Texans blame secret military takeover for Walmart closings, secret tunnelsNews of the Army’s operation Jade Helm stirred up widespread fears and deep mistrust of the American government in a sizable bloc of the public. Thousands of tweets, dozens of online publications and plenty of Chron.com commenters sounded the alarm of an impending military takeover. Now the virtual world of alternative news has added a new twist to the tale: Walmart is in on it, and there are secret underground tunnels. Multiple websites drew links between the suspiciously swift and simultaneous closure of a half dozen Walmarts nationwide and the military training drill that will have some of America’s most elite units–Green Berets and Navy SEALS among them–trying to blend in to the civilian population in Texas and the Southwestern states. It may seem crazy, but the fearful aren’t a totally marginal crowd. Online outcry over the original plans to hold the so-called realistic military training in American cities drew an official response from the U.S. Army Special Operations Command. Stars and Stripes, the news publication of the U.S. military, ran an article titled “Army Special Operations Command pushes back against alarmist claims about upcoming exercise,” The Washington Post wrote “Why Operation Jade Helm 15 is freaking out the Internet—and why it shouldn’t be” and VICE News reported “conspiracy theorists think an army training exercise will bring martial law to the US this summer.” MORE