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Scientology Seeks Captive Converts Via Google Maps, Drug Rehab Centers

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posted on Jul, 4 2016 @ 10:54 PM
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Fake online reviews generated by unscrupulous marketers blanket the Internet these days. Although online review pollution isn’t exactly a hot-button consumer issue, there are plenty of cases in which phony reviews may endanger one’s life or well-being. This is the story about how searching for drug abuse treatment services online could cause concerned loved ones to send their addicted, vulnerable friends or family members straight into the arms of the Church of Scientology.

Scientology Seeks Captive Converts Via Google Maps, Drug Rehab Centers

Greetings fellow ATSers, Conspirators, and tin foil junkies.

This thread is about the great lengths Scientology will go to scheme their way into being perceived as a legit drug rehab program. Specifically, how they manipulate search engines using SEO software to redirect prospective rehab patients to one of their bogus Narconon treatment facilities.


Experts say fake online reviews are most prevalent in labor-intensive services that do not require the customer to come into the company’s offices but instead come to the consumer. These services include but are not limited to locksmiths, windshield replacement services, garage door repair and replacement technicians, carpet cleaning and other services that consumers very often call for immediate service.

As it happens, the problem is widespread in the drug rehabilitation industry as well. That became apparent after I spent just a few hours with Bryan Seely, the guy who literally wrote the definitive book on fake Internet reviews.

Perhaps best known for a stunt in which he used fake Google Maps listings to intercept calls destined for the FBI and U.S. Secret Service, Seely knows a thing or two about this industry: Until 2011, he worked for an SEO firm that helped to develop and spread some of the same fake online reviews that he is now helping to clean up.

More recently, Seely has been tracking a network of hundreds of phony listings and reviews that lead inquiring customers to fewer than a half dozen drug rehab centers, including Narconon International — an organization that promotes the theories of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard regarding substance abuse treatment and addiction.


So there was some doubt in previous threads of mine where I called out Scientology for their shady business practices. Well now here's the smoking gun:


As described in Narconon’s Wikipedia entry, Narconon facilities are known not only for attempting to win over new converts, but also for treating all drug addictions with a rather bizarre cocktail consisting mainly of vitamins and long hours in extremely hot saunas. The Wiki entry documents multiple cases of accidental deaths at Narconon facilities, where some addicts reportedly died from overdoses of vitamins or neglect:

“Narconon has faced considerable controversy over the safety and effectiveness of its rehabilitation methods,” the Wiki entry reads. “Narconon teaches that drugs reside in body fat, and remain there indefinitely, and that to recover from drug abuse, addicts can remove the drugs from their fat through saunas and use of vitamins. Medical experts disagree with this basic understanding of physiology, saying that no significant amount of drugs are stored in fat, and that drugs can’t be ‘sweated out’ as Narconon claims.”





Seely said he learned that the drug rehab industry was overrun with SEO firms when he began researching rehab centers in Seattle for a family friend who was struggling with substance abuse and addiction issues. A simple search on Google for “drug rehab Seattle” turned up multiple local search results that looked promising.

One of the top three results was for a business calling itself “Drug Rehab Seattle,” and while it lists a toll-free phone number, it does not list a physical address (NB: this is not always the case with fake listings, which just as often claim the street address of another legitimate business). A click on the organization’s listing claims the Web site rehabs.com – a legitimate drug rehab search service. However, the owners of rehabs.com say this listing is unauthorized and unaffiliated with rehabs.com.


More confirmation of illegal activity and borderline illegal activity that the church practices in order to recruit more members. Below is a Youtube video that Seely posted that demonstrates a first person experience of what turns up when you search from drug rehab centers in the Seattle area:




As documented in this Youtube video, Seely called the toll-free number in the Drug Rehab Seattle listing, and was transferred to a hotline that took down his name, number and insurance information and promised an immediate call back. Within minutes, Seely said, he received a call from a woman who said she represented a Seattle treatment center but was vague about the background of the organization itself. A little digging showed that the treatment center was run by Narconon.

“You’re supposed to be getting a local drug rehab in Seattle, but instead you get taken to a call center, which can be owned by any number of rehab facilities around the country that pay legitimate vendors for calls,” Seely said. “If you run a rehab facility, you have to get people in the doors to make money. The guy who created these fake listings figured out you can use Google Maps to generate leads, and it’s free.”





