Situation Report: Past is Prologue, Part 1

Sunlight Kills Active Measures

One of the most significant recent developments in US deterrence has been to expose Putin’s plans and information operations before he can deploy them. Gen. Philip Breedlove, former Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO, calls this “meeting the threat, at threat speed.” This is a key shift, and if we had made this shift ten years ago it is likely that we would be on an entirely different timeline.

The first invasion of Ukraine in 2014 likely wouldn’t have happened (in fact, then DIA head Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn seems to have purposely avoided sharing intel that Putin would invade); the 2016 election interference would not have been so damaging if we’d shut it down and exposed it in real-time; and the myriad of information operations that included QAnon and led to January 6th would not have had the same results.

We didn’t so much fail to connect the dots (trust me, I worked with many people who connected the dots, and many people had that intel); our government failed to act on the information by widely sharing a credible intelligence picture. The New York Times featured a piece today discussing the Biden administration’s “new” strategy of declassifying, in real time, information that would stymie Putin’s plans. This is what we should have been doing all along, and it needs to extend beyond the narrow bounds of the Ukraine conflict to include intelligence about Putin’s fascist international Fifth Column operation.

Indeed, the concept of a Fifth Column, for those that don’t know it, is one that everyone should familiarize themselves with. Originally coined to describe the network of nationalist supporters that Franco had inside Spain during the Spanish Civil War, it is today used to describe the combined activation of witting infiltrators and unwitting “useful idiots” sympathetic to the cause of a foreign leader. Indeed the US, Canada, Europe, and the West is replete with Fifth Column agitators from across the ideological spectrum, and Putin has done a masterful job of activating it. For example: Ezra Levant, Jack Posobiec, Peter Thiel, Justice Democrats, and Glenn Greenwald are aligned with Putin’s Fifth Column agenda; actual truckers, on the other hand, are for the most part “useful idiots.” We’ll return to this.

Keep On Trucking

The situation in Canada continues to fester. The Ottawa protest is now entering Day 17, according to the Ottawa Citizen. Talk has shifted from being simply about lifting mask mandates and COVID restrictions, to a full blown assault on the Trudeau government. The goal, increasingly, seems to be to conduct a coup.

To understand what’s going on here, it’s useful to zoom out and look at this attack qualitatively, and how and why similar insurgencies have worked in the past. From 1971–73, the CIA funded activities in Chile designed to overthrow the socialist government of President Salvador Allende. One of those activities was a truck strike that spread to include up to 250,000 middle class truck drivers and shopkeepers, that blocked trade. This subsequently spiraled into other labor protests and resulted in dictator Augusto Pinochet taking control in a coup on September 11, 1973.

On December 3, 1973, perhaps inspired by the recent events in Chile, a trucker with the CB handle “River Rat” launched a similar protest in the US in response to high fuel prices. Stopping his rig in the middle of I-80 in Pennsylvania, he used his CB radio to encourage other truckers to do the same. River Rat’s initial protest, however, didn’t have immediate impact on supply chains; truckers realized they needed to organize, and by 1974 they had done so, and with these new organizations finally assembled the impactful strike they had hoped for. The widespread publicity of these events in the news led to pop culture phenomena such as the films “Smokey and the Bandit” and “Convoy,”—and television shows such as “The Dukes of Hazzard” which trade trucks for redneck hijinx, and a wink and nod towards racism and “lost cause” Confederate ideology.

This is all relevant to Canada today because this history of supply chain attacks, and a culture that celebrates them, is well known to people who might stand to benefit from them. And there have been multiple iterations of this kind of activity in recent years. This Mail Tribune story describes the history of recent truck protests in Canada:

In 2019, well before the current protests, demonstrators drove a convoy of hundreds of trucks from western Canada to Ottawa in opposition to the Trudeau government’s new carbon tax, an environmental measure they said would hurt the oil industry. Many wore yellow vests in solidarity with a French protest movement that same year against perceived economic injustice.

