Things We’re Watching
Who Pays The ‘Freedom Convoy’ To Disrupt Commerce And Break The Law?
By now you are long past weary of the sight of the truckers and the motley crue Canuck trash entourage that composes the so-called ‘Freedom Convoy’ and you are counting the days and hours before Canadian authorities in Ottawa, Windsor, Winnipeg and elsewhere in that country, take the gloves off and turn the heat up to full boil on the malcontents.
In that sentiment, you’d need to get in line behind Canadian residents of the cities where this often violent disruption is taking place.
Graphic showing findings of an Angus Reid Institute’s public survey in Canada on public response and sentiment toward the ‘Freedom Convoy’ protesters.
This survey and several others conducted over the last few weeks, since the emergence of this episode (January 29), show that between 70 and 75% of the residents of the nation to our North, are so not down with the lawlessness and disorder of the protesters, who are the equivalent of our native MAGATTS (that’s with short vowel ă).
And the survey further found that “those who support some form of action (93% of Canadians) to remove protesters are largely supportive of arrests if demonstrators refuse to leave. Three-in-five (62%) say this should happen.”
Follow the $$, Part One
People have wondered, “where are all these idle individuals getting money while they are not working, but either squatting on public property or sitting in their trucks?” At first the answer was from a crowdfunding site, “Go Fund Me”, which had accumulated reportedly over $10 million in funds for the protesters.
But GoFundMe soon pulled the plug and ordered a return of the moneys to the donors, citing in a statement that:
“We now have evidence from law enforcement that the previously peaceful demonstration has become an occupation, with police reports of violence and other unlawful activity.”
After that setback, another funding site cropped up to replace the one that GoFundMe shut down. It was launched on an existing platform, “GiveSendGo”. This is where things really get interesting. “GiveSendGo” purports to be “The Leader In Christian Fundraising.”
Vice News notes that “GiveSendGo has become the go-to platform for extremists of all stripes in recent years, hosting fundraisers for groups including the Proud Boys, QAnon influencers, anti-vaxxers, and the families of Jan. 6 prisoners.”
Here is a mission statement meme from the website:
So, what kind of a “difference” is the crowdfunding for Freedom Convoy 2022, making? For one thing, it is aiding and abetting dangerous militant groups including White Nationalists.
The Montreal Gazette reports that the public has witnessed members of the convoy movement displaying Nazi symbols, Confederate flags and the misappropriation of the Star of David, to conflate government health directives with the genocide in Nazi Germany.
Ottawa police report that there are over 100 criminal investigations in process involving complaints of various crimes including violence, theft, vandalism and public disturbances. Despite this, the likes of Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), have praised the anarchists, describing them as “patriots” and “heroes.”
Senator Rand Paul, (R-KY), said he hopes truckers come to America and “clog up cities” in an interview last week with the Daily Signal, a news website of the conservative Heritage Foundation.
CIJA (Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs) CEO Shimon Koffler Fogel observed that,
“Twenty-four hours after International Holocaust Remembrance Day and on The National Day of Remembrance of the Quebec City Mosque Attack and Action against Islamophobia, there are Nazi flags being flown in public, in Canada, on Parliament Hill. This should be horrifying to all Canadians.”
It seems, as if we didn’t already know this, that the whole “self sustaining, no public assistance for us rugged individualist” mantra is a hollow sentiment in light of reports that members of the trucker convoy besieged a homeless assistance kitchen – the Shepherds Of Good Hope, demanding they provide food and aiming racial slurs at workers there.
The Fascist roots of the Freedom Convoy
A remarkable, but not unexpected fact about the organizers of the ‘Freedom Convoy’ or alternately, “Bear Hug 2.0” is their roots in fascist anti-Union thuggery in Canada and anti-immigrant nativism, along with militant opposition to efforts to mitigate Climate Change. The ‘Freedom Convoy’ is an outgrowth of the “United We Roll” movement, led by “Canada Unity” founder James Bauder.
Bauder and the other leaders of Canada Unity / United We Roll / Freedom Convoy are up to their follicles in the patented elements of conspiracy theories and far right extremist politics. Bauder copiously posts Tucker Carlson’s segments on his Facebook page; supports claims that 9-11 and extremist mass shootings are government false flags; believes that Bill Gates, Pfizer and of course, George Soros are behind the virus, while simultaneously calling COVID-19 a “political scam” and the “plandemic”.
He is also an exponent of the Qanon cult movement, using the hashtag “#WWG1WGA”. Along with that, Bauder is allied with the “Stop The Steal” movement.
Among Bauder’s cohorts in Canada Unity, the precursor to the Freedom Convoy, is Pat King, described by Vice News as:
a former organizer with the Western Canada separatist party Wexit – King gained notoriety after he helped organize a rally in Red Deer, Alberta, that turned violent, and thanks to his repeated attempts to weaponize his misunderstanding of the law to repeal Alberta’s COVID-19 measures. King is a prolific streamer, using his social media pages to warn of “Anglo-Saxon replacement” and to make disparaging remarks about immigrants and the LGBTQ community, per videos cataloged by Anti-Hate Canada.