Curious if he could track down the company or individual behind the phony review that prompted a call from Narconon, Seely began taking a closer look at the reviews for the facility he called. One reviewer in particular stood out — one “John Harvey,” a Google user who clearly has a great deal of experience with rehab centers.

A click on John Harvey’s Google Plus profile showed he reviewed no fewer than 82 phantom drug treatment centers around the country, offering very positive 5-star reviews on all of them. A brief search for John Harvey online shows that the person behind the account is indeed a guy named John Harvey from Sacramento who runs an SEO company in Kuilua, Hawaii called TopSeek Inc., which bills itself as a collection of “local marketing experts.”

A visit to the company’s Web site shows that Narconon is among four of TopSeek’s listed clients, all of which either operate drug rehab centers or are in the business of marketing drug rehab centers.





Calls and emails to Mr. Harvey went unreturned, but it’s clear he quickly figured out that the jig was up: Just hours after KrebsOnSecurity reached out to Mr. Harvey for comment, all of his phony addiction treatment center reviews mysteriously disappeared (some of the reviews are preserved in the screenshot below).

“This guy is sitting in Hawaii saying he’s retired and that he’s not taking any more clients,” Seely said. “Well, maybe he’s going to have to come out of retirement to go into prison, because he’s committed fraud in almost every state.

While writing fake online reviews may not be strictly illegal or an offense that could send one to jail, several states have begun cracking down on “reputation management” and SEO companies that engage in writing or purchasing fake reviews. However, it’s unclear whether the fines being enforced for violations will act as a deterrent, since those fines are likely a fraction of the revenues that shady SEO companies stand gain by engaging in this deceptive practice.




posted on Jul, 4 2016 @ 10:56 PM
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When asked directly about the Google Maps scam, Google responded with this:


“We’re in a constant arms race with local business spammers who, unfortunately, use all sorts of tricks to try to game our system – and who’ve been a thorn in the Internet’s side for over a decade. Millions of businesses regularly make edits to their addresses, hours of operation and more, so we rely heavily on the community to help keep listings up-to-date and flag issues. But this kind of spam is a clear violation of our policies and we want to eradicate it. As spammers change their techniques, we’re continually working on new, better ways to keep them off Google Search and Maps. There’s work to do, and we want to keep doing better.”



posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 12:58 AM
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I haven't posted to ATS in a long time but I had to say great job on the research and this 100% accurate.

I briefly mentioned this in my intro post 1.5 years ago but I was "tricked" into the Narconon rehab for my bad alcoholism in 2005. I had an old laptop at the time and tried other AA based rehabs and my family and I wanted something different to try. Things were bad in life and we found the website showing happy people in a nice college campus studying from books. I called a center in Kalamazoo, MI (it's possibly the same one in the picture you referenced) and was convinced to come.

They told me it was nice, had AC, a pool, gym, etc. It had none of that (except a a gym that was small and dirty lol) and it was straight brainwashing all day except when you took a bunch of Niacin and sat in the sauna all day. All the "books" you studied were by L Ron Hubbard. They lied to my parents to keep me there and listened in to all my brief phone calls. Their goal was to get people to join and move on the next part of the program which involved working there. I found a friend that also sensed what was happening and we faked our way through 3 months of it and got the hell out of there lol. It worked in a way because I was terrified to go back.

Great post, people need to be aware of this deception they try to pull on people going through a rough time in life



posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 01:18 AM
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a reply to: MegaScorp20

Wow, your story is incredible. Thank you for being brave enough to contribute your own experience to validate this news story.

Do you have a link in ATS to your original post of the story that you referred to?



posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 02:31 AM
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Notice that I didn't fully read your thread attachments. I just spat out what your thread was stating. I'm well aware of these Rehab centers. They really do give the 10° about mineral water, Manganese and sweating in saunas. Thanks for posting this OP.👍

a reply to: ColdWisdom

Oooooh! NARCONON ...
My step father... a computer genius and fellow Mission/Org auditor for Scientology in Reno NV. Had my mother committed to NARCONON in Oklahoma for 6 month. This was because she received pain medication Post-OP. So since he insisted she could control her pain with a nut, fruits and vitamin based diet. Thus she refused this advice after a Hysterectomy.

