back to article McKinnon lawyers file last gasp extradition appeal

Lawyers for Pentagon hacker Gary McKinnon have filed a judicial review contesting the Home Secretary's recent decision to allow US extradition proceedings to proceed against the Asperger's sufferer. The widely anticipated move is perhaps McKinnon's last best hope of avoiding US trial and likely imprisonment on hacking charges …


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  1. Stratman

    I may be mistaken.........

    ............ but I thought the various Human Rights acts prohibited extradition to countries who still have the death penalty.

    1. Chris Bradshaw


      Yes, but only if the suspect would potentially face the death penalty for the crime committed.

      IIRC there was a case recently where the US guaranteed a murder (or similar?) suspect a max penalty of life so that the extradition could go forward...

      1. Stratman


        Really? Does that mean that the USA judiciary is not independent of the government then? How can a government department otherwise guarantee that a felon won't fry?

        What's to stop Uncle Sam saying whatever he wants to get the extradition then changeing the charges to include treason, or whatever charge would result in riding ol' sparky?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Extradition and death penalty

          'Really? Does that mean that the USA judiciary is not independent of the government then? How can a government department otherwise guarantee that a felon won't fry?'

          Errr because not all crimes in America attract the death penalty?

          In cases where there is a possibility of receiving the death penalty, the Department of Justice will try to get the prosecutor to agree to not seeking a capital punishment in order that extradition can proceed. But the DoJ cannot dictate to the courts what sentence should be imposed.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    special relationship

    Perhaps its time to hang onto Mr Mckinnon until Obama remembers the special relationship.

    Or alternatively the could grow a back bone and tell the yanks to F*** O** since they dont care about us in any way, (as demonstrated by Obama) and the way they have treated their most valued ally in their current wars!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The circus act continues...

    Ship McKinnon off to the U.S. to be prosecuted like any other scumbag criminal.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      re The circus act continues..

      >> Ship McKinnon off to the U.S. to be prosecuted like any other scumbag criminal. <<

      What uncivilised country spawned you? "Innocent until proven guilty" must mean that, at the very least, one does not label somebody with such charming descriptions at this stage in proceedings.

      How about some thought, humanity and common sense among all you would-be hardliners?

      What is such a "crime"? He is British, never been in the USA, did whatever is ALLEGED in the UK. If he is not guilty under the laws of the land in which he lives and is alleged to have committed the act, then that should be that. Otherwise you could be done for having alcohol in public not in a paper bag, driving on the wrong side of the road, perhaps defacing a USA flag. I presume you are happy to be extradited to Saudi Arabia for drinking, insulting the Prophet, immoral behaviour.

      A world where any country can declare something to be criminal, back-date it and expect every other country to allow extra-territorial enforement of its laws would be horrible indeed.

      I believe Amnesty and similar groups regularly get hold of and even publish material from other countries to support their work that, in the other country, are cosidered secret and would attract heavy punishments to non-authorised readers. So I await your call for these scumbag criminals to be extradited to Iran or whatever pleasant land whose laws they are offending with material probably obtained over the internet.

      No doubt you fully support the "extraordinary rendition" (illegal kidnapping) of people in Europe and elsewhere by USA agents and before that by Soviet agents. It is just your attitude that got us into Iraq.

      Still waiting for those law-abiding Americans, in their push against terrorism, to send over those boat loads of IRA supporters/fund-raisers who all broke British law and collaborated in the murder of British citizens from the safety of the USA. . Looking forward to the compensation and public apologies too

    2. blackworx


      Obvious troll is obvious

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is anyone else bored of this story?

    1. "Cute" guy with Asperger's syndrome faces extradition.

    2. Extradition laws are weighted massively in the favour of the yanks who, once again, as always, use their power to get what they want (who wouldn't).

    3. Lawyers have an almost daily attempt to prevent extradition.

    So what's news??? "Lawyers have last last last attempt at saving Gary"

    I think they call it sympathy fatigue, I don't give a shit anymore.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    This is getting beyond a joke!

