Convoy of Truckers: Intelligence Feared Foreign Influence | Commission of Inquiry into the State of Emergency

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Convoy of truckers: intelligence services feared foreign influence | Commission of Inquiry into the State of Emergency< /p>

Report finds trucker protests “a long-term threat to public safety”

Protest by truckers blocked downtown Ottawa for nearly three weeks last winter before law enforcement intervened (file).

As police prepared to chase the convoy of downtown Ottawa truckers last winter, an Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Intelligence Service report warned that this guy movement posed a long-term threat to public safety and that “foreign adversaries” may have attempted to take advantage of it.

In a February 19 report from the OPP's Provincial Operational Intelligence Office, analysts raised the specter of foreign influence within the protest.

Available information suggests that foreign adversaries may have tried to take advantage of blockades and protests by "freedom movements" to protect or enhance their own strategic economic and political interests, analysts wrote in the 12-page report, released during the inquiry examining the federal government's decision to invoke the Measures Act. x27;urgency to end the protest.

Previous reports have noted that controversial political figures in the United States have expressed support for blockades in Ottawa and Windsor, and foreign funding of the Ottawa blockade, largely by the United States. The recent report regarding the possible use of fake social media accounts by foreign actors to promote blocking suggests another outside influence.

OPP document details were first reported by Global News.

Face to face between protesters and law enforcement, during the truckers' demonstration in Ottawa last winter (archives).

Analysts have also predicted that such foreign influence efforts could continue beyond the protests.

These actors will likely continue to exploit and to aggravate existing national dissent, they wrote. If so, their activities could pose a permanent threat to the security of Canada.

The OPP intelligence report, normally shared only with certain law enforcement agencies, paints a very different picture from a summary – also made public by Judge Paul Rouleau's commission of inquiry – made in a February 6 conference call with David Vigneault, director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS).

There [are] no foreign actors identified at this stage supporting or funding this convoy, Mr. Vigneault said at the time, adding that CSIS had also not observed any funding of the protests from foreign states. .

Foreign actors is the term generally used by intelligence services to describe foreign countries or those who work on their behalf, as opposed to individuals who live in another country.< /p>

The February 19 report, however, is not the first alert from OPP intelligence analysts about potential influence from outside Canada.

In a February 8 report, analysts described the situation in Ottawa as volatile and said actions in support of protests across Ontario appeared to be increasing.

Foreign ideological and financial support helps strengthen the resolve of protesters and their supporters, and validates their rhetoric around government excesses, they wrote.

In another report a day later, OPP intelligence analysts reported an interview with an Ontario MLA and convoy supporter given to RT.

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RT, formerly Russia Today, is said to be a Russian government-controlled platform for directing disinformation at the West in the advantage of strategic foreign policy goals [of] the Russian state, they pointed out.

In the February 19 report, analysts said the U.S. Congress was getting involved in investigating whether some Facebook activity supporting the convoy originated outside of Canada.

Media reports indicate that the US Congress has requested information from Facebook about the extent to which obsolete Facebook accounts from overseas have aided discussions on the protests in Canada.

Report says protests like last winter's could be repeated (archive) .

The request was allegedly prompted by the fact that Facebook had discovered that certain online groups which promoted the convoys had been created with “dummy” user profiles. created in Asia and Eastern Europe.

Analysts have predicted that the lockdowns and protests will pose a long-term threat to public safety and security at the national.

Ongoing and broader actions in the future in support of the freedom movement and against the enforcement actions taken during the Ottawa lockdown are all but certain, they said in the 19 report. february. Potential targets include police personnel and buildings, as well as elected officials, especially those representing the Liberal Party of Canada or supporting the invocation of the Emergencies Act.

Analysts said provincial and city officials could also be at risk as well as people and businesses who have publicly opposed the blocking.

Support from elected officials and religious leaders, as well as online misinformation, will continue to fuel, validate and reinforce the ideologies and conspiracy theories that seem to underlie some of the protesters' grievances and motivations.

To date, the investigation has released more than 1,300 documents.

With information from 'Elizabeth Thompson from CBC News

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