So he filed the necessary scientology paper work ( THREATENED A DIVORCE SETTLED BY SCIENTOLOGY HIERARCHY) And she was OFF TO OOOOOOAKLAHOMA! WEEEEE🤗. It's called cleansing, it includes a balanced vitamin diet with lots of mineral water, sweating in a sauna and basic excersize.

It's not all bad, as I am a product of private scientology school ( Inland Apple School Riverside California).🙃🙃 everyday started with a PR Session in which we kids sat in chairs facing each other one on one. We were taught to communicate by using numbers and not words. Or how to end a conversation politely and extricate ourselves from a conversation.

As we learned, the teacher would go over the lesson. If you yawned, the teacher would stop and take the yawn as a Que that you're bored and don't understand the lesson. First we were ask about the meaning/definition of a word. Once the you learned the meaning of that word or sentence. The lesson would then and only then continue.

After 4 years of this, my mother allowed me to go to public school with my neighborhood friends. I skipped a grade, but that was ok as a new school in Mira Loma California was built. I was the first 5th grade class. Best times ever!

I LOVE SCIENTOLOGY, I SALUTE YOU L. RON! HIP HIP HOOORAAHHHH! 🙌

Edit: here's the place.


www.scientology.org...

"The Narconon network extends worldwide from Narconon Arrowhead, the largest residential facility of its kind and training center for drug rehabilitation professionals and volunteers.

Established in 2001, this premier center stands amid 256 acres of woodland on the shores of Lake Eufaula in southeastern Oklahoma. Scientologists helped sponsor the creation of Narconon Arrowhead, which has provided education and rehabilitation to thousands, and delivered on-site internships to professionals from 47 U.S. states and 20 nations."




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I don't know about this Article. But I remember going to a big scientology convention to celebrate the Church's new TAX Exempt status that was signed into law by President Bill Clinton.

dailycaller.com...

The DNC could use those extra votes.



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posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 02:49 AM
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a reply to: Bigburgh

Well that didn't take long...



posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 03:02 AM
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a reply to: ColdWisdom

Lol.. go ahead😆 ask how much it really cost out of pocket for those 6 month.
80K!
Look I love my step dad. I really do. But scientology forces it's values into members family. And it coast lots of money.
I hated L.A./Hollywood mission. The ugly blue, I hated that place as a child. Clearwater Florida was no better. Los Angeles was very smoggy. So I was a sickly child, migraines were horrible.
So instead of a children's hospital, I spent my days at a nutritionists-chiropractor getting blood test for vitamin deficiency which was NOT the issue.

No I'm not cranky lol.. 😆



posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 03:34 AM
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a reply to: Bigburgh


No I'm not cranky lol..


You're an enigma... I don't quite know what to make of you just yet.



posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 03:47 AM
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a reply to: ColdWisdom

Have a star. I'm just me, a retired Firefighter/Paramedic and PHRN.. with a weird sense of humor.😊

But it's true that my mother married a computer programmer in 1978. He ran an Org here in Pittsburgh before moving us to southern California. It was both computer and scientology driven.
And everything I stated is true.


Efit: After re-reading my big post. It looks as if I was coming off as snarky towards you. That's not the case, I appreciate your posting this. My snarkyness was towards Scientology. 🍻
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posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 05:06 AM
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a reply to: Bigburgh


After re-reading my big post. It looks as if I was coming off as snarky towards you. That's not the case, I appreciate your posting this. My snarkyness was towards Scientology


Just making sure...



posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 02:21 PM
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I'm not sure if there is a way to access my intro post from my account, I'm not very good at this lol. I briefly spoke about it and answered some people's questions. I'd be happy to answer any questions anyone might have. I thought about making a thread but I'm not really sure how or where to start. I have kept all of the books and materials from my stay there, I could possibly take some photos and include them as well. I think I have to post more comments first so I need to get on that lol.

Bigburgh: I feel for you and believe everything you say. Plus I understand the humor, it was really the only way to get through any of it. Plus I barely did three months, I can't imagine it being around me constantly like it was for you. Also, oddly enough, I'm from the greater Pittsburgh area lol. I didn't realize there were centers this close to me but I forget how large Scientology has expanded.

