back to article UK Foreign Office offers Assange a doctor if he leaves Ecuador embassy

A UK Foreign Office minister has offered cupboard-dwelling WikiLeaker Julian Assange access to medical attention if he leaves Ecuador's London embassy. Sir Alan Duncan told Parliament this afternoon that the British government is "increasingly concerned" about Assange's health. "It is our wish that this can be brought to an …

  1. Blockchain commentard

    Yep. Don't want to look like the Chinese when we hand over a prisoner (student Otto Warmbier) who dies when he hits US soil.

    1. MiguelC Silver badge

      at least get your culprits right

      Otto Warmbier was a prisoner of North Korea, not China.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Damn straight, reminds me of the time the Japanese killed Franz Ferdinand and caused the battle of the boyne.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Damn straight, reminds me of the time the Japanese killed Franz Ferdinand and caused the battle of the boyne.

        And the poor ostrich died for nothing...

      2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
        Happy

        Just a minute. I'm sure I saw Franz Ferdinand playing a tune on TV the other day.

        Are you sure they didn't shoot Archie Duke?

        1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

          Are you sure they didn't shoot Archie Duke?

          No, he was off playing bridge in Sarajevo

  2. Primus Secundus Tertius Silver badge

    The US cannot call Assange a traitor, for that is someone who betrays their own country. Assange is Australian, I believe. Unlucky country!

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "Assange is Australian"

      Or Ecuadoran these days.

      Perhaps the US intends to grant him unsolicited and retrospective citizenship so they could charge him.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Ecuador is south of the border wall.

        1. DougS Silver badge
          Devil

          Ecuador is south of the border wall.

          So's Australia. Or England, for that matter, if you go south (well maybe SSE) for a little over 20,000 miles or so.

          1. Fungus Bob Silver badge

            Well, England *is* south of the Antonine Wall...

          2. katrinab Silver badge

            London is a bit further north than the Canadian border.

    2. Teiwaz Silver badge

      The US cannot call Assange a traitor, for that is someone who betrays their own country

      Americans never had much a grasp on English, it gets warped into a strange parody as soon as it's plane touches the tarmac. Sounds similar and communication is possible at a basic level, but a lot of words mean completely different things.

      Their grasp on the emotive, even if it makes little sense, is spot on though.

      1. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge

        But even Brits can't all grasp English punctuation rules.

        1. vtcodger Silver badge

          "But even Brits can't all grasp English punctuation rules."

          English has punctuation rules? Who knew?

          1. jgarbo
            Headmaster

            Remember the Great Vowel Shift

            When er changed to ar and divided England.

            1. Gnomalarta

              Re: Remember the Great Vowel Shift

              I think I remember the Great Vole Shift.

              1. lglethal Silver badge
                Trollface

                Re: Remember the Great Vowel Shift

                I experienced the Great Bowel Shift this morning. Damn curry last night...

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Remember the Great Vowel Shift

                  I experienced the Great Bowel Shift this morning

                  Hah! All that young folk. In my days it was called a core dump..

                  :)

                  1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

                    Re: Remember the Great Vowel Shift

                    In my days it was called a core dump...

                    Fair enough, Old Timer. Just don't ask any of us young folk to inspect your logs.

                    [I don't know who I'm kidding here with this us young folk? I'm at least slalomming down the final slope to middle age, if even assuming that's still ahead of me doesn't count as wishful thinking.]

    3. Archtech Silver badge

      Recent changes

      Apparently you haven't noticed that Australia has become a US dependency, and is ruled directly from Washington.

      1. DJV Silver badge

        @Archtech

        And there was me thinking they were now part of Europe given their recent appearances in the Eurovision Ear-Torturing Song Contest.

  3. Vincent Ballard
    FAIL

    Many things but not a traitor to the US

    Assange may be many things, and I can think of a few pejorative terms I would apply to him, but any Americans who think that he is a traitor to the US are objectively morons. You can't commit treason against a country of which you have never been a citizen.

    1. Scorchio!!

      Re: Many things but not a traitor to the US

      You can't commit treason against a country of which you have never been a citizen.

      Indeed, but he has behaved like a one man hostile power.

      1. jgarbo

        Re: Many things but not a traitor to the US

        Thank Zeus. And we need many more like him.

