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Home Jim Gilchrist and Shawna Forde: Let’s Look At The Record

Jim Gilchrist and Shawna Forde: Let’s Look At The Record

Published on 10/27/2009 by

minuteman looney binAs Jim Gilchrist of the Minuteman Project continues to scurry around, denying and defending the indefensible, our friends at Long Island Wins are on point with this essay.

From Pat Young at LIW:

Yesterday I posted a response to something I wrote from Minuteman founder Jim Gilchrist. In it he denied my claim that he was connected to Shawna Forde, head of Minuteman American Defense and awaiting trial in the killings of a Latino father and his elementary school-aged daughter. I thought it might be interesting to compare what Gilchrist said to facts about his, and his organization’s relationship to Shawna Forde.

My friends know that I have written dozens of blogs on this sad story, but today I will confine my comparison of Gilchrist’s post to a blog I wrote Sunday based primarily on an article in Shawna Forde’s hometown newspaper, the Everett Herald. Scott North was the author of that piece.

Recently, I had written a comment on a story in the Arizona Star about Jim Gilchrist being denied a chance to speak at Harvard because of his extensive connections with Forde. He wrote back the following:

Neither I nor the MInuteman Project ever had an “extensive” association with Shawna Forde. I met her in person briefly only three times over a four year period. The last time was in early 2008 as she sat in an audience listening to me and a retired career DEA agent speak. A phone call was made to her when I received an email that law enforcement was supposedly looking for her in June 2009. She denied any wrongdoing when confronted over the phone about that “inquiry.” That is essentially all the so-called “association” Minuteman Project had with Forde….
Jim Gichrist, President, The Minuteman Project

So Gilchrist basically describes his own and his organization’s contacts with Forde as essentially peripheral. She “sat in an audience”, he “met her briefly”, a “phone call was made”, “that is all”. Sounds like pretty minor contact. Sounds like Gilchrist barely knew her and that she had nothing to do with his Minuteman Project, a national group frequently featured on Lou Dobbs and FOX News.

Reporter Scott North has done an extensive investigation into the Gilchrist/Forde link, and here is what he wrote, based on e-mails he has between the two and interviews:

[Gilchrist] communicated with Forde largely by e-mail, telling her he admired her dedication. Forde praised Gilchrist for being controversial.

“You are a powerful man when in name only you can stir a state,” Forde wrote. “I just am amazed sometimes. I’ve never been attacked so much for a associate. But you are my friend and I’m proud to be associated with you so (expletive) ‘em!!”

By early 2008 Gilchrist had made Forde the Minuteman Project’s border patrol coordinator. He sent volunteers her way, telling them she “is one tough lady.” Forde’s role in bringing Gilchrist to Everett was noted in a profile of Minutemen figures around the country prepared by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a high-profile Alabama-based civil-rights watchdog group.

Gilchrist now says his only concerns about Forde revolved around her claims that she was using “undercover” tactics to infiltrate border-area drug traffickers.

“I really thought that she was getting into the wrong crowd and was going to end up murdered,” he said.

Gilchrist stood by Forde when her ex-husband was shot, after her reported rape and after her mysterious shooting, when she was wounded in the arm. When The Herald in February revealed Forde’s history of childhood felonies and teenage prostitution, Gilchrist said what mattered more was her ability to overcome a troubled past.

“She is no whiner,” he wrote at the time. “She is a stoic struggler who has chosen to put country, community and a yearning for a civilized society ahead of avarice and self-glorifying ego.”

Gilchrist remained in touch with Forde after she left Everett without giving detectives a chance to question her closely about the attempted murder of her ex-husband.

On the Minuteman Project Web site, Gilchrist continued to post press releases and Forde’s dispatches detailing her Arizona border exploits.

One of the last arrived on May 31, just hours after the Arivaca killings.

Forde reported that she and her group had been in “boots on the ground” patrols of the border for eight days and had observed thousands of pounds of dope being smuggled into the country.

“A (sic) American family was murdered 2 days ago including a 9 year old girl,” Forde wrote. “Territory issue’s (sic) are now spilling over like fire on the US side and leaving Americans so afraid they will not even allow their names to be printed in any press releases.”

In a few days Gilchrist began receiving e-mails from a Minuteman in Tucson who had previously let Forde’s teenage daughter live at his home. The man asked Gilchrist why a SWAT team had shown up at his door looking for Forde.

“I called her,” Gilchrist said. “She was as calm as can be.”

Forde told him there was no cause for worry. The man, she said, was a disgruntled former member of her group.

At the same time, though, she was sending out a list of 17 people around the country she wanted contacted if she was arrested or killed. After her arrest, Gilchrist learned he was 10th on her list.

He and Steve Eichler, executive director of the Minuteman Project, almost certainly were among the last people Forde e-mailed before her June 12 arrest. They talked about adding her and her officers to their Web site’s list of national Minutemen leaders.

