Category: America

Jade Helm Not Martial Law

From Factcheck

Q: Is Jade Helm 15 a government attempt to create martial law in the U.S.?
A: No. It’s a joint military training exercise lasting two months this summer.

 

FULL QUESTION

What is Jade Helm and are we facing martial law as is suggested on many news outlets?

FULL ANSWER

In July, the U.S. Army Special Operations Command will begin an expansive military training exercise across several southwestern states. It is not, as some have claimed, the latest covert government attempt to introduce martial law.

Jade Helm 15, as the exercise is called, is an eight-week training program with members of the Green Berets, Navy SEALS and other special operations forces. The USASOC, in a statement, said it “periodically conducts training exercises such as these to practice core special warfare tasks, which help protect the nation against foreign enemies.” But the size and scope of the operation, USASOC says, makes it different from other exercises.

Training will take place on private and public land throughout Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado. Accordingly, USASOC says it obtained permission from private landowners and state and local authorities to conduct the drills.

“The most noticeable effect the exercise may have on the local communities is an increase in vehicle and military air traffic and its associated noise,” the USASOC statement said.

However, some aren’t buying the military’s explanation for the exercise.

“These are not ‘training exercises’ for soldiers to be deployed in the defense of America, as we are told, but a training exercise for the potential of Martial Law,” says a post on the website of Oath Keepers, a group of current and former military members, police and first responders. Founded by Stewart Rhodes, who says he served as an aide to former Rep. Ron Paul, Oath Keepers pledges to “defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

Infowars.com, a conspiracy website run by libertarian radio host and author Alex Jones, initially ran a story on March 22 with the headline: “Feds Preparing to Invade Texas, List State as ‘Hostile.’ ” The item went on to claim that a “newly released military document” detailed the Army’s “plan to wage war on the American people.”

Even celebrity Chuck Norris, in an opinion piece for the conservative WorldNetDaily website, suggested there may be more to the training exercise than officials claimed. “It’s neither over-reactionary nor conspiratorial to call into question or ask for transparency about Jade Helm 15 or any other government activity,” he wrote.

But the government isn’t invading Texas or waging a war on Americans. And the retail giant Wal-Mart isn’t involved either, as some conspiracy theories suggest.

‘Hostile’ States

Much of the suspicion of the exercise stems from a USASOC document pertaining to Texas that explained the reasons for Jade Helm 15 and asked permission from local authorities to move forward with the training. The document highlighted Texas, Utah and a small portion of southern California in red and labeled them “hostile” areas.USASOC_mapRepublican Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert issued a statement saying that he was “appalled that the hostile areas amazingly have a Republican majority.” He added that he “can understand” concerns that “the U.S. Army is preparing for modern-day martial law.”

It’s true that Texas and Utah have Republican governors and Republican-controlled legislatures. But so do Arizona and Nevada, and neither state is listed as “hostile.” Arizona is listed as “uncertain” but “leaning friendly,” and Nevada is listed as “permissive.”

The “hostile” labels aren’t to be taken seriously, anyway. They’re part of a “fictional” exercise, says USASOC. Here’s what a USASOC spokesman told Fox 13 News in Salt Lake City:

Fox 13, May 5: What is the context for Utah’s “hostile” label on the map that has been publicly distributed?

Special Ops Command: The “hostile” label was part of the exercise design. It is fictional and is not intended to represent any belief that the state of Utah is hostile.

Other Texas Republicans accept that and have attempted to put residents at ease.

In a statement, Rep. Kay Granger, who represents the 12th Congressional District, called rumors of martial law being declared in Texas “entirely false.”

Granger, April 30: I know there has been some concern expressed by Texans because the upcoming training missions cite several states, including Texas, as “hostile” territory for the purpose of these training exercises. This is not an official designation and is solely for the purpose of the training exercise. The designation has led some to believe the incursion of martial law will be enforced on the citizens of Texas. I want you to know that these rumors are entirely false.

Rep. Ted Poe of the 2nd Congressional District took his message to Facebook. “The labels ‘hostile,’ ‘friendly’ and ‘neutral’ are standard protocol in most domestic military exercises and help the military participants plan their missions in complex scenarios,” he wrote.

