Keith Raniere, the co-founder and leader of a secretive self-help cult called NXIVM who was run out of Arkansas when Bill Clinton was governor has been arrested by the FBI in Mexico and charged with sex trafficking. Raniere fled to Mexico last November after U.S. authorities began interviewing "witnesses and victims" linked to NXIVM, however finding him proved elusive after Raniere began using "end-to-end encrypted email and stopped using his phone."
Shortly before Raniere was arraigned in a Texas courtroom, the FBI raided the Saratoga County, NY home of NXIVM co-founder, Nancy Salzman - who was alleged to be storing large amounts of cash at her residence, brought over the border following NXIVM training sessions in Mexico.
While NXIVM describes itself as a self-help business that has helped thousands of people "reach their potential" through various courses, the women’s-only "inner sanctum" led by Raniere is known as 'DOS', which whistleblower Frank Parlato - a Buffalo-area businessman who worked for the cult, says stands for “dominus obsequious sororium" - Latin for “master over the slave women”. Once they are a member - or “slave” - they are allegedly encouraged to recruit new women into their “slave pods”, stop dating, and be on call 24 hours a day to their “master”.
DOS reportedly required female members to give their recruiter - or "master," naked pictures or other compromising material which could be used as blackmail before being branded with Raniere's initials below the hip using a cauterizing iron.
Sarah Edmondson, one of the participants, said she had been told she would get a small tattoo as part of the initiation. But she was not prepared for what came next.
Each woman was told to undress and lie on a massage table, while three others restrained her legs and shoulders. According to one of them, their “master,” a top Nxivm official named Lauren Salzman, instructed them to say: “Master, please brand me, it would be an honor.”
A female doctor proceeded to use a cauterizing device to sear a two-inch-square symbol below each woman’s hip, a procedure that took 20 to 30 minutes. For hours, muffled screams and the smell of burning tissue filled the room.
“I wept the whole time,” Ms. Edmondson recalled. “I disassociated out of my body.” -New York Times
Of note, Smallville actress Allison Mack who played Chloe Sullivan is (or was) allegedly a "master" in the cult, and required to obey orders from Raniere - including finding women to sleep with him.
Mack would require that prospective "slaves" place compromising collateral into a Dropbox account -- one of whom was India Oxenberg, the daughterr of Dynasty actress Catherine Oxenberg - who met with prosecutors in New York and presented evidence against Raniere.
NXIVM Funding and the Clinton connection
As Rolling Stone reported in November, "In 2010, Vanity Fair published "The Heiresses and the Cult," a detailed account of Seagram heiresses Sara and Clare Bronfman's immersion in NXIVM; the sisters reportedly gave up approximately $150 million of their trust fund to help fund the alleged cult."
And in a 2007 article by the New York Post entitled "Hillary's $30,000 fans are her "cult" following," journalist Charles Hurt notes that Raniere was run out of Arkansas after Bill Clinton's then-attorney general, Winston Bryant, charged the cult leader and two others with fraud and business deception.
While Raniere paid fines in both New York and Arkansas in the case, over a decade later NXIVM executives proceeded to donate $29,900 to Hillary Clinton's presidential 2006 campaign - and at least three NXIVM officials are "invitation-only" members of the Clinton Global Initiative.
On March 14 and April 13, records show, more than a dozen contributions poured into Clinton’s coffers from NXIVM, an executive and group-awareness training organization led by Brooklyn-born Keith Raniere, 47.
Most were from first-time political donors, each giving the $2,300 maximum.
Three of the March and April Clinton pledges came from Raniere’s most high-profile followers: Seagram heiresses Clare and Sara Bronfman, and Pamela Cafritz, daughter of D.C. A-listers Buffy and Bill Cafritz.
Hillary isn’t the only Clinton NXIVM officials are attracted to.
At least three of them – group President Nancy Salzman and the Bronfman sisters – are members of Bill’s charitable organization, the Clinton Global Initiative. Membership is by invitation only and requires at least a $15,000 donation per person for one year. -New York Post
Prosecutors say Raniere was uncooperative when immigration officials arrested him in Mexico - while women he was staying with "chased the car in which the defendant was being transported in their own car at high speed."
Raniere is expected to be transferred to New York authorities following Tuesday's Texas court appearance. During their request that he be held without bond, federal prosecutors said he "has spent his life profiting from his pyramid schemes and has otherwise received financial backing from independently wealthy women."
He faces a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison if convicted of the sex trafficking chrages, according to federal prosecutors - who say he poses a "significant risk of flight" due to his "access to vast resources," and his "long-standing history of systematically exploiting women through coercive practices for his own financial and sexual benefit."
What is it with Clinton supporters and cults?