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The Petition


Published date: 14 Sep 2018

Petition request

That the House of Representatives urge the Government to provide Julian Assange with permanent political asylum in New Zealand, including a guarantee of safe passage from the United Kingdom to New Zealand.


Petition reason

Julian Assange (Wikileaks editor) is under effective house arrest in UK. On 5 February 2016, the UN's Working Group on Arbitrary Detention concluded that Assange had been subject to arbitrary detention since 7 Dec 2010; paras 52 75 89 97 98 https://justice4assange.com/UN-Working-Group-Decision.html


Petition Report to Parliament 30 October 2018


This post is the content of an open letter to the NZ Parliamentarians and the Governor General (a member of the parliament under NZ Constitution) in respect to the reporting of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade (FADT) select committee's Report to the House on the Petition in the name of Greg Rzesniowiecki: "Provide Julian Assange political asylum in New Zealand"

There are three documents below, and one video;

1. Media release

2. Covering email content to NZ Parliamentarians

3. Open Letter to NZ Parliamentarians

I do not need to further comment.. the Parliament report is considered as this is published.

You can see the Parliament's lack of action on the petition in this brief video of the parliament - our matter 1:02 of the 1:22 video:

https://www.parliament.nz/en/watch-parliament/ondemand?itemId=203545  

We've concentrated on producing the material for the House and media as being the priority. This post will be a record of our attempts in the democratic processes to realise our shared objective - rule of law.

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Free Assange NZ Media Release sent to a list of 70 email addresses of prominent media in NZ emailed 12:10pm...

Media Release 30 October 2018           Free Assange NZ               For immediate use

NZ Parliament select committee 'believe they have no jusrisdiction' to recommend asylum for Assange in New Zealand

Parliament's Foreign Affairs Defence and Trade (FADT) select committee's report on the petition; “Provide Julian Assange permanent political asylum in New Zealand” found they “believe that the scope of this petition is outside of our jurisdiction”. The FADT report was reported Friday 26 October. Parliament has the matter on its Order Paper for today's sitting.

Greg Rzesniowiecki petitioner and spokesperson for Free Assange NZ says, “The petition is simple and well within the ambit of the FADT committee, why else would the Clerk allocate the petition to the committee with scope given it is Parliament's eye to the outer world?”

The petition asks; “That the House of Representatives urge the Government to provide Julian Assange with permanent political asylum in New Zealand, including a guarantee of safe passage from the United Kingdom to New Zealand.”

Free Assange NZ have written an open letter to all NZ Parliamentarians and the Governor General. The open letter offers the facts of Julian Assange's arbitrary detention in the Ecuador Embassy in London England. It addresses the merits of the petition. It also addresses jurisdiction.

Rzesniowiecki reports, “We make the case for the New Zealand Government to intercede in the matter, offer Assange political asylum in NZ and negotiate a guarantee of safe passage from the Ecuador embassy to safe haven in New Zealand.”

The letter notes that the NZ Government has expressed interest in justice in Turkey and Saudi Arabia with the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. NZ is concerning itself in Australia's treatment of refugees offering to take 150 people currently detained on Nauru Island.

New Zealand is upgrading it's domestic law designed to protect whistleblowers with Monday 29 October announcement by Minister Chris Hipkins of proposed amendments to the Protected Disclosures Act 2000.

New Zealand asserts its independent foreign policy – interceding to free Julian Assange journalist and editor, peace lover and protector of whistleblowers who reveal and disclose war crimes, aggression, corrupt and criminal behaviour would be a great Next Step*.

Ends.

Greg Rzesniowiecki                        on behalf of Free Assange NZ

gregfullmoon013@gmail.com         freeassangenz@gmail.com             www.freeassangenz.org.nz

* Rt Hon Winston Peters Minister of Foreign Affairs Speech to Otago Foreign Policy School 29 June 2018 “Next Steps” https://www.beehive.govt.nz/speech/next-steps


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This portion is the content of the covering email sent 12:03pm

Dear New Zealand Parliamentarians  and Her Excellency The Right Honourable Dame Patsy Reddy GNZM, QSO Governor-General of New Zealand

The attached is an open letter in respect to the Petition to the House in the name of Greg Rzesniowiecki: Provide Julian Assange political asylum in New Zealand;

"That the House of Representatives urge the Government to provide Julian Assange with permanent political asylum in New Zealand, including a guarantee of safe passage from the United Kingdom to New Zealand."

https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/petitions/document/PET_78652/petition-of-greg-rzesniowiecki-provide-julian-assange  

We ask you to consider the matter carefully and consider the recommended actions set out on page 5 of the letter, and replicated here;

Members can Act arising from the FADT report through one of the following mechanisms (advised by Clerk's office);

1.  Motion for an urgent debate - a Member could write to the Speaker requesting an urgent debate, which would occur immediate after question or a time determined by Speaker/Business Committee.

