It's a question on the minds of many Americans, Texans in particular: What is Jade Helm?
The Army says Jade Helm is simply a standard training operation for unconventional warfare. The multi-state two-month exercise, which began Wednesday, July 15, in Bastrop, Texas, involves the Green Berets, NAVY Seals, Air Force Special Ops Command, and the 82nd Airborne Division.
Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, as well as President Obama, emphatically state that Jade Helm is just a large-scale military exercise. They say there is no reason to suspect anything sinister is going on.
Still, some native Texans aren't buying the government's story.
You see, on March 19, outspoken radio show host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones announced on air that one of his interns had obtained a secret military document. This document, Jones claimed, labeled Texas, Utah, and a portion of California as "hostile territory."
Public paranoia only got worse when, on April 29, Texas Governor Greg Abbott deployed the Texas State Guard to monitor the Jade Helm's exercises. Then, Senator Ted Cruz said he "reached out to the Pentagon" with concerns about Jade Helm exercises.
While the president and military chiefs continue attempting to assuage public concerns, more than a few citizens have developed Jade Helm conspiracy theories of their own...
What Is Jade Helm? Five Conspiracy Theories
What Is Jade Helm? A Secret Construction of FEMA Death Domes: According to a July 16 article in S.A. Today, the relatively new dome-shaped facilities built and completed by FEMA in May 2013 aren't actually for hurricane victims. No, these facilities that are suspiciously near the Jade Helm training grounds are really for intended for the detention of insurrectionists. The conspiracy theorists in this camp refer to the FEMA buildings as "Death Domes" and believe each one is equipped with locks and chains.
- What Is Jade Helm? It's a Ploy to Turn Wal-Marts into Martial-Law-Marts: FEMA Death Domes aren't the only suspicious fixtures near the Jade Helm training sites. There are also a handful of recently shuttered Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT). S.A. Today's July 16 article reported that these stores, which closed in April for six months, allegedly shut down because they needed to make plumbing repairs. However, Jade Helm theorists say they've seen military personnel on the stores' grounds. They suspect the stores will be used as either processing locations or as storage facilities to control the food supply in poorer areas once marital law's taken effect.
What Is Jade Helm? It's a Plan to Turn Ice Cream Trucks into Mobile Morgues: Some conspiracy theorists believe Blue Bell ice cream trucks are being driven into Texas to be used as mobile morgues. This theory is evidenced by a videotape clip of roughly a dozen Blue Bell trucks traveling on the same highway as a military convoy, according to a July 15 article in The NY Daily News. But a Blue Bell representative says it's all coincidental. The trucks were moving food from recently shuttered stores following the discovery that their ice cream contained listeria.
- What Is Jade Helm? It's a Bunch of Death Squads: Another theory is that American troops are going to invade the Southwest in order to slaughter free-thinking citizens "who would oppose a government coup," according to the July 14 S.A. Today article. This downright-Orwellian idea specifically states that U.S. leaders have already drafted three lists of citizen-types (also known as "sheeple").
- Green List: People who mindlessly abide by government orders.
- Blue List: People who could become "green-listers" with a little prodding.
- Red List: People who would fight back if the government tried to take over. These include veterans, Christians, and gun owners in particular.
- What Is Jade Helm? It's So Many Things: Of all the conspiracy theorists out there, let's not forget the "fringe" theorists - the outliers in this club of outliers. A website called intellihub is devoted to and run by these folks. On July 17, it posted a massive curated list of "intelligence" to help find the answer to "what is Jade Helm -- really?"
Here are a few segments:
- Army commissions new camouflage uniforms July 1 to match America's background 'woodland style' pattern: "Interestingly enough the new uniform appears to be printed in a woodland-type pattern and almost looks as if it would work perfectly domestically."
- Photos: Massive raider focus on convoy: "A convoy loaded with razor wire was spotted in Trinidad, Colorado. The war games include the largest military convoy seen in the state since World War II and, indeed, the footage released so far does show a series of massive military convoys traveling through a rest stop near Trinidad, Colorado."
- Artificial intelligence takes the battlefield: "Who is really running Jade Helm 2015? If analysts are correct, it seems that "JADE" is an acronym for a DARPA-developed A.I. quantum computing technology that produces holographic battlefield simulations and will be in charge of the drill in order to "master the human" domain and predict human response."
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- USA Today: 6 Head-Scratching Jade Helm Conspiracy Theories
- Intellihub: 41 Reasons Jade Helm Should Be a Red Flag for All Americans