Raniere was obviously trying to intimidate and otherwise express how seriously he took his position and how little someone like Barbara Bouchey [BB] would understand about the gravity and problems that a “great leader” like Keith experienced.
The conversation starts with them talking about people ganging up on BB. Keith, I think, is trying to say to BB that he, Keith, is above trying to play the petty blame game that BB is playing.
Keith says “The way you counter blame is to be a dictator, which I won’t do”. Which is a statement that could be analyzed for pages on its own. But to me, Keith is saying in effect to BB, “look, I could just squash all this petty squabbling but I don’t because I am benevolent and I suffer because of it.”
Keith is expressing to her how hard it is for him to be a leader, pointing to the way presidents age as an example of how much pressure and stress leaders face on behalf of their flock.
It seems to me that at the beginning of the exchange, Keith is trying to get across to BB how being a leader of NXIVM is like being on a knife’s edge and anything he says can have grave consequences. People can die, economies can change. He invokes the name of EF Hutton, which was once one of the most prominent financial institutions in the first half of the 20th century but became mired in legal issues because of a scandal that involved kiting fraudulent checks among various member banks to avoid paying interest on loans.
Keith was like a bank, and BB and others were customers at that bank. Keith was expressing to BB that if he gets involved in a conflict between customers, it could make the other customers wary or set a bad precedent, or otherwise have unintended consequences.
Keith is trying to tell BB that there are mechanisms for her to resolve her conflicts without having to drag Keith into it. Keith’s basically telling BB that the answer to her conflict should be self-evident based on Keith’s teachings.
“Bring it up the process” Keith emphasizes a couple of different times.
Then BB seems to be saying to Keith, “well a lot of members don’t know about this process.” BB is saying that a lot of people on the periphery of the inner circle can’t see the conflicts or “elephants” that are present and they maybe aren’t as familiar with the group dynamics and teachings.
BB seems to be concerned about turning others off to NXIVM and trying to explain to Keith why their current dynamic is not great for recruiting or expanding the group. BB is basically telling Keith that he, in part, is to blame because he is in the middle of everyone and that is causing issues. And these issues are further compounded by Keith not addressing them to the group. Who knew that when you sleep with over ten women in a social circle that it might cause problems? If nothing else, this just shows how much of a master at manipulation Keith was.
Keith then pushes back and says, “well, I’m not addressing them in the way you (BB) would like.” Then they have the exchange about leadership.
BB tells Keith that he doesn’t really have any leadership experience either, and if Keith were to let this stand he would’ve basically lost control. Keith has to express to BB and others listening (it was being videotaped, after all, and Keith was aware it was being taped) that he does have the bona fides to be their leader.
Here’s the sentence in question: “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.”
Keith directly says “I’ve had people killed”. He is speaking in the active voice. He’s not saying in that portion of the sentence that people have died because they share his beliefs, but rather that Keith has directly caused the deaths of others.
Now I think that Scott [LOL] or whoever might be confused, in part, because later in the sentence Keith also implies that people may have died indirectly because of Keith’s beliefs or teachings as well. The way I read his statement is that Keith is telling her, yeah, I’ve had to order people’s lives to be taken, and people have died because they shared my beliefs, and my word is so powerful that people trust it and act on it and that, too, may have caused people to lose their lives.
Keith thinks he is like a President of the United States. He’s had to order airstrikes and had to make decisions to go to war or to kill an enemy of the state. I think that this is what Keith is trying to express as well; that he is the leader of the most important organization and BB’s internecine struggle is just a distraction from the goals of the group which are critical to the future of mankind in Keith’s view.
The bottom line, in my interpretation, is that Keith was confronted by BB directly and belittled in his view in probably the harshest manner that he had experienced in his years of leading a cult.
Keith was trying to impress on BB and others the stakes of his leadership and how serious and dangerous his mission and, thus, their common mission, was. Keith was doing his best to be intimidating and to demonstrate to BB and anyone else who might be listening that would challenge his leadership that the very act of challenging him in the future or not following his teachings might imperil their life or someone else’s.
A challenge like BB’s that Keith wasn’t an especially good or experienced leader had to be met with the strongest possible rhetorical response and Keith’s trump card always seemed to invoke life and death. As in, Keith’s spiritual energy is so strong that he will die if he doesn’t get off with a woman. Keith threatening women that he might die if they cheat on him. Etc. Etc. It fits Keith’s pattern and I think it was obviously an implicit threat.