Note that this was strictly about oil, and also connected to protests in France. There was also a similar protest in Salem, Oregon in 2019 connected to a carbon-related bill that was about to pass. In October 2020, a “Canadian Convoy Rally Song” was released with the tagline “This one is for the truckers, the riggers, and everyone else in the Oil & Gas Industry… and their families.” Another 2020 pro-Trump convoy was also contemplated.

James Bauder, founder of Canada Unity and a major actor in the current protest, has been posting about a looming “World War 3” since at least December 2020.

In 2019, The Guardian, describing the so-called “Wexit” movement advocating for secession of Western Canada, says, “The oil-producing western province has suffered years of recession and now a new party is channeling resentment towards the federal government.” The Maverick Party, in which the current protest organizer Tamara Lich has been heavily involved, is also associated with the “yellow vests” movement which has been visible in both 2019 and 2022. More on the “gilets jaunes” later.

Known Putin-aligned activists “Honkmaster” Jack Posobiec, Mike Cernovich, and Ezra “Ethical Oil” Levant (Rebel Media) have been pushing these protests very visibly and very heavily, and with an eye towards government overthrow. One can only conclude that these protests are a high priority for Putin’s global fifth column assets, because they are indeed all lit up pushing not only these protests but similar copycat activities planned in the US and Europe — NATO countries, really. And there is clearly value for the fascist international network to challenge democracies on their home turf. Levant: “May I introduce you to Surrey, British Columbia, near the Washington State border. This is going to be like whack-a-mole until Trudeau submits.”

None of this is organic, none of this is in good-faith, and none of it is about COVID, or medical mandates. It is about oil and gas, and activation of Putin’s fifth column using what extremism researcher Jared Holt calls “top-down grassroots” organizing, where popular sentiment crystallizes around a movement to serve the interests of the organizers — in this case Putin and the oil and gas industry, who are effectively the same thing.

Therefore, satisfying their “demands” regarding COVID will not stop this; they will not be happy until Trudeau resigns or Canada is fully crippled, whichever comes first. Doubt this at our collective peril.

This is evidenced in part by the sudden meteoric promotion by this network of QAnon-aligned Pierre Poilievre, who is —out of nowhere—suddenly a candidate for Prime Minister? Many people are baffled, but Poilievre is believed to be a staunch advocate of Bitcoin (which is now being used by insurgents to bypass fundraising sites), and you guessed it, the hardline individualist libertarian economics so favored by the Koch-backed oil and gas industry. The promotion of Poilievre is coupled with increasingly rabid anti-communist rhetoric. Are you seeing a pattern here yet?

Prominent Bitcoin critic professor David Golumbia says, correctly:

#TruckersForFreedom2022 is the next front in the #Jan6thInsurrection & I’m not at all sure it’s just going to go away as we all seem to be thinking it will

Various existing Facebook groups with large followings have been renamed in support trucker convoy events, and old domain names dating back years have been recently activated. People in Bangladesh, Vietnam, and Romania are apparently being paid to promote these protests online. CBC reports that an increasing number of people with police and military backgrounds seem to be involved in the protests.

We are dealing with an established network of existing activists — some witting, others just motivated “useful idiots”— who have been waiting for an excuse to light up a networked insurgency with a goal of sparking World War III. They have found their moment.

We should treat this as a militaristic uprising and not as a “free speech” protest. If people want to exercise free speech, they can do so on foot with signs and bullhorns like everyone else. No one has a right to park a vehicle wherever they like—certainly not under the US Constitution, and even extreme propertarians can agree with that.

The oil and gas industry, in concert with Putin and his allies, is trying to take down the Canadian government using the same tactics used to overthrow Chile in 1973. The fact that it’s happening right now, with tensions rising rapidly in Ukraine, should not be a surprise.

Curbing the Trucker Menace

Various actions planned for this past week have had mixed results. Rallies in European capitals for Monday, February 7th mostly failed to materialize. Police in Paris evacuated the Champs Elysées and Place de la Concorde, and used teargas on rioters. And of course Russia’s RT (Ruptly) was there to capture it, and make sure everyone saw what a mess it was.

