She wrote:
Desteni imagines converting the entire world to its cause but appears to be too bizarre to recruit anyone beyond the most mentally unstable and impressionable people living out their lives on YouTube.

Anna Brix Thomsen states that it is more than just internet-based. Yet in communicating its message to the public 'desteni' only ever uses the internet, and in a very limited way.

Where's the Message?

Destonians often suggest that anyone who criticises EMS is therefore living in fear, protecting their money, opposed to equality and 'supporting the current system'; that only Desteni can save the world, and otherwise humanity will be destroyed.

Destonians very rarely try to develop ideas in creative discussion with other people not in their group. They tend to ban or block anyone with a different point of view.

Although its message is supposed to deal with 'practical solutions' there is no evidence that the Desteni organisation has helped practically solve any issues of equality or equal rights for anyone anywhere, or that it is attempting to do so.

Destonians do not put EMS up for discussion at political web forums. No articles on EMS get published or reviewed on political or social justice websites.

Destonians travel to South Africa for working holidays at the Desteni farm but no-one who lives at that farm travels anywhere to spread the message of Desteni or EMS.

'Desteni' does not try to get the attention of news media or on TV with its equality message. Bernard Poolman states that the group needs more financial support before it can do that.

They'd only have to do or say something that was newsworthy... But Destonians have never issued any press releases, given radio interviews or tried to get articles on EMS published in newspapers or magazines.

Desteni does not even hold public meetings or events anywhere.

Equality organisations

There are organisations, political movements and groups all around the world standing up for equality. Several of them regularly appear in news media. Many actively campaign for alternatives to capitalism, and try to create them. Some of these groups may be a 'threat to the current system', while others are official organisations protecting laws regarding equality and equal rights.

But Desteni does not try to enter a dialogue, share ideas or show solidarity with any such movements, groups or organisations.

Desteni has never tried to discuss EMS in public with any of the film-makers, researchers, authors and mainstream and radical politicians and political commentators with equality as the main focus of their agenda.

Destonians often reference other people's film documentaries, studies and research in their blogs and videos in order to promote EMS. But none of these documentary film-makers, researchers, or indeed any independent sources, have ever given an explanation of how Desteni or EMS are valid or useful in terms of equality, equal rights, politics, economics or social justice.

Not even anyone at the David Icke forum.

Instead of showing only a static image, if Bernard Poolman was to appear publicly in videos talking to camera and engaging an audience that way, as do his followers, the Destonians, it would of course help bring the message of Desteni and EMS to more people.

As she is the 'portal' of Desteni, Sunette Spies explains in detail the message of EMS and the Desteni 'process'. No new public videos of Spies talking to camera have been released for quite some time, but if they were, again it would certainly bring word of EMS to more people.

It seems that the Desteni group are deliberately restricting public communication of their so-called message of equality by confining it to webpages run only by recruits, while the two main spokespersons are keeping a low profile.

The Tools

The potential or actual Desteni recruits tend to be people willing to talk about their private personal concerns with strangers on the internet. They often admit they have social, psychological and/or health or drug problems or that they've been diagnosed mentally ill, and they are most usually into New Age philosophies and conspiracy theories.

Self-help publications

Desteni recommends some well-known, widely-used self-help techniques. Breath awareness, self-forgiveness or giving up addictions in 21 days can of course be freely practiced by anyone without joining any group but these and similar techniques are represented by Desteni as if they are 'the Desteni tools'.

In the practice of self-forgiveness, recruits provide detailed personal information as public testimonials to advertise Desteni commercial products. They use news items and data about political corruption, abuse or injustice to advertise EMS and sale of Desteni products, which they say will lead to the end of 'the current system', and bring 'world equality'.

The Destonians look for personal advice and the Desteni group offers it, sometimes in the guise of a 'reptilian' they say created human beings: Anu.

They are instructed in 'Structural Resonance Alignment' involving the practice of Applied Kinesiology ('muscle communication'). They propose that in the Equal Money System homeopathy will be 'the primary medicinal health support that will be used as it will support the body at the level of equality'. They recommend the practices of the Burzynski Clinic...

And so it goes on... Desteni states it provides 'education', and suggests or implies its members can, for example, give advice to parents, or help treat anorexia, schizophrenia or alcoholism.

Desteni 'educational' courses have never been recognised or approved by any independent, official or non-official organisation, and no member of the group is qualified or experienced to give out advice on psychological, health, drugs or social matters.

Although they claim to be opposed to charity, Destonians request charitable donations for research into plant, animal and human life, and apart from the fact that they do not say how their 'research' is carried out, they have no professional background in the sciences. EMS is said to be political yet none of the group show that they have ever had any real involvement or experience in political activities.

All of this is clear from an investigation of the material published by Desteni and the Destonians.

Any reasonably well-informed member of the public can (not by reading this blog but the Desteni websites) see that 'Desteni' is a commercial scheme that recruits individuals into the buying and selling of products, the content of which has been recycled out of related material found in religious cults, New Age philosophy, self-help, quack medicine, occultism and conspiracy theories. Promotion of 'equal money system' is just a way of persuading people to pay and work for the 'Desteni' business as unpaid volunteers.

