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PostTexas Under Martial Law? (Randy Black, USA, 05/13/15 4:31 pm)
In his post of 13 May, Paul Levine noted a recent NPR report about joint US military operations in Texas and our governor's response. Governor Gregg Abbott plans to send components of the Texas State Guard to monitor the "secret" US military operations in Texas this summer. Apparently, NPR left out enough real details to confuse Paul and John Eipper. After reading my response to Paul and John's questions, you may understand why millions of US citizens across seven states may think that this military operation is lunacy.
Paul asked if the Texas governor's response was "just business as usual." I don't know the answer to his question since in my lifetime, we've never been invaded by the US Army running exercises on private and public land in the Texas Hill Country near Austin.
We've certainly never been promised that such military operations were being conducted because Colorado and Texas offer the opportunity to train in our states "because the terrain replicates Afghanistan." (From US Army press release, see below citation.)
US military press releases, The Washington Post, the LA Times and local media stories in The Dallas Morning News and the Houston Chronicle revealed that US military personnel will attempt to infiltrate small towns and communities in civilian clothing and "blend in" this summer over a wide area of the western United States. Additionally, the US military will conduct these "exercises" on public and private lands across seven states.
Citizens of Texas towns are being recruited to "watch for unusual persons of interest" and report their observations to the "local authorities" in order for the US military to judge the effectiveness of Operation Jade Helm 15.
The absurdity of the military's excuse for this seven-state operation is that our military forces need the experience of training in small towns in Texas, Colorado, Utah, California, New Mexico and other western US locales "[because] diverse terrain in these states replicates areas Special Operations Soldiers regularly find themselves operating in overseas."
Digest that for a moment: The US Army claims that small towns in Texas, Colorado, and Southern California will help the military "develop new warfare tactics and procedures in a landscape not unlike the shifting terrain of combat zones in the Middle East and Afghanistan."
As if Bastrop, Texas (designated operations target) replicates terrain in Afghanistan. Bastrop is a small community near Austin and is mostly known for its historic homes and scenic, forested settings along the Colorado River. It's 7,200 residents enjoy a high quality, peaceful life in the Texas Hill Country and are not looking forward to the US military trying to "blend in" in civilian clothes in a clandestine military operation during the high season of their tourist trade.
The town has perhaps five small motels of the Best Western/Holiday Inn Express genre, along with nearby state parks with camp grounds and RV parks nearby. The US Army's press release states that the locals will enjoy the uptick in grocery and gasoline sales along with the hotel rentals (from the military). Let me tell you, I cooked in a chili cook-off in Bastrop recently and in July, there will be no hotel rooms available. In case our federal troops are in RVs, they'd better have their reservations already made because the place really fills up.
(Real) tourists from all over Texas and the US flock to the Hill Country in summer to enjoy the river rafting, fishing, scenic trails, boating, camping, hiking and other amenities of this beautiful part of Texas. If the United States Army wants to "blend in" around this region, they better be wearing cut-offs, sandals, tee shirts with patriotic slogans and smoking pot or drinking Shiner Beer, not carrying an M-16 and wearing summer camouflage fatigues.
From The Washington Post and other media:
Operation Jade Helm 15 a mission of "elite service members from four branches of the US military (which will) launch ... this summer in which they will operate covertly among the US public and travel from state to state in military aircraft. Texas, Utah and a section of southern California are labeled as hostile territory, and New Mexico isn't much friendlier. (RB: Sure, dumping a bunch of soldiers out on the tarmac at the Austin airport after landing in the C130 will be covert. Lots of luck.)
"That's the scheme for Jade Helm 15, a new Special Operations exercise that runs from July 15 to September 15. Army Special Operations Command announced it last week, saying the size and scope of the mission sets it apart from many other training exercises."
In particular, some have expressed alarm about the map below, which outlines events for the exercise in unclassified documents posted online last week. The Washington Post verified them to be legitimate by speaking to Army sources. They appear to have been prepared for local authorities.
This map shows the military's plan during the exercise Jade Helm 15, which begins in July.
From the United States Army press release:
"Members of US Army Special Operations Command will train with other US Armed Forces units July 15 through Sept. 15 in a multi-state exercise called Jade Helm 15. USASOC periodically conducts training exercises such as these to practice core special warfare tasks, which help protect the nation against foreign enemies. It is imperative that Special Operations Soldiers receive the best training, equipment and resources possible.
