David Lawson’s Investigation Into Organized Stalking
American private investigator David Lawson spent approximately 12 years investigating stalking groups in the United States and Canada,mainly in the 1990s. He wrote about his experiences “riding with” these networked community harassment groups in two books.
The first,released in 2001,was:
By Dr. Noa Davenport,Ruth Distler Schwartz,Gail Pursell Elliott
Before sharing David Lawson’s findings,it should be pointed out that Lawson’s books contain two types of information:his observations,and his conclusions.
David Lawson’s observations of the activities of the community organized stalking groups are a perfect match for the types of harassment reported by organized stalking targets. However,Lawson’s conclusions as to who is mainly responsible are puzzling to targets who have read his books.
David Lawson claims that foreign terrorists and “anti-government” groups are responsible for the growing organized stalking crimes. Very few targets of organized stalking see evidence that Lawson’s conclusions match the targets’ experience. Lawson may have discovered those groups operating when he rode with the harassment groups,but anyone interested in finding the backers of local harassment groups would do well to suspend judgement on Lawson’s conclusions.
Right up front,targets of organized stalking report that LIES circulated about the targets are what fuel local hatred for the targets. One of the favourite lies being circulated is that the target is a child molester. This is routinely used against female targets as well as targeted men.
Other lies are that the target has a serious criminal record,or is into the drug trade,or is a prostitute. So for those reading this paper who aren’t familiar with organized stalking,keep in mind that the obvious answer to “Why would people harass targets who are nobodies?” … is that once lies are circulated that the target is a major criminal,that target is no longer a “nobody.”
As to why certain people are chosen as targets,targets’ reports show that whistleblowers and activists are sometimes subjected to organized stalking as “punishment” for their activities. Other cases occur when a target is in line for a large inheritance,or has turned in a well-connected spouse for criminal activity such as pedophilia,or sometimes the target just “ticked off” someone who is well-connected to groups willing to do organized stalking.
According to David Lawson,some targets are simply chosen for ‘practice.’
Here below are selected quotes from both of David Lawson’s books,starting with a “Concepts Table” for quick-click access to relevant sections:
Police awareness of organized stalkers
How David Lawson got involved
Characteristics of stalker recruits
Quotes from the stalkers
Stalker motivation statistics
Involvement of firemen and police
Stalkers’ attitude towards their cause
Stalking group leaders
Stalking group finances
Distinction,initial reasons vs. ongoing reasons
Lawson’s targeted group list
Sampling of stalking operations
Perps use adjacent apartments
Stalkers entry into targets’ homes
Failure to recognize organized stalking
Harassment on foot
Destruction of relationships
Synchronized leaving home
[pg 79] “I also spoke with a few police officers from across the country. They confirmed the existence of stalking groups across the country. In general,they said that ’cause stalking’ is primarily a civil problem where the plaintiff has to prove financial loss. They also said that there are free speech and grass roots issues involved. In fact,the police themselves are targets of these groups. In small towns,the number of members in these groups can easily exceed the number of police officers. In general,the police will not talk about stalking groups. One officer did say there is a storm brewing as groups become larger and more numerous.”
“One day,several years ago,I was sitting in my house,and checking out the activity on my scanner. I heard a woman say that she was following a certain vehicle. She gave the location,the make and model of the car and the license plate number. A few days later,I heard the same woman on the same frequency(84) request backup at a certain location. A few days after that I again heard her broadcasting the position and details about another vehicle she was following. I listened to other people talking on that frequency and they didn’t give any indication that they were with any government agency but they were talking about arresting people.
On another occasion,on the same business band frequency,I heard someone complain that an African American man was crossing the street. “All we could get him for is jaywalking” responded the leader. “Leave him for the police.”
People in the group would discuss where they would go for supper,after their shift was over,so I [the author] went too. I listened to a group of people openly discussing various activities as if they were the police.
Real police officers were also sitting in the restaurant,listening to them. I later learned that their presence was not a coincidence.
One man who had supper with the group drove a van marked with the call letters of a local AM radio station. I started listening to it. Most of the guests were people who said they had new revelations about Waco or Ruby Ridge,or had some inside story about government corruption. It is called hate radio. I also heard advertisements for the meetings of a local political group and I attended some.
“At the first meeting I attended,one young man flashed a phony police badge at me. No one paid any attention. Some of those in attendance were the people I had seen in the local restaurant. This was my introduction to the creepy world of anti-government extremists.”
