I posted about this back in April. The right-wing goes teh crazy again:
Steve Benen reports on the The perils of political paranoia in Texas:
In too many parts of the country, what’s true is far less important than what far-right paranoia tells people might be true. Take the latest out of Texas, for example, where the Dallas Morning News published this strange report yesterday.
Gov. Greg Abbott ordered the Texas Guard to monitor federal military exercises in Texas after some citizens have lit up the Internet saying the maneuvers are actually the prelude to martial law. […]
Radio host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has been sending out warnings for weeks regarding the exercise, saying it is the U.S. military positioning itself to take over the states and declare martial law. Abbott apparently has heard the concern and ordered the Guard to monitor the training and U.S. military personnel.
At issue is a military exercise called “Jade Helm 15,” which will reportedly include about 1,200 special operations personnel, including Green Berets and Navy SEALs, conducting training drills throughout the Southwest, from Texas to California.
According to right-wing conspiracy theorists, however, the exercise is a secret scheme to impose martial law. According to the Houston Chronicle, the unhinged activists believe “Walmart is in on it,” and “secret underground tunnels” are somehow involved.
Well the long awaited day that President Obama declares martial law has finally arrived. President Obama even held a press conference this morning but somehow failed to mention that he is declaring martial law.
So where’s the martial law you nutjobs?
The Army Times (yes, they are in on this conspiracy) reports, Jade Helm 15: Controversial military exercise starts:
Starting Wednesday, U.S. Army Special Operations Command will take point on a large-scale training exercise in Texas — or if you believe some fringe outlets, they’ll take point on the Pentagon’s preparation for civil war.
Jade Helm 15, as the exercise is called, will run through Sept. 15 and will involve unconventional warfare involving Army special operators, as well as representatives from the other services.
It will focus on enhancing team-level elements’ abilities to operate in unconventional warfare well-removed from company- and battalion-level organization, said USASOC spokesman Lt. Col. Mark Lastoria.
The months leading up to Jade Helm were peppered with various conspiracy theories on fringe websites. The outrage even led to town hall meetings in Texas communities with Army representatives.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott responded by publicly assigning the Texas State Guard to keep an eye on Jade Helm. Abbott’s office later downplayed the move, saying it fit in with the guard’s advisory role in the state. Abbott also reaffirmed the state’s history of support for the military — a reason the Army cited for choosing the state to conduct the exercise. The training will occur in six other states: Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi.
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Outside events have been tied to the conspiracy. Temporarily-closed Walmarts were seen as concentration camps being prepared in the minds of some, while Blue Bell ice cream trucks allegedly traveling near military vehicles were theorized as mobile morgues.
Journalists are not permitted to embed in the operation. Lastoria cited “the scope and scale and complex nature of the training exercise,” which he said was not uncommon among training exercises.
“We look at all request for media visibility, and grant when and where possible. In this case it just wasn’t possible,” Lastoria said. “We have to take a balance of communication with the public and preserving operation security as well.”
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USASOC will supply the vast majority of the roughly 1,200 personnel in the joint exercise, according to Lastoria. Limited special operations forces units from the Navy, Marines and Air Force will also participate.
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On the eve of Jade Helm, Lastori dismissed the conspiracies and suggested opposition to the exercises has waned.
“This overall training exercise is designed to ensure that Army special operations forces are trained, equipped and organized to meet future threats,” Lastoria told Army Times. “Even a lot of the journalists in Texas have said a lot of the controversy has died down.”
Or not …
The New York Times today reports, In Texas, a Military Exercise Is Met by Some With Suspicion:
Despite the Internet chatter about trains with shackles and Walmart stores being closed to be used as detention camps, this small West Texas town on Wednesday seemed to be surviving the start of Jade Helm 15, the military exercise that some people fear is actually a ruse for a federal takeover of the state.
No military equipment or personnel were visible. No tanks were rumbling past the beige-metal community center on Main Street next door to the fire station here, the scene of 4-H Club meetings and family reunions. But that did not mean that people were not on the alert.
“I’ve been looking,” said Jack Campbell, 61, who was picking up his mail at the post office.
Dr. Campbell said that he had concerns about the exercise, and that he purchased extra ammunition for the weapons he keeps in his home. “Just in case,” added Dr. Campbell, an emergency physician in San Angelo, 20 miles away. “People are just vigilant. Not vigilantes, but vigilant. They don’t want to be caught off guard.”
