Keith Raniere’s ‘Slow Dance’ in Arizona Federal Court

Keith Raniere’s Motion for a Preliminary Injunction in his new prisoner civil rights case is fully submitted to Arizona US District Court Senior Judge Raner C. Collins. Raniere’s lawyer, Tucson-based Stacey Scheff, filed the suit on December 16, 2022, against US Attorney General Merrick Garland, Bureau of Prisons (BOP) Director Colette Peters, the Warden of USP-Tucson (Raniere’s facility), and BOP Official Anthony Gallion.

Judge Collins tossed Raniere’s previous case against these same parties last December based on a procedural defect.

US District Court Senior Judge Raner C. Collins
US District Court Senior Judge Raner C. Collins

Attorney Scheff filed papers for a Preliminary Injunction on December 19, asking for “Expedited Consideration.” But Raniere’s motion is getting the “slow dance” treatment in Arizona Federal Court because of a series of “procedural gymnastics.” Once these hurdles are all cleared, Judge Collins can issue a Decision on the merits.

Raniere’s Requests

Raniere’s Complaint seeks “narrow injunctive and declaratory relief.” He seeks an order enjoining USP-Tucson prison officials from “retaliating” against him “for constitutionally protected activities.” The Vanguard claims BOP officials are “actively frustrating” and impeding his First and Sixth Amendment rights to access the courts and counsel.

The “urgent” injunction asks Judge Collins to allow reasonable attorney visits and calls and “to prevent retaliatory transfer.”

FR previously reported that on January 13, a supervisory correctional officer informed Raniere that the BOP planned to reassign him to another prison – a Communications Management Unit [CMU]- which would make his communications with the outside world – including his lawyers – almost impossible. The BOP operates two Communications Management Units [CMU] – in Terre Haute, Indiana, and Marion, Illinois. This reporting was publicly confirmed by a BP-11, recently filed as an exhibit.

Will Keith Raniere's future residence be a BOP CMU populated by inmates with ties to Islamic Terrorism?
Will Keith Raniere’s future residence be a BOP CMU populated by inmates with ties to Islamic Terrorism?

Raniere wants injunctive relief in four areas:

  1. To receive all legal calls and visits with attorneys that an attorney requests;
  2. To allow Raniere’s power-of-attorney, Suneel Chakravorty, a non-attorney, be recognized as a legal professional to communicate confidentially with Plaintiff;
  3. To be released from SHU and returned to his original unit, or, if Plaintiff has to stay in the SHU, that he be housed in a single cell; and
  4. To be designated to USP-Tucson for the balance of his sentence.

The papers claim USP-Tucson has systematically “banned” all of his supporters – attorney and non – from contact and is thus unable to effectively receive the assistance of counsel or ask the courts for relief. His papers say:

During the two years that Plaintiff has been at USP Tucson, anyone who advocated for his innocence (other than U.S. licensed attorneys) was banned from communicating with him due to claims of being a threat to the safety and security of the institution. However, none of the official responses after the banning of these individuals shows any legitimate penological interests.

Banned persons include Suneel Chakravorty, Nicki Clyne,  Dr. Danielle Roberts, and Mexican Attorney Jorge de la Garza. Even Raniere’s current Arizona attorneys, Stoltz and Scheff, “have been banned from in-person legal visits with [Raniere] for the foreseeable future,” according to court papers.

Courts are empowered to enjoin affirmative conduct that offends constitutional rights. Preliminary injunctions are used sparingly by the courts and then usually to maintain the status quo. The only exception is when constitutional rights are threatened.

Raniere is asking for both. He must convince the Court there is irreparable harm, he is likely to succeed on the underlying merits, and that an injunction is appropriate.

Raniere wants to keep the status quo by asking Judge Collins not to let the BOP move him to another facility – ever. If the BOP moves Raniere, the issues will likely become moot because the Vanguard will no longer be in the possession of USP-Tucson. He will effectively be complaining about harms that are no longer occurring and that do not fit into the category where “narrow injunctive and declaratory relief” by the Court will do him any good.

