‘Coal Country’ listed on terrorist watch reports

October 6, 2010 by Ken Ward Jr.

Makers of the film “Coal Country” interview coal industry official Randall Maggard in this courtesy photo.

Thanks for Mari-Lynn Evans for pointing out that her film, Coal Country, showed up on the list of things that were being monitored by the Pennsylvania Office of Homeland Security as potential terrorism threats.

The bulletin mentioning Coal Country showed up on the Pennsylvania government’s Web site as part of the ongoing controversy over monitoring of environmental and other groups by Pennsylvania law enforcement officials.

You can read the whole November 2009 report mentioning Coal Country for yourself, but here’s what it had to say:

Throughout the next two months, Planet Green will air ‘Coal Country,’ a documentary promising to “reveal the truth about modern coal mining” …

… Though Pennsylvania mountains have not been subjected to mountaintop mining as of yet, the waste materials from mountaintop mining in other states has been dumped into streams in Pennsylvania, reportedly causing damage to the environment.

On 15 October, 2009, over 300 people attended a public hearing at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh to discuss the Obama administration’s decision to restrict mountaintop removal-related permits. Security was heavy.

In the report, state contractors from the Institute of Terrorism Research and Response warned:

TAM-C analysts view this film as a potential catalyst for inspiring ‘direct action’ protests or even sabotage against facilities, machinery, and/or corporate headquarters.

The report listed three power plants as potential targets, and cautioned:

Actions against these facilities would likely cause counter-protests from the pro-coal side, which TAM-C analysts believe already feels assaulted, not only  by environmentalists, but by any government bodies and/or policies that support them.

TAM-C analysts will continue to monitor this documentary as well as the larger issue to determine whether destructive rhetoric or actions are being planned by either camp.

14 Responses to “‘Coal Country’ listed on terrorist watch reports”

  1. Vernon says:

    They mention the pro-coal side, but I hope they really take seriously the “destructive rhetoric and actions” from the pro-coal side, such as the Friends of Coal activities at the Oct 13, 2009 NWP21 hearing in Charleston, and the “destructive rhetoric” spoken by politicians at the Sept 15 coal rally in DC.

  2. Bo Webb says:

    In the United States there is a thing called the 1st amendment. No doubt this publication is an attempt to stifle Mary Lynn Evan’s right of free speech. Personally, I would like to see her file suit. No doubt, this labeling by this agent of Homeland Security has damaged her reputation as a film maker and threatens current and future financial opportunities for the film maker. This type of labeling is an embarrassment to our democracy and should be of concern to us all.
    Pennsylvania Governor Rendell says as much himself with this quote when asked about TAM-C’s actions.
    “I am deeply embarrassed and I apologize to any of the groups who had this information disseminated on their right to peacefully protest,” Rendell said at an evening Capitol news conference.
    Rendell called the practice “ludicrous” and said the fact that the state was paying for such rudimentary information was “stunning.”

  3. Monty says:

    I watched the film … I supposed I am now being watched, as well, as an accomplice? This is hand in glove with our own state law enforcement regarding environmental advocates as potential terrorists in the past.

  4. Chuck Nelson says:

    I myself, think that this group, which calls itself Homeland Security, should be investigated, and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, by committing acts, which deprive American citizens, their Constitutional Rights, their civil rights, and their actions of turning their heads away, from real Homeland Security threats, such as bombing our homes, for deliberately poisoning peoples drinking water, and allowing genocide to be happening, with them willingly knowing what’s going on. No mention from them about emissions, from coal burning power plants, killing thousands of Americans, and the mercury causing thousands of birth defects each year, and these are irrefutable facts, that are public information. And if it’s public information, then one would expect an outfit like Homeland Security, has knowledge. This agency is exactly like the saying, “the fox guarding the hen house.” Mary-Lynn has every right in the world, to present her facts, and she did so from looking at both sides, and giving each side the chance to have their say. I worked hard as an underground miner, and I know first hand, how coal companies have the freedom of influence over our politicians, miners, regulatory agencies, and just about anyone out there, who’s for sale, and I’m now adding Homeland Security to that list. I commend Mary-Lynn, for expressing her Constitutional Rights, and it’s her duty to inform the public, anytime where she sees a person’s human rights being violated. In this story, I see the rights of Mary-Lynn Evans being violated, and I encourage her, and respect her, for standing up for those rights, for this is what our country was built upon. Thanks Ken for publishing this story. It’s given us all a good reality check, about how do we get back to a true democracy.

