This is Part 11 of our study of Lauren Salzman’s role in DOS and Nxivm. She is currently awaiting a sentencing date for her conviction of racketeering and racketeering conspiracy.
In this post, I came to realize that Lauren is demented. Hearing her talk about her madness as if it was just ordinary matter of course behavior – like readiness drills – finally persuaded me.
It was not just the craziness of it, it was the way she explains it. This woman’s epiphany that Keith Raniere is a selfish monster is not a fulsome realization. She hardly comprehends the insanity of what they were all doing to one another – in his name. She admits he is bad, but justifies her actions as orderly and natural not realizing that the whole world would consider her insane.
Readiness Drills Not Discipline but Mayhem
In my opinion, Keith Raniere instituted readiness drills not for disciplinary or efficiency purposes but for the joy of waking up 100 women in the middle of the night. There were 102 members of DOS at one time all subjected to readiness drills.
Punishment for failing included bare-ass spankings with a paddle. Punishment was to include imprisonment in a dungeon they were starting to build. They already had cages.
This fell apart when Frank Report exposed DOS on June 5, 2017 with the story Part 1: Branded Slaves and Master Raniere; Sources: Human branding part of Raniere-inspired women’s group. Not only did slaves quit DOS and members of Nxivm bolted, but even poor Dani Padilla canceled her dungeon order with a sadism bondage store.
But getting back to readiness drills and the 102 women who had to reply within 60 seconds or be punished…Think of the thrill he must have felt – waking up 102 women in the middle of the night, night after night, imposing his sleep deprivation sadism on them.
So let us hear Lauren on the topic and while you read this, consider how natural she seems to think this all was.
Assistant US Attorney Tanya Hajjar is examining Lauren in the trial of Keith Alan Raniere.
Q Ms. Salzman, you testified that there were other DOS slaves under you —
Q — you recruited them. How many did you recruit?
A Six in total.
Q And what were their first names?
A Sarah, Audrey, Jimena, Corolla, Amanda, and C—l.
Q Were you given instructions about what you could tell recruits into DOS?
A Yes, I was.
Q What were those instructions?
A That I was not to tell them about Keith’s involvement.
Q Anything else?
A And that — yes. Well, kind of — and in effect, not to tell them about his initials and the brand.
Q What were the requirements of being a DOS slave?
A It — it was total nondisclosure, so complete secrecy about anything happening in the group and a lifetime vow of obedience to your master.
Q How were these requirements enforced?
A Well, initially there was a whole enrollment process. But the first thing that happened is that the person who would approach you to enroll you … – and this happened with me, this is what I did with others as well, [I] would ask for collateral. And basically, it was some sort of either material possession or it could have been information — sensitive information, true or untrue. But the idea was that it was something valuable enough or damaging enough that would ensure a total commitment to secrecy; that you would rather — that you would keep a secret like until you died than have this information come out or have this — you know, lose this possession, whatever it was.
Then, once you gave that collateral, you were told a certain number of things about the sorority, about the lifetime vow of obedience, the concept of the master and slave. There was an idea of a collar which was, I was told, to be a chain — a piece of jewelry that you would wear that symbolized a chain to your master. And ideally, this would be a piece of jewelry that you could and would never take off.
[Ed. Note: Almost like an ankle monitor]
And the brand. And then if you decided you wanted to go forward and do this, you would collateralize all areas of your life. So more material possessions, more damaging information, as much as possible to secure your commitment that you would never leave and you would never speak about it. So the idea — so the question about how it was enforced is the collateral backed it.
In essence, your fear that if you were to go against what you had committed to, that collateral would be subject to forfeiture or release.
Q And throughout this process would the defendant instruct you that his role was to be concealed?
Q Did you provide collateral to join DOS?
Q Were there additional practices associated with DOS?
A Yes. There were a number of different practices. There was a practice of checking in last thing before you went to bed and first thing in the morning. So you would say good night to your master before you went to bed, good morning to your master first thing when you woke up. Master — you would call them master or M, but master was always capitalized as were all pronouns. So if you referred to them as you, the Y would be capitalized. He, she, they were always capitalized when referring to the master.
Also, we did a daily active self-denial or doing something uncomfortable to build character, weekly acts of care. And then, of course, there were other tasks or assignments given.
Q Was readiness in DOS one of the practices as well?
A Yes, readiness.
Q So you talked about communication in the context of DOS and good morning and good night. Can you explain exactly what you did and what others did in DOS?
