A frequent commenter on this site, sometimes known as LOL, in other words, Scott Johnson, sets out to prove fairly convincingly that Keith Alan Raniere did not mean anything murderous when he said his now infamous “I’ve had people killed for my beliefs and for theirs” on a video in 2009.
Scott attempts to prove the entire conversation when taken in context, which he generously transcribed for readers of the Frank Report whom he likes so much, makes it pretty clear that he means people can get killed when an important leader simply says the wrong thing or leads people to follow him without that leader fully understanding the consequences.
By Scott Johnson
This is in response to Susan Dones statement at the sentencing hearing of Keith Raniere, where she said she was afraid of him killing her based on his statement in a video [where he tells Barbara Bouchey] that he has had “people killed for his beliefs.”
I do not interpret this as a murderous threat.
Here’s the context of the “I’ve had people killed” quote, as taken from the YouTube video:
After you get done chomping on the usual Raniere word salad for several minutes, the applicable part starts at 06:21 with Raniere being told by Bouchey that he doesn’t have leadership experience.
Raniere tries to defend himself claiming that he does.
At 06:35, Raniere is told the only experience he has was with Consumers’ Buyline and that was an illegal failure.
Raniere is not used to being called out like this. He normally has his evil harem to insulate himself from these things and they weren’t there.
At 06:48 Raniere interrupts Bouchey in order to change the subject and claims that he’s been shot at.
At 06:58 Raniere talks about having bodyguards to protect him from being shot at, and the quandary is whether those guards should be armed or not.
At 07:02 is the “famous” I’ve had people killed statement, suggesting this isn’t merely a theoretical idea, but real people using Raniere’s silly technique have really been killed, perhaps by cartel members, for his beliefs when these beliefs were stupidly followed by some of his Mexican followers.
Then at 07:12, he ties this back to leadership,. He thinks he is leading a protest against violent drug and human cartels, which merely reinforces he is a poor leader because he doesn’t have a clue that the cartel members couldn’t care less about his silly group.
Then at 07:19, he attempts to use an “old Christian adage” that doesn’t exist.
For Frank to continue this fairy tale of Raniere killing others is extremely disappointing, Frank is either clueless or is looking for sympathetic eyeballs. In either case, it’s very disappointing as a so-called and self-claimed journalist.
Here is the transcript of the video:
[Keith is sitting on the coach speaking to Barbara Bouchey, also on the couch, and seated below is another woman, believed to be Kim Woolhouse. The time is April, 2009.]
KR: To put a note I do have because I’ve been pondering how to free the process up.
KR: And I was going to make a statement but it’s not appropriate to make the statement without everyone here just to hear it. The statement, I want to make it in isolation and it does not request a response.
KR: I think that will help free things up.
BB: OK, but you don’t want to say it here now you mean?
KR: I can if you want. It’s very simply, the process that you are doing. For example, you have accused at times people of ganging up collaborative, ganging up on you. It is yet what you sort of manifest here.
KR You may want to also think that in a process where a group of people get together, make some decisions based on data. Data may not be complete, may not be true, make conclusions on that data, execute the conclusions, especially with someone like myself who, as I said, no matter what you say, I’m not even going to bring up the controverting data. So you will not get it from me. You may want to, to some degree, make the process more transparent and open it.
KR: So you can get the other data.
BB No, I think that’s great.
KR: It’s not a statement for exchange. You do you what you want with it.
BB: Yeah I would agree with that though.
KR: I don’t care to be right or wrong, integrated or not integrated. Whether you think I am or not. Could provide proof, yes, could provide proof, no. I do care about what’s right with respect to conduct. Understand, for example. the structure that you raise, in the hands of certain types of people, works very well. In the hands of not of those type of people, doesn’t. Blames, destroys, lack of blame. The way you can counter blame is to be a dictator which I won’t do. So to allow both is a very difficult thing. In corporations, it’s the same thing. In governments, it’s the same thing. Ever notice how, for example, the President of the United States ages. Just take before and after shots of him going into office and out. Why do you think, I mean, even though they don’t maybe understand ethics completely or whatever they get a quick primer on what happens if they speak one word sideways and people, if you believe it, maybe people die, maybe people are hurt, maybe economies change or whatever. You know you become an EF Hutton. If you say your own opinion, you can destroy people’s lives. That is the nature of becoming prominent.
