Wednesday 28 March 2018

Now where did ex-'Amway' adherent, Keith Raniere, get the idea to start a cult?

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'Multi-Level Marketing' Warning

The following deconstructed analysis has been formulated to sharpen the critical and evaluative faculties of all unwary persons approaching 'Multi-Level Marketing' from the dangerous (subjective) point of view that it must be a business, rather than from the safe (purely-objective) point of view that they don't really know what it is.

More than half a century of quantifiable evidence, proves beyond all reasonable doubt that:

  • the widely-misunderstood phenomenon that has become popularly-known as 'Multi-Level Marketing' (a.k.a. 'Network Marketing') is nothing more than an absurd, non-rational,  cultic, economic pseudo-science maliciously-designed to lure unwary persons into de facto servitude, dissociate them from external reality and not only steal their money, but also deceive them into unconsciously acting the role of bait to lure other unwary persons (particularly their friends and family members) into the same trap. 
  • the impressive-sounding made-up jargon term, 'MLM,' is therefore, the misleading title for an enticing structured-scenario of control which has been developed, and constantly acted out as  reality, by the instigators, and associates, of various copy-cat, major and minor, ongoing organised crime groups (hiding behind labyrinths of legally-registered corporate structures) to shut-down the critical, and evaluative, faculties of victims, and of casual observers, in order to perpetrate, and dissimulate, a series of blame-the-victim 'Long Cons*'  - comprising self-perpetuating rigged-market swindles**, a.k.a. pyramid scams (dressed up as 'legitimate direct selling income opportunites') and related advance-fee frauds (dressed up as 'legitimate: training and motivation, self-betterment, programs, recruitment leads, lead generation systems,' etc.).
  • Apart from an insignificant minority of shills (whose leading-role in the 'Long Con' has been to pretend that anyone can achieve financial freedom simply by following their unquestioning example and exactly-duplicating a step-by-step-plan of recruitment and self-consumption)the hidden overall net-loss/churn rate for participation in so-called 'MLM income opportunities,' has always been effectively 100%.

*A 'Long Con' is a form of fraud maliciously designed to exploit victims' existing beliefs and instinctual desires and make them falsely-believe that they are exercising a completely free-choice. 'Long Cons' comprise an enticing structured-scenario of control acted out as reality over an extended period. Like theatrical plays, 'Long Cons' are written, directed and produced. They involve leading players and supporting players as well as props, sets, extras, costumes, script, etc. The hidden objective of 'Long Cons' is to convince unwary persons that fiction is fact and fact is fiction, progressively cutting them off from external reality. In this way, victims begin unconsciously to play along with the controlling-scenario and (in the false-expectation of future reward) large sums of money or valuables can be stolen from them. Classically, the victims of 'Long Cons' can become deluded to such an extent that they will abandon their education, jobs, careers, etc., empty their bank accounts, and/or beg, steal, borrow from friends, family members, etc.


** The enticing structured-scenario of control fundamental to all 'rigged-market swindles' is that people can earn income by first contributing their own money to participate in a profitable commercial opportunity, but which is secretly an economically-unviable fake due to the fact that the (alleged) opportunity has been rigged so that it generates no significant, or sustainable, revenue other than that deriving from its own ill-informed participants. For more than 50 years, 'Multi-Level Marketing' racketeers have been allowed to dissimulate rigged-market swindles by offering endless-chains of victims various banal, but over-priced, products, and/or services, in exchange for unlawful losing-investment payments, on the pretext that 'MLM' products/services can then be regularly re-sold for a profit in significant quantities via expanding networks of distributors. However, since 'MLM' products/services cannot be regularly re-sold to the general public for a profit in significant quantities (based on value and demand), 'MLM' participants have, in fact, been peddled infinite shares of their own finite money (in the false expectation of future reward). 

Thus, in 'MLM' rackets, the innocent looking products/sevices' function has been to hide what is really occurring - i.e The operation of an unlawful, intrinsically fraudulent, rigged-market where effectively no non-salaried (transient) participant can generate an overall net-profit, because, unknown to the non-salaried (transient) participants, the market is in a permanent state of collapse and requires its non-salaried (transient) participants to keep finding further (temporary) de facto slaves to sustain the enticing illusion of stability and viability.

