Army says Jade Helm’s a training op coming to Texas this summer. Internet says it’s a takeover!

Robert Wilonsky,  The Dallas Morning News

The U.S. Army Special Operations Command has an upcoming training exercise so covert … there was a press release about it two days ago?

Actually, we didn’t know anything about it until Gawker posted this piece earlier this afternoon. It was the headline that grabbed us: “Jade Helm: The Pretend Invasion of Texas That’s Driving the Web Crazy.” Consider our hot buttons pushed. Hard.

So, let’s see what this is. First, let’s go to The Official Press Release:

Members of U.S. Army Special Operations Command will train with other U.S 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.

Sounds exciting! And profitable! But the conspiracy-peddling Info Wars — the domain of Dallas-born, Austin-based Alex Jones — warns that we are not to believe the Army or, for that matter, the media that says this is No Big Deal. From today:

Despite assurances that the training is to prepare troops for overseas missions, Army documents in the past have made clear that plans for martial law are in place for within the Continental United States (CONUS).

A leaked 2012 US Army Military Police training manual, entitled “Civil Disturbance Operations,” described how soldiers would be ordered to confiscate firearms and kill American “dissidents.” The manual also revealed that prisoners would be detained in temporary internment camps and “re-educated” to gain a new appreciation of “U.S. policies,” in accordance with U.S. Army FM 3-19.40 Internment/Resettlement Operations.

Jade Helm has also drawn comparisons to a 2012 scenario outlined by retired Army colonel Kevin Benson, in which the U.S. Military is used to crush an insurgent rebellion overseen by Tea Party militia members who take over the city of Darlington, South Carolina.

Stars and Stripes is … bemused by the panic, let’s say. Here’s Army Lt. Col. Mark Lastoria, a USASOC spokesman addressing the conspiracy theorists’ … concerns, let’s say:

“That notion was proposed by a few individuals who are unfamiliar with how and why USASOC conducts training exercises. This exercise is routine training to maintain a high level of readiness for Army Special Operations Forces because they must be ready to support potential missions anywhere in the world on a moment’s notice.”

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