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"We've got a real, real, real, major stuff happening in spring. That's what I need to be able to use the thermite for would be simultaneous strikes all over the West Coast."

Eleven days later, on January 14, 1989, Frazier recorded a conversation with Davis and this time the FBI had Frazier volunteer that he'd found a formula for thermite. Better than that, Frazier said he had a contact who might be useful.

"I do have access to, uh, little thermite charges . . . grenades. Little thermite grenades."

Davis could not believe his good luck.
"Oh, you do? Grenades?"
Davis told Frazier he had people lined up to hit five nuclear-power plants in the West.

Both sides were posturing at that stage.
Frazier continued to up the ante, agreeing to supply incendiary devices while Davis claimed that he could put together the sort of coordinated attack upon nuclear-power plant transmission lines that the writers on Mission Impossible would have considered too unlikely for a script.

Davis even fantasized about launching this strike during President Bush's budget speech, a talk that Davis predicted would ignore the issue of nuclear-waste disposal.

By linking sabotage to Bush's speech, Davis figured, "We look like heroes riding to the rescue rather than terrorists."

As often as defense attorneys portray their hapless clients as "Moe, Larry, and Curly attempting to build a better mousetrap with a monkey wrench," there is another version of this scenario.

Before the trial commenced, Roslyn Moore-Silver told me emphatically that the defendants "are not harmless."

A former prosecutor who had this case before entering private practice, Ivan Mathew, made the point that when the government learned that there was a plan afoot to attack nuclear installations, it would have been irresponsible not to get to the bottom of the alleged conspiracy. And on January 3 when Davis told Frazier that there would be coordinated attacks all over the West Coast, Davis had already taken credit for the two-pronged sabotage of Energy Fuels Nuclear at the Grand Canyon.

Although the FBI knew about and let the vandalism at Canyon Mine occur, this incident also demonstrated that the environmentalists were capable of a certain level of sophisticated syncronization.

All Ron Frazier had to do, with the FBI's prodding, was offer up thermite grenades.

Actually that wasn't all Ron Frazier had to do.
One of the last tapes the jury heard last week was of a conversation Frazier recorded with Ilse Asplund.

Like Bogie in Casablanca, Mark Davis has decided to send his Ilse away.
On February 14, 1989, Asplund tells Frazier how crushed she is over this impending separation.

"This is realy sad," Ilse told Frazier. "This is just breaking my heart. This is real sad. We're not going to live together pretty soon so that I won't be in the line of fire . . . you know, it's been a reality for him to do what he needs to do. He's got to, like, not have a place that's held back to try to protect me."

How did Frazier respond to the torment of the woman he cared for so deeply?

He tried to set her up.
As Ilse poured out her soul, Ron interrupted her with a series of questions: "Mark was telling me about the cutting those poles up there at the Canyon Mine. Pretty, pretty neat little scam? Were you in on that?"

"So does Mark pretty well tell you what's going on?"
"I remember, oh more than a year ago you were so excited about the prospect of being able to do things. So you've been able to get in and do some of that . . . ?

"But it sounds like you, I mean, you've been doing enough stuff out there in the field that you can take quite a bit of satisfaction from that. I felt kind of frustrated myself . . . not doing."

Actually, Ilse Asplund hadn't done much of anything at all, as her answer made clear.

She hadn't been nearly as busy as her frustrated suitor, the noble lover of sheep dogs, Ron Frazier.

To be continued

While Frazier was instructing Davis on how to cut through metal, he also dreamed of deepening his attachment to Ilse Asplund.

Davis is built like a jukebox but it is not his tree-stump squareness that first squeezes your eye.

You don't use an old lover to baby-sit your children while you step out with the Hootchie Cootchie Man.

Mark Davis was Commander Testosterone of the pines, the man singularly responsible for the elevated pheromone count in Prescott.

Simon's words are administered like aural prozac to a witness whose cerebral transmitters are liable to light up like cranial popcorn.

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Michael Lacey
Contact: Michael Lacey