back to article US rejected Brown's McKinnon case plea

The US authorities spurned a personal plea by former prime minister Gordon Brown to allow Gary McKinnon to serve any sentence in the UK, according to Wikileaks files. MPs on the Home Affairs select committee are to once again consider the McKinnon extradition case today. Brown proposed the deal in a meeting with the US …


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  1. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      or more rather

      one bends over, and the USA closes in from behind

    2. Blofeld's Cat

      I notice that ...

      In fly-on-the-wall documentaries, prostitutes quite often claim that they have a "special relationship" with their pimp.

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Buying Love Beats Selling Sex and is Way more Profitable.

        "In fly-on-the-wall documentaries, prostitutes quite often claim that they have a "special relationship" with their pimp." ...... Blofeld's Cat Posted Tuesday 30th November 2010 12:03 GMT

        In real life it is something they dream of delivering in a Perfectly Passionate Passing of Time Hitched Together .

        Can Wanton Lovers Fabricate Tales to Deceive Each Other and Break the Key Magic Spell that Delivers the Presence of Taming Flaming Desire, or is the Truth of their Position, Pure Random Choice Placement, and Deeper Thought on one's Professional Condition and Societal Standing [Control Pecking Order] a Task as yet Untaken?

        1. heyrick Silver badge

          yay, amanfromMars 1 is back!

          Subject says it all. Did you get any good photos on your way back to Earth? Perhaps if we study the PARIS footage, we might find something? ;-)


          Sexual innuendo aside, it is so cheerful to see the great shining beacon of freedom and liberty that is the USofA will slam some (most likey crazy) person's rights because they are in a strop over some *alleged* terrorist that was released.

          Scotland has nothing it needs to apologise for. America? Apologise to Japan. Apologise to the Iraqis. Apologise to the Palestinians. Apologise to the "native" Americans. Apologise to every one of your own citizens you sent to die in Vietnam. [and this only covers about the last half-century] Then we'll talk about a small-time hacker looking for UFO info...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    I thought...

    ..the Wikieaks showed nothing interesting or newsworthy?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Dead Vulture

      nothing to see here move along

      Indeed, the cable on secret US-Russian missile negotiations was also apparently not newsworthy. Which is odd, since today's news brings Russia's president suggesting full joint missile defence capability.

      "...either we reach an agreement on missile defence and create a fully fledged joint mechanism of co-operation or, if we fail to reach a constructive agreement, a new round of the arms race will start and we shall have to take decisions on the deployment of new strike equipment..."

      Stupid wikileaks.

  3. Winkypop Silver badge

    Bend over

    It's trousers down time again!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good cause

    "The plea went nowhere possibly because the US was in no mood to grant such favours shortly after the UK allowed convicted Lockerbie bomber, Ali Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, an early release from prison to return to Libya."

    Gary, think about how the UK population as a whole will benefit from your sacrifice: cheap petrol from Libya for all of us, yay!

    #Drives to the nearest petrol station and check prices#


    1. Daniel 1

      And the freedom of one man...

      ... is determined by how grumpy our esteemed allies feel about the freedom of another.

  5. James Pickett

    Moving on

    One might have hoped that the Wikileaks debacle would have put Gary McKinnon's little excursion into proper perspective. After all, his only crime was to gain access to a network that seems to remain just as unsecure. Still, it should help his defence...

  6. ShaggyDoggy


    WTF is a cable

    WTF century is this

    1. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      Sorry to break it to you...

      ...but most electrical signals still flow down cables. All this "wireless" stuff is just PR, in between everything uses cables.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    "...former Home Secretary David Blunkett"

    Signed an extradition treaty that the US will *NEVER* ratify but allows UK citizens to be extradited to the US without a British court seeing any evidence.

    Repeal the law *immediately* and try Blunkett for treason.

    1. Tony S

      @AC 11.49

      "Repeal the law *immediately* and try Blunkett for treason"

      Funnily enough, some people have been making that same suggestion siince the treaty was agreed to, many of them within this forum.

      I would actually be quite happy to forego the trial of Blunkett just to get the treaty cancelled. It serves no interest to the UK or any of it's citizens

    2. The BigYin


      "Signed an extradition treaty that the US will *NEVER* ratify"

      Err...apart from the fact the USA did. FOUR YEARS AGO! Kindly do try and keep up.

      However, all arguments about the one-sided nature of the treaty, our leader being spineless toadies etc remain justified.

      Although there can be good cases for extraditing people to the USA, financial crimes seems to be one. The FSA, SFO, HMRC etc all seem to be incapable of bring financial scammers to book (or simply don't care to, far too lucrative to take the bribes and cushy consultant/director positions).

