21 thoughts on “US racist ‘Minuteman’ leader arrested for murdering 8-year old girl

  1. http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/06/more_rightwing_violence_anti-immigrant_suspects_in_1.php?ref=fpblg

    More Far-Right Violence? Anti-Immigrant Suspects In Arizona Killing
    Have Ties To White Supremacists
    By Zachary Roth – June 16, 2009, 12:48PM

    The recent murders of a Kansas doctor who performed late-term
    abortions and of a guard at the National Holocaust Museum have stoked
    fears of a rise in right-wing extremist violence — just as that
    much-maligned DHS report predicted. And now it looks like we’ve got
    another one to add to the list…

    According to local law enforcement, three people posing as police
    officers forced their way into the home of Raul Flores in Arivaca,
    Arizona, about 10 miles from the Mexican border, on May 30. They shot
    and killed Flores and his nine-year-old daughter, and wounded Flores’
    wife. The three, Shawna Forde, Jason Bush, and Albert Gaxiola, were
    arrested and charged last Thursday and Friday.

    But here’s where it gets interesting: Forde’s brother, Merrill
    Metzger, has told the Arizona Daily Star that Forde had been talking
    recently about “starting a revolution against the United States
    government,” and had said she planned to recruit members of the Aryan
    Nations as part of a plan to rob drug cartels.

    It sounds like Forde had started putting that plan into action. Bush,
    accused of being the triggerman in the killing, was also charged
    Friday in the 1997 murder of a sleeping Hispanic homeless man in
    Washington, reports the paper. According to law enforcement
    authorities in the state, Bush “has had long-standing ties to the
    Aryan Nations.” In 2003, they say, Bush moved to the Sandpoint area of
    northern Idaho, a historic center of white supremacist activity.

    Both Forde and Bush also have ties to the fringe of the
    anti-immigration movement. As Josh noted last week over at TPM, Forde
    leads Minutemen American Defense (MAD), a vigilante group that
    conducts patrols of the US-Mexico border. And according to a recent
    post on MAD’s website, since taken down, the group recently signed up
    Bush — said to be a Special Forces veteran, and identified only as
    “Gunny” — and put him in charge of “command decisions, Recon and
    Tactical training.”

    “Gunny” himself seemed to offer a hint of the violence to come in a
    statement on the site, reported by the Daily Star:

    My personal information is being withheld for security reasons . .
    . I am about to have a big bull’s-eye on me and I don’t want
    retaliation to reach my family. My goal is to bring the full force of
    our collective abilities down on the bad guys. this will make waves.

    MAD isn’t formally affiliated with Jim Gilchrist’s anti-immigration
    Minuteman Project, or with its off-shoot, the Minuteman Civil Defense
    Corps (MCDC), both of which also conduct border patrols. But it
    appears Forde used to be active with the MCDC, and in this video from
    2006, she’s introduced both as a member of the Minutemen and as a
    “representative” of the more mainstream anti-immigration group, the
    Federation for American Immigration Reform, which is quoted frequently
    in the media on immigration issues.

    As for Forde’s larger plans, they come off as a confused mixture of
    right-wing — and just-plain-crazy — notions.

    Metzger told the Daily Star that Forde had said she planned to start
    an “underground militia” that would steal money and drugs from drug
    cartels (Flores, one of the Arizona victims, was a suspected drug
    dealer.) Metzger said he had secretly recorded a recent conversation
    with Forde, because he had grown concerned about her violent rhetoric,
    and had spoken to police about her.

    And, reports the paper, investigators believe the attack was intended
    to be the first in a series of such crimes, with the goal of funding
    MAD and another venture. What was that venture? According to Metzger:
    “She was telling me that they were going to start some sort of militia
    that was going to go overseas and aid and abet those who are
    kidnapped. She said she was going to go to Syria.”

    No, it doesn’t make sense to us either. But there’s increasing
    evidence that something about the current climate — the election of a
    pro-choice, African-American president, the economic downturn, or
    perhaps the ever-more unhinged flavor of even a lot of mainstream
    conservative rhetoric — is prompting a greater number of confused and
    dangerous Americans to act out their bizarre and violent fantasies.
    And that’s worth paying attention to, whether it makes sense or not.

    http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/06/accused_far-right_killer_has_b
    izarre_troubled_past.php

    Accused Far-Right Killer Has Bizarre, Troubled Past
    By Zachary Roth – June 16, 2009, 5:18PM

    So this morning, the story of Shawna Forde — the alleged ringleader
    in the recent murder of a nine-year-old girl and her father near the
    US-Mexico border — appeared to be pretty run-of-the-mill stuff: it
    looked like your standard plot to start a “revolution against the US
    government” by recruiting members of the Aryan Nations to a vigilante
    anti-immigrant border-patrol group, in order to rob Mexican drug
    cartels, then use that money to free kidnap victims in Syria.