“The border is going to be HOT. Good things to come my brother,” Forde wrote Eichler that morning. She was in police handcuffs later that day.

Gilchrist has since scrubbed references to Forde from his Web site. He says she appears to have cloaked her true self behind the Minutemen movement.

“We all have to be aware that there are individuals who have motives other than altruistic ones,” he said. “But you don’t know until they present themselves.”

Let’s look at the record:

  • -Gilchrist praised Forde’s dedication. How could he know someone was dedicated if he barely knew her?
  • -Forde called him her “friend”. Just a delusion on her part? Perhaps, but…
  • Two years into their alleged non-relationship Gilchrist “made Forde the Minuteman Project’s border patrol coordinator. He sent volunteers her way, telling them she “is one tough lady.” ” Why would he put his followers into potentially dangerous situations with a person he barely knew? And how could he tell people who trusted his opinion that she was “tough” when, he says, he knew her primarily as an audience member?
  • He really didn’t know her, but he was worried about the “crowd she was with and concerned with her safety because of the danger of her operations”. I usually don’t know the “crowd” people I don’t know are with.
  • Gilchrist’s group posted Forde’s missives on its official web site while she was planning and carrying out the Arizona murders. What organization lets people post on its site who have no real connection to it? Could I post on the Minuteman Project site?
  • When other Minutemen expressed doubts about Forde’s now discredited claims that she was the victim of violent persecution by Latinos, why did Gilchrist take her side? He surely knew the other Minutemen better than he knew Forde, since he hardly knew her at all.

This is what he wrote to the Minutemen about Forde less than a year ago:

“She is no whiner. “She is a stoic struggler who has chosen to put country, community and a yearning for a civilized society ahead of avarice and self-glorifying ego.”

How could he vouch for a woman he didn’t really know, claim she was “stoic”, selfless, a sort of armed Mother Teresa when he now says he really had no idea who she was? Well at least I know who to list as a reference the next time I look for a job.

  • Finally, at the time Forde was arrested for murder, Gilchrist’s group was looking at listing her as a national Minuteman leader. But they must do that for everyone who comes to a rally, I guess.

All good points Pat. And today, in the Everett Herald, Gilchrist continues to condemn those of us who seek to keep the truth and knowledge of this horrific crime before the public, blaming us, for driving her to murder, while continuing to support her and her actions.

Very well done story by Scott North
Scott North’s writing on the Shawna Forde/Minutemen American Defense disappointment to the minuteman movement is the most professionally written story yet. The exhaustive and thorough work reflects the writer’s adherrence to the professional canons of newspaper journalism.

However, some minor corrections are in order:

1. I have always been, and still remain, legally in control of the Minuteman Project. The litigation referenced in the story concerns the Minuteman Project lawsuit I filed against three persons who, in my opinion, allegedly engaged in illegal activities (bank fraud, wire fraud, identity theft, and other civil and/or criminal violations) in a desperate effort to seize control of my organization so that they could have unimpeded access to its bank accounts and other assets.

2. The Minuteman Project never paid any money to Shawna Forde. (But Gilchrist did.. Apples and Oranges)

3. Most of the blame for Forde’s final desperate behavior should be attributed to organizations like ALIPAC and the San Diego Minutemen. In my opinion, these organizations routinely attempt to create as much disruption and dis-unity as possible among the several dozen immigration law enforcement advocacy groups across the country in a tireless effort to dominate the debate by excluding all others.

These organizations, and a couple other ones, spent all of their resources and time for approximately one month last year hammering Shawna Forde into emotional oblivion with relentless vicious blogging and email attacks. Some persons are not emotionally equipped to withstand such brutal pummeling, day after day, hour after hour, minute after minute. (You ain’t seen nothing yet JC)

There is no justificatin for the criminal activity Forde allegedly was involved in, and I make no excuse for her alleged participation. However, having seen and read most of the venomous, hateful emails and blogs broadcasted by these internet hate groups, apparently for the sole purpose of damning Forde into eternal Hell, no one could ever convince me that these defaming broadcasts did not play some part in her decision to re-enter the darkest side of apathy.

Organizations with such selfish agendas only stall any respectable resolution to the nation’s illegal immigration problem and appear to spend all of their time acting out their frenzied personality disorders rather than pursuing their original mission goals. They simply resemble just another garden variety hate group like the Brown Berets, Black Panthers, and KKK. (And the MM don’t? We work for Reform and battling the hate and lies the anti Mexican faction use to misinform the public)

Sincerely Yours,

Jim Gilchrist, President and Founder, The Minuteman Project


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  1. [...] is not innocent either given he has supported child-killer Shawna Forde and personally fundraises for himself as well, without any action to show for it. But his attacks [...]