2.  Bring it up in General Business which will be Wednesday this week after Question Time.

3.  Introduce a Private Members Bill or a party introduces a Bill to the House.

4.  A Notice of Motion – a Member seeks leave to place a motion on the Order Paper

5.  A Member's notion - where a Member seeks leave to introduce a Motion to the House with or without debate which might arise from the Clerk's report of the petition to the House today at the commencement of Parliamentary business.

We urge Members to act in respect to this matter.

Many thanks for your consideration, 

Warm regards

Greg Rzesniowiecki

on behalf of Free Assange NZ


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Open Letter to Parliamentarians emailed 12:03 pm 

Tuesday 30 October 2018

From: Greg Rzesniowiecki Petitioner         Free Assange NZ associates

gregfullmoon013@gmail.com                    freeassangenz@gmail.com

To: All NZ Parliamentarians and Her Excellency The Right Honourable Dame Patsy Reddy GNZM, QSO Governor-General of New Zealand

By Email:

Members: as addressed

Governor General

Subject: We request you provide Julian Assange asylum in New Zealand: Whistleblowers and Wikileaks vital for informed democracy

Dear Member of the NZ Parliament,

I write on behalf of Free Assange NZ to advise of our attitude to the Foreign Affairs Defence and Trade (FADT) committee report in respect to the petition to the New Zealand Parliament to provide Julian Assange editor of Wikileaks political asylum in New Zealand in the name of Greg Rzesniowiecki.1

The petition was sponsored by NZ Labour MP for Ohariu Greg O'Connor, presented to the House 14 September and referred to the FADT committee which has finalised their report without considering the merits of the matter.

Free Assange NZ and the petitioner respectfully request that the NZ Parliament carefully consider the merits of the matter.

This letter offers the facts of the Julian Assange arbitrary detention in the Ecuador Embassy in London England. It addresses the merits of the petition. It also addresses jurisdiction.

We make the case for the New Zealand Government to intercede in the matter, offer Assange political asylum in NZ and negotiate a guarantee of safe passage from the Ecuador embassy to safe haven in New Zealand.

The FADT report was uploaded to the Parliament website late afternoon Friday 26 October. It says in a nutshell that committee "believe they have no jusrisdiction"2

The report to Parliament is for today's sitting Tuesday 30 October 2018. We suggest mechanisms to proceed on page 5 of this letter.

Screen capture of FADT report content for your convenience – I've highlighted the finding;


Lack of jurisdiction?

In respect to the committee's view of it's own limited jurisdiction, let us start with the Rule of Law definition from Lexis Nexis3 - extracted wisdom;

The Rule of Law, in its most basic form, is the principle that no one is above the law. The rule follows logically from the idea that truth, and therefore law, is based upon fundamental principles which can be discovered, but which cannot be created through an act of will.

The most important application of the rule of law is the principle that governmental authority is legitimately exercised only in accordance with written, publicly disclosed laws adopted and enforced in accordance with established procedural steps that are referred to as due process. The principle is intended to be a safeguard against arbitrary governance, whether by a totalitarian leader or by mob rule. Thus, the rule of law is hostile both to dictatorship and to anarchy.

Members might find this commentary of interest; “Statutory recognition of the rule of law” August 25, 20164 about how a certain MP saved the day and stopped 'Rule of Law' being removed from Section 3(2) Purpose of the Supreme Court Act;

3(2) Nothing in this Act affects New Zealand’s continuing commitment to the rule of law and the sovereignty of Parliament.

