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NXIVM witness: Keith Raniere used spyware on associates and enemies

Here’s Dianne Lipson’s report from Tuesday’s testimony in the Nxivm trial, which featured former sex slave Daniela talking about the years leading up to the time she was kept prisoner in a room for two years…

The entire day was still direct testimony from Daniela, and will continue tomorrow. Cross is expected to go into Thursday.

At age 16, Daniela’s younger sister Camilla had appendicitis. The surgery wound was left open for a time, to drain, and it left a big scar. The scar is still visible on her abdomen. A photo of Camilla that does not have this scar would indicate that it was taken before this surgery.

Adrian and Camilla, Daniela’s younger siblings, still underage, were in the country illegally. The lawyer handling this emailed that they must go back to Mexico and re-apply. The longer Camilla and Adrian were out of status, the more difficult it would be to return. The lawyer stated that if the siblings did not return to Mexico, he did not think political connections would help. Daniela said that she had heard talk of political connections with the Clintons.

Meanwhile, Daniela’s immigration status was held over her head. Whenever Daniela was not doing her program, or not doing anything she should be doing, it was brought up that they had brought Daniela over the border.

Daniela saw the day-to-day routine at the house Keith shared with Karen Unterreiner, Pam Cafritz, and Mariana. Keith would spend time on the phone with Yuri (Plyam), discussing the stock market. These were friendly discussions. Keith spent a lot of time on the phone discussing sexual matters, but many long conversations focused on matters of discipline. Lauren, Pam, and Nancy were the ones executing the discipline.


Daniela was still doing odd jobs for work. But at Keith’s home she was spending a lot of time recording Keith. (It came up in prior testimony that she did these recordings because she admired Keith.) In the morning, Kristin Keeffe (Keeffe was legal liaison of Nxivm, though she herself was not a lawyer) would come down in her bathrobe and discuss legal matters with Keith. These conversations, Daniela was not allowed to record. There was discussion about gaining political favors. But most of the discussions focused on hiring private investigators to get access to their enemies’ records and email accounts. Kristin did the work, but reported to Keith. Keith was the decider on who would be investigated. Keith was never out in the field doing the work. The focus was on protecting Keith. Kristin was ready to take the fall for Keith.

Keith wanted access to the email account of Kristen Snyder (a Nxian whose death was ruled a suicide. One note she left said, in part, “I attended a course called Executive Success Programs . . . and my emotional center of the brain was killed/turned off . . . ” Keith wanted access to Snyder’s email to prove she was still alive. Keith believed that.

There was a long list of other enemies, which included Rick Ross, Toni Natalie, and Joe O’Hara, a lawyer who had once worked for Nxivm.

Nxivm was paying the PI’s many thousands of dollars for this hacking. Daniela asked Keith why it had to be so expensive. Daniela was tasked to find less expensive options, and finally it was decided that Daniela herself would learn how to do this, and she started researching hacking, and learned how to do it. However, Daniela knew this was unethical, illegal, and wrong, and she brought these concerns to Keith. Keith told her that there are ‘good guys’ who have ethics, versus supressives, who have no ethics. Nxivm was trying to build a better world. Keith: We are going to do unethical things ethically, to build a better world.

At first Daniela tried sending emails to her targets, with the hope they would click on the file with the embedded keylogger spyware. These attempts were unsuccessful. Daniela was very careful to leave no trace of herself. Because of her immigration status, Daniela was very cautious; She had no car, no bank accounts, nothing with her name on it. If a police car passed her, she would jump.

Keith came up with an alternate plan. Kathy Russell somehow got an associate of Joe O’Hara’s onto Nxivm property. Daniela was alone in a room with this person’s laptop, and she successfully deployed the programs in his computer. A keylogger was also successfully deployed in Edgar Bronfman’s computer. [I was now gone for a chunk of time getting my press pass. Possibly they discussed how Clare did this, which has been written about in other media, by sending her father an email with a link to click. When her father did not click the link, Clare went to his office and showed Edgar the email and clicked on the link, so his computer was infected.]

Keith had Daniela hack into Mariana’s computer. She was having issues and ‘throwing a tantrum’ and Keith suspected she was contacting a former boyfriend. Even though Daniela thought she was helping Mariana with her issues, Daniela felt guilty. Now, she feels even worse.

Regarding the Rick Ross lawsuit, where confidential materials were leaked to his website, weeks were spend looking for the confidentiality agreement the leaker had signed, but it was never found.

