Thursday, July 11, 2013

Mining co. hires private army to guard Wisco iron mine site

A heavily armed private army showed up at a controversial iron mine site in Wisconsin on July 4, and citizens didn't like it one little bit.

Masked, armored, camouflaged mercenaries carrying automatic weapons were discovered in the woods over the weekend. Word spread quickly. Charles Pierce's take on it over at Esquire is priceless:
...the rented gunmen are from an Arizona outfit called Bulletproof Security. (Once again, we go to Bogart from The Maltese Falcon: "The cheaper the crook, the gaudier the patter.") Josh Marshall has some more about the company -- and some wicked cool photographs -- which seems to make a tidy profit from the paranoia of the nation's plutocrats. If one did not know better, one might suggest that the governor of the state should get everybody in a room somewhere and defuse this craziness before someone gets iced out in the woods. 
Here's what happened in the past when mining companies hired private armies: lots of people got killed. From Wikipedia:
The Ludlow Massacre was an attack by the Colorado National Guard and Colorado Fuel & Iron Company camp guards on a tent colony of 1,200 striking coal miners and their families at Ludlow, Colorado on April 20, 1914. 
Ludlow Massacre funeral
In 1914, when workers at Colorado mine went on strike, company guards fired machine guns and killed several men. More battling followed, during which 2 women and 11 children were killed and John D. Rockefeller Jr., the chief mine owner, was pilloried for what had happened. 
The massacre resulted in the violent deaths of between 19 and 25 people; sources vary but include two women and eleven children, asphyxiated and burned to death under a single tent.  
But at least for now, here's some good news from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
An out-of-state security company providing armed guards for a proposed mining site in northern Wisconsin is standing down for now after it was revealed that the firm isn't licensed to provide private security inside Wisconsin.