Two men, both profound thinkers, took the time to opine on Keith Raniere recently.
Marc Agnifilo, Raniere’s lead lawyer, said in a media interview about his client:
“He is not a business person. He doesn’t have a business mind. He doesn’t have business acumen. You know he is much more -and this is going to sound pedantic – but he’s much more like a philosopher. He is a thinker. He is a big thinker. And so he gives intellectual and philosophical content to the program. But he doesn’t handle the money. He doesn’t really do the enrolling.”
Curiously, Keith Raniere would not quite agree.
On his website www.keithraniere.com, when Nxivm was still open for business, Raniere claimed he was quite a businessman. Referring to his Consumer Buy Line business in the 1990s, his online states: “As an entrepreneur, Keith Raniere transformed a five-person organization into a corporation of nearly 400,000 in a mere two years. His company, Consumers’ Buyline, Inc., was responsible for an estimated one billion dollars in product and service sales in its second full year of business and was featured on the American Spotlight. A millionaire at the age of thirty, Keith Raniere was worth $50 million only two years later.”
Not bad for a guy who has no business mind.
Of course, Agnifilo is mostly right, since Keith was mostly lying on his bio and clearly lied by omission. The bio failed to make any mention of the fact that Consumers’ Buyline was abruptly shut down, and Keith owed literally thousands of people money, after he was accused by various Attorneys General of numerous states of being an illegal pyramid scheme.
Raniere’s top assistant in Mexico, Emiliano Salinas, spoke of how Keith was not responsible for how people were promoted in Nxivm:
“When I say intimate, it can be sexual or non-sexual. [Keith] has an intimate relationship with [some of] them. But one thing is certain … Keith … does not train these people. Keith does not give them ‘EMs’ [Exploration of Meaning therapy]. These people always refer them to someone else because he is always very careful. Keith does not check; does not approve promotions… Keith has a role that, in fact, is more removed from the students than I do as a head trainer. I would have more responsibility in the relationship I have with the students and the staff because I approve promotions. So I could infiltrate an abuse of power… for example, a promotion for a woman to sleep with me. That’s a clear abuse of power.”
Of course, suggesting that Keith had no say in who was promoted on the Stripe Path or who he got to sleep with him is laughable and is utter nonsense. Keith manipulated and controlled the lives of every leader in the organization and slept with many of them, requiring most to never have sex with any other man.
He once told Emiliano that, while he didn’t know it, Emiliano was actually gay and should have sex with his business partner, the openly gay Alejandro Betancourt.
The gullible and largely feeble-minded Emiliano obliged and the two became widely known among Nxians as a couple.
Raniere controlled everything in Nxivm through manipulation, deception, coercion, or the ability to reward. No one was ever promoted without his consent. No one would ever be promoted if he disapproved. Emiliano is doing what Nxians to best – lie.
On this topic, Marc Agnifilo says, in effect, ‘So what? No one within Nxivm can ever consider themselves a victim:
“There are no victims. The ironic part of this case is that the Nxivm philosophy – and maybe I’m dumb-ing it down too much – is just to take victimhood out of the equation. Everything in your life is something that you chose – I mean … people that live in First World countries, who have choices, and economic opportunities. If it’s in your life, it’s because you chose it, you know. If you don’t like your marriage, you chose your wife,. You know you are not a victim. And if you take victimization out of the mix of normal human interrelationships and you take full responsibility for them, your life is better, your ethics are stronger and you become happier.
“If I was exposed to these concepts [in Nxivm] and then you say, ‘I was manipulated or coerced’, man, you are going to have to prove that to me because I don’t see it. What I do see – I see a lot of people who were once leaders in this group and teaching this [no one is a victim] who say they were manipulated by [Nxivm] and now they are angry.”
So what has them angry? What makes them and the DOJ think they are victims?
Perhaps it is the deception. Being told DOS was a woman’s group and not being told that Keith was the Grandmaster.
But the secrecy is good, it can be noble, Emiliano claims:
“Do not focus only on the branding. What I’m talking about is how they structured it. Fraternities are secret societies. That does not mean that they are doing something wrong and that is something that I think is important to see. I can keep a secret that I am making you a birthday party. That does not mean I am doing something wrong. Usually there are things that when people are doing something bad, they keep them secret. I agree. But then it doesn’t mean that anything that is secret has something bad.
“… So all the fraternities and sororities are secret societies. Then It means that it is secret, because it is also known of its existence. Masons are a secret society. We know that they do exist, but what we don’t know is what happens inside because people make a commitment to secrecy. All this time that is what has been done. I mean it’s not a unique issue of this [DOS] sorority and you will see in all the practices that are done inside fraternities and sororities. You will find many similarities. I do not think because of this it turns into something bad.”
He makes a point: Secrecy in itself is not bad. Branding itself may not be bad. Collecting blackmail worthy material [collateral] to enforce secrecy may not in itself be all bad.