    Dog bites man, we figured.

    But now, after piecing together various reports, a fuller picture of
    Forde’s background — and her whacked-out anti-immigrant obsession —
    has started to emerge. And it sounds like that’s just the half of it.
    Here’s what we know about her:

    * Forde, 41, has juvenile convictions for felonies, prostitution and
    other crimes in Snohomish County, Washington. She’s been married and
    divorced four times, and has been fired from numerous jobs.

    * In 2007, she ran for the city council in Everett, Washington, on a
    platform that emphasized opposition to immigration. But she fell short
    after being convicted of shoplifting a container of chocolate milk.

    * She’s spent much of the last three years combing the Arizona desert
    for signs of illegal immigrants. She believes that illegals are
    helping terrorists sneak “dirty bomb” materials into the US, posing a
    grave national security threat. She also believes that federal
    government is in league with the UN to allow unchecked immigration.

    * At a 2006 PBS-sponsored forum at which she claimed to be both a
    member of the Minutemen and a representative of the supposedly more
    mainstream anti-immigration group FAIR, Forde railed against
    immigrants and declared: “We will not stop until we get the results
    that we need to have.”

    * In addition to running her own border-patrol group, Minuteman
    American Defense, she had also worked with the more established
    Minutemen Civil Defense Corps movement. But Jeff Schwilk, the leader
    of the San Diego Minutemen, has said she was so unstable that he tried
    to get rid of her. “I’ve been concerned about her and her impact on
    our movement,” he said. “Irrational people with assault rifles at the
    border is a recipe for disaster.”

    * The Arizona robbery and murder with which she’s been charged may not
    be her only such crime. Piecing together several news reports, it
    appears that in early May, Forde visited her mother and brother in
    Redding, California. Forde works on the side as a hair stylist, and
    while she was styling the hair of Lynette Myers, a friend of her
    mother’s, Myers told her that she’d recently received a large
    inheritance in cash, and planned to keep it at home. A few days later,
    Forde called her mother, Rena Caudle, and asked her for Myers’
    address, saying she wanted to send her a package of hair-care
    supplies. The package never arrived. But the following month, Myers
    and her husband reported being robbed at gunpoint by two men dressed
    as US Marshals. The couple has since identified one of them men as
    Jason Bush, the ex-con with ties to Neo-Nazis who’s suspected of being
    the triggerman in the Arizona murders. Police are now investigating
    Forde’s possible role in the crime as well.

    There’s more though…

    * Late last year and into January of this year, Forde was at the
    center of a string of what she said were violent attacks. First, her
    husband was shot in what was reported as an ambush at his home in
    Everett. A week later, Forde herself called a local newspaper to
    report that she had been beaten and raped at the same house. She
    claimed the attack was retaliation for her work on the border, and
    blamed the Salvadoran street gang MS-13. She posted pictures on her
    website — since removed — showing what she said were injuries to her
    thighs and buttocks. Forde was quickly accused by bloggers of
    perpetrating a hoax, and even the anti-immigration Americans for Legal
    Immigration PAC indicated they were suspicious of her story. Then
    weeks later, she was found in an alley in Everett with gunshot wounds
    to her arm.

    And now she’s been charged in the Arizona killings. Forde’s own family
    sounds like they’ve had enough of her. Her mother said that after
    Forde’s arrest, she declined Forde’s request to use her as a reference
    in hope of being released on $1 million bail. And her brother says,
    “She’s a sociopath. She lies so much she believes her own lies.”

  2. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/03/us/03immig.html?hp=&pagewanted=all

    U.S. Shifts Strategy on Illicit Work by Immigrants

    By JULIA PRESTON
    July 2, 2009

    Immigration authorities had bad news this week for American Apparel, the T-shirt maker based in downtown Los Angeles: About 1,800 of its employees appeared to be illegal immigrants not authorized to work in the United States. But in contrast to the high-profile raids that marked the enforcement approach of the Bush administration, no federal agents with criminal warrants stormed the company€ ¦¹s factories and rounded up employees. Instead, the federal immigration agency sent American Apparel a written notice that it faced civil fines and would have to fire any workers confirmed to be unauthorized.

    The treatment of American Apparel, which has more than 5,600 factory employees in Los Angeles alone, is the most prominent demonstration of a new strategy by the Obama administration to curb the employment of illegal immigrants by focusing on employers who hire them € ¦’« and doing so in a less confrontational manner than in years past.

    Unlike the approach of the Bush administration, which brought criminal charges in its final two years against many illegal immigrant workers, the new effort makes broader use of fines and other civil sanctions, federal officials said Thursday.

