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Archive for January, 2014

Stejskal: “Mark From Michigan”: Dumb and Dumber

Greg Stejskal served as an FBI agent for 31 years and retired as resident agent in charge of the Ann Arbor office.

Mark Koernke

By Greg Stejskal
ticklethewire.com
Mark and I never really hit it off.

I first met Mark Koernke in the late ‘80s. Gene Ward, a fellow FBI agent, had asked me to accompany him on an interview of Koernke. We met with Koernke in his basement office at Alice Lloyd Hall, a University of Michigan dormitory, where he was a janitor.

Ward was investigating a potential hate crime, the painting of some racial epithets on a home. It had been suggested that Koernke might know something about it. Koernke denied that he had any knowledge, and we concluded that he most probably had no connection to the graffiti painting.

During the course of the interview, Koernke made it known that he had been an intelligence officer in the Army, and in addition he was a counter intelligence expert. He said, he continued to train US military units regarding tactics of foreign militaries. I made no secret of my skepticism of Koernke’s background and questioned some of his conspiracy theories he apparently felt compelled to share with us.

This all pre-dated Koernke’s semi-notoriety, later he would have a national following as “Mark from Michigan” and his own radio show “The Intelligence Report.”

He was an early purveyor of the “New World Order,” which he believed was a world-wide conspiracy. As best as I’ve been able to understand, the New World Order involves the takeover of the US by the United Nations which is fronting for some insidious international cabal that wants to institute international socialism. Part of this conspiracy was the building of secret concentration camps in the western US to house those who would be unwilling to accept the New World Order. Among other things, “black helicopters” were being used to spy on Americans.

The black helicopters and Mark from Michigan became synonymous. The New World Order was supposed to have happened by now, but it hasn’t and maybe that’s because Koernke has been on watch. I think Koernke perceived himself to be the “intellectual” underpinning of the militia movement – sort of a latter day Thomas Paine.

Anyway our paths continued to cross. There were the times I saw him surveilling the federal building parking lot. I guess he was trying to log our movements for intelligence purposes. I would wave to him, and he would hide.

During the late 80s and early 90s the militia movement grew dramatically. The high-water mark came soon after the bombing of the Murray federal building in Oklahoma City.

Many people in the movement were shocked and disgusted by the slaughter of innocent people including children. They did not want to be identified with a philosophy that condoned such acts. (In contrast Koernke espoused the theory that the government actually did the bombing to set-up Timothy McVeigh and to destroy records that proved the “Gulf War Syndrome” was real. He didn’t really explain why those records were in Oklahoma City.)

As the militia movement diminished, there were some internal conflicts.

In 1997, in Michigan, one member of the militia was murdered and other members were charged with the murder. Although Koernke was never believed to be involved, he was subpoenaed to be a witness. When a process server showed up on Koernke’s porch, an argument ensued.

Greg Stejskal

Apparently Koernke threatened the server with a rifle resulting in Koernke being charged with assault with a dangerous weapon. Koernke’s trial date was in May, 1998, but Koernke didn’t appear for the trial, and a bench warrant was issued for his arrest. In June a federal fugitive warrant for Koernke was issued based on my affidavit stating there was reason to believe he had fled from Michigan.

While Koernke was a fugitive, he continued his shortwave radio broadcasts from various undisclosed locations. He mentioned me several times in unflattering terms. He also said, that unless the federal charges were dropped, “a lot of their (FBI) people might get hurt.”

The following July a Michigan State Police helicopter was searching for marijuana growing plots in rural Barry County (just north of Battle Creek, Michigan). The helicopter crew observed a pickup truck, a man and a woman near an abandoned mobile home.

When the helicopter came in for a closer look, the man, Koernke, began running. I don’t know if the helicopter was black, but it must have been unsettling for Koernke to have a helicopter seemingly coming for him. Koernke then jumped into a shallow lake where only his head was showing. (Presumably Koernke was looking for a hollow reed so he could breathe while submerged like in so many old movies.)

