Update 9:40AM 07/09: After scouring the net yesterday, I can tell you that the must-read post on this is “Bienvenido a Nicaragua” at the blog Woodsperson.
Below you will find photos, a collection of mainstream media stories, a bit of my commentary on said stories, a video interview of one of the guards from Paul DeMain of ICTV, and lastly, a listing of journalists to send this post to.
If you would like to see this story get attention at the national level, take a minute to send this to one of the folks that I link to at the very bottom of the post. I thank you in advance for your concern and your time.
Update 10AM 07/09
Wisconsin Public Radio
Joy Cardin Show: 07/09 Armed guards at proposed iron mine site – This will take you to their archive. You have to go down a couple of notches to find “Armed guards…..”
– Mike Simonson, Wisconsin Public Radio reporter in Superior; he’s been covering the mining issue in northern Wisconsin.
– Janet Bewley, Democratic State Representative from Ashland, whose district includes the proposed mining site.
– Mike Wiggins, Tribal Chairman of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe.
– Paul DeMain, producer for IndianCountryTV.com and a former Indian Affairs Policy Advisor under Governor Anthony Earl from 1982-1986.
(Note: invitations to GOP State Sen. Tom Tiffany, Gogebic Taconite and the Wisconsin Mining Association were either declined or unreturned)
Joy also had Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen on her show Monday 07/09 [also available at that archive]. In the last minute of the show she asked him if the D.O.J. is looking into the guards – and she asked if they were legal. Van Hollen dodged the question and then their time was up.
I haven’t seen a statement from DOJ or Scott Walker’s office regarding the guards yet.
Update 10PM 07/08
WISC TV Channel 3 / Channel3000
Pictures show armed guards at G-Tac mining site
Visitors uneasy about new security measures
There are comments in this video from Madisonians Amy and Bruce Noble as well as Shahla Werner with the John Muir chapter of the Sierra Club in Madison. The story also includes a brief segment of Paul DeMain’s video.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Mining company draws fire for hiring armed guards
Lawmakers call for Gogebic Taconite to remove security
Notice that this story starts out quoting the cash value of the mine at $1.5 billion?
Anything from M.J.Sentinel is better never than late. This one is at least brief. Be careful when you wade through their comments. I betcha somebody planted troublemakers in there in the manner of Fake David Koch.
WI Public Radio
GTAC Hires Armed Security To Protect Drill Sites
Senator Jauch says this.
Bob Seitz says that.
Wisconsin State Journal
‘Bulletproof’ Arizona security team raises hackles at Gogebic mine site in Wisconsin State Journal
This article kicks off the story with the fact that two members of the Wisconsin legislature are asking the mine company, Gogebic Taconite, to remove their automatic weapon-toting guards. Bob Seitz of Gogebic Taconite couldn’t sound more arrogant in this.
Gogebic spokesman Bob Seitz laughed at the suggestion that the company would remove the guard detail, which he said was hidden in the forest photographing illegal campers before they were noticed at a test drill site recently. The campers were believed to be potential vandals, Seitz said.
“That’s why none of those (guards) was visible, is because they have been monitoring people on our lands,” Seitz said. “I’m not very concerned about what (weapons) a security firm selects. They have to provide a safe workplace for their people, too.”
The article also quotes Iron County Sheriff Tony Furyk, Paul DeMain of ICTV, Senator Jauch, Rep. Bewley, and Kimberlee Wright, executive director of Midwest Environmental Advocates in Madison.
The deficit in remarks from Sheriff Furyk in the W.S.Journal is in stark contrast to the Woodsperson blog post which notes that Furyk “is very upset about this situation and is being hounded by the media. But with current Wisconsin “open carry” laws “anybody can walk around with a weapon in public and there is nothing I can do about it.””
While Woodperson suspects that the private guards are conducting an illegal activity on lands open to the public, the author of the W.S.Journal does not even ‘go there’. Seitz is quoted speaking of illegal campers and we the reader are left wondering who exactly these campers are and how it is they were ‘illegal’.
WQOW TV Eau Claire
Lawmaker asks mining company to remove armed guards
A brief story with two photos. No video included.
Duluth News Tribune
Wisconsin lawmakers ask Gogebic Taconite to remove armed guards
I’m a little concerned with the way the June attack by a set of anarchists is treated in here. The writer says that the company began employing private security guards after teams of mining opponents “dressed in black and wearing masks violently attacked our drill site” in June.
I would actually have preferred a whole paragraph in there making it explicit what happened. Leaving it vague leaves it to the imagination and whow knows what the uninitiated are thinking after reading that.
Update 12:30PM 07/08
This post at the Woodsperson blog is excellent and answers most of my questions: Bienvenido a Nicaragua
Update 12:30AM 07/08:
VIDEO: Paul DeMain of Indian Country News chats with one of the guards.
I spoke with Jim Limbach. He did not want to speculate about the new guards and he has no more information than I do. He said he asked one of the men if he could take a photo and the guard said nothing in reply. Jim said, “I stepped back a couple of steps and took a photo.”
Original post 07/07: I gather through facebook comments that all guards refused to answer any questions when approached. At least four people have encountered these guards.
According to a recent citizen-visitor, this is a photo of a guard stationed at the site where Gogebic Taconite has recently been drilling core samples for a proposed iron mine.
I am appealing to you, reader, to join me in sending this blog post to one or more of the press contacts listed below.
I’m hoping that The Press can get answers to a few of my questions:
Are the heavily armed men who are standing sentry near the Gogebic Taconite drill site in northern Wisconsin in fact private paid guards as is suspected?
If they are part of a security detail, what is the name of the company they are working for?
Are they paid strictly by Gogebic Tactonite or are county, state, or federal governments subsidizing their presence?
Who are they ordered to turn their guns on and at what point?
See more site photos and follow up on developments as they occur at United in Defense of the Water.
Also see Indian Country News for ongoing reports on the site.
Wisconsin State Journal
Managing editor: Chris Murphy,
Channel 3000 / WISC TV
Editorial Director Neil Heinen
WKOW Channel 27
Tony Galli, Reporter
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
M.J.S. Watchdog Team
Wisconsin Public Radio
Michael Leland, News Director
“Call our Audience Services Center toll-free at 1-800-747-7444″
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Investigative reporter | Health
Non WI Press
[Ideally Matt Taibbi]
I’ll be adding a few more contacts later this afternoon. Feel free to leave press contact information in comments.
Barbara Brotman “Outdoors Columnist”
Watchdog Reporter: Environment Reporter
Craig Newman Managing editor