Episode 432

AssangeDAO – The NFT Funding the Julian Assange Case

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It’s been just short of 2 years since we had Julian Assange’s father John, and Harry Halpin, on the show to chat about his imprisonment and the impact it could have on the crypto community. At that time it was unknown if/when Julian would be extradited to the US to face trial. On December 10 2021, the US government won its appeal of a British court ruling that barred Assange’s extradition to the US. On the very same day the AssangeDAO was born and now has a thriving community of 10k people behind it.

The DAO raised over $50 million and the funds were used to bid on an NFT, Clock, which is part of a collection between Assange and digital artist Pak. The bid was successful and proceeds from the sale of the Clock NFT will go to support Assange’s legal defence fund and awareness campaign about the free speech implications of his case.

We were joined by Julian’s brother Gabriel, and Stellar Magnet, core contributors of the AssangeDAO. We spoke about Julian’s case as it currently stands, how the DAO was born and why they chose to purchase the NFT, and the road ahead.

Topics discussed in the episode

  • Julian Assange and his imprisonment from his involvement with Wikileaks
  • The Assange DAO and why an NFT was purchased with the funds raised
  • What are the next step options that the DAO is considering?
  • Where to learn more about the Assange DAO
  • How to contribute

Friederike: Gabriel and Stellar. Thank you so much for coming on. We’re here to talk about the Assange court case and the Wikileaks backstory and the Assange DAO today but briefly could you two introduce yourselves. 

Stellar Magnet: Let’s see, I have been in the DAO ecosystem, since about 2017, and contributed to projects, like MolochDAO, Giveth, BrightID, and ARAGON. And I’ve also been a Product Manager and UX designer since about 2008, that’s a brief introduction. 

One of my main projects right now is called Black Sky Network, don’t really need to talk about that that much right now because that’s not the focus of this podcast. 

Gabriel: I’m Gabriel Shipton. I’m a film producer and Julian Assange’s brother, I’ve been advocating for Julian publicly, for about three years now, across the world in the US and Europe as well as Australia. 

Friederike: Cool, thank you guys for coming on. So let’s talk about the back story to the Assange trial and the entire DAO coming into existence first. So, Julian, I founded Wikileaks a platform where whistleblowers could anonymously, drop information. What was the service that Wikileaks provided? Because in principle, I mean did they fact check that they publicize? How did they serve the whistleblowers?

Gabriel :Wiki leaks. They used, I guess, cryptography and TOR to go, and combine those together to make the anonymous Dropbox, so these mass leaks could be, submitted anonymously. Then they would use their Network to verify the leaks and then they would publish them. They started in 2006 and, they’ve got a perfect record. So they became magnets for leakers. 

Friederike: Basically, because it’s, it’s very difficult to actually stay Anonymous, right? So basically when you intend to publicize, large amounts of data staying anonymous, as a major concern to be seen, they kind of insert themselves as a buffer.

Gabriel: Yes. And there was censorship, totally censorship-resistant as well. So, their legal setup, allowed them to carry on, keep their servers up and carry on publishing under any circumstance basically.

Friederike Did they also fact-check? Or did they self-censor some of the information that was selected? That was transmitted to them.

Gabriel: I don’t think so. No. But they did fact-check yeah so they like I said they’ve got this perfect record with nothing that has been proved to be fake or any of the documents found to be fake. So yeah, they were fact-checking and making sure that everything was everything that they published on the Wikileaks website was true to that source, and yet was the original source documents that were published. 

Friederike: So Julian started this, undertaking, obviously, there were lots of other people involved. Can you briefly talk about the suit of leaks that brought Julian into the crosshairs of law enforcement? 

Gabriel: Well I guess I can talk about it and maybe from my personal perspective. So when Wikileaks started, I looked and watched it grow curiously. They had things about the Church of Scientology, different leaks originally, and so it was interesting and watching it form. 

