On Jan. 5, 2021, Orange County attorney Leigh Dundas was enraged — and she was in D.C.
“We would be well within our rights to take any alleged American who acted in a turncoat fashion and sold us out and committed treason — we would be well within our right to take them out back and shoot them or hang them,” Dundas thundered, speaking from a stage.
Now, Dundas is leading a different kind of charge: the effort to bring Canada’s anti-vax trucker protests to the United States.
Politico first reported the involvement of Dundas and her non-profit, Freedom Fighter Nation, on Wednesday. TPM reviewed Telegram chats focused on organizing a U.S. convoy in which organizers referred to Dundas and her nonprofit as part of the movement’s leadership, saying that they are playing a role in planning upcoming rallies.
Dundas claimed in a little-noticed interview published on far-right video sharing network Rumble that she first got involved several weeks ago when a group of Canadian truckers invited her to help with their protest.
“We started working with them to identify the strategic border crossings and how we could support them from the United States side and also what this looked like,” Dundas said in the video, published Jan. 31.
Now, she and others are working to ignite a similar series of anti-vax protests in the U.S., starting with a rally planned for California’s Coachella Valley in early March that’s been promoted across several of the main social media profiles for the would-be American convoy.
Dundas did not return repeated requests for comment from TPM.
Over the past two years, Dundas’ appearances illustrate the nexus of right-wing activism around anti-COVID measures, Jan. 6, and, now, the movement of truckers aimed at snarling up supply chains and bringing an end to vaccine requirements. It’s a jumble of different threads with Dundas popping up in each, promoting both conspiracy theories and her own involvement in organizing around them.
In particular, Dundas has had a Forrest Gump-like habit of popping up at COVID-related imbroglios. First in Orange County, and most recently on Capitol Hill.
“There’s at least suspicions that the Defense Department is doctoring the data,” Johnson said at one point in the hearing.
“I would contend, senator, that there’s not just a suspicion,” Dundas interjected gravely, launching into a monologue that accused the Pentagon of covering up mass vaccine death.
“Who are you?” Johnson, apparently unaware of who she was, then asked Dundas.
Dundas replied that Thomas Renz, an attorney who has made his name on anti-vax lawsuits, brought her.
When the pandemic first began, Dundas was one of a group that succeeded in expelling a local county official from office over COVID mandates that, TPM pointed out at the time, were non-existent.
That’s also when Tony Ortega, a former Village Voice editor-in-chief and current independent journalist who covers Scientology, first noticed Dundas.
He cottoned on to Dundas’ connections to scientology, specifically as an attorney for what he described as a front group operated by a scientologist chiropractor. Then, in January 2021, he was surprised to receive a tip placing her outside the Capitol on Jan. 6.
“You stand the hell up,” Dundas said in a video of a speech she gave in D.C. around the time of the insurrection, posted to YouTube by Ortega. “Because you are far better off living a life on your feet and being prepared to die on your feet than living a life on your damned knees.”
Ortega told TPM that that was Dundas’s last U.S. appearance for a while. Social media posts reviewed by TPM place her in Mexico not long after.
“Right after that event, she went right down to Mexico. It seemed like she knew she stepped over the line,” Ortega added. “There’s an enclave being built by scientologists down there.”
Dundas has since returned to the U.S. She appeared at an October 2021 conference in Salt Lake City devoted to COVID denial, the Big Lie, and other issues that loom large in the QAnon universe. There, she spoke alongside Michael Flynn and Patrick Byrne, both of whom advocated for Trump to abuse his powers to subvert the 2020 election.
In the Jan. 31 Rumble video, Dundas discussed an earlier plan for mass, anti-vax protests: a so-called “National Walkout” to be held in November 2021, meant as a general strike against employers with vaccine mandates.
That effort did not catch on. It did lead to some notoriety, after a car hit five people trying to control a protest that Dundas organized on the Golden Gate bridge in support of the walkout.
Later in the Jan. 31 Rumble video, Dundas said that the Canadian truckers reached out to her after hearing about her role in the walkout.
She likened the truckers’ movement to a 2014 episode in Thailand, where, as she told it, farmers used their equipment to bring a “coup d’etat” to an end.
“For whatever reason, god had me on the ground in February 2014 when the Thailand farmers did a similar move — they blockaded or threatened to blockade and make an island of Bangkok International Airport, as a way to bring the coup to an end,” she said. “They were having a coup d’etat. There was no definitive winner coming out of it.”
(The story seems to conflate events in 2014 — a planned February farmers protest that was subsequently called off, and the successful May military coup. Dundas has said she was in Thailand working on anti-human trafficking issues.)
Dundas added that it ended when “much like the Canada truck drivers,” Thai farmers drove large trucks to block off Bangkok’s main international airport.
“That was it — no more coup,” she said. “I had been waiting for anybody in a first-world country to do that over the past couple years as things got more tyrannical, and really since March 2020.”