    Heres a 40 year old man who was living in his mothers basement, went looking for UFO’s using basic script kiddie skills. He gets traced after breaking out of a poorly structured honey pot embarrassing highly paid IT security staff, gets arrested, than pleads learning disability to try to get out of the consequences and ends up as a scapegoat for the incompetent security.

    Be a man McKinnon – stand up and accept that you were caught and take the consequences, and bring down some of the incompetents in the process!

  6. Paul 131

    this is getting boring...

    Think about the Time before you do the Crime!!!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re: this is getting boring

      He may have been thinking about the time, you have to remember that this was all done inthe UK initiially.

      However, when the CPS looked at it, they thought it was so pointless and minor that prosecuting him would be a complete waste of time and money. Gave him a slap on the wrist and said "don't be naughty again". It was only after this that the US got involved as they weren't happy with that.

      I have a feeling if he'd actually been prosecuted and given a meaningless sentence it would have cut off the US at the knees

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What a moronic view to take

      That is all

  7. Richard Taylor 2

    I may be mistaken

    There are restrictions on extradition, but only when the death penalty is a possibility - which it is not in this case.

    McX may well have asbergers/(name your favourite icd/acd syndrome), but there no question that the US is requesting the death penalty.

    What is more disturbing (maybe) are the reports of threats from US prosecutors, the obvious exaggeration of damages, and an inability of the UK government to push through a prosecution on UK soil.

    What is very amusing is the continuous drone about 'why can't he be employed to test security - our boy is an asset....'. With the obvious - he is a not so bright script kiddy who exploited holes left by even stupider US sys admins.

    All extremely noisy, deliberately so. Both the US and the UK have good reason to be ashamed, but neither will admit it.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Time to do a runner

    It's time for McKinnon to do a runner to some other European country where he will have right of abode. Lots of other countries won't roll over quite as easily as the UK Government will.

  9. Simon Brown

    @Paul 131 - what's even sillier

    > FAIL Think about the Time before you do the Crime!!!

    It wasn't a crime when he did it, he is being prosecuted retrospectively under laws which were brought out long after he did his hacking. What he did was very stupid but at the time he did it, he could not be prosecuted by the US. Prosecution only became a possibility some time later, which is fine, and he has be prosecuted retrospectively, which is not fine.

    You aren't supposed to change the law and then prosecute under that changed law, but this is precisely what the US is doing. That the US is allowed to do this has been challenged and defeated in the UK courts. It's all a bit nuts.

  10. drphilngood
    Paris Hilton


    If you Brits are soooo unhappy with your country's relationship with the United States, why don't you do something about it; quit whining and petition your government to sever all relations. I don't think doing so will make any US citizens shed a tear so, if it will make you Brits as happy as you seem to think it will, go for it. Who knows, maybe the rest of the world will follow suit. Maybe the world will even be a better place because of it. Who knows?!? *shrugs*

    Paris, 'cause she's good at ending relationships.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Arrogant and patronising attitudes like yours

      are precisely why the vast majority of the world (including a large proportion of the UK) think you should just piss off and die.

      1. drphilngood
        Jobs Horns

        Arrogant and patronising attitudes like yours

        ...are precisely why the vast majority of the world (including a large proportion of the US) think you should just piss off and die, as well. The only difference is, the aforementioned majority of the world wanted you to piss off and die many centuries before the United States even existed. :p

    2. Anonymous Coward

      The 'Special Arrangement'

      I am sorry if you are from America, but what the American people have to realize is that although it is a powerful country, both economically and militarily, they have no absolute right to meddle in other countries legal and political system. This is enshrined in the articles of the United Nations.

      It is obvious from their dominance of the World Trade Organization, and their involvement in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and historically in Vietnam, Thailand and Cuba, that they feel they have a special place in the World Order. These special places do not persist, as Britain, France and other European former colonial powers can testify. They need to look over their shoulders at China.