But the first time that I really saw the power of WikiLeaks was when Julian published some documents from Kenya, a report in Kenya that led to a change of government. And that’s was the first time when we, when I started hearing that, some people who Julian had worked with were turned up dead and things like that.

So that was the first time that really, this is something that is confronting power is making power, the power structures afraid. So afraid that they will, act out and do something so that that is the first time around that time when Wikileaks sort of confronted that sort of resistance I think. 

Friederike: So, I mean, there’s different sorts of resistance. So basically, there’s resistance from what we would see as illegitimate actors, and then there’s resistance from legitimate actors or people, we think ought to be legitimate actors. So, basically Western Democratic governments. I mean if you’re in the crosshairs for something where the Democratic record is less than stellar that’s maybe not completely surprising, but Julian actually also made it into the crosshairs of the American Administration through the leak from Chelsea Manning. 

Gabriel: Chelsea Manning right, so the Afghan war Diaries, the Afghan war Diaries, the Iraq War logs, the cables set of diplomatic cables, and also the Guantanamo Bay detainee files. So since it was basically after that was published months later that’s when all these attacks started on Julian, the allegations in Sweden, he was trapped in the UK.

So shortly after that publishing those leaks is when these larger forces or, what we could, I guess I don’t really consider them to be, law-abiding governments. But most people do, that’s when they started really ramping up their attacks on Julian and limiting its freedom. 

So he was invited to the UK by the guardian and he’s been trapped there, ever since, so he left Sweden, and he was invited to the UK and that’s when an Interpol red notice was issued, and he was arrested and yeah, he’s been stuck in England ever since. Now, he’s in prison. Just outside of London. 

Friederike: Why do you think it was only Julian? Because I mean basically there’s a number of people involved with Wikileaks right?

Gabriel:  Yes, that’s right. I think, in the beginning, Julian he was he became the lightning rod to sort of protect the other people. So, in the beginning, it was a bit of that but then, as his profile grew and grew, then he became the lightning rod for these sort of regulatory attacks that have been coming at him for the past 11 years, but there are the other people in Wikileaks. The other Wikileaks people have been investigated and spied on by the CIA, Andy Müller-Maguhn was confirmed that he was spied on by the CIA that was confirmed by 30 sources from within the CIA last September in a Yahoo news investigation. So it’s not just Julian but he is the most prominent one that is, suffering at the moment. 

Friederike: So, what are the charges that are being levied against him?

Gabriel: Well, I see, I was charged under the, I mean, basically, he’s charged for publishing these Chelsea Manning leaks. That’s what he’s been charged within, this is charged under the Espionage Act, but if you look at the indictment, it’s it just sort of outlines, well, he received these leaks and he published them and therefore, that’s illegal.

So he’s charged with 17 counts of the Espionage Act, which carry 170 years in prison, and one charge under computer intrusion which carries five years. So a total of 175 years maximum sentence. It was brought under the Trump Administration, so this indictment was, The Obama Administration looked into charging Julian and they found that they could not charge Julian without charging the New York Times as well without, they called that the New York Times problem. So they put the indictment aside and then when Trump came in 2017, it was just after Julian leaked the vault 7 or published the vault 7 leaks, which were the CIA hacking tools. 

That’s when Mike Pompeo made the speech and he called Wikileaks and non-state hostile intelligence services. So everyone sort of scratched their heads at the time and it was his first speech as the CIA director. He focused on Wikileaks, that’s a really big thing and everyone scratches their head at the time saying like, what does this mean, what does a non-state hostile intelligence service?.

So that’s like a new, a new word, and what it actually meant is that the CIA could use the same techniques and tools that they use against say, the Iranian Secret Service or the Russian FSB or something like that. They could then use those on Wikileaks without getting Congressional approval without taking it to, those sort of checks and balances level. 

