A covert US military training exercise called Operation Jade Helm 15 could be a threat to the rights of the citizens of Texas, the Lone Star State’s governor has concluded.
Republican Greg Abbott is so worried about Jade Helm that he has ordered the Texas State Guard to monitor the maneuvers.
Texas, Utah and a portion of Southern California are described as “hostile territory” in a map for the planned exercise prepared by the US Army Special Operations Command, The Washington Post reported. Unidentified sources in the US Army told The Post that the map is legitimate, although they said it is simply for training.
“It is important that Texans know their safety, constitutional rights, private property rights and civil liberties will not be infringed,” Abbott wrote in a letter to Major General Gerald “Jake” Betty, the commander of the Texas State Guard. The State Guard is a unit of the Texas Military Forces.
“By monitoring the operation on a continual basis, the State Guard will facilitate communications between my office and the commanders of the operation to ensure that adequate measures are in place to protect Texans,” Abbott wrote.
Special Operations Forces to Train in Five States
This is the first time that a state governor has publicly raised concerns about Jade Helm training exercises infringing on citizens’ rights, The Post reported. Internet rumors have been spreading that Jade Helm 15 is a dress rehearsal for a military takeover of Texas and other states.
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During Jade Helm 15, the military says soldiers from the Army’s Special Operations force will practice commando raids and unconventional (guerrilla warfare) tactics in seven states: Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, California, Nevada, Utah and Texas between July 15 and September 15. The controversial map for the exercise shows New Mexico as “uncertain but leaning hostile,” Arizona as “uncertain but leaning friendly” and Nevada, Colorado and most of California as “permissive.”
The idea is apparently to simulate conditions in a hostile foreign country. Unlike most US military training operations, Jade Helm 15 will take place on public and private property outside of military bases. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that around 1,200 troops will participate in Jade Helm exercises in Texas. Elite military units, including the Navy SEALS, Army Rangers, Marine Special Operations, Air Force Special Operations and the Green Berets, will be among the troops participating in Jade Helm 15.
Fears of Armed Takeover Voiced
“In no way will the constitutional rights or civil liberties of any American citizen be infringed upon while this exercise is being conducted,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said in response to Abbott’s letter.
Others aren’t so sure.
“They’re gathering intelligence,” Bastrop, Texas, resident Bob Wells said of the operation to The Austin Statesman. “That’s what they’re doing. And they’re moving logistics in place for martial law. That’s my feeling. Now, I could be wrong. I hope I am wrong. I hope I’m a ‘conspiracy theorist.’”
Bastrop is a small town that is about 30 miles southeast of Austin, Texas’ capital.
Wells was one of a number of Bastrop residents who attended a meeting about Jade Helm earlier this month. People from as far away as Dallas and Houston attended the meeting to voice their concern, Bastrop County Judge Paul Pape told the Associated Press. In Texas, county commissioners are called judges.
“It’s a mixed bag, but basically we’re getting more support from the local citizens than we’re getting opposition,” Pape told TV station KVUE.
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