      The extradition policy that is leading to all this discussion was set up as part of the 'Special Arrangement' made with UK politicians, and was supposed to be matched by reciprocal arrangements that never materialized. In a lot of cases, the UK is actually discriminated against, especially in the case of non-Caucasian UK citizens attempting to gain access to the US.

      The US Government feels hurt that their systems could be breached. They intend to make an example of Gary, in the same way that the US media companies tried (and failed) with Jon Lech Johansen (DeCSS), through the Norwegian courts. The extradition agreement, although not specifically targeted at such people, now gives them the ability to remove to US soil people from collaborating countries without sufficient evidence to satisfy the local judicial system.

      Gary, by his own admission, is guilty of performing the basic breach of security that triggered this whole affair. Whether he was motivated by an interest in UFO's or terrorism does not affect these facts, although it should be taken into account when considering how he should be treated. The supposed costs associated in cleaning up and analyzing the situation should be immaterial, in that the initial security must have been weak to allow an attack to succeed, and should be carried by the agencies who obviously did not invest in sufficient security up front.

      I feel that there should be a move to make sure that Gary, if removed to the US, is given sufficient supervision and care to make sure that his suicidal tendencies do not come to a fore, and also that there should be an expectation that any resultant sentence should be served in the UK rather than US prisons. This is the absolute least that the Home Secretary should be demanding, along with possibly a token sentence, because the resultant damage was inconsequential.

      I also feel that there should be a re-examination of the biased extradition arrangements to prevent Gary, and also the bankers last year, from being taken outside of the legal system where they allegedly committed these offenses without a compelling case that satisfies the local judicial system.

      BTW. IANAL. I'm only applying what I think is common sense, something that our politicians seem to completely lack!

      1. drphilngood

        Good Points

        I understand the points you have made and thank you for your civility in making them. Although I was being slightly facetious before, I, too, was trying to make a point:

        Complaining that the US treats your country unfairly, and insulting it and its people, many whom are just as disillusioned with the US government as the rest of the world, accomplishes nothing. However, enough citizenry complaining to their government official/s can accomplish quite a bit. Therefore, if you are not happy with this extradition policy, or some other matter, then petition your government official/s to work towards either changing it or getting rid of it. If the US refuses to compromise, then convince the aforementioned officials to unilaterally abolish the treaty or simply refuse to extradite anyone else until a compromise is reached. In addition, other nations may desire the same thing and join with you, thus strengthening both of your bargaining positions. Finally, the US citizenry may use their political influence to help, if you haven't already made enemies of them with all the insults. ;-) *JOKE ALERT* :D

        BTW, I have yet to decide what I think should be done with McKinnon.

    3. Goatan

      @Or . . .

      Almost all of the economics of the "mighty" USA relies on trading with foreign countires, such as Britain (afterall we speak the same language).

      Unfortunately I don't think either country can survive without our relations. Though I'm sure the recession from parting ways might be less painful than the current one we are facing.

    4. Shinobi87


      I think your country would be abit f***ed off to find out it no longer had missile sites on the uk, no longer had military support and no longer benefited from economic cooperation from the UK. also lets be honest. your an idiot! nuff said?

      Dont like it? petition your government to sever all ties with me!

      1. drphilngood
        Big Brother

        Pleb Chav

        It's not my country, you prickish, dyslexic git; I just work here.

        Since the Cold War is over, I doubt they'd be too broken up over losing missile sites. Furthermore, they can probably launch any missile they might need from ocean or sea.

        Yes, the British military is second to none in quality, and would certainly be missed, but I bet the US military has planned for such a contingency and would quickly route around the damage.

        To the best of my knowledge, we don't know each other so I was surprised that you would be so insulting, so soon, and come on so strong. However, after reading some of your other posts, I see that you are just a rude and nasty person, in general. Nuff said? :p

        Don't like it? Do somethin' 'bout it, Killa B! (^_^)

  11. Chris Hedley Silver badge

    This is getting boring indeed

    > "Think about the Time before you do the Crime!!!"

