Saturday, November 26, 2022

Nazi Flag and Claims of "False Flags": Brendan Miller's Accusations Amplified By Extremists and Conspiracy Promoters

I've been holding off on this but I thought I would provide some commentary on an incident that occurred during the Emergency Act inquiry (POEC) early this past week.

First though, I'm going to talk about Ray Epps and why Canadian right-wing extremists and conspiracy believers are talking about him now:

Ray Epps is an American conservative and Trump supporter who was at the Capitol on January 6 during the insurrection and attempted overturning of the presidential election results. In a video he was seen urging people to enter the Capitol. Since then the conspiracy theorists have claimed with no proof that Epps was in fact a "deep state" agitator who wanted to discredit the efforts of the Trump supporters on that day and not, as is true, an elderly Trump supporter whose life is now in turmoil as a result of the accusation against him (including by Trump himself). 

It doesn't matter how ridiculous the claim is; Epps was a single person in a sea of humanity and if you're going to suggest that crowd had to be convinced by one old man to storm the Capitol then there are many bridges in many Brooklyns I would like to sell you. This story fits a narrative and no amount of proof will convince the true believers otherwise.

So with that, let's get to the story, shall we?

Prior to the incident I will be writing about, the big news emerging from the inquiry was that CSIS had advised that the Prime Minister invoke the Emergency Act in response to the occupation in Ottawa and the border blockades in BC, Alberta, Manitoba, and Ontario. 

I wrote as a bit of an aside I wrote extensively about the occupation and border blockades at the time:

However soon a lawyer representing the "Freedom Convoy" made a bombshell claim in which he implicated an executive with Enterprise Canada in an incident that occurred in the early days of the occupation. Brendan Miller suggested this executive, who he accused of carrying a Nazi flag, was a "Liberal plant" who was sent by the government in an effort to discredit the soon-to-be occupiers of the city of Ottawa.
Miller's demand to order the executive as well as two others was ultimately dismissed as a fishing expedition, but the one witness that Miller wanted whom he claimed to have identified the executive in Ottawa is of some interest:
Shawn Folkes was one of the attendees of the "Freedom Convoy" occupation on Ottawa and early on claimed to have spoken to the person carrying the flag:

It would appear that Brendan Miller put in all his eggs into the basket that is Shawn Folkes, a person who posted things like this during the occupation:

But is worse than even just that:
So this appears to be the evidence that Brendan Miller went with to help prove the Liberal government set up otherwise peaceful protesters, he word of a man who not only threatened violence against those who opposed the occupation but also who happened to "remember" the person the same day Miller would subsequently claim the executive was the one with the Nazi flag.

But it was all enough to convince the many right-wing extremists, conspiracy theory promoters, and hard-core anti-government folks as it confirmed their particular biases. Among those who accepted the truth of Miller's accusations with absolutely no question were mayor Jay Riedel (yeah, he is an actual mayor) who at one time worked with Pat King on the United We Roll convoy to Ottawa that was tied to the Yellow Vest movement and Wayne Peters, a conspiracy promoter associated with the Yellow Vests, Pegida Canada, and the Canadian Nationalist Party among other right-wing extremist groups who claims that all the people who received the Covid vaccine will be dead within 5 years:

But it wasn't just these folks who ran with Miller's claim as gospel truth.

We have frequently heard people who supported the occupation in Ottawa that had the Prime Minister simply talked to the occupiers that all could have been averted. One might then ask then who he should have spoken to? The faction that wanted to overthrow the elected government, the one that wanted to publicly execute him and members of the Liberal Party (as well as those involved in the vaccination programme), or merely those that wanted to maroon him on an iceberg in the Atlantic. The counter then is that he could have spoken to the reasonable, moderate, leadership such as Tom Marazzo of Veterans for Freedom (V4F) who, while not initiating the convoy to Ottawa, became a prominent leadership voice during the occupation.

Well, here is V4F tweeting and retweeting about those allegations made by Miller about the person he accused of carrying the Nazi flag:

"Reasonable" Tom Marazzo also retweeted and commented from his personal Twitter account:

The person Marazzo retweeted, Tom Quiggin, is for all intents and purposes the "intel chief" of V4F and who complied intel reports for the occupiers during the occupation of dubious value. who has his own rather sordid past concerning spreading conspiracies about Muslim-Canadians. But he was all in on the Miller accusations:

FYI, I wrote about Quiggin some years ago and commented on his rather poor investigative skills at the time. Those skills, if possible, have regressed even further it seems.

Leigh Stewart, a self-styled journalist who has hitched her wagon to a number of right-wing extremist movements (she is currently Diagolon aligned) also contributed to the narrative:

It is perhaps rather telling that many of those commenting on her Telegram posts are dubious about Miller's accusation and are more concerned that National Socialism and the Nazi flag are being described in negative terms:

I would also note here once again that Leigh Stewart also has a very poor record when it comes to anything approaching investigative journalism:

And since I've already mentioned Diagolon, their propagandist/meme factory Alex Vriend also got in on the action in disseminating the Miller accusation:

And the comments?

Yeah, you know the drill:

Vriend was active in Ottawa during the occupation in February. A Holocaust denier, he has also been written about by CAHN.

What is fascinating is how certain they are, despite no evidence other than it seems, "trust me bro", that the Miller's accusations are true which clearly suggests that in spite of their belief that they are the real free thinkers they are in fact subject to the argumentum ab auctoritate fallacy when the person in a position of authority confirms what they already believe.

Since they already accepted that the Nazi symbols were a "false flag" even prior to the accusations made by Miller, a lawyer they must assume "has the receipts" otherwise he would not make the accusation. This is exhibited both in the comments made on Vriend's tweet as well as his own comments there and on his Telegram page:

We also see this in the comments on the right wing "Western Standard" who ran with the story:

However we soon learned that much of what Brendan Miller had claimed simply was not true at all despite the confidence in which he made those claims. Far from being a Liberal shill, the man Miller accused of carrying the Nazi flag in Ottawa is a card carrying member of the Conservative Party and a supporter of Pierre Poilievre and his successful leadership campaign.
And I will remind readers that Pierre Poilievre was supportive of the events in Ottawa in February 2022:

Furthermore, the man Miller accused has claimed he has not been in Ottawa for years and suggests he has definitive proof that he was in Toronto on the day the Nazi flag was seen in Ottawa. He now appears to be exploring the possibility of a civil suit for defamation.
By November 24, Brendan Miller seemed to have understood that MAYBE he MIGHT have made a boo boo:


His reasoning for what he seems to now be acknowledging as an error in identifying the executive as the person carrying the Nazi flag is that (a) a lot of white, middle-aged men with greying beards look alike and (b) don't blame me because that guy over there is who told me who it was.

And despite potentially damaging an innocent person's reputation and perhaps endangering their life, the best we get from Miller is an "aw, shucks!" and an oopsie doodle!"

Because regardless of the truth, the horses have been let out of the barn. 

When Rachel Gilmore noted that the man Miller had accused of carrying the flag was receiving death threats...
... these were among the comments that were left:

It doesn't matter that the person accused is almost certainly innocent. He confirms a bias and fits the narrative. They believe without question the government was trying to discredit the good, peaceful, people who came to Ottawa to voice their concerns. They are the victims of a government smear. A false flag. And the man Miller accused will be the fall guy:

As an addendum, even after coming to the conclusion that he may have gotten it wrong regarding who he accused, he simply couldn't let go of the narrative:

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