Hiring of Arizona security firm raises Wisconsin mine controversy to new heights

'Bulletproof' Arizona security team rais--8050.jpgArizona Daily Star

A pair of Wisconsin legislators, among others, are up in arms over a heavily armed, Scottsdale-based private security force hired to protect a new iron-ore mine under construction in northern Wisconsin.

Mining company Gogebic Taconite hired Bulletproof Securities to secure its property following an incident during an otherwise peaceful protest in which a 26-year-old woman was charged with robbery with use of force and three other misdemeanors after allegedly wrestling a camera away from a mine worker.

Photos, including the one attached, show guards wearing camouflage and masks and sporting semi-automatic guns. Bulletproof’s website states its personnel are equipped with armor and high-tech gear and can be trained in the use of handguns, medium-sized weapons, heavy weapons, sniper rifles and edged weapons.   

Gogebic Taconite’s reaction to the incident, which is the only reported non-peaceful act of protest recorded since the operation began, did not sit well with Wisconsin state Rep. Janet Bewley, D-Ashland, and state Sen. Bob Jauch, D-Poplar. The pair drafted a letter asking the company to send the paramilitary operation back to Scottsdale.

“There is no reason for them to Rambo up the way they have because things are peaceful,” Bewley said in a Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism article on Tuesday. “After a month of peace, why bring in a paramilitary group? We are not lawless up here. We are not Deadwood where there is no law and you need the Pinkertons.”

“The images are horrifying,” wrote Bewley and Jauch in their letter, “and the action by the company to hire this high security Arizona firm is appalling. These kinds of security forces are common in Third World countries but they don’t belong in Northern Wisconsin. “We cannot begin to describe how upset the citizens of Northern Wisconsin are at the sight of our forests being patrolled by masked soldiers carrying military style assault weapons like mercenaries in a time of war. While no one can argue that your company does not have the right to protect your private property, these armed guards serve no purpose other than to intimidate local citizens and increase local tensions.”

Bob Seitz, a Madison lobbyist representing Gogebic, said the guards are necessary because of a confrontation between 15 to 20 protesters and an unknown number of mine workers a month ago.

“The guards are going to stay,” Seitz said. “We have a responsibility to provide a safe workplace.”

According to the mining company, the site will provide 700 jobs and be active for 35 years. However, environmental groups and some local residents believe the impact on the ecosystem will be greater than the value provided.

Read more about this story on the Wisconsin State Journal, also a Lee Enterprises newspaper, and at the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism’s website.


12 thoughts on “Hiring of Arizona security firm raises Wisconsin mine controversy to new heights

  1. To go along with this article: To show how lawless that these security/paramilitary firms are about – they didn`t even have a permit to be here in wisconsin so there fore are they going to be charged in the so called court of law? Yep, check it out – Bulletproof Security are law breakers here in Wisconsin because they did not have a damned permit to operate here damnit. Yea, check it out, It was on the local morning news. 7-10 or it was 7-11 morning news 🙂 Channel 18 WQOW news to be exact 🙂 🙂 :). Bulletproof Securities are lawbreaking criminals here in northern Wi. They have no business being here and they should be in prison as a terrorist group damnit. They are NOT WANTED HERE DAMNIT AS WELL AS THAT MINING CO. – JOBS OR NOT. HERE IN WI. WE LOVE OUR LAND AND COUNTRY.!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Yep pretty crazy there Digger……….
      Have to agree with NC’s post, iron ore Or something else they are up to….hmmmm?…….

      1. Yep RT, I heard that some company found a possible place to mine gold in that area too. This was a year or two though.

  2. There’s another way to run that mining company out of town. Let them set up shop, let them pull all the riches they want out of the Wisconsin land and then have the local government “tax” their profits at 50%. If they refuse to pay the tax …call in the national guard and have them all thrown in jail.

  3. I’m confused. Why do they need these guys? I think there’s more to this story than they are telling. Are we sure it’s iron-ore that they are mining or something else they don’t want us to know about?

  4. Scott Walker only serves the criminal jewish oligarchs. These ‘firms’ wouldn’t have set up shop in WI without prior ‘permission’.

  5. Dang ………….
    Was trying to type fast to post there……..hehe!
    I just deleted my post to JohnQ, I rather like saying “Buh-bye there FreakQ Troll!” Better 🙂

    1. These mining companies have no regard for Wisconsin’s natural beauty or our world class groundwater. They rape and pillage our land for the almighty dollar and buy off our legislature to allow them to get away with it. Scott Walker is and always has been a whore for the highest bidder. He’s as crooked as they come, just ask the Koch brothers who have financed his last 2 campaigns. In the recall campaign, over 80% of Walker’s money came from out of state. What a way for Wisconsin to decide the governorship, with out of state money.

      1. I watched a interview this morning and there were guards from that Bulletprouf Securities security agency that didn`t even speak english working for this mining co. up there. It was a state senator from that county that that mine is in. The interview was on “UPFRONT with Mike Gousha”.

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