I've extracted the bit about the heroine who saved 'Rule of Law' from the referenced article;

Until yesterday, that is. For whatever reason, Labour Opposition MP Jacinda Ardern chose to take issue with the Government’s proposal. She worked behind the scenes to drum up support for a Supplementary Order Paper that would reinstate s 3(2). It took some time, but it worked. Statutory recognition that the rule of law is a constitutional value in New Zealand will remain.

I think that’s important for 2 reasons. First, because the rule of law is important, as I’ve already mentioned. But second, and perhaps most interestingly, this episode has given us something of an insight into how Parliament deals with constitutional issues. Section 3(2) will be retained because one MP decided that its constitutional significance was important, and she managed to convince enough other Parliamentarians that they should take it seriously as well.

New Zealand’s constitution is sometimes maligned for being flexible and uncertain, but Jacinda’s efforts show that it still works well (eventually) when enough people in power take constitutional values seriously. At for the moment, at least, they do.

The Parliament is sovereign and can make any decision it presumes to5 (You might note experience in another matter - Parliament's sovereign ability to make a decision is the 'rock' 'TPP Free Wellington' struck when advancing a petition to the Governor General to not Assent to the TPP legislation in 2016 before a binding referendum was conducted).

The Constitutional independence and sovereignty of Parliament is well established, it has already passed it's own Constitution Act of 1986. NZ Parliament determined it's own sovereignty and the Governor General Assented.

The NZ Constitution an essay by John McSoriley B.A. LL.B. Legislative Analyst Parliamentary Library 15 February 2000 Updated: 03 October 2005 “The New Zealand Constitution”6 in 5 pages, which has the following to say that may be pertinet to our matter;

International conventions

International conventions describe norms of behaviour agreed to by States. There also exists international law based on customary principles or “the comity of nations” (i.e. from the accepted practice of states). International conventions apply to countries which have in some manner adopted them [11]. Those countries may, by so doing, have agreed to subject themselves to the adjudication of international courts or tribunals. However, the New Zealand Parliament may legislate contrary to the “comity of nations” and international covenants [12]. New Zealand’s courts will generally not enforce international conventions but there is now a well established practice in New Zealand whereby the courts treat them as part of the background to be considered in the interpretation of legislation and in the judicial review of executive decisions [13]. International conventions become law and will be enforced by the courts when their provisions are included in a statute. For example, New Zealand is a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1978) and the provisions of that convention have influenced much of our rights legislation such as the Human Rights Act 1993 and the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990.

References from text;

[11] The New Zealand Parliament has asserted a more prominent role in the adoption of international conventions : see: Report of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee, Inquiry into Parliament’s Role in the International Treaty Process, Report, 1997, Report I. 4A; Report of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee, Review of the International Treaty Examination Process, 1999, Report I. 4E.

[12] Philip A. Joseph, Constitutional and Administrative Law in New Zealand, Brookers, Wellington 2nd ed., 2001, p. 504.

[13] Van Gorkham v. Attorney-General [1977] 1 N.Z.L.R. 535.


Our petition merely requests

"That the House of Representatives urge the Government to provide Julian Assange with permanent political asylum in New Zealand, including a guarantee of safe passage from the United Kingdom to New Zealand."

The question of jurisdiction might go to the ability of the New Zealand Government being able to broker a truce or ability to guarantee it's offer, however, that is a matter to be discovered when the Government considers the urging of NZ's Parliament following rule of law and acts in accord with the request.

Where the Government refuses to act on Parliament's urge it is finished as far as the petition's value is concerned.

Free Assange NZ and the petitioner will continue to seek justice and the application of rule of law in the matter of Julian Assange – You have sufficient jurisdiction to acede to the petition's request.

Members can Act arising from the FADT report or of their own volition

Members can Act arising from the FADT report through one of the following mechanisms (advised by Clerk's office);

1. Motion for an urgent debate - a Member could write to the Speaker requesting an urgent debate, which would occur immediate after question or a time determined by Speaker/Business Committee.

2. Bring it up in General Business which will be Wednesday this week after Question Time.

3. Introduce a Private Members Bill or a party introduces a Bill to the House.

4. A Notice of Motion – a Member seeks leave to place a motion on the Order Paper

5. A Member's notion - where a Member seeks leave to introduce a Motion to the House with or without debate which might arise from the Clerk's report of the petition to the House today at the commencement of Parliamentary business.

We urge Members to act.


