Conspiracy Theories

Behind the Jade Helm 15 Conspiracy Theories

Why would people not want a military training exercise in their community? Well...


The Curse of the Jade Helm

Jade Helm 15 is a special forces training exercise scheduled to take place in seven southwestern states this summer. It has inspired a lot of opposition, and that opposition in turn has inspired a lot of mockery.

I have an article about the debate in the Los Angeles Times today. Here's an excerpt:

There are perfectly good reasons not to want a military training operation in your community. People are worried about noise. People are worried about road damage. People are worried about safety.

In 2011, Bastrop County was hit by the most devastating wildfire in Texas history, with nearly 1,700 homes destroyed. Some residents are understandably anxious that soldiers might accidentally set off another blaze. "Many of us, our neighbors here, went through a very traumatic experience with the fires," one man pointed out at the Bastrop meeting [to ask a military representative questions about the exercise]. "Several of us are still not over that psychologically, and we know our neighbors are not over that. Why would we want to subject us to this level of anxiety on the heels of that kind of catastrophic event?"

Sounds reasonable. So why all the mockery? Well…

Not every argument raised by the opposition is that well-grounded. I've seen speculation, for instance, that Jade Helm might be part of a plot to give Texas and other border states back to Mexico. A more common rumor—certainly the one that came up most often at the Bastrop meeting—is that the Pentagon is plotting to impose martial law. For the record: If a cabal of fascists ever does suspend the Constitution, it probably won't precede the coup by going around asking county governments for permission to bring soldiers into the area.

Volt, Volt, Voltairine de Cleyre/Heroine to Texans everywhere

I go on to explore those conspiracy stories, discussing what they represent and looking at how they resemble earlier rumors. In particular, I talk about the very valid fears of militarized policing that run through some of the less-than-valid Jade Helm theories. Read the whole thing here.

By the way: This was too obscure an aside to put it in the piece, but some Reason readers might find it entertaining. To the extent that the movement against Jade Helm has an ideological cast, it feels pretty right-wing. But the left hasn't been entirely absent. Amid the ranchers and others at the Bastrop meeting, one woman asking a question identified herself as "Voltairine de Cleyre." While I suppose it's possible that she just happens to have the same name as a 19th-century anarchist and feminist, I think it's pretty safe to guess that she was nodding to an ideological inspiration.

NEXT: Two Readers React to the Viral Video About Mass Kidnappings and Stranger Danger

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  1. Stick your head in the sand if you want, Walker, but don’t come crying to me whenever you suddenly realize you’ve been quartering soldiers in your home for a year and can’t remember how you got to that point.

    1. War is peace.
      1984 is here and has been here for a while

      What people don’t understand is that Marxism is subtle until the time comes to put the hammer down.
      One can safely argue that that time came sometime shortly after 9/11.
      You don’t need any more proof of the total abuse of power and rapid growth of massive government and police state.
      what you need is some more sheep to be slaughtered in the streets by the leftists psychos and then maybe, if the savages don’t burn down every city, the few left that aren’t brainwashed by class warfare and nationalism might stop the madness city by city.

      None of this is new. It’s just been about 70 years since it was last tried by bankrupt governments.

  2. Whether this particular issue warrants concern or not, it does show that increasing distrust of the government is a real thing (riots around cops being another one). That doesn’t make all or even many of the distrusters libertarians, but it does show that maybe there are lines being crossed that many aren’t comfortable accepting.

    1. No, it just shows that rednecks aren’t comfortable accepting a black president.


      1. Oh, sure, the statists can rationalize as much as they want–reality-dodging being their specialty–but the discontent is there, and it appears to be growing.

  3. You are not paranoid if they really are after you, and especially when Obama is involved!

  4. “If a cabal of fascists ever does suspend the Constitution, it probably won’t precede the coup by going around asking county governments for permission to bring soldiers into the area.”

    Really? I seem to recall from my dabbling in history that fascists seek support from various elements in the community, which could certainly include county governments. Anyway, who’s to say they’ll announce their coup plans? They’d probably just say they were doing exercises.

    DISCLAIMER: I suspect that to have an actual, literal fascist takeover in the U.S. things would first have to get a lot worse than they are now. But bear in mind that the Weimar authorities set many of the precedents of power-seizure that the [Godwin edit]s took advantage of later on.

    1. If a cabal of fascists ever does suspend the Constitution, it probably won’t precede the coup by going around asking county governments for permission to bring soldiers into the area.

      Why not? Sounds like a perfectly valid incremental step to desensitizing both the military and your subjects to military occupation by an authoritarian regime.

      The question nobody seems to be asking is “What changed that all of a sudden mass military maneuvers in American towns is a good idea?”

