Jade Helm 15, the multi-state, two-month U.S. Army Special Operations Command training exercise, began today, but the conspiracy theories surrounding it have collectively become a story unto themselves — with wild theories to include FEMA death domes and ice-cream-truck morgues.
The Army calls Jade Helm just a standard training operation for unconventional warfare. But some have "connected the dots," and the military's true motives remain unstated: to either engage in an occupation or at least prepare for war within the U.S.
Whether you have concerns about Jade Helm, or simply find the theories and ensuing furor and paranoia entertaining, below are the most striking theories. Meanwhile, skeptoid.com has a primer for anyone looking for more benign explanations to the alleged evidence of nefarious plotting — for those unworried about being labeled "sheeple" by conspiracy theorists.
FEMA Death Domes:
A hurricane dome in Florida in 2012, a structure that was being built in part with money from FEMA.
Photo Credit: David J. Phillip/AP
Some have alleged that new dome-shaped facilities are being built by FEMA for the purpose of detaining insurrectionists. While the Associated Press has written about the shelters, Jade Helm conspiracy theorists have latched onto FEMA Death Domes. Though purportedly hurricane and storm shelters that can protect a large number of people (and in cases provide community facilities like gymnasiums), conspiracy theorists argue that walls designed to withstand hurricanes and tornados make great prisons, and have linked them to Jade Helm.
Blue Bell Ice Cream trucks: If you are going to start a war, you need a place to put the bodies, right? Some conspiracy theorists believe Blue Bell Ice Cream trucks could serve as mobile morgues. While none of the conspirators at Blue Bell balked at the idea and publicized the plot, sleuths found evidence: film of about a dozen Blue Bell trucks traveling on the same highway as a military convoy, apparently I-25 in Colorado.
Conspiracy theorists are trying to link Blue Bell with Jade Helm.
Photo Credit: Orlin Wagner/AP
Blue Bell closed it's Denver-area distribution center near I-25 in May, the same month as the video was posted. Fort Carson sits about 75 miles down I-25 from Denver. The company has said the convoy convergence was a coincidence. Blue Bell has been reeling from a recall and production shut-down following discovery of listeria monocytogenes in its ice cream. Multiple deaths in recent years have been linked to the outbreak. Still, a conspiracy-minded site called the company's first-ever recall suspicious and the trucks' proximity to a military convoy "creepy" while also linking the company to the Bush family and defense contracts, but admitted it couldn't verify whether the trucks were preparing to be mobile morgues or merely transporting food or just the trucks themselves from a closing facility.
Walmart: Always Low Prices ... on bases for martial law: The world's largest retailer has become an essential element to any Jade Helm conspiracy site. A handful of Walmarts — two in Texas and one each in Florida, California and Oklahoma — suddenly closed in April for six months, with the company saying they needed to make plumbing repairs. There are actually two groups with conspiracy theories, which note that city officials in the cities said Walmart wasn't filing for permits for repairs, according to a Florida ABC affiliate. One group expressing doubt is organized labor: some of the closings were allegedly punitive and retaliatory measures against workers agitating for better wages and rights, something they've been convicted of doing in Canada.
Walmart stores have also raised suspicions.
Photo Credit: Colin Kelly/Staff
But Jade Helm theorists remain unsatisfied with either explanation of the closing of five out of more than 4,000 U.S. stores. (In addition, they cite razor wire protecting the roof of an abandoned Walmart in Cincinnati, though some noted it is in a high crime area and that copper and HVAC equipment would be a target for thieves.) Jade Helm theorists say the military plans to enact martial law and use the stores as processing locations or possibly to control the food supply in poorer areas. A theory also involves China using the sites as command centers, as it allegedly tries to replace the dollar as the global currency with its own and disarm Americans during a hostile takeover of the nation.
Asteroid strikes: Armageddon predictions are nearly as old as humanity, and while the world won't exist forever, doomsday prognosticators are still batting .000 despite many hearty swings. But they're nothing if not persistent, and now some believe that Jade Helm is preparation for an asteroid strike that will wipe out life on earth. (To be fair, sending Bruce Willis to land on it and drill a hole for a bomb wouldn't be much more useful.)
The theory goes that eventually the world-ender will be discovered by the population as the asteroid nears, and the military will be used to corral the anarchy, possibly to force people to do what it thinks needs to be done to save humanity, or else just to make the last few weeks on earth less "Lord of the Flies" and more "North Korea."
Russia to rescue independence-seeking Texans: Recently the incoming Joint Chiefs chairman called Russia the biggest threat to the U.S. Meanwhile, some Jade Helm theorists suggest Russia is coming to arm rebels in Texas in response to the U.S. arming of rebels in Ukraine and other countries in Russia's backyard. In fact, some say Russia has already infiltrated the U.S. to help prepare for the civil war.
An alternative to this theory is that the U.S. is pretending Russia is arming an American rebellion in order to justify a declaration of martial law. Apparently the U.S. government is using the conspiracy websites to initiate the spreading of the lie that Russia is trying to start a civil war in Texas, all as a part of a false flag operation.
And another angle says Russia is in a secret allegiance with President Barack Obama. This one suggests that foreign troops will actually run the FEMA camps imprisoning dissidents, a theory complete with a Russian invasion.
Speaking of Obama: A number of online voices have cast doubt on the idea that there will ever be a 2016 election. They say Obama simply will impose martial law and become a tyrant ... using a military that largely disapproves of his overall performance as Commander and Chief.
Will President Obama declare martial law? Yes, claim some theorists.
Photo Credit: Evan Vucci/AP