back to article Promoter hunts stars for McKinnon benefit gig

Rock band Marillion have offered to take part in a gig in support of accused Pentagon hacker Gary McKinnon with proceeds going to autism charities, according to local media reports. Ross Hemsworth, managing director of Glastonbury Radio has taken on the role of promoter to write to 100 bands asking them to perform at a benefit …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Why are El Reg defending this guy?

    He [allegedly] committed a crime on USA soil, he [allegedly] broke USA laws. Looking for UFOs? For frickin what? The law is the law. It's not as if USA is a third world state; extradite him and allow the injured party to try him FFS.

    If he was a rapist or anything else there would be no outcry. But white-collar crime? The UK gets a massive yellow streak and starts hand-wringing. It's the NatWest 3 all over again.


  2. T. O'Hara

    W*nker's Against W*nking

    I'm sure there's plenty of rock bands who'd sign up for this also!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    I'll play !

    Just let me get my stylophone cranked up and they will be dancing in the aisles.

  4. Ash

    What's all this oral hearing about?

    Surely you mean aural!

    The one with WHOOSH! over a clueless (l)users' head printed on the back.

  5. andy gibson

    "80s prog rock"?

    I thought prog rock was a 60s and 70s kinda thing.

    I'd call Marillion "wuss rock"

  6. Edward Rose

    Excuse me?

    "He [allegedly] committed a crime on USA soil"

    No, he was very much on British soil old boy. And, I'd put good money on it not being a fair trial if it goes to the USA.

    :He did huge amounts of damage.

    :Which was?

    :Well we had to secure our systems after we realised there was a hacker.

    :and how is that his fault?

    :Well, if he didn't hack into the system we wouldn't have needed to secure it....

    .....At least from what I've read.

    Trial in the UK seems the fair answer to me, also, community service (done in the USA would be fair) instead of prison would be a much more fitting punishment.

    The USA (this is not a knock on all 'Merkins just the ones pressing legal action) just want revenge for being shown up.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Marillion? Oh well they're huge aren't they. That should get them hours of coverage and I bet the US authorities are trembling in their boots now McKinnon has the support of such big hitters. Muse would be a better starting point, after all most of their songs seem to be about UFOs these days.

    Why is that everybody automatically believes he was looking for evidence of UFOs simply because he claims he was? And even if he was, so what?

    Almost everybody who has committed a crime will come up with some story in mitigation. Ask any police officer and they will have hundreds of tales ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous. A woman stopped for speeding once claimed that she was doing almost 100mph because her shoes were too tight and she had to get home to take them off. Do you think the magistrates looked on her any more kindly because of that? Of course not. This UFO excuse ranks right alongside that as stupid excuses go.

    The best thing you can do when you're bang to rights is put your hands up to it and throw yourself on the mercy of the court. Coming up with some far fetched or irrelevant tale as a plea in mitigation will generally only irritate the court.

    The idea that he was "only" looking for evidence of extra terrestrial craft somehow lessens his crime is laughable.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Anonymous Coward

    Yes, arguably he did commit a crime on US soil, despite being in the UK at the time.

    The underlying issue is that the guy went where he wasn't meant to, exposing the holes in security and now they want to silence him. The fear that has been explained all the way along is that he would end up in Gitmo as a terrorist, not being tried by a more regular court.

    AFAIK, if he could be guaranteed a fair trial there would less hype and he'd probably go willingly but no-one believes he'd get a fair trial, it'd be military and he'd land in Gitmo faster than anyone else.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What a waste of waste

    I guess if you can't find a real gig you might as well do a benefit for a criminal. It's basically music waste promoting computer waste. Who knew hacking was a good thing?

  10. Mart
    Dead Vulture

    Not again

    The Scot has run a long campaign against extradition the the US, where he faces faces seven charges of hacking

    The editor must definitely be on holiday this week, i look forward to reading single word sentences next week, yes i know that makes no sense but it makes more sense than the quoted line

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "but the former sysadmin describes himself as a bumbling amateur, one of many hackers to have infiltrated US military systems, looking for suppressed evidence on UFOs."

    There are so many things wrong with that it's funny all on it's own.

    Isn't sysadmin a proper job that pays proper money? If so then he's not really an amateur, even if he is unemployed now.

    If he publicly describes his IT skills as those of a bumbling amateur then he's really helping his future job prospects. Maybe he could do some IT training courses while he's in chokey.

    He was looking for "supressed evidence of UFOs"? Hold on a mo, all the UFO conspiracy theorists tell us that the US authorities are doing a really good job of covering up the existence of UFOs. Well if those aliens are out there flying about it must be a really competent cover up, we've had over half a century of UFO flaps and yet the have successfully managed to supress all the evidence. That's a pretty good cover up by anybody's standards. And yet McKinnon expects us to believe he expected to find the evidence on a few poorly protected PC's? There's something in there that is so far from adding up it's differential calculus.

