WarCrimes’R’Us Used Their Lawyers to Intimidate Chuffed Into Taking Down Our Crowdfunder But We Are Now Back Up
Demonstration Outside Wolverhampton Crown Court – the Banner Speaks Volumes
If capitalism is an immoral, asocial system that knows only profit and war then its most immoral part are the arms companies, what Eisenhower called the military-industrial complex. And no one but no one is more immoral than Elbit, Israel’s largest arms company.
For 36 hours our Crowdfunder was suspended but now it’s up and running
Perhaps the title of the most genocidal and murderous regime in the world goes to the military junta in Myanmar (Burma). The junta has waged war against the Rohinga people, burning them out of their villages and massacring them. Elbit is happy to step in to enable them to commit more war crimes.
The text I agreed to remove from our Crowdfunder
Last Saturday I set up a Crowdfunder on Chuffed, which I’d been recommended to as a socially conscious crowdfunding platform. I wanted to avoid American corporations like Just Giving. By the end of Monday we had raised over £3,000 and then disaster struck.
What greeted me on Tuesday
On Tuesday I woke up to an email saying that the Crowdfunder had been temporarily taken down and we had to remove all references to Elbit as they were defamatory.
Chuffed on Twitter/X
There followed a long conversation in which I was prepared to take out most of the text criticising Elbit but I wasn’t prepared to remove the title Help Support Elbit Protesters and nor was I prepared the photograph which pictured two people holding a placard saying ‘Elbit are the real criminals’. After all that is a photo of a demonstration that took place. How can that possibly be defamatory? News organisations showing pictures of a demonstration would be protected under ‘fair comment.’
By the end of Monday we had reached a deadlock and I did some research and found out that yes, Chuffed did hold itself out to be a socially conscious crowdfunder for all sorts of campaigns, which is to its credit, but it was giving us a hard time.
What I didn’t realise was that Elbit’s overpaid lawyers had been on to Chuffed and threatened them unless the blog was taken down.
So we left it with me telling Carl that I would be left with no option but to run the Crowdfunder from my own blog and I would of course have to explain why this had happened which would inevitably mean that Chuffed suffered reputational damage amongst activists.
At this point Jennie Smith, their acting CEO emailed me from Australia asking for a WhatsApp meeting. Unfortunately because I had been blogging till the early hours and because of the different time zones we never did manage it. However Jennie made it clear that she wanted to restore the Crowdfunder.
I also contacted all those who had donated and asked them to contact Chuffed and explain why they were disappointed at what had happened and expressing the hope that it would be resolved as quickly as possible, which many did.
I am pleased to say that Jennie was happy with my compromise which was to take the criticism of Elbit out of the text but to leave in the heading and the photograph which says everything really.
So to end the story on a happy note the Crowdfunder is up and running and at the time of writing has raised £3,100. This is more than enough for the 5 Elbit Defendants in Wolverhampton and I propose to distribute it to other Defendants in Elbit trials so it should be seen as a more general defence fund.
Prominent amongst these is Amber whose crowdfunder for £5 ,000 is to pay for her legal fees as she has been denied legal aid. I intend that we donate £1,000 towards this and I hope others do too.
So this is a story with a happy ending. Unlike some other crowdfunders Chuffed did enter into correspondence with us and we reached a mutually satisfactory outcome so I would definitely recommend people use them.
Elbit provided the White Phosphorous Used for Bombing a UN School
The moral of the story is that Elbit is quite happy enabling war crimes and blowing kids to bits but it is very sensitive when people criticise them. And this is the company that British Judges have bent over backwards to protect.