The affirmative conduct Raniere wishes the Court to enjoin relates to his visitor list and access to the outside, particularly to his lawyers. Raniere claims the BOP and USP-Tucson’s exclusion of practically any outside help whatsoever is retaliation in violation of his First Amendment rights:

Here, the adverse actions are: restrictions on Plaintiff’s contacts with his attorneys and power-of-attorney; banning Plaintiff’s friends and supporters; and keeping Plaintiff in the SHU with a mentally unstable cellmate. These are all being done because of protected conduct of speaking out and challenging his criminal convictions. Plaintiff’s First Amendment rights are being chilled by these actions because he is experiencing escalating retaliation each time he exercises his rights, or supporters speak out on his behalf. Plaintiff is literally prevented from speaking to the public via supporters such as Chakravorty and Clyne because they have been banned from all communications with him. These acts of retaliation do not advance any legitimate correctional goal because each justification given has been revealed to be merely the hollow words repeated, “for the safety and security of the institution.”

[Note: Toni Fly was recently moved to USP-Terre Haute and is no longer Raniere’s cellmate in the SHU.]

The papers also claim that by creating onerous restrictions on attorney access and excluding Suneel Chakravorty, the BOP and USP-Tucson violate Vanguard’s Sixth Amendment right to counsel.

Raniere also wants Judge Collins to order him out of the SHU and back into general population or to order him held in a SHU cell by himself.

The Government’s Response

Representing the Defendants, the US Attorney for the District of Arizona filed Opposition to Raniere’s motion. The Government disagrees a preliminary injunction is appropriate. “The Court should deny the application because it fails in all respects to establish the relief requested therein,” the Government’s papers say.

At the outset of the case, filed Government papers claimed Raniere’s lawyers failed to serve the complaint properly – once again.

On January 4, the Court issued an Order confirming all Defendants had to be adequately served, or the case was subject to dismissal. Judge Collins allowed 21 days for each of the Government Defendants to respond to Raniere’s motion for injunctions marked for “Expedited Consideration.”

On February 7, the Government submitted its Response to Raniere’s motion, filing 424-page-long opposition papers. They claim all restrictions imposed on Raniere are justified. At Raniere’s sentencing, Judge Nicholas Garaufis specifically ordered that Raniere “shall not associate in person, through mail, electronic mail or telephone with any individual with an affiliation to Executive Success Programs, Nxivm, DOS or any other Nxivm-affiliated organizations.”

Painting of Judge Nicholas Garaufis by MK10 Art.
Painting of Judge Nicholas Garaufis by MK10 Art.

“[Raniere] seeks extraordinary affirmative injunctive relief. Far from the required “clear showing” and heightened standard for such affirmative relief altering the status quo, [Raniere] fails to establish the [required] factors as to any of his requested injunctions,” the Government’s papers say.

The BOP and USP-Tucson claim great discretion in administering their correctional institutions. They argue that how and where they house Raniere and the restrictions placed on his communication are for valid penological purposes, are administrative in nature, and the Court should respect and defer to the DOJ and BOP’s comprehensive policies and procedures.

The BOP has broad powers in managing and regulating all Federal penal and correctional institutions coming directly from Congress. These powers extend to the Designation of Prisoners, SHU Placement, and inmate communications.

The Government takes aim at Suneel Chakravorty, among others, claiming any association with the Vanguard would be inappropriate and counter to “legitimate penological interests”:

As to Mr. Chakravorty, the great weight of the evidence shows that he is Plaintiff’s agent who was affiliated with ESP and NXIVM, not a “paralegal” employed by his attorney, has engaged in conduct that threatened the safety and security of the institutions and the public in both New York and Arizona, and is one of the people with whom Plaintiff was banned by his sentencing judge from associating.