A In the communication? Most of what we did took place in the — in encrypted applications that you would have on your phone. So mostly we used Telegram, and Telegram allowed for you to have a locked chat thread and between just two individuals. The group chats were not locked, but we used Telegram for everything.
So in a locked Telegram thread, I can send you encrypted messages, and you could send me back encrypted messages, and it allows for the function that if I wanted to delete something in my chat, I could delete both my chat from my phone and your phone.
So this was the type of communication and the type of capacity that app had. But those threads were locked so — and encrypted so you would have one with your master and then the same with any slaves you had. So we have individual chats, each of us. I had individual ones for each of my slaves, and then a group chat, and one with me and Keith.
We also communicated on Signal which is another encrypted app. But then I had group chats with my circle. So the eight first-line DOS women I had to chat with me and I had one with the group of all my slaves together with me and they had one individually without me.
Q And what was the purpose of using Telegram or Signal as opposed to just the normal SMS function or your phone?
A That it was encrypted and more secrecy, more security.
Q Did you receive notifications in Telegram or in What’sApp if certain things happened?
A Yes. Well, specifically I mean, for readiness drills we would — we had special readiness threads. So we would receive an alert that we were having a drill.
Q Can you describe what these drills were in the context of readiness?
A Yeah. The readiness drill — originally readiness was something that we had done in SOP, which was the men’s organization, so it was unfamiliar to us. But the way that we did it in DOS was different. So Keith would initiate a readiness drill by sending a question mark in a group thread to us and to the first line. The first line had 60 seconds to respond that we received the communication and transmit the readiness drill down to the second line. The second line had 60 seconds to report it back to us and us to report it to Keith and to get that communication down to the third line and the same with fourth line. So each line it was 60 seconds to get the communication down and back up that it had been completed.
Q Did your slaves know to whom you were reporting?
Q How often did you participate in these drills?
A Frequently. I mean… Keith wanted us to be good at readiness, like effective and efficient at readiness and so until we got readiness done, we couldn’t move on to certain other things. And when we failed at readiness, he wanted to know how we would fix it. So we were taking consequences for failing at readiness.
So what we started doing was practice readiness drills. So each — he would initiate readiness drills, it could be every day, it could be a couple times a week, sometimes it was less. But we started to want to practice, and as we enrolled more and more people in readiness, it became more and more complex and there were more and more errors.
So at one point my group agreed — when I say “my group,” my circle of first-line DOS masters, that each of us you would initiate at least one practice drill throughout the week. So we were — my group was running eight drills just with us, and then my slaves under me, I was — I was duplicating everything that was going on with us. So when they had failures, similar to how Keith would ask us, what are you going to do to fix the failure, I would say to them, what are you going to do to fix the failure, so then they started running practice drills as well.
So, for some of the people lower in the chain, there were a lot of drills.
Q When did the defendant initiate these drills?
A Whenever. But frequently it was — it was at times that we wouldn’t be ready. Like I — so that we would learn to be ready all the time. So it could be in the middle of the night. Sometimes it was concurrently at the same time as the SOP readiness drill which increased the probability that there would be failure because you’re running drills with two groups, and the complexity of DOS readiness was there was a lot to do in a short amount of time in those minutes.
But sometimes it just — could be just random like times you wouldn’t expect.
Q Did the defendant sometimes initiate these drills in the middle of the night?
Q And did you make certain arrangements so you can be ready for the drill?
A Yeah. Some people had several phones so that they wouldn’t miss the drill. We had all — our alerts on the phone turned up to, like, the highest level volume and the alert that would be most, like, most likely to wake you up out of whatever sleep that you were in. And then everybody had the different phone numbers you could be reached at. I had a landline plus a cell phone. And then we had a buddy system as well so that if somebody was missing in readiness, you would go looking for them, and that if they — if they were missing, you were also accountable for their buddy. So there was a lot that was involved.
Q You said — well, were readiness drills secret?
A They were secret, which became very complex because there’s a lot that had to be done. Sometimes people would be missing or you would have go looking for them. You know, there was the four minutes that everything had to happen within tracking the time of that, tracking the number of people and keeping it secret from everybody else who was in NXIVM who you were spending a lot of time with because we were teaching intensive.