At Hale Drive, Kieth suspected he had a virus on his computer and asked Daniela to scan it. She found a file in a not visible place on his computer, not in the Documents folder. The file had pictures of naked women, including Marina. Daniela was concerned and told Keith he should be more careful. She asked Keith to delete pictures of herself, but she does not know if Keith ever deleted them.

The remainder of the morning was spent showing emails regarding Daniela’s hacking activity. When I observed the jury, they were very attentive. Keith, too, was very attentive and taking notes. This was the end of the morning’s testimony.

Afternoon Session

An email was shown where Daniela emailed Keith an attachment of keylogger info from Mariana’s computer, in raw form. The raw data was of an email sent by Mariana, presumably to Keith. The email had deletes, so it’s hard to know how much of the text ended up in her finished email. Daniela, on the stand, read where Mariana wrote: Your storming anger and your pulsing love. I apologize for all the pain I case (sic) you on a daily basis. What about when you asked about starting a relationship with Cami and I said no. I’m leaving the door open to the possibility I might like life again. All I see is darkness. I’m struggling with myself.

Next was an email from Keith to Daniela, where Keith wished her a happy anniversary. The date was November 2, 2008. It was the anniversary of the first time Keith had sex with Daniela. Keith wrote: Tell me anything you haven’t told me. Did you get the klg (keylogging) info?

Code words were used in the emails. ‘Good friend’ was Mariana. ‘Not so close friend’ was Edgar Bronfman.

Daniela was loyal to Keith rather than loyal to her sister, even though, at this time, in 2008, Daniela had not spoken to Keith in a long while due to a falling out (more on this later.)

Going back before the falling out with Keith, Daniela was not using contraception. Keith would ask where she was in her cycle, even though he knew she was very irregular. In 2006, Daniela felt ‘different’ and suspected she was pregnant. A test confirmed it, and Daniela was terrified. She was 20-21 years old and did not want a baby yet, and she did not want Keith’s baby. He had too many other women, including her sister.

Keith was very calm when she informed him. He said: We already talked about what you do if this happens. But they had never talked about it. Daniela did not push back on this lie, as she did not want to have a baby. She was to have an abortion. Keith normalized it, said others had had abortions, and that Mariana had had an abortion. Pam would take care of things. A cover story was crafted for questions that Daniela might be asked. She was to say she was a visitor in the USA, and that she and the father were in a long-term relationship.

Daniela had a ‘chemical abortion’, brought about by pills. The instructions said there would be a lot of pain, a pain patch was included, and that she was not to be alone, she should be monitored. Penza asked if anyone was with her for this process. Daniela, “No. I was alone.” She was incredibly emotional and scared, and troubled about what she was doing. Abortion was not so accepted where she came from. Pam was not there, only checking with her by phone.

After the abortion Keith suggested in a conversion that this was a great opportunity for Daniela to lose weight and get fit. He explained that pregnancy changes a woman’s metabolism, and that Olympic athletes get pregnant on purpose and get abortions for this reason.

Mariana subsequently became pregnant again, which was surprising because Mariana was on the pill. Pam suspected that Mariana threw the pills out. Camilla was just over 18. Cami was going to have an abortion. Daniela wanted to be there for Cami. She didn’t want Cami to go through this alone as she had done. Daniela and Pam accompanied Mariana to the exam. Again, a cover story was crafted, only more carefully since Mariana was so young. It was the same ‘chemical abortion’ and Daniela was with her sister for the process. Daniela feels that Cami’s decision to abort was not so easy for her as Daniela’s had been. Daniela: “I think she struggled emotionally and physically a lot.”

At the time, Daniela thought that Pam was taking care of her by facilitating her abortion. Now she feels that Pam was just making sure there were no liabilities; This was to shield Keith.

Next, Daniela described a huge falling out with Keith. Daniela was friendly with a man named Ben, a programmer. Ben and she would see each other socially, and they both attended a weekly viewing of Star Trek. One night at Star Trek, everyone had left and Ben and Daniela were alone. They did not kiss, but sat close to each other and talked. She and Ben both felt something. This was a new feeling for Daniela, and it felt wonderful. Daniela had worried that she was asexual, but now she was discovering a whole new feeling.

She shared what had happened, and her feelings, with her ‘friend’ Keith, and he said it was not good. It was a big contrast, her own wonderful feelings versus Keith saying it was something bad. Daniela was confused. This was the most amazing thing she had ever felt. Keith told her she was making it up about her feelings for Ben. Daniela should have those feelings for him (Keith).

