How Alex Jones' deranged Jade Helm conspiracy became an unstoppable monster

The radio host has been raving about military takeovers lately — and a member of Congress just backed him up

Published May 20, 2015 3:20PM (EDT)


On his Monday broadcast, radio conspiracy theorist Alex Jones elaborated on a statement earlier this month by Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) regarding the now infamous Jade Helm military exercises taking place this Summer in the American southwest. As we reviewed last week, Jones is patient zero for the hairbrained conspiracy theory suggesting that Jade Helm is a rehearsal for martial law and that it could touch off hostilities between the U.S. Army and armed citizens.

While describing the (arbitrarily designated) "hostile" label given to Texas on the Jade Helm operations map, Gohmert wrote:

Such labeling by a government that is normally not allowed to use military force against its own citizens is an affront to the residents of that particular state considered as hostile, as if the government is trying to provoke a fight with them. [Emphasis mine.]

That last part is regurgitated directly from one of Alex Jones' many perverse civil war fantasies, including the one in which he warned that hundreds of thousands of police officers will be killed in a war against so-called "patriots." Gohmert, in a not-so-subtle way, lent both his authority as a member of Congress as well as his personal blessing to Jones and anyone else who feels as if they're going to be provoked by a hostile U.S. military, and who might decide to lash out as a consequence.

Along those lines, Alex Jones, on his Monday radio show, talked about the Gohmert statement and how it confirms all of his suspicions about Jade Helm.

Louie Gohmert is on the homeland security committee -- terrorism, homeland security committee in the House. He is the deputy chair, the vice chair. So he's privvy. [...] The point is Gohmert's on the homeland security committee -- he knows what's going on, okay? He's an army officer, a veteran. He's a smart guy.

Before we get into what Jones is doing here, it's important to note two things: 1) Gohmert is not a smart guy; and 2) how harrowing is it that Gohmert is a sitting member of Congress who gets to vote on matters that impact the entire country? Gohmert once described Thomas Jefferson's "wall of separation" between religion and secular government as a "one way wall." It's unclear how the laws of physics apply here given how walls have two sides and if something can scale the wall from one side, logic dictates that something else from the other side can do the same. Was Gohmert imagining a wall with a rope ladder on one side alone? Or was he imagining a semi-permeable membrane whereby religion can diffuse via osmosis through the wall, but secular government can’t push through from the other side? Or was he imagining that religion, because of its divinity, could be hoisted by winged cherubim over the wall and air-dropped onto the secular side?

Regardless, as a member of Congress, Gohmert gets to vote on healthcare, the environment and campaign finance. He sits on the Committee on the Judiciary; the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties; the aforementioned Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security; the Task Force on Judicial Impeachment; the Committee on Natural Resources; the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources; and the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands. There are more than a few of those assignments that should scare the hell out of us -- especially "the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties."

Jones seized upon Gohmert's authority on homeland security as a means of legitimizing his twisted Jade Helm theory, further sculpting Gohmert as both an expert and an insider -- a very serious official who knows what's really going on. Jones continued by laying out how exactly everything could go down:

It could be that they're planning false flags against the military during the operations, and claim that we in the new media, the alternative media, the patriot media spurred that. It could be that they're profiling areas where unstable people are, and that will get scared and think it's some type of U.N. Red Dawn invasion. And there could be friendly fire -- a friendly fire operation that could be blamed on the public.

He then looped Gohmert back into his theatrics:

The congressman came out and said that it's clear that they're trying to provoke a fight with Texans. And that they may want to try to get people to do something to the military as a pretext to try to demonize the liberty movement. So he's saying exactly what I'm saying.

Precisely. So, Gohmert and Jones are in agreement that the operation is intended to provoke a violent reaction, thus smearing the patriotic Texans whomerely opened fire, in this hypothetical, on invasive government forces.

The point is you've got Senator Cruz, Congressman Gohmert, Governor Abbott, all of them agreeing that we've got too many federal power grabs happening.

Jones, with his appeal to authority fallacy, successfully illustrates the Jade Helm circle of insanity.

  1. First, Jones invented theories surrounding an otherwise routine military exercise.
  2. The theories were repeated by characters like Gohmert, Cruz and Abbott, thus mainstreaming what ought to have been merely the mad ramblings of a talk-radio carnival barker.
  3. Then, Jones quoted the politicians as insiders and top-level officials, which projects to his audience a patina of authenticity and legitimacy to the original theory.
  4. Return to #1 and repeat.

This is where the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party has landed: backstopping ludicrous tall tales marketed by a known flim-flam artist who's earning a fortune by cynically exploiting the naïveté and paranoia of his listeners. At the end of the day, it seems rather obvious that Gohmert is engaging in a version of the badly exploitative Alex-Jones business model; and, in return, he's giving Alex Jones more scaffolding upon which to build additional levels on top of the theory.

Again, this can't be emphasized enough: Gohmert is a sitting member of the U.S. Congress.

Sleep tight.

By Bob Cesca

Bob Cesca is a regular contributor to Salon. He's also the host of "The Bob Cesca Show" podcast, and a weekly guest on both the "Stephanie Miller Show" and "Tell Me Everything with John Fugelsang." Follow him on Facebook and Twitter. Contribute through LaterPay to support Bob's Salon articles -- all money donated goes directly to the writer.


Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Alex Jones Conservatism Conspiracy Theories Jade Helm Louie Gohmert