Public policy, the Government claims, also supports their argument. “The evidence establishes no grounds for the extraordinary measure of overriding the professional judgment of the Bureau [of Prisons],” the papers say.

In sum, the Government argues Judge Collins should reject Raniere’s effort to override DOJ and BOP decisions and “choose his place and manner of incarceration.”

Procedural Gymnastics

Attorney Schiff requested a short extension to respond to the Government’s voluminous opposition, which the Court granted. Raniere’s Reply was entered on the Court’s docket on February 24.

On March 3, the Government filed a Motion to Strike Raniere’s Reply because it was more than 11 pages long, in violation of Local Court Rules, and contained information that should have previously been submitted with the original motion:

[Raniere] filed an 18-page Reply and included 241 pages of exhibits and no exhibit list. (Doc. 20.) The majority of the exhibits appear to predate the instant Complaint and Motion. (Id.) Exhibit 1 is a Declaration from Suneel Chakravorty dated February 24, 2023, that addresses his and Plaintiff’s actions in New York before Plaintiff arrived at USP Tucson, and, thus, could have been submitted when the Motion was submitted. (Doc. 20-1 at 2-5.) Exhibit 3 is a Central Office Administrative Remedy Appeal, dated February 17, 2023, the week before the Reply was filed. (Doc. 20-3 at 2.) Exhibit 5 is another Declaration from Suneel Chakravorty dated February 24, 2023, that addresses his and Plaintiff’s actions before June 21, 2022, and, again, could have been submitted when the Motion was submitted. (Doc. 20-5 at 2-6.)

The same day, Attorney Schiff requested the Court grant Raniere leave to exceed the 11-page limit nunc pro tunc (Latin: “now for then”) and deny the Government’s Motion to Strike.

The Government responded, asking the Court to deny Raniere’s untimely motion to exceed page limits “for failure to provide any explanation for his failure to act timely.”

The Court’s Order and Raniere’s Reply

The past Wednesday, March 22, Judge Collins issued an Order granting the Government’s Motion to Strike Raniere’s over-the-page-limit Reply. Citing a California Bankruptcy Court, Judge Collins said:

Federal courts may issue nunc pro tunc orders, or ‘now for then’ orders, to reflect the reality of what has already occurred[.] Such a decree presupposes a decree allowed, or ordered, but not entered, through inadvertence of the court. Put colorfully, nunc pro tunc orders are not some Orwellian vehicle for revisionist history – creating ‘facts’ that never occurred in fact. Put plainly, the court cannot make the record what it is not.

The Court ruled Raniere’s lawyers did not request an extension of pages and gave no explanation why a nunc pro tunc Order is appropriate now. Denying the motion to exceed pages, the Court cautioned Raniere it “will not forage through the exhibits” to speculate how the evidence addresses issues raised in the Government’s response. “Judges are not like pigs, hunting for truffles buried in briefs,” Judge Collins wrote.

A small victory for Raniere, the Court allowed him to file a “conforming 11-page reply, permitting only the inclusion of Suneel Chakravorty’s

Suneel Chakravorty.

Raniere’s lawyers re-filed the Reply yesterday, on March 23. The new Reply is 11 pages long but does not appear “conforming,” as Judge Collins had ordered.

The new Reply is 68-pages long, including six exhibits and two affidavits from Suneel Chakravorty:

  1. Affidavit of Suneel Chakravorty RE: MDC NY Events + Attachments.
  2. Emails and Documents Showing Chakravorty Paralegal Status.
  3. A Recent Emergency Grievance Regarding Present Danger and Injuries to Plaintiff.
  4. Emails and Documents Showing De La Garza Attorney Status.
  5. Affidavit of Suneel Chakravorty RE: Martial Language.
  6. Recent Affidavits From Plaintiff and Cellmate Toni Fly RE: Conditions and Present Danger to Plaintiff.

Almost sure to draw the ire of the Government and subject to getting “bounced” by the Court,  Raniere states the new Reply “raises significantly expanded factual allegations and claims.”