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Dr. Campbell and others here said much of the paranoia over Jade Helm 15 is the outgrowth of the anti-Obama sentiment that is widespread in Texas, and they supported the governor’s decision to have the state monitor the activities.
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Another resident here said a friend of his, a Vietnam veteran, started burying some of his firearms to hide them. A farmer was rumored to have taken a different approach, by buying 20,000 rounds of ammunition. The superintendent of the school district thought he saw low-flying military cargo planes overhead. Members of the Christoval Volunteer Fire Department, which owns the community center, signed an agreement with military officials stating — oddly to some, suspiciously to others — that the Army will pay for any damage to the building after it uses it.
Sindy Miller, who runs a hair salon on Main Street, said fears of a military takeover have been the talk of Christoval, which is southeast of Midland.
“They’re worried that they’re going to come in and take their firearms away,” Ms. Miller said. “Martial law, basically. I try not to listen to all these conspiracy-theory-type people. All they’re worried about is their beer and their guns.”
* * *
Mr. Degenaer, a Navy veteran, said that he saw a Black Hawk helicopter flying over Christoval on Sunday, and that he understood the paranoia that would lead some people to bury firearms.
“With Obama being in there,” he said, “with the way he’s already stomped all over the Constitution, pushing his presidential authority to the max, it would only be just the stroke of a pen for him to do away with that. This man is just totally anti-U.S. I mean, he just signed a deal with Iran.”
Throughout the interview, Mr. Degenaer was skeptical whether the reporter and photographer who spoke with him were members of the news media and wondered if they were part of Jade Helm 15. “Spec Ops grows beards,” he said, referring to the photographer’s facial hair. “Y’all got a military ID?” [Paranoid much?]
* * *
“If the government has an idea they can come in and take over, and take guns away, the stupidest place they could come is West Texas,” said Bill Ford, a commissioner in Tom Green County whose district includes Christoval. “There’s more guns and ammo here and more people willing to use them than any combat area they’ve fought in.”
Wow. Think about this for a moment. If this really was a U.S. military operation to “take over Texas” (and who would want that rat hole of crazy?), some lightly armed goobers are going to hold off U.S. Army and Navy special forces, heavy armour and tanks, artillery and missile batteries, and fighter aircraft with a full compliment of weapons? These ammosexual gun fetishists really have some wild survivalist fantasies.
They must have watched Red Dawn once too often while getting drunk on Lonestar Beer. And what does it say about a bunch of racist goobers in Texas who fantasize about going to war against the U.S. government? How dare they call themselves Americans when they see their own government as the “enemy” because of that Black man in the White House. That Confederate flag may be coming down, but it still lives on in the hearts of these racist Neo-Confederate Texans.
Jade Helm 15, an eight-week exercise that has generated paranoia for months fueled by conservative bloggers and Internet postings, began Wednesday in Texas and six other states: Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico and Utah.
The Army’s Green Berets, Navy SEALs and other Special Operations troops will be conducting drills on private property, military bases and some public facilities. According to military documents, more than 1,200 service members will participate in the operation in Texas, in more than a dozen mostly small towns and rural counties.
“The public can expect little disruption in their day-to-day activities since much of the exercise will be conducted in remote areas,” the organizer of the exercise, the Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, N.C., said in a statement Monday.
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The military exercise will train Special Operations troops in what Army planners call “unconventional warfare.” The exercise is being conducted in rural Texas because the military needed “large areas of undeveloped land with low population densities with access to towns,” and wanted soldiers to adapt to unfamiliar terrain as well as social and economic conditions, according to Army documents.
In East Texas, near the Louisiana border, the troops have permission in Marion County to use their aircraft on a private runway. The community center in Christoval will be used for, as one local official described it, “an altercation site.” A nighttime helicopter “extraction” will unfold in Disaster City, a mock community in College Station where emergency responders train.
Local officials who have been briefed on the exercise say it is modeled after the French resistance to Nazi occupation during World War II. It calls for some military personnel to play the role of the occupiers and for others to work undetected as part of the resistance. Military maps show Texas and Utah as “hostile,” other states as “permissive,” and still others as uncertain but leaning hostile or friendly.
Gov. Abbott has been getting regular updates about the preparations for the exercise, but a spokesman for him said he has no concerns about it. “The Special Operations Command has assured Texas that this exercise poses no risk to anyone, and the governor sees no reason to worry or doubt them,” said the spokesman, John Wittman.