NZ elected member of UN Security Council 2015-2016

New Zealand served a two-year term as an elected member of the United Nations Security Council from 1 January 2015 to 31 December 20167.

During the period NZ was elected to the UN Security Council the UN made a decision that Julian Assange has been subjected to arbitrary detention in his confinement in the Ecuador Embassy in London. The UN decision is also referenced in the petition text.


UN Working Group decision 5 February 2016

On 5 February 2016, the UN's Working Group on Arbitrary Detention concluded that Assange had been subject to arbitrary detention since 7 Dec 20108 - extract of Disposition clauses 99, 100, 101;

Disposition

99. In the light of the foregoing, the Working Group renders the following opinion:

The deprivation of liberty of Mr. Assange is arbitrary and in contravention of articles 9 and 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and articles 7, 9(1), 9(3), 9(4), 10 and 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. It falls within category III of the categories applicable to the consideration of the cases submitted to the Working Group.

100. Consequent upon the opinion rendered, the Working Group requests the Government of Sweden and the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to assess the situation of Mr. Assange, to ensure his safety and physical integrity, to facilitate the exercise of his right to freedom of movement in an expedient manner, and to ensure the full enjoyment of his rights guaranteed by the international norms on detention.

101. The Working Group considers that, taking into account all the circumstances of the case, the adequate remedy would be to ensure the right of free movement of Mr. Assange and accord him an enforceable right to compensation, in accordance with article 9(5) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.


New Zealand can assist the UN and rule of law

New Zealand can assist the UN and rule of law through granting Julian Assange asylum and thus the right to free movement in this Sovereign Nation. Clause #100 of the UN Working Group decision is an invitation to treat.

There is ample jurisdictional scope for the Parliament to adopt an attitude and support the rule of law in the case of Julian Assange. The case is important in that “NZ has more jurisdiction to offer asylum” than it has to support “asylum delivered by another nation such as Ecuador” which has come under pressure from the US9. Equally NZ could condemn the attitude of the Australian Government for withdrawing Assange's passport and offering limited consular support to free him from his detention in Ecuador's embassy in London.

NZ could approach the UK authorities and broker a truce, to free Assange. It may involve discussions with US authorities, however NZ ought assert it's independent foreign policy lauded by some as an approach to build peace.

Hon Winston Peters has broadened the ambit in respect to New Zealand's foreign policy settings and attitude inviting consideration of NZ's Next Steps10 the title of his speech.

The 'New Zealand Alternative' is; “Seeking a broader debate on New Zealand's role in the world” by Nina Hall, Oct 25 201811.

Nina Hall is Assistant Professor of International Relations at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. She is a founding member of New Zealand Alternative along with Max Harris, Thomas Nash and Laura O'Connell Rapira. Extract from the linked stuff article;

We want to widen the group of people taking part in conversations about our country's role in the world, and to challenge the orthodoxies in our foreign policy. That's why we have created New Zealand Alternative. We take up the challenge set by Winston Peters at this year's Otago Foreign Policy School: "It is not a time for intellectual timidity. It is a time for original thinking as we develop foreign policy prescriptions ..."

He issued a direct invitation to think differently about our foreign policy: "Creative syntheses and challenging old verities is needed more than ever so be bold and take risks in your work. If you do you will find in this Government a receptive ear to your ideas". New Zealand Alternative was founded with a commitment to contribute to bold thinking on the place of Aotearoa New Zealand in the world.


Wikileaks and Julian Assange are all about disclosure of war-mongering and corruption.

We appreciate that transparency is key to mitigating against corruption.

New Zealand's commitment to the Open Government Partnership (OGP) over 70 nations along with the UK and US ought count for more than mere rhetoric. Government is about to contemplate recommendations for the coming OGP commitment12.

Everywhere there is evidence of corruption where transparency is low. Money despoiling the principles in politics is evident and still we must trust in truth, rule of law and are actively encouraged to trust the government and government process.13 What doesn't merit discussion is UK and US influence or many other ruthless interests.


The case for asylum for Julian Assange

Wikileaks provides anonymity14 and encouragement to whistleblowers to reveal crime and corruption to public gaze.

We are asking New Zealand to offer multi-award-winning journalist15 Julian Assange, political asylum. He is effectively a political prisoner subject to arbitrary detention, being aggressively persecuted and smeared by the U.S., U.K., Australia, and Sweden simply for doing his work as a journalist.

