2018: Agnifilo: NXIVM Brings Greatest Pride to Grand Master Raniere

Talk about differing views. In 2010, Susan Dones warned everyone that NXIVM was dangerous. 

In 2018, months after the FBI arrested Keith Alan Raniere, he sought bail. His lawyer Marc Agnfilo presented a different view of NXIVM than Dones. No doubt this view was informed by Raniere and his followers’ ideas.

Agnifilo presented this view to Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis to get the Vanguard out on bail. It did not work. Garaufis felt Raniere was dangerous to the community and that he might fly the coup. 

But it is interesting to see Raniere and his loyal followers’ view of themselves. Or at least the idea they pretended to have to persuade the judge to set their Vanguard free. 

By Marc Agnifilo

The Teachings of Keith Raniere and Nxivm

The work Keith Raniere and others, many of whom are his co-defendants, have done is a source of great pride. Executive Success Programs (“ESP”) was founded in 1998 by Mr. Raniere and Nancy Salzman, the predecessor to Nxivm which was founded in 2003.

The company is a for-profit business entity that sells professional success training programs. The programs Nxivm offers include, among others, ethics, logical analysis, and problem-solving skills based on a patent-pending system called Rational Inquiry.

Rational Inquiry is a complex, essential concept to the Nxivm teachings. However, in the simplest terms, it is the Socratic Method of pointed questioning. As any law student knows, a law professor may call upon him or her during a lesson and ask well-placed questions to determine what the student believes about a certain topic and where, if anywhere, that belief comes from.

What the law professor does in a law school classroom, Nxivm does elsewhere regarding how we view ourselves, form relationships, and make decisions for ourselves and others.

Just as Socrates challenged the young people of Athens to question sacrosanct beliefs of (1) the time, and indeed was executed for his disruption of a closed-minded system of government, Nxivm challenges participants to question, rather than blindly accept, the fundamental content of their lives.

Socrates — you’re no Keith Raniere….

Why, for example, are we practicing the religion we are? Do we really believe its precepts or is it just easier to not disappoint our parents? Do we have the relationships with our parents or our children that we really want? If not, why not? What can we do to have better relationships with the people we love?

Nxivm challenges people to ask these questions and challenge one’s own limiting beliefs that prevent attaining one’s goals. The fundamental premise is that people are not made happy or fulfilled by material items. We are not happier because of a car or a house. Rather, we are happier when we have thought through the true content of our lives and have made a plan to improve ourselves and our relationships by thinking deeply about them, rather than taking them for granted. Nxivm provides its students with effective tools to achieve success and greater happiness.

Two hundred years ago, these may have been some of the questions taken up by traditional religion or by students of philosophy. However, as mankind has generally become untethered from (2) religion in favor of a version of spiritual and intellectual freedom, many people find value and content in developing a system of thought and belief through which to address these eternal questions.

An overriding theme of Nxivm is that we strive to be part of something larger than we are. That something is humanity. We participate in the progress or lack of progress of humanity in each of our choices.

Another important premise of Nxivm is that each of us harbor emotional associations with different events or triggers. Some of these experiences are positive; others are decidedly negative. If we can free ourselves of the negative ones—the ones that restrain our decision-making — we can be more free and happier…

Nxivm is interesting to certain people because it challenges their existing belief systems, and even what it means to believe something. The valuable intellectual property of Rational Inquiry includes the technology, methods, procedures, discoveries, understandings, course-work, coaching materials and other aspects of a highly developed body of knowledge memorialized, in part, in written materials that Nxivm has developed over many years and which it is continuing to refine.

Intelligent, successful executives, politicians, actors and actresses agree to pay Nxivm for its training services, and decide to continue such training, precisely because of the company’s well-developed methods and the confidential and proprietary information it has developed. …

One of the intelligent actors who bought into the brilliance that is NXIVM was Allison Mack. Art by MK10Art. 

In an attempt to show Judge Garaufis how wise and philosophical the grandmaster Raniere was, a footnote on the bail application offered the following

(2) The European existential philosophers saw this problem coming. Soren Kierkegaard, a devout Christian, heralded religion and the “knight of faith” as the bulwark against meaninglessness and internal suffering; the French existentialist Jean Paul Sartre studied the condition of man, alone in the absence of an involved God; Frederich Nietzsche famously said “god is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves?” Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm, The Gay Science at p. 125 (1974)…“

Eat your heart out Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Shopenhauer, Spinoza, Emeson, Thoreau, and the rest of the rabble.  As Nancy Salzman said – Rational Inquiry is the greatest invention since man invented writing. And she and others explained that Raniere’s IQ of 240 was higher than Albert Einstein’s IQ.  

A final note on the author, Marc Agnifilo.

Keep in mind that Agnifilo is an attorney. It was his job to represent Raniere and advocate for him. Remember Clare Bronfman set up a trust with about $12 million to pay lawyers.

The trust paid Agnifilo and the other 20 or more lawyers who represented NXIVM members.