So, it was from that moment, onwards, that things really, Julian’s persecution really ramped up. There was a time inside the Ecuadorian Embassy. Where the Ecuadorian government changed and a security company, that was hired to protect Julian, became a CIA asset and they started ramping up surveillance inside the embassy, they installed cameras that had listening devices on them, they would start taking, I remember, I went there, they take your passport, they take your phone, they open your phone. They take pictures of your e-mail and everything like that, they take pictures of your passport and then when you leave, they give it back to you. And at that time, Julian had a jammer. So we’d go in and he would put on like a, a static jammer when we spoke because he knew there were microphones there recording because of this hostile environment. 

Then later on there was some this was all sort of exposed in a Spanish court case, because some people from the security company leaked out, that these things were happening were going on and that the plans are actually worse. They were agents who are stealing Julian’s children’s nappies to find their DNA. Just to sort of proving that he was the father, they found out that there were plots to poison Julian and there were plots to kidnap Julian from the embassy. 

Then last September, there was this investigation by Yahoo news, by these three reporters. And then all these claims were confirmed by these 30 sources, from inside the Intelligence Community, they were confirmed that there were plots within the CIA to murder Julian, plots to kidnap him and in fact, the plots to kidnap him became before the indictment. 

So the CIA went to the White House with this plot to kidnap Julian and the DOJ said, well what are you going to do with him, like you’re going to kidnap him, we can’t put him in Guantanamo. Like what are you going to do when he gets here, let us do the indictment first and then we can get him out.

So that’s what kicked off this current indictment was back in 2017. And, that’s when we saw things ramp up in the embassy, in the plan to get Julian out of the embassy really ramped up. And there was this it’s actually called what’s a code name? It’s like Pelican? I think something, Pelican. It was actually a code-named operation by the British intelligence to get Julian out of the embassy and along with the Ecuadorian. So the British government conspired with the Ecuadorian government to eject Julian out of the Ecuadorian Embassy. 

So it’s almost like, they came up with this plot to kidnap him, but they turned it into a judicial kidnapping and that’s what we’re seeing now. Julian is still being held hostage basically in Belmarsh Prison and yeah, that’s the sort of story of how he’s gotten there at the moment. 

Friederike: Why are the things that he did, not covered by the First Amendment rights? I mean, basically free speech and freedom of the press is something that the U.S. have historically held up really high. 

Gabriel: Yeah, that’s true. And I think, I think there’s a lot of resistance to the case, actually going to the US because it would really test this out and it would be very publicly unpopular to have this prosecution of a publisher in a court in the U.S. So what’s happening at the moment is like this continuation of this judicial kidnapping, is that there is a very, very weak extradition agreement that was put in place in the UK after 9/11. So the idea being, we can come in and just grab whoever we want and take terrorists and try them in the U.S. 

So that weak extradition agreements have been exploited by the DOJ in order to keep Julian in prison in the UK and one thing about the UK, its journalism laws aren’t as strong as in the US. And I think, after, we’ve seen after the Snowden leaks, MI6 agents going into the guardian and smashing up computers, they have the D notice board where that it’s basically the intelligence community sits down with all the editors of the newspaper and says you they work out what to publish. So the UK press. The press writes are non-existent basically. So that’s why he’s sort of been kept there through these extradition laws and just sort of letting it run on because the idea is to keep him in prison to show everybody that if you publish this information, this is what’s going to happen to you. We’ll move you from place to place. And will exploit these laws and will exploit the court systems to keep you in prison to keep you locked up until you either die. Except that’s it. 

Friederike: That’s pretty dire. So, why do you think the Trump administration at the time kind of, why do you think they made this distinction between bringing charges against Julian and Wikileaks and the New York Times is it because bringing charges against the New York Times, would not carry popular support?

And basically, they can kind of paint Julian and Wikileaks as this broke organization? 

Gabriel: Yes. So there’s a, 10-year long propaganda campaign to sort of destroy Julian and Wikileaks’ reputation. And so, what that created was a political situation in the US where it was okay, people thought, oh, this person is one of the ones that are most worrying at the moment and stops a lot of people from supporting Julian is that they think he got Trump elected.