    God that phrase has become well and truly threadbare. If we're talking about appropriate punishments, how about 60 years' public ridicule for the next person who utters that excruciatingly tedious expression?

    1. Anonymous Coward


      Can we also have the same for the lackwits who seem to think this is all happening just because the US is embarassed?

  12. Moss Icely Spaceport

    Scape goats!

    Bring out ya scape goats!

    Scape goats....

  13. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Through a long dark market looking glass ...... for the See of an Alice in Wwwonderland*

    "He gets traced after breaking out of a poorly structured honey pot embarrassing highly paid IT security staff,..." .... Anonymous Coward

    Posted Friday 11th December 2009 00:28 GMT

    Err ..... AC, that was very informative and would reflect the view that his actions were at all times tracked, and thus is he a victim of entrapment and malicious political prosecution.

    Are we really to be led to believe that it is so very easy to virtually walk around the halls of the Department of Defence/Pentagon, opening doors and windows at will, to have a nosey to see if they have any alien records.

    "All extremely noisy, deliberately so. Both the US and the UK have good reason to be ashamed, but neither will admit it." .... I may be mistaken, Richard Taylor 2 Posted Friday 11th December 2009 00:37 GMT

    Quite so, RT2, and you are not mistaken. It is interesting to consider whether both the US and the UK can guarantee that such honey traps no longer exist to plague their systems or whether they are endemic and a systemic failing which they will not admit to. The danger of any malicious prosecution in such a case, and any prosecution which would be held in camera in part, because of the nature of the evidence or testimony presented, would be a sure sign to legions of interested parties, with a less than wholesome and sympathetic regard of the US and the UK, for reasons of their own, that their virtual systems and computers are insecurable. And what dedicated and probably decorated moron/armchair general/zeroday hero decided that plugging dumb military systems into Civil CyberSpace was a good idea ..... whenever so very clearly they are not fit for Virtual Bad Service and Future Good Purpose.

    * Just your normal sort of Post Modern Future Perfect NeuReal Black Op ......... and absolutely nothing to worry about when and where there is no place to hide between a rock and a hard place.

    And Paris because she would know and can tell the moronic about the pitfalls of being plugged into the Internet where all Manner of Matters are by Default Exposed to Networks InterNetworking JOINT Applications .......for IT is the Perfect Space Place for Naked Shorts going Long.

    The Great Game has Changed and there are New Games in Town 42 Plug and Play.

  14. Alan Gregory 1

    ship him over

    Am I the only one that thinks it's a tad suspicious that the Aspergers, rather conveniently, surfaced once McX realised he was looking at a long stretch in a maximum security prison in America rather than six months in an open prison just down the road.

    Are we to allow the legal precedent to be set that you commit a crime, develop an illness after the event and dodge justice because you aren't very well???

    1. Anonymous Coward

      ship him over

      Yes, sod all that tedious due process, let's just send him to the highest bidder.

      US bid 60 years, anyone higher? Clearly he must go to the place where he will get the highest punishment as the crime he commited must be more serious there.

      Perhaps all adulterers from the US could be extradited to the east and stoned to death in accordance with their laws while we are about it. If it's a good law for one surely it is a good law for all?

    2. Quirkafleeg

      Re: ship him over

      Asperger's Syndrome isn't an illness. It, and other related conditions, are matters of how the brain is wired; eIther you've always had it or you'll never have it, and if you have it, there's no "cure", and there can't be one which wouldn't rob you of the differences which characterise this and make you better at some things (including, but not restricted to, technical things) but worse at others (including, but not restricted to, social things). There can only be help to try to overcome some deficiencies.

      It's possible that the diagnosis is relatively recent, having been arrived at as the result of a routine (at least, initially so) psychological examination. I don't know whether this is the case in this case, but if it is the case then it's not surprising; from what I've read, it just wasn't really recognised until something like 15-20 years ago.