Meanwhile an insignificant (permanent) minority direct the 'Long Con' - raking in vast profits by selling into the rigged-market and by controlling/withholding all key-information concerning the rigged-market's actual catastrophic, ever-shifting results from its never-ending chain of (temporary) de facto slaves.

Although cure-all pills potions and vitamin/dietary supplements, household and beauty, products have been most-prevalent, it is possible to use any product, and/or service, to dissimulate a rigged-market swindle. There are even some 'MLM' rackets that have been hidden behind well-known traditional brands (albeit offered at fixed high prices). Some 'MLM' rackets have included 'cash-back/discount shopping cards, travel products, insurance, energy/communications services' and 'crypto-currencies' in their controlling scenarios.

No matter what bedazzling product/service has been dangled as bait, in 'MLM' rackets, there has been no significant or sustainable source of revenue other than never-ending chains of contractees of the 'MLM' front companies. These front-companies always pretend that their products/services are high quality and reasonably-priced and that for anyone prepared to put in some effort, the products/services can be sold on for a profit via expanding networks of distributors based on value and demand. In reality, the underlying reason why it has mainly only been (transient) 'MLM' contractees who have bought the various products /services (and not the general public) is because they have been tricked into unconsciously playing along with the controlling scenario which constantly says that via regular self-consumption and the recruitment of others to do the same, etc. ad infinitum, anyone can receive a future (unlimited) reward.

I've been examining the 'MLM' phenomenon for around 20 years. During this time, I've yet to find one so-called 'MLM' company that has voluntarily made key-information available to the public concerning the quantifiable results of its so-called 'income opportunity'.

Part of the key-information that all 'MLM' bosses seek to hide concerns the overall number of persons who have signed contracts since the front companies were instigated and the retention rates of these contractees. 

When rigorously investigated, the overall hidden net-loss churn rates for so-called 'MLM income opportunites' has turned out to have been effectively 100%. Thus, anyone claiming (or implying) that it is possible for anyone to make a penny of net-profit, let alone a living, in an 'MLM,' cannot be telling the truth and will not provide quantifiable evidence to back up his/her anecdotal claims.

Although a significant number of 'MLM' front-companies (like 'Vemma', 'Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing', 'Wake Up Now') have been shut-down by commercial regulators, some of the biggest 'MLM' rackets (like 'Amway' ,'Herbalife', Forever Living Products' ) have continued to hide in plain sight whilst secretly churning tens of millions of losing participants over decades.

The quantifiable results of the self-perpetuating global 'Long Con' known as 'Multi Level Marketing,' have been fiendishly hidden by convincing victims that they are 'Independent Business Owners' and that any losses they incurred, must have been entirely their own fault. 

Blog readers should observe how (in the above linked-videos) chronic victims of 'MLM' cults are incapable of describing what they were subjected to in accurate terms. Even though they are no longer physically playing along with the 'Long Con's' controlling-scenario, they unconsciously continue to think, and speak, using the jargon-laced 'MLM' script - illogically describing themselves as 'Distributors.' 

Chronic victims of blame-the-victim cultic rackets who have managed to escape and confront the ego-destroying reality that they’ve been systematically deceived and exploited, are invariably destitute and dissociated from all their previous social contacts. For years afterwards, recovering cult victims can suffer from psychological problems (which are also generally indicative of the victims of abuse):

depression; overwhelming feelings (guilt, grief, shame, fear, anger, embarrassment, etc.); dependency/ inability to make decisions; retarded psychological/ intellectual development; suicidal thoughts; panic/ anxiety attacks; extreme identity confusion; Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder; insomnia/ nightmares; eating disorders; psychosomatic illness, fear of forming intimate relationships; inability to trust; etc.

David Brear (copyright 2018)

The media is suddenly full of horrific reports about Keith Raniere's 'sex cult,' but the media has been following this crook's sinister progress for quite a number of years. Unfortunately, US law enforcement agencies have taken no effective action until now .