So this narrative is pushed into the Democratic party and into the Democratic voters, that Julian got Trump elected, Julian got Trump elected. And so they believe, well is our political opponent. So, we don’t actually mind if his rights are abused, it’s convenient to us. It’s convenient for our political situation. So I think that these narratives that are created in order to this to happen, but Jullian’s constituency has been taken away from him by all these media, this propaganda campaign over the years.

Whereas the New York Times, they are aligned with the Democratic party. So they have the protection of the democratic party, when it comes to those sort of stuff. So you see things like, requests for access to reporter’s emails that came under the Trump DOJ you see when it changes to the Biden DOJ, Merrick Garland, the current DOJ goes in and says oh we’re not going to do that anymore, because we’re where the Democrats now we’re going to go after project Veritas which is a right-wing newspaper.

So as long as you’ve got one side, you’re okay. But if you’re actually if you want to communicate the truth to everybody without a political allegiance, then you’re in a very difficult position because when they come after you’re vulnerable to attack from each side. 

Friederike: I mean, it’s also the core of civil liberties that everyone is allowed them. So you can’t just go after the people who say things that you don’t agree with.

Let’s talk about the administration change. So I mean, obviously the charges were first brought by the Trump Administration and now it’s the Biden Administration. So does this change things? 

Because as you said earlier, the Obama administration had decided that the charges were too weak to bring so shouldn’t that kind of inform what’s happening now?

Gabriel: Yeah. I mean, that’s what you would expect. We went to the US last January to try and lobby the incoming administration, because we sort of had some hope that, when they came in that they would wind this back. But there were some promising signs like I said they withdrew those subpoenas for the New York Times journalist’s emails and things like that. They even amended the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act as well. So they had charged with what they had charged Aaron Swartz with was potentially now not possible. 

So there were some promising signs from the administration but not in Julian’s case. So they sort of have doubled down on it now and then they’re pushing it. They’re pushing it forward. They are appealing to the highest level, they appeal to the high court where they won and the extradition was ordered. And now Julian’s just submitted his application to appeal to the Supreme Court, he submitted that on the 7th, which is when the NFT auction was launched. So that is the sort of next step in the Supreme Court. 

But I don’t, there are some, the Biden Administration. I don’t really think that they’re going to do anything without any sort of major political cost, there has to be some political pressure on them for them to drop this case. 

Friederike: So, basically looking at last year, I mean, there were extradition proceedings in the UK and then basically in January, the judge ruled that Assange could not be extradited to the United States because of concerns about mental health, and risk of suicide in the US prison. Then basically the U.S. appeared. 

I mean, that’s a very active act, right? So, basically, this is something that we’re basically if you’re handed a court case and you don’t really agree with it in the first place, then you lose. Then basically deciding to appear, this is very active. I mean, they could have decided to not appear this, it would have been an easy way out, right? So basically, if you don’t really agree with the case.

Gabriel: Yeah I think they’re scared of Julian, they’re afraid of being exposed. Julian and Wikileaks invented this system that was a magnet for leakers. These huge data sets and what we see now is that these things that have been created by a Cypherpunk have been co-opted by the institutions that Julian, was fighting against. 

So, you have the New York Times has an anonymous Dropbox. You have like Washington Post has an anonymous drop box but like you can submit anonymously but then it just goes into the same filter like and then it’s really their sort of co-opted the Wikileaks model and turned it into their sort of part of the institutional power system that they’ve been running for years and years. 

I think there’s they’re just very scared of it and, they want him dead basically, that’s the crust of that they want him dead. 

Friederike: So in this appear on December 10th, the judge actually sided with the U.S. and basically said that Julian could be extradited. There is now an appeal hearing at the UK Supreme Court. So what’s the course of action now, in terms of legal recourse?

