From: The Houston Chronicle, Nick Anderson (April 30, 2015)
Basis for cartoon:
"A former state representative from Texas lashed out at Gov. Greg Abbott for his decision to have Texas troops monitor the U.S. Military as it runs drills across the Lone Star State this summer."
"Abbott's order came after Texans, online and in person, voiced stringent distrust and fear of the military, which they feared would turn against them to serve the interests of the federal government. Todd Smith, a 16-year member of the Texas House from near Fort Worth, wrote a scathing open letter to the governor."
For complete article see Houston Chronicle link: Operation Jade Helm
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If I didn't live in on the blue island of Houston, I would be looking for another state to move to.
Two months after news surfaced that U.S. Special Operations troops will launch a broad training operation in several southwestern states this summer, the Texas state government is registering new concerns: Gov. Greg Abbott called Tuesday for the Texas State Guard to monitor the mission.
Abbott, a Republican, said in a letter to Maj. Gen. Gerald “Jake” Betty that he wants monitoring of Operation Jade Helm 15 “to address concerns of Texas citizens and to ensure that Texas communities remain safe, secure and informed occurring in their vicinity.” It marks the first time that a state governor has responded to outrage from those who fear the training exercise isn’t what the military promises.
“During the training operation, it is important that Texans know their safety, constitutional rights, private property rights and civil liberties will not be infringed,” Abbott wrote. “By monitoring the Operation on a continual basis, the State Guard will facilitate communication between my office and commanders of the Operation to ensure that adequate measures are in place to protect Texans.”
The State Guard falls under the command of the Texas National Guard and the governor, and is focused on providing support to local authorities in times of crisis. It is considered an organized, legal state militia.
The operation, announced by U.S. Army Special Operations Command in March, has prompted widespread conspiracy theories that the United States is preparing to hatch martial law. That is especially so in Texas, which was labeled in briefing slides prepared for local officials as hostile:
This map shows the military’s plan during the exercise Jade Helm 15, which begins in July. (U.S. Army Special Operations Command map)
As Checkpoint noted in March, the military has routinely launched exercises in which regions of the United States are identified as hostile for the purpose of training. But conspiracy theories continue to persist. Some have even hypothesized that the rioting in Baltimore is actually a cover for the military to take over through Jade Helm 15:
U.S. military officials have tried to tamp down the speculation. Army Lt. Col. Mark Lastoria, a spokesman for Army Special Operations Command, appeared on Monday at an informational meeting in Bastrop, Tex., and fielded a variety of pointed questions, according to the Statesman newspaper.
“You may have issues with the administration. So be it. But this institution right here has been with you for over 200 years,” Lastoria said at one point, according to the newspaper. “I’ve worn this uniform across five different administrations for 27 years.”
Lastoria has said repeatedly that the exercise is designed to prepare U.S. Special Operations troops to handle foreign threats.
Some photos of the event reflect the level of skepticism among Texas residents:
The outrage and conflicting information raise questions about the safety of U.S. troops involved in the exercise. Some have drawn parallels on social media to a 2002 incident in which a sheriff’s deputy in North Carolina shot two U.S. Special Forces soldiers in civilian clothing after they tried to disarm him. One of the soldiers was killed. They thought he was part of a role-playing exercise known as Robin Sage, which is a major training event for Green Beret soldiers, officials said at the time.
In 2009, the family of the soldier killed reached a financial settlement with the Moore County Sheriff’s Department in North Carolina and the former deputy involved, Randall Butler, according to news reports at the time.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott has ordered members of the Texas Military to monitor federal troops in an upcoming two-month training exercise planned for the Lone Star State.
Operation Jade Helm will bring the U.S. military's most elite soldiers, including the Green Berets and Navy SEALS, to Texas for simulated special operations in a hostile territory. But plans for the exercise have roused fears in many Texans of a federal occupation.
"During the training operation, it is important that Texans know their safety, constitutional rights, private property right and civil liberties will not be infringed," the governor wrote. "I am directing the Texas State Guard to monitor Operation Jade Helm 15."
The State Guard is a militia of volunteer reservists, headquartered at Camp Mabry in Austin, meant to serve in times of emergency or catastrophe. It is one of three branches of the Texas Military, a force commanded by the governor.
Chapter 431 of the Texas Government Code--"State Militia"--reads, "The governor may call all or part of the state military forces to repel or suppress an invasion of or insurrection in or threatened invasion of or insurrection in the state or if the governor considers it necessary to enforce state law. If the number of state military forces is insufficient, the governor shall call the part of the reserve militia that the governor considers necessary."
Officials with the State Guard said they'd been asked to monitor the federal troops in order to provide updates on the progress and safety of the operation, but hadn't yet developed a plan.
"We are always ready to answer the call of the Governor, and we are in the initial planning and coordination phase in response to the Governor's directive," a spokesperson said.
The announcement follows weeks of growing public outcry over the training event. Super right-wing news websites first circulated an Army document describing the planned exercise in March, and since then a broad theory of military plans to subdue Texans and institute martial law has emerged. At a weekend meeting of the commissioners' court of Bastrop County—one of 17 Texas counties that will see federal troops training between July and September, hundreds of citizens turned out to voice fear and anger with an Army spokesman.
At least two counties, Victoria and Goliad, have seen their portions of the exercise canceled by the Army, but officials with the Victoria County Sherriff's Office said they did not know why.
Army Special Operations Spokesman Mark Lastoria told the Chronicle that more than 1,000 troops would practice "emerging concepts in special operations warfare," and said expressed fears of soldiers in civilian areas "center around misinterpretations." The Washington Post has reported that past military exercises have seen U.S. troops treat domestic territory as hostile for the sake of training.
But it's done little to ease the fears of Texans highly distrustful of the federal government. In a press release, the governor said he hoped his deployment of Texas troops to monitor the exercises would comfort citizens.
"Directing the State Guard to monitor the Operation will allow Texas to be informed of the details of military personnel movements and training exercise schedules, and it will give us the ability to quickly and effectively communicate with local communities, law enforcement, public safety personnel and citizens," he wrote
what can you say? they're fucking idiots