King has made numerous unequivocal terrorist threats against the Canadian government and even in particular the government’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, averring for example, that “the only way this thing is going to end is with bullets.” Here, is a sampling of his many inflammatory comments:
Anarchy posing as ‘Freedom’ and ‘Liberty’
Emily Leedham, writing in The Jacobin, describes the organizational goals of the convoy leadership and its goons:
“The freedom that matters to the Convoy’s organizers is the market’s “freedom” to operate without interference from both unions and government regulations that cover workers’ health and safety. In short, the Convoy only purports to be a people’s movement. In reality it is the populist wing of right-wing interest groups, actively undermining real worker solidarity.”
As has been noted by many observers, the Freedom Convoy movement, not only traffics in militant rhetoric, but also has been found to harbor elements within it that demonstrate the intent to perpetrate violence. In Alberta, the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) have confiscated a cache of weapons from a group of vehicles in the convoy known as the “Coutts protest” at the Coutts border crossing.
Among the items impounded by the RCMP, were 13 long guns, handguns, multiple sets of body armor, a machete. a large quantity of ammunition, and high capacity magazines. This is only a small sample of what is likely to be in the possession of the extremists in the other jurisdictions and provinces of Canada.
All of this is beginning to wind down now that the Canadian federal and provincial authorities are actively making arrests and impounding vehicles in the blockade. Four of the principals in the Freedom Convoy operation, including Bauder, King, Chris Barber and Tamara Lich have been arrested and their access to funding cut off.
Follow the $$, Part Two – GiveSendGo gets served
Back to GiveSendGo. 56 percent of the donors are from the U.S. And as is customary with donation sites, donors are able to make brief comments accompanying the gifts.
Over 13,000 of them included mentions of “God” or “Jesus” and decried government health regulations as “tyranny”, one user, whose sentiment was far from atypical among scores of others, commented that “I look forward to the day you tyrants are swinging from a noose.”
GiveSendGo made itself low hanging fruit for a doxxing from the hacktivist community and on Monday, it was revealed that the site was hacked and data from the information of close to 93,000 contributors to the Freedom Convoy were accessed and released online.
One notable, both for his public profile and the size of his donation ($90,000), is Thomas Siebel, billionaire CEO of software development corporation, C3.ai.
The unnamed parties responsible for the hack of the site, posted this message to a redirect site viewers were taken to after the GiveSendGo site was disabled:
“Attention GiveSendGo grifters and hatriots. You helped fund the January 6th insurrection in the U.S. You helped fund an insurrection in Ottawa. In fact you are committed to fund anything that keeps the raging fire of misinformation going until it burns the world’s collective democracies down. On behalf of sane people worldwide who wish to continue living in a democracy, I am now telling you that GiveSendGo itself is now frozen.”
Bitter fruit of the architecture of self-obsolescence
The very existence and cultural identity of the GiveSendGo platform itself, raises some existential questions. What is the trend of Christianity in North America, both the United States and Canada?
Does any of which you just saw, reflect Christ’s teachings? Would the anger, the rejection of the “other”, the belligerence, the calls to militancy, sedition, insurrection and for the restoration of a racially exclusive dominant ordering of society be something that Christ would affirm and validate? Yet, we learn that a considerable amount of money being contributed to perpetuate the Freedom Convoy is from self described Christians – from the United States, no less.
We know that generationally, religion is being viewed as less and less relevant and the trend of exodus from it is accelerating and at a dramatic pace. The abandonment and the self reclassification by people that social researchers term “nones” is affecting participation across the board with all faith traditions, but is more stark with respect to Christianity, the historically dominant religion in America and Canada.
Part of that is the role of Christianity as the majority religion, but demographers and social scientists have also identified that a significant component of the rejection is the perception that Christianity – now, is stigmatized by extremism, intolerance and tribal affiliation is indistinguishable from Christian nationalism. The reality that Republican politics are now inseparably intertwined with most Christian perspectives, is said to be strongly related to this as well.
To put it simply, the most visible element that personifies the religion is Trump worshipping Evangelicals, fundamentalists, anti-Democracy militias and fanatical Charismatics. Millennials and post-Millennials find it difficult to relate to the rhetoric and obsessiveness, not to mention hypocrisy, of many church goers, some of which are within even their own families.
People outside of this bubble, find it difficult to comprehend how something like gun rights absolutism and rejecting public health directives (anti-vaccine, anti-masks), has anything to do with the basic tenets of Christianity.
Far-right extremism and Christianity are increasingly being viewed in the same lens and the message that platforms like GiveSendGo, just amplifies that and in turn, accelerates the trends of abandoning participation. Nothing on the horizon suggests that the rate of erosion will slow or reverse the architecture of self obsolescence.
by Richard Cameron
Note from the Editor’s Desk:
We have a new contributor, Ana Maria Núñez-González , who produces short video vignettes as well as other related educational content about the various discoveries of Neuroscience, mental health and how brain functioning and the disorders related to it, affect our daily lives.
When I saw the material, the mode of presentation and the subject matter, I immediately felt that National Compass should feature Ana’s pocket sized informational videos on a frequent basis.
We’ll begin today, with this one having to do with the experiences of those dealing with the effects of Dyspraxia in their lives. I have also included a link below, if you want to help fund this innovative awareness campaign.
Ana Maria Núñez-González is a 37 year old Autistic and ADHD woman with Anxiety. She has two ADHD/Autistic teenagers. She has a BFA in Interior Design and has always strived to help others to have a better life.
Since her late diagnosis in 2020, her mission has been to create content that educates and advocates for the Neurodivergent Community, Mental Health, and Disability Rights.
You can promote the development of more content that makes a difference, by following this link: