Several readers commented on a post here with a link to a youtube featuring Keith Raniere being interviewed by an adoring disciple.
Concerned Reader writes:
Short summary: Keith Raniere (aka Vanguard) claims that the vast majority of critics of Executive Success Program / NXIVM have criminal records and are “cynics” who try to paint good as bad rather than rational “skeptics” –which he claims to be himself.
This is a dog-whistle for ESP members who have been indoctrinated that such people are “suppressives” or “Luciferians” who have “taken the Fall”.
Cult psychiatrist Dr. John Hochman, cult recovery counselor Paul Martin Ph.D, Albany Times-Union reporters James Odato and Jennifer Gish, Vanity Fair journalist Suzanna Andrews, New York Post reporter Emily Smith, Forbes journalists Michael Freedman, Phyllis Berman, and Nathan Vardi. All “skeptics” who have criticised ESP / NXIVM as a dangerous cult-like entity. None are criminal.
Former Executive Success Program / NXIVM members Toni Natalie, Susan Dones, Kim Woolhouse, Barbara Bouchey, and Kristin Keeffe. People with inside knowledge who overcame their indoctrination and now criticize the cult. None are criminal.
Vanguard / Raniere may be referring to cult expert and exit counselor Rick Alan Ross. According to Wikipedia:
“During an interview with the New York Daily News in 2004, Ross said, “I was young and foolish and made mistakes that I deeply regret. I did whatever the court required, completed my probation in 1979, and the guilty verdicts were vacated in 1983. I have gone on with my life and never again got in that kind of trouble.”
“Ross faced charges of unlawful imprisonment over a 1991 forcible deprogramming of United Pentecostal Church International member Jason Scott; a jury acquitted him at trial.”
Scott did win a civil (non-criminal) lawsuit against Ross, with support from the Church of Scientology, which Ross had also criticized. But the final settlement was only $5000 and 200 hours of community service for Ross.
It is common for Raniere / Vanguard and Executive Success Program / NXIVM to attempt to have prosecutors bring criminal charges against its critics. Before she left NXIVM, Kristin Keeffe’s main job in fact was promoting civil lawsuits and criminal charges against ex-members and critics. This usually fails (charges were brought against Odato, Andrews, and Bouchey, but later dropped). It sometimes succeeds. Charges were brought in New York State against Joseph O’Hara, a former NXIVM consultant who quit when he discovered evidence of illegal activity, later dropped, but further charges in Texas, likely promoted by NXIVM, but unrelated to his work with NXIVM, did result in a conviction. Blog critic John Tighe was convicted on child pornography charges; many believe that the porn was planted in his computer by NXIVM.
And of course the tax charges against our host Frank Parlato are another example of Raniere / Vanguard and NXIVM / Executive Success Program urging prosecutor Anthony Bruce to mislead a grand jury into bringing charges (nearly all of which would have been dropped had Parlato been willing to plea-bargain).
(Note by Frank Parlato: There is evidence that former AUSA Anthony M. Bruce worked with Raniere/Bronfman attorney, William Savino, in arranging an indictment against me. On Aug. 20, 2015, Bruce told my attorney, James Milbrand that “Savino wants the indictment, not that this office (DOJ) does what he instructs.”
Savino and Bruce are adjunct professors at UB Law School. Raniere is known to incentivize people if they can help procure indictments against his enemies. I was asked and offered money to help indict Joe O’Hara, Rick Ross, Toni Natalie and others. At first, hearing only one side of the story, I thought that if these individuals were the villains they were said to be, it would not be unjust to help in securing their indictments. Later I learned that Raniere was fabricating almost everything he said about them. However, the sums of money he offered were enormous. I refused to assist in the indictments and advised them to concentrate on higher purposes. This did not go over well.
About the time Savino was pushing for the indictment, he was being ousted by partners at Damon Morey and was reluctantly accepted at Woods Oviatt based on his shyster reputation.
Raniere may have brought great joy to Savino whose career was uncertain, when his colleague AUSA Bruce indicted Parlato. It will surprise no one if Savino is called as a witness in the Parlato case to ascertain how much, if anything, he was paid by Bronfman for the indictment and if AUSA Bruce was paid directly or indirectly for the indictment.)
Raniere alleges in the video that he – and by way of extension, NXIVM – teaches others to speak and behave with honor. Where was such honor in the patent case that was recently dismissed last year that is referenced here? Microsoft prevails in Raniere lawsuit
According to the the judge, Raniere acted on “bad faith” and “vexatiously multiplied” the proceedings. Also, he “engaged in a pattern of obfuscation, offering inconsistent theories and arguments and promising to produce evidence that never materialized.” In another article referenced here “guru-takes-expensive-hit-in-patent-suit, the judge described him as “untruthful” and that his “promises never bore out”, that the “court found that plaintiff engaged in deliberately misleading conduct to obscure and complicate the standing issue”, the “plaintiff’s conduct, in the court’s view, demonstrated a clear history of delay and contumacious conduct”, and that “he made false and misleading representations during the litigation.”
I’m not a smart man, but I do know what honor is, and none of these conclusions of his behavior as determined by the court remotely reflect anything honorable.
(The judge said she had considered holding Raniere in contempt of court and possibly perjury but chose the lesser penalty of making him pay $1 million in Microsoft and AT&T legal fees as sanctions for his dishonest and frivolous lawsuit. His lawsuit included a series of lies to the court which began with him telling the court that he owned the patent and lost the paperwork and wound up with his ex girlfriend Toni Natalie held the patents in trust for him and he lost the trust agreement. The judge recognized a pattern of perjury and hit him for his opponents’ legal fees.)
Notice how in this video, Raniere with acolyte video he says absolutely nothing about how it works. The title of this video as a short statement on the content of this video is simply inapplicable. ‘It’s just a tool that works better than other tools in some circumstances’. He’s a half-way decent rhetorician who effectively says nothing, but presents it like he’s said something substantial.
Appending “rational” to a tool and repeating it doesn’t make it such. In other words, it’s snake oil that manipulates people’s beliefs to make it seem like they’ve solved something they’ve done on their own. There are plenty of scientifically accredited individuals who can help people overcome their own self-imposed limitations or fears that have no real basis in reality. They’re called psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors, therapists, etc. Also, it’s been “patent-pending” for now for over fifteen years.
(Raniere’s students possess a marvelous ability to ignore his obvious lies and find devotion to their (hoped for) savior. When they lose that ability and discover (in their view at least) that he is a pathological liar and devious manipulator, he tries to destroy them. This too might be some kind of therapy. Many ex-disciples are fearful of him. From adoration to fear of the same person is something well worth considering as therapy. His attempt to destroy so many of his ex adorers is a remarkable study in hate and love. He ex disciples do not hate him they are terrified.)
Wait a second. Isn’t Rational Inquiry a proprietary tool or technology, and the people who decide to take it must sign an NDA, i.e. a Non-Disclosure Agreement that requires them under the threat of law that they are not to speak about anything that they learn about it to others? So, pray tell, how are people supposed to rationally criticize the tool, technology, methodology, etc.,when they are bound by law not to speak about it?
When someone did talk about it by giving the course materials to Rick Ross who then put them into the hands of the credentialed psychiatrists to assess it, the results of which he subsequently put online, he was sued by NXIVM. So how does this Raniere guy expect people to be more than cynics, when those who talk about what they learn can’t actually talk about it? Is it only those who speak highly about it and him – who have taken the courses and apparently continue to do so – and seemingly only hawk for him, are those the only people who can only indirectly speak about it?
As far as I know, people aren’t so much as concerned with the course material as such, but what it begins to entail. As Rick Ross and other cult researchers have detailed, cults are onion-like and simply use business facades as hooks. It’s only as people get more and more involved, and it takes up more and more of their time, when the more nefarious things become apparent. And these are the things that have already been publicly alleged in other media sources that don’t need to be delved into here by people who have left, e.g., the emotional and sexual manipulation.
This guy seems to always be deflecting responsibility onto others and not himself for his own actions and their results: it’s the media talking bad about him, or always someone else. And that’s expected since he apparently has another good – for him at least – multi-level marketing scam (all his past businesses have taken this form) going where he’s fooled two rich girls whose family has a lot of high status connections that he can use to hawk for him.