Research & Investigation

Inevitably, it will become clear for some of those currently involved in Desteni that they have been misled. Several ex-supporters have already spoken out. Others could at any time reveal more about what goes on behind the scenes.

Desteni condemns the family and friendships. Concerned friends and relatives have already made strong objections and could take decisive action.

The Cult Education Forum and other sources have shown that some of the business practices of Desteni may possibly be verging on illegality.

Donations and payments made to Desteni go to the Equal Life Foundation, which is registered as a non-profit company yet it seems only to exist to take donations and manage profits made out of sale of Desteni products.

Desteni could easily become the subject of more reports in mainstream media such as occurred with South African newspapers, Sondag in 2011 and Rapport in 2009 (see this link and that) -- or in the alternative media.

The Desteni group is surely aware that if it raises its public profile and spread its message further afield it is likely its activities will be researched and investigated by more far-reaching independent sources than this blog, the Destenigossip blog, the Anti-Desteni Movement, XfinksX, 0rdoTempliAurora, Istenenergia, MarioBrotha, the Cult Education Forum, the Skeptic Project and the numerous other forums, blogs, YouTube channels, websites and videos which have criticised the cult over the past five years.

Saturday 5 January 2013

The Equality Lie - Desteni Doomed - 6

Ivan Rauscher

(continued from Desteni Doomed - 1: The Voice of a Sane Organization? / 2: Cult Awareness / 3: Cultish Behaviour Patterns / 4: Related Material Elsewhere / 5: The Best Cult EVER?)

The various abuses of the word, 'equality' by the cult of Desteni are in order to make the group appear socially or politically relevant. In studies of cults it's what's known as loading the language, designed to deceive the public and control potential or actual cult members. 

The Desteni organisation is not a collective or co-operative that runs according to principles of equality. It is a small capitalist business that offers a multi-level marketing scheme. The customers don't just purchase or consume Desteni products. They work for no pay by marketing products on a daily basis. 'Destonians' do not own or manage resources of the organisation. They do not define its ideas, methods, practices or policies. Bernard Poolman decides on everything, along with Sunette Spies and the Desteni elite inner circle, all of whom are under the authoritarian dictatorship of Poolman. Rank and file Destonians just obey, copy and repeat.

Self-forgiveness = social engineering

'Self-forgiveness' is as Bernard Poolman suggests in his YouTube and Twitter account descriptions, a type of social engineering. One of the prime websites on the subject, defines social engineering as:

the act of manipulating a person to accomplish goals that may or may not be in the “target’s” best interest. This may include obtaining information, gaining access, or getting the target to take certain action.  

Self-forgiveness as it is used within the context of Desteni is a cliché of religion: that being, you are inherently evil and must confess your sins to the church to redeem yourself, save the world and get to heaven.  

The Destonians confess personal concerns or problems in public on the Internet and privately via Skype, email etc to their assigned 'buddies' in the pseudo-religion, the church of Desteni. They make promotional blogs and videos, join the Desteni Income Process and become salespersons for the Desteni business.

With the so-called 'tools' of self-forgiveness and 'self-correction' Destonians' thoughts and behaviour are recorded. They are targeted, monitored and instructed by the more dominant higher ups in the Desteni hierarchy. 'Self-forgiveness' allows Desteni to keep tabs on Destonians, find out what makes them tick and oversee their indoctrination in detail. The real tools of Desteni are the Destonians. 

Equality entails diversity and inclusion but Destonians say diversity is a problem. They admit they are opposed to freedom of expression. They ban any outsider who dares to debate, criticise or question their ideas, which are that Bernard Poolman and Sunette Spies know the ultimate truth about everything.  

Desteni do not concern themselves with civil rights issues and take no stand against racism. There is not one black South African in the group. They have nothing to say at all on equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered people. Destonians' few remarks on equality of women contain less insight into sexism or feminism than an issue of 'Cosmopolitan' magazine.

Desteni show no support for disadvantaged social or ethnic groups, cultures or nations. In several statements made in texts and videos such as 'The Jew in Every Man is a Zionist' Mr Poolman has clearly shown himself to be anti-Jewish. He promotes the forgiveness of Adolf Hitler.

Eugenics propaganda (from Indiana Eugenics History & Legacy)

Destonians advocate a revival of the discredited eugenics movement. They see eugenics as 'Best for All'. Citing Hitler's 'Mein Kampf' as a reliable source, Destonian Marlen Vargas Del Razo calls for the sterilization of disabled people and 'certain races'.

Desteni run a farm, an online multi-level marketing scheme and a business selling over-priced software (Techno Tutor), but they are not involved in activities which have any practical or useful meaning in terms of equality, politics or society.

Destonians propose a future authoritarian technocracy, an over-arching, all-encompassing 'system' which is somehow to be 'implemented' by people 'joining Desteni' for 'equal money'. They do not practice alternative forms of ownership, production or finance but merely complain about social conditions or conventions and repeat catch phrases about their abstract, non-existent 'system' on the Internet.

