[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]
There have been some interesting developments in the bizarre and telling case of Shawna Forde, the Everett, WA, woman who led an offshoot unit of Minutemen who ran armed border patrols for patriotic "fun" and then decided to go "operational." They concocted a scheme to raid drug smugglers and take their money and drugs and use it to finance a border race war and "start a revolution against the government". They mistakenly chose the home of Raul Flores and his wife and two daughters, which had neither money nor drugs; first they shot the father in the head and wounded the mother, and then, while she pleaded for her life, they shot 9-year-old Brisenia in cold blood. (Her sister, fortunately, was sleeping over at a friend's.)
It seems the FBI got a heads-up about Forde's plans -- and did nothing about it, since the information was sketchy. But it also seems that Forde and Co. had a whole slate of violent home invasions ready to roll. From Kim Smith at the Arizona Star:
According to documents filed this week in Pima County Superior Court, two confidential informants for the FBI say they told agents in April 2009 that Forde was recruiting people to raid a house she believed was filled with illicit drugs, money and guns.You can listen to the wounded mother's 911 call here:
The documents say Forde, 42, and others were on the verge of hitting additional targets when she, Jason Bush, 35, and Albert Gaxiola, 43, were arrested on June 12, 2009.
Both men are described as active members of the border-defense movement who routinely camp on the border so they can spot illegal immigrants and report them to the U.S. Border Patrol.
One of them told investigators that he met Forde in October 2007 while on a mission outside Arivaca. He said that in April 2009, Forde called him, saying the other men she knew in the border-defense movement were "sissies," and she was impressed with his courage.
The informant says Forde knew rocket-propelled grenades, drugs and millions of dollars were being funneled into the U.S. through Arivaca and wanted him to help her protect the community.
Not wanting to get involved, the man told Forde to call another man.
The second man says Forde shared her intelligence with him several times in person, over the phone and by e-mail.
Once Forde made arrangements to meet with him, the second man said he deemed her serious and contacted his FBI handler, who instructed him to keep gathering information.
The two men say they and two other men met with Forde at an Aurora, Colo., truck stop in late April 2009, at which time Forde said she wanted them to force their way into an Arivaca house and get control of the occupants.
They said she told them a second team would then come in and gather up the drugs, money and weapons, which would be sold to help the Minutemen American Defense, an organization based in the state of Washington.
One of them relayed the information to the FBI a few days later. The other corroborated his account of the meeting. They were told to keep on gathering information.
Forde later called one of the men to ask if he could be in Arivaca within 18 hours, but he said he made excuses about why he couldn't. About 10 days later, they learned of the slayings.
The men said they immediately suspected Forde, suspicions they said were confirmed when Forde called an associate to help Bush, who had been shot in the leg.
Forde told their associate that Bush was shot while patrolling the desert, but they suspected Bush had really been shot during the home invasion, they told authorities.
On June 7, one of the informants told Forde in a conversation taped by the FBI that he and the other informant wouldn't be able to drive to Tucson for a few days. He also told her he didn't want to bring one of the other participants in their truck-stop meeting because he didn't trust him.
Forde replied that she did trust him and went on to say: "We can train him. We can start him on soft targets. Our hands are already dirty. We've got to know he can pull the trigger."
It's not as if Shawna Forde was a renegade Minuteman, either, though she did run an offshoot (which is how the majority of Minutemen are organizing these days, the large national organizations having gone kaput). Indeed, Forde served as a spokesperson for FAIR and was closely involved with Minutemen leader Jim Gilchrist right up to the time of her arrest.
The trial this fall is going to be intensely interesting -- and deeply revealing.