Convoy lawyer says protesters received 'steady flow' of leaked police information

Keith Wilson said the leaks came from CSIS, RCMP, OPP and Ottawa police

Several main convoy organizers received leaks from police officers sympathetic to their protests against the anti-COVID-19 restrictions, their lawyers told an Emergency Act investigation on Wednesday.

Keith Wilson, who represented convoy organizers - including Tamara Lich and Chris Barber - testified Wednesday before the Public Order Emergency Commission, which is reviewing the federal government's decision to call on emergency powers to clear crowds and vehicles stuck in the capital for more than three winter weeks. then.

"There's been a steady stream of information and leaks coming from all the different police forces and security agencies," he said.

"There were several times where information would come to the operations center from various police sources that a raid was imminent. And it happened time and time again." Wilson told reporters outside the investigation room that the information came from the Ottawa Police Service (OPS), the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), the RCMP and even Canada's spy agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

"People will be careful not to reveal themselves, but they are very concerned about what they are seeing happening and and are very supportive of efforts to bring attention to the dangers of lockdowns and government mandates," he said.

Wilson said sometimes the leaks were structured to obscure the identity of the whistleblower.

"Someone would be in a room or get a memo or an email saying, 'This is what we did Friday night,' and then they would call someone and say, 'Hey, call this and that and tell them,' he said.

"That allows the leadership to anticipate how they will respond."

At least once, the organizers leaked an OPP memo. Wilson said it outlined provincial police concerns with the Ottawa Police Service's plans to arrest people who brought food, fuel and other supplies to protesters.

"So we got it in real time. So we knew we knew that the Ottawa Police Service would be limited in its ability to do that because they didn't have the support of the OPP," Wilson said.

Wilson said he remembered the source of the memo as a senior command officer but could not remember his name.

RCMP says it finds no active 'insider threats'

The OPS said it was investigating a small number of officers who may have supported the convoy's protests since the early days of the illegal occupation of the city centre. To date, only one Ottawa police officer has faced formal prosecution for involvement in the convoy or occupation — and that is for donating money.

Last week, Supt. Robert Drummond said the investigation had concerns within the service about the leak but he was not aware of the status of the investigation.

"There's one member I know and we're shutting him down to his corporate account," he said.

"As a precaution, we are closing. He is not currently working - he is on leave."

According to documents previously released to the CBC via an access to information request, the RCMP is concerned that serving Mounties may sympathize with protests against pandemic restrictions.

"There is a potentially serious insider threat," said a Feb. 10 adviser from the RCMP unit investigating ideologically motivated criminal intelligence.

"Those who have not lost their jobs but are sympathetic to the movement and their former colleagues may be in a position to share law enforcement or military information with protest convoys."

The RCMP said on September 12 that it had not identified "inside threats active within the RCMP that could negatively impact the organization's ability to carry out its mandate with respect to the Freedom Convoy."

Tom Marazzo says OPS warning is not clear

Wilson told the commission that former law enforcement officers, former military and former CSIS personnel were involved in protest logistics and had access to radio, maps and aerial photography.

"Many of these former service personnel are connected and carry intel," the interview summary said.

Wilson said they coordinate fuel distribution and waste disposal, manage the stage and deal with troubled protesters.

Wilson said he became involved with the movement because of his concerns about the federal government's pandemic policies and never imagined it would use force against what he sees as "nonviolent" protests against Canadians.

The Commission also heard Wednesday from Tom Marazzo, one of Wilson's clients and a former member of the military who joined the convoy upon arrival in Ottawa to help with logistics.

Both Marazzo and Wilson testified that they felt they could remain in the "red zone" around Parliament Hill after the Emergency Act was enacted on February 14, despite police warnings to stay away.

"If it was really important to them, I would have thought that one of those police liaison officers would walk over and hand it over to me and explain it to me with a puppet show or a box of crayons so I could understand that," he said.

"But it never happened. It was just posted on the wall."

Marazzo tried to distance himself from the comments he made about a week into the protests about participating in an opposition party coalition with the Governor-General.

"I misspoke," he said Wednesday. "We don't want to be part of the government."

Marazzo said he had not attempted to contact the media that reported the comments.

Some lawlessness is normal in large crowds, says Wilson

Both men were defensive about the protest structure, arguing their contingents protested peacefully and that they were not in league with a more sinister element.

Wilson told the commission on Wednesday that several groups attached themselves to the self-described Freedom Convoy — including those who supported the movement, those who wanted to take it over and those who wanted some of the millions of dollars raised by organizers.

He said several odd groups - including a group of wizards - were attracted to the move "like a moth to a fire."

"It's a peaceful protest. Are there some people in a big crowd of 5,000 or 8,000 or 10,000 people like on a weekend who are involved in crime? That's called normal," Wilson said.

Marazzo said he once compared prominent protester Pat King to "an exploding hand grenade" and called it a "wild card."

On Tuesday, as King waited to testify, the investigation heard other participants had concerns about King's involvement after he posted a video showing violence against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

A commission attorney showed King a video of his other comments, including one he said "Trudeau will be hit by a bullet" and the only way the protests will end is "with a bullet."

King said many of the comments attributed to him had been taken out of context, although he said he regretted the "catch the bullet" comments.

"I'm really sorry to say that. I'm angry," he said.

"I was denied my flight after being told I could fly. And I was stuck at Toronto Pearson International Airport."

King faces charges of perjury, obstruction of justice, damages and intimidation for his role in the protests, and was released on bail in July. He is also scheduled to testify on Wednesday.

During cross-examination, Marazzo was shown a video of himself on May 4 on stage for an event in which he gestured to Jeremy MacKenzie—a founder of the controversial Diagolon movement—in recognition. The crowd gave MacKenzie a round of applause.

Diagolon members have been tied to a protest convoy and two Diagolon patches were found on body armor seized during the execution of the RCMP search warrant in Coutts, Alta.

Mackenzie and his followers ridiculed the notion that their group was some kind of American-style militia organization. They claim that they are only scamming the gullible media.

The RCMP confirmed that it was investigating threats MacKenzie made about the rape of Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre's wife.

"I've seen Jeremy say things I don't like and I've seen Jeremy say things that I think are brilliant," Marazzo said Wednesday.

The Saskatchewan RCMP arrested Mackenzie on warrants across Canada in September on charges of assault and pointing a firearm. He is scheduled to testify on Friday via videoconference.

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