      Seriously. There’s a reason for this. What is it?

      1. Nothing has changed since 9/11. All of the sewing of destruction in this country has been building on that one event. Sheep always bow to threats of fear and local authorities will always accept these exercises because it is taboo to cuss a cop or fireman. or soldier.

        Nationalism and class warfare are the most successful weapons of all time.

        There is obviously no good reason for it. The fascists have to test the boundaries to see how the masses will respond. Behind this will be flirts with stricter gun controls on the heels of the next gun rampage and the cycle will continue until you arte numb to it. That’s how this stuff works.
        Americans are going to become numb to the monthly riots and most towns will welcome martial law. That is why Washington foments these issues so fervently.

  5. In 1940 and 41 they had something known as the Louisiana Maneuvers. It was a giant war game and dry run for combat in Europe that involved over 400,000 troops spread from Kentucky to Kansas. There was to my knowledge not a single conspiracy theory about a pending military coupe associated with the maneuvers.

    The fact that the US government can’t run a penny anti anti terrorism exercise in a few states without the widespread fear that something more sinister is going on says very bad things about the state of the relationship between the federal government and the people of the United States. It is not that these theories are true or even likely to be true that is the problem. They are not true or likely to be true. The problem is that the federal government under Obama has so alienated large segments of the population such that they are willing to believe they are true. And that perception is nearly as bad as these theories being true.

    1. I’m certain life under Bush had a little something to do with fostering paranoia. It certainly got Alex Jones and his infowars crowd swinging for the fences.

      Did you notice our wannabe agent provocateur has been posting stories about Jade 15 for a week now? He clearly wanted to foster some guilt by association, or at the very least goad posters (you especially) into defending the nutty teabaggers. But let’s be honest, a great deal of paranoia took root in the fertile loam of anti-Bush resentment. Loose Change, for God’s sake, remember that?

      1. It had been festering for a long time. I guess it really started under Clinton. There were a lot of really nutty conspiracy theories surrounding Clinton, from drug smuggling and murder and Arkansas to Vince Foster being murdered. I think the Clintons actually did a lot to foster that thinking. They encouraged the really nutty shit so that people would focus on that and dismiss it and ignore the really shady shit they actually were doing. They would constantly encourage and elevate the crazy shit as a way to discredit the legitimate scandals.

        That turned out to be terrible for the country. The Clintons of course didn’t give a shit but it was. More than anything it encouraged that kind of crazy thinking on the left and so what happened to Clinton from the Right happened to Bush from the left. And now we have a political climate that is rife with paranoia and that makes it nearly impossible to have an honest debate or make an honest criticism. That of course is exactly the way sleaze bags like Clinton and Obama want it.

        1. The Vietnam War set the tone for disbelief in government competency. Nixon’s shenanigans fostered a lot of conspiracy theories, Carter was too inept to support them, Reagan was, not sure what to call it, too obvious, plain, simple? but he generated lots of cospiracy theories. Bush 41 had been head of the CIA, but was as simple and plain as Reagan without the charm.

          There were conspiracy theories about the JFK, RFK, and MLK assassinations.

          Someone ought to write a book about these things. I bet they go back centuries. It by no means started with Clinton.

      2. Jesse mentioned Operator Urban Warrior. That was in 1999, under Clinton, but it was in Oakland so mostly lefties protested. Lots of talk about the WTO protests, etc.

    2. In 1940 and 41 they had something known as the Louisiana Maneuvers. It was a giant war game and dry run for combat in Europe that involved over 400,000 troops spread from Kentucky to Kansas. There was to my knowledge not a single conspiracy theory about a pending military coupe associated with the maneuvers.

      Perhaps the fact there was a world war getting up to speed might have had something to do with it?

      Why do this now? What massive conflict out in the world calls for mass military maneuvers in civilian areas in the US?

      1. That is not what they are doing. They are training for a terrorist attack, which seems just as relevant today as a large conflict was them.

        1. Why do they need to train for a terrorist attack in civilian areas across 7 states? Are we anticipating a simultaneous terrorist attack involving hundreds of terrorists across a broad area?

          I see no justification for a training exercise like this based to respond to any kind of realistic, even very low-probability, terrorist attack. That sounds like a pretext to me. Terrorist attacks in the US require no such broad response.

          Now, I know they are saying this is to prepare for overseas operations, and they want to practice in diverse terrain. They can practice in all that terrain on military bases. Why go to civilian areas?

          The stated reasons don’t satisfy.

          1. How about the fact that the chances of being a victim of a terrorist crime are less than being struck by lightning 3 times.