But when you add the lies and deceptions, the slow boil coercion, it becomes bad.
For instance, they told the women, it was an all women’s group. That they only had to give collateral to learn about DOS and again to enter DOS. They did not tell the women that Raniere ran DOS. And they did not tell the women that once in DOS, they would have to provide new collateral regularly as an ongoing obligation.
The problem with this deception is the collateral itself.
I have interviewed numerous DOS slaves who said that once they were in – and already had collateral hanging over them – they were then told – they felt forced – that they had to continue giving more and more collateral.
Within months, Raniere and their masters [usually one of his Front Line Slaves] had so much on them that they felt forced to do whatever they were commanded to do.
They were literally slaves out of fear of having the collateral released. It was no longer voluntary.
Sure it was stupid to give collateral in the first place. But they were sold by a woman they trusted – a woman who was part of Nxivm, where they were taking courses – that it was a woman’s group.
They were not told that a man was at the head of it.
They were told it was for discipline and self-improvement – that collateral was required.
Whether it was for their own good or not, when the lower ranking DOS slaves felt they had to comply or they would be humiliated, their careers, their family life, their friendships destroyed – by the nature of the collateral – it became coercive.
Keep in mind that collateral was meant to destroy all areas of a woman’s life: Family, career, reputation, finances etc..
The defense likes to say that it would be nothing if collateral was released but a minor inconvenience- what’s a few naked pictures?
But it was more than that. Even the naked pictures – and I have seen some of them – are graphic and not suitable for publication anywhere outside of hard porn.
Most of these women would be humiliated before their family, their coworkers, their friends.
And the confessions – whether true or not – would, if they were published online or handed to the right [or wrong] persons, destroy relationships, and careers forever.
This was deadly stuff – deliberately meant to be deadly and destructive.
You should see the texts Lauren sent to her slaves about the type of collateral she wanted and how aggressive she was about it. It is chilling and surely will be used as evidence to show that collateral was not some harmless game.
Not to have told these women upfront that they would have an ongoing requirement to provide more and more collateral to me is one of the chief crimes.
Once the women were in DOS, they were in a blackmail scheme – and they either had to comply with providing more blackmail on themselves or risk what they already had given being released.
Just to show you how sinister it was, let me describe some of the collateral that Allison Mack – the female leader of DOS – gave to Raniere.
According to FBI Special Agent Lever, on August 10, 2015, Allison Mack sent an email to Raniere with the subject titled “vow 3” and included an attached letter. In the letter, Mack used the terms “slave” and ”master” to refer to herself and Raniere. The letter pledged Mack’s “full and complete life” to Raniere.
The letter also identified “collateral” to “cement” this vow made by Mack to Raniere.
Mack’s collateral was described as:
(1) a letter regarding Mack’s mother and father that would “destroy their character”
(2) a contract that transferred custody of any children birthed by Mack to Raniere, if Mack broke her commitment to Raniere
(3) a contract that transferred ownership of Mack’s home if the commitment to Raniere was broken
(4) a letter addressed to social services alleging abuse to Mack ‘s nephews.
There are no victims?
Mack was ready to take down her mother and father, and her nephews – destory thier lives – not to speak of handing over money to Raniere.
And she was the leader.
Imagine what some of the others signed over. If they were not insane like Allison, some of these women would be loath to destroy their parents or their siblings and their children’s lives and would comply.
They became victims. Not at the time they gave their first collateral when they heard about DOS. And not the second time, when they agreed to supply collateral to join.
They became victims of forced labor and in some instances sex trafficking when – after giving two separate forms of collateral – they became DOS members and only afterwards were told that they had to continue to give more and more collateral.
Then, they were given instructions that they had no choice but to obey -or risk ruination of their lives and reputations by the release of the collateral.
The sorority’s leader- though most did not know it at the time – was a man, or monster, if you prefer: Keith Raniere. He was no one to meddle with. He was known to be cruelly punishing to enemies. And everyone knew it.
You were going to obey. He had your collateral.
It was structured in secrecy, and it was no birthday party for many of the DOS women.
And these – like it or not – are going to testify that they were victims.
I rather suspect the jury – not having taken any Nxivm courses on how none of us are victims – will not buy Agnifilo’s arguments.
I expect Raniere and Mack will be convicted on sex trafficking and forced labor charges – based largely on the compelling testimony of the DOS slaves-witnesses-victims.
I know a little about this. I interviewed most of them before they went to the DOJ. I urged several to go to the DOJ.
When I interviewed them, they were compelling. They were persuasive,. They had suffered. They were victims of the lies and deception of Keith Raniere, Allison Mack, Lauren Salzman and others of this brutal DOS scheme.
This was not meant – and they knew it – to help them. This was for him. This was all about him.
I think the jury will figure that out.