Arizona is "leaning friendly" in the U.S. Army's multi-state, two-month "Jade Helm 15" exercise, but that doesn't stop some conspiracy theorists from worrying.
"This spells trouble, if you ask me," an anonymous e-mailer wrote us a few days ago. "This 'drill' may become active at some point, declaring martial law etc."
The concerned citizen then goes on to detail some of the military activity he claims to have seen lately in the West Valley.
He could be right about some of it: The Army, in a news release last month, says the public could expect to see heightened military presence due to the training exercise, which is of unprecedented size.
"Members of U.S. Army Special Operations Command will train with other U.S Armed Forces units July 15 through Sept. 15 in a multi-state exercise called Jade Helm 15," the March 24 announcement states. "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. There will also be economic gain: an increase in the local economy, in fuel and food purchases and hotel lodging."
The planned operation sparked a untold numbers of critical and/or conspiratorial posts on the Internet, resulting in a March 31 article by the Washington Post titled "Why Operation Jade Helm 15 is freaking out the Internet -- and why it shouldn't be." The article ran the neat World of Warcraft-type map by the U.S. Army that we poached, showing the West as a mix of friendly, hostile, or in-between states. It didn't stop the worrying. A search of Google News show the buzz over Jade Helm has only increased in the past few weeks.
Our anonymous e-mailer tells us the following information:
"I have witnessed 6 black hawk helicopters over dysart road in goodyear, new installations of what apper to be large street lamps being installed on all exits in the buckeye area of I-10 and an increases of military from apache junction all the way to buckeye az. phoenix is to be involved in these 'exercises'. luke afb has been working overtime as well. also being installed are some sort of white box devices never seen before on traffic lights. if you have not informed the public about these, please do so ASAP. we dont know what they plan on doing but this is the largest on our soil military op in USA history *in fort lauderdale they have already run 'drills' to round up 'dissidents'*."
He provided a link to some document talking about "WW3 Prep," but the link was dead.
Consider yourself "informed."
UPDATE May 8: We received an email today from concerned citizen Peg Lynch containing what is obviously more incredibly important information about this operation. Here you go:
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"Really wish you didn't disparage legitimate concerns with the term "wacko". Set the knee-jerk conspiracy theorists aside for a moment. These operations are going to be held throughout towns and small businesses in the States specified. Go to the presentation made by the Jade Helm vendor to the Big Spring County Supervisors meeting in TX and hear for yourself (YouTube). The citizens are supposed to "notice" the arm bands worn by all of the participants (which will also include role-player volunteers) when they see armed kidnapper's, tanks, swat, etc. Think of the elderly, the children and the uninformed. Dispatch for Sheriff's offices (according to the company spokesman) are being managed to expect and to ignore any calls from frantic citizens. In our own corner of unincorporated Pinal, we've been roused from bed for an hour while an unmarked non-PCSO helicopter circles the mountain (and our home) from 10:30 - 11:15 p.m. on a Saturday night, only to see Federal Mercedes Benz black surveillance vans atop the hill on our road that is not on the way to anywhere - only days later at dusk. Yeah, we're nervous. Because America is absolutely unique in its towns and layout (I'm a world traveller and know this.) So when the military says its preparing in our towns for what is off-shore - it is nothing but nonsense. Let's not have such a short memory of what happened in and to Germany and their people. Don't be a "Chamberlain". Trust somewhat but verify. The East Coast like nothing better to frame TX and AZ as "wackadoodles" in their liberal and deadly (see Baltimore) "sophistication". I'm no hayseed, either - a born and raised New Yorker and very well and formally educated, with decades of top level Fortune 100 experience. So, its cause for pause, because if it becomes obvious that this isn't what they say it is, pray tell Ray - what do we do about it? What can we do about it? Absolutely nothing except what the 2nd Amendment guarantees as that hedge against tyranny. Were the Founders "wackos", too?
"These drills are not occurring out on the Goldwater range and only on the Goldwater range. You bet we should be "concerned". Where pray tell, will it be in AZ? Can you find and report on that? Their pitch says it will involve "an airport" and will include the FBI and the DEA. Do you want to be travelling the day they commence their drill? I don't. The Jade Helm folks are now out of Sierra Vista as they like to say but they are very late of Ft. Bragg. P.S. The TX County had them on the agenda and the motion to approve as item 1 & 2 so very smacking of a forgone conclusion a la federal strong-arming. All I'm asking is that you take a mature even handed look at what is being foisted on the citizenry and the raw panic that has and will ensue as folks watch it unfold and keel over from a heart attack aka War of the Worlds, remember? That was fake, too, Ray."
Got a tip? Send it to: Ray Stern.