Operation Jade Helm making some Texans nervous

BASTROP, TX (KTRK) -- You may be hearing a lot about Operation Jade Helm. The government says it's a massive military drill to be held across nine states, including Texas.

The drills are expected to last two months and could start any day now.

There's suspicion and skepticism among some, even conspiracy theories. California, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida are all included along with Texas.

In the Lone Star State more than a dozen cities are taking part in the special operations exercise including the Bastrop area.

In Bastrop up and down Main Street it's business as usual.

Business owner Chris Parachini says, "I'd say it's been overblown in the media."

Some residents hadn't even heard of Operation Jade Helm, but for those who have, Parachini says, "maybe helicopters going" and he adds he doesn't expect much out of the ordinary saying, "Anybody who lives near Camp Swift, we hear the sounds of freedom many nights, practicing shooting canons at imaginary targets."

Bastrop Mayor Ken Kesselus says he's received more media calls than inquiries from concerned citizens.

"I'm not expecting to see people running up and down the street with blank guns shooting at each other," he said.

The operation has been criticized and questioned by some conspiracy theorists.

Professor of History at University of Houston Bob Buzzanco says, "The government has drones and nuclear weapons and surveillance. If it really wanted to come in and do something, it certainly doesn't need to put up this pretense of Jade Helm to do it."

But any critics weren't found shopping on Main Street Monday.

"People who are riled up are either new or they don't understand anything about history," Parachini said.

A group of about 200 volunteers from a group who identifies themselves as "Counter Jade Helm" says they will monitor the exercises but even the Mayor says he doesn't know where all the operations will take place.

Governor Greg Abbott has directed the Commander of the Texas State Guard to monitor the operations. He says it's to ensure Texans are fully informed.
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