back to article McKinnon campaign urges coalition to block extradition

Family and supporters of accused Pentagon hacker Gary McKinnon are hopeful that the new Lib-Con government will honour promises made in opposition and bring a halt to controversial extradition proceedings. Both David Cameron and Nick Clegg supported the campaign against the extradition of the Asperger's sufferer to the US to …


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  1. TrinityX

    1st test

    Time to see how sincere the promises were in the run-up to taking power...

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Well good luck

    I seriously wish Gary McKinnon all the best. This whole thing is a farce and pretty much as far from "justice" as it is possible to be.

    Sadly, I wouldnt be too optimistic about anything which relies on politicians keeping their promises.

    1. The Original Ash

      ID Cards, Biometric Passport 2.0?

      They seem to be well on the way to ditching both of these schemes, both of them having stated they'd do so as part of their manifesto.

      No reason to doubt they'd look at the one-sided extradition treaty with the US in the same way.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        "They seem to be well on the way to ditching both of these schemes, both of them having stated they'd do so as part of their manifesto.

        No reason to doubt they'd look at the one-sided extradition treaty with the US in the same way."

        Being "well on the way" is not the same as having ditched them.

        Neither of those two schemes require the UK Govt to stand up to the bullying US.

        I dont see how one supports the other in any way.

  3. tobyr


    whatever happens now will colour my judgement of the new guys for some time to come. both of these parties have argued for the renegotiation of the extradition treaty, a more timely test of their integrity I cannot imagine. finger crossed for Gaz.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Expert Medical Evidence

    Far be it from me to be cynical but didn't they have that for Ernest Saunders

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      and ,

      Al Magrahi

  5. Anomalous Cowturd

    @ Expert Medical Evidence

    Far be it from me to be cynical but didn't they have that for Ernest Saunders?

    And Maggie's mate Gen. A. Pinochet, President of Chile, Mass Murderer (Allegedly)

  6. Anonymous John


    Why is everyone fighting extradition called "Gary"? First Gary McKinnon, then Gary Mann (deported yesterday)..

    1. DaveB


      I think the idea is to deport all the G's starting with Gary and then Gordon

      1. Steve Roper

        Was also true in the time of Shakespeare...

        ...that people whose names started with "G" were not liked by the government, as evidenced by this passage from Richard III:

        "Yea, Richard, when I know; for I protest

        As yet I do not: but, as I can learn,

        He hearkens after prophecies and dreams;

        And from the cross-row plucks the letter G.

        And says a wizard told him that by G

        His issue disinherited should be;

        And, for my name of George begins with G,

        It follows in his thought that I am he.

        These, as I learn, and such like toys as these

        Have moved his highness to commit me now."

        Since my own middle name begins with a G, I suppose I did well to escape from England when I was still a kid!

    2. Frumious Bandersnatch

      because first they're coming for the G's

      so if nobody speaks up, they'll be on to the next random letter in the alphabet.

  7. Jimmy Floyd

    No Yanks here yet, then?

    I see that no-one has yet run smash-bang into missing the point and recommended avoiding doing the crime if doing the time seems unappealing. Then I noticed that it's only 8:20am on the US east coast.

    When you do wake up, my good colonial friends, remember that the question here is not whether McKinnon should be punished, but whether a British subject should be extradited to the US for a crime committed while he was in his home country - and the fact that, were the situation reversed, the UK would have no ability to remove a US citizen from America with the same evidence. We usually blame Tony Bliar [sic] for that piece of faux-anti-terrorism.

    1. Annihilator


      You were 13 minutes ahead of schedule - nicely caught. Point misser comment follows below this one..

      1. Jimmy Floyd


        I know - that amused me greatly!

    2. L1feless
      IT Angle


      Thanks for that post. I do not think in all the postings on this case I have read a post which clarifies the situation quite as well. I have to say it is a lot more complicated then I was once reading into it.

      I think it should ultimately come down to previous cases where US citizens hacked the UK offices. If there are any cases like that then they should be referenced and a similar stance should be taken.

  8. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. David McMahon

      Unprotected routers

      The routers were unprotected! Does this imply entrapment?

      There was me thinking military equipment was hard to hack.

