Freedom Convoy 2022 ‘advocated civil war,’ CSIS intel report claims

Ex-RCMP officer, assigned to guard Trudeau, identified as a senior organizer

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service’s ITAC unit warned late last month, just before the Freedom Convoy staked out Parliament Hill, that protesters, including some extremists, “could use rudimentary capabilities, such as trucks, cargo and fuel, to cause disruptions to infrastructure,” according to a report by the U.K.-based Guardian newspaper.

Threat underestimated

The Integrated Terrorism Assessment Centre (ITAC) is a federal organization within CSIS, responsible for assessing worldwide terrorism threats to Canada and Canadian interests. According to a description on the ITAC website, its purpose is to provide support for the decision-making needs of senior federal leaders.

A report generated by ITAC on the Freedom Convoy, which The Guardian claimed last week to have seen, stated that the Ottawa Police Service – which has a mandate to provide overall security in the nation’s capital – was warned of the imminent arrival of the Freedom Convoy, although it later emerged that the OPS underestimated what they would be dealing with.

Canada’s ‘January 6’

As cited by The Guardian, the ITAC report said supporters of the convoy “advocated civil war,” called for violence against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and said the protest should be “used as Canada’s ‘January 6’”, which was a reference to the storming of the United States Capitol in Washington DC in early January last year.

“Extremists and other individuals supporting Covid-19 conspiracy theories and violent anti-authority/anti-government views have expressed intent to participate in the convoy and to attend the accompanying protest in Ottawa,” The Guardian said, quoting from the ITAC report.

$5,000 or five years jail

Police in Ottawa worked to remove protesters, some of whom had been camped in their trucks near Parliament Hill for weeks. (Photo: Newsfirst Multimedia)

Last week, during a webcast briefing on the government’s enactment of the Emergencies Act in which Newsfirst Multimedia participated, senior administrative officials with Public Safety Canada outlined the consequences for protesters defying orders to leave Ottawa, including $5,000 fines or five years in jail. The same penalties could also be applied to anyone bringing aid to participants such as food or fuel.

While the Emergencies Act covers four types of threat, the second, known as a Public Order Emergency, is being used, and is defined as being “for an emergency that arises from threats to the security of Canada and that is so serious as to be a national emergency.”

Defining a Public Order Emergency

The Emergencies Act classifies any or all of these threats as a Public Order Emergency:

(a) Espionage or sabotage that is against Canada or is detrimental to the interests of Canada or activities directed toward or in support of such espionage or sabotage;

(b) Foreign influenced activities within or relating to Canada that are detrimental to the interests of Canada and are clandestine or deceptive or involve a threat to any person;

(c) Activities within or relating to Canada directed toward or in support of the threat or use of acts of serious violence against persons or property for the purpose of achieving a political, religious or ideological objective within Canada or a foreign state;

(d) And activities directed toward undermining by covert unlawful acts, or directed toward or intended ultimately to lead to the destruction or overthrow by violence of the constitutionally established system of government in Canada.

Officials requested anonymity

The list of threats cited as justification to invoke the act does not include lawful advocacy, protest or dissent, unless the latter take place in conjunction with any of the activities referred to in paragraphs (a) to (d). Such was the overall state of alarm hanging over the nation’s capital last week that Public Safety Canada asked media to not identify its experts and spokespeople.

The Emergencies Act regulations listed the places where blockades are no longer being allowed, including Parliament Hill and the streets around it where there are many federal buildings, airports, harbours, border crossings, piers, lighthouses, canals, interprovincial and international bridges, hospitals, trade corridors and infrastructure needed for the supply of utilities including power generation and transmission.

Accounts ordered frozen

A special order on emergency economic measures also gave powers to police, banks and insurance companies to freeze accounts and cancel vehicle insurance policies belonging to people deemed to be protesters and who refused to cooperate by leaving when ordered.

As well, the Emergencies Act designated towing companies as an essential service that can be ordered by police to remove trucks, failing which tow trucks can be seized to allow police to complete the task themselves.

‘Extremists and other individuals supporting Covid-19 conspiracy theories and violent anti-authority/anti-government views have expressed intent to participate in the convoy,’ stated itac’S report

The New York Times reported last week that a team of leaders from Freedom Convoy 2022 worked out of operational centres located in hotel rooms a short distance from Parliament Hill, “some with military and right-wing organizing backgrounds,” who “orchestrated a disciplined and highly coordinated occupation … It is a crew that includes former law enforcement officers, military veterans and conservative organizers …”

Convoy leader guarded PM

On Feb. 9, CBC News identified the chief of security for Freedom Convoy 2022 as Daniel Bulford, a former RCMP officer who was on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s personal bodyguard detail until last year. According to the CBC, Bulford quit after refusing to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

CBC News also identified two other senior Freedom Convoy organizers as former law enforcement officers or military veterans. Tom Quiggin, a former military intelligence officer also worked with the RCMP and was considered one of the country’s top counter-terrorism experts. And Tom Marazzo, identified as an ex-military officer who served in the Canadian Forces for 25 years, now works as a freelance software developer, said the CBC.