Gabriel: Yes so the Supreme Court appeal will come up. So Julian’s applied to the Supreme Court for permission to appeal, he’ll probably find that out I guess and the appeal might be heard before the summer and if that appeal is rejected then, he could potentially be extradited. 

He could appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, but the UK is sort of trying to pull back from that and then there’s potential for a cross-appeal to the lower Court’s rulings on all the substantive press Freedom grounds. So that so there’s potential for that court for those proceedings to happen. 

But in my opinion, I think sort of extradition is very likely that he’ll be extradited sooner than we think. But that the decision on 10th of December really kicked off, when the extradition was ordered, there was this, like global outrage around the world that started, we saw so much sort of people became really angry. 

Then we saw that FreeRossDAO had just come about and it was an everyone saw how successful that was, they bought the Ross first NFT collection and it was this sort of global outrage that kicked off some calls. So people on Twitter were calling on what about a Free Assange DAO, or whatever that Assange DAO and, one of our multi-sig signed, Ewan MacKenna posted a tweet and then Harry Halpin whose CEO of NYM he, reposted a tweet saying, this is a great idea. 

I’d been talking to Stellar about DAO’s, a couple of months before and it all just started to move so quickly after that everyone sort of came together into a telegram group. And yeah, that was on December 10. Now we have, now there’s a thriving community of 10,000 people who are in free Assange DAO.

Friederike: Cool, let’s talk about the AssangeDAO. So there were people who could contribute, to the AssangeDAO, right? And the DAO collected 16500ETH worth 50 million dollars. Then, that was spent on an NFT by the Pak, With the understanding that the money would go to a foundation the Wau Holland Foundation. Can you tell us about what happened? And why did it happen?

Stellar: Whenever the DAO was starting to form on December 10th of last year. Many people were joining the telegram group and mentioning NFTs as a way for AssangeDAO to form. This was because December 10th was actually shortly after the success of the FreeRossDAO. So we wanted to emulate that successful use case as much as possible. 

So Gabriel had also joined the telegram group around that time and he mentioned that there was indeed an NFT in the works from the Julian Assange side but the details weren’t fully revealed yet as far as when that would be launched or what that would look like. 


Friederike: Can you describe the NFT that was actually bought? 


Stellar: So, the NFT is a collaboration between Assange and Pak called Clock. And it displays in words, the number of days that Assange has been at Belmarsh prison. So basically, every day the clock updates, counting up the number of days and whenever he gets released, the clock will go to 0. 

This mechanism is also tied to an open edition of Vanguard NFTs that Pak allowed people to mint for free when the auction was underway where people can type in a message and it looks censored on the NFTs, like there’s a line going across the message. But also all of these NFTs that people are minted are locked in their wallets and as soon as Julian Assange becomes free, they’ll unlock and they’ll become uncensored. 

Friederike: And by becoming free, you mean leaving Belmarsh? Because those are not the same thing, right? 

Gabriel: It’s dynamic, but in multiple ways. So, yeah, as Julian’s situation changes. I believe the clock will change. I think one of those ones that we know about is that if Julian walks free, is released, and is free, actually free. That, the clock will turn to zero.

So I think what’s interesting about it is, you’ve got to almost 30,000 people who minted one of the open edition. So they’re all linked, all these open Editions, those people have are all stuck in their wallets. They’re all sort of been censored, they’re all not free, right? So this concept that all these people have this Julian-Pak NFT but they’re linked to Julian’s freedom. 

So it’s this interesting, sort of interplay, I guess one of the ideas would be that it motivates them to advocate for Julian’s Freedom, or do something for Julian’s freedom, because their NFT is tied to that, if they want to trade it, I guess.

Friederike: So the entire sum that the DAO raised 16500ETH was bid on this NFT, right? So basically, the second highest bidder was Jesse Powell from Kraken, he did it with his ETH adress. So basically it was very obvious. Why did the DAO decide or why do you think DAO decided to outbid him by like 11,000 ETH? Because I mean in principle, the DAO could have also just kept those ETH to have at their disposal, right? 

