Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Penokee Pinkertons

Through the last 150 years of our country's history, some of the worst examples of mercenary violence and mayhem involved the jackboots of the Pinkerton Government Services.  Their "services" ranged from private security guards to private military work.  Their specialty was union busting and intimidating the public.

Over the years, these groups have sadly flourished, with two of the most notorious examples being Blackwater and Wachkenhut (one of Scott Walker's favorites!).

Now we can add the name of Bulletproof Securities of Arizona to that list of shame.

These are the mercenaries that the Florida mining company, Gogebic Taconite, has hired to protect their investment in the mining privileges of the pristine Northwoods area of the Pekonee Hills.

The have recently been seen haunting the woods of Iron County, running around like some wayward members of the Posse Comitatus, intimidating people who even happen to look at them the wrong way.

Besides the obvious harm that these thugs will do to the tourism business - I don't remember the threat of armed jackboots being in the Zucker commercial - there are two other major problems.

First of all, the land that the Penokee Pinkertons are protecting from the public is public land. Apparently the mining company presumed that when they bought the Teapublicans that passed their bill, they got the land included in the sale.

The other issue is that Bulletproof Services might be here illegally.  To do the kind of work that they are doing, they need to hold  Wisconsin licenses and permits first.  I have seen nothing to indicate that this has yet been looked into.

I would add to this that since this is public land, and thus accessible to the public, the gang of thugs needs to go through background checks.  I mean, the type of people these groups hire are in no way considered the most reputable.

This has, as the gentle reader might have suspected, created quite a stir, but not with just the citizenry, but with elected officials as well.  Senator Bob Jauch and Representative Janet Bewley issued a joint press release which was very measured in tone while very firm in meaning:
State Senator Bob Jauch (D-Poplar) and Representative Janet Bewley (D-Ashland) sent a letter to Gogebic Taconite President Bill Williams today calling on him to immediately remove the heavily armed masked commando security unit recently hired to protect the company’s property in the Penokee Hills.

The legislators called the images of the armed guards horrifying and the action by the company to hire this high security Arizona firm appalling. They added that “these kinds of security forces
are common in third world counties but they don’t belong in Northern Wisconsin.”

Jauch and Bewley acknowledged the company’s right to protect their property, but called the decision to hire this new security firm nothing more than an effort to intimidate citizens. “No one
in their right mind can justify the excessive force. These individuals are not deputized, they can’t arrest anyone. What they can do is unjustifiably scare people, and that appears to be your

The Northern Lawmakers reminded the company that they do not own the Penokee Hills and urged them to make sure their security detail recognized and reflected that fact.

With only one incident reported at the site in over a month, the lawmakers questioned why the company decided to take such a “confrontational and incendiary step that will clearly do more to
intimidate local citizens and increase local tensions than it will to make you, your staff, or your equipment any safer.”

Jauch and Bewley added that reversing their decision could help improve the company’s relationship with the community. “By rescinding this very misguided decision, you can send a message to Northern Wisconsin citizens that despite the heated rhetoric coming from the company over the last several weeks, you are interested in working with your new neighbors and willing to cooperate rather than relying on intimidation and threats.”
There are two things about this whole affair that are conspicuous by their absence.

One is any reaction from the Teabublicans.

Scott Walker, Robin Vos and Alberta Darling are all publicity hounds. They cannot get enough time in front of the cameras. If they go more than a day or two without being the center of attention, I don't think that they would survive.

Yet on this issue, there is nary a peep from the lot of them.

The other thing missing is any indication that the mainstream media has even bothered to attempt to contact them, much less ask them any questions.  The closest I've seen is Wisconsin State Journal mentioning that it was the Teapublicans who rammed this bill through.

With the corporate media, the corporate-controlled Teapublican legislature and all the other signs of organized greed, is it any wonder why they tried to take the unions out first?


  1. This story should be on "Ring of Fire."


  2. Will you finally admit that Scott Walker's plan to fast-track a 5 mile long open pit iron mine in the Northwoods will create jobs?

    So what if the jobs go to armed thugs from Arizona? So what if the masked mercenaries scare the tourists?

    So what if the rape of the pristine wilderness will yield only low grade iron ore?

    So what if Gegobic Taconite is owned by a Florida company, Cline Resource and Development Group? So what if Cline’s mines in Illinois have been polluting groundwater? So what if Cline doesn’t give a flying frig about cleaning up or even stopping the pollution? So what if Cline’s mines in West Virginia are as safe as sulfuric acid?


    1. So what if Wisconsin DNR approved it prior to Scott Walker's reigh of terror. Stop using anything made from iron ore if you really care.

    2. Poppycock! The DNR did not approve the Gogebic mine before Walker. Cline and Gogebic Taconite did not propose the mine until November 2010.

      We don’t need that mine to supply the iron used by civilization. There are plenty of reserves in already established mines. Besides that, the iron ore in that part of the Penokee Mountains is low grade.