The papers devote significant space to justify that Suneel, Nicki Clyne,  Dr. Danielle Roberts, and Attorney Jorge de la Garza should be allowed access to Raniere, rebutting Government claims. Raniere says the BOP and USP-Tucson were aware of Chakravorty’s involvement with NXIVM and his status as Power of Attorney long before he was banned. And even after he was banned, the USP-Tucson Warden approved two legal calls with Chakravorty as a paralegal to Plaintiff’s attorney Joseph Tully.

The Government says Suneel is a problem because statements made on recorded phone calls use terms such as “at war” and “no holds barred.” The papers say, “these are obviously metaphors that are frequently used in the context of legal cases” and “these expressions were harmless.”

The Government also says Chakravorty organized people to dance outside the MDC-Brooklyn prison, characterizing it as “erotic.” Suneel responded to these protestations in one of the attached affidavits:

3. I was the Captain of the Harvard Ballroom Dance Team, so I have a familiarity with dancing.
4. My friends and I began what I would call “a dance movement,” called The Forgotten Ones, to attempt to uplift the spirits of the adults in custody at MDC. Like Mr. Raniere, they had not been permitted in-person visitation in months due to COVID-19 and, because of the COVID-19 lockdown, had to spend most of their days in their cells.
5. As a dancer in college, I have come to view dancing as a form of communication and peaceful expression and not as something intimidating.
6. Our small group publicized and live-streamed our nightly dances on Instagram.
7. Sometimes, family members of adults in custody and other interested individuals joined us in dancing but our numbers were small.
8. Sometimes when family members could not attend in person, they would join on the Instagram live-stream and ask us to wave at their loved one with a flashlight or create a sign for them to see an expression of their love.
9. On one occasion, a Correctional Officer finishing his shift danced with us briefly before driving home.
15. The Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU) concluded, “[Raniere’s] manipulative behavior continues to manifest from behind the prison through the help of Suneel Chakravorty. [Raniere’s] actions would place the safety and security of staff and the public at risk.” (Id., p. 12.) Doc. 14 at 5:3-5.
16. It may have been naïve to dance outside a prison and, on one singular occasion, offer coffee and donuts to guards and other members of the staff, and think this would be interpreted in the spirit it was meant. Yet in our intent to make the world a trifle less harsh, we learned something, and perhaps, during the long months of COVID, we provided a bit of hope to the adults in custody – most of whom were pretrial detainees and faced an uncertain future – that when they did return to the world outside the bars of prison that there were those who would still consider them fellow sojourners in the journey we must all travel, the saint and sinner, the prisoner and guard, the judge, prosecutor and jury, and all of us.

As Raniere’s Motion for a Preliminary Injunction is now fully submitted, Judge Collins may issue a Decision at any time. But don’t be surprised if there are more delays and “procedural gymnastics” based upon Raniere’s lawyers submitting five additional exhibits to the Reply above what Judge Collins authorized.

For someone who requested “Expedited Consideration,” Raniere isn’t doing himself any favors by impeding the Court from reaching the actual merits of his claims. While the Vanguard may have asked his Arizona lawyers for a cha-cha, he’s getting little more than a slow dance.

About the author

Richard Luthmann

Richard Luthmann is a writer, commentator, satirist, and investigative journalist with degrees from Columbia University and the University of Miami. Once a fixture in New York City and State politics, Luthmann is a recovering attorney who lives in Southwest Florida and a proud member of the National Writers Union. 

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  • My response to this article will be given using ‘Interpretive dance’.


    Thank you

  • NXIVM haiku #2:

    Clare can’t wipe her ass
    Suneel wiped it for her
    His hand now smells bad

    There is a valuable lesson in each one of my original haiku’s..

    • haiku: a Japanese poem of seventeen syllables, in three lines of five, seven, and five, traditionally evoking images of the natural world.