        1. flayman

          Re: Many things but not a traitor to the US

          We need many more like him exiled to closets without internet access.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Many things but not a traitor to the US

      In infosec terms he's a traitor to the Five Eyes™ and will be gulagged accordingly, should he step outside.

    3. macjules Silver badge

      Re: Many things but not a traitor to the US

      That never prevented American-born Irish William Joyce (Lord Haw-Haw) being executed as a traitor by Britain, despite never having been British.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Many things but not a traitor to the US

        @macjules

        Joyce held a British passport which was sufficient to establish allegiance to the Crown. This was dealt with in his appeals to the Court of Appeals and the House of Lords.

        1. TReko

          Re: Many things but not a traitor to the US

          The historian A.J.P. Taylor remarked, in his book English History 1914–1945, that "Technically, Joyce was hanged for making a false statement when applying for a passport, the usual penalty for which is a small fine."

      2. JimJimmyJimson

        Re: Many things but not a traitor to the US

        He would have been a British subject by descent from his Irish parents (the republic of Ireland didn't exist until 1917 if I recall - it was British before then)

      3. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: Many things but not a traitor to the US

        "That never prevented American-born Irish William Joyce (Lord Haw-Haw) being executed as a traitor by Britain, despite never having been British."

        He had had a British passport (which he'd lied about his nationality to get), and the court decided that that made him a British citizen and thus a traitor. He appealed but was turned down, so legally yes he was a British citizen, as far as the British judicial system of the time was concerned.

    4. ShelLuser

      @Vincent

      "but any Americans who think that he is a traitor to the US are objectively morons. You can't commit treason against a country of which you have never been a citizen."

      Not only that but what about the people involved in all the (often) illegal and usually questionable practices which got exposed?

      That's the main part I never understood: if they had followed protocol, if they had stuck with the rules then they wouldn't have been exposed. And the worst part is that most of those are also getting away with all this. Because... reasons and the greater good I guess?

      There's a reason why the saying "Don't shoot the messenger" exists. Not trying to imply that this also applies here of course, because messengers usually only deliver messages and don't rape or harass women.

    5. LucreLout Silver badge

      Re: Many things but not a traitor to the US

      You can't commit treason against a country of which you have never been a citizen.

      Weirdly though, you can break their laws, even if you've never been there. Its that whole global reach thing again. Mind you, the UK does the same thing with tax, so we're not exactly free & clear on this ourselves....

  4. Suricou Raven

    His paranoia is understandable. And justified.

    He was involved in the release of highly sensitive information which reflected poorly on a superpower. A superpower which, in recent years, had shown itsself willing to resort to secret kidnappings and off-the-records prisons, and to detain people indefinitely without charge of trial. If I were in his place, I'd suspect the US was plotting to get hold of me too. He may well even be right.

    Just because you are paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you.

    (Doesn't make him less of a general arse, though.)

    1. streaky Silver badge

      Re: His paranoia is understandable. And justified.

      He was involved in the release of highly sensitive information which reflected poorly on a superpower.

      The real problem is the people who got it out which the US full well knows. If the US could figure out what to charge Assange with they'd have had him extradited years ago; it's very easy to do, even from where he is.

      Just because you are paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you.

      Doesn't mean they are either. I don't believe for a second Assange is this paranoid, if he was he'd have never come to the UK where it's easy to get extradited to the US in the first place, he'd have stayed in Sweden or done what shall be henceforth known as "doing a Snowden". At the time this would have been very easy. He WANTED it to go this way because nobody is actually that stupid.

      He's a useful idiot and his story will end the same way as the stories of all the useful idiots before him; forgotten and unwanted and that's what really scares him.

  5. Doctor Evil

    I see the problem!

    "UK Foreign Office offers Assange a doctor if he leaves Ecaudor embassy"

    They've been standing in front of the wrong embassy!

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: I see the problem!

      Isn't Ecaudor an Internet forum obsessed with Macbeth?

      1. lglethal Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: I see the problem!

        Lead on MacAssange, I will follow thee... (out of the Broom closet)...

      2. GIRZiM
        Devil

        Re: Isn't Ecaudor an Internet forum obsessed with Macbeth?

        Maybe, maybe not.

        (I'll get my coat)

  6. The Nazz Silver badge

    Paging

    Paging Dr Shipman. Dr Shipman.

