Intelligence analysts warned of ‘foreign adversaries’ influence on convoy protest

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As police moved to clear the convoy protest that paralyzed downtown Ottawa final winter, a confidential police intelligence report warned that freedom motion protests had been a long-term safety menace and that “overseas adversaries” might have tried to leverage the protest.

In a Feb. 19 report from the Ontario Provincial Police’s Provincial Operations Intelligence Bureau, analysts raised the spectre of overseas influence within the protest.

“The accessible info means that overseas adversaries might have tried to leverage the liberty motion blockades and protests to guard or improve their very own strategic financial and political pursuits,” analysts wrote within the 12-page report, made public by the inquiry inspecting the federal authorities’s choice to invoke the Emergencies Act to finish the protest.

“Previous reporting famous controversial political figures within the U.S. voicing assist for the blockades in Ottawa and Windsor, and overseas funding of the Ottawa blockade, a lot of it from the U.S. The current reporting concerning the doable use of bogus social media accounts by overseas actors abroad to advertise the blockade suggests one other exterior influence in home affairs.”

The particulars of the OPP doc had been first reported by Global News.

The analysts additionally predicted such overseas influence efforts might proceed.

“These actors are more likely to proceed to use and irritate extant home dissent,” they wrote. “If so, their actions might symbolize an ongoing menace to Canada’s safety.”

The OPP intelligence report, usually shared solely with “chosen regulation enforcement items,” paints a really completely different image from a abstract — additionally made public by the inquiry — of a Feb 6 convention name which included David Vigneault, director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS).

“There (are) no overseas actors recognized at this level supporting or financing this convoy,” Vigneault informed the assembly, including that CSIS additionally was not seeing funding for the protest coming from overseas states.

“Foreign actors” is the time period normally utilized by intelligence companies to explain overseas nations or these working on their behalf, versus people who reside out of the country.

The Feb. 19 report wasn’t the primary time the OPP intelligence analysts flagged the potential influence of folks exterior Canada on the convoy protest.

Foreign assist ‘serving to to harden the resolve of protesters,’ report says

In a February 8 report, the analysts described the state of affairs in Ottawa as “risky” and mentioned actions in assist of the protests throughout Ontario gave the impression to be growing.

“Foreign ideological and monetary assist helps to harden the resolve of protesters and their supporters, and is validating the narrative of authorities overreach,” the analysts wrote.

In one other report a day later, the OPP intelligence analysts flagged an interview that an Ontario MPP and convoy supporter gave to RT.

“RT, previously RUSSIA TODAY, is reported to be a Russian government-controlled platform for steering disinformation on the West to learn the strategic overseas coverage goals [of the] Russian State,” they wrote.

In the Feb. 19 report, the analysts mentioned the U.S. Congress was getting concerned within the query of whether or not some Facebook exercise supporting the convoy was coming from exterior Canada.

“Media reporting signifies that the U.S. Congress has requested for info from Facebook concerning the extent to which shell Facebook accounts from overseas facilitated messaging concerning the convoy protests in Canada,” they wrote.

“The question was reportedly motivated by reporting that Facebook had found that some on-line teams selling the convoys had been created with ‘dummy’ consumer profiles arrange in Asia and Eastern Europe.”

Workers use heavy gear to take away momentary fencing and provides from the Parliament Hill space in Ottawa Feb. 23, 2022. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

The analysts predicted that freedom motion blockades and protests would “symbolize a long-term menace to public security and safety domestically.”

“Ongoing and future actions in assist of the broader freedom motion and in opposition to the enforcement actions taken on the Ottawa blockade are virtually sure,” they wrote within the Feb. 19 report. “Potential targets embrace police personnel and buildings, in addition to elected officers, significantly those that symbolize the federal Liberal Party or who assist the invocation of the Emergencies Act.”

The analysts mentioned provincial and municipal public officers could possibly be in danger as nicely as folks and companies who publicly opposed the blockade.

“Support from elected officers and non secular leaders, in addition to on-line disinformation, will proceed to gas, validate and reinforce ideologies and conspiracy theories that seem to underpin some of the protesters’ grievances and motives.”

To date, the inquiry has made greater than 1,300 paperwork public.

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