back to article Johnson refuses to intervene in McKinnon extradition

Gary McKinnon could be extradited to the US to face hacking charges before Christmas, after the Home Secretary declared he would not be intervening in the case. Alan Johnson had frozen extradition proceedings against 43 year old McKinnon - accused of hacking into the Pentagon's computers in 2002 - in the middle of last month. …


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  1. sandman
    Thumb Down


    Never did like Alan Johnson and really loath him now. A Minister of State doesn't have the discretion to block an extradition? In that case what are they for?

    1. MarmiteToast
      Thumb Down


      Sorry I've downvoted you. You imply that Ministers should be able to overrule the courts when they like, that's rather disturbing...

      Sure it's not going to do Mr Johnson any favours in the court of public opinion but this is the right action to take.

  2. Law


    Doesn't matter what camp you sit in, whether he's getting what he deserves, or he's a political scapegoat - I just can't help but feel really bad for the guy - I couldn't imagine being in limbo for nearly 8 years (if he was arrested in 2002?).

    1. Anonymous John

      Re *sigh*

      Well that's because he's insisted on fighting it all this time. I don't understand why people keep saying the extradition treaty is unbalanced. It seems almost impossible to extradite anyone to the USA.

  3. Ted Treen
    Big Brother

    All I can say... that Johnson's one more reason for making birth control retroactive.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    The truth is out there

    Did he discover the UFO files and do the Americans now want to silence him?

    1. David 105

      The Truth is Out There

      I read an interview with him way back in 2004 I think. Apparently he DID find UFO files and photo's. Of course, we've only got his word for that

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Alan Johnson is

    just a lying, gutless cnut.

  6. h4rm0ny
    Thumb Down

    Shame on Alan Johnson.

    Many MPs requested that Alan Johnson intervene in this. When he said that he had no power to, they came back with legal evidence that he was perfectly capable of doing so. Alan Johnson is a spineless toady whose crimes are vastly greater than some poor man who merely embarrassed the USA by showing how shit their computer security was. The man has spent eight years of his life with this hanging over him. That alone is punishment enough.

    So here's to Strasbourg. I will personally reverse by previous cynicism about the EU and celebrate them if they actually save him from extradition. I hope they do.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Alan Johnson considered the case?

    My arse. He didn't so much as glance at it, except to rubber-stamp it "Property of the United States".

    I thought Alan Johnson would be the next leader of the Labour party. Now I know he's a c***.

    If he thought this would make him look like a strong politician, he's very wrong. It makes him look like an arrogant bully who's only subservience is to the White House.

    People like him are what is forcing a Labour voter of 30 years to desert them at the next election. I don't recognise the Labour party any more, except as a lukewarm Tory party.

    1. sandman

      With you

      This is one of the final straws - I'll be handing in my party membership if Johnson becomes leader.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Just another abuse of anti-terrorism laws

    It's just another in a long line of abuses of laws introduced to supposedly fight terrorism.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re Prof Nutt

    When Johnson said Nutt strayed from science into politics, he was really saying from fact into lying.

    That is Johnson's job.

    He is a conscientious worker!

  10. Kevin Reader
    Paris Hilton

    @sandman - exactly AND ...

    A "Minister without Discretion" - are we talking Mandleson (again!).

    Anyway if they really wanted to keep him here couldn't they just give him an encrypted flash drive and he'd be RIPE for detention....

    Paris - cos she also knows about a lack of discretion.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    I'm not English, but...

    ...that Johnson guy sounds like a real prick.

  12. Adam 38


    We need to wipe Labour off the map at the next election. There's two other realistic parties to choose from!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Better course

      The useful course of action is to vote liberal and force a hung house, then the tories and the liberals will be forced form a coalition. We might get some sense then!

      Dumbo Joe Public will simply all vote Tory and we will replace one failed set with another useless bunch of toffs. I suppose the only consolation is that at least with the Tory party you know you going to get bent over the table and "sorted out", unlike Labour who do it on the quiet without you realising until it's too late!