    2. Naughtyhorse

      quid pro quo

      Im sure there are more than a few US airmen with itchy trigger fingers and poor judgement who are shitting themselves (more than usual that is) to hear you say that.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Mixed Feelings here

    On the one hand, he pretty obviously committed a crime. On the other hand, the extradition treaty between the UK and US is very one sided and needs to be reviewed.

    For me, the ideal result is:

    1) Renegotiation of the extradition treaty.

    2) McKinnon gets extradited anyway but without the ridiculous "we will throw the book at you and you'll do 50 years for not cooperating" condition that he currently has.

    1. Steen Hive

      On the other hand.

      "On the one hand, he pretty obviously committed a crime."

      Really? If some buffoon leaves port 80 open with blank auth on a webserver or a proxy that the public is not supposed to access, and someone goes poking around in it looking at stuff, has a crime been committed?

      Or is it just a crime because it's a shell on a different port? Seriously?

      I suppose if that is a crime, people "stepping on the cracks in the pavement" should have the book thrown at them.

      1. Naughtyhorse


        lets get them crack stepping bastards

    2. Naughtyhorse
      Thumb Down

      that would be ok if only....

      The US had a reptable legal system, which they don't.

      Or were singatories to the international declaration of human rights - which they aren't

      Or if there was achance they would actually try him rathder than throwing him in gitmo forever with no charge

      the list is endless

      unless you are suggesting we dig up Johnnie Cochran to conduct the defen(s)ce? in which case, it's not a problem, im sure he'd appreciate a short holiday in the land of the free

    3. Intractable Potsherd

      @AC 13th May 2010 14:01

      "On the one hand, he pretty obviously committed a crime". I'm not sure where you are posting from, but in the UK and the USA he is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt. I'm sure he is very hoping that, whatever happens, you are not going to be a juror at his trial. However, you do raise a very intersting point - wherever he is tried, what are the chances of an unbiased trial now. OK, there may be some people that have not heard of the case, but the chances are that people will look it up when they get home, despite the instructions of the judge. I know this is not a problem unique to this case, but it does make a difference as to where he shouldbe tried. The US system seems to be a bit less flexible when it comes to appeals based on unsafe convitions than the UK - which is hardly brilliant itself!!

      The importance of this case lies in the importance of the location of the crime - did it take place in the UK or the USA? The answer is going to affect a lot of us for a long time to come.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Two completely separate things

    Everybody seems to be linking the one-sidedness of the extradition treaty with the handling of the McKinnon case. I agree the treaty needs to be looked at, but while it exists it is less than honourable of this country to be dragging the pending extradition out for years.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let's hope that Gary spends the next \50 years in a U.S. prison

    Gary and Mum need an education on crime, fraud and punishment. 50 years in a U.S. prison should do the trick.

  12. This post has been deleted by its author

  13. Hermes Conran

    Good Lord!

    Hasn't he gone yet!!!?? He could have done his porridge and been back years ago without smearing all aspergers sufferers as emotionaly fragile weidos who don't know right from wrong.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    People can rationalize anything

    If you leave your door unlocked and someone enters your house is it illegal entry? You know it is. That's why they make prisons.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      But if your door was left unlocked...

      ... why have you spent the last 5 years persuing the person who walked through your open door citing "damage to the locks and replacement thereof"?

    2. Naughtyhorse


      Well if i was on the jusy in that one the 'but the plaintiff is a twat' defence would tip the balance for me.

      Especially if the plaintiff had left the nuke launch codes on their coffee table.

  15. Walking Turtle

    Wasichu are just that way, all too often.

    Fortunately for all in light of the Great Balance, not all of us Americans are Wasichu. (Even had Cherokee Nation been entirely wiped out as was evidently intended, MicMac+Haudenosee+Hopi+etc+dog surely would have laid low and survived to witness and then tell the tale.)

    All the best of good fortune to Friend McKinnon! Got an Aspie friend or two on this side of the Pond mese'f. Not such a bad way to be, turns out, once the overriding confusion is at last sorted and reasonable social+safety boundaries are (yes, at last) accepted.

    Thus ends much human suffering. Severity without Mercy is Cruelty, and the Root of Tyranny is found therein.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Time to face the music

    McKinnon can run but he can't hide. Sooner or later he will face a U.S. court.

