The controversies and suspicions surrounding Jade Helm 15, a Special Operations training mission set to kick off in select residential communities in seven states in the coming days, have just ratcheted up a bit due to the military’s recent veiled announcement: No press allowed.
Army Special Operations Command spokesman Lt. Col. Mark Lastoria put it this way: “All requests from the media for interviews and coverage of U.S. Army Special Operations Command personnel, organizations and events are assessed for feasibility and granted when and where possible. We are dedicated to communicating with the public, while balancing that against the application of operations security and other factors,” the Washington Post reported.
But in reality, repeated requests by the Washington Post to embed a reporter among the Jade Helm participants have been turned down – and the cited reason only fuels speculation about the secrecy of the military operation further.
Lastoria told the newspaper embedded journalists would compromise the mission by revealing the identities of those taking part. But as the Washington Post pointed out: Similar Special Operations missions on U.S. soil and in foreign nations that have taken place in recent years have allowed journalists on the scene.
For instance, one reporter was given access to the final Green Beret soldier training test, Robin Sage, in North Carolina. And others have been granted the chance to cover special operations’ officials as they took part in training missions at overseas locations, the Washington Post said.
Jade Helm has been widely criticized for its seeming secrecy, and for a map that labels Texas and Utah and the southern portion of California as “hostile” areas for training purposes. As WND previously reported, New Mexico “isn’t much friendlier” in terms of training considerations.
Citizen complaints and concerns about the military mission, which is touted as a way for Special Operations forces to hone their urban warfare skills in realistic community settings, have reached such a level that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott put his National Guard on notice to monitor the federal activities in the state, WND reported. The military, meanwhile, says such fears are foolish and the exercise is benign.
Jade Helm is a U.S. Army Special Operations Command training mission that will start July 15 and span two months. The other states involved include Colorado, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico.
Its logo, “Master the Human Domain,” has caused some consternation, too. The phrase stems from a military move to adapt U.S. battle strategies to win against al-Qaida. The new tactic requires a more psychological approach to warfare, where trained U.S. troops try to blend in with civilian populations to learn how to influence their behaviors – and ultimately, achieve long-term military success.