By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
®LS2¯Moonlight and love songs
Never out of date
Hearts full of passion, jealousy and hate
Woman needs man and man must have his mate
That no one can deny
It's still the same old story
A fight for love and glory
A case of do or die
The world will always welcome lovers
As time goes by
There are two Scandinavian ladies in our story: the timeless heroine of Casablanca was the fictional Ilsa Lund; her modern-day counterpart carries the eerily similar name Ilse Asplund.
The "do or die" of Casablanca was the panorama of World War II, while the "same old story" was the love of Ilsa Lund for two men, one a saloon owner in North Africa and the other her husband in the French resistance.
In the Prescott trial of the five radical environmentalists accused of sabotage by the federal government, the "do or die" cause is environmental concern over uranium mining in the Grand Canyon, ski-resort expansion atop sacred Indian lands and nuclear power in Phoenix. Like the movie, however, the issues are overshadowed by a woman's relationship with two men.
Casablanca showed us people at their noble, heart-wrenching best.
Everytime you see Humphrey Bogart and Claude Rains on that rain-slicked tarmac with the plane carrying Ingrid Bergman and Paul Henreid ascending towards Lisbon, you are mesmerized.
Ilsa departs Casablanca with the virtuous, wavy-haired weenie, that Frenchman Victor Laszlo, while Rick Blaine, with his gin joint, white dinner jacket, and stack of chips--the heartbeat of American cool--is left behind to plug Major Heinrich Strassen.
Well, that's Hollywood.
In real life, Rick gets the girl. No right bookie would cover any action against him.
In the Prescott courthouse, paid FBI informant Ron Frazier portrayed himself from the witness stand as virtuous and soft-spoken. He won scholarships to Yavapai College. He was an honors student in welding. Though Anglo, he joined the Native American Club to befriend Indians. On his vacation, he went home to visit his folks. He was an accomplished artist, a sensitive human being and a lover of children.
He was a weenie.
And like Victor Laszlo, Ron Frazier fell for a Nordic blond.
At the time, Ilse Asplund was managing a trailer park in Prescott. As her marriage disintegrated, she noticed Ron Frazier, who had rented a mobile home. He was charming and gentle with her two children.
"When I found that she was having marital problems with her husband, I decided to tell her of my feelings towards her as a friend," said Frazier in court. "I let her know that she didn't have to feel that nobody cared. I did, very much. I saw her as a very close friend."
Ilse and her kids went camping, and Ron Frazier joined the outing. Ilse and Ron became intimate.
During the same period of time, Ron Frazier was answering questions from a new friend, Mark Davis, about how a person might damage industrial cables. As these discussions progressed, Frazier taught his pupil rudimentary lessons in shade-tree welding.
In September of 1987, one month after the camping trip with Ilse, Ron Frazier drove Mark Davis into Phoenix to purchase welding equipment.
According to Frazier's testimony, Davis said he intended to monkey wrench the Fairfield Snow Bowl near Flagstaff by sabotaging the ski-lift pylons with a cutting torch.
While Frazier, an experienced welder, was instructing Davis on how to cut through metal, he also dreamed of deepening his attachment to Ilse Asplund.
"I wanted something of an emotional commitment," explained Frazier under oath. He added--with Victor Laszlo sensitivity--that he didn't feel comfortable sneaking around Ilse's husband.
Ron Frazier's infatuation with Ilse proved hopeless; Asplund had met her Bogie, Mark Davis. And in Prescott, Arizona, Bogie gets the girl.
Davis is built like a juke box, but it is not his tree-stump squareness that first squeezes your eye. He gives the impression that his heart pounds at the same rate as a hummingbird's, so intense is his energy. At parade rest, Mark conveys the idling intensity of a modified Peterbilt about to charge out of the blocks at a tractor pull.
Unlike Ron Frazier, Mark Davis did not present himself as the boy in the trailer next door. Davis was a rogue with wild dreams of crippling the developers and miners who were clawing up the soil in northern Arizona.
He was Rick of the north woods.
In October of '87 ski-lift pylons at the Snow Bowl were attacked, and Mark Davis took credit.
Ilse was unable to resist. She believed as vehemently in the sacredness of Mother Earth as the movie heroine believed in the French underground. In Mark Davis, she'd found a man who not only talked the talk, but a man of action who walked the walk.
The arrest of all of the defendants in this prosecution was not the result of sterling investigative work by the FBI; this trial came about because of a tragic lapse in judgment regarding child care.
Ilse Asplund asked Ron Frazier to baby-sit her children while she went out with Mark Davis.
And noble Victor Laszlo agreed to do it.
"There was one night they came home and I was asleep [after an evening spent baby-sitting] on the couch," said Frazier. "They put me in the back room [so they could take the couch]."