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Is it time for the Feds? Intimidation and Violence Escalating in West Virginia’s MTR areas

July 22nd, 2009 · 3 Comments

A month ago, non-violent protesters infiltrated an anti-Progress Mines (Massey Energy) Mountaintop Removal site in Western Virginia. Through the early morning, they snaked through desolated terrain, formally beautiful mountains and valleys, reminiscent of a World War I battlefield. A trained group climbed the dragline and put up a Stop Mountaintop Removal sign.

Everyone involved had training in non-violent protest. Everyone involved knew that, no matter their actions, they risked physical harm from angered Massey Energy employees. They knew that they risked arrest for this action. Yet, they went in anyway because they know the harm that Mountaintop Removal is wrecking West Virginia and the devastation that coal is contributing to globally. People willing to sacrifice their safety and their liberty for something larger than themselves merit a simple description: hero.

And, when called, the police quickly arrived and eventually arrested 19 of the protesters. And, the FBI is investigating the incident (hmmm … probably not Massey Energy’s devastating impacts on the area and the planet).

In contrast, at a July 4th picnic with many of locals concerned about Mountain Top Removal went a bit differently than one might expect. The vast majority of those there: local citizens ranging in age from babies in their parents arms to octogenarians proud of the generations of their families there with them. To this event came 20 or so (rather obviously) drunken Massey Energy employees (okay, 20 or so people wearing Massey Energy clothing claiming that they worked for the company) who disrupted the event, cursing, and threatening people’s lives — quite directly. One witness account from jacquesellul.

My wife and I were present at the event and witnessed the? trespass and harassment. The MountainKeepers Festival is a family event with music, food, (no alcohol), and friends hanging out together.

The violent and obscene talk and physical threats certainly were frightening to children and their parents. It should be noted that some of the trespassers tried to prevent overt violence, and that others in the vicinity refrained from coming over.

Intimidation and threats are an ongoing occurrence.

The police arrived — over two hours after they were called. Despite publicly available film evidence of crimes (at minimum drunk and disorderly), there is no sign of impending arrests.

Hmmm … people make a peaceful protest and 19 people are arrested on site. On the other hand, people disrupt a private event, threaten people’s lives, and the “Friend of Coal” Gov. Joe Manchin has ignored the situation so far and the rest of the West Virginia State Government remains starkly silent.

And, the indications are that the potential exists for real, rather than simply threatened, violence to hit this battlefield for the future of West Virginia and the planet. Check out the comment sections to the video of the protest and the video of the picnic.

These videos (and others related to MTR and MTR protest) have 100s of comments, pointing to the strength of emotions, and many of these comments are quite vitriolic. Here are a few for the flavor.

From the video of the protest:
crawl73 has a myriad of comments. This is one in response to a suggestion to search words like “ash slurry”, etc re other impacts of coal mining. The response:

Uuummm, I don’t think we’re the ones lying. And those weren’t threats tree molester. They’re called promises. If you people don’t back off, and stop trying to make our kids go? hungry, there has to be something done about you hippie monkeys. What else do you expect us to do, just sit around and take it? Because of the lies of a few, many are going hungry right now. Thanks alot chief! Really slick move!

Here’s a few more suggested keywords:
mental disorder, faggot, blind, obama, chicken poo…

You’re very much welcome. You people have been like a bunch of vultures coming around areas that is none of your concerns and causing job losses in an area? that simply can’t afford to lose anymore jobs. Well, we’re sick of it. Some of us that has the backbone are finally taking a stand against you all. We say bring it on. We’re NOT gonna back down. Trust me on another promise (not a threat), if I lose my job, there WILL be a price to pay.

I hope you nutcase hippies come to my job and try to pull this crap! I can’t wait. It’s you guys that are asking for a war. You say you’re “non-violent”. Well, what do you expect us to do while you try to pull these stunts to take food out of our kids’ mouthes? You expect us to just sit back? and take your garbage? I can’t believe how many people are actually falling for your false accusations. You have no clue how this practice is performed.

eng1225

You see what happened? when you tried tresspassing a week later when Hollywood Hannah came to town. The miners stood up and dared you hippies to enter the property. You laid down like cowards.It will get worse for all of you because we aren’t going to take it anymore.

There is SuperHippieSlayer (who, it seems, really wants a visit from the Secret Service) with, like crawl73, lots of comments:

luckybits 13
Guess you must be a nigger lover and the reason this country is the way it is .Obama is not a savior he is? a politician or as I heard it put A HOUSE NIGGER , a puppet someone to make niggers and hippies feel good. I hope a large caliber round finds him .Also …BLOW IT OUT YOUR ASS …Cause I gotta go help mine coal while you set on your ass.

….

Well when or if you get the other video from the state police post it on here to prove that it did not happen because a hippie is guilty until proven innocent due to there shit status. Also? mabey it will ease the tensions of us coal miners…But as of now ……WAR ON HIPPIES HAS BEGUN……And remember Shoot a hippie a day and the stinking bastards will go away

Some resources re MTR:

iLoveMountains.org Mountaintop Removal Action and Resource Center

The Mountaintop Removal Road Show

Daily Kos 30 Days to Save the Mountains (including

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Tags: coal

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Calhoununderground // Jul 23, 2009 at 8:20 am

    We can hold Mr. Blankenship accountable. HE should be ASSURING his workers that no matter what happens they will be taken care of. But instead, I bet he is one of the most guilty for telling these people they are going to be starving and homeless if the mines shut down. He has a lot more power than that!!!

  • 2 Happy D // Jul 24, 2009 at 1:49 am

    The mine workers should have continued working as if you tress trespassing thieves were not on the property. Any injuries you suffer would have been your own fault.

    Hmmm … Anywhere written that those protesting did not take responsibility and risks?

    Unfortunately they will probably never do that. They are usually better people than you false Science know-nothings.

    “False Science know-nothings …” I am shaking in my boots from this eloquent, thoughtless insult.

    How many of the protesters live in the state?

    Hmmm … Thus, something with regional and national and global implications only can be discussed by those with a WVA driver’s license?

    Where does your finding come from? Soros?

    The evil bogeyman.

    Feel free to insult this post and me I will not be back.

    Thank you for your visit.

  • 3 Labor Day, West Virginia, and Moving from Mining to a Real Future // Sep 8, 2009 at 11:28 am

    […] of violence is not an idle one in Appalachia to this very day. In a now famous instance, a supposed coal-miner invaded a July 4th picnic on Kayford Mountain this year and threatened to kill a father and his child by slitting his […]