Gabriel: Yes there was a very, it was a lot of debate within the DAO, but within the sort of core group about this strategy that we used and it was a hotly debated strategy. this is the sort of the path that was chosen in the end, we had some in the group has supported some who didn’t, and this is The sort of way we went in within, the DAO structure. There are Some representatives from Julien’s family. And we were sort of deciding vote basically, between the two groups, who were going either way. And so we went with the tried and tested, well, Holland Foundation who, have been supporting Julian and his legal fees for a long time and have been resisted, these regulatory attacks before, so it was a pathway that was tested Pathway, to get this money to where it needs to be as soon as possible. 

Friederike: What were the arguments against that course of action? 

Gabriel: Well, the arguments against were that the DAO could use this treasury and potentially put it through its governance structure and create a sort of a DAO model that would have been more sustainable. The DAO still has some treasury. There will be I think five percent left in the DAO for day operations. They’ll be like the JBX tokens that the DAO will apply to get back. But yeah I think that was, they were the argument, well we can have this DAO structure here, let’s use it and to use the treasury and put it through the DAO structure. So that was the argument for.

Friederike: Maybe let’s to the future of the DAO in a second, but basically just to kind of close this line of inquiry. So basically the 50 million they kind of went to Pak with the understanding that they would, give them to the Wau Holland Foundation.

Gabriel: Yes, so that’s the pathway there and it’s also a Julian collaborate, so it’s a collaboration. It’s Julian’s first NFT as well so, that’s a good thing to spend the money on if Julian feels like he’s going to do other NFTs as well. 

Friederike: Okay. And I mean Wau Holland Foundation, this is a German Foundation, right? So in principle, you can actually give to the Wau Holland foundation and everything that you give is tax-deductible, where their thoughts of just having a public call to ask people to give to the Wau Holland foundation on Julian’s behalf. Because obviously doing things tax-free is always an additional incentive right?.

Gabriel: Yeah. I mean I’ve been advocating in the crypto Community for almost two years now. It’s very hard to get people to part with their crypto. If you’re just asking for a donation, you have to offer, they all want some value so you can offer them an NFT or something like that. So I think that that was the Catalyst and the sort of pathway like following on from RossDAO and seeing how successful they were that we coincide the DAO launch with the NFT sale and it really just, blows things up, like it just makes everything bigger.

 And we’ve seen there’s been worldwide news now on the NFT cell all around the world which I don’t think would have happened otherwise. It’s been reported all over the world, writers report and it’s just picked up and it’s been taking in Mexico in the US all over the place, people reporting on a positive story, about Julian with a different narrative, about how many people are supporting him, how much money he’s able to raise.

So getting that positive message, about Julian’s cause and the people who are supporting him it’s in every single, most of the publications around the world, you can’t really buy that, you can’t buy that. So that’s one of the great things about the NFT purchase and the DAO’s raised.

Friederike: So what’s going to happen with the NFT now that it belongs to the DAO.

Stellar: The DAO has to decide what happens with that essentially.

Friederike: I understand there’s no set course of action, but what are the options that the DAO is considering? 

Stellar: Well, I believe that the main option the community is talking about is the potential fractionalization of the NFT. But for that to happen, there would have to be a proposal put through and approved by the Justice token holders and Justice is the token of the AssangeDAO.

Friederike: I understand that basically for every ETH contributed you got a million Justice tokens right? In principle they are tradable on the open market so you can actually trade them on UniSwap wherever you want. 

What are the plans for the holders of the Justice token, what are the plans for the DAO and principle? What do you think is in its future? Do you think it’s like a one-time thing which is basically a kind of a GoFundMe crossed with NFTs, to get media attention, or do you think AssangeDAO is going to make it into the future to find a mission with their Justice tokens? Kind of like I’m sure you guys are familiar with ConstitutionDAO, right?

