comScore

WATCH LIVE: TRUMP IMPEACHMENT TRIAL DAY 6

TX Gov. Orders Troops to ‘Monitor’ Military Exercise over Conspiracy Fears of ‘Martial Law’

Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) announced Tuesday the mobilization of the state guard in response to a military training exercise that conspiracy theorists believe a prelude to a federal takeover.

The exercise is a joint training operation of elite military divisions like the Navy SEALS; up to 1,200 soldiers will participate, with the cooperation of city and county authorities. However, its revelation has roiled some communities and led to its cancellation in at least two Texas counties.

“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 in a statement. “I am directing the Texas State Guard to monitor Operation Jade Helm 15.”

The operation, made public due to an unclassified military document, has stoked fears on right-wing websites that view it as a dry-run for operations that would confiscate firearms and imprison right-wing dissidents. Per InfoWars, the training exercises sometimes include foreign soldiers, which “serve to blur the lines of national sovereignty, slowly leading to the formation of a North American Union.”

“Jade Helm is about establishing concentration camps on American soil,” reads another website. (Fun fact: those camps will apparently be in Wal-Marts.) In that version, ISIS will overwhelm the southern border, and Jade Helm would be “a proactive attempt by the elite to head off a civil war which would occur in response to the aiding and abetting that the federal government has committed against the American people on behalf of an ISIS incursion.” Others have connected the operations to the U.N. (“Jade Helm. Jade is blue. Helm is German for helmet. Blue Helmet. UN blue helmets?”)

At a meeting in Bastrop county, one military official was “forced to refute that martial law was underfoot and said misinformation has been spread by those with a ‘personal agenda’ against the Obama administration.”

Abbott’s spokesperson said it was “not a fair characterization” to say the governor was reacting to right-wing paranoia. “He’s addressing concerns expressed by Texas citizens that are looking for more information about the factors of the operation and have expressed safety concerns about property rights and civil liberties,” his spokesperson said.

The Texas Democratic Party is already scoring points. “If the governor truly respects the men and women of our armed forces, both national and Texan, he shouldn’t make public policy and operational decisions on the basis of tea party Internet chatter or the rants of conspiracy theorists,” a spokesperson told the Dallas Morning News.

UPDATE: White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest was asked about the operation Wednesday:

[Image via screengrab]

——
>> Follow Evan McMurry (@evanmcmurry) on Twitter

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under:

Follow Mediaite: