Article By: Sam Rolley
The grass-roots surveillance movement was organized by a group calling itself Counter Jade Helm, which boasts a Facebook following of more than 6,000 people & a website filled w/information about the military’s plans. The Counter Jade Helm website explained the citizen-initiated mission thusly:
Counter Jade Helm, aka CJH, is a training exercise for the people. In response to the military’s multi-state training, called Jade Helm 2015, citizens will participate in an unofficial fashion to practice counter-insurgency, organizational & intelligence gathering & reporting skills.
CJH is not affiliated w/the military’s training exercise. The objective is not to stop or countermand the military’s training, but to practice our own skills. Anyone can participate. Groups w/in each state that will play host to the military are being established to streamline the process. Individuals not wishing to be affiliated with a group can also submit information to this website for analysis & publishing.
National organizer Marine Pete Lanteri, 44, described by The Hill as a former Marine & “a New Yorker currently living in Arizona,” said that the group’s main goal is to observe what the military participants do in public.
“Obviously on a military base they can do whatever they want,” Lanteri said, according to The Hill. “But if they’re going to trade on public land, we have a right as American citizens to watch what they’re doing.”
The Washington Post reported last week that media will be largely prohibited from covering the military training exercises:
Embedded reporters won’t be permitted at any point during the exercise, in which military officials say that secretive Special Operations troops will maneuver through private & publicly owned land in several southern states. Lt. Col. Mark Lastoria, a spokesman for Army Special Operations Command, said his organization is considering allowing a small # of journalists to view selected portions of the exercise later this summer, but nothing is finalized.
That means Counter Jade Helm participants like Texas surveillance team leader Eric Johnston, a 51-year-old retired firefighter & sheriff’s deputy, will be the primary source of public information about the military’s actions.
According to Houston’s Chron, Johnston will “coordinate 3 groups of volunteers, about 20 folks in total, who hope to monitor the SEALs, Green Berets & Air Force Special Ops in Bastrop, Big Spring & Junction…If a team member sees 2 Humvees full of soldiers driving through town, they’re going to follow them,” Johnston told local reporters. “And they’re going to radio back their ultimate location.”
Johnston said that 1 of his team members is a licensed pilot who plans to conduct aerial surveillance of the military maneuvers.
The citizen response to Jade Helm mirrors Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s April decision to mobilize his state guard to observe the U.S. military’s planned training exercises in Texas after 100s of residence relayed concerns about Jade Helm.
“During the training operation, it is important that Texans know their safety, constitutional rights, private property rights & civil liberties will not be infringed,” he said in a statement at the time. “By monitoring the Operation on a continual basis, the State Guard will facilitate communications between my office & the commanders of the Operation to ensure that adequate measures are in place to protect Texans.”
Americans & some lawmakers skeptical of the Jade Helm exercises have at times been ridiculed by the mainstream media & political establishment. But amid intense Jade Helm secrecy & increasing federal power in recent years, people leery of the training event represent a sizable percentage of likely U.S. voters.
Rasmussen noted in May: “45% of voters are concerned that the government will use U.S. military training operations to impose greater control over some states, with 19% who are Very Concerned.”