Ms. Julia Gillard then Australian Government Prime Minister accused Assange and Wikileaks of criminal activities for revealing State Secrets16, despite the law protecting whistleblowers and Press Freedom.

NZ has a similar ignorance of the law in relation to protected disclosures and whistleblowing amongst members of this House – discovered as we approached various Representatives to be the petition's sponsoring MP. We suggest it is critical that Parliamentarians apprehend the the rule of law principle.

At least the Minister is onto the Law. The proposed changes to the Protected Disclosures Act 2000 aim to protect whistleblowers from losing their jobs or being mistreated, says Minister of State Services Chris Hipkins.17

"Most importantly, citizens who speak up in the public interest need to have confidence the law will protect them from punishment and reprisal."

The Government has proposed five changes:

  • address the areas of confusion in the current Act
  • make sure organisations have good processes in place
  • make it easier for people to report wrongdoing
  • create a single port of call for advice on when and how to use the Act
  • introduce new reporting obligations for all organisations


Rule of Law applied universally? NZ jurisdiction extends to Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

New Zealand must stand for the rule of law applying to Assange as it does for any other journalist. New Zealand condemned the apparent killing of Khashoggi in the Saudi Arabian embassy in Turkey.18 The extent of New Zealand's interest in a Saudi Arabian journalist is astonishing.

The Hon. Winston Peters assisted by Hon. David Parker stated the Government's position on the 'Death of Jamal Khashoggi'19;

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker say the New Zealand government continues to condemn in the strongest possible terms the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi operatives...

...MFAT officials met with the Saudi Embassy in Wellington on Tuesday to raise New Zealand’s concerns over Mr Khashoggi’s disappearance and have reiterated to the Saudi Embassy the need for the investigation to be full and transparent.

Trade Minister David Parker says as previously noted no New Zealand officials will attend the upcoming Future Investment Initiative ('Davos in the Desert') event in Riyadh.

“As for the trading relationship in the region the FTA talks remain stalled pending the Gulf Cooperation Council resolving their dispute with Qatar, which we do not expect to be resolved in the near future,” said Mr Parker.


NZ interest in Nauru refugees

New Zealand has taken an active interest in the plight of Indonesian refugees intercepted and detained in Nauru. Australia's Government has introduced a Bill to their Parliament to deny these 150 special individuals granted refugee status in NZ any later access to Australia, irrespective of future developments in an individual's life nor the political reality of tomorrow.20 New Zealand's interest in the plight of refugees and the initial offer was made despite the policy and desire of consecutive Australian Governments to villify refugees from Western wars and colonialism's consequences.21 It appears that Australians support getting the refugees off Nauru Island.22


What of Julian Assange journalist and editor of Wikileaks?

Great concern is held for Mr Assange’s health. After 6 years of confinement in Ecuador’s Embassy in London, without access to sunlight, fresh air, or proper medical treatment, Mr Assange’s health is poor. Since March 2018, he has been in solitary confinement, denied visitors, phone calls and access to the internet, harsh treatment for someone already confined for so long.

With increasing American pressure on Ecuador, he is about to be evicted against U.N. conventions, for a treason or espionage trial that’s likely to be held in secret. British doctors examined Assange in October 2017 and said he needed hospital treatment, but the U.K., U.S.'s main ally, won’t allow this without arresting him.

The U.S. and U.K. Governments are acting in breach of the UN Declaration of Human Rights, in particular Articles 2, 9-14 and 19.23


Why Wikileaks is Important to Stop the Wars

Julian Assange and colleagues founded Wikileaks in 2006. Wikileaks is a unique organization committed to transparency and accountability, allowing whistleblowers to hold governments and corporations to account. Italian journalist, Stefania Maurizi,24 reports that Assange and his team pioneered such an effective model that it has been adopted by most major media outlets, and established collaborative reporting, now a model for many organisations, including the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

“Thanks to Wikileaks,” reports Maurizi, “it has been possible to reveal the true face of the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq,” the identities of Guantanamo detainees (Gitmo Files), scandals and embarrassing diplomatic deals contained in 251,287 U.S. diplomatic cables, such as pressure from the U.S. to neutralize Italian prosecutors investigating the extraordinary rendition of Milan cleric, Abu Omar (Cablegate.) It has also revealed EU military operations to stop migrants and refugees, and the CIA cyber weapons programme, amongst other things. This valuable information has been made available to the world by Wikileaks free of charge, so journalists, activists and citizens can access the files and be informed. Assange has taken enormous risks in his work, says Maurizi, yet, is the most demonised man on the planet.