Stellar:  I don’t think the DAO has necessarily ended right now, but let me just explain a bit, What Gabriel was mentioning before as far as these JBX tokens. So AssangeDAO use JuiceBox as a platform to raise its funds. But Juicebox took five percent of all the ETH raised, which is about 2.5 million USD worth. But what they did was give the DAO their Juice Box AKA JBX tokens in exchange for taking this ETH. 

So right now, there’s a proposal under review in the JuiceBoxDAO to upgrade their JBX ETH bonding curve from 70 percent to 95 percent. Meaning that if this proposal is approved, AssangeDAO will be able to exchange the JBX tokens into JuiceBox bonding curve and get back 95% of this 5% ETH fee that JuiceBox took, which is still close to 2.5 million.

So then this will give AssangeDAO a bit of a treasury to work with beyond just the JBX tokens, which do not have that much liquidity. 

So that’s one of the steps that needs to be taken and then the other major step though is really formalizing the governance processes and governance model of the DAO. So the Justice holders need to vote in and approve the DAO’s governance model and also formulate potential governance models.

So that has not happened yet, AssangeDAO was going to open up a snapshot space and start to enable the Justice government.

So those are the next steps, basically solidifying the governance model. But at the same time the DAO mission, there are very clear constraints on the website. As far as what AssangeDAO primary focus should be is essentially freeing and liberating Assange, but right now there are many people joining the community and sometimes they bring up some software ideas on becoming a more generic DAO for Justice, but it is called AssangeDAO.

So I believe that it’s important, I believe it’s personally important for the mission to be highly specific to Julian Assange in my opinion. But essentially Justice holders need to vote in and approve to make sure that everyone is aligned with a common mission.

Friederike: Are there considerations of becoming decentralized, Freedom of the Press Foundation or decentralized WikiLeaks?

Stellar: So there are definitely many people in the community that has brought up that idea or want that to be a focus of AssangeDAO, I personally don’t think it makes sense as far as that being a project that AssangeDAO incubates. But I do believe in general that it is a worthy idea to fund but it’s better off being funded by creating a more focused free software DAO but, that’s my opinion. 

Friederike: Other than funding Julian Assange’s legal costs, which I understand should be more or less taken care of with the money that’s going to Wau Holland. Fortunately, I’ve never had to face trial anywhere, particularly in the US, but I can’t imagine that the legal proceedings are going to be more than like 15 or 20 million, right? I mean that should be ample money for the defense, right? 


Gabriel: If you look at like some of the strap for some of the Stratfor emails, it says move him from place to place and have him involved in endless legal cases for the next 30 years, So if you divide that amount by 30 years of legal, it doesn’t really at the end of that, you don’t live with that much.

If you’re talking about going to the Supreme Court in the US or where other places like that it’s very very costly and in the US as we’ll have to run a dual campaign like lobbying and all that sort of stuff, because this is a political case, right? 

The courts provide this veil of legality for people so that allows a whole section of society to switch off and say, oh well the courts doing their job, he’ll get the benefit of justice, his rights are okay. But really it’s just another arm of the state.

So it’s really a political case as to be one politically as well. But you still need the best lawyers because if they make a mistake then it can’t really wind up back. So in terms of is it enough funds? I think we could easily spend more than that on a case like this. 

Friederike: This is very much a political case, right? So, basically winning in the arena of public relations is probably the way to go. I would assume as someone who wants to be re-elected, you make sure widely unpopular cases are dropped, if it seen that as a big Injustice.

So basically what are the plans for AssangeDAO, from the people within the DAO who wanted to stay centered on Assange as a person?

Stellar: Well, the DAO is still in a nascent phase, so there are not necessarily any clear or strategic plans that have been fully formulated yet. The current phase is really about seeing what emerges from the community and then the DAO can start acting on ideas after it has a treasury of Eth that it will get back from JuiceBox. 

