Are Walmart locations actually military bases that are interconnected by underground tunnels? No, that's not true: It's implausible that thousands of miles of tunnels could be excavated, made military-ready and maintained, all without detection, since the tunnels would disrupt electrical, sewer and water lines and would cross thousands of private properties.
The video "proof" offered amounts to a series of amateur videos of shuttered superstores, one of which was repurposed for detention of children who had crossing the southern border of the U.S. illegally. A spokesperson from the Department of Defense said there is no truth to the claim it operates Walmart properties as military bases.
The claim appeared in the title of a video post (archived here) on Facebook on September 5, 2021. The headline reads:
WALMARTS ARE MILITARY BASES (with thousands of miles of underground tunnels linking them)
This is what the post looked like on Facebook on September 8, 2021:
(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Wed Sep 8 14:56:52 2021 UTC)
The video pieced together several clips, mostly identified as video taken in Texas, from individuals who claim, without corroboration, that there is a connection between closed Walmart locations and U.S. military plots to subdue the citizenry. One video purports to show a Walmart turned into a prison. In Brownsville, Texas, a former Walmart store was in 2018 turned into a holding facility for 1,500 juvenile boys who had crossed the U.S. border unaccompanied by an adult.
In an email answering Lead Stories on September 8, 2021, a spokesperson from the Office of the Secretary of Defense said about the claim:
This is false.
Lead Stories has asked Walmart's public relations office for comment and will update this fact check when Walmart replies.
These claims link to a variety of conspiracy theories, including debunked claims that Jade Helm 15, a 2015 military exercise in several Southern states, was a plot to take federal control of Texas, one of the states where the exercise took place. Jade Helm 15 received mainstream media coverage, as did its related conspiracy theories -- some of which included suspicions about Walmart closures.