So we were in classes together for long periods of time or different committees that we worked on together. Our whole social group of friends was within this community, so it was hard. It started to become hard to keep it secret. And also because a number of people who were in DOS were supposed to keep their enrollment or participation separate from each other and then they would be in the same place and receive the drill at the same time. So they started to identify who each other was and then report back that there had been breaches of that security, so to speak. And, you know, then there were complexity surrounding that because nobody was supposed to know who was in this group.
Q Were there consequences for failing at readiness?
A Yes, we took consequences.
The Judge asked: I have a question. Was it ever explained to you by anyone why these readiness drills were necessary in order to be part of this organization?
Lauren: Well, what I had understood … was that the readiness drills were to help us build discipline and be responsive and to create a very efficient responsive communications network to disseminate information very quickly….
….it was a lot more aggressive and there was less leniency in failures and more focus on us just being ready and responsive in discipline all the time. So, I thought that it was part of us learning to be disciplined to be aware and to build these traits of characteristic in ourselves which we come to learn that we didn’t have and men did have.
THE COURT: All right. Thank you.
BY MS. HAJJAR:
Q Looking back now, Ms. Salzman, do you have a view of the point of readiness in DOS?
A The point of it? Like in part of the point of it was Keith’s vision of this would be a very big organization at some point, and we would be able to — to get communications out and move a lot of people in a short amount of time to do different objectives which were undefined, you know, in the theorizing of what that would be. But I think also there was just having us always be prioritizing this above other things and creating circumstances where we needed to choose this again and again over other things, set aside other things to make this the highest priority.
Q And when you say move a lot of people, the people you are referring to are DOS slaves?
A DOS slaves, yeah.
Lauren explained the buddy system of readiness drills.
A … this is our buddy system. So Camila was … responsible for Daniella and Daniella was responsible for Nicki, Nicki was responsible for Loreta, Lola… was responsible for Rosa Laura… Laureis responsible for Moni, Monica; Monica responsible for Allison and Allison responsible for me. So if one of us didn’t show up to readiness, this told you who you were responsible to contact, to go looking for, to find them to show up for the readiness drill.
But also you were accountable to make sure that the person they were accountable to in their absence was present, and if not, you could end up — you could end up being responsible for the entire circle if you were the only one who showed up.
Q Was it acceptable in the context of DOS to be unavailable for a long period of time?
A No. The — in — in SOP, the men’s organization, there was the concept of being dark, so you could be dark or unavailable for a certain period of time. Some people would go dark at night, some people, you know, during business meetings, various family functions, do various things. In DOS the kind of tag line on it was that there was no dark in DOS, no dark.
So there were circumstances where it was acceptable, like if you are on an airplane and completely unreachable or something, to have a buddy take responsibility for your line. But if you were absent, they had to initiate their whole readiness drill plus your whole line’s readiness drill in your absence. So it was — for some people who had a lot of people in their organization, like I did, it was a sizable workload to off-load onto a buddy, you know, and especially if they had larger organizations, but there were times where that was necessary.
Q When you say you had a larger organization, are you referring to the network of DOS slaves under you?
A Yeah. I had enrolled a number of people who had enrolled a number of people who were enrolling a number of people, so the group grew and readiness became more complex as the group grew.
Q Were there times that you reorganized your life or changed your schedule in order to be available for readiness drills?
A Constantly. And some of them were difficult because if they came — so you didn’t want to go dark that often or I didn’t, and we were trying to succeed at this and do it well. Like sometimes it would come — like one time it came and I was driving and I had — I crossed — like be able to pull over, I had to cross over like four lanes of traffic to do it, and it wasn’t safe to be doing all the time, not the way we were doing it.
Grown women reordering their entire lives to perform readiness drills. Pulling over in traffic to meet the one-minute deadline. Keeping phones with loud alarms so they can wake up in the middle of the night – or get paddled.
These are adult women. Behind it all – a secret to some and not secret to others – was one demented crazy batshit sadist.
More than anything, I was struck by Lauren’s seriousness. She was still trying to justify its purpose, talking about slaves in the 21st century as if it were part of our common experience and nothing more natural than for a woman to try to be good as a man by being a slave on 24/7 call, focusing your whole life on being able to answer a text within 60 seconds, to a monster of a man.
Lauren was the top recruiter for DOS. A brilliant enabler of Raniere. And she had the ability to suck women into Nxivm and DOS. She could reel them in and get them to enter the world of Raniere-Salzman madness.
I think the judge in sentencing her should grant her leniency on the condition that she gets psychiatric help.
She desperately needs it.
“He who was the most joy wins,” he often said.