  13. Marcus Fil

    Maybe, just maybe

    some higher authority in the USA has finally decided to acknowledge the elephant in the room and poor Gary is to be the catalyst? It stands to be such an audaciously smart move I am almost loathe to telegraph it. Except Gary, like others before him, is reduced to the role of hapless pawn. But to play such arrogant, paranoid, officious, self-righteous ****s so well is the, admittedly long overdue, play of a true genius. There is a reason that common sense has not intervened, one that the factotums of silence overlooked in their ceaseless quest for control; they are the unwitting agents of their own impending redundancies. The world will be a very different place at the end of this.

  14. Jason Yau


    it would of been a good idea if Gary didn't hack into the military computers right after 9/11.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      It's Have FFS

      It would HAVE been a good idea. Not Would OF. Please FFS people, it isn't a difficult language

      And another thing while I'm at it:

      Lose - To misplace something

      Loose - Something which is not tight

      1. Witts
        Thumb Down

        Those in glass houses...

        Hey man, your english isn't perfect either - couple of erroneous capitalisations there, and no full stops in sight.

        Practice what you preach, grammar bully!

        1. Stratman

          And another thing.....

          You forgot to add starting a sentence with a conjunction.

          Yes, I know.........

      2. Jason Yau


        Sorry für die schlechte Grammatik Mr Grammar Nazi

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Spineless pathetic knut

    Why the haste? There are more deserving cases that should, be at the front of the queue. I note that Abu Hamza still hasn't been handed over to receive the full might of American 'justice' nearly two years after Jacqui Smith (then home secretary, remember her?) approved his extradition.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ h4rm0ny

    'So here's to Strasbourg. I will personally reverse by previous cynicism about the EU and celebrate them if they actually save him from extradition. I hope they do.'

    You're getting your European courts mixed up.

    An complaint of any violation of human rights legislation (the UK's Human Rights Act is a watered-down version of the European Convention of Human Rights) would be heard by to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. The ECHR is authorised by the 47 nation Council of Europe and nothing to do with the European Union.

    Judgments of the ECHR are NOT automatically binding on member states - the judges can issue an advisory ruling which member states are obliged to consider to see if their domestic law is accordance with their obligations under the Convention.

    Aspects of EC Law (no it's not called EU Law) are resolved by the European Union's court which is called the European Court of Justice and sits in Luxembourg. Most of its business is interpretation of aspects of the various EU treaties. For the record, judgments of the ECJ are binding on members of the EU.

  17. DavidK

    @Jason Yau

    It would HAVE been a good idea.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    UK Nation has failed

    and vote of no confidence withstanding, the option to secede is always there.

    Faced with the prospect of years in a Yankee Nazi jail, or to break from the UK well I know what I would do in a heartbeat. So, the US could invade, well better to go down taking out a few of them for one of you. And, who knows they might not invade, though the US and its people has shown itself to be a violent aggressor with expansionist policies, and along with the UK has an abysmal human rights record.

    And who knows if Gary was to openly secede it may start a trend, being a UK citizen strikes me as a pretty raw deal, breaking from the slave and corruption nation may be wise for a lot of folks, after all there are 65 billion reasons why, at the moment.

    We have the technology where someone can feed, shelter, clothe and entertain themselves quite easily, all you need is access to water, some arable land, a bit of seed and some stock.

    Well, here is your chance Gary of the clan McKinnon you can take responsibility for your own life, you might find there are also quite a few who may support you decision.

  19. Winkypop Silver badge

    "No discretion" says Home Sec

    More like no gonads!


  20. James O'Brien
    Thumb Down

    Im a merkin

    But I am with you blighties on this one. Total bullshit and I have been following this (not 100% but enough) that hes a scapegoat. Im a firm believer that he should be punished for what he did regardless of the reason but not like this.

    8 years....well not only has he lost that but what ever time he spends in prison as well.

  21. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    The Office of CyberIntelAIgent Security would just be obliged and duty bound to say ...

