As you may have heard, these guys work for Bulletproof Securities in Arizona, and were hired by Gogebic Taconite to provide "security" for the area around their proposed open-pit mine in northern Wisconsin. The Blue Cheddar blog was among the first to reveal this story over the weekend, and has done an excellent job staying on top of the developments throughout this week. The Blue Cheddar article also relays this quote from a GTac
Gogebic spokesman Bob Seitz laughed at the suggestion that the company would remove the guard detail, which he said was hidden in the forest photographing illegal campers before they were noticed at a test drill site recently. The campers were believed to be potential vandals, Seitz said.Yes, apparently a 26-year-old enviro-protestor wearing a mask is someone that could jeopardize the entire operation, and must be responded to with the potential lethal force. Dear God, these people are afraid of their own shadow. They and Walker are supposed to be the "Unintimidated" ones?
“That’s why none of those (guards) was visible, is because they have been monitoring people on our lands,” Seitz said. “I’m not very concerned about what (weapons) a security firm selects. They have to provide a safe workplace for their people, too.”
And referring to the Gogebic site as "Our lands," Bob? That might come as news to a lot of the Indian tribes in the area, who have hunting, fishing and harvesting rights in these lands that have been affirmed by treaties for 2 centuries. It also may come as news to the many campers and hikers traversing public lands in this area. See, you guys at Gogebic had to pay thousands of dollars to corrupt GOPs in the state legislature because this area is NOT private land, and is subject to state regulation and management. Here's how the original mining bill explains it.
Managed Forest Law Withdrawal Fees and Taxes. It appears that much of the private land in the area where mining activity is likely to occur, which may initially be located in the towns of Morse in Ashland County and Anderson in Iron County, is currently enrolled in the managed forest law (MFL) program under multiple MFL orders. In lieu of general property taxes, owners of land enrolled in the MFL program are required to make annual acreage share payments to municipalities in amounts determined by the date the land was entered into the program (79¢ per acre for land entered through 2004 and $2.14 per acre for lands entered after 2004) as well as pay an annual yield tax or severance fee of 5% of the timber harvested on the land (based on the average price of species harvested). The municipality retains 80% of these payments and sends 20% to the county. In addition, under the MFL program, a landowner has the option of closing a maximum of 160 acres per municipality to public access if an additional fee is paid for each acre closed (currently $1.08 per acre entered through 2004, and $8.54 per acre after 2004). These closed acreage fees are deposited in the forestry account of the segregated conservation fund. However, DNR staff indicates that most of the affected acres are in the open program.And while it took the Journal-Sentinel 3 days to say something about this story (24 hours after Charlie Pierce mentioned it in a nationwide outlet, apparently the J-S REALLY didn't want to talk about this), Jason Stein had a good report pointing out that the mining bill allowed for public access of the lands in return for a large lowering of property taxes, meaning everyday citizens could be hiking or camping in the area, and then come across our masked buddies from Bulletproof.
But today is the even more fun part, as apparently Gogebic forgot to license their little Blackwater-style outfit, and were illegally carrying weapons without the proper permit from the state's Department of Safety and Professional Services. Oops.
Bulletproof Securities President Tom Parrella said Wednesday that his firm, based in Scottsdale, Ariz., holds a number of federal and out-of-state licenses for its experienced staff and has applied for the Wisconsin license. Parrella said Wednesday that Bulletproof had been hired with little notice and had not expected the public attention that has focused on the firm's role in the proposed mine site in Iron County.
A spokeswoman for the state Department of Safety and Professional Services, which licenses security firms, said in an email that Bulletproof "has indicated its intention to submit a license application" to the agency and that the state would provide an update "if any new licenses are issued."
You got papers, son?
To his credit, Northwoods State Sen. Bob Jauch spared no words in letting these corporate thugs have it.
These actions demonstrate that GTAC has no respect for the public and no regard for the law. Had GTAC not been in such a hurry to hire a militia that’s armed more for war than defense of property, they could have hired a legally licensed Wisconsin firm and provided Wisconsin workers the opportunity to provide a safe working environment at the job site.Any reason we're not considering this guy for Gov in 2014? That's the kind of fight this state needs and deserves.
GTAC continually plays the victim but in fact they have no one to blame but themselves for hiring a security firm that has not complied with Wisconsin law.
And to finish, I'll point you to James Rowen's excellent post on this, because it's not like this skirting of the law has been abnormal behavior for GTac, or Republicans in general. These guys clearly believe rules only exist in order to impose restrictions on the other guys, and are not something to be followed by them. They think they can lie, cheat, and conceal their way into huge amounts of power and money, and it took undercover journalism outside of the mainstream papers to uncover this Pinkerton-style setup.
This incident is a damning indictment of GTac, and not just because of the strong-arm tactics. Between the incompetence of not having your security properly licensed, and being such lousy business people that they had to resort to shelling out big bucks to hire lobbyists that wrote the mining bill for the GOPs. Like a lot of the "job creator" braggers, apparently GTac isn't not good enough to make it if they have to play by the same rules and pay the same taxes as everyone else. No wonder they fit right in with the WMC crowd- a bunch of bullying oligarchs who can't stand the light of transparency, and don't have the game to win in a fair fight.