A valid threat or just bored Bundy alumni?
In May 2014 at a little ranch near Bunkerville, Nevada, a small army of patriots, militiamen, psychos, and gun-nuts gathered to fend off the encroaching US Government, manifested in the Bureau of Land Management. While much of the army comprised the respectable “who’s-who” of the US Militia movement, there were several right wing extremists, paranoid preppers, and all around wackos who always managed to jump in front of a camera or make a dumb comment on radio. Their paranoia was kept at bay by the rigid para-military discipline fostered in the legitimate militia groups. Unfortunately, as always happens in large scale movements like this, a small amount of paranoia always leaks through the cracks and causes havoc. In Bundy’s case, an unnamed, DOD insider, who was some sort of ex-Green Beret or SEaL, or Delta Force Commando told the Oath Keepers Eric Holder was going to wipe them out with a drone strike. The ensuing chaos tore a wide chasm between the Oath Keepers and dozens of other militia groups. What does this have to do with Op: Jade Helm 15?
Activist groups love conspiracy theories. The left was certain Bush was going to declare himself a dictator in 2008. The current Black Lives Matter/ Ferguson movement is rife with conspiracies about police abuse, evidence tampering, and so on. The far right however seems to hold a special place in Tin-Hat City as is evident by their latest target; The Unites States Military. This summer dozens of military personnel will take part in a nationwide training exercise called Jade Helm 15. The exercise will include elements of public surveillance, urban scenarios, and quite possibly, hostile crowd control. The Pentagon, has been uncharacteristically open about JH15 and information on the exercise is ubiquitous on the Internet. Despite the openness of the government, and vast amounts of verified information on the net, hundreds of conspiracy pages have popped up all across the country.
The paranoia reached critical mass in April when the Texas State Guard was ordered to observe and report the movements of JH15 operators. The fear in Texas, as well as in dozens of other states, is JH15 is a precursor to POTUS declaring Martial Law, and confiscating guns. This is of course the best case scenario. The worst is “another” false flag operation leading to Martial Law and the confiscation of guns. Either way, the two biggest fears of the right are coming true, and all at the hands of the US Military.
Upstart militia groups and obscure militia main-stays jumped on board the paranoia train and began kicking out social media and “information” pages designed to educate the population on the dangers of JH15, and even resist it if needed. The biggest casualty in the furor over JH15, just like in the current BLM riots, is trust. The mainstream right has traditionally stood-by and defended the military at all costs. The far right has always been “pro-military” but maintained a cautious distance. With JH15 coming, the far right has decided the military can no longer be trusted. This is a dangerous evolution as most of them have also cast aside support for the police, never supported Congress or the White House, and hate the FBI. If they can cause enough trouble, they would easily begin to pull the mainstream right down with them. This would not be good for the right who need to convince the nation they are ready to lead in 2016. Distractions like JH15 conspiracy theories only reinforce the notion that the right wing is crazy.
In terms of dangers to JH15 operators and contractors; time will tell. It is entirely reasonable to expect surveillance teams and live-streamers, trailing JH15 personnel. It is also possible, however unlikely, a one-off takes his chances at fighting the government by targeting JH15. In the end, once JH15 is over, the Internet will move-on to the newest conspiracy theory and the far right wing will continue to look distant and unrelatable.