A Facebook account set up for citizen observers to monitor "the attempted infiltration of our towns during Operation Jade Helm," is drawing attention from both concerned Americans and the trolls who live to tweak them.
The Houston Chronicle reported on Friday that hundreds of wary Texans are banding together to keep a watchful eye on U.S. military troops during the scheduled military maneuvers out of fears that the Obama White House and the Pentagon are orchestrating a takeover of the Lone Star state.
According to organizer Eric Johnston, a deputy sheriff from Kerrville, "team members" will monitor the military in the field by "conducting counter surveillance."
"If a team member sees two Humvees full of soldiers driving through town, they're going to follow them," Johnston explained. "And they're going to radio back their ultimate location."
A website, Counter Jade Helm, has been set up that will eventually include "vetted reports " from the field.
At this point it appears to be a work in progress as the home page combines info on the group ("The objective is not to stop or countermand the military's training, but to practice our own skills. Anyone can participate") along with template instructions ("Vermilion adopts a business or commercial centric visual model, with corporate background shades interwoven with configurable, vibrant or brand colors, allowing for an equilibrium between professionalism and artistic allure").
According to Johnston, he has his work cut out for him, saying, "Once I saw the freaking nut-jobs coming out of the woodwork I was spending half my day discrediting what they were posting. No nut-jobs will be put in the field."
On the CJH Facebook page, like-minded patriots have been posting updates and posing questions, some of them unintentionally humorous while others are clearly trolls.
"I support Counter Jade Helm. The 'exercise' is not supposed to be going on in my area, yet I saw caravans of military vehicles coming this way in April," writes David Kidd. "If I were to see military vehicles going through my town, I would stand in front of them until they were able to move or arrest me."
Brenda Barnett Douglas writes, "Our national gaurd post was abandoned about 10 years ago ..... as of a couple of mpnths ago ....... it has been filled with military ewuipment with more every week .... . I live about 1o miles from air force base ..... which has been unusually quiet . Its nothing to see jets in the sky ..... but there has been nothing in the past few weeks ...... a lady just oddly retired from base and i asked her about jade helm and she would not respond ......... so i am like hmmmmm ......."
Although Jade Helm is reportedly limited to the southwest, concerns are being raised elsewhere, with Dakota J. Sibio writing, "Whats going to happen to the northeast? I live in Central NY, any information that is credible will be greatly appreciated!"
A helpful Arthur Hutchinson replied, "Well the Red Sox -Yankee series is a must see. Newport Rhode Island has a jazz fest this time of year, "before adding, "Don't forget Portland seaport. Must see."
Other trolls were not so subtle: