by William Skink
It’s easy for those with selective amnesia to laugh at the notion of America’s military training to impose martial law on Americans. Congress certainly didn’t think it was laughable when Hank Paulson used the threat of martial law and imminent economic collapse to jam through the TARP bailout. But that was a long time ago, with a Republican administration. Democrats would have had an easier time envisioning the evil Bush regime acting on Paulson’s threat.
But we have Obama now, so clearly all those nutjobs (also known as Texans) fretting about Jade Helm 15 are unhinged right-wing fanatics suffering from the delusions that our Muslim manchurian president will enslave them in communist re-education camps and take their guns. Here’s a report from the first 48 hours of Jade Helm:
So far, martial law has not been imposed in any of Texas’ 254 counties, not even in Irion where County Clerk Molly Crimer is making the last stand for the good people of Texas against gay marriage. Reports on the ground indicate that the storm is still gathering, though. Here is just some of what we’ve learned in the past few days.
This breathless report was recorded in a Sam’s Club parking lot in San Angelo. Hearty American Kris Martin braved the elements to warn his fellow Texans of trailers potentially filled with gun-stealing ninjas and the influence of Knight Templar Freemasons on Jade Helm:
I won’t include the Youtube clip that accompanies this mockery because it’s useless, like much of the commentary surrounding this military exercise. Even Jay Stevens couldn’t resist piling on from his little
sandbox soapbox with a column last May:
Have you heard the joke of the month? Get this – a bunch of nuts in Texas think the U.S. military is planning on taking over their state, imposing martial law, and silencing those pesky, freedom-loving, patriotic whack-job conspiracy theorists once and for all.
Apparently the Navy is doing some maneuvers and training in the area in July – known as Operation Jade Helm 15. And a PowerPoint presentation from the maneuver landed in somebody’s inbox – and in it, Texas was labeled as “hostile.” Paranoid radio talk-show host Alex Jones took one look at this and declared that the U.S. was going to invade Texas. Dissidents would be arrested and held in Walmart supercenters that are ostensibly closing for plumbing repairs.
No, really. People believe this!
If one is able to move beyond the ridicule to try and glean some actual useful information about this military exercise, one would find legitimate concern does actually exist, like whether or not Jade Helm violates Posse Comitatus. It’s this angle that provides some interesting contrast between Jade Helm and other military exercises:
Stewart, and other influential media figures, have assured the public that there’s no basis for concern because “similar” exercises have been conducted for years without any undue harm.
One exercise, just recently concluded in May, took place in Richland, South Carolina. In it, the 3rd Special Forces Group out of Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, trained with Richland County deputies for two weeks, in “late-night and pre-dawn exercises.” WLTX 19 News relayed the Sheriff’s Department’s message that residents should not be alarmed at hearing “ordnance being set off or shots being fired.”
Given that the South Carolina exercise passed virtually unnoticed, why is Jade Helm setting off so many alarm bells? Is this business as usual—or practice for martial law, as Jade Helm critics contend? What makes Jade Helm different from previous military exercises carried out on US civilian soil?
This is where the misinformation is flying fast and furious. In his presentation in Big Springs, USASOC contractor Mead acknowledged that the exercise is actually the first of its kind. He told the audience that the closest he could come to identifying an operation somewhat resembling Jade Helm is the Army’s much smaller, annual exercise known as Robin Sage.
In Robin Sage, “The People’s Republic of Pineland” is a fictitious country spanning 15 counties in North Carolina, where US Special Forces soldiers seek out “insurgents” (played by actors) who, for the purposes of the exercise, are treated as US-backed freedom fighters. Special Forces set up “base camps” for these fighters, with the goal of “liberating” Pineland. As such, Robin Sage is a proactive insurgency exercise. Jade Helm seems to be precisely the opposite: a counter-insurgency exercise.
Wouldn’t you know, there is some actual reporting possible when you get beyond the smug mockery of political hacks. Not that it will be widely read, but it’s out there.
What will be more widely read is think-pieces like this one about the danger of conspiracy theories.
The author isn’t wrong. Conspiracy theories do often play a functional role in the radicalizing process. That doesn’t erase that conspiracies continue to happen, nor the reality that our corporate media plays a complicit role in locking out certain perspectives.
Take the shoot-down of MH17 for example. July 17th marked a full calendar year since that tragedy, a tragedy that may be remembered as the Gulf of Tonkin incident for WWIII. What has been investigated and disclosed about who wrought this carnage? Regarding the latter, not much.
And it’s not just us dangerous conspiracist bloggers who would like to see evidence to back up the almost immediate claim implicating Russia (allowing our media to splash Putin’s face across its covers and screens). Even former intelligence officials would like more than grade-school social media accusations. This quote is from a must read by Robert Parry that has a nice timeline of developments during the past year. A few weeks after the shootdown former intelligence officials were openly asking for better evidence because what had so far been disclosed was so sorely lacking:
On July 29, amid this escalating rhetoric, the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, a group of mostly retired U.S. intelligence officials, called on President Barack Obama to release what evidence the U.S. government had, including satellite imagery.
“As intelligence professionals we are embarrassed by the unprofessional use of partial intelligence information,” the group wrote. “As Americans, we find ourselves hoping that, if you indeed have more conclusive evidence, you will find a way to make it public without further delay. In charging Russia with being directly or indirectly responsible, Secretary of State John Kerry has been particularly definitive. Not so the evidence.”
But the Obama administration failed to make public any intelligence information that would back up its earlier suppositions.
Then, in early August, I was told that some U.S. intelligence analysts had begun shifting away from the original scenario blaming the rebels and Russia to one focused more on the possibility that extremist elements of the Ukrainian government were responsible, funded by one of Ukraine’s rabidly anti-Russian oligarchs. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Flight 17 Shoot-down Scenario Shifts” and “Was Putin Targeted for Mid-air Assassination?”]
It took years and incalculable deaths for the deceit of the Gulf of Tonkin incident to rise from the murky depths where it was kept to see the light of day.
I guess it’s much more satisfying to laugh at paranoid Texans than it is to acknowledge our government continues to provide ample reasons to mistrust it.