Ottawa released a 'fake' security bulletin against Freedom Convoy, refuses to disclose source

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland asked government bureaucrats to find evidence linking the convoy to acts of terrorism. They found no evidence.

Ottawa released a 'fake' security bulletin against Freedom Convoy, refuses to disclose source
The Canadian Press / Cole Burston
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According to Blacklock's Reporter, Public Safety Canada falsified a security bulletin claiming the Freedom Convoy ransacked federal office buildings last year in Ottawa. 

On June 5, the office of Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said they did not direct the Government Operations Centre to issue the 'fake' bulletin last January 28. The operations centre responsible did not respond to a request for comment.

"We have received confirmation that protesters have started to enter office buildings in the Ottawa downtown core and are allegedly causing damage," said the bulletin. "As a result, Minto Place is going into weekend lockdown mode [all entrance doors will be locked] effective immediately."

However, an access-to-information request proved that assertion is incorrect, as no such incident involving protesters occurred. The public safety department did not reveal the source of the 'disinformation.' Still, a senior public safety staffer admitted the feds "[played] fast and loose" with the Freedom Convoy. 

Last February 25, Mendicino told MPs he advised reporters to "be very careful" in dealing with convoy participants. It ultimately furthered the government's 'disinformation' campaign against protestors.

The Canadian Parliamentary Press Gallery called the demonstration 'unsafe' in a February 1, 2022 letter. It provided no evidence to substantiate the claims, reported Blacklock's Reporter.

"Protesters of the truck convoy have harassed some of our members in the last few days, and we cannot afford to be left exposed without protection for hours outside the building," wrote Catherine Levesque of the National Post, then-Press Gallery president.

No Freedom Convoy participant ever faced charges for misconduct against reporters.

In the Public Order Emergency Commission, Canadians learned that department staff sought to discredit protesters as 'violent,' even without concrete evidence. 

"Some of their more extreme comments, i.e. calling for a January 6 style insurrection, are getting more coverage in the media," wrote staff in a January 24, 2022 text. "There could be an opportunity to get in on this growing narrative of the truckers."

"There's a danger that if we come down too hard, they might push out the crazies," wrote an aide. "That's fair," replied another.

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland also asked government bureaucrats to find evidence linking the convoy to acts of terrorism. Still, they found "no evidence" as no entities on the national terrorism watch list orchestrated the weeks-long demonstration in Ottawa last February.

According to communications between the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) staff, the RCMP and Public Safety Canada, Freeland's office contacted Trudeau's National Security and Intelligence Advisor (NSIA), Jody Thomas, for reasons to seize the bank accounts of convoy participants and supporters.

FINTRAC is Canada's financial intelligence unit that uncovers terrorism financing and money laundering.

"Apologies for a late evening email, but Finance reached out to the NSIA, who reached over to my DM (deputy minister) regarding the following question: Exploring all avenues to address the convoy in terms of financial restrictions and wondering whether there is any information or indication of listed entities in Canada or abroad engaged in the financing of the convoys?"

"We ask this question every day at ADM NS ops calls, and so far, the answer has been there is "no evidence" to suggest listed entities are directly financing protests," replied Thomas.

A January 26, 2022 document corroborated those internal communications, describing the multi-million dollar fundraising efforts of the convoy as "unlikely" to fund terrorism. "All ideologically motivated violent extremist attacks in Canada have been low cost and low in sophistication," wrote FINTRAC managers.

"The potential for funds being used for violent activity seems unlikely at this time considering ideologically motivated violent extremist crowdfunding is usually not used towards conducting [a] violent activity," they wrote.

The Public Order Emergency Commission (POEC) determined Ottawa's invocation of the Emergencies Act to seize convoy participants' assets and bank accounts to bring about its end was appropriate. The convoy entered Ottawa last January 28 and disembarked on February 14.

Under the Emergencies Act, law enforcement was legally able to establish exclusion zones around the convoy. It could kick people out without identifying them as protesters. It also permitted banks to freeze the bank accounts of convoy participants and supporters.

Records show Freeland distributed a restricted blacklist to foreign banks of 201 trucking companies sympathetic to the convoy, intending to temporarily seize their finances to end the convoy protests.

According to an Inquiry of Ministry tabled in the House of Commons, banks froze $7.8 million belonging to suspected convoy supporters across 267 bank and credit union accounts and 170 Bitcoin wallets. 

"Information was shared only with entities listed according to the Emergency Economic Measures Order," wrote the RCMP in the Inquiry. They confirmed no information was shared with non-governmental entities other than the banks listed.

The Department of Finance, in a submission last February 3 to the Special Joint Committee on the Declaration of Emergency, said the federal government never verified the blacklist.

A reporter asked Freeland on February 17 whether freezing bank accounts was appropriate for the government to take. She called the financial measures "a powerful tool to disincentivize protest…and shrink the size of the [convoy]."

POEC Commissioner Paul Rouleau said online threats against officials, the risk of violence from lone wolf actors, "concerning" memes from Diagolon, and weapons at the Coutts blockade with supposed Diagolon paraphernalia constituted threats to national security.

"The standard of reasonable grounds to believe does not require certainty," he claimed. "There was credible and compelling evidence supporting both a subjective and objectively reasonable belief in the existence of a public order emergency."

"I have concluded that the Cabinet was reasonably concerned that the situation it was facing was worsening and at a risk of becoming dangerous and unmanageable," said Rouleau. 

According to pollster Angus Reid, over half (51%) of Canadians perceived the Freedom Convoy as a national security threat. Canadians believed the convoy posed a threat of espionage, sabotage, foreign influence, serious violence, or an overthrow of the federal government.

Eight in ten Liberal voters said the federal government met the criteria. At the same time, only two-in-ten Conservatives shared that opinion. 

Half of Canadians said Ottawa had justification for invoking the Emergencies Act to clear protesters. Only one-quarter said invoking it was unnecessary.

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