In response to online conspiracy theories and outrage over a planned military exercise known as “Operation Jade Helm 15”, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has stated that members of the Texas State Guard will monitor federal troops in Texas.
In late March Barry Donegan reported on the exercise for BenSwann.com:
“Throughout July and September of this year, the US Army’s Special Operations Command will conduct Operation Jade Helm, a covert warfare training exercise set to take place on civilian territory amid 17 Texas cities. The Houston Chronicle notes that Green Berets, Navy SEALs, and Air Force and Marines special operators will be taking part in the program and will attempt to blend in with civilians to test their covert warfare capabilities.
Newsmax pointed out the fact that Texas’ own Alex Jones published a US map purported to be part of Operation Jade Helm’s documentation, which lists Texas and Utah as hostile territory, along with a part of Southern California which appears to be listed as an “insurgent pocket.” Jones characterized the effort as an invasion of Texas and claimed that the program is an attempt to prepare for the implementation of martial law in places like Texas and Utah where large numbers of citizens associate with right-leaning groups like the Tea Party. Operation Jade Helm’s documents also refer to coordination between the military and law enforcement, raising concerns that some elements of the training exercise might run afoul of the Posse Comitatus Act, which bans the military from participating in law enforcement activities on US soil.”
Abbot sent a letter to Major General Gerald Betty of the Texas State Guard, ordering the Texas military to monitor the federal troops throughout the two month exercise.
“During the training operation, it is important that Texans know their safety, constitutional rights, private property right and civil liberties will not be infringed. I am directing the Texas State Guard to monitor Operation Jade Helm 15.” – Texas Governor Greg Abbott
The Houston Chronicle reports that two Texas counties, Victoria and Goliad, have already had their portions of the exercise cancelled without explanation.
Army Special Operations Spokesman Mark Lastoria said troops would practice “emerging concepts in special operations warfare.” The soldiers efforts to blend in among civilian populations has stoked fears of a hidden take over of the state.
Whether or not Operation Jade Helm ends up being a hostile takeover or simply overblown fears, there does exist a precedent for the U.S. government targeting its own citizens. Documents like the Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC) report and other documents from the Department of Homeland Security have many Americans asking why everyday, constitutionally protected behavior and thought is becoming criminalized. Many 2nd Amendment supporters and libertarian activists see the federal government as a grave danger to personal liberties.
What are your thoughts? Is Jade Helm a concern or just another conspiracy theory lacking evidence?