      1. Anonymous Coward


        The US could have ratified the treaty with whipped cream and hundreds and thousands on top. It still has to work within the US constitution (notice the UK does NOT have such an encumberance).

        The US constitution prevents any action by the state without "due process" (I think it's the 4th Amendment). Which means any US->UK extradition MUST be heard by a court, who will consider the evidence.

        For a houseful of lawyers, the NuLab govenment were woefully lacking on legal knowledge.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          @AC 30 Nov 2010 13:30

          "(notice the UK does NOT have such an encumberance)"

          Actually not true. The UK has the oldest constitution of any country - it is called the Magna Carta. One of the clauses of the Magna Carta which hasn't been repealed is:

          "39. NO Freeman shall be taken or imprisoned, or be disseised of his Freehold, or Liberties, or free Customs, or be outlawed, or exiled, or any other wise destroyed; nor will We not pass upon him, nor condemn him, but by lawful judgment of his Peers, or by the Law of the land. We will sell to no man, we will not deny or defer to any man either Justice or Right"

          It's called "due process" and stands for the UK. The current extradition treaty is therefore unconstitutional purely from a British perspective.

          1. Anonymous Coward

            and ?

            the magna carta has no force in UK law. Parliament *is* the law. There is no higher court recognised in the UK, save for the ECJ. But even then, if parliament passed a law withdrawing us from the EU, *Her Majesties* courts would be bound to obey them.

            Any constitutional scholar will tell you:

            Parliament is supreme

            Parliament is omni-competent (bit of a clumsy way of phrasing, I can't remember the exact wording)

            Parliament cannot bind it's successors.

            These are the absolute cornerstones of UK jurisprudence. If the Magna Carta, or Bill of Rights were ever recognised, it's because parliament either explicitly legislated it that way, or implicitly did not oppose them when courts referred to them.

            Why do you think the very first thing the Americans did when they broke free from the tyranny of the British, was to frame a *written* constitution that binds the state ? Because they didn't trust themselves to honour something unwritten, and ethereal.

            Also, bear in mind, the Magna Carta was signed by the *king* to protect *the barons* ... don't for one moment get this misty eyed vision of beneficent lords looking out for their vassals. They were robber barons then, and they are robber barons now.

            1. Anonymous Coward

              and ?

              Parliament is supreme in just the same way the government structures of the US are supreme. The US Constitution has been changed multiple times in the past through due process of law. The Magna Carta has been changed throughout the years, but the clause I quoted above on due process is still on the statute books and is still totally valid law (along with a number of other clauses).

              The US constitution cannot bind future legislators in the US. So long as due process of law is followed the constitution can be changed. It just happens that it is a lot harder to jump the hurdles to change the US constitution than to change UK constitutional documents like the Magna Carta, Habeas Corpus Act and Bill of Rights etc.

              I assume Lord Denning meets your classification of "any constitutional scholar" who refers to the Magna Carta as "the greatest constitutional document of all times – the foundation of the freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despot". In fact, most constitutional scholars will explain that the Magna Carta was the key influence of the creation of the US constitution.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward


              Don't ge ahead of yourself, American Revolution was nothing about British Tyranny, and 100% about a small group of men who got increadibly rich selling arms to the British on the understanding that they'd pay the British back in taxes so that the British would fight the French stopping the Americas becoming French.

              And then instead of paying back the taxes they orchestrated the revolution and to throw salt in the wounds they used the French to achieve it.

              And to be honest the Americans have been exactly the same ever since.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture


    "...the UK allowed convicted Lockerbie bomber, Ali Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, an early release from prison to return to Libya."

    I thought it was Scotland that released him. I seem to recall the UK govt at the time pleaded "nuffin' to do with us, guv" when the Yanks whinged and whined.

    1. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      Yes indeed

      "...the UK allowed convicted Lockerbie bomber, Ali Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, an early release from prison to return to Libya."

      This is correct.

      Another country would have invaded Scotland as an obvious axis of evil, and added it to the collection of other invaded countries. The government would have been changed, and new laws imposed to bring about democracy. (The first new laws would be copyright laws written by RIAA et al.)

    2. The BigYin


      ...the real guilty person(s) are probably larging it up in Goa or somewhere.

  9. David Neil

    @ac 11:49

    The US ratified the treaty in September 2006.

    Doesn't change the fact it's badly setup, but it was ratified.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      There's no such thing as purple* colourblind.

      so use the damn button.

      *red/blue yes but not both!