As far as my stay there, they totally lied about everything to get us there and they knew how upset and at the end of the line we were and they used that to get a lot of money from us for a #ty center. The rooms were overcrowded, there was no AC or anything like that. The curriculum consisted of meditation training exercises, the sauna, and then studying the books. The meditation stuff at the beginning made sense to me and I enjoyed it. Then the exercises turn into basic brainwashing in how to dictate and receive commands and read if someone's lying to you. And you do this all day, 9am--9pm (except Sunday where they took you to Walmart and paid for you at the register which was embarrassing lol). The sauna was dangerous, too long of periods inside after taking up to 2000mg of Niacin. It would give you these burning bright red splotches on your skin and they'd tell you that the drugs were coming out of your body. The books were crazy, they teach you that every time you yawn you have a misunderstood word and you're handed a dictionary to look up a word that supposedly you didn't understand lol.

They also give you NO medicine the entire time. It's all about vitamins and taking a bunch of them. The nurse wanted to give me a Tylenol the one night she could see I was in pain (headache) and she couldn't, so she slipped me one and made me promise not to tell. Of course I wouldn't, It was also so insane.

Their brainwashing gets a lot of people and it's sad to watch because they are so broken when they get there and they just sucked in to the propaganda. Part of it is that you're supposed to report anyone who even talks bad about it to the "ethics committee." I was fortunate enough to realize this wasn't a regular rehab but I was stuck at Narconon-Stonehenge in Kalamazoo, MI which is 8 hours from my home in Pittsburgh. They would continually lie to my parents and then let me talk to them in front of them. I had legal charges pending and they said that if I left they'd call them and tell them I wasn't cooperating. My parents wanted me to stay and get better so I had no choice but to do the basic program. It can take up 6 months but my "partner" and I talked about everything and realized how we were "supposed" to feel after these exercises and what we were "supposed" to say. We both have student mentalities so we worked hard and got out of there in 3 months.

It was one of the most trying times in my life, but I definitely learned a lot and it straightened me out lol. Anyone who is looking to get in to rehab or if you're looking for a friend/family member, make sure you get a doctor you know to recommend a specialist that can help you, or at least point you in the right direction. Make sure you know things about any center you might be interested in before signing any paperwork. This includes the number of residents, program used, facility conditions, communication, etc.



posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 02:37 PM
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a reply to: ColdWisdom

You post another one of these threads and I will SUE you!

Hail Lord Xenu!




posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 03:46 PM
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a reply to: MegaScorp20


I have kept all of the books and materials from my stay there, I could possibly take some photos and include them as well. I think I have to post more comments first so I need to get on that lol.


It would be really helpful if you could show us some of the literature that you have preserved associated with Narconon.

And again, your story is amazing. It's refreshing to hear an example of someone escaping the hooks of that church unscathed, and willing to talk about it on ATS.



posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 11:16 PM
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Thank you, the books are my attic but I will dig them out this week. I do have my handy manual in my book shelf though. It's basically a "survival" guide for graduates. I'll take a few photos and figure out how to post them.



posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 11:27 PM
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a reply to: Bigburgh




I LOVE SCIENTOLOGY, I SALUTE YOU L. RON! HIP HIP HOOORAAHHHH! 🙌



Ha?

I'm surprised and confused, ar you saying these centers are good or bollox
?



posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 11:50 PM
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I have the photos but when I click on the "add photo" box it brings up nothing. No where to choose my folder/photo etc. I tried to send a PM too and it's telling me I can only contact moderators. I'm sure I'm doing something wrong, I apologize for my ingnorance in how to use the site. Like I said, I don't post much lol



posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 11:53 PM
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a reply to: MegaScorp20

hmm i think you need 20 posts. reply here a couple more times. then you should be able to PM someone else.



posted on Jul, 6 2016 @ 01:42 AM
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Ok I'll keep replying and give it a shot, thank you



posted on Jul, 6 2016 @ 07:55 AM
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a reply to: Bigburgh
To be honest your way of thinking is very strange to me ( its all over the place), if that is what scientology does to a persons thinking I think I will give it a miss



posted on Dec, 11 2017 @ 12:53 AM
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off-topic post removed to prevent thread-drift


 




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