The government charged six defendants. There were several dozen others who the DOJ might have charged who got Bronfman lawyers. I estimate Agnifilo billed $3 million over the three years he represented the lordly one.  So if his work is good, Bronfman paid for it. It was not forced labor.

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  • All the smaller “religious” organizations and “self-help” groups: NXIVM, Scientology, Mormons, Ku Klux Klan (Knights of the Golden Circle) … the list goes on and on … were organized to hypnotize / train / convince free people — and as much of the world’s population as possible to accept and submit to the “New World Order” in a few years — with the digital currency, the “global ID” etc.

    The problem with a “One World” government is: the group created it keeps secrets to exploit the world, not to save it. I wish the “Dossier Project” women would understand: they were fooled.

  • One of the reasons Keith reacted so badly to Daniella kissing Ben wasn’t just jealousy and possessiveness. Keith probably felt the threat of Daniela becoming close enough to another human that she would ever reveal all of what Horrors had been going on with herself and her sisters. Keith locked Daniella away in the tower because she was the most beautiful princess of all but also so that she couldn’t become close to another soul and reveal all of Keith’s abuse and dirty secrets it’s no different than the dad or stepdad who was abusing a daughter and won’t let them participate in school activities or see their friends or even have friends.

    Yes part of that is about control and trying to own a human. But a lot of it is also just covering their own ass and making sure that the child never feels comfortable confiding in anyone. And if you’re not close to anyone and you have no contact with anyone including your own family it becomes a lot more difficult to find a person you can trust.

    Keith was protecting both what he considered a resource not a person. Which is Daniella. But ultimately Keith was protecting himself. By disappearing Daniella and trying to staunch any of the sordid details of what Keith was doing to all three sisters being revealed to the community her family or authorities.

  • Marie White
    15. Juli 2020
    #NikkiClyne #MichelleHatchet #Danielle Roberts #weareasyou #mdc #peacefulprotest #prisonreform #art

    • Pyriel, as you know, Raniere toyed with cryogenics. My question is if Raniere died in 35 years, and Nicki Clyne put his body in a cryogenic tomb, and in another 50 years, they bring Raniere back to life — does he have to go back to prison and serve the remaining 80 years of the sentence?

      This Turkish guy with his 8658-year sentence won’t be free until the year 8585 [if man is still alive]. His hopes are far less than Raniere’s who is momentarily expecting to be released from prison.

        • Alternatively- Raniere believed in reincarnation. Instead of 120 year sentences why not put whatever he did not finish in this life put it on the next life?
          If they can find the Dalai Lama when he reincarnates why not Raniere?

      • What kind of idiot thinks a measure of relative dangerousness in a similar range of extremes reduces that of the other?

        • It might be difficult to compare Raniere to Adnan Oktar.

          The two cases look the same on the surface, but they’re probably more different than alike. The only constants seem to be: the objectification/abuse of women and dangerous politics

          A study comparing and contrasting the two cases in the context of global affairs would probably be easier, a lot more interesting and helpful.

  • New charges against the brilliant actor Kevin Spacey.
    LONDON (AP) — Actor Kevin Spacey will be charged with seven further sex offenses, all against one man, piling on the pressure for one of Hollywood’s biggest stars.

    Britain’s Crown Prosecution said Wednesday that charges against the former “House of Cards” star are three of indecent assault, three of sexual assault and one of causing a person to engage in sexual activity without consent. The charges relate to incidents between 2001 and 2004.
    Kevin has been a very busy boy, indeed.
    LONDON (AP) — Actor Kevin Spacey will be charged with seven further sex offenses, all against one man, piling on the pressure for one of Hollywood’s biggest stars.

    Britain’s Crown Prosecution said Wednesday that charges against the former “House of Cards” star are three of indecent assault, three of sexual assault and one of causing a person to engage in sexual activity without consent. The charges relate to incidents between 2001 and 2004.

    The prosecuting authority approved the charges following “a review of the evidence gathered by the Metropolitan Police in its investigation,” said Rosemary Ainslie, head of the CPS Special Crime Division.

    Contains pictures of Kevin Spacey’s favorite toys.

  • OMG, is this the best Agnifilo can muster??? No wonder it only took the jury 5 seconds to find Raniere guilty.

  • This is an old rapper trick.

    You bring up a bunch of men or women who’ve actually accomplished things in your song or even pick a fight with one that’s still living and then somehow you’re tied to a greater person and/or cause.

    Politicians do it all the time they bring up the founding fathers they name check people in their stump speeches from the American Revolution and the politicians believe that the public will stupidly think that they are on par with those people.

    Here this idiotic defense attorney is just name checking famous philosophers and trying to get people to actually put Ranieri in a similar category with them.

    It’s rap 101. Political speech 100.

    And it usually means ya got nothing.

  • New York’s Attorney General called Raniere’s Consumer’s Byline Inc. a “pyramid scheme” in 1996. Mr. Raniere’s consent order in that case said he wouldn’t start another pyramid scheme. Two years later, he did.

    Why were Raniere and Ms. Salzman allowed to start the Executive Success Programs (“ESP”) in 1998?