    "Johnson has decided that the extradition would not contravene McKinnon's human rights, and he had no "general discretion" to intervene in the case."

    Methinks the Assault against his Free Will Opposition to the Hand Over would warrant a Mr Christian Bounty, in a Popular Swell Shell Intervention, Homely Secretary.

    McKinnon Say No. He Say Yes. They say Why, for it contravenes McKinnons human rights to Protest at Errors of Judgement in Supreme Natural Justice in further contravention of Higher Laws in the Common Sense of Man in the Virtual Machinery Age.

    Progress then is Drivered by AIRemote Robots Pioneering NIRobotIQ Pure Logic Circuits .....for Media to Present as the Future deliverable Now to sweep away the Past and Begin the Global ReBuild Again ...and with Global Operating Devices Help, what cannot be done, with AI Broad Band Casting Global Mind Mine Memes into XSSXXXXStream CyberIntelAIgents .

    I do find it odd that Uncle Sam's Alien Control Secrets are available online to Computers and Various Devices Plugged into the EtherNet Capturing All Base MetaData and they would draw public attention to the fact with the prosecution/persecution.

    What are the Military doing anyway, bugging the Internet and hogging Bandwidth. Cyberspace has no cupboards for storage of secrets or stockpiling of weapons. Virtually Every Day is a Real ZerodDay Bonanza when in a Perfect Frame of Mind [with Deeply Mined Information and Highly Intelligent Analysis]

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    And maybe Gary saw things of which he didn't appreciate the significance.

  23. Sean Hunter
    Thumb Down

    The good thing about Alan Johnson

    Is that he has managed to unite all sides of this debate. They all think he is a spineless, witless, self-serving douchebag.

    I wouldn't hold out much hope for Alan Johnson saving McKinnon. Private eye recently documented another extradition case in his own constituency where he campaigned to stop extradition when he was just a regular MP, and washed his hands of the poor dude's fate when home sec. In that case the person had suffered torture, and then was sent back to almost certain death.

  24. King John
    Big Brother


    Bet there were angry phone calls from the pentagon to downing street when Johnson stepped in. Again we take this lying down...

    Seriously, there must be something else at play here to get this going, otherwise any sane British leader would tell the colonies to p**s off.

    Wouldnt be surprised if McKinnon gets 'randomly shanked' in jail or something.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Extraditing Cyber war criminals to Neuremberg

    I told you he'd get one of is cronies to say Aspergas is not grounds for not extraditing, then he'd claim his hands are tied and has to extradite.

    However this is not true. He is SUPPOSED to check the conditions for the treaty have been met. He is SUPPOSED to refuse to extradite if they haven't been met, and he is SUPPOSED to protect Brits from misuse of this treaty.

    This is what he's refusing to do. The damages claim is hugely inflated in order to be above the minimum threshold of the treaty. The treaty cannot be used.

    I think it may be connected to this: (The cyber war mongering from the US General, putting pressure on him to extradite these serious cyber war criminals by equating script kiddies to an army at war with the US)!

    This is why courts should have this role, not politicians. They're too quick to sacrifice one person in exchange for some political deal, or to get them out of a tricky situation.

    And Alan Johnson seems particular slimey in this. He keeps misdirecting to try to take the heat off himself...

  26. g e

    !! FFS !!

    McKinnon was a nob for doing the hacky thing but it's plainly obvious that the UK Gov is an openly (brazenly even) corrupt organisation working only to serve its 'members' needs at the expense of the electorate.

    When you get Sithlord Mandelson having a free luxury holiday on David Geffen and then copyright policy suddenly U-turns it's about as blatant as you can get without an actual video of Mandy & Geffen chortling together over Kristal & Belgua in a ball pit of $1000 bills.

    Oh and Alan... SEE YOU NEXT TUESDAY mate.

