By Prof. James F. Tracy
Earlier this year US Retired Non-Commissioned Special Forces Officer Tom Mead addressed the Howard County Texas Board of Supervisors on the Jade Helm 15 military and law enforcement exercises that will be taking place in across the southern United States in Summer 2015.
“What is Jade Helm?” Mead asks those in attendance.
Jade Helm is a challenging eight week exercise. Truly, in the Martin and Howard County area we’re only going to be here for about five-to-five and half weeks. The eight weeks comes in where there is the preparation and planning that happens back in Florida and in the Mississippi area. The exercise is a joint military and inter-agency activity. What this means is that we have units from every military service participating in the exercise with us. And we also have some of our inter-agency partners, such as the FBI and the DEA, and some of the other agencies assisting us and working with us in the exercise. (Emphasis added)
The exercise is going to be throughout seven states,” Mead continues.
“Texas is the main bulk of the activity. We are spread from east to west, north to south, throughout the state of Texas. It is a Special Operations Command, General [Joseph L.] Votel-sponsored exercise to improve Special Operations forces’ ability to conduct unconventional warfare as part of the national security” (emphasis added).
In the question and answer portion of the presentation, Mead further explains to board members how Jade Helm, a new exercise he describes as also being developed by US Special Operations General Charles T. Cleveland, will now be conducted within the United States annually.
Further, Mead points out that the FBI and DEA will be involved in “questioning” individuals. It is unclear whether the individuals being interrogated are part of the exercise, or what they will be questioned about. “They will actually do some questioning for us at one of the airports in Arizona.” A military or civilian airport? He doesn’t elaborate.
Mead also provides a conflicted response when asked by the county officials if only US military and law enforcement personnel will be involved in the exercise. “Do you use any personnel from NATO, the UN or DHS?” one board member asks (at 12:56 in the above video). “Currently for Jade Helm it is US only. We, ah, that has been one of the discussions that, uhm, I’m not sure if it has occurred yet.”
A sober observer might conclude (as a portion of the public already has) that Jade Helm is likely a means to acclimate America for eventual martial law. Since September 11, 2001 US citizens have experienced a steady erosion of their civil liberties associated with the dubious rationale of the “war on terror.” The increased militarization of law enforcement and now operations like Jade Helm being carried out on domestic soil further indicate how the Posse Comitatus Act, introduced in 1878 and intended to prevent the federal government from using the military for domestic law enforcement, is being steadily eviscerated, though it is important to note that as recently as 2002 the US Congress reaffirmed the significance of the law.
Even the Rand Corporation has suggested that the US military has no clear criteria concerning when and how Posse Comitatus applies to exercises such as Jade Helm. “[I]t is critical,” Rand researchers observe in one study, “that the Army develop doctrine, leadership, and training programs that can provide clear and specific guidance on when and how the Posse Comitatus Act—as well as any other laws that proscribe Army activities in the domestic arena—applies and when it does not.”
The US military also wants to revisit Posse Comitatus, although it appears to regard it as a quaint formality, particulaly in light of its cavalier insistence that Jade Helm go forward unhindered and on an annual basis. “The Posse Comitatus Act is an artifact of a different conflict-between freedom and slavery or between North and South,” one military official argues. “Today’s conflict is also in a sense between freedom and slavery, but this time it is between civilization and terrorism. New problems often need new solutions, and a new set of rules is needed for this issue” (emphasis added). Given Jade Helm’s active collaboration between military and law enforcement such a remark is especially chilling.
Indeed, elected leaders and the federal law enforcement agencies involved in “partnering” with the military in Jade Helm routinely regard the civilian population as if it were a prolific spawning ground for “terrorists” (e.g. here, here, here, here and here).
The confusion over what should be a clear firewall between civil society and military exploits does not bode well for the US citizenry, who will soon be getting a glimpse in the “homeland” of what NATO and its military do on a routine basis to would be terrorists and their loved ones throughout the world.