Even Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has now said, according to the Austin American-Statesman, that he has “

That was after Abbott, responding to growing public concern, directed the Texas State Guardto monitor the training exercise so that Texans would know that their “safety, constitutional rights, private property rights and civil liberties will not be infringed.”

He told the paper: “

No Wal-Mart Connection

Wild claims that Wal-Mart recently closed five stores nationwide, including two in Texas, to assist in the alleged government takeover are also baseless.

All News Pipeline advanced the theory that the stores would serve as “food distribution centers” and “the headquarters of invading troops from China, here to disarm Americans one by one.” Also, Before It’s News speculated that the government had built a network of tunnels beneath the closed stores. Never mind that two of the store closings were in Oklahoma and Florida, where Jade Helm 15 trainings are not scheduled to take place.

Wal-Mart, in a statement to TPM, said “there’s no truth to the rumors.”

 Martial, Martial, Martial

This isn’t the first time we’ve addressed unfounded claims of martial law in the U.S.

In September 2012, we wrote about the false claim that President Obama had signed 900 executives orders, including one declaring martial law. That rumor was actually advanced by Rep. Kay Granger, who later retracted many of the claims she had made about the “National Defense Resources Preparedness” order that Obama had signed. Like presidents before him, Obama issued an order updating the resources covered under that order, which allows presidents to delegate authority to various federal departments and agencies in the event of national emergencies.

Claims of martial law appeared in another viral email we wrote about in November 2012. That one claimed that the federal government was stockpiling ammunition and that Obama was creating a “standing army of government youth.” Neither claim was accurate. In fact, the National Rifle Association — no friend of the president — said the suggestion that the Obama administration was stockpiling ammunition and “preparing for a war with the American people” displays “a lack of understanding of the law enforcement functions carried about by officers in small federal agencies.”

And just last year, after several readers asked about it, we wrote about a video supposedly showing Obama going even further by calling for a “new world order.” But the creators of the video selectively edited the president’s words, combining clips from two different parts of his speech in a way that completely changed the meaning of what he said.

We always encourage readers to be suspicious of such messages. For more, see thisFlackCheck.org video on spotting bogus claims in viral emails.

— D’Angelo Gore

Sources

U.S. Army Special Operations Command. “Exercise readies SOF for threats abroad.” News Release. 24 Mar 2015.

Jade Helm15: Decoded.” OathKeepers.org. 22 Apr 2015.

Infowars.com. “Feds Preparing to Invade Texas, List State as ‘Hostile.’ ” 22 Mar 2015.

Norris, Chuck. “Jade Helm 15, Crime Stoppers and KSK.” WND.com. 3 May 2015.

Edwards, Ashton, and Roth, Max. “Planned military training ‘Jade Helm 15′ ignites firestorm in Utah.” Fox News 13. 5 May 2015.

U.S. Army Special Operations Command. Request to Conduct Realistic Military Training (RMT) Jade Helm 15.

Office of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. “Governor Abbott Directs Texas State Guard To Monitor Operation Jade Helm 15.” News release. 28 Apr 2015.

Tilove, Jonathan. “Greg Abbott defends his Jade Helm directive.” Austin American-Statesman. 4 May 2015.

Gohmert, Louie. Gohmert Statement on Jade Helm Exercises. News release. 5 May 2015.

Granger, Kay. Jade Helm 15. Letter to constituents. 30 Apr 2015.

Poe, Ted. Facebook post. 4 May 2015.

Lamothe, Dan. “Why Operation Jade Helm 15 is freaking out the Internet — and why it shouldn’t be.” Washington Post. 31 Mar 2015.

Finley, Ben. “Obama’s Executive Orders.” FactCheck.org. 25 Sep 2012.

Finley, Ben. “Did FEMA Create a Youth Army?” FactCheck.org. 30 Nov 2012.

Piaker, Zachary. “No ‘New World Order.’ ” 5 Nov 2014.