            They are doing it because they have figured out a way to scare the crap out everyone in tandem with he cooperating press. They know that americans are pussies and we will do nothing.

  6. Distrust of govt, yeah, but also increasing popular ignorance of what the military actually does in training. If these people had any idea on how many times pilots simulated bombing houses in the middle of nowhere USA, they’d probably wet themselves. If marines make a landing on a public beach in FL in a small scale exercise, nobody flips the fuck out, they just pull up chairs and enjoy the show. Next time, SOCOM’s just gonna think twice about actually giving local govt’s the heads up.

    1. If SOCOM does that, SOCOM will regret it really quickly.…

      1. Oh yeah, that was rhetorical. They’ll inform the population for sure, but next time their PA plan will be a little more ‘robust’ and account for the Alex Jones crowd. .

  7. “Miss Goldman is a communist; I am an individualist. She wishes to destroy the right of property, I wish to assert it”.

    —-Voltairine de Cleyre

    The meaning of left/right has shifted over the years. I think we’re in the midst of the biggest shift yet.

    No question that in Emma Goldman’s and Voltairine de Cleyre’s day, left/right centered on the question of property, but I think that has changed and is changing.

    To my eye, left/right is becoming more and more a question of government authority–with the progressive left being the biggest proponents of government.

    I’m not sure Voltairine de Cleyre was on the left on property in the left/right terms of her day, and we may live to see the day that Emma Goldman is remembered more for being on the right against government authority than for being a leftist/communist on property.

  8. I think it’s pretty safe to guess that she was nodding to an ideological inspiration.

    “Miss Goldman is a communist; I am an individualist.”

    One engaging in the fashionable fallacy of presentism might say the above statement is a clear declaration of the original Miss de Cleyre’s identification as TEAM RED.

    1. Emma Goldman was more complicated than the left generally concedes, too.

      “Goldman viewed the state as essentially and inevitably a tool of control and domination. As a result, Goldman believed that voting was useless at best and dangerous at worst. Voting, she wrote, provided an illusion of participation while masking the true structures of decision-making.

      She disagreed with the movement for women’s suffrage, which demanded the right of women to vote. In her essay “Woman Suffrage”, she ridicules the idea that women’s involvement would infuse the democratic state with a more just orientation: “As if women have not sold their votes, as if women politicians cannot be bought!”[167] She agreed with the suffragists’ assertion that women are equal to men, but disagreed that their participation alone would make the state more just. “To assume, therefore, that she would succeed in purifying something which is not susceptible of purification, is to credit her with supernatural powers.”[168] The_state_.E2.80.93_militarism. 2C_prison.2C_voting.2C_speech

      To my eye, this is a total refutation of progressive tactics.

      No, we would not have a just and free society if only women and minorities participated fully in government and elected women and minorities into positions of power. The problem is government coercion–and that’s still the problem regardless of who is driving the bus.

      1. It is a refutation of progressive tactics Ken. You are right. It is also a refutation of the entire idea that all life is politics and women didn’t have power without the vote. Women had plenty of power and in many ways more power than they have today. They ran the family and the home, which is in a just society much more important than politics.

  9. Speaking of conspiracy theories, the media is totally missing the significance of “deflategate”. The fact that Brady played with illegally deflated balls doesn’t mean that the Patriots’ Super Bowls or his record on the field is somehow tainted. He is a professional quarterback. He can throw a fully inflated ball just fine. He may prefer it deflated but it is not required. And every quarterback doctors the ball and he is certainly not the only one who does so outside of the rules.

    The impact of this is not on Brady’s legacy on the field. The impact is that it shows Brady to be a completely dishonest self serving piece of shit. Everyone agrees that the game balls are the property of the starting quarterback and equipment manageers and back up quarterbacks go to great lengths to ensure they are exactly the way the starter wants them. There is no way anyone touched those balls without Tom Brady telling them to do it. He was obviously the ring leader of the whole thing.

    1. What makes him a piece of shit is that when they were caught, he didn’t admit it and instead lied hoping that an equipment manager making $30,000 a year would take the fall for doing what he told them. He is untouchable. The Patriots are not going to cut him and the NFl is not going to suspend one of its star quarterbacks over this crap. Yet, he is apparently so image obsessed and of such low character he wouldn’t tell the truth and tried to stick the employees with the blame. Worse still, he made his coach, who clearly had no idea it was going on but had to have known Brady was the culprit once the story broke, go up and tell a ridiculous lie to protect him. After all Belicheck has done for him, Brady pays him back by making him lie and look stupid to protect his image when all Brady had to do was say “yeah, I told them to do it, everyone does it, sorry.” and nothing would have happened to him. What a fucking crapweasel.