      You’d better write your poems in Japanese.

  • Frank and Richard
    Who pays for all these legal bills? Is it still the Bronfmans? Or are the lawyers assigned by the prison. I am in shock to believe that someone not only still believes in him but is willing to invest money in him. Weren’t they forbidden to pay legal fees for Nxivm or at least Clare? How much time does Clare still have?

  • The more I hear of Raniere’s latest legal posturings, the more convinced I become of his nefarious intentions. Judge Garaufis had it 100% right: Raniere seeks only to maintain his contact with his acolytes in any way possible to continue his manipulation of them. The BOP is doing a great job in preventing that from happening. Keep it up people!

  • “Raniere also wants Judge Collins to order him out of the SHU and back into general population or to order him held in a SHU cell by himself,”–
    Now that Fly is gone and Keith is solo in the SHU, can use his request to keep him in the SHU indefinitely– as a legitimate placement, since Raniere actually gave solo shu as an option to the govenment?

    • We don’t know if he has a new cellmate or not. But you raise an interesting point. If he consents to solo SHU placement/protective custody and the BOP obliges him, a slew of issues get resolved.

  • I still haven’t gotten any responses. Where has Suneel been lately. Suspiciously quiet. Any info out there?

  • Raniere hasn’t had any issues with getting his motions filed. The man is now taking his case to the US Supreme Court.

    He over filled in his civil case without permission. His lawyer should of known better. She probably did. Raniere not caring about rules told her to do it or he’d find another lawyer to do it for him. It’s his way or the highway.

    Could any of this have anything to do with the fact that Raniere was meeting with Clare Bronfman’s attorney in person? Why would Bronfman attorneys met personally with Raniere? That smells fishy.

    How about Raniere’s Mexican attorney Jorge de la Garza. He’s never provided proof through the proper channels that he is licensed in Mexico as an attorney? This is in the BOP response in the Civil case.

    The BOP has cut off contact with NXIVM loyalists only after they, in collusion with Raniere have been breaking several BOP rules.

    Once given their privilege back, they went back to breaking the the BOP rules all over again.

    Why should the BOP trust Raniere and his loyalists a third time not to start plotting the silly litte games once again.

    With those Raniere still has contact with, he probably is still getting his messages out to his followers.

    How he is dangerous is to the lives of those that follow him. They can never move on to productive lives without their Master, The Vanguard

    It’s Charles Mason all over again.

    By cutting him off completely. After awhile some will move on because they will not be dipped in the vat of Raniere’s mind fuckery.

    Let’s give them that chance for a new life.

    • Good point. There is a “next chapter” for everyone who wants one. Except the Vanguard himself, most likely.

      At what point do the Dead-Enders become the evil and demented crew trying to resurrect Lord Voldemort, or are we there already?

  • Not to change the subject of the article, but can someone explain to me why Suneel wrote about wiping Clare’s ass in his letter to the judge? I guess what I don’t understand is, what advantage does that give Clare in the course of her sentencing? How does having a personal asswiper bode with the judge when he is contemplating a sentence? I just do not get it. Or when Hector wrote about running marathons in his letter to the judge about Keith’s sentencing. What would possess someone to write about running a marathon when they are disputing the results of a jury trial – that has absolutely nothing to do with marathons. I just don’t see the connection. These NXIVN’s just confuse the everloving fuck out of me. It’s like they purposely change the topic to confuse the reader, then circle back to how wonderful the person is in the very last paragraph. It’s like they are trying to use mind-tricks on the reader, but they are so bad at it, it does not trick the reader, it just leaves the reader confused and probably makes it worse on the Defendant. The more they involve themselves trying to help, the more it fucks things up.

      • Suneel the ass wiper. Suneel, is this how you want to be remembered? Loyal to a pedophile? An ass wiper to a woman who thrives on blood money?

        • Maybe he is a fecalphiliac. That is a real diagnosable disorder. It’s someone obsessed with shit.