Lobosco, Katie. “Walmart fired 2,200 to fix the plumbing.” CNN Money. 17 Apr 2015.

Garcia, Ahiza. “Wal-Mart: ‘No Truth To The Rumors’ Of Tunnels Being Built To Take Over Texas.” TPM. 4 May 2015.

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Facts, Fear, and Walmart: Understanding the Jade Helm 15 Conpiracy Theories

A recent Washington Post article, “Why Operation Jade Helm 15 is freaking out the Internet – and why it shouldn’t be,” attempted to address takes a stab at addressing some of what makes this particular conspiracy theory happen. If you read the article, however, it becomes clear that they don’t really answer either of the questions posed in its headline. No offense to the Washington Post, but, as this blog has generally argued, a major news outlet trying to convince people that a conspiracy is not happening is a great way to convince people that there is, in fact, a conspiracy happening.

Facts About Jade Helm 15

Jade Helm 15 is a Special Op training exercise running from July 15 to September 15. The exercises will occur over several states. The scope of this specific training exercise is larger than previous training exercises that the U.S. military has undertaken, something SOC acknowledges in their press release on the exercise. Using private and public land, SOC warns that increased noise and military vehicle presence is the only expected negative outcome as a result of the exercise.

Map of Jade Helm 15 high activity exercise area.

A Little Bit About Military Training Exercises.

As mentioned earlier, military training exercises are nothing new, Jade Helm 15 just happens to be one of the most expansive in scope. Here we can discuss some of the reasons why conspiracy theorists may be on high alert. The Washington Post explains that such drills occur regularly and site as an example the Navy’s 2014 Bold Alligator exercises. To anyone familiar with the 9/11 Truth Movement the subject of large-scale military exercises immediately sounds a conspiracy dog whistle. When “9/11 Truthers” first discovered that NORAD’s Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) was conducting the training exercise Vigilant Guardian during the 9/11 attacks, suspicions seemed to be confirmed. The suspicions were further reinforced by reports that the White House situation room, and New York Pier exercises all being conducted during the time of the 9/11 terror attacks. “Smoking Gun!” says the 9/11 Truth community (which, by the way, still exists and has become a relevant social force), but strategic defense exercises are not rare. A group calling itself the Military Analysis Network explains that the Air Force runs “Red flag/Green flag” drills annually at Nellis AFB in Nevada, run an annual “Maple flag” joint exercise with Canada. Marine Corps. run 10 to 12 drills a year. The Navy runs 175 annual unit exercises. The Army is constantly running exercises (there is no number provided, but if you meet anyone who was in the Army ask them how many simulations and military exercises they participated in: my guess is double digits). American military forces have run joint branch exercises of various kinds, and run International Cooperative drills on (and over) American, Russian, German, Japanese, and South Korean soil. The fact is, if a military training exercise is not running at any given time, it should be considered a rarity. Furthermore, with ISIS expanding into Northern Africa, the Ebola outbreak still ongoing, Russia bristling, Yemen crumbling, the ever-fractious Sunni-Shi’ite conflict playing into all Middle Eastern security dynamics, and no sign that any of these global risks will do anything but get worse; there is nothing short of an absolute need for a fully functional, well-trained, and capable Special Operations Force team leading, facilitating, or (here’s hoping) preventing conflict through force of presence.

Listing Texas as “hostile” has some state residents up in arms.

Fear.

If the worry surrounding Jade Helm 15 were logical, I have already posed an argument significant enough to assuage most fears. This, however, is not what is going on: although there is a certain logic at work here. The 9/11 Truth movement never died, in fact it strengthened as years went on, made countless books, opinion documentaries, and websites that serve to promote and legitimate their viewpoints. With the election of Barack Obama, a virulent anti-Obama right-wing mentality, a strong 9/11 Truth movement, and various other ideological groups began to morph and interbreed ideologies, theories, fears, and expectations. Distrust of the government (whether it is because of Obama, Bush, The Illuminati, or Satan) may be all it takes for a person to adopt a belief in a willingness of said government to round up Americans and intern them into F.E.M.A. Camps, suspect a global conspiracy to keep an entire planet secret, or enlist Walmart in hiding subterranean entrances leading to thousands of miles of underground railways and secret cities.

