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Banana Wisconsin
July 8, 2013 7:35 PM   Subscribe

Bulletproof Security is a paramilitary security company. They have provided security to Habitat for Humanity and Empire CAT among others.

Wisconsin residents were surprised to learn that Bulletproof is providing security to the recently legislated Gogebic iron pit mine. Reports surfaced of individuals in camoflauged body armor bearing semi-automatic rifles in the forest around the recently approved Gogebic Taconite open pit mine site in the northern part of the state.

Democratic lawmakers expressed their discontent: "These kinds of security forces are common in Third World countries but they don’t belong in northern Wisconsin"
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt (42 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Democratic lawmakers expressed their discontent: "These kinds of security forces are common in Third World countries but they don’t belong in northern Wisconsin"

That's cute.
posted by odinsdream at 7:43 PM on July 8, 2013 [15 favorites]


Habitat for Humanity?
posted by Going To Maine at 7:44 PM on July 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


> "These kinds of security forces are common in Third World countries but they don’t belong in northern Wisconsin"

For some reason, I'm imagining a confrontation between Bulletproof and these guys in some remote mine somewhere.
posted by planetesimal at 7:44 PM on July 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Note: the Habitat for Humanity and Empire CAT links are PDFs.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:50 PM on July 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is just plain 'ol dumb. Just going to create problems. I will bet you dollars to donuts this security costs more than state trooper overtime. The persons protecting state property should be state sworn law enforcement officers. One police officer on that facility is worth 50 dudes in body armor.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:52 PM on July 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


If they are bulletproof why do they need the rifles?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 7:53 PM on July 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


Habitat for Humanity used them for a charity event in central Arizona, Blueprints and Bluejeans. Individual tickets were $100, so I'm guessing the donors were a more well-to-do bunch who might enjoy a "private security" force.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:54 PM on July 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Everything old is new again.
posted by Grimgrin at 7:54 PM on July 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


The fastest-growing industry in Northern Wisconsin these days is tourism. Ironmouth is right; this is just dumb.
posted by mr_roboto at 8:17 PM on July 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Fucking Pinkertons.
posted by notsnot at 8:18 PM on July 8, 2013 [17 favorites]


Who the fuck is going to steal an open pit mine? WTF. It's not like you can walk off with an open pit. It's an open pit. Fucking fascists.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:20 PM on July 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


...LaFollette is rolling in his grave.
posted by notsnot at 8:20 PM on July 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


LaFollette is rolling in his grave.,

Then its a missed opportunity to dig him up, strap some magnets to his bony body and wrap the coffin in Copper wire and generate some power.

But that might encourage someone to get him to spin faster with even more outrageous behaviour.
posted by rough ashlar at 8:24 PM on July 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Fucking Pinkertons.

No, they're still around. This seems to be a much cheaper knock-off with more George Zimmerman types.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 8:27 PM on July 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


If they are bulletproof why do they need the rifles?

They need the rifles because the protesters, presumably, are not bulletproof.

The question should be why do they need body armor and camo ?
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:40 PM on July 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's a pretty damned basic rule of statecraft that you don't tolerate private mercenary armies in your territory unless you want people to start getting killed.
posted by 1adam12 at 8:42 PM on July 8, 2013 [10 favorites]


The question should be why do they need body armor and camo ?

It makes the inevitable self inflicted gun shot wounds more difficult.
posted by srboisvert at 8:47 PM on July 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I actually used the services if the Pinkertons at one point when I needed such service. They performed better than expected. My children were once cared for by a first cousin of President Reagan and we all were guarded by Pinkertons at one point....
But camo-bedecked securi-thugs... Nope haven't done that yet.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 8:48 PM on July 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Habitat for Humanity?

This is a serious topic, yet I can't resist imagining a tense standoff between Habitat and say, Homes for the Homeless, in an escalating rivalry indirectly encouraged by The National Association of Affordable Housing Lenders.
posted by ceribus peribus at 9:02 PM on July 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


TPM has more.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:07 PM on July 8, 2013


Who the fuck is going to steal an open pit mine? WTF. It's not like you can walk off with an open pit. It's an open pit.

See this is the difference between a villain, and a supervillain; imagination.
posted by anonymisc at 9:11 PM on July 8, 2013 [22 favorites]


I was going to say that Habitat for Humanity goes to some dangerous places to build houses, but apparently, they provided security for a fundraiser, so I have no idea.
posted by empath at 9:15 PM on July 8, 2013


I was going to say that Habitat for Humanity goes to some dangerous places to build houses, but apparently, they provided security for a fundraiser, so I have no idea.

Someone doesn't like Habitat and wants to damn them by association with Big Corporations and Paramilitary Douchebags. Seems pretty straightforward to me.
posted by kjs3 at 9:27 PM on July 8, 2013


Rich people are the most dangerous people. Habitat for Humanity could be more aware of this than others and may have been trying to contain the risk to the general population.
posted by srboisvert at 9:28 PM on July 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


So are these guys the MetaCops or the Enforcers?
posted by wikipedia brown boy detective at 10:28 PM on July 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Reading the Empire CAT recommendation letter in the FPP is particularly telling:
The type of services that were provided by Bulletproof related to corporate security due to employee reductions in our work force in volatile markets where Empire conducts business. Bulletproof...attended announcement meetings at multiple sites with our CEO and executives"
Translated from corporate nonsense-speak: we decided to fire a whole bunch of people because people stopped buying our products, but important people were going to be around to do it, so we hired a paramilitary force to deal with anyone who got upset. A few people were angry (*gasp*), but our hired thugs took care of it and no one was hurt, so the work could go on (with fewer people). Thanks paramilitary force!
posted by zachlipton at 10:33 PM on July 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


Gogebic? It's Penokee. Gogebic is in Michigan, across the river. Penokee is in Iron County, Wisconsin, where the mine is supposed to be dug. Please make a note of it.

