The Jade Helm conspiracy: Here are 5 things to know

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Jade Helm 15, the huge Army special-operations training exercise, starts Wednesday in Bastrop, Texas. About 1,200 troops in seven states are participating to learn skills needed to operate in numerous overseas combat environments.

For comprehensive coverage of Jade Helm, click here. For now, here are five things you need to know to get up to speed:

1. Details have been tweaked since the original plans were announced. For instance, California apparently has been been dropped from the original operation map that set off the internet furor by marking Texas and Utah as "hostile."

2. A Texas crowd made national news earlier this year by accusing a uniformed lieutenant colonel of ushering in martial law, but those residents recently have been downplaying concerns.

3. Counter Jade Helm, a group describing themselves as citizen observers, will be in Bastrop and other communities hosting the operation. They say their efforts should not be conflated with conspiracy theorists who have come up with a panoply of paranoid possibilities.

4. While the Twitterverse is teeming with Jade Helm commentary, you probably won't be hearing a whole lot about it from the military. Officials say residents will see little if any of the activity, and military news releases are, ahem, unburdened by an abundance of elaboration.

5. One rumor has it that the "Jade" in the name refers to China. But the Army says the name was chosen simply because participants will remember it.