In 2010 Mr Assange oversaw publication of material from U.S. whistleblower and ex-soldier Chelsea Manning, including Collateral Murder (videos of Baghdad airstrikes on civilians in 2007), 75,000 Afghanistan war logs; 400,000 Iraq war logs and a quarter-million US State Department diplomatic cables (Cablegate). This material was widely used by mainstream media as stories of legitimate and important public interest, some identifying crimes against humanity. In the same year, 2010, as this revelatory material was published, America, under former President Obama, launched a criminal investigation into Wikileaks and asked allied countries to help.


Rape Allegations Disposed

November 2010 saw Sweden issue an arrest warrant for Mr Assange on suspicion of rape after he visited Sweden. Assange denied the charges, and was vindicated when his extradition warrant from Sweden was revoked on 19 May 2017, and the prosecutor closed the investigation.

Having obtained Mr. Assange’s testimony, the prosecutor decided it would be disproportionate to proceed and that “conduct alleged by the police disclosed no crime at all.” In addition, SMS messages from the alleged complainant showed that she “did not want to accuse Assange of anything,” that she felt “railroaded by police and others around her” and that “police made up the charges”25

It’s particularly disturbing that the rape allegations came at the same time as Wikileaks was being criticised for publishing material the U.S. didn’t want published, though it was in the public interest to know of human rights transgressions in wars perpetrated by the US-led Western Alliance.


Binding international law supports Assange's release

In February 2016, the U.N.'s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, whose decisions are considered authoritative by the European Court on Human Rights, concluded that Assange had been subject to arbitrary detention by the UK and Swedish Governments since 7 December 2010, including his time in prison, on conditional bail and in the Ecuadorian Embassy.26 According to the U.N. group, Assange should be allowed to walk free and be given compensation. Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, has said the finding is based on binding international law.

We note also that in July 2018 the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled that those seeking political asylum have the right to take refuge in embassies and diplomatic compounds.27 The court states that governments are obliged to provide safe passage out of the country to those granted asylum. The ruling did not name Assange, but it’s a powerful rebuke to the British government, which has refused to allow the WikiLeaks co-founder safe passage to the airport or hospital.

Julian Assange’s fate is not just the fate of one man. The clear intent of United States administrations, past and present, is to silence and imprison him for many years for his publishing work. Daniel Ellsberg, iconic Pentagon Papers whistleblower, in June 2010, said he feared for Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange, as he feared for himself after the Pentagon Papers were published in 1971.


Press under attack

Concern for press freedom and whistleblowers in America has increased because former President Obama prosecuted more whistleblowers than did all U.S. presidents combined, including former soldier Chelsea Manning, imprisoned for 7 years.

Obama’s presidency favoured a policy of “quiet, media-free wars,” to hide the consequences of increased wars in Libya, Syria and Yemen, and the huge expansion of U.S. special operations forces deployed to 138 countries, compared with only 60 when he took office.28 29

Edward Snowden, another casualty of Obama’s presidency, fled to Russia in 2013, after exposing illegal mass surveillance by U.S. agencies of their own citizens and in other countries. Undoubtedly this policy of greatly increased prosecution of whistleblowers in America was implemented deliberately to intimidate and curb press freedom especially coverage of wars. This is a grave concern for press freedom, democracy and the right of the public to access information. These are rights fundamental to enlightened democracy.


Groups oppose extradition

Calling on the U.K. to prevent Assange’s extradition to the U.S. is not a controversial position.

There is already consensus among leading voices of the human rights community that US attempts to prosecute Assange amount to persecution, and that extradition to the United States would weaken press freedoms at home and abroad.

Amnesty International in 2012 called for governments concerned to "issue assurances" that Julian Assange "will not be extradited to the US in connection with Wikileaks." The American Civil Liberties Union Executive Director, Anthony Romero stated: "it’s clear that any criminal charges against Mr. Assange in connection with Wikileaks’ publishing operations would be unprecedented and unconstitutional. The prolonged criminal investigation of Wikileaks itself has had a profound chilling effect. The Justice Department should end that investigation." Ben Wizner, also of ACLU, stated: "Any prosecution of WikiLeaks for publishing government secrets would set a dangerous precedent that the Trump administration would surely use to target other news organizations."

