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Alaska militia movement unhappy with FBI informant

January 15, 2013|By Kim Murphy
  • William Fulton is an FBI informant for the Schaeffer Cox militia trial.
William Fulton is an FBI informant for the Schaeffer Cox militia trial. (Bill Roth / MCT )

SEATTLE -- Anyone who thought the militia movement in Alaska would forgive and forget when it was revealed that onetime militia "supply sergeant" Bill Fulton was working undercover for the FBI should have thought twice.

The news that Fulton, a once-popular vendor of military supplies to the far right in Anchorage, was actually a secret federal informant trying to take down the head of the Alaska Peacemakers Militia has elicited a scornful response.

Words like "traitor" and "man without a country" pepper the postings this week on the site of the Alaska Citizens Militia, which has no connection to the group headed by Fairbanks resident Schaeffer Cox, who was sentenced last week to 25 years in prison.

Norm Olson, who helped created the Alaska Citizens Militia years after rising to national prominence as the head of the Michigan Militia, posted a photo of Fulton on his militia forum and announced to its members Tuesday:  "This man is a Benedict Arnold.... a traitor of the lowest kind. Have absolutely nothing to do with this traitor."

A day earlier, Olson, who is based on Alaska's Kenai Peninsula, posted  a tongue-in-cheek reference to Fulton, who has left Alaska because of fear of reprisals for his FBI work.

"FBI paid informant, Bill Fulton, was found dead last night from what sources say appears to be an assassination. His hands were bound and a hood was placed over his head. Militia literature was left near the body with a note scribbled, 'payback's a bitch,'" Olson wrote in a post on his organization's Web forum. 

"Bill Fulton is very much alive NOW, but he is a man without a country. He was used by the FBI to wreck Joe Miller's bid for the Alaska Senate and has turned traitor to the militia/patriot cause," Olson went on.

In an interview Tuesday with the Los Angeles Times, Olson said Fulton had tried to target his militia as well, supplying him with a "barn full" of military gear. But Olson said he knew better than to let anyone get close to him, even before Fulton's role as an informant came to light.

"I know how they [the FBI] act, I know how they think, so when anybody comes up to me with fancy toys or gift items, I'm always a little bit wary of what's going on," he said. "I tell people, if you really want to give me something, give me cash, and make it anonymous."

Fulton, he said, "was playing the big man in Anchorage, boasting about this and bragging about that, how he was ex-military intelligence," Olson said.

Fulton met with Cox and his associates during the FBI investigation and arranged to deliver to them pistols, silencers, explosives and grenades. Olson said he tried to warn Cox about the need to maintain "op-sec" -- operational security.

Fulton, he said, "was trying to give us all this equipment, but sometimes you have to be wary of Greeks bearing gifts."

The main topic of discussion on the Alaska Citizens Militia forum was suspicions that Fulton was likely to be offed not by a vengeful militia member but by the FBI, as a way of making the militia movement look bad.

"His cover has been blown and now he is telling tales about his involvement with the FBI and how he cooperated with them and has also divulged information about FBI operations and informants. That is a no-no," Olson wrote. "He is of no further use to the FBI EXCEPT FOR THE FACT THAT HIS DEATH WILL BE PINNED ON THE MILITIA AS AN ACT OF REPRISAL. When his miserable carcass is found, the feds will conclude that the militia whacked him. But it won't [investigate] too far."

Other forum members appeared to agree this was indeed a possibility.

"If he does get whacked it will be used to label Alaska militia men and women as dangerous terrorists.  I would not put it past the FBI to grease him themselves in order to set up a false flag against the patriot movement up here," one forum member wrote.

"No doubt," said another.

Olson went on:  "They'll paint the militia much like the mafia: you can [get] out, leave feet first. They can use his 'passing' as a message to anyone who affiliates with the militia that they are the savages that the central government paints us out to be."

He said the FBI would also be standing in the way of "any hope for a political comeback"  for Fairbanks attorney Joe Miller, who nearly defeated U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski in 2010 with strong support from militia and patriot groups, in addition to other conservatives.

Fulton's embarrassing arrest of a journalist while working as the head of a security detail on Miller's campaign was blamed by Miller as one of the reasons he lost public support; Fulton was working with the FBI on the Cox investigation at the time, but has said the two were not connected.

But suspicions persist in Alaska. "Joe's support for the militia, the Constitution, state Sovereignty and the Rule of Law is well known. Placing him in a controversy about the suspicious nature of Bill Fulton's death would absolutely disable Joe," Olson wrote.

Fulton, who has sought to keep his whereabouts under wraps, appears to see it all as a sign he was wise to get out of Alaska.

"I don't think the militia guys in Alaska are so happy about me right now," he told The Times.


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