David Lawson goes on to explain that he has observed “extremist groups” for several years while living in New York State,Florida,and Canada. He monitored the stalking groups’ public communications,attended meetings,and rode with them.
The author defines the basic reason for being for these citizen stalking groups as CAUSE STALKING. Cause stalking means the group is assembled,under a leader with a “shadowy past”,for some specific cause. “Cause stalking has been used by extremist groups since the early 1990s. The basic system is alleged to have been developed by the Ku Klux Klan and refined through years of use.”
“Recruits tend to be blue collar workers who are at the bottom end of the job scale. They are janitors in apartments,hotels,etc.,who have keys to get in any locked doors. They are security guards,who can let fellow members into places where they would not normally be allowed to go. They are city workers,who can,in many cities,follow a target around all day in their vehicles or have a noisy project underway near his [target’s] residence. They are taxi drivers,who are a network that is always on the road. They are cable,telephone and electric company employees who can interfere with a target’s service and spend time on patrol with the group,while they are on the job.” Those are the author’s words. Here are a few quotes from the perpetrators themselves,from the original book:[From Terrorist Stalking in America] “We are like the police except we are ABOVE the police.” [From Terrorist Stalking in America] “We are a citizen’s group that helps the police. We are trying to alert people in the area about this person [the target] before he gets to do what he did in the last place he lived.” [Eleanor White talking:All the cause stalking targets I know well did not commit ANY offenses. The stalkers are filled with LIES by their leaders.]
[From Terrorist Stalking in America] “Who are we? We drive the ambulances that take you to the emergency room. When your house is burning,we put out the fire. We are security guards. We protect you at night. You only have electricity,phone and cable service because of us. We are janitors. We have the keys. We fix your cars. You don’t want to mess with us.”
That 10% joining out of fear of harassment is quite interesting,as one of the most difficult barriers to educating the general public about organized stalking is why anyone would volunteer to harass others.
Lawson describes recruits to these groups as “… those who feel powerless,inferior and angry.” Common sense is that naturally,such people would be easy to recruit for street and adjacent to the target’s home harassment,but I would comment that lots of professionals put us(targets) down at every opportunity,declaring us mentally ill for even suggesting organized stalking is possible. These professionals don’t “feel powerless,inferior,and angry.”
And I doubt the many utility and city employees who participate feel “powerless,inferior,and angry” either. So while David Lawson has done a great job,some aspects of organized stalking have apparently escaped him.
I have heard a number of reports that vehicular harassment has involved an above average number of vehicles that bear stickers of firefighters,or,a few targets have traced perpetrator identities to firemen. One target discovered that a number of vehicular harassment cars,identified by licence number,were parked in a police station parking lot.
My personal take on why some firemen and police might back these groups is that many have a heightened sense of community service. If they can be persuaded that the target has a criminal record,the worst case being that of a pedophile,it would be natural for firefighters and police to “help keep the target in line”.
The author concludes,as explained at a number of places in the book,that the “cause” the typical group is “working toward” is mainly an excuse to get the groups together. The main motivation of members who stay with these groups is the sense of power and belonging the group members derive. Having a “cause” enhances the feelings of power and righteousness,but group members,according to the author,are most concerned with how their fellow group stalkers feel about their “work” and accept them.
“Group leaders do have political goals and the belief that the end justifies the means.”
Lawson describes leaders as considering their members “disposable.”
Lawson states that some leaders work for corporations and politicians(original book didn’t mention politicians.)
Lawson states that leaders identify targets but don’t directly supervise the harassment group members.
Lawson describes leaders as having an “air of mystery”,”having worked for the CIA,NSA,or some other intelligence agency that doesn’t reveal information about their employees.” Lawson states that this “background” is likely mythology.
How about financing these groups?
“Groups are well financed. They can afford to rent property wherever the target lives. If he drives across the country,he will be followed by supporters of similar groups in that area. If he travels by plane,group members will meet him wherever he lands in the U.S. They may even accompany him on a plane if they know his travel plan,and there is a good chance that they do.”
[From Terrorist Stalking in America] “The operations of many extremist groups are actually financed by corporations which use them to stalk their enemies or potential enemies. The groups are used as the private armies of those corporations. Some countries kill dissidents and in others they are jailed. In the United States,someone who is threatening to corporations or industries,like a whistleblower or activist,is likely to become the target of an extremist group.”
The author makes several statements that these criminal stalking groups not only harass targets specified by their leaders,but also are FOR HIRE – a kind of “revenge service” for those wealthy enough to hire them.