"While multi-state training exercises such as these are not unique to the military, the size and scope of Jade Helm sets this one apart. To stay ahead of the environmental challenges faced overseas, Jade Helm will take place across seven states. However, Army Special Operations Forces (ARSOF) will only train in five states: Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado. The diverse terrain in these states replicates areas Special Operations Soldiers regularly find themselves operating in overseas.
"The training exercise will be conducted on private and public land with the permission of the private landowners, and from state and local authorities. In essence, all exercise activity will be taking place on pre-coordinated public and private lands.
"The public can expect nothing much different from their day-to-day activities since much of exercise will be conducted in remote areas. 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. There will also be economic gain: an increase in the local economy, in fuel and food purchases and hotel lodging."
JE comments: My thanks to Randy Black for this very informative analysis. A question: might there be some tactical benefit from such an exercise? Either way, as Gov. Abbott states (second link above), there is "nothing to worry about."
More on Operation Jade Helm 15
(Anthony J Candil, USA
05/14/15 9:53 AM)
My view now that I've learned a bit over this "issue":
The uproar is over a special forces exercise/operation that will be taking place in Texas this summer near Bastrop. The conspiracy theorists see it was a possible dry run for a government takeover of Texas. These paranoid people are all over the Internet and on talk radio.
But nothing is new under the sun; this is stupid boasting and "business as usual." That's why I didn't know at first what you were talking about. Texas is the 28th state of the US and will remain as such. Nothing to worry about.
This is not even worthy of WAIS attention.
JE comments: Agreed, except for the last sentence. "Exceptionalism" of different stripes is a very WAISly topic. The important thing is not the preposterous idea of a federal "takeover" of Texas; what matters is that a significant part of the population believes it might.
Operation Jade Helm 15 in *New Yorker*
(Mike Bonnie, USA
05/14/15 12:35 PM)
I can't help but weigh in on the Texas takeover conspiracy theory. Given the size of Texas (2nd largest state in the US), the reach of world media and the influence Texans have on re-writing classroom textbooks for the nation, this could turn into the greatest conspiracy theory of all. Seriously, the rampant rumors are a huge distraction from real issues that should be addressed. The Texas takeover conspiracy is a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation for the military.
This week's New Yorker (May 18, 2015) has devoted a page and a half to comment ("Unclear Dangers," pp. 33-34) to the controversy. One paragraph sums up my position in a nutshell. "That presumption of a state of siege, fostered by politicians willing to pander to fears of mystery maps and foreign infiltration--perhaps in the White House itself--makes it harder to respond rationally, and with respect for civil liberties, when danger truly is clear and present. There are real threats, and that is what makes scaremongering so destructive. If ISIS is the answer to everything, what is the answer to ISIS?"
Back in 2006 the US Coast Guard proposed designating fourteen live-fire zones on Lake Michigan, seven zones on Lake Superior, six on Lake Huron, four on Lake Erie and three on Lake Ontario, where ship crews could practice firing machine guns in real-life situations (on water versus land). Because the Coast Guard has been part of Homeland Security following 9/11, public hearings and Environmental Impact Statements were not required. Needless to say, when the public (including fishermen and casual boaters) began hearing guns being fired (up to 600 rounds per minute) concern was raised. "Environmental groups, meanwhile, noted that firing up to 430,000 lead bullets a year on the lakes would add more pollution to an already fragile ecosystem." Consequently, further live-fire practice ended. "Coast Guard officials said they made a mistake by not adequately informing the public about their [live-fire] proposal, which was so unusual it required changes to a treaty with Canada that dates to the War of 1812."
JE comments: All that lead forever on the lake bottoms--what were they thinking?
The New Yorker piece gives a good overview of the conspiracy theories raging throughout the Lone Star state. (Of course, in the interest of balance, we should print a Texas Monthly editorial on the wacky goings on in NY.)
US Military Exercises in Europe
(Anthony J Candil, USA
05/15/15 6:11 AM)
Point taken about the "Texas issue," but what do we have to think of this?
(From Foreign Affairs)
"In March, 2015, a US Army convoy rolled 1,100 miles across six countries in Europe. The convoy, which included over 500 US military personnel and 120 vehicles making their way through Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and the Czech Republic and back to their base in Germany, was the longest that Europe had seen since the Battle of the Bulge, in 1944".