    Mr. Raniere and Ms. Salzman ran the ESP/NXIVM pyramid scheme for the next twenty years.

    If NXIVM’s “EMs” (explorations of meaning) and Scientology “E-Meter sessions” use the same neurolinguistic programming (to brainwash people) did those controlling Scientology file a lawsuit against NXIVM for patent infringement? If not, in how many ways are Scientology and NXIVM connected?

    Vanity Fair’s June 27, 2018 article about Raniere’s patents says Mr. Agnifilo “could not comment” on Mr. Raniere’s patents. Could Mr. Agnifilo tell us what he thinks about a few of Raniere’s patents now that the NXIVM trial is over?

    If any lawyer can comment on Raniere’s patent regarding Luciferians, how many lawyers would say great philosophers would think of everyone leaving NXIVM as “Luciferians”?

    One attorney in Connecticut once said an attorney he knows would represent Hitler. That’s probably true.

    From Kenzie Bryant in Vanity Fair: “While shocking, the methodology of those alleged “fright studies” have been available through a quick Google search for years. A patent filed in 2007 described, in almost unnecessarily specific detail, how “the Luciferian can be rehabilitated”: show a subject videos of gruesome things—snuff films, dismemberment, worse—and monitor how they react. A “Luciferian” is NXIVM’s preferred term for a type of sociopath, one with “severe behavioral problems that are masked by good psychological adjustment,” who, as described in the patent, “typically experiences pleasure or gratification in situations where ‘normal’ people would be repulsed or disturbed.” One former member speaking on condition of anonymity learned about such a person in a course called “the Fall” (as Lucifer took “the fall” in Milton’s Paradise Lost). She said they were meant to understand those who had left the organization as Luciferians, lost people for whom bad feels good, and good feels bad.”


  • LOL at the description of Raniere’s multiply attempted to be patented and failed to be so Rational Inquiry’s use of the “Socratic Method”.

    I’m sure Socrates was out there questioning students about the big issues like how to make a baby rape-able.

  • There’s no cult or high-control group that doesn’t have something good or helpful to offer in the beginning. That’s the bait in the trap. That helpful thing is used to gradually build a cage around the person. Sometimes people stay in a cult for years, endure worse and worse treatment, chasing that initial euphoria.

    • That’s definitely a big part of it. Once you’re settled into a community, it can be hard to break the chains and move on; it’s in our DNA. The fact that DOS lasted such a short time, despite the collateral, is testament to the fact that it was so off the radar.

  • What a snowstorm of bullshit. “The young people of Athens… “ say what? This is a bail hearing in Brooklyn, not Philosophy 101.

    The prosecution had great fun with this, poking fun at the utter irrelevance of the Kierkegaard footnotes.

    These were early indications that Raniere’s defense team had nothin’. When the actual trial began, Agnifilo’s opening statement was a long rambling irrelevance about Winston Churchill.

    There was no defending Raniere because he was so obviously guilty. He and his criminal co-conspirators had left a broad trail of damning evidence. Their incaution and stupidity is the stuff of legend.

  • “Why, for example, are we practicing the religion we are?”

    What’s an “example”? Why should we practice anything at all when none of us will be here in 500 years? Who needs religion when such deceitful rebellious destruction in total chaos is also an option?

    “Do we really believe its precepts or is it just easier to not disappoint our parents?“

    Why should anyone in the world believe the precepts of any religion or philosophy? And, why do parents matter?

    “Do we have the relationships with our parents or our children that we really want? If not, why not? What can we do to have better relationships with the people we love?“

    What’s a relationship, anyway and why should we care?

About the Author

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in hundreds of news outlets, like The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CBS News, Fox News, New York Post, New York Daily News, Oxygen, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Sun, The Times of London, CBS Inside Edition, among many others in all five continents.

His work to expose and take down NXIVM is featured in books like “Captive” by Catherine Oxenberg, “Scarred” by Sarah Edmonson, “The Program” by Toni Natalie, and “NXIVM. La Secta Que Sedujo al Poder en México” by Juan Alberto Vasquez.

Parlato has been prominently featured on HBO’s docuseries “The Vow” and was the lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.” Parlato was also credited in the Starz docuseries "Seduced" for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Additionally, Parlato’s coverage of the group OneTaste, starting in 2018, helped spark an FBI investigation, which led to indictments of two of its leaders in 2023.

Parlato appeared on the Nancy Grace Show, Beyond the Headlines with Gretchen Carlson, Dr. Oz, American Greed, Dateline NBC, and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, where Parlato conducted the first-ever interview with Keith Raniere after his arrest. This was ironic, as many credit Parlato as one of the primary architects of his arrest and the cratering of the cult he founded.

Parlato is a consulting producer and appears in TNT's The Heiress and the Sex Cult, which premiered on May 22, 2022. Most recently, he consulted and appeared on Tubi's "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM," which aired January, 2023.

IMDb — Frank Parlato

Contact Frank with tips or for help.
Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083
Email: frankparlato@gmail.com