[This is a clue that Raniere did not mean anything murderous. He is saying that an important person like the president or a Vanguard, a leader of a movement, of EF Hutton, who people trust and do what he says, because they trust his judgment, has to be very careful with his words or people could die, or their lives could be ruined by following him.]
BB: So but do you see this as a problem?
KR: I see that this group does not understand this.
KR: I see also that if you had some more of the data with respect to the other people it would have dynamics with respect to not just you but others and other things you would start to see more of the reality of it.
KR: In some ways, the company isn’t this bad or it wasn’t as bad a situation as you thought it was. But I believe that the way this was done will destroy the company itself when it did not have to, which is the conundrum
[At this point, it is probably a good idea to explain that Bouchey and other woman are expressing concern with the way Raniere is running the company, including that he is sleeping with many students and the women on the executive board.]
KR: I think you’ll see that if you think about it and watch it through.
BB: Are you saying that you don’t think that we’re in a very critical state in the company?
KR: Now we are.
BB: We were before.
KR: Not the same way. One’s critical in terms of–
BB: Based on your opinion.
KR: Yeah, in other words, you can arbitrate. As long as you have a certain type of ethic within a system, a certain type of procedure, you can cut through garbage eventually. It may, that’s why I told you, when you were saying some things to me that I thought were quite contrary, but I told you ‘bring it up the process.’
BB: Right, right.
KR: I said you know the part of the problem is people don’t bring it up the process and you say well people don’t know about the process. I said ‘Great that’s why you should bring out the process so they can,’ but understand that will fortify the company. That will fortify —
BB: Well but do you understand that I think that’s part of the problem is that we don’t teach that process. So nobody knows even about it.
KR: Did you hear what I said?
BB: That you think that it’s good that
KR: Yeah and that having you pursue it. Bring it up so it went even arbitrating between Nancy and yourself with me.
KR: That was very good.
BB: But what I’m trying to say though, Keith, is that we believe that there are certain problems, that pink or white elephants, whatever we want to call them, in the room and eclectically a group of us and there are many people outside of this group of 10. There about 40 people that I could list for you right now that see these similar elephants and yet we, as a company, don’t ever address those elephants and —
KR: I don’t necessarily agree with you, but maybe not address it the way you think it should be addressed.
BB: OK, but we’ve open that, that’s possibly true but what I see are the effects–
KR: I know.
BB: The effects are, our company is falling apart.
KR: You don’t have the experience of leadership.
KR: You don’t have the experience of preserving people’s lives with what you say, and the truth of the matter is —
BB: In a way, neither do you.
KR: Yes, I do.
BB: No you don’t, because the only company before this was Consumers’ Buyline, and that, in my understanding, fell apart within a few years or was on the downhill after a couple of years when you got sued or whatever it was.
KR: That’s not– well, here’s the thing. I’ve been shot at because of my beliefs. I’ve had to make choices, should I have bodyguards? Should I have them armed or not? I’ve had people killed because of my beliefs and because of their beliefs, and because of things that I’ve said, and I’m mindful of that and I’m leading an organization that’s doing something very good. The bright, you might say, you know this is an old Christian adage which I think is very true “The brighter the light, the more the bugs.”
KR: So what I think what we have is a very bright light.
[I think Scott has made a potentially good point. A more complete or contextual quote might be: “I’ve had people killed because of my beliefs and because of their beliefs, and because of things that I’ve said.”
It may have been true, or he may have been bullshitting about people who followed him closely dying, or him getting bodyguards or being shot at. It sounds like bullshit. But, before we rule it out altogether, maybe he was shot at, or maybe he thought of bodyguards once.
On the other hand, there was Gina Hutchinson and Kristin Snyder – who both listened to what he said, and now both are gone. Did he talk them into suicide? We can’t rule that out either.]