  27. Educator

    American Crime

    The real crime was that US Defence computers were capable of being hacked at this level. As for extradition, we could consider that when the Americans explain why they permitted collections for the IRA in the bars and streets. And why they failed to extradite convicted terrorists. The axis of evil, perhaps?

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Statute of limitations?

    Not knowing anything about US law, I wonder when (or if) the statute of limitation will apply to this - offence was committed on 2002, that's 7 years ago, which is quite a while.

    Shoot be down in flames by pointing out the myriad of ways this doesn't apply here - as I said , I know nothing about US law.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Politically expedience, nothing more...

    Interesting how the Glasgow-born hacker's extradition is put on hold right before the Glasgow North by-election, and resumes almost immediately afterwards...

    Nothing at all suspicious there, now move along, or you might suddenly look "a bit too tall in a public place"....

  30. John G Imrie

    Niccolo Machiavelli

    I was looking for a quote by Niccolo Machiavelli on how a prince should honor a treaty and found this

    "Politics have no relation to morals. "

    However this one sums up how a country should view a treaty

    "Treaties, you see, are like girls and roses; they last while they last."

    Charles de Gaulle

  31. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

    51st State

    With the Iraq inquiry ramping up it's perfect timing for Johnson to show, once again, that New Labour has made this country "America's bitch".

    McKinnon has admitted that he 'broke into' computers he shouldn't have but that's different to admitting he's done damage on the huge scale America is claiming but has provided no evidence of. No tested evidence of any damage has been shown, but I'm sure the US will want to hang him out to dry for a very high profile and utterly embarrassing failure to secure their systems. He'll be punished for America's incompetence and failure and those responsible for that should be in the dock, not McKinnon. Lucky for them; they got themselves a scapegoat and our Government is pleased to oblige.

    Legally, Johnson is probably right - having gleefully handed our sovereignty to the US of A, made ourselves subservient to their every whim, McKinnon is just a victim of that but I bet Johnson would soon find a reason extradition could be prevented if it were a government minister facing extradition.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Is it deliberate?

    Only a few short months ago, Johnson was being promoted as a possible future PM. Is he being told to repeatedly make a complete arse of himself in order to ensure that he doesn't confuse things for the next coronation*?

    * - I refer, of course, to the fact that the current PM wasn't voted into his (currently uncomfortable) position.

  33. Anonymous Coward

    Re: *Maybe*

    That should be "would *have*"... Why so many people fail to get this is beyond me.

  34. infobandit

    Oh My God

    This is horrible!

    In the 90s a couple of swedish guys hacked NASA and the CIA and the US wanted them too.

    But here we dont send our citizens to some crazy lifetime sentence abroad.

    You truly have spineless politicians over there in the UK.

    F-ing tragedy!

  35. Anonymous Coward

    London, USA.

    Seriously - why don't the Brits just swap the Union Jack for the Stars 'n' Stripes, and be done with the pretense of being an independent nation?

  36. The BigYin


    The treaty is totally one sided. The USA can demand anyone be taken from the UK and they do not have to show evidence of any crime or anything. Even if the person's actions are not a crime under UK law, they can still be taken. It's legalised kidnap.

    The UK, in contrast, must show evidence and effectively prove their case in the USA before the USA will even consider extradtion and even then they can refuse. The UK can not refuse ANY request from the USA.*

    If it totally one sided and quite why signing it was not considered an act of treason is beyond me.

    McKinnon is an idiot (Asperger's or no). He deliberately attacked and penetrated computers in the USA. The fact that they were poorly secured does not changed the fact that McKinnon committed a crime. I rather doubt he did any damage and for the electronic equivalent of shacking a look loose and shouting "Coo-ee! Anyone home?" he should be give...oh, 3 months at a local open prison?

    The even bigger idiots are the USA military who obviously have no learnt ANYTHING since Clifford Stoll's time (go look him up kids) and seem more intent on denial and shooting the messenger than anything else.

    Yes, McKinnon is guily (he has admitted to it).

    Yes, he should serve time.

    No, he should not be extraditied.

