An internet rumor about a military exercise scheduled for next summer that involves 1200 special operators training in nine states across the southwest being a prelude to martial law has conspiratorial websites in a tizzy of speculation.
“Operation Jade Helm 15” is being run by U.S. Army Special Operations Command and, if you believe the conspiracists, is a practice run for either the imposition of martial law or a roundup of administration opponents.
A map identifying Texas and Utah as “hostile territory” is being cited as proof of…something. Also, the “pocket of insurgency” in southern California is a nice touch. The military won’t confirm the authenticity of the map, but one analyst points to the acronyms as being key to figuring out what the exercise is all about.
After speaking to several former and active duty soldiers, The Fifth Column can say with almost certainty that Jade Helm is a massive Field Training Exercise (FTX) to enhance the SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape) capabilities of American special operations troops.
The uproar of Jade Helm was triggered by a map that surfaced on the internet labeling some areas of the United States as “hostile.” Had the sites that cast this as some plan for martial law researched the acronyms on the map, they would have quickly realized it was a large scale training exercise involving some of America’s most secretive units. It should have also been immediately evident that there is currently no “insurgent pocket” in Southern California.
In the hostile area of Texas, there will be a JOAX event and a CRF event. This is the starting point of the exercise.
JOAX (Joint Operation Access Exercise): This is where the 82nd Airborne Division will parachute into “hostile territory.” An exercise identical to this phase of Jade Helm was recently conducted in North Carolina.
CRF (Crisis Response Force): This is typically a force that is made up of different units put together to handle a given scenario. The most recent example of a CRF was the group of units sent to the Mideast to protect US facilities. In this case, the CRF appears to be made up of a list of America’s most secretive units. In some cases the units are so secretive that The Fifth Column’s sources were either unaware of their existence or unwilling to talk about them.
MSOT (Marine Special Operations Team): The Marines have several special warfare units that fall under this acronym. The best known of these units is Force Recon.
NSWTU (Naval Special Warfare Training Unit): This is a unit dedicated to making SEALs better.There is the possibility that this is in reference to Naval Special Warfare Task Units, which are subgroups of a SEAL Team. This seems highly unlikely given the massive size of the operation.
ODA (Operational Detachment Alpha): These are Green Berets. This is otherwise known as an “A-Team.” Sometimes identified as SFOD-A
Stars and Stripes reports that USASOC is pushing back against the conspiracists:
Army Lt. Col. Mark Lastoria, a USASOC spokesman, confirmed that there is an upcoming exercise called Jade Helm 15 which is scheduled to take place this summer at locations in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, California and Nevada. But he denied the event is preparation for some sort of military takeover.
“That notion was proposed by a few individuals who are unfamiliar with how and why USASOC conducts training exercises,” he said in an email. “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.”
He said the only thing unique about this particular exercise, which is slated to take place between July 15 and Sept. 15, is “the use of new challenging terrain” which was chosen because it is similar to conditions special operations forces operate in overseas.
Lastoria said coordination with local law enforcement is necessary for safety reasons because some of the training will take place outside of military bases where civilian agencies have jurisdiction.
He said his office has been receiving a lot of calls from people who heard about the exercise and are concerned about “the nature of the training objectives.”
The exercise sounds fairly straightforward and unremarkable. Using domestic sites to train our special operators is a lot cheaper than sending them overseas. Also, in order to practice infiltration, the special operators will have to try and blend in with the population, not arousing suspicion. Dark theories that the special operators will “snatch and grab” conservatives are pretty paranoid.
Claiming that martial law is being declared or that a roundup of conservatives to be put in FEMA camps is in the offing is not logical. It’s perfectly balmy. Obama is incompetent, a radical ideologue, and a president who has shown a disdain for the Constitution, But there would have to be a national crisis for him to declare martial law. And since there are no FEMA camps, I don’t think conservatives should be worried about being rounded up.
Paranoia is not confined to the right, of course. Left-wing fantasies about Bush’s FEMA camps, cancelling the 2008 election, Cheney and Haliburton, “neocon” conspiracies, and Bush’s involvement in 9/11 were just as nutty as right-wing lunacies about Obama. But with the internet acting as a gigantic megaphone, the loons on both sides are getting louder.
That doesn’t make them right — only more annoying.