CBS News has reported that the Islamic State recently released a ‘Kill List’ targeting American military personnel, mostly in the Navy and Air Force which have been responsible for the majority of airstrikes against ISIS in the Middle East. ISIS appears to have used public records and social media to develop their hit list while attempting to identify anyone who may have been involved in the air strikes. Police have been advised by the Pentagon to increase patrols in the neighborhoods of the service members who have been specifically targeted.
Also targeted on their list are seven Texas cities: Abilene, New Braunfels, San Antonio, Wyle, Fort Hood, Bedford, and Killeen. While ISIS has threatened to attack domestic U.S. targets in the past, their specific highlighting of Texas comes at an interesting time considering the latest controversy over reports that a large, unprecedented Joint Special Operations training exercise will be taking place in the state this summer. Documents leaked to Info Wars detail a large domestic training exercise known as Jade Helm that will involve Green Berets, Navy Seals, the 82nd Airborne Division, Marine, and Air Force Special Operations, and it is set to take place from July 15-Sepember 15. The documents have provoked criticism due to the document’s labeling of Texas, Utah, and parts of Southern California as “hostile.” They also outline plans for military personnel to work with local governments and interagency partners, drawing ire from those who highlight the illegality of cooperation between the military and police for domestic purposes as outlined in the Posse Comitatus Act.
The military has rebutted that the exercise will be for training purposes only and is designed to prepare Special Operations personnel for future operations overseas. However, the military failed to address why certain states were colored red and labeled hostile, and some former military personnel have pointed out that the military strictly adheres to a principle known as ‘Train how you fight’ which means that training exercises are designed to match future battlespaces as closely as possible. One example of the lengths that the military will take to conduct realistic training is the National Training Center in Ft. Irwin, California, which contains over 1,000 square miles of meticulously crafted Middle Eastern style villages spread across the desert that have been occupied by paid Iraqi and Afghani nationals who assume the roles of villagers and insurgents during extended military training exercises that take place immediately before the soldiers are deployed overseas. Furthermore, due to the involvement of local American law enforcement agencies and so-called interagency partners, who are undoubtedly quite different than the type of law enforcement agencies that SOCOM personnel will encounter overseas, what are we to suspect that the nation’s elite Special Forces are really training for? Are they planning on sending the Department of Homeland Security and your local Sheriff to fight ISIS in the near future?
While the exercise has drawn plenty of attention and criticism for the aforementioned reasons, there is another unsettling aspect of large domestic training exercises that has gone overlooked. Now that ISIS has specifically targeted Texas, for whatever reason, another frightening aspect of this situation comes to the minds of those who remember recent history. Strangely enough, most of the major terrorist attacks on domestic soil since 9/11 have occurred simultaneously during training exercises that strangely mirrored the attacks that then actually happened. Most recently, take into consideration the Boston Bombing. The Tsarnaev brothers were accused of carrying bombs in backpacks and placing them near the finish line before they exploded. Oddly enough, it was later reported by the Boston Globe that the Department of Homeland Security had provided a $200,000 grant for a training exercise known as Operation Urban Shield, planned months in advance, that mirrored almost exactly what happened on the day of the Boston Marathon. Eyewitness marathon runner, Alastair Stevenson, said that he was told over loud speakers that bomb squads and bomb sniffing dogs were part of a training exercise during the day of the race before the bombs detonated.
In 2005, four terrorists detonated four bombs in quick succession aboard London Underground trains across the city and, later, a fourth on a double-decker bus in Tavistock Square in what has been labeled the 7/7 terror attacks. Ironically, a training exercise was occurring at the exact same time that closely mirrored the attack that ended up really happening that day. The BBC reported shortly after the attacks:
Finally and perhaps most famously, were the five exercises conducted by NORAD on the morning of September 11, 2001, that involved simulated hijacked planes as admitted by then-Acting Head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Air Force General Richard B. Myer in congressional testimony. The words of the Northeast Air Defense operator who was recorded asking, “Is this real world or exercise?” when notified of the actual hijacked airliners have echoed eerily over the last 14 years.
It is troubling that some of the largest anti-terror training drills involving cooperation between military and civilian officials have resulted in three actual terrorist attacks during the drills. Has it all been coincidence? It is unknown whether or not the military will continue with Operation Jade Helm this summer now that they have received so much press attention; but if they do, it would be wise to keep in mind the threats by ISIS against some of these training exercise locations in the event that yet another actual attack will occur during a drill.