The U.S. Army Special Operations Command responded to reports about the upcoming Jade Helm military exercise by characterizing concerns about the drill “alarmist,” but failed to address why Texas and Utah had been labeled “hostile” territory in documents related to the exercise.
As Infowars reported last week, Jade Helm 15, a “realistic” military training exercise which will involve the Green Berets, Navy Seals, and the 82nd Airborne Division, will take place throughout Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah and Colorado from July 15 to September 15.
USASOC spokesman Lt. Col. Mark Lastoria responded to charges that the exercise was part of preparations for martial law by claiming the drills were designed to ready troops for overseas operations.
“That notion was proposed by a few individuals who are unfamiliar with how and why USASOC conducts training exercises,” Lastoria said in an email to Stars and Stripes. “This exercise is routine training to maintain a high level of readiness for Army Special Operations Forces because they must be ready to support potential missions anywhere in the world on a moment’s notice.”
However, USASOCM failed to address the fact that a slide for the exercise characterized Texas and Utah as “hostile” territory and an area of southern California as an “insurgent pocket,” claiming that “computer firewalls prevented them from accessing the websites where the document appeared”.
The explanation that the U.S. Army cannot obtain an unclassified document associated with its own training exercise may be difficult to swallow for some.
Lastoria added that his office was receiving a lot of calls from concerned Americans, before going on to claim that the locations were chosen to closely approximate those U.S. soldiers would be expected to encounter overseas.
Since Infowars reported on the exercise, other mainstream news outlets have picked up the story, with news.com.au noting that, “The purported training material also mentions coordinating with local police, increased aircraft in the area at night and soldiers wearing civilian clothes and driving civilian vehicles.”
The exercise has drawn comparisons to a 2012 scenario outlined by retired Army colonel Kevin Benson, in which the U.S. Military is used to crush an insurgent rebellion overseen by Tea Party militia members who take over the city of Darlington, South Carolina.