Texas county hides details of next Jade Helm-style war games — and hopes to avoid freakout this time
Officials in Bastrop County, Texas — which was the epicenter of Jade Helm hysteria this past summer — have approved another military exercise in the area next year but are keeping the details secret to avoid the craziness this time.
According to the Statesman, Bastrop County commissioners approved a request on Monday from the United States Special Operations Forces to allow the military to use parts of the county for covert warfare training from March 10 to June 5, 2016.
This time though, there will be no maps released showing where the exercises will be taking place and labeling Texas as “hostile territory.”
Approving the application to use private land — in addition to military facilities — County Judge Paul Pape said the exercises are important to the military.
“The fact that it became a media event last time doesn’t change my feeling that we need to support military training so the men and women in the military can effectively protect us and the freedoms we enjoy in America,” he explained at the meeting.
The new exercise is labeled UWEX 16 — standing for Unconventional Warfare Exercise — and Pape hopes it doesn’t become a media sensation like Jade Helm.
“We don’t have a fancy, catchy name that can be sent around social media,” Pape said.
Stoked by conspiracy websites like Alex Jones’ Infowars, the Jade Helm 15 exercises were rumored to be part of a takeover of the southwest by President Obama to convert it to Muslim territory — among other theories. Hysteria reached such a peak that Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) ordered the Texas State Guard to monitor the two-month-long Jade Helm 15 exercises to ensure there was no takeover.
Other conservative politicians also weighed in, included former Texas Governor Rick Perry (R), Congressman Louie Gohmert (R), Kentucky Senator Rand Paul (R), and Texas Senator Ted Cruz (R) who demanded a briefing from military officials. Conservatives stoking fears about the U.S. military occupying Texas eventually led to citizen “patriots” taking pot shots at some U.S. servicemen in the Jade Helm territories.
According to Pape, he has been in contact with Gov. Abbott’s office about the exercise and does not expect the governor to intervene again.
Plans to keep UWEX 16 quiet most likely will have the opposite effect among conspiracy buffs.
Upon hearing about the news exercises Eric Johnston, a retired deputy who led the Texas chapter of Counter Jade Helm, said he and his followers will likely observe and report on the new exercises.