In this week’s CryptoMile, host Brian McGlinon is joined by the director of the Don’t Hand Over Assange campaign. On Saturday, August 26, supporters of WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange will hold a “first-of-its-kind” political rally inside the Metaverse.
The virtual location is designed as a replica of the Royal Courts of Justice in London. Julian Assange will deliver a pre-recorded speech through a virtual avatar. His wife Stella and Jeremy Corbyn will also give speeches via virtual avatars.
Brian Maglinon: This week’s “The Crypto Mile” features John Reese, founder of the “Don’t Hand Over Assange” campaign. Julian Assange’s political rally will be held in the Metaverse this Saturday, August 26th. Julian Assange himself will participate in this “one of a kind” virtual mass protest, addressing the crowd in the form of a virtual avatar. Julian’s wife Stella, WikiLeaks co-founders Christine Flavenson and Jeremy Corbyn will also give speeches via virtual avatars. The event will take place at Wistaverse at 5pm UK time.
Welcome to the show, John.
John Reese: Thank you very much.
Brian Maglinon: John, can you give us a quick rundown on what is going on with Julian Assange right now and what will happen to him once he is handed over?
John Reese: Well, Julian is waiting to see if the latest and possibly final appeal within the British court system will be heard in the High Court. So, if this fails, the government will require him to be extradited by air to the United States, where he will be imprisoned in a high-security prison. So the stakes shouldn’t be any higher.
Brian Maglinon: This will be the ‘first of its kind’ event to host such a large political rally in the Metaverse. But why take this event in the Metaverse? Why throw it into the digital realm?
John Reese: Well, there are actually two things. It’s an addition to real protests, not a replacement for them. And in fact, we designed the environment exactly as a replica of the Royal Courts of Justice so that those who attend this event can get an idea of how good it really is to come outside of the actual, authentic courts. – The Royal Court, whenever Julian appears.
We don’t know the date yet, so we’re running the campaign on day X. We will announce that date as soon as we know it. And our hope is that those who actually attend this event will be encouraged, encouraged and enthusiastic to participate in the real event as well. We hope that they will be informed of this incident and, as a result, become more competent and more active in participating in street protests.
Brian Maglinon: As you know, we want to attract a global audience. What numbers are you looking at and what are your projections?
John Reese: Well, I don’t really know. Because this is the first time, we expect thousands of people to join us. But we really don’t know. This is therefore a pioneering form of political activity. If it works, we won’t be the last, or even the only, repeaters. If not, have another one.
Brian Maglinon: This is definitely a novel approach, and in the digital world and metaverse all sorts of things can happen that we probably wouldn’t even expect. So how do users/participants participate in this? Do they really need to use the whole screen like this, or should they use a headset, or the computer screen? Or can I access it from my mobile phone?
John Reese: Well, it just shows up on your computer screen. So just click the link, log in and select your avatar. Your avatar can pick up an autograph, a Free Assange autograph, or a Free Press autograph and enter the auditorium. And then you see the speech. A projection is displayed on the screen. Enter the real Royal Courts, go inside the virtual Royal Courts and choose your own slogan to put on the walls. You can subscribe to our mailing list. You can donate to the campaign. You can write a letter to MP.
So, in a way, it’s all the aspects that you see in the newsletter and the website all rolled into one, but the character that represents you can be a part of many of them through the process. They just choose and they keep going. In other words, it has the ability to solidify and focus the kind of campaign activity that can be completed on a computer screen in 30 minutes. That means it’s probably more fun than just clicking the petition link.
Brian Maglinon: Have you considered running your campaign in a Web3 environment that might go against your campaign?
John Reese: No matter what protest you choose, some people will be against it. However, people object when it blocks traffic on Parliament Square. I mean, there will be people who have problems with various forms of protest. But, no one is forcing them to accompany them. It is a voluntary event. If you like the sound of it, if you think it’s important, come on. If you have a different opinion, that’s fine too.
Brian Maglinon: Is there a way for people to participate and be completely private? So just, you know, I want to protest and I want to be there. I want to talk, I want to, I want to hear a speech, but I don’t want anyone to know I’m there.
John Reese: Yeah. That means you can participate anonymously, of course. If that’s people’s choice, so be it. In other words, it’s better to have it than not. But my take on it is that if you’re going to a public event, it’s better to be public. It is more powerful when people identify and identify with their real name or with a cause.
Brian Maglinon: Well, the event will take place on Saturday 26th August at 5pm UK time and will take place all over the world, so we can expect participants from all over the world. John, thank you so much for joining us for this week’s episode of The Crypto Mile.
John Reese: No, you’re welcome. thank you.