    Just joking,of course. He may be an absolute prize twunt but his part in prior revelations are worthwhile.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Devil

      Re: Paging

      Tell you what. He can have "Dr" Gillian McKeith then...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So the UK is openly violating someone's human rights but only until he surrends himself to the U.S's lapdog?

    1. Bill B
      WTF?

      Er wot?

      Eh? What?

      (spelling)

      What?

      Sometimes I think El Reg’s commentards are speaking a foreign language.

      1. Jan 0
        Pint

        Re: Er wot?

        Sometimes I think that some commentards have no grasp of the history of the society they live in.

        If WOT, was good enough for Chad during WWII, then it's good enough for a Limey like me.

        See http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peopleswar/stories/19/a3568719.shtml if you really don't know about Chad. Beer, because of its technical origins.

        1. GIRZiM

          Re: Er wot?

          "Sometimes I think that some commentards have no grasp of the history of the society they live in."

          Or of its culture

      2. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Er wot?

        Sometimes I think El Reg’s commentards are speaking a foreign language.

        Yes, there's English, Bad English and whatever it is the English speak.

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      How are we violating his human rights? Doctors can go in and see him. I don't know why Ecuador (or he) can't stump up for a mobile dentist. I'll do the work for free if he likes - string -> door handle -> slam! That should do the trick. Obviously he'd struggle to get an MRI machine through the door...

      But if he pops out and gets arrested, he'll get proper medical treatment. Either in the prison hospital, or taken under guard to a normal hospital if he requires specialist treatment. As is normal.

      He has human rights. But so do the people who he allegedly raped. And their human rights require that he face trial. Sadly Sweden has a 10 year statute of limitations on rape, so he may well be able to dodge his trial if he waits long enough, but until then we have a duty to both treat him and also to ship him off to Sweden to face trial.

      1. Anonymous Noel Coward

        In fairness, the way the headline is phrased makes it sound like the UK is denying him medical treatment unless he leaves...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The case in Sweden was dropped. There is no trial to be had.

  8. MeRp

    WiFi coverage

    It seems, with mesh wifi tech, that getting him coverage from without, perhaps with an additional single mesh repeater within, would be fairly trivial, if people were so inclined. That is, of course, unless the UK gov would actually go through the effort to kibosh such an attempt. I suppose, though, it may be considered a security concern for the embassy itself.

    1. gerdesj Silver badge

      Re: WiFi coverage

      He is next door to Harrods and on a residential(ish) street with a *lot* of APs nearby. At least one of those will be running WEP or have a PSK of "Password1" or "hanscrescent" or something equally stupid. If he does not have internet access, then I'd be quite surprised.

      He's here (Google Maps, Street View) That droopy flag is Ecuadorean and those green boxes to the right of the iron railings are BT jobbies. Yes he has the internet rather close by.

      1. flayman

        Re: WiFi coverage

        If they catch him using internet they can take away his devices. Then he's stuffed. Or they might just decide they've had enough and then he's really stuffed.

  9. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Talk face-to-face with a UK GP

    As reported here yesterday about Uber's use of the "Push Doctor" service - if only he had internet access, Assange would be able to avail of the same service.

    https://www.pushdoctor.co.uk/

    icon: Pamela Anderson in a Nurse's Uniform

  10. Screwed

    I spend all too many hours on health forums where we see all too many reports of inaccessible healthcare in the UK. Whether delays of weeks for GP appointments, people being told to buy their own medicines on the internet because the NHS won't pay (thank you, CCGs), people being refused referrals, and devastating ignorance even among senior consultants.

    I'd be delighted if the Department of Health were as concerned for the health of the citizens of the UK as the FO appear to be for that of JA.

    1. streaky Silver badge

      Any 6 year old looking at the statistics of how much the NHS is paying for paracetamol and other stupid nonsense that you can buy huge packs of for like 20p shouldn't have much trouble understanding why those rules are exist. Any other country in the world you'd be shot in the face for even asking.

      As for refused referrals - maybe actually need one and you'll get one? 99.9999999% of things that happen medically on the NHS are because that's the right thing medically, excepting negligence, which again, happens all over the world. Only difference is in the UK you actually see the numbers. "devastating ignorance even among senior consultants" - my lord.