    No, he should not be made the scapegoat for the USA's negligence.

    We should never have signed this treaty.

    Our MPs (our supposed "servants") have let the nation down again and are a bunch od self-serving assholes (almost without exception).

    *And if you think this is bad, read up on European Arrest Warrants. The UK can be forced to deport you to any EU country for any reason and without any proof. That means you can be deported to an EU state that engages in abuse of witness and has dubious legal process (e.g. Greece).

    Once again, our MPs are too concerned about the gravy train and boosting their expenses claims to give two shits about the UK public.

    The Germans, by contrast, have some balls and have told the EU where they can go shove EAWs.

  37. Steen Hive

    No Discretion?

    These morons have the "discretion" to invade entire countries at the cost of countless lives entirely at a whim.

    Of course Johnson maybe took some merkin heat after Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi got released from stitch-up by MacAskill and needs to mollify the knuckle-draggers in Washington somewhat.

    If McKinnon comes to harm, I'd want that spineless, lying bastard Johnson's head on a platter even more than I do now.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Of course you have discretion...

    Of course you have discretion, Mr Johnson - in fact you just exercised it.

    The Yanks said "Jump!" and you got to decide how high....

  39. Stratman

    Two facts

    Johnson is a spineless twat.

    Hackers are scum.

  40. Gaius

    Too right

    Look, there is nothing wrong with McKinnon. He had a job and a girlfriend and a life. He knew whose computers he was breaking into and what he was doing was likely to land him in hot water. Now he's all "boo hoo hoo I'm special". He ought to be shipped out on the next special rendition flight and his family ought to be presented with the legal bill.

  41. MinionZero
    Big Brother

    How did it come to this, Alan Johnson...

    Given the stress and nightmare of this 7 year battle for just looking on some poorly protected computers, I think he has been more than punished enough already. But no, any sense of fairness or true justice seems to be vacant in NuLabour's NuBritain(tm).

    So now its very evident the law has become so twisted that UK citizens are no longer protected from the abuses of power of other countries as well as our own Police State. Wonderful.

    Plus we have yet another example of how newly added anti-terror laws are being abused to reach out and punish someone very evidently who has nothing to do with terrorism. But now the laws are in place, they can use the laws for all sorts of abuses of power. This war on terror(tm) seems ever more like a sales pitch for a global Police State.

    Also it seems each Home Secretary we have is equally as bad, if not worse than the one before them. But then I guess they are building on the work of their predecessors. I'm starting to realize these anti-terror laws (and law changes in general) are not just isolated laws. We don't just add a new law. Instead each newly added law not only helps to enforce its own area, they also help to add more combinations of ways laws can be used together in various combinations to increase the total number of combination options for punishing people at will. So if they can't get someone with one law they use another and another until they have enough laws to punish just about anyone at will, if they wish to make a point. (For example, if they had say only 5 laws, then that only gives 25 combinations of ways to punish someone, but if they had say for example 20 laws, then that gives 400 combinations of ways to bring someone down very hard, simply because they wish to punish that person to make a point).

    This case isn't just about one hacker, its showing us all we are now ever more vulnerable to the abuses of power of other countries as well as our own Police State.

    Yet the control freaks continue to push for ever more laws to give ever more ways to control and spy on us all, to find ever more ways to punish us all. For example, the one anti-terror(tm) chess move I'm waiting for is when Alan Johnson's lot try to play the anti-terror joker card on Peter Mandelson's Internet spying plans, to then also allow them to profile political views of us all, based simply on which web sites we all read just by matching the URL's. In effect, a government version of Phorm, just matching URLs against URL's they have labeled as various political views. (Thats easy to do, its simply accumulating the number of times all of us view political material pointing in a given political direction. After all, we already have an ever growing number of domestic extremists in this country, so they have reason to fear so many "extremists"...

    So how long before doing other things on computer, like simply viewing political material will highlight ever more of us as people to quietly fine and punish. In other words automate ever more ways to label ever more of us as domestic extremists, or international extremists against other countries abuses of power, who can now it seems, (thanks to Alan Johnson etc..) can now, impose their will to punish us for disloyalty to their ever growing state control.