      RIght, I'm off for a little quiet harmless obsessing about something… oh, wait…

  15. Muth

    Oh pleeeeeeeeeease...

    Mc Kinnon never even 'knew he had' Aspergers before he became accused of the crimes in relation to breaking into the Pentagons computers, it was a gobble-de-gook excuse to try and avoid incarceration or other punishment for what he knew to be crimes.

    Aspergers sufferers know right from wrong. They do not understand social nuances. They may often be obsessive - however they would all be locked away if it were not true they know what is and what isn't normal respect of the law.

    For his mother to claim he has been terrorised for eight years due to the legal process isn't the fault of any government officials. He could have got on a plane to the US eight years ago (or walked into the US Embassy in London) and flown over there to face the accusations instead of cowering under his mothers skirts and howling like an innocent.

    He can't be tried in the UK in open court where the content of the charges against him involves another powers sensitive security records, he should and will, inevitably, be tried in a US court because that's where his crimes were perpetrated (whilst crouching behind a UK keyboard).

    If only he'd been using secure proxies or VPN's he could have been a real cyber-punk, gotten confirmation there were no UFO's, and moved onto another more healthy obsession.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Paris Hilton

      Oh pleeeeeeeease

      "If only he'd been using secure proxies or VPN's he could have been a real cyber-punk, gotten confirmation there were no UFO's, and moved onto another more healthy obsession."

      As you say, hardly a criminal.

  16. dfl

    just another reply

    I think their will be some consequences, i.e small pockets of the hacking community may take vengance against UK gov operated systems.

    In fairness anybody can scan .mil ip ranges and their are thousands of open ports to investigate. (Just don't do it from your ip, use your neighbours open wireless :-/ ).

    If he was so good why wasn't he protected by UK Gov and given a post in some shady basement in whitehall or the big shiney doughnut.

    Do we really believe that highly sensitive data would be left on systems that are accesiable from public IP ranges (oh sorry I forgot we are talking about the US).

    BUT, the UK gov should grow a backbone, their is obviously some major kickback for Mr Brown and Mr Johnson. Maybe they will give Gordon Brown a working eye so he can see things in perspective ;-)

  17. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

    Don't do as we do...

    Aren’t 'Merkins a strange lot, when Amanda Knox is found guilty of murder, its due to anti-americanism, her sister, Deanna, even appeared in court dressed in a red, white and blue outfit as if she was supporting some sort of patriot.

    And yet when an American Marine rapes a Japanese woman the American military de-mob him and get out of Japan as quickly as possible...

    Somebody tell me again why this autistic person should face what passes for justice in America.

    Theodore Roosevelt first used the term “Speak softly and carry a big stick." Back in 1901, and ‘Merkin-land has been bullying the rest of the world ever since then, FFS, Obama is even accepting the Nobel peace prize while ordering more troops into Afghanistan!!!!

    Its about time the UK stopped drooping its pants an bending over every time uncle sam tells it to, grow a pair, or better still give uncle sam a kick in the goolies and tell him to fcuk off!

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't do the crime

    McKinnon knew hacking was a crime and he did it anyway. Now it's time to pay for his crimes.

  19. dfl

    anotherother reply

    they call him a hacker,but he is alleged to have shutdown the military network for 5 days in Washington DC. What utter crap. If he caused any damage at all they would have branded him a cracker, their is a world of diffference between the two.

    How easy can it be....get over to sectools and go go go

    As I am typing something has just popped into my head, I read an article that stated that GM was caught in a honey trap. In the USA it is illegal to use deception to catch and prosecute.

  20. drphilngood


    All these posts complaining about the current relationship between the UK and the US but, when I suggest these same posters petition their government to do something about it, I get mobbed. I'm beginning to think that some posters here don't really care about the issue at hand; they just want to bash the US....and what good does that do?

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