I lived up there for 6 years, and never heard the word 'Penokee'. But that's the name.
posted by Goofyy at 12:06 AM on July 9, 2013


Gogebic? It's Penokee. Gogebic is in Michigan, across the river

Well, yeah, but that's the name of the company^. Given the political machinations -- they pretty much wrote their own legislation -- that got them this franchise, they pretty much have that name fully associated with the mine even if they create a Penokee subsidiary later.

they provided security for a fundraiser

The security was for the people that Habitat wanted to attend the fundraiser. Which had a bit of a casino night feel, apparently, with people expected to bring cash. There were probably also one or two token poor people present.
Not that I want to knock Habitat, but we once met with Millard Fuller himself at the headquarters in Georgia and he was pretty kooky and borderline condescending. I'm sure the local chapters vary.
posted by dhartung at 4:22 AM on July 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Who the fuck is going to steal an open pit mine? WTF. It's not like you can walk off with an open pit. It's an open pit.

I'm not so confident.
posted by Mayor West at 4:26 AM on July 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


So are these guys the MetaCops or the Enforcers?

And here, I was going to point out we're over a decade overdue for the Seretech and Shiawase decisions.
posted by radwolf76 at 4:44 AM on July 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Duluth Tribune: Wisconsin lawmakers [ie. a state senator and state representative] ask Gogebic Taconite to remove armed guards.

So the deal with the open pit mine is that it's a proposed recently approved open pit mining site, adjacent to Penokee Mountains Heritage Park (and what a lovely place that will be, next to an open pit mine), and about 1 mile from the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Treaty Harvest and Education Camp. The security is therefore there to intimidate protestors and prevent "anti mining groups" such as Ojibwe and environmental activists from disrupting drilling operations.

Hired mercenaries have certain benefits over using State Troopers: they're presumably not as concerned with the rights of protestors, aren't burdened by official police conduct rules (such as they are) around peaceful assemblies, and can generally provide the necessary firepower and moral flexibility to solve conflicts long before the authorities arrive on scene. And in the worst case scenario, the actual mining company can distance itself from any unpleasantness and deny any responsibility for the independent, unauthorized actions of a few overzealous individuals working for the security subcontractor they hired -- that they reluctantly hired, mainly to reduce theft of course.
posted by ceribus peribus at 5:31 AM on July 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


Habitat is only for poor people with excellent credit who can commit to a fairly huge amount of time. If you can't do all that time, then you theoretically could get friends to help, but if you were new to the area, you would not have all those friends to help.

It's also only for people who will be in the same area and home for at least five years.

If a nicer job opened or you had a problem which meant you had to leave town rapidly, Habitat might be a bad choice.

As a DV survivor it was not a choice I for example could have being able to leave an area quickly was much more important than any single thing.

Habitat does do some good work but they do have an unpleasant element among rich supporters. As do so many worthy causes.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 6:01 AM on July 9, 2013


Gogebic? It's Penokee. Gogebic is in Michigan, across the river.

The company - as far as I can tell - is Gogebic Taconite. I know that the mine itself isn't located in Gogebic county; which is actually in Michigan. The first line of the FPP is a small typo; there was supposed to be a "Taconite" after the Gogebic. So, yeah, what Dhartung said.

I've got friends and relatives that live in Ironwood and the surrounding area; I've spent a fair amount of time up there. I've never heard of Penokee, either.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 6:55 AM on July 9, 2013


Gogebic (or alternately Penokee) can also be used as a geological name describing the ore deposit that covers both sides of the border area. The mine is digging the west side of Gogebic deposit, thus it is the West Gogebic mine.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 7:50 AM on July 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


“bearing semi-automatic rifles in the forest”

I think the big thing with any rifle is whether you’ll ever actually cycle rounds through it.
The SCAR is great for a wide variety of actual military situations. And, apparently, faux military situations. Too bad no giggle switch on the civilian model if they’re expecting another Little Bighorn.

But hell, mining operations have always been respectful of fish and game reserves and Native American treaty rights, amirite?
posted by Smedleyman at 10:51 AM on July 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Watching Scotty Grow: Thunder In The Woods
posted by homunculus at 1:25 PM on July 9, 2013


from the link above:

Scott Walker, the goggle-eyed homunculus hired by Koch Industries to manage its midwest subsidiary formerly known as the state of Wisconsin

We will definitely be referring to him as The Goggle-Eyed Homunculus around this house from now on.
posted by gerstle at 2:54 PM on July 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Can you believe that fucker wants to be president?
posted by ocschwar at 7:34 PM on July 9, 2013


TPM has been doing some muckraking on this.
Bulletproof Securities isn’t Parrella’s only business. Parrella, who has described himself as a former police officer, is also linked to at least five other businesses by his name, direct phone number, and multiple addresses. Parrella’s other ventures include a real estate company, DPR Realty LLC, the DPR School of Real Estate, a company called DPR Financial Solutions LLC, and Battle Group LLC. Cambios Y Servicios, Inc., a payday loan business in Chandler, Ariz., lists Parrella’s cell phone as its phone number.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 6:37 AM on July 10, 2013


And now the rentagoons are leaving. Turns out they have no license to walk around armed for money in WI.
posted by ocschwar at 1:58 PM on July 10, 2013


Indeed. Humorous.

They didn't even know they needed a license and had not yet even applied for it.

Professionalism.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 2:13 PM on July 10, 2013


An Ominous Alliance: Militiamen Showing Up in Wisconsin as Mining Co. 'Security'
posted by homunculus at 9:42 AM on July 21, 2013


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