We have heard a lot lately about how good DOS was for some of the people in it. We heard from Michele Hatchette in two installments what she thought.
Part 3 of Hatchette’s defense of DOS is in the cue. Before we publish, it would be pleasant to hear from someone who thought less kindly about it.
DOS was a large part of the criminal case against Keith Raniere. FBI Special Agent Michael Lever was the lead agent on the case.
So let’s hear from him.
Below is what Lever said about DOS in February 2018 – a month before the FBI arrested Raniere.
He said it in a legal affidavit. Below is a slightly edited version to conform to non-legal style and readability.
Speical Agent Michael Lever
By Michael Lever
DOS Founding and Structure
In 2015, a secret society was developed within Nxivm called “DOS” or the “Vow”
DOS is an organized criminal group operating in the Eastern District of New York and other parts of the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
DOS operates as a pyramid with levels of “slaves” headed by “masters.” Slaves are expected to recruit slaves of their own (thus becoming masters themselves), who in turn owed service not only to their masters but also to masters above them in the DOS pyramid….
Raniere alone forms the top of the pyramid as the highest master. Other than Raniere, all participants in DOS are women. Raniere’s status as head of the pyramid was concealed from all newly recruited slaves other than those directly under Raniere.
Meaning of DOSDOS stands for “Dominus Obsequious Sororium,” which at least one DOS slave was told by her master translates to “Master Over the Slave Women.”
According to a Latin expert I consulted, this phrase is broken Latin. Obsequious” is an English word. The Latin would properly be “obsequiosarnm.”
“Sororium” would properly be “sorornm.” It roughly translates to “Lord/Master of the Obedient Female Companions.”
Recruiting and Collateral
From its inception, DOS masters recruited slaves mostly from within Nxivm’s ranks. When identifying prospective slaves, masters often targeted women experiencing difficulties in their lives, including dissatisfaction with the pace of their advancement in Nxivm.
While avoiding the words “master” and “slave” in the recruiting pitch, a master would tell a prospective slave that she had the opportunity to join an organization that would change her life. The master then told the prospective slave that to learn more, she had to provide “collateral,” to ensure she would keep what she was about to learn a secret.
Collateral consisted of material or information the prospective slave would not want to be revealed because it would ruin her or someone close to her.
- sexually explicit photographs
- videos made to look candid in which prospective slaves told damning stories (true or untrue) about themselves, close friends and/or family members;
- letters making damaging accusations (true or untrue) against friends and family members.
In many cases, the masters helped prospective slaves develop ideas for what would be appropriate collateral, or instructed prospective slaves on lies to tell to make the collateral more damaging.
After prospective slaves provided collateral to learn about the organization, the masters informed them that DOS was a women-only organization and the goal of DOS was to eradicate weaknesses in its members.
Raniere’s role as the highest master was not mentioned.
The masters also told prospective slaves that their respective relationships would be of “masters” and “slaves,” using those words.
If prospective slaves expressed hesitation about the program or about becoming “slaves” and having “masters,” the masters downplayed the terms, saying that all women are slaves to various things.
Masters also used Nxivm techniques to manipulate prospective slaves into believing that any hesitation to join was due to their weaknesses. The hesitation itself was evidence of why they needed DOS.
Prospective slaves who agreed to join DOS were told they had to provide additional collateral, similar in type to the collateral they had already provided.
Some slaves were told they had to collateralize all aspects of their lives, including signing over any assets, disclaiming their faith, and doing things that would ruin their careers and relationships if the collateral were released.
DOS slaves understood that if they left DOS, spoke publicly about DOS, or repeatedly failed DOS obligations or assignments, their collateral could be released.
All DOS slaves were ultimately required to provide collateral beyond what had initially been described.
Most DOS slaves were not initially told they would have to provide collateral every month. In most cases, the DOS slaves provided additional collateral beyond what they initially understood was expected. This was partly because they feared the collateral they had provided would be released.
DOS slaves were also regularly given assignments to complete by their masters, including reviewing ESP materials and doing other work for Nxivm or Raniere. This work included reviewing and editing dense articles written by Raniere and, at least in one case, transcribing interviews of a high-ranking member of Nxivm for a memorial service hosted by Raniere.
In addition to completing acts of care and assignments, DOS slaves were required to participate in “readiness” drills. These drills aimed to have everyone in the DOS pyramid respond by text message at any given time of the day or night. Readiness drills, along with other aspects of the DOS program, resulted in the slaves suffering from severe sleep deprivation.
DOS slaves also had to engage in acts of self-denial or acts that would cause them discomfort, including taking ice cold showers for several minutes, standing for an hour at 4:00 a.m., and performing planks (a difficult exercise where one rests on her forearms and tiptoes and keeps her back as flat as possible).
DOS victims believed they had to complete their assignments and comply with readiness drills and acts of self-denial or risk release of their collateral.
Additionally, several DOS victims believed their success in the Nxivm ranking system depended on successfully completing DOS assignments.
Furthermore, masters informed their slaves that if they failed to complete their assignments, it reflected badly on the masters and could cause them to be punished by their masters.
In at least one instance, a master who, unbeknownst to her slaves, was herself a direct slave of Raniere’s, told her slaves that she could be punished by being paddled or put in a cage by her master, i.e. by Raniere, for her slaves’ failure to succeed at “readiness.”
Nicki Clyne was a First Line MasterBrandingMany of the DOS victims were branded in their pubic regions with a cauterizing pen in a process that took twenty to thirty minutes.
During the branding “ceremonies,” slaves were required to be fully naked, and the master would order one slave to film while the others held down the slave being branded.
Some DOS victims were told that the brand stood for the four elements (the lines represented air, earth and water and the cauterizing pen represented sealing with fire).
However, it is clear that the brand in fact consisted of Raniere’s initials.
Masters told their slaves after the branding ceremonies that the videos of the branding ceremonies and photographs of the women with their brands were additional pieces of collateral.
The image below is a picture of victim Jane Doe l’s brand as it appeared on her body shortly after the procedure. The second image shows the brand turned counter-clockwise with Raniere’s initials (the “R” upside down) superimposed.