back to article McKinnon supporters petition Downing Street

British supporters of Gary McKinnon are being urged to sign a petition to the Prime Minister protesting McKinnon's possible extradition to the US on hacking charges. Hundreds have already signed the petition, established on Wednesday on the Number 10 website, which will run until MPs break for their summer recess. The petition …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    One Sided

    The problems with the petitions on the Number 10 website is that they don't give a balanced view of public opinion. In order to achieve that they need to give you the option to vote for or against the petition. To pick a number out of the ether, 10,000 signatures may seem like a lot, but as a measure of public opinion it means nothing until you find out how many people are opposed. 5 signatures against would give you an idea that the public were pretty much in favour of the proposal, 5,000 could indicate otherwise, 50,000 against would be another matter altogether.

    Until we are given the oportunity to sign up against these petitions they are meaningless.

  2. Ian Ferguson

    Too general

    I have signed the petition but it will probably be ignored. The wording is also too general for my liking. It implies that protection against extradition should be provided for any accused person with autism or Asperger syndrome, regardless of alleged crime or circumstance.

    It would be more relevant if it proposed that extradition would be discounted if the alleged criminal action was a direct result of mental illness (of any kind, not just autism). In the case of Gary McKinnon, I do not believe he would have undertaken his hacking spree if he did not have Asperger syndrome. His single-minded focus and paranoid suspicion (about a US government UFO conspiracy) is purely a product of his mental illness.

    On the other hand, if an autistic British citizen raped and murdered a schoolgirl in France, and fled back to Britain, do you really think he should be protected against extradition?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't buy the Asperger's

    He may have Aspergers, but so has quite a sizable degree of the tech population. Yet few engage in hacking foreign locations.

    In addition, Aspies tend to have a more sharper sense for right and wrong, not always aligned with the emotional version but most certainly not stopping them from recognizing when they do something they shouldn't. It's IMHO actually rather insulting to others with this condition to try and use it to stop extradition, regardless of what the "society" states.

    The only viable argument to fight extradition is that it's unlikely he'll have a fair trail in the nation that came up with Guantanamo Bay to excuse breaking their own laws. I presume the US fear is that he might come in front of one of the more senile UK judges and walk away without any conviction at all

    That concern isn't entirely unjustified, but insufficient argument to extradite him into the land of the not-so-free-either for a show trial. AFAIK he didn't cause any damage other than to some egos. That doesn't justify his actions, but it hardly makes him the arch criminal he's made out to be. A sense of proportion would be welcome.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What if....

    .....he offered to pay their expenses?

    I bet then he'd get some MPs to move the heavens for him.

  5. Richard Kay

    Please sign

    I've just added my name to the petition. If the allegations against him are true he should get 100 hours' community service and a year's probation in the UK. Certainly not having years of threatened extradition to a country that tortures prisoners, or whose citizens can't be extradited to the UK.

  6. Kwac

    @One Sided

    Petitions are one-sided, they're there as a means to assess public level of approval/disapproval to a current situation NOT to provide significant data - and certainly not to provide a basis for government policy change (unless it fits the political agenda).

    If you don't like this petition (or any of the others ignored by No 10) start your own.

    Finally, the only people likely to sign a petition are those a) buttonholed by someone with an interest, or b. someone who gives a toss about petitions' subject (i.e. the sample is biased) neither of which are a basis for any significant exploration of the subject of the petition.

    BTW, have any of the petitions brought a positive response from No. 10?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    It's not about all extraditions, just this one

    The point is that he shouldn't be extradited, not because he's an Aspie, but that for the crime he committed, and the type and extent of punishment that he would receive in the US would be very damaging to him because of his Asperger's.

    I.e. the punishment is very harsh and will cause him serious personal issues, over and above what a regular person would feel and suffer in this form and length of imprisonment. He needs to be tried and dealt with appropriately in this country.

    This may be difficult for regular folks to understand, just as the rest of the world is very difficult for us Aspies to understand sometimes!

    Bill Gates, he'd get it...

  8. Anonymous Coward

    @ It's not about all extraditions, just this one

    I think the lack of proportion in this whole affair is what should justify keeping him here, not his Aspergers - using a condition as a barrier is stepping onto a dangerous slope.

    Sending him over for a show trial which serves no-one (sorry, he really is to pathetic to make an "example" of) is plain wrong, especially in the light of the original press coverage declaring him Uberhacker. I may do the US an injustice here (pun intended), but I think he won't get justice. For Christ sake, the guy is into aliens and doesn't spot Mandelson?

    If they had spent 10% of that effort wasted on him on locking up some spam barons they'd done something positive, but this? Poor show, sorry. I'd say keep him here, even without Aspergers.

    BTW, I understand Aspies. I'm actually one too. And a Mensan. And have a bad sense of humour. And body odour. And only the last is curable..

    Straightjacket please, that white van skidding to a halt is for me..

  9. Richard Turton
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    @ One Sided

    We should not forget that the extradition arrangements being used have not been ratified by the US government and in similar circumstances a US citizen would not be coming to Britian for justice.

    Now that is one sided!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    @ Too general

    "if an autistic British citizen raped and murdered a schoolgirl in France, and fled back to Britain, do you really think he should be protected against extradition?"

    I would hope not.

    However I would also hope that someone accused of that or any other crime would have evidence produced in a British court that there was a case to answer, before any extradition was permitted.

    I don't think this is currently the situation when a Brit is accused of a crime in the US. You just get handed over on Uncle Sam's say-so, no prima face evidence required.

    I do think that British citizens should be protected from that.

  11. Wayland Sothcott Bronze badge

    Play the Asperger's card

    I have signed the petition in order to support Gary. However I don't agree that Asperger's should be a getout of extridition free card.

    An alien for Gary since I know he likes to hunt for them.

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