Operation Counter Jade Helm – Rolling Stone
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Operation Counter Jade Helm

Members from the Patriot Movement track a U.S. Military exercise

operation counter jade helm

Pete Lanteri, the national coordinator of Counter Jade Helm, searches for military activity near College Station, Texas.

Ben Sklar

This spring, officials at the Pentagon unveiled Operation Jade Helm, a real-world simulation designed to put Special Forces through what the military calls the "environmental challenges" of operating behind enemy lines. The troops will largely move in secret through a seven-state battle space – from Utah to Florida – blending in to resident populations, occasionally by seeking the help of locals.

Almost as soon as the drill was announced, conspiracy theorists across the country voiced fears that the exercise was no more than a cover for imposing martial law. But Pete Lanteri, an ex-marine from Long Island who has patrolled the border with the Minuteman Project, saw a unique opportunity for Patriot Movement groups to gain tactical experience shadowing the military on domestic soil. This summer, he organized a group of 200 or so "observers" to launch Operation Counter Jade Helm, a civilian monitoring mission intended to keep U.S. soldiers in check – that is, if Lanteri and his recruits can find them. "Shit, if the military is gonna do their thing in public," Lanteri says, "so are we."

operation counter jade helm

Ben Skalr

Watching

Eric Johnston watches vehicles and front gate procedures at Camp Swift in Bastrop, Texas.  Lanteri checks his phone for messages or any information about the base and operations in the area.

operation counter jade helm

Ben Sklar

Open Carry

Come and Take It Texas, a group supporting the open carrying of firearms (not affiliated with the Counter Jade Helm group), came to Bastrop to film Jade Helm parody videos. Some members carry black-powder pistols and others carry long rifles.

operation counter jade helm

Ben Sklar

Surveillance

Observers in a Counter Jade Helm group watch the Camp Swift military base from across the street of the main gate at a gas station.

operation counter jade helm

Ben Sklar

On the Move

Lanteri drove endless back roads and around peoples' private ranches to make notes on suspicious activity near College Station, Texas.

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