Belgium has banned trucker rallies scheduled for Monday, February 14, promising to divert trucks headed into its capital city, Brussels—also the seat of the European Union. Protests in Canberra, Australia, which began several weeks ago had petered out but have now resumed with renewed vigor, and consist of what some have described as anti-vaxxers, conspiracy theorists, and “sovereign citizen” types. Exactly the same mix as we’ve seen elsewhere.

In the United States, there has been chatter around a “Convoy to DC” to culminate on Wednesday, February 16, but that timeline seems to have slipped. Despite Facebook’s claims of having taken down many groups organized to promote rallies, there are many active groups and pages promoting convergence on Washington, D.C.

The newest development is that the “Defeat the Mandates” organizers (whose January 23 march featured insane anti-semitic rant from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.) have begun to organize a similar event in southern California on March 5th to draw in truckers, and then send them off to DC the next day.

In solidarity with the global phenomenon Freedom Convoy from Canada, the American truckers in The People’s Convoy will join forces with the Defeat The Mandates rally in Southern California on March 5th (exact location to be announced soon). This event will be in the heart of mandate country and a continuation of the historic rally on January 23rd in Washington, DC.

The march and rally will be a one-day event that will feature many of the same prominent doctors and leaders against mandates, along with recording artists, musicians, actors and athletes.

The next day, March 6th, we will send off the American truckers as they start their trek from California to DC, sending them off in spirit with peace and love.

The Defeat The Mandates march will add more momentum to this growing international movement to halt COVID vaccine mandates for all.

The organizers of this event included Trevor FitzGibbon, who has been linked to various disinformation operations in the past. This appears to be a serious threat and is clearly timed to cause maximum chaos during Putin’s expected operations in Ukraine, which I will cover in Part 2 of this update.

Today’s Superbowl may also be a target for disruption. Kentucky Senator and known Putin ally Senator Rand Paul has been calling for truckers to disrupt the event with truck blockades, a sentiment also shared by Arizona State Senator (and noted cryptocurrency lunatic) Wendy Rogers. These elected officials are calling for attacks on US infrastructure to disrupt a major sporting event. That should be alarming, regardless of how one feels about the crass commercialism of the Super Bowl (which will also feature many crypto-related ads, reportedly).

Related: US Government Shutdown Threat

The US federal government will run out of funding on Friday, February 18th. If that happens, the US government will shutdown, as it has in the past; obviously defense-related agencies will continue operating, but this could hobble aspects of federal coordination for response to hybrid warfare scenarios that may emerge domestically, including the situation with any trucker convoys or blockades.

The House has already passed a continuing resolution to fund the government through March 11, however it has not yet passed the Senate. It is scheduled for vote on February 16th. Given the unreliable behavior of Senators Sinema and Manchin, we should consider the possibility that they may block passage. If that occurs, we could have a very ugly situation on our hands.

Assuming the continuing resolution does pass, we will have until March 11 to devise an actual long term resolution to the funding issue. Dealing with that in the context of hybrid warfare could prove to be challenging and unpredictable. While no one is yet forecasting this will become a problem, it is wise to identify and avoid “black swan” scenarios in advance rather than react to them.

We’ll end here for Part 1 of this update, in the interest of timing. Coming in Part 2: updates on the very serious situation in Ukraine, and more on developments in the crypto-fiat conflict.

We’re interested in the major historical trends that shape current events. Tips? Ideas? Drop us a line via email or Twitter DM. Please note: this analysis is historical and political in nature; it is not intended as financial advice and should not be taken as such. If you enjoy my work, please consider making a donation to World Central Kitchen, to support their work feeding people in times of need.

For an even deeper dive, check out my series, The Big History Behind January 6thand my audio series Oil, Gold, Crypto, and Fascism: How We Got Here and How to Fix It.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Dave Troy

Dave Troy

Investigative journalist addressing threats to democracy. Public speaker, writer, podcaster. @davetroy on Twitter. See davetroy.com for contact info.