February 21, 2022 Editor

Ominous: A Convoy Revved by Foreign Actors Spreading Lies

‘The pandemic proved a huge opportunity for Russian propaganda,’ says one expert.

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Andrew Nikiforuk Today | TheTyee.ca Tyee contributing editor Andrew Nikiforuk is an award-winning journalist whose books and articles focus on epidemics, the energy industry, nature and more.

photo above: Experts told The Tyee disinformation tactics aimed at Canada are well-honed and thrive on social media. Photo by Maksim Sokolov (CC BY-SA) via Wikimedia.

WN: In this worldwide disinformation context (no doubt by all sides), Jesus’ shout-out in John 8 is at once incisively à propos solace and challenge:

If you continue in My word, you are truly My disciples. 32Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

And surely such ultimate freedom is at once

  • liberation from a grasping Ego in favour of a True Self (See Philippians 2:1 – 11, especially verse 6), and
  • freedom to love.

So David Cayley, in describing Ivan Illich’s understanding of human freedom, writes:

“Free and therefore … fragile” could be said to sum up Illich’s view of freedom. Were it not fragile, it would not be freedom. Freedom stands on a razor’s edge, upheld there by a spirit of trust—that we will be able to bear what arrives without guarantee—and of forgiveness—that we will ultimately put love higher than justice. Its subtlety and delicacy are its vulnerability. And, when it collapses, it collapses into something worse than the situation from which it initially declares its independence. Freedom institutionalized is something quite different from a resumption of the culturally shaped obligations that the Samaritan has transcended. The Gospel brought under the power of the world is not like anything that has existed before. Corruptio optimi pessima [The corruption of the best is the worst.] Cayley devotes an entire chapter (12) to this three-word brilliant, highly disturbing, insight.–Ivan Illich: An Intellectual Journey (Ivan Illich: 21st-Century Perspectives). Penn State University Press, 2021; pp. 357 & 358.

In our recent Canadian experience of Ottawa (the nation’s capital) and border crossings being awash in a sea of voices crying “Freedom!,” I listened/watched in vain for these two notions of freedom surfacing. I may have missed them . . .

Whatever else: it is “ominous” as in the title, because there is such an enormous, angry, cultural divide in Canada. Lord, in your mercy . . .


Most Canadians probably think that the right-wing U.S. Fox News network has dominated global coverage of Canada’s so-called “Freedom Convoy.”

But they’d be wrong.

Russia Today, or RT, a state-owned agency set up by President Vladimir Putin in 2005 with an annual budget of $400 million, has offered nearly twice as many articles: some 1,200 stories.

RT’s editor-in-chief has alternately described the agency as an unofficial “soft power” branch of the Russian Defence Ministry and as an “info weapon.”

U.S. historian Timothy Snyder has written that RT “wished to convey that all media lied, but that only RT was honest by not pretending to be truthful.”

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Wayne Northey was Director of Man-to-Man/Woman-to-Woman – Restorative Christian Ministries (M2/W2) in British Columbia, Canada from 1998 to 2014, when he retired. He has been active in the criminal justice arena and a keen promoter of Restorative Justice since 1974. He has published widely on peacemaking and justice themes. You will find more about that on this website: a work in progress.

Always appreciate constructive feedback! Thanks.

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