The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Beyond the Bombing:

The Northern Michigan Regional Militia, also known as the Michigan Militia, has attracted national attention in the wake of the April 19 bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City.

Group leaders have said that Terry Nichols. a suspect in the Oklahoma blast, attended several of its meetings last year and that on at least one occasion he brought another suspect. Timothy McVeigh. Additionally, federal agents searching the Decker, Michigan farm of Terry Nichols's brother James -- who has been considered a material witness in the bombing case-uncovered a number of documents relating to the Michigan Militia.

Not surprisingly, leaders of the Michigan Militia have disagreed with federal officials about the identity of the bomber, and have offered a theory of their own. A week after the blast. Michigan Militia commander Norman Olson, along with his chief of staff, Ray Southwell, announced that they believed the Japanese had bombed the Oklahoma building. The motive: retaliation for the recent nerve gas attack on the Tokyo subways, which Olson and Southwell said was engineered by the American government.

When their view was repudiated by a majority of the Militia's board, the two men immediately resigned from their positions. Olson assured the press that, nevertheless, "the Michigan Militia is as strong as ever," and that he and Southwell will remain members of the organization.

Despite negative publicity since the Oklahoma city bombing, the militia movement in Michigan has enjoyed some continued success in its recruitment.

Mark from Michigan

Minutes after the bombing in Oklahoma, outspoken activist Mark Koernke (a.k.a. ''Mark from Michigan"), whose militant "how-to" videotapes have made him a prime recruiter for the movement. faxed a cryptic, handwritten message about the bombing to U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman, a freshman Republican from Texas. "First update," the fax read in part. "Seven to 10 floors only. Military people on the scene." Koernke insisted he had no prior knowledge of the bombing. and that he had only sent the fax hoping Stockman would "get cameras in place as soon as possible."

Koernke, of Dexter, Michigan, is employed as a janitor at the University of Michigan. He has been identified as spokesman of the Michigan Militia-at-Large, characterized as a more radical offshoot of the Michigan Militia. Koernke has promoted conspiracy theories to audiences around the country, including several in the Pacific Northwest while on a speaking tour sponsored by the Militia of Montana.

Until recently, Koernke also hosted "The Intelligence Report," a shortwave radio program that aired five times a week. Days after the Oklahoma bombing. Koernke told listeners that federal agents had outfitted suspect Timothy McVeigh in a bright orange jumpsuit in order to make him an easy assassination target.

Koernke's program was subsequentiy pulled from the airwaves by WWCR, the Nashville, Tennessee, shortwave radio station that had been broadcasting his daily diatribes. "We've got to get the gasoline off the fires," insisted the manager of the station, which reaches 2.7 million listeners in the United States and a number of foreign countries.

ADL Fact Finding Report, "Beyond the Bombing: The Militia Menace Grows," Anti-Defamation League, 1995.

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