portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reporting united states

environment

knoxville: activists confront CEO of National Coal, are detained by FBI

Last night, Monday October 18, a group of 17 masked protesters held a rally outside the house of Jon Nix, the current CEO of National Coal Corporation. The activists chanted, and drummed for half an hour. As they tried to leave they were stopped and detained for two and a half hours by the Knox County Sheriff's Department and later the activists were questioned by the FBI.
demonstrators chant and drum out side of the Nix's home in West Knoxville
demonstrators chant and drum out side of the Nix's home in West Knoxville
he group of demonstrators arrived at the house of Jon Nix, the current CEO of National Coal Corporation, at around 9pm this Monday (Oct. 18). The crowd numbered 17. They wore plastic clown masks and bandanas and chanted loudly from across Keller Bend Dr, though they never actually entered Nix's property. They beat on improvised drums made out of five gallon buckets. The protesters held a banner reading "Beware: We are Everywhere, We Will Fight for Zeb Mountain - Hillbillies From Hell!" They chanted "MTR: Go To Hell!" and "Whose Mountains, our Mountains."

"Hello Nix's we are here tonight to let you know that we wont let you destroy our mountains!" yelled one female activist over a bullhorn.

"We ain't no liberal bullshit, we wont stop this until you do!" claimed a demonstrator who identified himself as Scotty.

A separate unidentified group left three jack o lanterns that read "MTR?, Fuck, No" on the driveway in front of the Nix's home.

After about half an hour of rowdy demonstrating, Jon Nix set off his own car alarm from inside of his house, in an attempt to scare off the group outside of his house. To this the demonstrators just began singing a rendition of "Amazing Grace" with new words related to MTR. Eventually Jon Nix actually came out of his house and began yelling to a neighbor to block the dead end road, so that the protesters would not be able to leave.

One protester stepped forward and attempted to engage Nix in a dialogue. She explained, in a calm voice why she was opposed to MTR.

"I'm a mother and I want you to stop destroying the mountains around hear. Please, you clearly have enough you don't need anymore. Why do people like you always take everything from us?" Nix ignored this woman.

Soon a Knox County Sheriff Deputy drove down the road and turned on his lights. At this point, the group of protestors began to walk away, yelling that they were dispersing peacefully, and had in fact broken no laws. Nix followed the protestors to their cars and attempted to write down the licenses.

As the caravan of four vehicles attempted to drive down Keller Bend a man in civilian clothing with a German shepherd blocked them. The man identified himself as a police officer and ordered the drivers to turn off their engines and turn off their lights.

After fifteen minutes an SUV pulled up in front of the lead car in the caravan, effectively blocking any attempt to exit. A man, who refused to identify himself got out of the SUV and proceeded to take the license plates of all the activist's vehicles.

Soon five squads had arrived at the scene. The officers questioned the driver of the first car as to how the protesters had found the home. The police went car to car and took the IDs of every protester. Sgt. Martin was heard threatening them that if they didn't give them their social security numbers, they would be spending the night with the FBI.

The FBI was the next to show up. The three agents who identified themselves as Mark, Steve, and Shawn, refused to give their last names to the activists. The FBI detained one activist for almost an hour. The FBI continually questioned this demonstrator, who identified himself to the AGR as Jimmy James Ramerson, about an alleged incendiary device that was left in the mailbox of an executive of NCC this past Saturday

"Why the hell would I leave an incendiary device in some guy's mailbox on Saturday and later come back to his house on Monday? That's totally crazy, it seems more like the FBI made up the entire story, they wouldn't say whose house it was left at. That's just crazy. You'd think if they were really worried about a bomb or whatever they'd have searched our cars, but they didn't even search me."

Two officers took each activist out of their cars one by one and took their pictures, supposedly for the FBI. Then a man who said he was a neighbor them screamed at the activists that if they came back he'd "fucking shoot them" and called them all cocksuckers, when an activists asked the FBI whether or not he was going to do anything about that man threatening to kill the group the agent said "it's a local issue."

Eventually, the FBI agents left, with one saying, "As long as this stays non-violent you won't be seeing me at you homes, work and school. But if it does get violent, you can expect to see me very soon, and I wont be nice."

After about two and a half hours, the police let the caravan drive away at 12:30.

Background: National Coal is currently trying to purchase the Zeb Mountain Mountain Top Removal (MTR) project; it is the first MTR site in Tennessee. They are using Zeb Mountain as a test site, if they are able to destroy Zeb Mountain they will continue through the Cumberland Mountains. National Coal Must BE STOPPED!
MTR is murdering the people and mountains of Souther Appalachia.
Our struggle is you Struggle
 http://www.stopmtntopremoval.com
another good reason to go to events on a bike 20.Oct.2004 23:22

CaptainPlanet

The cops or "cops" would not have been able to block them in.