At the next Star Trek, Daniela dressed up. She still remembers what she wore, a white top and a long skirt. After the others left, she and Ben talked, and Ben kissed her. To Daniela it felt wonderful, right, and true. Daniela like the way she felt. She went to Keith and told him what happened. She wanted to be friends and she wanted to be honest with Keith.

Instead, Daniela describes what happened as “My universe exploded.” Keith and she had a huge fight. Keith became angry and irrational. She had never seen Keith act like this. Daniela had ‘destroyed everything.’ Daniela wondered why they could not be friends, after all, Keith had never been affectionate with her. The fight escalated more and more. Keith: I’ve done everything for you and now you’re hurting me!

Keith brought up the mystical language, that if his sex partner did something bad to him, it would hurt him physically and might make him ill. Keith was very dramatic. While Daniela still idolized Kieth, she was not attracted to him. She was only trying to be honest, but she couldn’t get anywhere with Keith. He was extremely angry and irrational. Keith said she was prideful and destructive. The argument moved to Hale Drive, which was a short walk away. Daniela thought it could be worked out. Keith was telling her to stop wanting what she wanted, and that her feelings were not something she was feeling. He also said Ben was a mediocre person.

They went back to the house on Flintlock. Keith wanted to end the discussion, but Daniela wanted a resolution. Keith locked himself in the bathroom in order to stop the discussion. Daniela thought this was childish. Then he ran upstairs into Pam’s room, and Daniela ran after him. Keith threw her onto a mattress on the floor and walked out. That’s how it ended.

Prosecution attorney Penza asked, “When was the next time you spoke to Keith?” Danila replied, “Never.”

After the fight Daniela saw Ben a few more times. Nothing happened beyond making out.

After that night, Daniela’s impression of Keith changed. Now she thought Keith was a regular human. Pam tried to work on her, telling her not to throw everything away. Daniela told Pam that Keith was not the man she had thought he was. Daniela thought she might go back to Mexico.

After the fight, Daniela’s life changed overnight. Now they only communicated by email. Keith’s role in her life had been all-encompassing, Keith had been her only friend. Now she was isolated. She couldn’t go to volleyball, or any events where Keith was present. She was still expected to do the book reports.

Daniela was encouraged to write emails to Keith. Daniela says these emails numbered in the thousands. The main topic was Ben. Keith demanded to know everything that had happened with Ben, in excruciating detail. When had Ben touched her, how had she felt? Keith asked these questions over and over again. Keith said he was helping Daniela fix this, and that’s why he needed to know everything. He wanted to know her fantasies. He constantly asked her: Why haven’t you told me everything? What haven’t you told me?

During the next 3 years, Daniela was coached and coached to get back on the program. Her feelings were on a roller-coaster. Sometimes she felt she needed to work on her issues. Other times she wanted a different kind of life, not isolated but with friends. Keith was ‘beating her up’ in his emails, and saying she should write him more. Her coach was telling her to be humble and not prideful. Daniela wondered if maybe they were right, and she just didn’t want to be helped. Almost every email from Keith contained a question about her weight.

She decide to train for a race, which was a huge ethical breach. Everything Daniela did was characterized as an act of pride. Even going for coffee was an act of pride. She should be spending all her time fixing her mistake. Daniela was not earning money anymore, and she wondered how she would eat. She moved in with her parents, sleeping on a sleeping bag on the floor. Her family became involved in the big ultimatum to fix things. They took away her away her iPad, her phone, her computer, and her books. Every fifteen minutes she had to write what she was doing. She lost every freedom. Every thing she did was said to be indulgent and prideful.

Daniela thought she was going crazy. She was hungry, and went to get some food at her parent’s house, and the fridge was locked. They even locked her out of the house for a few days. Daniela’s family was recruited to work on her, they had not been told what had really happened. Daniela suffered a progressive loss of all her freedoms.

(This last part of her testimony describes a period from 2006 to 2010, and we’re still leading up to the period when Daniela was locked in a room as a prisoner. More testimony from her on Wednesday.)


Posted by Tony Ortega on May 29, 2019 at 06:20

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Tony Ortega is a journalist who was formerly the editor of The Village Voice. He’s written about Scientology since 1995, and in May 2015 released a book about Scientology’s harassment of Paulette Cooper titled ‘The Unbreakable Miss Lovely,’ and more recently a compilation of his stories, ‘Battlefield Scientology.’ He continues to monitor breaking developments in the Scientology world, as well as other subjects at The Underground Bunker. You can reach him by sending him a message at tonyo94 AT (Drop him a line if you’d like to get an e-mail whenever a new story is posted.)


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