      1. Yes, the damning report shows Brady once complained about an over-inflated ball to an equipment manager (16psi). That’s ckear proof of a conspiracy. You should now take down the global warming deniers John.

        1. Every back up quarterback spends about 25 minutes a ball making sure that each game ball is rubbed down and exactly how the starting quarterback likes it. They do the same thing for the kicking balls. No one in an NFL locker room does anything to a game ball unless the starting quarterback tells them to do it. This is why there is little doubt that Belicheck had any idea this was going on. He has a million things to worry about as a head coach and the game balls are the responsibility of the equipment manager and the starting quarterback. There is no way those balls were deflated unless Tom Brady wanted them that way and told the equipment people to do it.

          1. The “evidence” is that 4 balls were up to .3 psi below where the league thinks they should be. Since they have them on camera all but 90 seconds they are going with a guy going into a bathroom, taking the balls out, deflating them a fraction of a psi, and putting them back in in 90 seconds. The .3 psi was determined from using the refs memory of the pressure of 12 balls before the game down to a tenth of s psi. And the two gushes used at half time varied from each other by .4 psi. More than the supposed worst deflation. The evidence is absurd, before even getting to whether Brady ordered a code red.

            1. The gauges varied by .4 psi b

            2. The balls were tested and meet standard and were later delfated not to meet the standard. There is no doubt someone deflated the balls. And that someone had to be part of the Patriots’ organization since they were the ones who controlled the balls and were the only ones with any reason to touch them. And no one in that organization would have done anything to those balls unless Brady wanted it done.

              The logic is simple and irrefutable. He is Tom Brady. The most important man in the franchise. Those balls are how he makes his living. No equipment manager is going to take it upon himself to change anything about those game balls. That is not how it works.

              1. Your logic isn’t irrefutable by any means. If the balls stayed the same pressure during the temperature thange than they would have defied physics. Carnegie Mellon did experiments showing the pressure changes were well within expected limits. Half the Colts balls were below the limit as well. The far simpler explanation is that some of the Patriots balls started slightly lower and dependent on use and wetness ended up a few tents of a psi lower. That or some ridiculous feat of deflation in 90 seconds.

                1. The NFL disagrees. Why should I not believe them? Is it your contention that they are making this up? hardly. If there was any possible way to say this didn’t happen or was an accident, the NFL would have done so. It is not good for business to have its most successful and high profile franchise caught cheating. IF there were any rational way to exonerate the Patriots here, the NFL would have done so and made the entire thing go away.

                  Stop rooting for laundry for a moment and face reality. The Patriots broke the rules and Tom Brady was almost certainly the ring leader in doing so.

                  1. It’s clear you haven’t looked into this at all. Your statement that the balls being below the standard is proof of guilt is wrong. Of the 4 Colts balls checked 3 were below standard as well. Yet you don’t apply that same standard as proof. It’s not me that’s being biased. If the NFL clears the Patriots than it implicates the NFL is bumbling morons. There’s plenty of motive to clear themselves. They completely skipped the part about their own employee stealing a K-ball during that game, and was fired. That was the reason Kensil was called in the first place.

                    1. I thought it clear from the get go that the NFL was going to use this unimportant technical violation as a cudgel to punish the Patriots for their conduct during the Ravens game, which violated the spirit if not the letter of the rules, and the general conduct of the team in the Belichick era.

                      So far, nothing has happened to dissuade me from that prediction.

      2. You’re right(except for Bellichick not knowing, that man is an absolute control freak) but unfortunately, character means shit to the media. Look at modern politics. Hillary may be the worst offender, but there’s lying shit weasels on both sides of the aisle. Regardless of what you think about their positions, a media/society that gave a tinkers damn about character and honesty would never tolerate this kind of scum in positions of power or prestige.

        1. My feeling is that he didn’t. Sure he is a control freak but this is something that the quarterback controls. Belicheck has no interest in what condition the balls are in, as long as they are what the quarterback likes. It is the kind of thing even the worst micro manager would delegate. I am sure he told the equipment managers to make sure they had the balls exactly the way Brady wanted them and told Brady to make sure the managers knew what he wanted. Moreover, Brady would have never told Belicheck he was having the balls deflated for the simple reason that not doing so would allow Belicheck to truthfully say he had no idea it was going on.

          1. Thing is, he’s not just a control freak, he’s also extremely detail oriented.(and that’s a big part of what makes him so successful. See Saban, Lombardi, Bryant etc.) He could probably tell you how many layers of tape a receiver should have on bus ankle, or which cleats to use in every possible turf/weather combination.