  5. Vernon says:

    TAM-C is a branch of an Israeli company. http://www.terrorresponse.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=30&Itemid=2. So our government is hiring foreign companies to spy on American citizens, in this case American citizens trying to save their lives, homes, and communities? How patriotic is that?

  6. PlethoDon Juan says:

    Meanwhile, terror in the name of cheap coal continues. Ask anyone who lives below a mountaintop removal operation and they’ll tell you how terrorized they are by dust, flying debris, coal trucks, angry miners, floods, bad well water, and having their dogs shot. I find it amusing that treesitters and film directors are targets for scrutiny when mountains are being blown to bits with megatons of explosives every year. Peaceful protestors against violent acts are deemed “terrorists” because their actions might create anger in otherwise ignorant citizens. Yeah we got our priorities straight. go back to sleep sheeple…your government is protecting you and providing cheap entertainment to keep you sedated. Anyone who says otherwise is well…a terrorist.

  7. Watcher says:

    I thought being monitored by the office of homeland security would be a badge of honor for the activists. Maybe the stars of this movie no longer want star status with their newfound attention of the feds…….Paranoia runs deep.

  8. Bo Webb says:

    Not to get in a haggle Watcher, but what is your point? Are you saying that people who are standing for democracy should feel honored to be spied upon by their government? I know many of the people in this movie and I can tell you that not one of them desire attention or are looking for any special star status as you infer. These are my friends, neighbors, and some of the most Patriotic and brave Americans I have ever had the pleasure to work with; and I have worked with Patriots that paid the ultimate sacrifice for America and democracy. Please consider, and refrain from trivializing their dedication to truth and justice for all. MTR is a serious issue that effects the mental and physical health of those that live beneath it.

  9. Allen Johnson says:

    Quoted. “TAM-C analysts view this film as a potential catalyst for inspiring ‘direct action’ protests or even sabotage against facilities, machinery, and/or corporate headquarters.”

    Let me break news to TAM-C. Direct action is occurring with horrendous, daily sabotage….against the mountains, streams, people, and their communities living under the shadow of mountaintop removal operations. The perpetrators are in the corporate headquarters. List them…

  10. Bob Kincaid says:

    I’ve always assumed we were being spied upon, but it looks like the coal industry and its bought-and-paid-for government insiders have gone “pro,” bringing in the Israelis, with all the intimidation and lawlessness that entails.

    One is reminded that the “Baldwin Thugs” were outlawed, only to become the fledgling WV State Police. I suppose this is the 21st century equivalent of that mindset.

    Everything old is new again.

    “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” -Hunter S. Thompson

  11. Ken Ward Jr. says:


    let’s try to remember to be respectful and polite in our comments … If you don’t like what the Pennsylvania government was doing here, fine. Say so simply and calmly, please.

    I don’t care if this does make you mad or outraged or whatever … keep your comments respectful and polite, or they will be removed.


  12. Forest Walker says:

    Ken, I agree that the US is not so far gone that environmentalists can be disrespectful or promise violence against those who are ok with damaging the environment. It is sad that Pennsylvania has targeted environmentalists as potential terrorists just for opposing mountaintop removal mining. But we have a system to work with. Our voices can be heard. Forest Walker

  13. Watcher says:

    No haggle intention taken Mr Webb. I just thought “attention” to the cause was the whole idea behind the “actions” and movie.

  14. Leon Wood says:

    Earth first we will mine the rest of the planets later. New bills will passed to take away EPA’s self imposed illegal regulations. The future of coal has never burned brighter than it does now. Continued growth in the coal industry will continue for many more years, the demand for coal by 2030 will have increased by 65 percent and be suppling more than 75 percent of this nation energy needs. Surface coal mining our past, our present and will continue to be our future for many generations to come.

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