David Lawson’s chapter on Selection of Targets may well be true,but it certainly doesn’t describe the thousands of people who don’t fit his list of targeted categories. Here are some of the categories of targets Lawson records in “Cause Stalking”:
– Abortion clinic workers
– People guilty of mistreatment of animals
– County clerks and local politicians
– Police officers
– IRS and Treasury agents
– Civil rights activists
– Government or corporate whistleblowers
One thing David Lawson makes clear in describing the targets is that “The ultimate goal of the groups is to destroy the targets.” Those who have been stalked by organized citizen groups which are fed lies report that these groups do destroy targets with great efficiency.
Next,let’s look at some of the typical OPERATIONS these groups carry out. Here,I have retained a number of quotes from the original book because I feel they state the situation as well or better than the new book:
- The first step,after a target has been selected,is to establish a personality profile “… which will involve an assessment of IQ,personality type,and history.”
- “A target may also notice being photographed.”
- [From Terrorist Stalking in America] “The primary characteristic of cause stalking is that it is done by large groups of people. A target will always be followed,but he is unlikely to see the same stalkers very often.” …[From Terrorist Stalking in America] “Many of these groups include hundreds of people.”
- “Some authors refer to cause stalking as terrorist stalking. Groups do not just stalk individuals. They employ organized programs of harassment which include break-ins,property damage,assault and occasionally,even death. The children of a target are a favorite.”
- [From Terrorist Stalking in America] “Firemen across the country,and even some police departments have a long history of supporting extremist groups. Fire trucks can sometimes be seen riding in extremist convoys,with their flashing lights turned on and their sirens screaming. They will also race to greet a convoy which is entering their town. The participation of firemen,city workers and utility company workers helps give group members an illusion of legitimacy and power.”
- [From Terrorist Stalking in America] “City employees can be used to harass a target in many ways including tearing up the road in front of a target’s home. Employees of pest control businesses who have access to the keys for apartments and those who work for alarm and locksmith companies are also of interest.”
- [From Terrorist Stalking in America] “Groups also attack targets of convenience. These people are selected because they are convenient targets,and not for any other reason. These include loners who tend to be more vulnerable to their harassment tactics than those with family and friends around them. Targets of convenience are used for practice.”
- [From Terrorist Stalking in America] “In order to establish bases of operation,they will enlist the assistance of neighbors. In many areas,they can do this by intimidation. Those who do not co-operate can be targetted,which includes harassment of their families and damage to their homes and vehicles.”If they are dealing with individuals who do not know them,they can also appeal to their sense of patriotism and they can offer drugs,friendship,home repair,free taxi rides and what ever else they have to. In some cases they may even be able to get a key to the residence from a ‘patriotic’ landlord.”
- [From Terrorist Stalking in America] “Surveillance is conducted 24 hours a day,7 days a week. When a target leaves his residence they will alert the group,either by cell phone or by business band radio. Other members,who are patrolling the perimeter to watch for police and other vehicles driving in the area,will race to the location to begin pursuit. In small towns,where business band radio is widely used,these activities are a local sport among a small group. Anyone with a scanner can join in. Some targets have reported hearing an announcement on their scanners as soon as they turn their lights on in the morning.”
- [From Terrorist Stalking in America] “In a typical apartment setting,they will attempt to lease,sublet,or otherwise have access to apartments above,below,and on both sides of the target. They will also “guard” the vehicles of a target in the parking lot.” [From Terrorist Stalking in America] If [the target] flushes a toilet,he may hear a car horn honk,the sound of a power tool or hammering,for example. There will also be a large number of people coming and going,and accompanying rowdiness and noise.”
- [From Terrorist Stalking in America] “A common ruse used by these groups is that they are a ‘citizens group’ which assists the police and they are ‘just keeping track of’ a certain individual,for whatever reason. The illusion is reinforced by the case files they carry which are complete with photos of the target and look like those used by police.”
- “During a search [of the target’s home or apartment] members who are on patrol anyway establish a perimeter around the residence to watch for police vehicles. In an apartment setting,entry will likely be gained through a member of the janitorial staff,pest control or alarm technician,since they have a right to enter. They may even be able to approach a landlord and gain his co-operation,after convincing him of their ‘higher purpose’. He may also co-operate out of fear.”
- [From Terrorist Stalking in America] “Others do not recognize that they are being harassed by an organized group. They just think that there are a lot of rude people in the world.”
- “Interception of mail is standard practice.” … “Typically,targets notice that their mail is arriving late or they do not receive certain pieces of mail. They [targets] may overhear people at a nearby table in a restaurant talking about certain mail,and realize it is theirs,or someone may drive by [the target] waving their mail at them.”