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Keith Raniere was once an adherent of the 'MLM' cultic racket known as 'Amway', but then he tried to instigate his very own 'Amway' copy-cat 'MLM' cultic racket (complete with the paid-endorsement of a fading Hollywood movie star, Eddie Albert). Until he faced investigation in the early 1990s, the racket was known as 'Consumers' Buyline.'

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In 1996, Raniere made an agreement with the New York State Attorney General's Office in which he handed over just $40 000 and promised that he would stop running an 'illegal chain distributor scheme.' Why he was not charged with criminal fraud or racketeering, remains a mystery.

After escaping from this little brush with the law, Mr. Raniere simply changed his racket's camouflage and, in 1998, together with Nancy Salzman ( a nurse who practised hypnosis and Neuro Linguistic Programming) he instigated 'Executive Success Programs' (ESP), later to become known as  'NXIVM' (pronounced nexium). 

Since that time, Mr. Raniere has run a classic 'Long Con.' Exactly like the 'Amway' bosses whom he observed in his youth, he has played the unoriginal role of a philanthropic genius with access to an exclusive secret knowledge that can enable ordinary poor humans to transform into prosperous and successful super-humans, and he has pretended that he is prepared to share this secret knowledge with anyone (for a price).

This time, Mr. Raniere bought association with the Dalai Lama in a blatant attempt to shut down the critical, and evaluative, faculties of not just his victims, but also those of all casual observers.

In other words, Mr Raniere's criminal enterprise has exhibited the Universal Identifying Characteristics of a cult

David Brear (copyright 2018)


Keith Raniere in a still from his own Youtube channel

Keith Raniere: Nxivm leader charged with sex trafficking

27 March 2018
Keith Raniere, the leader of an elusive US self-help group, has been arrested by the FBI in Mexico and charged with sex trafficking.
Federal prosecutors allege Mr Raniere oversaw a "slave and master" system in his group called Nxivm, where female members were expected to have sex with him and were branded with his initials.
He is expected to appear in court on the charges in Texas on Tuesday.
Mr Raniere left the country last year after former members spoke to US media.
A number of women came forward for an investigation published in the New York Times newspaper in October, which led to the United States attorney's office in Brooklyn opening an investigation into the group.
After the piece, a letter by Mr Raniere denied any such practices were sanctioned by the group and said an independent investigation found "no merit" to the allegations.

What is Nxivm?

On its website Nxivm (pronounced nexium) describes itself as a "community guided by humanitarian principles that seek to empower people and answer important questions about what it means to be human."
Based in Albany in upstate New York, the group was founded as Executive Success Programs in 1998 and says it has worked with more than 16,000 people.
Members of the group are reported to include wealthy heiresses, the son of a former Mexican president and Hollywood actresses.
Mr Raniere and his group have been the subject of controversy for several years. Investigative journalist James M. Odato published a number of pieces in the Times Union of Albany Newspaper in 2012 which questioned the group's practices and compared it to a cult.
In 2009 the newspaper wrote about a visit by the Dalai Lama to Albany, which was reportedly sponsored by the Nxivm group. The exiled spiritual leader of Tibet denied he was paid for the appearance.

Catherine Oxenberg at a Hollywood premiere in 2005Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionFormer Dynasty actress Catherine Oxenberg is writing a book about her daughter India, who she says joined the group and became estranged from her

After the New York Times piece was published in 2017 and women came forward, federal authorities began interviewing "witnesses and victims" associated with the group.

What is the group accused of?

An affidavit filed as part of the FBI's criminal complaint says that Nxivm operated as a "pyramid" group where self-help workshops cost members thousands of dollars.
Federal investigators say that in recent years Mr Raniere, 57, set up a secret sorority within the group known as Dominus Obsequious Sororium (DOS), meaning Master Over the Slave Women.