  10. g e

    So where's the wikileaks US communique


    "Let's just make some shit up about damage and make an example of this god-damned Limey pinko-commie subversive hippy faggot motherfucker. If it ever gets out the password to those systems was 'password' we sho' goan look like numbnuts redneck dickwads"

    Anyone spotted it yet?

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Easy Question

    Why are we extraditing somebody who has been accused of comitting offences covered under CMA90?

    If the accusation is correct, a UK national, located in the UK, comitted offences in the UK under the Computer Misuse Act 1990.

    Presumably we will now be getting extradation requests for the pick-pockets in London, when there victims are US citizens!

    In my personal opinion, the charge and trial should be in the UK, under CMA90, at which point the US court system would have no interest (they still have double jepordy, we dont)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      i thought

      the problem came about because, when they'd stopped laughing, the CPS just slapped him on the wrist, and told him not to be such a naughty boy in future, rather than deciding to prosecute him.

      1. Geoff Campbell Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Perks up

        Ah, does that mean that if the UK authourities prosecute him, then under double jeopardy the Merkins can't do so again? Isn't that a nice easy answer for the Government? Even if they find him guilty, it was a minor first-time offence, so a ten pound fine should cover it, I think.


  12. Anonymous Coward

    bracing myself

    For the first idiotard to use the expression "do the crime/do the time". It is a matter of time only.

  13. Tom 38

    We also need to redefine the CMA

    ATM, 'hacking' means gaining unauthorized access to a computer system, with no concern to the level of protection that the 'hacker' had to penetrate.

    In a case like this, where access was left wide open, it is clearly not 'hacking', it is 'exploring'. The US sysadmin who put the systems online is the person who should be being charged, not the person who explored them. The invitation to explore systems on the internet is implicitly granted by connecting the system to the internet.

    It's like a house. If you can gain access to a house without defeating its security systems (ie, front door unlocked and slightly ajar), then it is not breaking and entering if you enter the house, it is simply trespass.

    1. despairing citizen

      Unauthorised Access - CMA90 S1

      Usual warning, I'm not a lawyer, below is personal opinion.

      S1.CMA90 if fairly clear (see below)

      No hacking required, merely going somewher you are not allowed, is an offence, even if the system has been left open (hence those nice "get out jail" letters people like NCC make you sign before they will touch your system for a test)

      S1. Unauthorised access to computer material.

      A person is guilty of an offence if—

      (a) he causes a computer to perform any function with intent to secure access to any program or data held in any computer [F1 , or to enable any such access to be secured] ;

      (b) the access he intends to secure [F2 , or to enable to be secured,] is unauthorised; and

      (c) he knows at the time when he causes the computer to perform the function that that is the case.

      Given the various legislation I;ve had to put up with, CMA90 is a rare example in the last 30 years of a law that was well written, pretty robust, and doesn't contradict other laws

    2. Stewart Stevens

      Not just the sysadmins

      It is hard not to doubt the competence of the sysadmins involved. But what about those responsible for hiring said sysadmins? What were the security policies in place and who was responsible for those decision makers and the managers of the sysadmins? Who was responsible for appointing those managers?

      One thing is clear - the security was a shambles. Instead of face up to that and kick some ass - which I thought was the American way - they instead chose to scape goat some unemployed British idiot.

      Its not surprising that their information continued to be insecure and the latest wikileaks happened.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Dumbest Hacker Ever

    The stupid things about this case, is the 'hacker' is probably the dumbest ever he deserves to do time.

    Secondly if he hadn't fought this for so long he could have pled out in the US and been home after probably only serving like 4 years of time. Instead he has dragged this out so long that when he actually does end up being convicted he will do max time and max fine.

    Last thing, he admitted committing the offences, it isn't as if he is not guilty he actually admits the crime. Pleading out in the US would have probably only got him a short sentence as he is guilty and would have had to plead guilty anyways.

    1. Sir Sham Cad

      And our first of the day.

      It was only a matter of time before some more ill-informed bullshit was spouted about the McKinnon case. Even after all these years.

      1) McKinnon pleaded guilty to the UK offence. There is a huge difference in the offence he's charged with in the US and the UK offence under the CMA both in terms of sentencing and the facility he'd spend the time in. Essentially the US want to try him as a cyber terrorist. Over here he's just a naughty boy.

      2) The whole reason this has been argued for so long is that the guy has been judged by the medical profession to be unfit to stand trial in the US but various government officials over a succession of governments don't know if they can use this fact to back out of an extradition treaty which demands that we hand him over.

      3) Aarrgggghhh! I thought we'd been through this already!