In political terms, Desteni is a communo-fascist, totalitarian, sectarian organisation. Yet it does not present any challenge to the neoliberal corporate status quo. Destonians are statists. They recommend conforming to 'the system' in order to make money to give to Desteni in the vain hope that one day they will 'become the system' and the one world state power.

Destonians have almost nothing to say about the work of the many organisations or individuals around the world that actively support and work towards social and political equality. Although they claim to support the Basic Income no Destonian is involved in the real Basic Income campaign. They are opposed to both the Occupy Movement and Anonymous

Their 'equal money system' (EMS) is web-based media: subliterate texts and inarticulate YouTube videos. These serve as cheap adverts for Desteni 'Best for All' products and merchandise, and online courses in 'self-mastery'.

EMS is a scam designed to make it look like Desteni is running a social justice or political campaign for human rights when it is a private commercial business and has no involvement in equal rights, social justice or politics whatsoever.

Videos such as Constitutional Equality and Voting in and Equal Money System - Economist JTL or Politics in an Equal Money System – Introduction are made up of nonsensical statements and statements of the obvious; meaningless or sentimental sloganeering. They display complete ignorance of issues of equality, and a woefully misguided, warped idealism that bears no relation to the real world.

The Equal Money Wiki is comprised of crude descriptions of a fantasy about an ultra-efficient authoritarian world 'system' run according to Desteni dogma. It is full of wishy-washy platitudes and meaningless abstractions such as: 

Within an Equal Money System, the point of having ‘equal money’ is to assist with the psychological harmonization of the human into a harmonious character that no longer lives in fear of his own survival, but lives as Life, gives as Life and receives as Life – equally. ...and... our interaction with nature will change, where we are not just ‘enjoyers’ of nature, where we no longer merely sit back and ‘enjoy the view’ – but where we are active participants – identifying where nature is struggling to maintain itself and step in with rehabilitative programs and projects – and thus, become a part of the flows of give and receive.

The Desteni and Equal Money Newsletters do not provide news about the progress of a political or social justice movement as it impacts upon the wider society. It is made up of a list of links to Destonians' blogs with all the usual 'equal money' promotional slogans and verbiage, plus a few 'Shopping Recommendations'.

The Desteni Farm Visitors blog does not describe a community that operates an actual 'equal money system'. It does not say how they are helping to establish social equality for anyone. It presents testimonials to advertise the sale of working holidays at the Desteni farm in South Africa. The community there apparently exists entirely to serve its own interests, which are in isolation from any other communities and disengaged from practical issues of equality in any local or global political situations.

Desteni members have often said they are opposed to charity yet constantly make appeals to charitable emotion by requesting donations for EMS by stating it is the 'solution' to starvation and poverty. It is all under the heading of the Equal Life Foundation, an organisation registered as a 'non-profit company' but which is purely to make profit for the Desteni business.

After EMS was launched three or more years ago and promoted with hundreds if not thousands of videos, the Equal Money System forum has very few posts per week and almost no threads with any sustained discussion. There are currently only 263 members, very few of whom ever take part. 

There is such little interest in EMS undoubtedly because it is so obviously just an online money-making scam.

'Equal Money System' lures a few naive people in to imagining they can change the world for the better by giving all their money to Desteni while the money only ever goes towards maintaining the Desteni founders' lifestyle.

There is no evidence that any member of Desteni or any Destonian is even attempting to bring about equality.

Desteni and Destonians only make references to 'equality' to seem worthy or important, so that they can market and sell the absurd reptilian channeling New Age occult hocus pocus which is the core part of their business. This is shown in, for example, Sunette Spies' video, 2013 - The Future of Consciousness in which she rambles on in an affected manner about 'demon dimensions', reptilians, 'personality systems', 'mind demons' to try to sell more of the same useless drivel, none of which has the slightest relevance to any issue of equality, and is of no relevance to the matter of consciousness either. 

But as self-confessed leader of 'the best cult ever', Bernard Poolman admits, Desteni is a 'MONEY Cult'. As such it is based around the promotion and sale of Poolman and his followers' lunatic beliefs and opinions.

Poolman actively encourages his 'Destonians' to be suspicious of their friends and family and to regard anyone else not in Desteni as scapegoats for all the 'evil' in the world. In one of his many misanthropic lectures called How Does Self-Forgiveness Work, and How Do I Know When My Self-Forgiveness Is Effective? Poolman states:

Equal money is not there to help the human. The human is in essence really something that cannot be trusted and must be eradicated at all costs.

Needless to say, Desteni can't eradicate the human, and a world of equality with no poverty or starvation and a guaranteed income, food, shelter, clothing and education for all will never come about by making blogs or v-logs or taking holidays on a farm.

Equality is not about forgiving oneself for having thoughts, signing up for online courses in 'self-mastery' or trying to sell macabre recordings of a woman pretending to be 'interviewed' as a reptilian, an owl, a sheep or an inhabitant of the lost continent of Atlantis.

Equality in Desteni is a lie.

Desteni Doomed 7 - Public Consequences