Five Walmarts disappear, under mysterious circumstances.

What? Walmart?

Yeah. This part was unexpected. I am used to Aliens, and Nibiru, and the Illuminati. This time, it’s Walmart that comes out of left field. In recent weeks, a few Walmart stores closed due to plumbing problems. This did not go unquestioned and those who questioned why “plumbing problems” would shut down their local Walmart noted the same reasoning for five such closures, all in states that are in Jade Helm territory. The possible implications began being enumerated across the internet conspiracy hive mind and what developed was D.U.M.B.S.

D.U.M.B.s: Deep Underground Military Bases.

D.U.M.B.s either exist or they don’t. I can’t say for sure, because, well, with $2.3 Trillion in military spending unaccounted for in recent years, I hope they at least spent the money on something good. The problem I have with the idea that there are D.U.M.B.s is a logically driven one, namely, who is staffing these places? If there are 31 dark sites underground in addition to all of the known top secret facilities there there must be thousands (if not tens of thousands) of workers with high level clearance. Alien conspiracy theories have long suggested the existence of deep underground military bases, such as the one suspected of being at Dulce, NM. There has also been suggestions for years that there exists, underground, a system of high-speed tube shuttles connecting D.U.M.B.s (as shown in the map above). The implication here is that the five recently closed Walmart stores are, in reality, to be used as portals for massive troop movement into and out of D.U.M.B.s facility shuttles. It is possible that Walmart has, in fact, partnered with SOC to provide large makeshift shelter for strategic command during the Jade Helm exercise: this is just not the type of logic that is being employed by the concerned citizens that have sounded significant internet alarmist response. To seal the whole deal, conspiracy theorists clear up my concern for who could possibly be building these “underground tunnels” being dug under Walmart: workers are being “red-listed,” or murdered to prevent their leaking the “top secret” mission.

A Special Note from a Former-“Truther.”

With conspiracy theories, the facts are irrelevant. Speculation becomes reality. People trust word of mouth, innuendo, and anything that ups the ante of an increasingly apocalyptic worldview. Lack of evidence to support these beliefs is no match for the constant integration of new conspiratorial conjecture. The world is a dangerous place, it’s true, but Americans who live in some of the safest regions in the world are convincing themselves that they live in some of the least safe conditions imaginable. It is by the mere fact that these things are imaginable that some people believe that they are true. The logical dilemma every conspiracy theorist must face is that, if there can be no disproving your theory, there can neither be any proof, and no closure. The only logical outcome is more: more fear of the government, more prepping, more worry. The bind that anyone who can be called a conspiracy theorist (whether they would call themselves that or not) is that they must never try to disprove their own theory, for if they try they may succeed. If the current-most logical step in the 9/11 Truth movement is to implicate Walmart in a potential false-flag operation, underground tube shuttles and F.E.M.A. camps, then perhaps it is time for a fundamental reassessment of worldview. Every institution from the government to big business may seem out to get us from time to time, I know I feel that way often enough, but it is important to remember that this is a feeling and not to try to convince yourself that there is some malevolent force making it so. One day you find that you spent your life shadowboxing an imaginary enemy, obsessing about the minutia and making it mean something it does not, and believing that it’s the only thing that’s real. If you are not convinced, by me or by the content of this blog, there is a compromise: accept that no one knows everything that is going on, that no one ever has or will, and that no matter what the situation seems to be we may all be wrong. The other option is much more simple, if Jade Helm 15 does not end in the disappearance of millions, the destruction of our civilization or the disclosure of any anticipated secret entities, then take stock of why you came to the beliefs that you came to and take the opportunity to reassess the world and your place within it.

Some updates listed below, for an exhaustive timeline, visit this link.

