Here is what you can do to support The Grayzone: if you have already donated, demand a refund from Gofundme here. Then contribute to us at our new, trustworthy crowdfunder here. Further instructions are below.
The Silicon Valley-based crowdfunding site Gofundme has informed The Grayzone that it has frozen all money raised in our recent fundraiser “due to some external concerns.” Our initiative was devoted to providing independent journalists Wyatt Reed, Kit Klarenberg, and Alex Rubinstein with long-term positions.
On August 19, when we demanded to know why Gofundme had refused to authorize the transfer of the funds we raised, a member of the site’s Trust and Safety Team identifying themselves simply as “Sabrina” emailed the Grayzone the following statement:
“Our number one goal here is ensuring that the money from GoFundMe fundraisers always gets to the right place, so we really appreciate you helping us to make sure GoFundMe is a safe place to give.
Due to some external concerns, we need to review your fundraiser to make sure it complies with our Terms of Service. Please keep in mind that our processes are followed to ensure your own safety.
I’ll keep you updated as soon as possible.”
We have received nothing since from “Sabrina.”
By this point, we had raised over $90,000 from over 1100 contributors. The generous contributions from our audience were accompanied by hundreds of messages of effusive support for our factual journalism holding imperial power to account.
And now, Gofundme is holding the donations hostage, refusing to transfer them to us, while failing to inform donors that it has effectively seized their money. The for-profit site has similarly refused to explain its freezing of their donations, issuing nothing more than a vague allusion – “some external concerns” – to pressure from powerful outside forces.
Gofundme’s financial sabotage follows the de facto sanctions imposed by Venmo and Paypal on our managing editor, Wyatt Reed, after he reported on the Ukrainian military’s targeting of civilians from the separatist side of the Donbas region.
Kit Klarenberg, who would have also been provided with a staff position thanks to our fundraiser, was detained and interrogated about his investigative reporting for The Grayzone by British Counter-Terror Police at Luton International Airport this May.
Then there was the Ukrainian SBU security service’s effort to ban The Grayzone’s Aaron Mate from Twitter. According to a series of internal Twitter emails provided to Mate, the SBU enlisted the FBI to pressure Twitter into banning him and a long list of accounts from its platform on the grounds that they were “suspected by the SBU in spreading fear and disinformation.” However, Twitter ultimately raised concerns about censoring “American and Canadian journalists,” and rejected the request to ban Mate.
The FBI’s effort to ban Twitter accounts at the behest of Ukrainian intelligence offers a clue into the identify of those responsible for raising the “external concerns” with Gofundme. Since 2014, when a US-backed coup installed a nationalist government in Kiev, our contributors have been at the forefront of exposing the role of Washington in pushing Ukraine toward all-out war with Russia. The Grayzone has also provided extensive documentation of the overwhelming influence of neo-Nazi forces over Kiev, triggering angry tirades from Ukrainian diplomats while landing our staff members on Myrotvorets, a semi-official SBU assassination target list.
Our reporting has proven so disruptive to the narrative spun out by proxy warriors in Kiev and Washington that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his wife, Olena, personally lobbied WebSummit, the largest international gathering of the tech industry, to disinvite me and Aaron Mate from their 2022 conference in Lisbon, Portugal.
So while we have no concrete information on the identity of the “external forces” that have successfully lobbied Gofundme to freeze our donations, we have strong reason to suspect interference by the Ukrainian government and its sponsors in Washington is at the root of the sabotage.
Whoever is responsible, we are clearly witnessing the work of the Censorship Industrial Complex as it seeks to financially blockade the American and British journalists who have thoroughly disrupted their own governments’ official narrative.
Gofundme’s record of warrantless seizure of citizens’ money
The Grayzone is far from the first alternative media outlet or activist initiative to have its donations blocked by Gofundme following a campaign of outside pressure from powerful forces.
On February 5, 2022, Gofundme arbitrarily canceled a fundraiser for Canadian Freedom Convoy protesting the Canadian government’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, citing a violation of its terms of service which prohibits support for causes supposedly involved in violence and harassment. At the time, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s advisors were pressuring banks to seize donations to the Freedom Convoy without a warrant.
Following the invocation of Canada’s Emergencies Act by PM Justin Trudeau, Gofundme seized nearly 10 million Canadian dollars provided by grassroots donors.
After its warrantless seizure of millions from private Canadian citizens, Gofundme announced plans to funnel their money to “credible and established charities” without their permission – a wholesale theft. It was only thanks to pressure from US members of Congress and governors that the crowdfunding company eventually agreed to return the money to donors.
Similary, Gofundme canceled a fundraiser for the Gitxsan First Nation, an indigenous tribe blockading a rail line traversing its land in British Columbia. The company refused to explain the cancellation, stating only that the conduct of the fundraiser “falls under our ‘prohibited conduct’ section.”
Gofundme has also arbitrarily removed the fundraising campaigns of the antiwar alternative media outlet MintPress News, and banned the website from its platform without explanation.
“The Western sanctions regime that is targeting over 25% of the world’s population through economic warfare is now going after its own citizens, preventing independent journalism outlets including Mint Press and The Grayzone from receiving their own funds,” Mnar Adley, the founder of Mint Press, remarked.
Adley continued, “Gofundme’s targeting of The Grayzone is just more evidence that we are living in an intellectual no fly zone where dissenting journalists are economically sanctioned and treated as suspect.”
What you can do to support The Grayzone
Because Gofundme has refused to transfer your donations to us for its intended purpose, and given its record of attempting to funnel donations to “established” causes without consent from donors, you should immediately request a refund. You can do so here.
We have secured a written promise from Mike Marian, the co-founder of the crowdfunding company Spotfund, to host our fundraiser and ensure the automatic transfer of your donations. So after receiving your refund from Gofundme, donate here.
Finally, let Gofundme know how outraged you are that they have blocked your donation without any explanation, violating your trust by succumbing to the arbitrary, undemocratic demands of pro-war elements likely situated in the halls of imperial power.
Start by writing to “Sabrina” of Gofundme’s ironically named Trust and Safety Team at firstname.lastname@example.org and if that fails, try this link.
As Mint Press News founder Mnar Adley reminds us, the stakes could not be higher:
“Independent media outlets run on shoestring budgets and rely heavily on fundraising and individual donations, which is why we’ve turned to crowdfunding platforms like Gofundme to operation. But if these companies are working directly with the national security state to block us from receiving our own funds – as they did to Wikileaks before us – then they can do it to you too.”