Dormitory Custodian Leads Paramilitaries against U.N. `Plot'

Article excerpt

As befits a former intelligence analyst, Mark Koernke of Dexter, Mich., knows things the rest of us don't.

He knows, for instance, that the United Nations aims to conquer the United States, beginning by hiring street gangs to confiscate privately owned guns.

He knows, too, that paper money has bar codes so government agents with secret scanners can drive by your house and count how much you have.

And he knows that those mysterious tags on the back of road signs are there to guide the invaders.

Koernke, 37, is one of the leading propagandists of the nation's far-right paramilitary movement, the ardently pro-gun, anti-government element that claims to be the "well-regulated militia" mentioned in the Constitution's 2nd Amendment.

Koernke, a custodian in a dormitory at the University of Michigan, is in demand around the nation. Militia groups have paid his way to speak at their gatherings in Washington, Florida, California, Montana and Oregon in the past year.

Militia members copy and pass on Koernke's videos, which also are sold by mail through ads in right-wing publications such as the Spotlight newspaper and militia catalogs.

Koernke spreads his message as far as Europe, Africa and the Middle East via his hourlong shortwave radio program, "The Intelligence Report," broadcast five days a week from a religious radio station in Nashville, Tenn.

Koernke does more than talk. Three men arrested on weapons charges told police they were Koernke's "security."

Koernke and the militia, now active in at least 24 states, are part of a broader "patriot movement" that includes tax protesters, conspiracy theorists and self-described constitutionalists, adherents to an extremely narrow and literal reading of the Constitution.

Koernke was an enlisted soldier in the Army Reserve from 1977 to 1983, assigned to a unit in Livonia, Mich., according to his military records. An intelligence analyst, he also qualified as a sharpshooter and hand grenade expert.

He was arrested for felonious assault in 1986 after three men claimed he had pointed a gun at them in a traffic dispute in Northfield Township, Mich., according to court records, but a judge dismissed the charges. …