Foreign interference in domestic politics has been a thorny issue for some time now, with Russian involvement in the 2016 U.S. presidential election of Donald Trump through the hacking of Democratic Party servers as perhaps the most egregious example.
The issue is once again at the forefront of the news today as hackers have once again struck.
This time, however, the hackers are not working for Vladimir Putin, but, instead, have exposed the names and sensitive personal information — including scans of passports and drivers’ licenses — of people who have sent money through the GiveSendGo online donation service to help support the right-wing extremists behind the Canadian “Freedom Convoy.”
The convoy originally started as a protest against vaccine mandates for cross-border truckers but has since devolved into a chaotic mass of neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and QAnon adherents clogging the streets of Canada’s capital city, Ottowa, and blocking crucial border crossings.
Solicitations for funds to help support the motley bunch of malcontents moved to the Christian GiveSendGo crowdfunding platform after being suspended on the more widely used GoFundMe platform earlier this month after questions about whether the fundraising campaign complied with its terms of service.
GiveSendGo managed to facilitate donations totaling $8.7 million before the hackers managed to infiltrate the site and redirect prospective “Freedom Convoy” donors to a page listed as GiveSend Gone that showed a scene from Disney’s Frozen 2 overlaid with a text message addressed to “GiveSendGo grifters and hatriots” telling them that the Canadian government had frozen the funds that “you assholes raised to fund an insurrection.”
GiveSendGo was hacked and this is the video they put on the redirected site: pic.twitter.com/10M9p2gEVw
— Marie Oakes (@TheMarieOakes) February 14, 2022
The hack also included the leak of a CSV file that featured the names and personal information about more than 92,00 donors to the disruptive campaign.
The data allowed an insightful look at the composition of the people who contributed money to the anti-vax extremists organizing the aggrieved truckers convoy.
It turns out that the majority of donors were American rather than Canadian, although the size of donations from Canadian citizens was larger, making their overall contributions worth slightly more than the foreign donors.
Canadians make up 6 of the top 10 donors; Americans make up 3.
Canadians appear to be giving more, which is why you see the 51 per cent — about $4.3 million — coming from Canada.
About $3.6 million — or 43 per cent — comes from American addresses. pic.twitter.com/iirirBDGFu
— Jon Woodward (@ctv_jon) February 14, 2022
None of this bodes well for the possibility that American anti-vax extremists will try similar protests here in the United States, even though many states are relaxing their COVID restrictions as the surge of the Omicron variant of the virus recedes.
The hack of their GiveSendGo solicitation is not the only financial problem that the organizers of the “Freedom Convoy” are facing.
According to Reuters, the Toronto-Dominion Bank “has frozen two personal bank accounts into which C$1.4 million ($1.1 million) had been deposited to support protesters fighting the Canadian government’s pandemic measures, a bank spokesperson said.”
The bank’s move comes after the Ontario Superior Court ordered GiveSendGo to freeze all funds donated to the so-called “Freedom Convoy,” a ruling that the U.S.-based Christian crowdfunding site rejected as meaningless in a defiant Twitter response to the judgment.
Know this! Canada has absolutely ZERO jurisdiction over how we manage our funds here at GiveSendGo. All funds for EVERY campaign on GiveSendGo flow directly to the recipients of those campaigns, not least of which is The Freedom Convoy campaign.
— GiveSendGo (@GiveSendGo) February 11, 2022
It’s unclear how effective GiveSend Go’s defiance can be if other banks follow the Toronto-Dominion Bank’s lead and freeze the accounts of the recipients of the contributed funds.
Another uncertainty is whether donors will continue to contribute to the right-wing extremist cause knowing that their identities will be revealed and that government authorities — and any other interested parties — can track them down even more easily than the FBI found the January 6th insurrectionists who invaded the U.S. Capitol.
Either way, one thing that is certain is that the funding of radical right-wing protests goes beyond national borders, intimating a global conspiracy to undermine democracy by fomenting political unrest.
Let’s hope that the hacker’s revelations help further reveal exactly who is pulling the strings behind the scenes in this latest attempt to undermine the Canadian government and in their similar efforts in the United States.
We want to hear what YOU have to say. Scroll down and let us know in our comment section!