Disinformation: Giving Ammunition to Conspiracists

I see that Marmoe has reported on my “disinformation.”  He points out, correctly, that a website gets a number wrong on the amount of ammunition purchased on one document.  Yes, someone misread a number (rather foolishly) and overestimated the ammunition requisitioned by that particular solicitation.
But I had not mentioned that document, and did not rely upon it. I’ve gone through dozens of pages of federal solicitations — you can do this yourself — and have seen DHS solicitations for hundreds of millions of rounds.  A great many of them — tens of millions that I saw — are hollow point ammunition, which is inappropriate generally for training purposes.
Such ammunition is appropriate for human targets, of course.  Marmoe points to the fact that the ammunition is called “training ammunition.”  But from what I’ve seen, on dozens of solicitations, it’s all classified as “training ammunition” (the classification is CLTA or “Commercial Leaded Training Ammunition”). It is a quirk of the classification system, and does not make the hollow point ammo suddenly different in character.  In fact, the example he calls out as “training” explicitly says hollow point.
Maybe they call them CLTA because CLEAVER (Commercial Leaded Evildoer And Larcenous Villain Eradication Rounds) would sound too harsh.
Is it a lot?  Yes.  Is it an extraordinary amount?  That’s less clear — certainly the military has use for millions of rounds (they order separately, and I did not count them), but hundreds of millions of rounds of ammo per year for the Department of Homeland Security seems surprisingly high.  (Edit: This person has put together a chart of purchases. It is a lot, and represents a pattern of apparent build=up that seems to have begun with a single high year in 2008.)
Here’s an example that I turned up. This one is “50 to 75 million rounds per year for 5 years.”

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) intends to issue a solicitation for quotes/proposals to supply .40 S&W Caliber (180 Grain) JHP ammunition.  ICE estimates this requirement to be 50 to 75 million rounds per year for 5 years.

One feature of many of these solicitations is their complexity.  I read tens of pages of specifications of the ammo — I’ve downloaded quite a few of the spec sheets onto my system and read them.  The requirements placed upon the ammo itself, and the company that provides them, are generally very serious. They detail the curing temperature of the ballistic gelatin that will be used to simulation human flesh for the target firings, and the brand of camera that will be used to check for “undesirable” muzzle flash. And they want a company with history and capability.  (I write federal grants professionally; none of this is a surprise to me.)

One company was different

But along the way I encountered anomalies. Look at this solicitation issued three months ago, in December 2012.  The address was familiar to me — it is just a few blocks from a post office box I have in Las Vegas for business interests there.  It’s not a great neighborhood.  One ammo solicitation, let less than three months ago, went to a company in this area, and a Google map and street view confirmed that the address is simply that of a little Mexican restaurant/bus stop/parking lot.  While it may have subsequently turned into an industrial complex since the last Google images, it seems unlikely.

I looked up the company — “Evian Group” (yes, it’s “naive” spelled backward) — and found that the company was created at the same time as the solicitation.  The articles of incorporation, dated December 12 of last year, are five days before the solicitation was posted.  The officers of the company don’t show up in Vegas, though one with a matching name does in Washington DC (as well as North Carolina) — hard to guess if it’s the same “Larayne Whitehead.”  But normally I am able to turn up substantial information on people that form corporations.

Persons unknown?

An officer search on all four officers (Larayne Whitehead, Grace Hodge, Roman Tharp, Scott Rogan) turns up no information that seems relevant.  Except that, during this search, I discovered that a number of other people are doing the same search, with the same results.  And they, too, are curious as to this DHS ammunition contract being let to a newly created, and apparently unphysical shell company.

This is the stuff of conspiracy, of course. But it also is evidently true.  So, too, is the redacting of numbers from some of the ammo solicitations. Amusingly, I was able to read through those blackouts in a few cases; they scanned in the documents after using a magic marker, and you can see though them to an extent by tinkering with your monitor settings and selecting the region.  On one, they blocked out a section that turned out to be simply the part numbers — and a note that the federal government had previously successfully used the ammunition in the past.

Transparency

I have a hard time imagining why that info needed to be redacted.  Interestingly, I can tell what search terms they were looking for, as a few words on the page (such as “contract”) were apparently highlighted when they printed them, and this is evident on the scan after redaction.  Some of the redacted words are also highlighted.  Here’s an example.

