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After Pond's pitch, several audience members ask where they should send their money.
As Boswell calls the meeting to adjournment--a bull session will continue for several hours afterward--he reminds the audience of his own Saturday-morning talk show on KHNC, the "Citizen's Rights Forum." Still modeling that snazzy CRTF jacket, he concludes with a note of empathy for those who are fighting the government. "Sometimes," he says, "it really feels like we're up against a monster."
Few people can conjure up a monster the way Mark Koernke can. He's the clearinghouse for information on where the black helicopters are flying, where foreign troops are training in the U.S. and when the "window of opportunity" will open up for the enslavement of the American people by "globalists." He's the "Mark from Michigan" patriots have heard for years on talk radio and many other Americans are now discovering--thanks to his supposed link to suspected bomber Timothy McVeigh.
A pudgy fellow in suit and glasses with a voice that, hoarse or not, refuses to stop, he is riveting. Or so says Pat Butler, a kindly middle-aged woman in Arvada. She brought Koernke to the Denver area in February for a speech at the Holiday Inn in Northglenn. (In her spare time, Butler markets to fellow patriots a fire-retardant product and an outdoor cooker called the Volcano.)
Once an honored call-in guest on Dr. Norm Resnick's KHNC show for his ability to "stir 'em up," Koernke really has taken off in the past year. Resnick had been sponsored on WWCR shortwave by Viking International, a precious-metals dealer based in Arizona; last year he crowed that he made "big, big money" for Viking with the pitch that the imminent takeover by the New World Order and an almost-certain economic collapse made gold and silver the only things worth having besides the flag, the Constitution and some food and water.
But Viking replaced Dr. Norm, first with rogue Arizona cop Jack McLamb (who preaches the evils of the New World Order to his fellow cops with the aid of a computer program/history lesson called "Vampire Killer 2000") and then with Mark Koernke. Viking yanked Koernke off the air late last week.
And Koernke has not been welcome on KHNC for months, say Resnick and station owner Don Wiedeman. "I told him he was full of shit," contends Resnick. "We challenged him on the air." Wiedeman adds that Koernke's connection with KHNC was severed "months ago." Nevertheless, the station still lists him in its resource guide in the USA Patriot Magazine, which it began publishing last year to capitalize on its burgeoning network.
Pat Butler, who helps spread the word about patriot activities, can't understand their badmouthing Koernke. "He is point-blank showing us the truth," she says.
Butler first realized that when she went to hear Koernke speak in Indiana several years ago. She wound up staying after his speech to rap with him for hours. "He'll just talk all night," she marvels.
Many of the themes that enthralled her then came up during Koernke's February 19 speech to about 300 people. In a tape of that speech, Koernke warns Denver-area patriots of concentration camps, like the Oklahoma City Federal Transfer Center, which he says has a capacity of nearly 3,000.
"How many of you out there have firearms?" he asks. "How many of you are home-schoolers? How many of you like your Constitution? Well, we can make you all criminals real quick."
Like a berserk geography teacher, Koernke roams across the landscape, dropping scary factoids everywhere. He talks about the "Urban Warfare Training Center--not too far from Tulsa," where troops are training for "sewer warfare" as a way of invading American cities and seizing patriotic citizens.
"One nice thing about that," he says, "is that a five-gallon can of gasoline and a match kind of cleans out sewers real quick."
The Northglenn audience has a hearty laugh over that, but then Koernke shows photos of surveillance cameras atop light poles in Bakersfield, California. And always, he rat-a-tat-tats the government.
"At some point," he warns, "you're going to confront the federal agencies and the U.N." And, God, what a tough fight it's going to be.
"Somebody sat down with me in Oklahoma," he recalls, "and said, `You know, Mark, there's no silver bullet, there's no pink slip that's going to fire the New World Order.'"
That's because the threat is so pervasive. He talks about the dangers posed by the "multijurisdictional task force" and by Belgian and Russian troops training here, right now. "In Colorado," he says, "there's lots of air traffic--foreign air traffic. And your rail lines have been very heavy with armored vehicles."
And he closes his speech with the standard refrain adopted by many patriots: "At any given point in time, we're going to have to pick up arms. And I'm going to fall. And you'll go back to Washington to liberate our country. God bless the Republic! Death to the New World Order! We shall prevail!"
By now, nobody is laughing. They are applauding.
From the middle of nowhere in central Montana, a man named Paul Dinsmore is jeering at Mark Koernke. But Dinsmore's no voice in the wilderness. Thanks to shortwave radio and the electronics age, he's made his point to perhaps millions of listeners. Last week he leveled his criticisms of Koernke and KHNC via the mainstream media out of Chicago--and on KHNC itself.