          I’m not sure Keith is a pedo though. He def is a perv but I think he likes his girls developed, although some underaged. A pedo likes kids that have not started developing sexually. Joe Biden is an example of a pedophile.

          • Hi Richard,
            My curiosity got the best of me. I unfortunately read some of the Marquis de Sade. Lots of fecalphilia in his writings. Lots. If you have not read him, I recommend do not.

            Sorry, Suneel. You are cool. Just wanted a chance to write about fecalphilia and took the opportunity.

            ~ Pilgrim

  • Suneel’s NXIVM roles:
    Keith Raniere’s POA (Power of Attorney)
    Clare Bronfman’s POA (Proxy of Asswiping)

    I do not think Keith should be banned from communicating with his supporters. I mean, these people are not violent, they are not going to bust him out of prison. Nxivm has no history of domestic terrorism. I mean, I would understand if this was a Aryan Brotherhood inmate communicating with ex-convicts capable of violence. Or Bloods or some type of gang or. Organization with history of violence. BOP is just wrong on this.

    ~ Pilgrim

    • The BOP hates the press. Scrutiny on their (questionable) procedures they claim have a penological basis is the last thing they want. If a guard farts, it’s for the “safety and security” and “orderly administration of the institution.” Their lawyers are trained to parrot buzz words the braindead federal judges (because the good ones hear real cases, not prisoner cases) don’t give a second thought.

      That’s a big reason why this is an issue.

        • You deadenders have got to be some of the worst critical thinkers I’ve ever witnessed. My guess is that NXIVM just indoctrinated you with the idea that you guys are such (self-proclaimed), appealing to your vanity she latent narcissism, and now you think those who hold your viewpoint are the only ones who have the capability for critical thought. I mean, such pretentiousness has engendered you guys to confront decades long established judges, lawyers, government officials, etc., without the slightest bit of the relevant educational background or experience.

          • I’m a reader, occasional commentor who sees a parallel, thats all. No need to lose your lunch.

          • Do you know the Dunning-Kruger effect.
            It gives you an answer to that.

            How do I recognize the Dunning-Kruger effect?

            Incompetent people overestimate their own knowledge and ability.
            Because of their incompetence, however, they do not recognize this.
            Because of this ignorance, they cannot increase their own knowledge and competence either.
            They underestimate the knowledge of others.

            Dunning–Kruger effect
            The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias[2] whereby people with low ability, expertise, or experience regarding a certain type of task or area of knowledge tend to overestimate their ability or knowledge. Some researchers also include the opposite effect for high performers: their tendency to underestimate their skills. In popular culture, the Dunning–Kruger effect is often misunderstood as a claim about general overconfidence of people with low intelligence instead of specific overconfidence of people unskilled at a particular task.

            The Dunning–Kruger effect is usually measured by comparing self-assessment with a measure of objective performance. For example, the participants in a study may be asked to complete a quiz and then estimate how well they performed. This subjective assessment is then compared with how well they actually performed. This can happen in either relative or absolute terms, i.e., in comparison with one’s peer group as the percentage of peers outperformed or in comparison with objective standards as the number of questions answered correctly. The Dunning–Kruger effect appears in both cases, but is more pronounced in relative terms; the bottom quartile of performers tend to see themselves as being part of the top two quartiles. The initial study was published by David Dunning and Justin Kruger in 1999. It focused on logical reasoning, grammar, and social skills. Since then various other studies have been conducted across a wide range of tasks, including skills from fields such as business, politics, medicine, driving, aviation, spatial memory, examinations in school, and literacy.