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Ref:And our first of the day

        So the argument is that if we charged him for the computer equivelent of exceeding a 30mph speed limit, the US can also charge him with exceeding 50 mph at the same time, and this is 2 seperate crimes, rather than one criminal act covered by 2 different laws?

        Always thought the law worked on 1 crime = 1 charge = 1 attempt to prosecute*

        *= unless you live in a 3rd world police state or the UK (i.e. not the US)


    2. Frumious Bandersnatch

      your post ...

      is probably the dumbest ever "he deserves to do time" [post].

      Punctuation: see how it works?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Butt covering, coverups and momentum

    Ignore the current issues, and look back to the original drive behind this.

    It is post 9/11, the head of the CIA has been fired, senate and congressional hearings are baying for blood amongst the US federal authorities.

    Do you tell congressman I.Wana.Be.Reelected, (a) "Uh, US DOD was breached because we forgot to put passwords on accounts, and change the defaults" or (b) "It was a UK Super hacker, and he must be dealt with accordingly",

    (a) gets you fired, lose your pension, and gives you features on the jon stewart show

    (b) implement extradition, hiding the "evidence", as a big smoke screen to stop the press asking the relevant questions, keep your pension, and retire before the new president asks any questions.

    Unfortunately after retirement (b) continues with a life of it's own, as all the minions at justice and state have to carry on justifying why they took such extreme actions, covering for idiots at the DOD

  16. deluded

    Dumbest AC ever...well probably not

    AC 13:40

    You have little experience of how mental illness can affect people. Although a good handle on naive ignorance.

    I'm not sure I'd trust the US to "probably" give a short sentence to a man who did precious little more than hit 'enter' twice when faced with a login prompt.

    Post 9-11 USA + Military computer access will not yield either sense, justice or compassion. That is why he should stay in this country.

  17. James 139

    What gets me

    is where people keep saying things like "the alleged Pentagon hacker", its not alleged if he admitted to it, which he has.

    I dont think hes ever denied the actual hacking, but regardless of the reasons for being there, he shouldnt have been.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      He admitted to...

      He admitted to accessing a publicly accessible server. The fact that it wasn't meant to be publicly accessible is taken as meaning he hacked it, when in fact the fault lies with the person who made it publicly accessible.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So sad

    This fiasco has dragged on for eternity. Give the guy due process in the U.S. and get on with life. What nonsense.

  19. ShaggyDoggy

    Re: what gets me

    "regardless of the reasons for being there, he shouldnt have been"

    Sorry but that's insufficient reason for exposing him to the good chance of a for 99 years sentence.

    The internet is a wide open place, there is no "should" and "shouldn't" about it. It exists. You can go places.

    If some of those places do not want visitors then it is up to the PLACE to be secired, not up to the visitor not to go in. e.g. if I came to your house and the door was wide open, I can wlak in, but not if the door is shut, locked and bolted. In this case the door was wide opn. The fault lies with those in charge of door-bolting.

    1. James 139


      I didnt say anything about the potential punishment, that part is irrelevant to having admitted being where he shouldnt.

      And yes, i totally agree, its the usual case of demanding a scapegoat to cover up their own inadequate security. And that I do think is the wrong part of the case.

      Your analogy is a very apt one, and most likely they hadnt bothered to secure the servers properly etc, because it would have cost them money they didnt want to have to spend.

      Equally so, if my door is open, and you walk in, I can still detain you whilst I call the police.

  20. dave 81
    Big Brother

    Poor Gary!

    Gordon Browns intervention is guaranteed to do the opposite of help. Don't they know of the curse?

  21. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Brown could not even manage to grovel well.

    the final nail in his reputation.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    US politicans need to swallow their pride and, also, fuck off

    I so wish UK politicans would just have the balls to say 'no' to the US.

    You fucking idiots had weak security, why not hire Gary as a consultant and find out where the holes are? How much do you want to bet the cause was them not changing their default passwords, or something of that order?

    If Gary gets taken of UK soil, I will be raging.

  23. Puck

    I suspect Gary McKinnon must be really stressed about this whole business, but,

    He really needs to try his best to not think about it and get a job because long-term unemployment will de-skill him and make him feel worse. Good luck Gary, all power to your elbow.

  24. JaitcH

    Another Blunkett/Blair legacy

    The U.S. has thousands of these country/country agreements around the world. and is an expert in drafting them and simply outfoxed, if that bis the right word when applied to that idiot Blunkett, the UK when negotiating it.

    On a scale of car parking to murder, computer hacking is pretty near the bottom and should not be an extraditable offence ESPECIALLY since the crime originated on UK soil.

    The French have a pretty good answer for this: "Non!"

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