    1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Time to face the music

      Thanks for that incisive comment.

  17. Dave 125


    The issue is not whether or not he should suffer a penalty. The issues are fairness and appropriation of blame.

    First Gary allegedly caused $700,000 worth of damage. Whether or not those numbers are completely made up, his punishment should be appropriate to that damage. Let's look at the damage done to the economy by bankers. $7,000,000,000,000 if I remember correctly. So Gary's MAXIMUM punishment should be one ten-thousandth of the punishment meted out to the bankers.

    If those numbers aren't completely made up then let's see a breakdown. How much of that bill was for the sysadmin to secure the system? That should obviously be deducted, as the sysadmin should have done that anyway. What exactly was damaged? Was some backed up data damaged? How does it cost over half a million dollars to recover stuff from backup? Was some non-backed up data damaged? Why would it be Gary's fault that data was not backed up? Why would it be Gary's fault that the data was not at least read-only for non-authenticated users? Did he cause some hardware damage? How would that be possible?

    Secondly Gary wandered in to an unprotected system. The password was either non-existent or dead simple to guess. The sysadmin should be held responsible for not securing a system containing supposedly top secret info and that could suffer damage worth $700,000. But where is the news on the sysadmins of that system being punished? And why was that computer attached to the internet in the first place? There are two parties responsible for a hacker entering an unprotected system, just as any homeowner who left a door wide open and complained about getting burgled would expect the insurance company to be less than sympathetic. Plus this happened AFTER 11/9, remember, when the US was allegedly on high alert. So was this a honeypot system?

    Thirdly the US wants to "make an example" of him, and punish him yet more for "not co-operating". Gary's perfectly valid fear is that if extradited to the US and put on trial there, he will be subjected to a mock trial and thrown away basically for life, and stuck in a jail thousands of miles from his loved ones. That is an inhuman result that the US have not ruled out. We know the US already has a number of inhuman and possibly illegal measures: the death penalty, and Guantanamo Bay. Gary might not get either of those, but he will be subjected to the whims of an unnecessarily harsh regime.

    And as has already been mentioned the extradition treaty with the US is very one sided. They just have to ask. We have to prove our case in one of their courts of law. So the treaty must be renegotiated. And in general we have to stop being the US's lapdog; we are a sovereign state in our own right and until not long ago far more powerful than the US, things have changed, but as a British Citizen I hate the way our government gets ordered around by the US and just takes it all.

    Nobody says Gary should not face trial. Let the US prosecutors come to a British court and make their case, including explaining why Gary gets all the flak and the sysadmin gets none, and have a UK judge decide Gary's fate based on the sysadmin's failure. The internet changes stuff but it doesn't change everything: this is a British citizen committing an offence while on British soil. If you want a comparison, what if you were to make a mucky phone call to a Yank? Would you be prosecuted for that here or in the US? Here, of course.

  18. Mips
    Jobs Halo

    It is no good...

    .. I can't do it any more "Liberal Democrat Conservative Coalition"? Bugger me, it is LDC2 from now on.

  19. Anonymous John

    Re Penalty

    "So Gary's MAXIMUM punishment should be one ten-thousandth of the punishment meted out to the bankers."

    That would mean giving him a small bonus.

    1. Steve Roper

      Not exactly a small bonus...

      Wasn't the amount handed to the bankers on the order of $120 billion or something around there? Well, 1/10000th of that is $12 million, so he wouldn't be doing too badly out of it in that case!

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Denial is not a legal defense

    Trying to defend hacking is futile. Courts don't accept ignorance and denial as a legal defense.

    1. Intractable Potsherd


      ... if you look around, you'll see he didn't "hack" anything . The passwords were weak/non-existent. The only way this was "hacking" is if your definition is "went into a system he had no authorisation to access"

  21. Gill Bates

    the muppet show

    Is this the best the US can do? The poster boy for cybercriminality worldwide is a ginger Brit with Asperger's, who by his own admission, was drunk and stoned at the time, and only got in because some genius set up admin accounts without passwords?

    next thing they'll be charging the water cycle with stealing from the oceans.

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