- “Interception of phone calls is also standard practice. This is done by telephone company employees who support the [stalking] group for ideological reasons or because they obtain some benefit.” Eleanor White comment:I’d add to that one of the most likely reasons,because the phone technicians are told lies about targets.
- “An objective is to isolate the target from his family and friends. He can tell them about all the strange things happening around him,but they will not understand and perhaps will think he is crazy. Sometimes other members of the family will receive the same treatment.”
- “When a target is driving,standard practice is to surround his vehicle and attempt to control his speed. He will not be followed in close proximity by the same vehicles for a long distance. They do frequent trade-offs. Vehicles line up behind the target to take their turn.””In many parts of the country it is common to see groups of six to 30 or more vehicles driving around in convoys with their high beams on during the day. This is one of the ways a convoy can be identified.”
- “Standard practice is to watch the target’s vehicles and this subjects them to damage including slashed tires,scratched paint,stolen license plates,etc. Typically they would not cut the brake lines on vehicles or commit other similar acts of sabotage,but they would drain the oil or antifreeze over a period of time.”
- [From Terrorist Stalking in America] “A target will be followed on foot wherever he goes. Anyone can go to the same public places he goes,and they will attempt to get into any other restricted places he goes,including hospitals,places of employment,etc. It has been said that it is possible to go nearly anywhere if you have a clipboard in your hand and it is almost true. They also like to wear name badges on a lanyard,and some carry phony police badges.”
- [From Terrorist Stalking in America] “Common harassment tactics used by those on foot include pen clicking,in which they repeatedly click a ball point pen,key rattling,and rattling change in their pockets while standing behind the target. Many tactics are tried and the result is observed. Those which evoke a response from the target are repeated. When a target sits anywhere in public,group members will attempt to sit behind him in order to create noise,by whatever means,including tapping their feet on the target’s chair. The objective is to harass the target constantly.”
- [From Terrorist Stalking in America] “Groups attempt to interfere with any business and personal relationships which the target has. Typically,this interference involves character assassination from some anonymous individual and is not usually taken seriously by those who know the target. It can be effective with people who don’t know the target.”
- “At work,the target will also experience character assassination. If he works in any position where he has to deal with the public,there will be a steady stream of customers who complain about him. If he is a real estate agent,he will have a steady stream of prospects who occupy his time but never make an offer.”Let me,Eleanor White,give you an example of how brutal and serious this “character assassination” can be.
One of our members,who prefers to remain anonymous,moved in with her husband and children to a house which,unkown to them,had been a methamphetamine lab. The chemicals used to brew meth apparently cause distinctive symptoms in the mouth. This family’s dentist felt he was “helping law enforcement” by reporting them to local law enforcement as meth users. This was absolutely untrue,but the family didn’t even know the report had been made and had no way to correct it.(In fact,in some places,dentists are REQUIRED to report suspected cases of meth use.)
Law enforcement in that area was apparently tied in to the citizen groups,and the family was harassed for many years. The husband died,apparently from exposure to these chemicals.
The lady,now a grandmother,steadfastly did detective work and eventually found out about her family’s reputation,with some help from a policeman who was a personal friend,from a different jurisdiction. This policeman admitted off the record that “meth mouth” can result in people being submitted to citizen harassment groups for harassment.
Character assassination is complete,and has life-destroying consequences!
- “A common tactic use by groups is noise campaigns. Group members will drive by the target’s residence or work place,honking their horns,squealing tires,and making whatever other noise they can.””They will also make noise from whatever nearby properties they have access to. Typically,they will make noise when the target goes outside. Group members will also frequently knock on his door for whatever peculiar reasons they can dream up.”
- “In an apartment setting,targets can expect to hear tapping on the walls in the middle of the night,hammering etc. from the upper and/or lower apartments,and possibly the apartments on both sides. They will continue to ‘work’ on these activities for as long as they can get away with them.”
- [From Terrorist Stalking in America] “… It is not uncommon,in an apartment setting,for a target to hear someone moving from room to room as he does,from the upper or lower apartment. [Eleanor White talking:This requires commercial through wall radar or more advanced technology in many cases.]
- “Often they occupy a nearby apartment,part time,when the owner is not there and he receives some benefit. A target may notice someone leaving a nearby apartment when he leaves his,and arrive when he arrives. In addition,he will often be accompanied in elevators by a steady stream of different individuals who go to the apartments being used by the group.”