            1. For sure. He is an incredibly smart guy. But there are only so many things he can worry about. I am sure he probably asked Brady if the balls were the way he liked them. I just don’t see him being involved in how they were prepared. That is up to Brady not him.

              I actually like Belicheck. You just have to respect a guy who is that good at his job. I also like the way he trolls the fuck out of the media by refusing the answer stupid questions.

              I am certainly not a Patriots fan, but I have never hated them either. This whole thing has changed my opinion of Brady a lot. He really is the phony his critics claim he is. It is interesting how people view the Patriots versus how they view the old John Madden Raiders. The old Raiders were degenerate cheaters. Deflating the balls to make them easier to throw is totally something they would have done. Yet, people love the old Raiders. The difference I think is that had the Raiders been caught, they would have manned up and said “yeah, so shoot me” and the Patriots immediately went into corporate lying mode. That makes the Raiders lovable rogues. The Raiders are the guys who sell you counterfeit hand bags out of the back of a car. The Patriots are the investment bankers who steal your retirement.

              1. Let me clarify. I don’t think Bellichick took part in deflating the balls or ordered it to happen. But I do think he knew, to some extent, that something was going on. I really want to like Bellichick. He’s an absolute genius at what he does both from a scheme standpoint, and getting the most out of his players. I admire his focus and actually like his (lack of) style, but I just get so tired of all the bullshit.

                1. The whole thing is just irritating.

          2. Belicheck has no interest in what condition the balls are in, as long as they are what the quarterback likes.

            Doesn’t matter, because ignorance is not an excuse.

            1. There is that. The NFL suspended Sean Peyton for a year for a bounty program that they admitted he had no knowledge of.

              1. I’ve got to say that my gut feeling is that the two things they’ve been caught breaking the rules on are probably just the tip of the iceberg. What else are they doing that we don’t know about? Not to say that they’re cheating in every way possible, but it doesn’t look very good.

                The NFL, of course, will do jack and shit, regardless of any complicity.

                1. Yes Pro. At this point there seems to be a culture of cheating. So, I agree there is a lot more going on. Of course, there is a culture of cheating in the entire NFL. There are millions of dollars at stake. People will do anything to get ahead in that environment.

                  1. Indeed. And the NFL isn’t one to punish its teams overly much.

            2. Jimmy Johnson of all people had one of the greatest coaching truisms I’ve ever heard. “Football players do two things. What you coach them to do, and what you allow them to do.”

    2. It’s beyond laughable that some folks in the media are pretending that Brady might actually receive some kind of punishment.

      There’s absolutely zero chance of that happening. Roger Goodell and the league have Kraft, Brady, and Belichick’s cocks rammed so far down their throats I’m not sure how they’re able to breathe.

      1. What has the league ever done for the Patriots? This is just wishful thinking.

        1. Brady lied; league integrity died.

    3. The fact that Brady played with illegally deflated balls doesn’t mean that the Patriots’ Super Bowls or his record on the field is somehow tainted.

      How does cheating not taint your accomplishments?

      1. Because not all cheating is the same. Some cheating doesn’t effect the game enough to make a significant difference. George Brett was caught cheating using too much pine tar. Does that mean he wasn’t a great hitter? Hell no it doesn’t. Yet it was every bit as much against the rules as using steroids or a corked bat.

        Its the same thing here. It was against the rules and cheating. But whatever advantage it conveyed is not significant enough to question their wins.

        1. But whatever advantage it conveyed is not significant enough to question their wins.

          Hard to say, IMO, if Brady would have won the DeflateGate game w/ regular balls.

          It is a rather remarkable coincidence that the Patriots went from dominating the playoffs year after year to getting sent home year after year in a row after they got caught cheating by filming other team’s practices.

          In a highly competitive sport, small advantages from “minor” cheating can make a big difference.

  10. I haven’t read your linked article, but are you speculating that the theory about Jade Helm’s being [whatever] was concocted by people opposed to it for legitimate reasons, who thought they could jack up opposition to it by creating a theory they didn’t believe in themselves? That’d actually be tres kewl!

    1. I haven’t read your comment, but isn’t it possible that Maine squirrels do not giraffe the oranges to their right?

      1. No it’s not. Not Maine squirrels.

  11. Pretty good breakdown of what they are training for……..will-do-it

  12. My mom makes $70 every hour on the computer . She has been fired from work for 9 months but last month her pay was $18079 just working on the computer for a few hours.
    See here. ?? ?????????

    1. Your mom is a webcam girl? Wow. Good genes, I guess, huh?

      1. If my mom were still alive, I would tell her to be a web cam girl. Warty and Episiarch alone would ensure that she had a good retirement and left me a large estate.

        1. Such men take what they want.

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