August 19, 2013 By Barbara With
Gogebic Taconite LLC (GTac) and their private militia Bulletproof Securities made the news again August 18 when WKOW’s Greg Neumann featured a 10-minute advertisement for GTac featuring lobbyist Bob Seitz on “Capitol City Sunday.”
When asked about the use of the unlicensed [at the time] Bulletproof Securities to protect the core sample drill sites, Seitz claimed, “We’re talking about 4,000 acres of private land that’s involved in this area and in that area. The only people that have the ability to go out through that area and find the camps, the illegal camps, are people like Bulletproof.”
Seitz added, “You need people that are trained well enough to make sure that you don’t end up with a bad situation. They are very professional.”
Yet in this July 7, 2013 video, the videographer and his grandchild came between a BPS employee and his machine gun, left unattended on the front seat of his jeep. Shortly before this, BPS was found to be in violation of unlawfully possessing firearms without the required state permits for a security firm to operate in Wisconsin as well as on Iron County Managed Forest land.
The “private” land is actually in Managed Forest Crop Law, a state program that provides tax deferments for land owners to make the land open for public use.
In Sunday’s interview, Seitz went on to claim:
We have found multiple camps on our private property and the folks from those camps were coming down at two or three o’clock in the morning trying to get into our drill sites. It was an ongoing issue. The only reason they didn’t come into the drill site and attack us again was that we had security on site. We’ve taken out the ones we’ve found, so those have been removed. … It’s hard to say if there’s another camp opening up out there. But every one we’ve found we’ve removed.
Considering that GTac cannot claim exclusive use of the “private property,” does this mean Bulletproof Securities is being allowed by Iron County to roam through the public access Managed Forest land and make the determination of who is in the hills and why they are there, and then proceed to actually physically remove them? How legal is this? And what process do they use to remove them?
Does GTac support what Bulletproof Securities did to Mike and Maureen Matusewisc of Carey when they were detained on a small county road on the way to Harvest Camp? In a letter to the Iron County attorney Martin Lipske, Maureen asked for justice and commented, “Two military vehicles came back later and stopped on the road at our vehicle. They gathered information and blocked our exit for a time. The quick departure of BPS’ over-sized military vehicles when approached by one peaceful, unarmed native (Mel Gaspar of Harvest Camp) was unnerving.”
Sunday’s GTac infomercial host Greg Neumann went on to ask Seitz, “Is there anything at this point that the company can say to appease [the pro-water] side of this argument?”
Seitz replied, “I would say if you care about science, if you care about facts, let us just go in and do the work, and we’ll provide the facts to you and then you can make a decision and we can have a debate.”
Seitz is asking the citizens of Wisconsin to trust GTac to provide the facts, when GTac continues to get caught in their own lies.
From January 2011 until March 2012, GTac lied to the public when they denied that they wanted to rewrite Wisconsin’s mining laws. They refused to disclose that they were in the process of writing a mining bill that was wildly unpopular and has now stripped citizens of their rights to protect themselves.
GTac’s dismal track record and lack of local support is creating a shrinking base for the out-of-state mining company owned by coal mining billionaire Chris Cline. Now it appears the DNR could have been rushed into a public hearing that did not follow state statutes.
Perhaps the best idea is for GTac to pack up and return to Florida. Iron County can get on with the sustainable economic development that will be needed to overcome the current bust inflicted by the heritage of mining.
Calls to the Iron County sheriff were not returned. Contact Iron County DA Martin Lipske at 715-561-5671 and ask why Bulletproof Securities is being allowed to patrol 4,000 acres of land with public access and do they have legal authority to do so.