An Alaska militia leader accused in a plot against the government is accusing an FBI cooperating witness of “pushing and pushing” him to mobilize against the government and fanning the flames of government overthrow.
Francis “Schaeffer” Cox recalls in an affidavit filed in federal court on Tuesday that he (accompanied by Jeremy Baker and Les Zerbe) met with gun dealer Bill Fulton in Fairbanks in August 2010. Cox says Fulton was in town to participate in a fundraiser for the Interior Conservative Coalition that was being held at Far North Tactical, which is owned by Fulton “protege” Aaron Bennett.
Fulton is one of the FBI’s confidential informants in the case. You may remember him as part of Republican Senate nominee Joe Miller’s security detail, who handcuffed and detained Alaska Dispatch editor Tony Hopfinger for trying to question and videotape Miller.
Cox’s attorney Nelson Traverso wrote in a motion to dismiss the indictment that Fulton’s “complete role has yet to be disclosed.”
Cox’s affidavit claims that Fulton “kept pushing and pushing the question ‘what my plan was’ and that his men were being mobilized to attack the government.”
The attack, Cox claims Fulton told him, “was on my behalf because I was in a legal custody battle with the Office of Children Services. Fulton was extremely angry with me when I told him I had no plan to attack the governement. Fulton said that he had spent a lot of money to get his men ready for the war in Fairbanks.”
Fulton, according to Cox, said he had spent $100,000 to have his assets and equipment flown to Fairbanks and was very upset that Cox allegedly didn’t want to be violent.
“Fulton exploded and threated Zerbe with force and went up to him. I believed he had a knife in his hand,” Cox wrote. “As a result I decided I would not attend the fundraiser the next day because I believed Fulton was being confrontational.”
Cox writes that he believes that Fulton and Bennet “fanned the flames of government overthrow” for an audience of 15 or more people “who had been primed that I had a plan for war very soon.”
He even claimed he contacted an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Fairbanks and told him that the two men were trying “to do something stupid” and that their attack plan “was inconsistent with our philosophy.” He said he did not give Fulton and Bennet’s names to the unnamed federal prosecutor.
Arguing for the indictment against Cox to be dismissed, lawyer Traverso writes that an assistant U.S. attorney wrote a March 25, 2010 memo to an FBI agent advising that Cox “has not crossed the line” between “protected speech and “actionable threat.” Another assistant U.S. attorney agreed in April that legal action was inappropriate.
Traverso also writes that the cooperating witness is “a felon with extensive criminal record involving theft and deceptive business practices working for law enforcement” who “presents a warm, disarming chuckle, and ingratiating tone on the audio recordings.”
Cox’s rhetoric, Traverso argues, is protected by the First Amendment.
“This case is not is not about drug trafficking; this case is not about firearms trafficking,” argues Traverso. “This case is about the trafficking of ideas that gave rise to overreaching by the government for speech critical of the same.”
The greatest threat to our democracy is the notion that we are not diverse politically, economically, religiously, and culturally. Excluding Francis Schaeffer Cox from active participation in the Alaska Peacemaker Militia through electronic surveillance, FBI driven manipulation, and continuous disregard for his admonitions against aggression, removes him from the table of discourse with those of countervailing ideas. The First Amendment applies in times good and bad regardless whether controversy boils and war is afoot. Francis Schaeffer Cox has been muzzled by the government’s bad faith and failure to follow its own protocol regarding protected speech and actionable conduct. There was no legitimate law enforcement purpose in conducting the investigation that was done in this case. If we are afraid of divergent thought and beliefs then we should resign ourselves to a stagnant, homogenized, and undemocratic United States.
Full coverage of the Cox case here.