    So how many more laws do we need before we can fine and punish ever more people. How many more laws do other countries need to find ways to punish us here in our own country!. Thank you Alan Johnson for proving to us, that we are no longer safe in our own country, not only from our own Police State, but now also the growing Police State's of other countries!

    Yet worse still, we are still just at the very beginning of the political abuse of ever better spying technology to extend their control over us all. There are so many more ways they will be able to keep adding controls, fines and quiet punishment methods even before they go as far as extradition. That combined with the consolidation of EU power over the whole of Europe combined with this international consolidation of legal powers to reach out and punish people at great distances means that we are just seeing the very beginning of these international abuses of power. We have more than enough trouble with our own ever more ruthlessly powerful Police State, but now it seems thanks to this case, we also have to worry about the growth of control in other countries reaching us here as well.

    It seems George Orwell was right about the consolidation of countries into huge power blocks of control, just as he was right about the growth of such powerful Police States. So are we part of Oceania or Eurasia? ... but then who are we to fear today? ... hey, Alan Johnson, who are we to really fear?

    I'm dismayed at the rate we are loosing freedom, liberty and privacy that took centuries to fight to build in this country. Centuries of history wiped out in a matter of years. Yet wiped out for what? ... fear of terrorism? ... Ok, lets look closely at this endless fear of terrorism to get it totally into perspective. For example, more people die on the roads around the world each and every single year, than have died in total in terror attacks this century!. (For example, 646 pedestrians were killed in road accidents in just Britain in just 2007 and thats just in Britain!). Also more people die each and every year from normal flu in just the USA (in 2001, 63729 people died of flu in just the USA, and thats long before the recent flu outbreak).

    We totally get the point that yes indeed, terrorism is an absolutely terrible and horrific behavior and crime against us all, yes we totally get it, but if we are really doing all this ever growing global Totalitarian Police State nightmare simply to help prevent loss of life, then there are far more ways to prevent far more losses of life than by turning the world into an absolute Police State to repress everyone under a ruthlessly abusive control we are seeing being committed as an almost daily event these days.

    So now thanks to this case, we have to watch one more public (metaphorical) flogging, to make a point against us all. (Yes don't dare look into a US computer. Yes we get it, next lesson in obedient compliance please). So much for true justice. So much for fairness. So much for freedom. So much for liberty. So much for privacy. But hey, we can now all at least, sleep quietly at night, safe in the knowledge the terrorists are not going to terrorize us. Sadly we can't say the same for the terrorizing we are all suffering at the hands of our own Police State and now it seems, any other Police State that wishes to reach out and punish us to make a point. :(

  42. Ross 7


    Some guy with an interest in UFOs manages to (allegedly) do all this damage from his bedroom - what the hell you do you think the Chinese/Russian/French must have been doing so easily during that time?! Pure arse-coverage here.

  43. adam payne

    He's a scapegoat

    This man managed to get into supposedly secure networks/computers with a commercially available product, managed to login to computers because their passwords were left blank or were left in the comments field.

    He is being used as a scapegoat because of system security that would get any sys admin sacked on the spot.

    I have no respect for Alan Johnson at all, if he doesn't have the balls to stick up for a British citizen and tell the US where to go then he shouldn't be in the job.

    @Anonymous John

    The treaty is unbalanced because they don't have to provide any evidence, they just say we want this person and we're supposed to hand them over.

  44. Brian Miller

    Too bad for the concept of "jury of his peers"

    I really wish the concept of being tried by a jury of one's peers was still a reality. Now the prosecutors get rid of anybody who might actually have knowledge of some aspect of a case. In this instance, I doubt that there would be any computer-literate people on the jury, let alone anyone in our league. Typically the "damages done" part of it is pure make-believe, and everything is inflated beyond belief. The sysadmins who had zero for security should be on trial.