Did we know about this? Isn't it some kind of provocation to Russia?
JE comments: Provocation to Russia? Probably that's the whole point. At the very least, let's call it a strong show of force.
(I have to sign off for now. Due to my computer crash, there may be delays before the next round of WAIS posts. Pax et lux.)
Military "Infiltration" Exercises; from Gary Moore
(John Eipper, USA
05/16/15 3:41 AM)
Gary Moore responds to Anthony Candil (15 May):
OK, so Anthony's post suggests that nobody has ever heard of anything
like infiltration exercises inside the United States
(and even the convoy in Europe was not described
And so this is a matter to be discussed only by conspiracy theorists?
(Wait: the answer occurs to me. The exercises are intentionally
designed to smoke out the conspiracy theorists and make them look bad.)
Now I'm getting into it, too--avoiding the legitimate questions
that are uncomfortably off-message by making jokes
(like the NPR piece did--few facts, just droll jokes).
I've worked in Kosovo for the United Nations and
inside the heartland for FEMA--and a) there's no way
some schmoozing in Bastrop is going to prepare you to
infiltrate Mitrovica, while b) to my amazement in the archives,
it turned out to be more than just smoke that in the 1980s
some of the craziest elements in FEMA were entertaining
mass detainment fantasies.
The Jade Helm exercise is probably harmless as can be, but something
doesn't seem to add up--maybe just some towering misguidedness,
which could be very interesting.
JE comments: "Infiltrating" the Heartland is a bizarre military maneuver. Shouldn't the goal of the armed forces be to stop others from doing the infiltrating?
Gary: You must tell us about your experiences in Kosovo.
- Bastrop Barbecue (Henry Levin, USA 05/14/15 2:30 PM)
Beyond the threat of government takeover, there is another threat to freedom in Bastrop. During the 1980s and '90s. I had to visit all parts of Texas many times because of a school reform movement that I headed that was very active in Texas. When visiting Austin, I went to Bastrop on many occasions for its famous barbecue. What fascinated me was that at the culinary sources that I visited, the cutlery was chained to the table to avoid its spontaneous use for settling scores over beer-fueled disagreements. I hope that the locals will unchain the knives, so that they are available to Texas patriots who have forgotten their guns.
I have heard a rumor that the feds plan to take advantage of the locals not being able to wield cutlery against the federal takeover. It's only a rumor.
JE comments: Just last summer in the Praga district of Warsaw, we ate at a stolówka (cheap cafeteria) with the cutlery chained to the table. I wish I had snapped a photo; now I'm not sure if I'm misremembering.
- Operation Jade Helm 15; from Gary Moore (John Eipper, USA 05/15/15 5:06 AM)
Gary Moore weighs in on the Jade Helm 15 discussion:
It seems that discussion of Jade Helm in Texas and the West
is conflating the conspiracy theories (daffy) with real questions
about the exercises (is it so daffy to ask about such things?).
So I have a question perhaps someone can answer: Are there
other examples or precedents of former military exercises inside the
United States that involved widespread infiltration of local towns?
This whole idea would have sounded like a conspiracy theory--but is now real.
Mike Bonnie described the parallel of Coast Guard exercises on
the Great Lakes--far less weirdly invasive and discontinued anyway.
Are there closer parallels showing how Bastrop-stealth has been done in the past?
And is our level of training really so abysmal that we have to train on Podunk
for someplace that speaks Pashtu? The idea that such questions are being
dismissed with the red herring of the conspiracy theories seems to me almost
as creepy as that fellow over there in the convenience store line who's buying
a bag of Doritos as substitute sniper rations--so he'll blend in.
JE comments: Anthony Candil (next) mentions a recent similar exercise in several nations of Europe.
Important note: I've experienced a massive computer crash at WAIS HQ, and I'm posting this from a borrowed computer. Today I'm going to have to visit a computer medic, but in the meantime, there may be some significant delays with the posts.
- Bastrop Barbecue (Henry Levin, USA 05/14/15 2:30 PM)
- Military "Infiltration" Exercises; from Gary Moore (John Eipper, USA 05/16/15 3:41 AM)
- US Military Exercises in Europe (Anthony J Candil, USA 05/15/15 6:11 AM)
- Operation Jade Helm 15 in *New Yorker* (Mike Bonnie, USA 05/14/15 12:35 PM)