For months now, Alex Jones has been warning his conspiratorially inclined audience at Infowars about the dangers the Jade Helm 15 military exercise poses to the United States -- concerns which have invaded the corridors of power, forcing the Pentagon to issue a statement that the military will "not be taking over" Texas.
The Pentagon is merely echoing publicly what it communicated to Texas Senator Ted Cruz (R) earlier this week. When asked by Bloomberg's David Weigel about Jade Helm, Cruz said that his office had "reached out to the Pentagon to inquire about this exercise," and was "assured it is a military training exercise."
Jones isn't convinced. He is, however, adamant about never having claimed Jade Helm 15 represents a military takeover over large swaths of the United States. Its purpose, he has argued, is to "acclimatize Americans to the sight of troops on the street and is part of a wider and manifestly provable agenda to prepare for civil unrest in America."
In their complaint about media coverage of Infowars, Jones and Paul Joseph Watson wrote that other news outlets are
insulting the intelligence of the numerous residents who packed out the Bastrop County Commissioners Court this week -- many of them ex-military -- who calmly and rationally made it known why Jade Helm is of significant concern when placed in the context of decades of preparation for martial law and domestic disorder.
The problem with such a claim is that even in the link they provided -- in which Alex Jones talks with Joe Biggs at the Bastrop County Commissioners Court -- they discuss how "the Jade Helm architects add further speculation as to what's really going on." That speculation is founded on documents obtained from the United States military indicating that the seven-state military exercise
will be conducted on private and public land with the permission of the private landowners, and from state and local authorities. In essence, all exercise activity will be taking place on pre-coordinated public and private lands.
The public can expect nothing much different from their day-to-day activities since much of exercise will be conducted in remote areas. The most noticeable effect the exercise may have on the local communities is an increase in vehicle and military air traffic and its associated noise.
Which translates, in the minds of Jones' listeners, into the idea that the American military is practicing for a later joint operation against the American people. As Bob Wells, a Bastrop resident, told the Austin American-Statesmen earlier this week, "that’s what they’re doing. And they’re moving logistics in place for martial law."
Beliefs like Wells' were vindicated earlier this month when Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered the State Guard "to keep an eye" on the military units exercising in Texas. "It is important that Texans know their safety, constitutional rights, private property rights and civil liberties will not be infringed," he wrote in a letter to Major General Gerald Betty. His assurance that "there is nothing for the public worry about" fell upon deaf ears, however, forcing GOP presidential candidate Cruz to contact the Pentagon. He was "assured [Jade Helm] is a military exercise," but added that he understands why Americans might not trust "what [the Pentagon] was saying."
Which is why, today, Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steve Warren issued a statement in which he reassured anxious Americans that "Jade Helm is a long-planned and coordinated exercise. We are not taking over anything."