​JULIAN ASSANGE SPEAKS AT RT SCREENING OF SNOWDEN DOCUMENTARY

MOSCOW, APRIL 14, 2015 – At the Q&A session following the film’s exclusive Russian premiere WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange joined the creators of “Terminal F” – award-winning journalist John Goetz and documentarian Poul-Erik Heilbuth – to discuss how Snowden avoided capture, Assange’s own asylum at the Ecuadorean embassy in London, and whether the consequences suffered by him and Snowden will deter further whistleblowing activity.

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WikiLeaks was instrumental in helping Edward Snowden, the fugitive NSA whistleblower, evade capture. Assange commented on his involvement saying, “We did get very good sources in Hong Kong. And I wouldn’t say that we were lucky, because we worked really hard to get them. But those proved vital in understanding the status with the border, what the feeling was with the politburo in China, what the feeling was in the Hong Kong legislature, what the feeling was for other sources in Moscow itself and in other countries that we would have had to have flown Edward Snowden through to get to a place of asylum in Latin America, which was his preferred option – although my advice to him was that he would be safest in Moscow.”

He added that Russia “did the right thing: it didn’t squeeze Edward Snowden. It acted in a formal manner. It protected him, which it has an obligation to do so under the 1951 Convention. Of course countries don’t often stand up for their obligations. In this case, Russia did. And it deserves credit for doing that and for not succumbing to very intense diplomatic pressure from the United States, which was displayed and which cowed numerous other countries.”

Asked by moderator Oksana Boyko whether he would trade places with Snowden, who is currently receiving asylum in Russia, Assange answered, “Right now, in a heartbeat? Yes, certainly. […] To be free in Russia and have some type of movement internationally is much preferable to any person: myself, or Chelsea Manning, or many others, who are kept or, effectively, confined to one small space.”

In discussing whether the ordeals experienced by Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden and Assange himself as a result of their whistleblowing activities will discourage future disclosures, Assange noted that “Snowden himself says that he was inspired in part by Chelsea Manning...[…] And now Edward Snowden has become a great public commentator and a great public symbol, demonstrating the importance of what he did. And that inevitably is going to draw others forward to follow his example. Because if Chelsea Manning, despite all the suffering which she was subjected to, was an inspiration for Edward Snowden, then surely Edward Snowden, at large in Russia, having a good relationship with his girlfriend, being an admired figure internationally, being able to speak at audiences and propel his case and propel his cause, is a much greater inspiration. So there will be others. There already are others of varying degrees, but they are not public.”

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Documentary film “Terminal F" narrates Snowden’s secret journey from the United States to Hong Kong and eventually to Moscow. It premiered in Russia on April 13, 2015 at the inaugural event of RT’sdocumentary film club ClubDoc. The Moscow screening of “Terminal F” was attended by international journalists, representatives of academia, politicians and diplomats.

The film’s Russian television debut takes place on April 14 on the Russian-language version of RT’s documentary channel RTDoc.