Evidence photographs show the brandingImage copyrightFBI
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The complaint says that once recruited as "slaves", women were allegedly expected to perform menial chores for "masters" and have sex with Mr Raniere, who was known as "The Vanguard".
Investigators say Mr Raniere had a rotating group of 15 to 20 sexual partners, who were not allowed to discuss their relationship with him or have one with anyone else.
They allege that "slaves" in the group had to eat extremely low-calorie diets because of Mr Raniere's preference for thin women.
According to the complaint, members of the group were branded with Mr Raniere's initials using a cauterising pen, often on their pelvic areas, in ceremonies that were filmed by members.
Investigators say members were expected to provide "collateral" as a pre-condition to joining in the form of sexually explicit or other compromising material.
Court documents say investigators have found electronic communication that suggested Mr Raniere was behind the sorority "slave" internal group, something he has denied.

'Unorthadox pyramid scheme'

"Keith Raniere displayed a disgusting abuse of power in his efforts to denigrate and manipulate women he considered his sex slaves," senior FBI official William Sweeney said on Monday.
"He allegedly participated in horrifying acts of branding and burning them, with the co-operation of other women operating within this unorthodox pyramid scheme.
"These serious crimes against humanity are not only shocking, but disconcerting to say the least, and we are putting an end to this torture today."

Photograph of Keith Raniere in the early 1990sImage copyrightCOURTESY OF TIMES UNION ALBANY
Image captionMr Raniere has maintained Nxivm is a "professional business providing educational tools, coaching and training"

Mr Raniere publicly disputed the New York Times newspaper's account in late 2017 before leaving the country.
"These allegations are most disturbing to me as non-violence is one of my most important values," a letter on his website said.
In the letter, he added that members of the sorority were "thriving, health, happy, better off, and haven't been coerced".
Prosecutors say Mr Raniere was unco-operative when immigration officials detained him at a villa in Mexico.
They say after he was arrested, women he was staying with "chased the car in which the defendant was being transported in their own car at high speed".
Federal prosecutors have requested he be held without bail.
He is expected to be transferred to authorities in New York following Tuesday's court appearance.

BBC (copyright 2018)


  1. David --

    Thank you for connecting this, as well as the Austin bomber to Amway. I know there isn't any lawful connection between the Amway tutelage and these maniacal actors, but maybe one day there can be some kind of legislation that will hold these Amway proselytizers accountable.

    The problem is, I wouldn't expect a teacher to be held accountable for their students misbehavior, unless there was concrete evidence to support the teacher being responsible for the misbehavior. I feel like the evidence here is mostly circumstantial, but considering the psychological warfare Amway does on its participants, it doesn't seem like it should be too much of a reach.

    1. John - All 'MLM' cults are more or less copy-cats of the 'Amway/Nutrilite' original. Therefore, no 'MLM' cult instigator has come up with his/her criminal enterprise entirely by his/herself.

      Keith Raniere seems to have worked out that 'Amway/MLM' was Long Con whilst he was active within it. He might even have found the explanation of 'Amway' elsewhere. Instead of trying to challenge the 'Amway' racket, Raniere seems to have decided to put on his own production of the same controlling-scenario with himself in the starring role and using the slightly different title, 'Consumers Buyline.'

      One thing is certain, if the 'Amway' racket had been identified, and halted, by the Feds (before it got out of control), hundreds of copy-cat 'MLM' rackets wouldn't exist today.

  2. Thanks David. Do you think any of this 'Amway' stuff will be included in Raniere's prosecution?

    1. Anonymous - Right now, Mr. Raniere is apparently only charged with sex-trafficking, but this doesn't begin to tackle what he's really been doing. Remember, in the USA, legalistically, there is no such thing as a cult, but there is anti-racketeering legislation.

      There seems little doubt that Mr. Raniere and his associates are racketeers who have been hiding their criminal objectives behind legally-registered corporate structures designed to divert/obstruct investigation and isolate them from liability. Once this is clearly understood, every move Mr. Raniere's gang has made (including buying apparent association with the Dali Lama) is revealed as fitting into an overall pattern of ongoing major racketeering activity (as defined by the US federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organisations Act, 1970)

      The above, is also an accurate description of the 'Amway' racket, so I fear it would require a rigorous prosecution under the RICO Act, before any investigator would begin to apply common-sense and ask:

      Where has Boss-Raniere acquired the knowledge to set up, and hide, this very particular form of organised criminal enterprise?