Jade Helm 15, the Special Operations weeks-long military training mission that kicked off this July in seven states out West, is about half-way over, and its peaceful progression has apparently emboldened several in the press to unleash pot-shots at government watchdogs who expressed concerns at its secrecy.
As WND reported, Jade Helm was widely criticized for its labeling of two states, Texas and Utah, and the southern portion of California as "hostile" areas for training purposes, and for refusing to embed journalists with the military during the exercise.
Meanwhile, other critics picked up on the "Master the Human Domain" mission logo and expressed suspicion the military was using the Jade Helm exercise as a psychological warfare testing ground to learn how U.S. intelligence agents could influence citizens in overseas conflicts.
Some said the exercise was aimed at taking Americans' gun rights; others, as a precursor to martial law. Reports also surfaced about closing Walmarts, fueling some to suggest the military was going to use the retail outlets as a staging area for the operation, or worse, as internment facilities.
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In response to these rumors and fears, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced members of the National Guard would be monitoring the exercise – an action that hardly alleviated all the worries.
Just a few days ago, Dallas pastor Rick Wiles and and televangelist Jim Bakker discussed the operation in a series of broadcast programs, saying the mission may be rounding the curve toward completion, but in their minds, Americans should remain skeptical of the military's actions.
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Wiles, for instance, told Bakker during one show: "The government is saying, 'All we're doing is, we've got our troops practicing for foreign wars,' but I'm not so sure about that. I think they are getting ready for social unrest."
It wasn't long after that discussion many in the media shot out some mocking pieces, slamming not just Wiles and Bakker but pretty much all Americans who expressed doubt in their government over Jade Helm.
Writing for the Dallas Observer, Stephen Young waxed sarcastically about the fears surrounding Jade Helm and said: "Congrats to everyone reading this outside of a FEMA camp based in an abandoned Wal-Mart for making it through the first month of Jade Helm 15 unscathed. For those of you who've been interned, and yet still inexplicably have web access, our prayers are with you. Thanks to the brave actions of Texas Governor Greg Abbott and the members of the Texas Guard he deployed to watch the not-at-all routine military takeover exercises enveloping the rest of the American South and Southwest, our fine state has remained largely unscathed."
He then jabbed at Wiles and Bakker, referring to the latter as a "disgraced televangelist ... who's previously claimed that Miley Cyrus has sex with demons."
Ring of Fire Radio picked up on the theme, blogging: "Televangelist Jim Bakker wants Americans to know that it's right to be skeptical of Jade helm 15. After serving time in prison for fraud in the 90's, Bakker returned to the airwaves to spread his message of doubt and deception. In a discussion with Rick Wiles, the pair ventured an idea (read: conspiracy theory) that the real purpose of Jade Helm 15 is to instill social distrust and unrest in communities. Thus preparing the country for another civil war."
The exercise, involving hundreds of special forces from four military branches – the largest of its kind on American soil – is due to wrap Sept. 15.