The U.S. Senate in the context of alleged attacks on the Press by President Donald Trump, determined unanimously on Thursday 16 August 2018 that the U.S. Press is “not an enemy of the people.”30 “It reaffirms the vital and indispensable role that the free press serves to inform the electorate, uncover the truth, act as a check on the inherent power of the government, further national discourse and debate, and otherwise advance the most basic and cherished democratic norms and freedoms of the United States; and condemns attacks on the institution of the free press and views efforts to systematically undermine credibility of the press as an attack on the democratic institutions of the United States;”

The US Senate decision could have positive implications for Wikileaks and Assange. However, in recent years there have been attempts by American authorities to claim that Wikileaks and Assange have no First Amendment Rights. Yet political persecution of Assange, if permitted to continue, will irreversibly undermine press freedoms in the West and has already been used to justify crackdowns against publishers and journalists in other countries.

Recent Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull as an opposition MP gave an address to Sydney University law faculty 31 March 2011 making the case for Assange and Wikileaks as a legitimate publisher.31 Turnbull made a number of points from law and the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

Latest developments in Assange matter point to a messy period before any closure and settlement. Ecuador apparently issued Assange with new requirements and Assange counters through suit in Ecuador's courts to argue that he is oppressed with unreasonable demands.32

To move the world in a progressive fashion to support the wellbeing of all earthly inhabitants requires the adoption of fair and just principles. We have that in the rule of law – please act lawfully.


Abiding by law, peace & security

Free Assange NZ request that New Zealand's Government take a clear stand on the key issue of the publisher’s right to publish without threat of imprisonment. We ask the New Zealand Parliament to take note of the U.N. position on international law and to offer Assange political asylum as a journalist threatened with a U.S. trial for publishing information in the public interest. This is consistent with New Zealand’s national interest in freedom of the press and democratic societies and the right of the public to know what is being done in their name. Whistleblowers do vital work in democratic societies, ensuring that misuse of power and corruption is exposed, holding governments, corporations and people to account. Without their courageous work, the rule of law and careful investigation would disintegrate and our societies would descend into frightening arbitrary arrests, imprisonment, executions and dictatorship.

It is imperative that we protect press freedoms and whistleblowers for our own society and for peace and security in the world. Whistleblowers and their work should be honoured, not persecuted.

New Zealand can help the world find its way back from the abyss by supporting international law which is being flouted repeatedly by US, UK, Western allies and alleged frenemies Russia, China, Iran and more according to everyone's reports on everyone else.


Yours sincerely,

Greg Rzesniowiecki, and a number of Free Assange NZ* associates

Alex Hills, Alan Preston, Amanda Vickers, Catherine Murupaenga-Ikenn, Clare Jonas, Fiona Hansen, Kay Weir, Lisa Er, Paul Bruce, Stephanie Greenham

*Free Assange NZ   http://freeassangenz.org.nz/

Facebook   https://www.facebook.com/FreeAssangeNZ/

References from the text.

https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/petitions/document/PET_78652/petition-of-greg-rzesniowiecki-provide-julian-assange

https://www.parliament.nz/resource/en-NZ/SCR_80902/7843ac4a6791d847423310bb5f3538c7f91c8817

http://www.lexisnexis.co.nz/en-nz/about-us/rule-of-law.page

https://www.greatgovernment.nz/single-post/2016/08/25/Statutory-recognition-of-the-rule-of-law

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parliamentary_sovereignty#New_Zealand

https://www.parliament.nz/resource/en-nz/00PLLawRP00011/502fa2135dd16543ca15974a028ad70161b80aba

https://www.mfat.govt.nz/en/peace-rights-and-security/work-with-the-un-and-other-partners/new-zealand-and-the-united-nations-security-council/new-zealands-approach2/

https://justice4assange.com/UN-Working-Group-Decision.html

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/white-house/pence-pressed-ecuadorian-president-on-countrys-protection-of-julian-assange

10  http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1807/S00015/peters-next-steps-otago-foreign-policy-school-speech.htm