    Oh and finally "he describes himself as a bumbling amateur" does he? Of course he f*****g does. He's hardly likely to describe himself as a master criminal is he? What do you expect him to say? "I would have gotten away with it too if it hadn't been for you meddling feds."

  12. Pierre

    Poor sod

    Extradited to the US for a damageless "offense" committed in the UK, extradited and trialled using laws that didn't exist at the time of the offense, and all he gets for a defense is Marilion? It's clearly a job for Amnesty International.

  13. Anonymous John

    @ Poor sod

    I would say that the offence was committed in the victim's country. The fact that technology can place the offender thousands of miles away is irrelevant.

  14. Gareth Jones Silver badge


    Consider this:

    A man posts a letter bomb in one country in explodes upon delivery in another country. In which country did he commit his crime?

    Yes its on a completely different scale, but the legal principal is the same.

  15. Bounty

    dog ate my homework.

    Dear MKinnon supporters,

    ok, guy hacks into us govt and military systems, admits it.... and you guys think extradition is overkill? WTF? How about if he admitted to being a terrorist? So his excuse is what matters? While you guys are going to prosecute our spammers. So spamming is worse than military hacking now?

    UFO's have nothing to do with this. He's a fucking hacker, you don't get those skills looking for UFO's, you get them by hacking. Maybe Osama thought there were demons in the world trade center, maybe we should forgive him too.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Of how one man

    Made the news, and is now causing change in the world.

    Whether some of you like it or not, the USA has irrevocably pinned 'kick me i'm stupid' note on their backsides for years to come.

    Fear tactics are yesterday's tactics.

  17. Jacob Lipman

    @Gareth Jones

    "A man posts a letter bomb in one country in explodes upon delivery in another country. In which country did he commit his crime?"

    In all likelihood, he has committed a crime in both countries. If, for example, such a bomb was mailed from the US to the UK, he would have possessed explosives (illegal without a permit from the ATF), mailed explosives (also illegal without paying a hazardous materials surcharge), possibly violated US exportation laws regarding the export of militarily significant materials (another act for which a permit is required), and clearly endangered the postal carrier(s). Being as I am not British I don't know UK law well at all, but I imagine it's still illegal to blow people up (or attempt to).

    In short, there'd be enough laws broken on both sides of the pond to send the stupid fucker to jail for a very long time.

    Regarding McKinnon's extradition, I think it's pointless and solely a matter of pride for a US agency that was left red-faced by his behavior. He should be tried in Britain for the offences which allegedly occured on US soil, in order to provide him with a fair trial. An outcome that might be better for everyone involved, but would never be allowed to occur, would involve Mr. McKinnon working for the US Government for a very generous salary, exposing vulnerabilities in order to patch them. Oh well, putting the poor sod in jail for a long period of time, leaving him permanently embittered and hateful of the US certainly would be better for everyone. It's not as if turning a potentially useful hacker into a hateful enemy ever did anyone harm.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Bravo Bounty

    Considering the USA is basically a fundamentalist ('turn the other cheek') Christian country, that's the first time since 2001 I have heard someone offer forgiveness to Osama. If the Lord didn't mean for there to be terrorists, he wouldn't have given you Guantanamo Bay.

    Military systems should be better protected, McKinnon didn't have to try very hard by the sound of things. If I leave my kitchen window open, and you walk past and steal my teapot, you should be done for theft. If I then call in a team of security consultants to tell me how to close my kitchen window, and they charge me £10,000, that does not mean you should be tried for commiting £10,000 worth of damage, it just means you are a thief and I am a dick.

    Imagine the people in charge of that network reporting the hack to their bosses, they have two choices.

    1. Admit that they are pathetically bad at their jobs.

    2. Make out that the person who took advantage of their lack of ability is a criminal mastermind.


    McKinnon's activities don't seem to have caused any person any physical harm. So the problem must be all about the money it cost to put right his meddling (or more accurately, the money it cost to put the security measures in place that should have been there from the start and prevent any future embarassments).

    If it is about the costs, then yes I would say spamming is worse than military hacking. Spam cost the whole world much more money than McKinnon's 'military hacking'. Estimates range between $20 and $50 BILLION a year. Most spam comes from the USA:

    McKinnon is a meddler (maybe a malevolent meddler, yes) - he needs to have his wrists slapped. He doesn't need to disappear into Gitmo and be tortured by rednecks.

    Extradition generally isn't overkill. The idea of extradition to the present day United States of America for a crime that they can interpret as a kind of terrorism, is terrifying.


  19. Steve B

    Interesting where their priorities lie.

    So a chap logs into their systems looking for UFO info and they pursue it like hunting dogs, however we in the UK get inundated with US originated spam phone calls designed to get gullible old ladies to press 9 to see what holiday they have won for their grandchildren, thus triggering a US charging mechanism, which according to BT support adds up to $100 reverse charge on the bill for which the old ladies are responsible .... US response - zilch. Why? - because the phone hackers are in the US and they can't track them! Apart from that it does wonders for the balance of payments.

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