    Federal agents will concentrate on businesses employing large numbers of workers suspected of being illegal immigrants, the officials said, and will reserve tough criminal charges mostly for employers who serially hire illegal immigrants and engage in wage and labor violations.

    € ¦³These actions underscore our commitment to targeting employers that cultivate illegal work forces by knowingly hiring and exploiting illegal workers,€ ¦² said Matt Chandler, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security.

    On Wednesday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the federal agency known as ICE, said it had sent notices announcing audits of hiring records, like the one it conducted at American Apparel, to 652 other companies across the country. Officials said they were picking up the pace of such audits, after performing 503 of them in 2008.

    The names of other companies that received notices have not been made public. American Apparel became a window into the new enforcement tactics because, as a publicly traded company, it issued a required notice on Wednesday about the hiring audit.

    The Obama administration€ ¦¹s new approach, unveiled in April, seems to be moving away from the raids that advocates for immigrants said had split families, disrupted businesses and traumatized communities. But the outcome will still be difficult for illegal workers, who will lose their jobs and could face deportation, the advocates said.

    Immigration officials have not made clear how they intend to deal with workers who are unable to prove their legal immigration status in the course of inspections, but they said there was no moratorium on deportations.

    Executives at American Apparel were both relieved and dismayed after receiving the warning from the immigration agency of discrepancies in the hiring documents of about one-third of its Los Angeles work force. The company has 30 days to dispute the agency€ ¦¹s claims and give immigrant employees time to prove that they are authorized to work in the United States, immigration officials said. If they cannot, the company must fire them, probably within two months.

    But no criminal charges were lodged against the company and no workers have been arrested, American Apparel executives and immigration officials said.

    The fines followed discussions over 18 months between federal officials and American Apparel, after immigration agents first inspected the company€ ¦¹s files in January 2008, said Peter Schey, an immigration lawyer representing the company. Mr. Schey said a raid had been averted because the company cooperated with the audit and because immigration agents had not found any labor abuses.

    € ¦³There is no evidence of any exploitation of workers or violation of labor laws,€ ¦² he said. € ¦³And there is not a single allegation that the company knowingly hired an undocumented worker.€ ¦²

    American Apparel and its outspoken chief executive, Dov Charney, have waged a campaign, emblazoned on T-shirts sold across the country, criticizing the immigration crackdown of recent years and calling on Congress to € ¦³Legalize L.A.€ ¦² by granting legal status to illegal immigrants.

    Most garment workers in American Apparel€ ¦¹s huge shop in Los Angeles work directly for the company, not for subcontractors, its records show. They earn at least $10 to $12 an hour, well above minimum wage, and receive health benefits.

    At a news conference last year, Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa of Los Angeles publicly lauded Mr. Charney for helping the city with its faltering economy by providing € ¦³the dream of a steady paycheck and good benefits for countless workers.€ ¦²

    While it has been no secret that American Apparel€ ¦¹s largely Latino work force probably included many illegal immigrants, Mr. Schey said the company had been careful to meet legal hiring requirements. Many illegal immigrants use convincingly forged Social Security cards or other fake documents when seeking work.

    In a statement, Mr. Charney said that many of his workers cited by the immigration agency were € ¦³responsible, hard-working employees€ ¦² who had been with the company for more than a decade. Mr. Charney, an immigrant from Canada, said he hoped they would be able to prove their legal status. But because of the recession, the company said, it will not be hurt financially if it has to replace them.

    Mr. Schey said the hiring audit at American Apparel had been € ¦³professionally done.€ ¦² By contrast, Mr. Schey has brought more than 100 damage claims against the immigration agency on behalf of American citizens who said they were illegally arrested last year in Los Angeles in an immigration raid at a different company, Micro Solutions Enterprises.

    Immigration officials, who asked not to be identified because the case is continuing, said the fines to American Apparel so far were about $150,000.

    Kelly A. Nantel, a spokeswoman for the immigration agency, said it had taken steps to limit negotiations with employers that in the past had resulted in steep reductions in fines the employers ultimately paid.

    Representative Brian P. Bilbray, a California Republican who heads an immigration caucus in the House, said the amount of the fines was crucial.

    € ¦³If this is a truly conscientious effort to get tough with employers to say the days are over of profiteering with illegal immigrants, that€ ¦¹s fine,€ ¦² said Mr. Bilbray, who opposes any effort to give legal status to illegal immigrants. € ¦³But if the fine will be so low that it€ ¦¹s just part of doing business, there€ ¦¹s no deterrent.€ ¦²

    Angelica Salas, the executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, an advocacy group, said she welcomed the end to € ¦³showboat enforcement raids.€ ¦² But in the end, Ms. Salas said, € ¦³there is still enforcement of laws that are broken,€ ¦² adding, € ¦³The workers will still lose their jobs.

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