11  https://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/opinion/108063115/Seeking-a-broader-debate-on-New-Zealands-role-in-the-world

12  https://ogp.org.nz/latest-news/third-national-action-plan-update-20-september-2018/

13  https://theconversation.com/new-zealand-politics-foreign-donations-and-political-influence-105489

14  https://www.eff.org/issues/anonymity

15  Julian Assange won the Amnesty International UK Media Award (New Media) in 2009; the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism in 2011; the Walkley Award for Most Outstanding Contribution to Journalism in November 2011; in 2015 Assange won the Sydney Peace Foundation Gold Medal for Peace with Justice, previously awarded to only three people—Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, and Buddhist spiritual leader Daisaku Ikeda.

16  https://www.smh.com.au/national/asio-eye-on-wikileaks-20110522-1eyyt.html

17  https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2018/10/whistleblowers-to-get-more-safety-under-proposed-law-changes.html http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1810/S00267/should-whistle-blowers-get-more-protection.htm

18 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Killing_of_Jamal_Khashoggi#Oceania

19  Hon. Winston Peters and Hon. David Parker Ministerial statement: https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/death-jamal-khashoggi

20  https://www.stuff.co.nz/world/australia/108128365/new-zealand-asylum-seekers-and-nonsense

21  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jan/18/australias-refugee-policies-a-global-inspiration-for-all-the-wrong-reasons

22  https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2018/10/overwhelming-support-from-australians-for-nauru-refugees-to-be-moved-to-new-zealand-poll.html

23  http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/ Article #19; Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

24  Inside Wikileaks: Working with the publisher that changed the world by Stefania Maurizi, 19/7/2018 Full article: https://consortiumnews.com/2018/07/19/inside-wikileaks-working-with-the-publisher-that-changed-the-world/

25  https://justice4assange.com/#REF

26  https://justice4assange.com/UN-Working-Group-Decision.html

27  https://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Inter-American-Court-Ruling-Benefits-Julian-Assange-20180713-0003.html  and for larger context this from Chris Hedges at Truthdig:  https://www.truthdig.com/articles/the-war-on-assange-is-a-war-on-press-freedom/

28  In March 2015 the Washington D.C.-based Physicians for Social Responsibility released a report saying the U.S. interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan alone killed close to 2 million, and the figure was closer to 4 million when tallying up deaths of civilians caused by the US in other countries, such as Syria and Yemen.

29  Obama’s Bombing Legacy’ by Nicolas J.S. Davies in Consortium News, 18/1/2017: https://consortiumnews.com/2017/01/18/obamas-bombing-legacy/ ; and ‘The Silent Slaughter of the US Air War’ by Nicolas J.S. Davies, in Consortium News, 9/5/2017: https://consortiumnews.com/2017/05/09/the-silent-slaughter-of-the-us-air-war/

30 News report: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/senate-unanimously-passes-resolution-declaring-the-press-is-not-the-enemy-of-the-people/ and Senate decision pdf: https://www.schatz.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/FPR%2008-15-18.pdf

31  https://bleyzie.wordpress.com/2011/04/22/malcolm-turnbull-a-speach-worth-reading/ the following passages; 1. from a decision of the High Court of Australia in 1980, Commonwealth v. Fairfax, of Sir Anthony Mason, and; 2. US Supreme Court Justice Black in respect to the Pentagon Papers;  1. “It is unacceptable in our democratic society that there should be a restraint on the publication of information relating to government when the only vice of that information is that it enables the public to discuss, review and criticise government action.”  It was also a fundamental part of our jurisprudence that a court would not restrain the publication of confidences if their disclosure would reveal the commission of crimes and unlawful acts.  2. It is worth remembering too in this context the words of US Supreme Court Justice Black in the Pentagon Papers case:  “The guarding of military and diplomatic secrets at the expense of informed representative government provides no real security for our Republic. The framers of the First Amendment, fully aware of both the need to defend a new nation and the abuses of the English and Colonial governments, sought to give this new society strength and security by providing that freedom of speech, press, religion and assembly should not be abridged.”

32  https://www.reuters.com/article/us-ecuador-assange-exclusive/exclusive-ecuador-no-longer-to-intervene-with-uk-for-wikileaks-assange-foreign-minister-idUSKCN1MY022 

Ends.