            Many models have been suggested to explain the Dunning-Kruger effect’s underlying causes. The original model by Dunning and Kruger holds that a lack of metacognitive abilities is responsible. This interpretation is based on the idea that poor performers have not yet acquired the ability to distinguish between good and bad performances. They tend to overrate themselves because they do not see the qualitative difference between their performances and the performances of others. This has also been termed the “dual-burden account” since the lack of skill is paired with the ignorance of this deficiency. Some researchers include the metacognitive component as part of the definition of the Dunning–Kruger effect and not just as an explanation distinct from it. Various researchers have criticized the metacognitive model and proposed alternative explanations. According to the statistical model, a statistical effect known as regression toward the mean together with the cognitive bias known as the better-than-average effect are responsible for the empirical findings. The rational model holds that overly positive prior beliefs about one’s skills are the source of false self-assessment. Another explanation claims that self-assessment is more difficult and error-prone for low performers because many of them have very similar skill levels. Another model sees lack of incentive to give accurate self-assessments as the source of error.
            The Dunning–Kruger effect has been described as relevant for various practical matters, but disagreements exist about the magnitude of its influence. Inaccurate self-assessment can lead people to make bad decisions, such as choosing a career for which they are unfit or engaging in dangerous behavior. It may also inhibit the affected from addressing their shortcomings to improve themselves. In some cases, the associated overconfidence may have positive side effects, like increasing motivation and energy.

            The Dunning–Kruger effect is defined as the tendency of people with low ability in a specific area to give overly positive assessments of this ability.[3][4][5] This is often understood as a cognitive bias, i.e. as a systematic tendency to engage in erroneous forms of thinking and judging.[2][6][7] In the case of the Dunning–Kruger effect, this applies mainly to people with low skill in a specific area trying to evaluate their competence within this area. The systematic error concerns their tendency to greatly overestimate their competence, i.e. to see themselves as more skilled than they are.[2]

            The Dunning–Kruger effect is usually defined specifically for the self-assessments of people with a low level of competence.[8][2][9] But some theorists do not restrict it to the bias of people with low skill, also discussing the reverse effect, i.e., the tendency of highly skilled people to underestimate their abilities relative to the abilities of others.[3][5][9] In this case, the source of the error may not be the self-assessment of one’s skills, but an overly positive assessment of the skills of others.[3] This phenomenon can be understood as a form of the false-consensus effect, i.e., the tendency to “overestimate the extent to which other people share one’s beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours”.[10][3][9]

            Some researchers include a metacognitive component in their definition. In this view, the Dunning–Kruger effect is the thesis that those who are incompetent in a given area tend to be ignorant of their incompetence, i.e., they lack the metacognitive ability to become aware of their incompetence. This definition lends itself to a simple explanation of the effect: incompetence often includes being unable to tell the difference between competence and incompetence, which is why it is difficult for the incompetent to recognize their incompetence.[11][2] This is sometimes termed the “dual-burden” account, since low performers are affected by two burdens: they lack a skill and they are unaware of this deficiency.[9] Other definitions focus on the tendency to overestimate one’s ability and see the relation to metacognition as a possible explanation that is not part of the definition.[2][9][12] This distinction is relevant since the metacognitive explanation is controversial and various criticisms of the Dunning–Kruger effect target this explanation while accepting the empirical findings that low performers tend to overestimate their skills.[8][9][12]

            Among laypeople, the Dunning–Kruger effect is often misunderstood as the claim that people with low intelligence are more confident in their knowledge and skills than people with high intelligence.[13] In this regard, it has been interpreted as the claim that “stupid people are too stupid to know they are stupid”.[14] But the Dunning–Kruger effect applies not to intelligence in general but to skills in specific tasks. Nor does it claim that people lacking a given skill are as confident as high performers. Rather, low performers overestimate themselves but their confidence level is still below that of high performers.[13][1][7]

            [ … ]


        • Mmmhmm…

          That was a “nice” incorrect usage of the idiom. Is that your critical thought skills at work? Let me ask you something: how does one tolerate the word salad of a blowhard like Raniere “losing his lunch” for one encounter, let alone for years and still continuously defend him?

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.” He also appeared in "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM, and was 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 premieres on May 22, 2022.

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Contact Frank with tips or for help.
Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083