Gabriel: What we achieved so far, like what the DAO is achieved so far has been absolutely, like it’s history, like I think correct me if I’m wrong. We started forming it like two to three weeks ago, right? Like literally we were sort of in a holding pattern, the DAO group was in a holding pattern, and then we had the NFT auction date and then everyone just like dropped everything.

And literally I think most of us haven’t slept for three weeks, we are all still sort of coming down now. I  think I’ve aged like two years or something three weeks.

Stellar: Yeah, Basically as soon as the date of the Pak and Assange NFT auction was announced, not that much time and there’s so much to do and it was so very intense for sure. 

Friederike: Yeah I can imagine that it must have been the mad scramble, So do I understand this correctly that Gabriel you, and the rest of the family kind of brought Pak to the table. 

Gabriel: Yeah, Julian was thinking about an NFT after, Snowden had a wildly successful NFT, all the proceeds of that went to the Freedom of the Press Foundation, which he is the chairman of, and it was, wildly successful.

After that, Julian started thinking about an NFT, who would be good to collaborate with. And that’s when we looked at a range of artists, he spoke to Pak and they had some ideas and it sort of just went from there. 

I think that was back in May, so there was there’s been a lot of schedule wrangling like Julian is obviously going through Court proceedings and Pak has a sort of schedule of releases, so we eventually settled on the 7th of February. 

Friederike: Yeah, super interesting. So where can people come to kind of find out more about AssangeDAO and also probably shape the future of the organization, right? 

Stellar: So can learn more by going to the AssangeDAO website, AssangeDAO.org, the Forum is the best place right now to participate in discussions and that is a forum.AssangeDAO.org.

And that’s basically where the future of the governance will be formed and where people can submit proposals for discussion, and you can also follow AssangeDAO on Twitter. On the website there is also a link to the sub stack blog as well. 

Friederike: Gabriel have you spoken to your brother, since all of this has gone down?

Gabriel:  I haven’t spoken to him directly, I spoke to his fiancee Stellar and yeah he’s very, very moved, there’s not much good news for Julian, over these past years. So this sort of thing really makes a difference to his mood and lifts everyone around the world a really lifts every single support network, whether they’re street activists, whether they’re podcasters who are on side, whether they’re the 10,000 strong community that is in the DAO.

This has been a super successful initiative, raised more than anyone else ever, and so I think everyone around the world, all the supporters, all the activists are sort of lifted by this, They can see, the tide is changing and I think that’s what we feeling and I think that’s what Julian feels. 

Friederike: If people want to get involved in a non-DAO way, what are the best ways to contribute? 

Gabriel: Depending where you are, there are a few different websites that don’t extradite Assange or is the big one in the UK AssangeDefense.org is in the US, get on Facebook groups, and Twitter groups that are all the different activists around the world.

There are so many activists groups that they’re literally is anywhere you go there is an Assange support activist group so, get involved with them.

I think one of the main things is talking to your neighbours, talking to your friends about it, if you’re updating them and getting them to support the case and telling them, the real story about what’s going on, it’s not like what they read in the media or what they’re exposed to on the television or whatever,  give them the actual news.

Friederike: How much value is then reaching out to your political representatives because it is at its core a political case, right?


Gabriel: Yes that works as well, that’s very successful. If like in my lecture at home, if I see the MP on the street, I go up to him and go, Hey, what are you doing? What are you doing about Assange? You got to do something, I think that’s, if you’re confronting them on the street they can’t hide from you so I think that’s one really good way.

Localized petitions are really good, so if you’re in your local area and you have a representative get together people and do a localized petition, submit them to your representative. There are groups of parliamentarians, like France has a group of 49 parliamentarians, who support Assange, Britain has 26 Australia has a group of 28, in Greece there’s 100 a third of the parliament is in Assange support group.

So encouraging parliamentarians to join these groups is a very important part, and something that every normal person can do because they need our votes. 

Friederike: Thank you both for coming on this was super interesting!


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