August 12, 2013 by Barbara With
According to an article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Governor Scott Walker’s office was in touch with the head of Bulletproof Securities before they entered the state and committed a felony by not securing proper licensing to carry machine guns in the Penokee Hills.
An open records request to the Governor’s office revealed that the Governor’s chief of staff, Eric Schutt, was contacted by the Arizona security firm before they entered the state. BPS also claimed to have contacted the DNR, but an agency spokesperson said the DNR knew of no such contact.
Under state law, providing security without a license can be punished with a fine of $100 to $500 and three to six months of incarceration. In addition, regulators can bar a firm from providing security services in the state for one year for failing to comply with the law.
Several complaints were filed against BPS with the State Department of Safety and Professional Services and the Iron County District Attorney. However, those were ignored when the department finally granted Bulletproof their permits in mid-August. Iron County District Attorney Martin Lipske said on Friday that he was negotiating a deal with GTac to not prosecute them or BPS if they agree to patrol the area without guns.
“I’m going beyond simply not filing them,” said Lipske. “I want some more concessions so that hopefully we don’t have to have high-intensity security people like Bulletproof have or acting in a high intensive manner like being armed. If we can get some sort of agreement like that, I feel that then justice will be served.”
Bulletproof claimed that they needed to break the law and not obtain legal license to do business in the State because of the “threat” caused by a protest that took place at the mining company’s core drilling site on June 11.
However, protester Katie Kloth was apprehended by Iron County Sheriff the same day of the protest and brought to justice. No other incidents have been reported.
BPS President Tom Parella also claims In his letter to the state that for the first time in his company’s 11-year history, he told his guards to cover their faces and remove their names from their uniforms because he feared they or their families could be targeted.
Yet, a picture on their website show a photo of the principles at BPS with their faces blurred over, apparently an indication that their business is so controversial that as a rule they feel a need to keep their identities hidden. Claims on their website state that they operate outside of governmental law enforcement boundaries: “We have superior equipment and vehicles and are not limited to department policies and procedures.”
In another statement from their website, BPS claims, “Each detail we are hired to complete is carefully planned and executed after undergoing a unique logistics process catered specifically for that mission.” Apparently, securing the proper license to operate legally does not fall under this assertion.
Caught in another outright lie, Bulletproof was clearly operating in the Penokee Hills without proper licensing with faces covered and without the uniforms and credentials required by law before Rob Ganson came upon them during a walk in the woods with his family. Ganson’s photos, taken on July 6, 2013 show BPS personnel with masks and machine guns already operating at the drill site.
Parrella also claims his company needs extra protection. “Due to the vicious media and internet assault launched on a national level by activist organizations, I directed my operators to cover their faces and take their name tabs off to protect their identities,” he wrote.
However, the picture taken July 6th clearly preceded the international attention received from operating without a license in Wisconsin. Wisconsin State Journal launched their “vicious media assault” in a story July 9.
On July 7, 2012 LCO Harvest Camp spokesperson Paul DeMain met the new security team in the Penokees with his son and grandson (see video below). A Bulletproof employee is shown here leaving his machine gun unattended in the front seat of his jeep while DeMain and his grandson come between it and the guard.
The fact that Bulletproof and GTac are once again not being held accountable for their illegal activities does not bode well for their operations in the Penokees.