Read more »

Burglar Recounts Reason She, Others Broke Into Philadelphia’s FBI Office in 1971

 

J. Edgar Hoover/fbi photo

By Bonnie Raines 
The Guardian

I vividly remember the eureka moment. It was the night we broke into an FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania, in March 1971 and removed about 1,000 documents from filing cabinets. We had a hunch that there would be incriminating material there, as the FBI under J Edgar Hoover was so bureaucratic that we thought every single thing that went on under him would be recorded. But we could not be sure, and until we found it, we were on tenterhooks. 

A shout went up among the group of eight of us. One of us had stumbled on a document from FBI headquarters signed by Hoover himself. It instructed the bureau’s agents to set up interviews of anti-war activists as “it will enhance the paranoia endemic in these circles and will further serve to get the point across there is an FBI agent behind every mailbox.”

That was the first piece of evidence to emerge. It was vindication.

Looking back on what we did, there are obvious parallels with what Edward Snowden has done releasing National Security Agency documents that show the NSA’s blanket surveillance of Americans.

To read more click here.

 

Justice Department Considers Easing Restrictions on Loans for Investors in Marijuana Industry

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

With the legalization of marijuana in Colorado, investors want to open up businesses to sell pot.

Trouble is, they are reluctant to borrow money because of Justice Department regulations on such loans, the Motherboard reports.

The Justice Department, which until recently was still aggressively pursuing pot shops, is considering easing those regulations so banks can lend money to people involved in the marijuana industry.

Businesses now are barred from legally borrowing money to set up a marijuana business in most cases, the Motherboard reports.

He Did What?! Man Tries to Smuggle Thai Woman into U.S. in Suitcase

 
Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol agents find some of the most bizarre ways that people smuggle humans into the U.S.

But a recent discovery surprised even veterans in the field, the Phoenix Times reports.

A Phoenix man headed back to the U.S. from the port entry of Nogales tried to smuggle a Thai woman in a suitcase in the back of his SUV.

After being chosen for further inspection on Dec. 30, the man could do nothing as officers unzipped a large suitcase. Inside was a 48-year-old Thai woman.

UTEP Kicks Off 3 Players Following for Betting Following FBI Investigation

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The University of Texas at El Paso’s basketball team said Tuesday it has removed three players following allegations they bet on at least one sporting event, the Huffington Post reports.

The removal comes after university officials in December received tips that the players were betting on games.

The three players are Justin Crosgile, McKenzie Moore and Jalen Ragland.

The students won’t return to classes or the team, university officials said.

“I’m crushed personally that this is happened,” Floyd said.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST


Burglars Behind 1971 Break-In at FBI Office in Philadelphia Tell All

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

While many Americans were watching a televised title bout between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier nearly 23 years, antiwar activists were breaking into the FBI office in Philadelphia and stealing confidential documents.

What happened that day was largely unknown until the author of a new book convinced five of the eight burglars to detail what happened, the New York Times reports.

The men and women, who can no longer be prosecuted, said they were motivated by the desire to expose the agency for using dirty tricks to spy on dissident groups.

They sent many of the records to newspaper reporters, unveiling widespread, extensive spying.

“When you talked to people outside the movement about what the F.B.I. was doing, nobody wanted to believe it,” said one of the burglars, Keith Forsyth. “There was only one way to convince people that it was true, and that was to get it in their handwriting.”

The new book is called “The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover’s Secret FBI.”

FBI: Man Accused of Burning Chinese Consulate Says He Was Hearing Voices

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Fears of terrorism initially spread after someone intentionally set fire to the Chinese consulate in San Francisco last week.

But CBS SF reports that the suspect, 39-year-old Yan Feng, may have been suffering from mental health problems after he told FBI agents that he was hearing voices in Chinese.

Feng was charged Monday with two counts of arson and willfully damaging property belonging to a foreign government.

According to FBI agent Michel Eldridge, the suspect “stated in substance that he targeted the Chinese consulate because all the voices he had been hearing were in Chinese and the Chinese consulate had to have been involved.”

Former Sesame Street Actor Tapped for High-Ranking Justice Department Post

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

A child who grew up as an actor on Sesame Street in the 1970s was tapped by President Obama for a high-ranking Justice Department position, the USA Today reports.

Obama nominated Debo P. Adegbile to be the new assistant attorney general for civil rights.

If confirmed by the Senate, Adegbile will fill the position vacated by Tom Perez, the new secretary of labor, the USA Today wrote.