    2. flayman

      What forums please, and I'll happily debunk them. It's the Ministry of Health, by the way. Sounds like you might be American. If I'm right, know that your health care system (despite and not because of ACA) is awful unless you have lots of money. Insurance companies go to great lengths to deny coverage. 2/3 of mortgage foreclosures in the US ten years ago were due to unpredictable and unmanageable medical expenses. I'm an American expat in Britain. I know a good thing when I see it. It's struggling under Tory cuts, but it's still superior.

      1. LucreLout Silver badge

        It's struggling under Tory cuts, but it's still superior.

        And yet it hasn't weathered a single cut. Not one. The NHS isn't short of money, its simply spending way too much on the wrong things - too many admin staff (middle managers, clerks etc), too much on pensions, too many very dated working practices etc etc etc

        Reform is what the NHS needs, real root and branch reform. The NHS could be the best service on the planet, but for as long as people blindly lionise it, that will simply never happen.

        1. flayman

          For all its faults, at point of use it is a far superior health service to the fragmented and antagonistic American system of insurance underwriting. It could stand reform, certainly. But I'm fed up of twats like Farage feeding lies to US media about it. Health is every bit a public concern as education.

          1. Swarthy Silver badge
            Headmaster

            Health is every bit a public concern as education.
            'Sokay, tho. The US is ruining its education systems as well. (preventing any improvements, actively shutting down any investigations into fraud, and doing SFA in regards to school safety)

      2. flayman

        Eff you, whomever gave a thumbs done. My facts are solid.

        1. Outski
          FAIL

          Solid facts?

          "It's the Ministry of Health, by the way."

          Er, no, It's the Department of Health and Social Care, usually shortened to Department of Health.

          https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-of-health-and-social-care

          1. flayman

            Re: Solid facts?

            Yeah, fair enough. I should have looked more carefully at the Google search results on the name of the department. Thumb me down on that. I don't give a sh1t. My facts regarding the rate of healthcare related foreclosures in the US are well documented though. And often there was insurance that refused to cover the treatment costs. This happens at the worst possible time, and it's what you can expect when insurance companies tally treatment costs in their ledgers as "medical losses". A single payer system removes the insurance underwriting aspect and ensures that health care recipients have access to treatment when it's most needed without having to worry about going bankrupt.

  11. Lee D Silver badge

    Because he hasn't been in the news for at least a week, people nearly forgot the level of twatery he needs to sustain.

    I sincerely and honestly hope he comes out, goes to jail, gets out of jail and literally NOBODY CARES, and nobody can be bothered to write a story on him ever again.

    1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

      And

      that would be the worst punishment of all for him

    2. flayman

      If he comes out then Sweden will renew their extradition request for anything that is not outside their statute of limitations. Then he'll be held without bail until he can be handed over. Then he'll be tried and either acquitted or convicted. Meanwhile the US could put in an extradition request which would surely be refused. Then he'll go free either immediately or after serving his sentence. Then he will absolutely never be granted residency in Sweden. Then he will carry on being a self serving arsehole afraid of being sent to the States but more at risk of that than had he remained in all along.

  12. cosymart
    Holmes

    Doctor

    Has anyone stated what type of doctor would be waiting for him? Please feel free to list those doctorate professions he would not like to see: To start the list "Criminology",

    1. Mike007

      Re: Doctor

      Paranoid person has no contact with reality and 24/7 security detail for years. Walks in to normal world, and sees a CCTV camera.

      I assume the correct answer to your riddle is "Psychiatric"?

    2. kain preacher Silver badge

      Re: Doctor

      Naw it will a be a shrink so the can give him the good drugs.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pick your own poison

    Assange deserves no special treatment as he is a fugitive from justice. He should be treated like any other fugitive and turned over to authorities for prosecution. He's escaped accountability for years and that should be considered during sentencing.

    1. jgarbo

      Re: Pick your own poison

      Oh, I bet your cut the crusts off your sandwiches and read the Bible before bed. There is no Justice. Assange's charges were rigged, his accusers recanted, the Swedes dropped the charges. The Brits will send him to their masters in the US, thence to Gitmo forever. Get it, twerp?

      1. Alister Silver badge

        Re: Pick your own poison

        Get it, twerp?

        I don't think you get it, do you.

        Assange IS a fugitive from justice - he jumped bail and went running to the Ecuadorian embassy. He's still wanted for that.

        The Brits won't send him to the US unless there's an extradition warrant issued, which there isn't, and never has been.