Update: April 28, 2015

Distrust of the Federal Government is getting some serious credibility in the State of Texas! Texas Governor Greg Abbott has ordered the Texas State Guard to monitor Jade Helm 15 exercises in Texas. Abbott cited growing concern among state residents as the reason for his unorthodox order.

http://gov.texas.gov/files/press-office/20150428125759.pdf

Update: April 30, 2015

As Jade Helm 15 approaches, “patriots,” and conspiracy theory “researchers” will up the level of paranoia. One article, posted by Dave Hodges at thecommonsenseshow.com suggests that ISIS is planning an invasion of Texas in time for JH 15. Why ISIS would want to make the jump to Texas at just that specific time is fairly hard to understand, but Hodges insists that Texans “in the know” are prepping for the event. Hodges explains that DHS will use the ISIS threat to declare Martial Law which, of course, is all part of a ploy for Barack Obama to become America’s first Emperor (the same plot that George W. Bush and Bill Clinton have been accused of attempting during their presidencies).

Update: May 4, 2015

CNN covers “the controversy” caused by Gov. Abbott’s use of the Texas Guard to observe JH 15 drills.

Update: May 5, 2015

Chuck Norris, formerly famous right-wing martial arts expert and start of Walker Texas Ranger, has gone on record as completely not believing the “official story” behind Jade Helm 15. His rationale being, well, who the hell knows. This comes the same day as Texas Senator and Presidential “hopeful” Ted Cruz asserts the same logical malfeasance, because, well, Cruz has never been one to think before he speaks.

Total Conspiracy Theories

The apparent growth, in number and potency, of pervasive conspiracy theories and may be a byproduct of the internet or social media, and may also be affected by the growing anxiety caused by increased globalization and global risks. I tend to believe that these two social forces combine to create conditions that allow for anxiety, a belief that conditions are worse than ever before, and that some individual, group, or force is responsible.

To cope with the stress and anxiety of late modernity, ever more available conspiracy theories produce a much needed order to the world. A nefarious order, although fearful and disturbing, allows for the illusion of an ordered world, a world under someone’s control.

Rather than a low-level (i.e. law enforcement accepting bribes to ignore specific criminal behaviors), mid-level (consider the real conspiracy between executives at Enron), or high-level conspiracies (nearly every JFK conspiracy theory would fall into this category), a new order of conspiracy theory exists that encompasses all life, government, and every global (or universal) system by definition. This is the Total Conspiracy Theory.

A Total Conspiracy Theory works differently from other ranges of conspiracies. Such a theory may never be disproved because any falsification would be seen as part of the conspiracy system (disconfirmation confirms). All reality and every aspect of existence is thought to be hijacked in a complete system; other conspiracy theories are absorbed into the Total Conspiracy (absolute conspiracy paradigm). All those who disagree with the specific Total Conspiracy are either deceived and need education (call to proselytize) or a part of the conspiracy themselves and need to be stopped (adversarial mentality), this includes anyone who believes in a rival Total Conspiracy.

As it would happen, two Total Conspiracy Theories are currently fighting for dominance amid various conspiracy theory options. David Icke‘s assertion of that the world is controlled by shape-shifting reptilians (known as the Annunaki from Assyrian myth) runs counter a Judeo-Christian-based theory that all alien and extraterrestrial encounters, UFOs and the Annunaki are actually demons and part of a Great Deception from Satan himself. Both of these theories are supernatural in nature but (arguably) a third, secular and terrestrial Total Conspiracy Theory exists and counts Alex Jones as its primary mouthpiece. I now have to point out that these are just the three most common Total Conspiracies in America alone. Though these theories exist within several English language speaking countries, other regional, language, ideological and religious groupings have different Total Conspiracy Theories.

The implication of the growing numbers of increasingly strident adherents to a complete adversarial paradigm is that it will incite violence. Conflating non-believers with demons can also lead to violence. Belief in secular conspiracies has led to bloodshed recently as well. One case, the call to proselytize ended in the brutal murder of a fast food worker in China. As these types of conspiracy theories gain adherents and traction, the threat of violence increases. Past the threat of violence, there will likely be more reason to observe these Total Conspiracy Theories. As globalization and growing modern anxieties increase, these belief systems may become increasingly important in understanding individual opinions, group movements, and political concerns within the democratic electorate.