In Response to Peaceful Protests, Mining Company Hires Paramilitary Commandos

In response to protests against test drilling for a controversial proposed $1.5 billion open-pit iron ore mine in northern Wisconsin by Gogebic Taconite, the mining company has hired masked, camouflaged, assault-rifle-toting guards from a self-described "no compromise" security force that boasts of "rigorous tactical firearms training" and "professional operators" who combine "logistics with tactical support" to "instinctively and smoothly manage surrounding threats." 

Thanks to the mindless Rambo-ing up, the "surrounding threats" are now mostly the once-peaceable, now-pissed residents who, in a letter from Democratic legislators, blast the company's “confrontational and incendiary step that will clearly do more to intimidate local citizens and increase local tensions than it will to make you, your staff, or your equipment any safer.”

“Some of the local people are wondering what the heck? It’s come to a sad situation when you’ve got to have a machine gun to protect a business that people around here don’t want.” - Paul DeMain, editor of the News from Indian County.

As Gawker notes, this is just the latest chapter in the fight over the Gogebic Taconite mine:

Prior to the subject of the commandos, Democratic legislators, Wisconsin Native-American groups, and environmental activists all opposed drilling the mine for fear of spoiling the nature surrounding it. But state Republicans pushed through the project, arguing it would be good for jobs. And look at that: It's already put to work an out-of-state security team.

A Gogebic Taconite spokesperson told the Duluth News Tribune that the mine requires heavily armed security due to the fact that mine employees have encountered several mine opponents on the grounds in the past month. Reports the Tribune: "One woman was charged after an altercation over a camera."

A woman having an altercation about a camera. That sounds scary. The semi-automatic rifles make perfect sense now.

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