The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Lies, Betrayals and Self-Promotions: The Shawna Forde Story

By Rob Waters on October 26, 2009 - 1:55 pm, Posted in Anti-Immigrant

Shawna Forde, the anti-immigration crusader who has been accused of murder in the home-invasion killings of an Arizona man and his 9-year-old daughter, got the full treatment on Sunday from her hometown paper.

The full treatment — more than 5,000 words of it by reporter Scott North in The Herald of Everett, Wash. — provides the most extensive account to date of the lies, betrayals and self-promotions carried out over the years by Forde, 41, one of three people awaiting trial for the murders of Raul Flores, 29, and his daughter Brisenia on May 30 in Arivaca, Ariz., a town near the Mexican border. Police say she believed Flores was a drug smuggler and she planned to use any drugs or money she found in the home to support her Minuteman American Defense group.

The story provides example after example of how Forde, presenting herself as an energetic patriot with deep concerns about illegal immigration and border security, found a warm welcome in the Minuteman movement, “a loose-knit, fractious network that needed volunteers enough to set aside skepticism.”

One of the people interviewed for the story was a private investigator and security consultant named Mike Carlucci. Over the years, the story said, Forde described Carlucci to reporters and her Minuteman associates as “her link to legal muscle and even how she got dirt on her enemies.”

The story continued:

That is a lie, Carlucci said. It’s one of many that apparently went down easy in Minutemen circles, he said.

Some within the border-watch movement seem particularly susceptible to manipulation and fraud, Carlucci said. Their groups are largely volunteer, emotional about patriotism and love of country. They can’t agree how to conduct themselves and, he said, for some that ambivalence extends to whether they should follow the nation’s laws.

“I think it is a user-friendly environment for folks who aren’t necessarily accountable because there are not hard and fast standards of accountability,” he said.

As border patrollers, the story made clear, Forde and her band were generally hapless, disorganized and ineffective. Early this year, Forde tried to piggyback onto a better-organized, better-equipped patrol operation called Project Bluelight, operated by a former private investigator and onetime Marine named Joe Adams. Adams didn’t welcome the attention, as he indicated in a May 11 E-mail to Forde:

“Here is what I am suggesting. 1. Stop dropping mine and Project Bluelight’s name to give you and your amateur operations credibility. 2. Stay in Washington and off the border for the good of the movement. Shauna (sic), you are a dangerous sociopath and anyone who would listen to your (expletive) is an idiot. You do not know what you are doing, and you put people in the border movement in harms way. … Go away. Good luck in prison.”

The Herald has been tracking Forde’s antics for a long time. In February, after Forde suggested that Mexican drug cartels had targeted her for a series of violent attacks, the paper ran a profile that cast serious doubt on Forde’s claims, and summarized her troubled past, which included felonies starting from age 11 and repeated convictions for theft, burglary and prostitution.

  • MrsCaptJack

    This woman is a complete whack-job. How sad that she couldn’t get past the terrible things that happened to her in her childhood and turn them into ways to help others. She sounds like an unbelievable character off of a Law and Order episode…

  • Kate De Braose

    Watch out for people who tell lies for any reason. If they do that, all other crooked and manipulative actions are usually not far behind!

  • sunkawakan

    Any link between Forde and D.A. King?

  • kate

    Forde’s mental instability is a tragedy in and of itself, a result of a mental health/child protection system that is stuck in the 19th century.

    The minuteman groups and other hate groups provide sustenance for people who have felt thrown aside and ignored for most of their lives. Unbalanced and angry, these misfits go on to terrorize innocent people. This is nothing new; the Nazi party was a hotbed of mental dysfunction.

    Legal protection for people now is paramount and then fixing our broken social services infrastructure is the next step in saving us the time, money and lives wasted because of it.

  • Alan Aardman

    An irrational hatred drove this Forde down a highway of personal destruction- she seems to be totalled after her recent collision with the law.

    What information does the SPLC have about this Project Bluelight and its connections to nativist extremism?

  • Potter

    Although this comment is not about Forde directly, I want to share this thought. The Patriot movement, the Minutemen movement and other super “patriotic” movements are NOT patriotic in the sense that they want to make our nation be healthy-they want it to be theirs.

    Now I know that perhaps some members of these groups may be patriotic, the majority of these individuals are not. Patriotism is not the same as nationalism. Patriotism’s definition is simply a devoted love, support and defense of one’s country. When taken to extremes or twisted, it becomes nationalism. In the case of these groups it is truly nationalism that has the dressings (i.e. flag waving, patriotic rhetoric, flag pins, etc.) of patriotism. (Think of Nazi Germany’s flag waving parades)
    Nationalism, by the way is a policy or doctrine of asserting the perceived interests of one’s own nation, viewed as separate from the interests of other nations or the common interests of all nations. Nationalism also usually has aspects of marginalizing certain groups of people as scapegoats. (Jews or immigrants for example)

    I just want to point this out, lest we forget that flag waving and claiming that you are a patriot does not a true patriot make.

  • Andrew Davis

    Once again this line of thinking tries to hide behind the love of my country while there real agenda is the hitler form of a good country man. Just as was done in the time of hatred he represented so these hate filled bias groups try to sell there groups as a movement to save us from the great evil but wants us to think of them as openminded and none bias. Stop the madness, dressing up and toning down the culture embedded way of thinking and reacting to situations with hate and bias are present and none accepting of truth or reason.

  • Doris V

    This is downright scary. Sounds like something for a gory Halloween story!! As a resident of New Mexico but over 250 miles from the border, this stuff frightens all of southern New Mexico. Most of us want all of these vigilantes to go home. I hope Homeland Security does something to disband them before more innocent people are murdered.

  • Advocate54

    Thanks for the coverage on this story and helping us to keep it before the American Public. raised the question of the voracity of Forde’s “rape” claims, after viewing the doctored photos she posted online.

    Since that time, we’ve pursued the truth. Unfortunately, Jim Gilchrist and others are blaming us for Forde’s actions.

  • Carter

    “Police say she believed Flores was a drug smuggler and she planned to use any drugs or money she found in the home to support her Minuteman American Defense group.”

    – Sounds like the Contras, doesn’t it?

  • beholder

    “I think it is a user-friendly environment for folks who aren’t necessarily accountable because there are not hard and fast standards of accountability,” he said.

    Great post.

    This is exactly the problem with border vigilantes. Citizen activism and political involvement is one thing, taking matters into your own hands is another.

    Immigration controls should only be enforced by dispassionate public servants, not law enforcement activists or citizen malcontents.