By Peter Longworth
Threats can be explicit or implicit. If someone’s holding a gun to your head, the context of the situation you are in is usually sufficient to influence the likely course of your behaviour. What strikes me about the perverse nature of the collateral includes the following:
1. The type and range of collateral: huge financial pledges (account numbers, title deeds to property etc) to extreme confessions (from embarrassing personal anecdotes to career-ending / life-changing admissions) to pornographic photographs and videos
2. The fact that much of what was collected was often not even true – it had to be so damaging that exaggeration progressed to invention progressed to being told what to write
3. Its potential impact on people connected to DOS members who were not even members themselves, but family, friends, employers, potential employers
4. The ever increasing frequency it was collected, especially towards the end of DOS as panic set in among the top brass in response to women beginning to leave
Let there be no mistake, this practice was a disgusting and contemptible abuse of people’s right to privacy perpetrated by a mob of brainwashed, deranged and morally bankrupt leaders at the behest of their narcisistic, psychopathic, Machiavellian and sadistic (the 4 elements!) master.
“They were free to come and go whenever they liked…”, reminisced Clyne in one of her typically equivocal claims (First Line Master of the Understatement) when discussing the freedom DOS ‘slaves’ enjoyed/endured, a bit like a Nazi describing Auschwitz as a place where work makes you free. Like the mythical Hotel California, collateral aimed to ensure you could check out any time you liked, but you could never leave.
What comes across tellingly from former DOS members’ trial transcripts was how genuinely terrified they were, and increasingly so towards the end. Collateral was the like the sword of Damocles which could come down on their heads at any time. It was the ever present threat that ensured they responded to readiness drills, observed their enforced diets, carried out their daily chores, and in some cases even agreed to be pimped to the ‘Grand Master’.
And if they failed in any of the above, to accept an appropriate penance/’consequence’ (onerous physical endeavour, increased starvation, physical discomfort test, or even humiliating beatings that would be filmed for additional collateral).
One of the biggest lies of the DOS apologists is that collateral was never going to be used – it just represented a pledge that member’s would make to themselves that they were serious about what they were entering into, would never divulge its secrets (abuse!), and it would spur them on to achieve the wonderful goals they had to make them better people (the collateral was for them and nobody else!). They claim none of it has ever been released, though Sarah Edmondson’s branding video clearly refutes that, and then there’s the question of where Suneel obtained his Camila photos. The problem, which revenge porn victims are all too well aware of, but which increasingly affects us all in this digital age, is that once it’s out there, it’s out there. It’s unlikely ever to to disappear, and at any time could come back to bite you in the ass.
Essentially collateral served to enforce the asymmetrical structure of DOS, meaning that it could never even approximate to being a ‘sisterhood’. When someone has the goods on you, you’re in an inferior position – you do what you’re told. It was the basis of the whole master-slave dynamic, and the more goods they have on you, the weaker your position becomes, the more vulnerable you become to abuse. Videos of the branding ceremonies provided additional collateral, and the ‘masters’ arrogantly saw no reason to tell their ‘slaves’ what the brand represented, Raniere’s initials rather than the 4 elements.
Raniere knew it. He’d discussed it with Grace Park in an interview in 2015, just as he was setting up DOS. He was obsessed with the Stanford Prison Experiment (SPE) of the early 70’s and how it permanently fucked up people’s psychology: guards became guards (masters) and prisoners (slaves) assumed their roles too; just as in society people learn their place, but in a much shorter space of time. And as with the SPE, some guards (masters) can become permanently stuck in their delusion, eh Nicki?
For Raniere it was going to provide him fresh sex meat on an ongoing basis, the realisation of unbridled S&M sex fantasies – as a sadistic psychopath it was as much as he could have wished for.
It was also his undoing.