Adam L Silverman,
In a few weeks US Special Forces will conduct an exercise in the US southwest called Jade Helm. This is neither out of the ordinary for the US military or really even news. What is out of the ordinary and really news is that a vocal number of Texas citizens, fueled by far too much time on the Internet and listening to talk radio, are convinced that Jade Helm 15 is really cover for the President to declare martial law* by colluding with Wal-Mart to use secret tunnels under the five stores they have recently closed (for either a labor dispute or a plumbing problem depending on who you want to believe) - several of which aren't anywhere near the exercise areas - to move Special Forces around to round up Texans, place them in FEMA concentration camps, seize their private property, and import ISIS fighters across the Southern Border so that Muslims can conquer America. Someone even dispatched a Public Affairs Officer to go to town hall meetings to dispel the rumors. Click over to watch the video and see for yourself how far down the rabbit hole this whole thing has gone. If you like to play conspiracy theory bingo someone just won and won big! Also, if the allegations about Jade Helm turn out to be true, then our friend Tyler is going to be very, very busy down on the border this Summer - so be prepared to send care packages!
In response to this imminent threat to the Homeland, and Texas, and our precious bodily fluids (insert your preferred Dr. Strangelove reference here _______), Texas Governor Abbott has called out the Texas State Guard** to monitor the exercise, coordinate with the US military, and report back to him. This is either a smart move to diffuse unwarranted fears by engaging with those who have them and making them feel that their concerns are noted or a bad move as it will confirm the unfounded paranoia and reinforce these beliefs in those who have them because the governor is taking it seriously.
* The Gawker article includes the complete informational/briefing slide deck pertaining to Jade Helm. Its marked UNCLASSIFIED//FOUO, but I wanted to warn anyone with a clearance in case you click over there you'll find (a soft level of) spillage.
** The Texas State Guard is the descendant of the state militia set up by Steven Austin in the 19th Century. It does report to the Adjutant General. Twenty-two states have state level militias, either state guards or state defense forces, that are distinct from their National Guards. From the Texas State Guard website:
"The Texas Military Forces is composed of the three branches of the military in the state of Texas. These branches are the Texas Army National Guard, the Texas Air National Guard, and the Texas State Guard. All three branches are administered by the state Adjutant General, an appointee of the Governor of Texas, and fall under the command of the Governor.
The mission of the Texas State Guard (TXSG) is to provide mission-ready military forces to assist state and local authorities in times of state emergencies; to conduct homeland security and community service activities under the umbrella of Defense Support to Civil Authorities; and to augment the Texas Army National Guard and Texas Air National Guard as required."