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Allison Mack was ‘pressured,’ likely coerced, by sex cult leader, into confessing branding women was her idea; Here’s why her confession may be false

By Frank Parlato

I think most people who have experience with the inner workings of NXIVM would agree that no one does anything important without Keith Raniere’s approval.  That certainly includes Allison Mack. Her on the record confession to New York Times contributor Vanessa Grigoriadis that she conceived of the idea of branding women was almost certainly pre-approved by Raniere.

Some in the media are heralding this confession as a major discovery — big news – without the context: She was likely ordered by Raniere to confess. Without knowing the cult’s inner workings, it might be easy to accept Mack’s confession at face value.

Mack is a DOS “slave” – a direct slave to Raniere [to whom she gave blackmail material to hold as collateral for her obedience]. Mack was – at the time of her confession – and may still be – financially dependent on cult member Clare Bronfman.

Mack may have made a false confession. {DOS slaves regularly made false confessions for collateral].

Her confession was recorded in her Brooklyn apartment – with recordings of the interview by NXIVM/Mack and likely, simultaneously, by NY Times reporter Vanessa Grigoriadis.

Mack’s confession is mentioned in the following paragraph in the Times story:

“I was surprised to hear Mack take full responsibility for coming up with the DOS cauterized brand. She told me, ‘I was like: “Y’all, a tattoo? People get drunk and tattooed on their ankle ‘BFF,” or a tramp stamp. I have two tattoos and they mean nothing.”?She wanted to do something more meaningful, something that took guts.”

For those who know NXIVM, they know that this confession was likely preplanned, and perhaps scripted by Raniere – with the aid, evidently, of Lauren Salzman and Clare Bronfman.

In the next paragraph, The Times offers a reveal [more important to NXIVM watchers perhaps than Mack’s confession]:

“To be honest, I was surprised that she [Mack] was sitting there at all. And Mack told me that she’d been experiencing some anxiety talking to a reporter. It felt “scary and pressureful,” she said. But Lauren Salzman, who along with Raniere and Clare Bronfman had guided my highly controlled tour of their world, helped her by telling Mack to cast her mind back to when she was a child and received praise at the same time that other kids didn’t. This made Mack feel uncomfortable. But now she was surmounting her fear. “So when I was 8, I created a conclusion and built a foundation of my assumptions that was faulty,” she told me. “Now that I’m 35, I can look back at that 8-year-old’s belief. And I can say, ‘Oh, that doesn’t make any sense anymore.’?” She continued, “Boom, my belief system is upgraded.”

Two words in the above paragraph are insightful – “pressureful” which I take to mean Mack was pressured to do the interview. And “helped. Salzman, Raniere and Bronfman “helped” her get over her fear.  With the result that, Mack says, by confessing to a potential crime her “belief system is upgraded”

Is the upgrading of a belief system another way of saying brainwashed? She was “helped” by self interested, possible FBI targets, Lauren Salzman, Clare Bronfman and Raniere.  She was “helped” to confess.

They “helped” her overcome her own self interest to not confess anything to a reporter about potential criminal acts during an ongoing criminal investigation by three FBI targets.  She was ‘helped” by them comparing Mack’s childhood angst of being praised with her present fear of confessing to a reporter.

The Times continues to reveal Mack’s brainwashing, with the next sentence in the story: “Belief is a tricky thing, particularly when it involves taking responsibility for the idea of branding women and being encouraged to talk to a journalist when it may not be in your self-interest to do so. All the more when you include a guru [Raniere] who is an ‘evolved’ being.”

This tells me that Mack did not volunteer for the interview. She did not volunteer to confess branding was her idea. It might not have been her idea but she was pressured or coerced into [falsely?} confessing it to the world.  It did not work the way Raniere probably planned. While Mack confessed prior to their arrest, the story was not published until after the arrest of Raniere and Mack. It did not likely influence any decision to arrest or not arrest Raniere by the FBI/DOJ.



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News and art, national and local. Began as alternative weekly in 1990 in Buffalo, NY. Publishing content online since 1996.


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  • I wonder why Allison didn’t coerce/blackmail etc her younger sister into Nxvim, I can’t imagine this didn’t occur to KR

  • Mack deserved the right as all other brain washed by Raniere. The mind is a dangerous thing especially when you feel isolated by stardom and you don’t know who you can trust. Her schemea was believing that her worth laid i others. I wish she had seeked help. Instead she found it in a dark place as many of us do. #freemack #brainwashedliketheothers #lovethedamagednotthesickminded

  • Raniere is lucky his organization didn’t brainwash/abuse anyone I love, because the law would be the least of his worries.

  • Allison Mack was the second in charge and responsible for the branding ceremony. She made her bad choices and must be held accountable. Lock her up.

    • So short-sighted. ”Lock her up.” If she was forced to act by extortion, or threat, she can be considered innocent by the law.

  • Just curious about k keefe. She basically had Mack’s position in the organization before she defected. I’m assuming the vanguard defense is pretty happy Mack is copping to the branding. But it shouldn’t really matter in the big picture. Assuming keefe is a cooperating witness, either by choice or a looming indictment she’s the equivalent of getting Capone’s accountant. I would assume future indictiments would be expanded to include both additional defendants and counts well beyond the existing ones. An aggressive prosecution should be able to charge literally dozens of additional counts. I hope they do

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