  45. Andy Enderby 1

    @Brian Miller

    But isn't this the case anytime extradition is involved ?

    I tend to believe and other posts I've made on the subject of this and other hackers bear me out here, he's an idiot, and an idiot that was aware of the potential consequences. He admits he did it, and has to face the consequences.

    So here's what I don't like about it......

    As time goes on though I'm getting increasingly nervous about one sided extradition treaties, the disproportionate nature of the likely punishment, the vindictive and political nature of what's now likely to be a show trial resembling something out of Mao era China, and the spineless nature of our duck palace buying political classes.....

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I just emailed him - only using my real name. Subject "Everything so far". Message "You're a useless c*nt".

    No asterisk for him though. You get one here because I'm not crude. Well, not much. I don't suppose he'll see it.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Throw away the key

    He broke the law - and admitted it; he should face the consequences. To complain of the "stress and nightmare of this 7 year battle", when HE is the one who chose to spend seven years trying to wriggle out of serving his sentence, reminds me of the story of a man murdering his parents then pleading for leniency as an orphan. The "blame the victim" excuse that the systems he broke into weren't as secure as they should have been just disgusts me: is rape OK if the victim isn't wearing an impenetrable chastity belt? Should I have to make sure my windows are sledge-hammer resistant for breaking into my home to remain illegal? Having poor countermeasures has never been a valid defence to prosecution: picking an unguarded pocket or robbing someone passed out in the street is still just as much a crime.

    When the case first came to light, I looked into the legal situation with cross-border crimes, if, for example, someone stands in one country near the border and shoots someone standing the far side of that border. There isn't a nice simple rule either way: it can be either country, depending on factors like where witnesses are located. In this case, the victim and presumably all the witnesses (sysadmins or whatever) will be in the US, only the perpetrator is in the UK - the only reason he wants a UK trial is because he'd expect a much lighter sentence, which is no reason to let him get that.

    As a sysadmin myself, I want to see anyone doing what McKinnon did having the book thrown at them. It isn't fun, it isn't innocent: it's a crime and it should be punished. I want a world where breaking into someone else's system gets you time behind bars, not years of legal waffle and publicity!

    There is nothing new about it being a crime to "hack" into a computer, or about extraditing someone to face trial, so where is the problem? Why has McKinnon been allowed to drag the process out for seven years and counting? The only embarrassment here is that it has taken our "justice" system seven years to bring a self-confessed criminal to trial! There are actual cases of misuse of laws against people who weren't deliberately and repeatedly breaking long-standing laws: the "too tall" photographer, to take a handy example, or the old man heckling Jack Straw getting dragged out by police.

    1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge
      Big Brother

      @Throw away the key

      The PROBLEM is the US is over-inflating the charges, so he'll get about half a century in prison.

      The PROBLEM is that the 'punishment' being discussed is vastly out of proportion to the crime committed (this is why we have grades of punishment - because not all crimes are created equal)

      The PROBLEM is that this is a politically motivated decision, not judicial, and he will have absolutely no chance of adequately defending himself in the US given what's been stacked against him.

      The PROBLEM is that comparing what he did to murder, which is what you did in your post not once but twice, is the same kind of reasoning the US prosecutors will almost certainly use, and why politics (and you) should stay out of the judiciary.

      Your essay makes me sick. I hope one day you get to face your own brand of 'Justice', and when you're being carted off to the gallows for mis-typing your password 3 times or something equally trivial, you have the decency to log in to El Reg one last time to admit you were wrong.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    spineless uneducated moron

    Johnson is weak. He's useless.

    America have been making murmerings, using language which clearly shows they want to make an example of this guy.

    Johnson should have blocked the extradition even whether he doesn't have the powers to do so, and let the USA object, let them take the Home Office and Johnson to court to over turn his decison. At least that way, Johnson would have been seen to be defending UK citizens and not pambering, being USA's poodle again.

    The extradition treaty has been shown by a commons select committe to be completely one sided.

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