      2. flayman

        Re: Pick your own poison

        He also cost the UK millions of pounds in police monitoring to prevent him stealing away in the night (or the day) and uphold our obligations to the requesting country. He also cost his suretors hundreds of thousands of pounds in forfeit. But he's not getting special treatment. I expect any fugitive returned to justice to be treated humanely and provided medical care as needed.

      3. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: Pick your own poison

        his accusers recanted, the Swedes dropped the charges.

        jgarbo,

        Ah nice to see the Assange apologists still getting the old lies out. Even after all these years of them being debunked*.

        Julian, is that you? I thought you weren't allowed internet access.

        *BTW, is it possible to "bunk" a supposed fact and prove its truth? Given you can debunk one.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Pick your own poison

        Assange's charges were rigged, his accusers recanted, the Swedes dropped the charges.

        Really?

        1 - charges were were established after a second interview with the girls in question. Who, I might add, have never been given a chance to tell their side of the story - what about THEIR rights?

        2 - the accusers have not recanted, because it moved from a complaint to a legal investigation. In other words, the accuser is now the state, not the girls. Also neatly addressed any attempt to influence the girls

        3 - charges were never dropped, they expired. There's a vast difference between the two.

        From what I have heard of Assange, my bet would be on a detected STD - that would explain both the request by the girls for a test, and his refusal to do the decent thing and indeed have a test done (translated: there is a fair chance the issue was already known to St Jules™, I certainly wouldn't put it past him) - it's exactly that refusal that turned the request from the girls into a criminal investigation by the state.

        However, all of this is just theory. Until the girls speak out we won't know, and they have been the losing party here. Remember that the next time you start whining about Human Rights for Assange.

    2. LucreLout Silver badge

      Re: Pick your own poison

      He's escaped accountability for years and that should be considered during sentencing.

      Indeed. Realistically, its hard to imagine him not being given the maximum term. If hiding in an embassy, costing the country tens of millions in policing, trying to time out rape charges, year after year, while continuing public and wanton twattery all over the internet doesn't deserve the maximum stick, then what actually does? I think anything less than the full bid would leave the judge open to question and being forced to justify themselves.

  14. Velv Silver badge
    FAIL

    Disappearing

    The chief WikiLeaker has always said he feared the allegations were a way of getting him into the legal clutches of a country that might turn a blind eye if he disappeared and reappeared in an American prison

    Of all the countries likely to permit this to happen, I'd put Sweden lower down the list than the UK, and both below Ecuador. But hey, his fans can keep pushing the same fake news until Uncle Donald really does get hold of him. Sad.

  15. hatti

    Bad toothy peg

    Perhaps leaking national security information was not such a great idea after all. Methinks the UK gov are trying the softly, softly catchee Jules rendition approach.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's unfortunate, his situation.

    Him and Sowd[ae]n did a great service and that warrant was weird, he overtook Gadahfi (at the time) who was on the alert below Assange (orange?) he went straight to red, and then the met spent loads watching the doors around the embassy to make sure *this* one person (as opposed to all the other rapes) was taken for *questioning*.

    It's fucking weird.

    It is possible that the two women saw him on the news and were able to put a face to a name - I dunno.

    I'd be more confident it wasn't a smear if they were stirring social media up given the current climate, but the fact they maybe want some dignity or not 15 minutes of fame ect ect is not "evidence" - just saying that did they go down this road I'd find it more plausible.

    I imagine it's a very difficult thing to get over (and I don't like giving it more thought than that!) so the dormancy is weird - I dunno maybe.

    Lastly: obviously I don't condone rape unless it's between two consenting parties blah blah blah. (or more than two, as long as each blah blah blah)

    Just to cover my ass - I am not saying that one crime is "higher" on any sort of metric than another with the ghadaffi thing at the top :P I think we should have colour-blind alerts where every crime from "stealing an apple" to "kept his daughter locked in a cellar for 7 years raped her and many other things" are simply "crimes", each as serious as the other.

    J/K but it's for judges not me to say.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Of course they would

    Treat Assange reasonably, get him a doctor or two.

    but would they deport him - maybe not now, but they wouldn't allow him home detention again.

  18. Eduard Coli

    False sentiment

    "Sir Alan Duncan told Parliament this afternoon that the British government is "increasingly concerned" about Assange's health." - concerned that he is still breathing, a step they seek to resolve forthwith.

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