Marmoe is not from the US, and understandably confused “DOD” (the Department of Defense) with “DHS” (the Department of Homeland Security).  I did not count all of the ammunition ordered by DOD services; the Army, Navy and Air Force are well represented with their own separate ammo purchases and are not part of these numbers.

Interestingly, I found solicitations where certain agencies wanted to purchase one gun, or three guns — though it occurred to me that they needed to learn to spell, else someone deliver them a .30-06 “riffle.”

Here’s the link — perhaps “ammunition” is the simplest keyword to search on, though I used a variety and went back to 2010.  Many of the large-scale solicitations are for “x a year for five years” — and at least one has dozens of line items, with many of them individually for millions of rounds.

The mother of all target images

I wrote about other aspects, including the use of mothers, children, and pregnant women as targets (as requested by “”law enforcement” persons) and the holding of military drills in highly populated cities (including Miami, Galveston and Houston).  Marmoe found a higher-resolution image of the young mother with child, and what appeared to have been a Star of David on her clothing now seems to be merely a flower. I am happy to see this correction, as we already have a rather horrific anti-Israeli bent to our current executive branch, which this sort of thing plays into.

But the fact that she is not obviously Jewish does not solve the basic issue with those images, and  I reject the notion that this makes her a legitimate target.  The company providing the targets has withdrawn this series, which was intended (as they said) to help law enforcement shoot women, children and the elderly with “No More Hesitation.”  The backlash caused them to drop the line.

Fine. It was a bad idea, in my opinion, and I’m happy to see it retired.  Were those targets requested by DHS, perhaps their largest single customer?  No way to tell — and this “most transparent administration” is transparently obtuse in hiding their doings of all sorts, more than any prior administration in history so far as I am aware. The solicitations for target images that I saw were non-specific.

Military drills still an open item

On the military drills business — if that was “disinformation,” I’ve yet to see it rebutted anywhere. I’d appreciate any information anyone has that can clarify this, or any point.

It was interesting,  late in the process, to encounter a number of other folks following the same trails, and posting similar findings.  But that’s all right; at least I’ve seen the solicitations for myself enough to add up to hundreds of millions of rounds per year, and know that the published numbers are at least not off by an order of magnitude.  The fact that conspiracy websites found some of the same information does not mean that it is not there.

But I will say that the notion that all of this is simply a misread by uninformed individuals is wrong … and is arguably disinformation itself.

UPDATED TO ADD: I’ve found, during and after writing the above, that many others have pursued the same path and discovered the same.

In this article, the writer gets many of the numbers wrong.  The 40-million-round solicitation with “160 million the second year” actually has 160 million spread over the next four years, for example.  There are other details that are awry, but the concept remains the same.  As he points out, hollow points are rather expensive bullets to use for training.

Here’s a detailed list of the solicitations, with a graph of annual purchases showing a high rate of ordering under the Obama administration (though one standalone spike in 2008 reached a higher per-year rate). There are links to each solicitation.  This shows an apparent slight decline for 2012 … but the chart stops in August.  Last year was apparently a record-setter.

This is a discussion of the “Evian Group” company in Las Vegas, with screen shots from the Secretary of State website.  He couldn’t find them either. Since the federal government is big on knowing who they do business with — and they announced Friday another conference on all the steps involved in qualifying to do business with them — the Evian Group’s invisibility is interesting.

I did find that the address is that of UPS Store 2122, which is no surprise.  Amusingly, the Google image of the Evian Group address (the seedy hotel and bus stop) site was updated between yesterday and today, and now shows a bus in the parking lot.  (How frequently does Google do these updates?) Perhaps the little shell company’s ship has come in.

===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  • http://DeHavelle.com Keith DeHavelle

    It sounds coincidental. This one appears to be a non-entity, still. Not close to being a real company … but close enough for government work. The water company apparently uses the same name, but is (in the US at least) seemingly based in Virginia.

    No new news about the empty shell in Vegas.

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  • Watchman

    Wonder if this empty shell company is in any way related to the Evian Group think tank located at IMD in Lausanne, Switzerland. This entity is active in promoting globalization and free-trade. Perhaps just a coincidence, perhaps not…