    3. Very interesting. Cline proposed this mine immediately after his bought and paid for candidate was elected governor.

      How deliciously corrupt!

  3. If these goons look like members of a death squad, there is reason for that. The presence of these gun thugs demonstrates precisely what Cline Mining thinks of Wisconsin citizens. We and the Ojibwe are being treated the same way that third-world indigenous people are treated when Cline Mining steals their land and pollutes their ecosystems. Terrorizing the locals is an essential first step for a mining company when facing local opposition.

    If these corporate terrorist fire even one shot all hell will break loose up there. In fact, the company may be attempting to create an incident which will give Walker the opportunity to declare martial law in northern Wisconsin and dispatch the National Guard. It would be much cheaper for the mining company if taxpayers pick up the tab for an occupation force and Walker would look like a big man.

    How does it feel to live in a third world dictatorship?

  4. At the very end of her interview with J.B. Van Hollen on Monday, Joy Cardin told him that many WPR listeners are concerned about new armed guards at the proposed mine site in Northern Wisconsin. Then she said, "Is that something that the DOJ is looking into? Is that legal?" He pretty much dodged the question with some mumbo jumbo about guards both armed and non-armed around the nation do their jobs and that the police force in N. WI is 'pretty thin' - to suggest of course you need guards. Then they ran out of time. I wish she had set aside more time to that topic. But then again, Joy is not exactly a tough interrogator.

    1. Good ol' Tom Clark would have cut Van Hollen to pieces, cooked him up and fed him to himself. Cardin is a wimp.

  5. Since their appearance the Madison unemployed eco-terrorists have left the area...

    And not a shot was fired:-)

    1. The eco-terrorists did not leave the area. They are doing test drilling.

  6. Told ya so,,, the Tea party is the American Al Queda!!!

  7. Scary masked men in camo carrying machine guns are great ways to win friends and influence people. Gogebic Taconite proved to the locals that they will not be good corporate neighbors. Nor should the locals expect many jobs as G-Tac prefers to hire from out of state.

  8. These are common terrorists... this shit has gone too far.

    How is your security training different from other companies?
    The training our operators undergo is quite an interesting program. Knowledge is power. A typical police officer qualifies with his/her firearm 2 to 3 times a year. For most of these officers that will be the only time they shoot. Our operators participate in rigorous tactical firearms training on a weekly basis. We train with pistols, carbines, submachine guns, belt-fed machine guns, and edged weapons. We participate in on-going first aid and trauma classes. We train with vehicles both in driving and shooting techniques. We attend events and run mock details to practice threat assessment and risk analysis. If it advances our abilities, it goes on the training calendar…….

  9. More:

    What kinds of firearms do you have access to?
    BPS holds a Federal Firearms License with the ATF. In addition we have an SOT and are a Class 2 weapons manufacturer. This means we can even build machine guns. We also have the ability to train and sell weapons to our clients. Our operators utilize only the best weapon systems on the market and have access to any type of weapon system the mission may require.

  10. The shot represents well the attitude towards the people of Wisconsin by Cline and his Gogebic Taconite, and the mining/extraction enterprise. And Scott Walker of course. Walker did not consult the people of Wisconsin on Gogebic Taconite's bill.

    Walker and Gogebic Taconite are attempting to create a fake 'security' [safety] crisis, so then Walker can call in the National Guard, and posture that he won't be intimitated by 'thugs,' even as his new allies employ thugs.

    From Bulletproof's site: "From charter schools, office buildings and mining operations to fuel, water and power facilities, Bulletproof Securities provides site security teams with custom operational plans and state of the art equipment to keep your facility and its occupants secure."
    - http://www.bulletproofsecurities.com/services/site_security

    Bulletproof's Tom Parrella is an Arizona-based businessman who dabbles in a mix of real estate, high risk loans and paramilitary security operations

  11. There is no need to compare GTAC's half-baked plot to hire Bulletproof Securities with the Pinkertons of Deadwood when there is already a parallel etched into the fabled Penokee Hills. The LCO Harvest and Education Camp, Bulletproof's target, includes the old Moore Schoolhouse which was originally built by Lysander Cutler, a Union Army General, after the American Civil War ended.

    Start reading page 790 at "He came to Milwaukee in answer to a letter..." until "In 1859 he engaged in the grains and commissions business..." on page 791. http://books.google.com/books?id=upgvAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA790&lpg=PA790#v=onepage&q&f=false

    This story goes into shocking details describing how Cutler came into the area and established a colony of armed squatters with a general store and schoolhouse for two years to meet the requirements of the law in intimidating and outcompeting mixed bloods and other parties with Sioux Scrip for title of the mineral range lands in the area of what is now the LCO Harvest Camp and phase one of GTAC's proposed mine.

    The American Civil War may be over but State's Rights v. Federal Rights is on the front burner in the Penokees again.

    1. Oops, actually Cutler's armed occupation of the Penokees happened before the American Civil War, not after.