His real crime ...
was showing how crappily the US computer systems were administered. They want him to pay for putting egg on their faces -- that is all that there is to it, revenge for red faces.
Supporters of Gary McKinnon have praised the Prime Minister for raising the Pentagon hacker's long-running extradition case during a meeting with President Barack Obama on Monday. Speaking after the meeting, David Cameron said he hoped "a way through" can be found in the case, The Guardian reports. McKinnon, who suffers from …
> And the burglar's 'defense' is, "It's all yor fault for having such crappy door locks." you'll be okay with that, will you?
Your insurer is likely to have some thoughts on that, and will probably tell you where to go when you tell them that a few hundred grand's worth of stuff went missing from your straw hut.
Sure, he did the crime, etc etc, but he's being extradited because the price tag put on the cleanup operation is so hight. Given that the sysadmins in charge of the systems he broke into were manifestly incompetent (or their management was wilfully ignorant) that cost should be borne by them, one way or another, rather than trying to hang it all on a handy scapegoat. McKinnon should serve a sentence in the UK appropriate to his breaches of the computer misuse act, etc.
To continue the increasingly contrived example above, maybe you could try claiming on insurance the cost of rebuilding your house in a more secure fashion, or perhaps asking that much in damages from the burglar. Do let us know how well that works out for you.
Invalid comparison. As far as we know, nothing was stolen (no burglary), not thing was broken (no criminal damage) and so no crime may have been committed (clue: not all countries have laws on tresspass in meatspace let alone cyberspace).
Until the USA presents evidence and satisfies a UK court that a crime has actually been committed, they should be told to haud their wheest. Although I realise the treaty pretty much allows the USA to demand any UK citizen be handed over at any time for any reason and they are not required to provide evidence.
"One of the traditions we have is that the President doesn't get involved in decisions around prosecutions, extradition matters," Obama said.
Is he fricking serious?
Lewis 'Scooter' Libby was given a Presidential Pardon after leaking the name of a CIA Operative.
Or when Ford gave Nixon a Pardon.
What they are saying is the Office of the President doesn't get involved in who to prosecute or not that's down to the Judicial Branch, however the Office of the President is able to commute or pardon offenders after the Judicial Branch has finished with them.
And as much as I dislike Libby and the whole G W Bush - White House, Libby only had his prison sentence commuted. He still had the $250,000 fine, 400 hours community service and a 2 year supervised release. Also he remains guilty of the offenses, a pardon would have wiped the slate totally clean.
"One of the traditions we have is that the President doesn't get involved in decisions around prosecutions, extradition matters"
Note, he doesn't say "can't"
Maybe Hil-dog is the one to deal with then as Sec of State? Given Cameron is opening up a review of the release of the Lockerbie bomber, you'd think there would be a little squid pro yo. Oh, wait, sorry, I forgot which way round this works.
$800k of damages sounds too much like a thumbsuck figure to me. Or was it $800k of security that they skimped on that caused their machines to be vulnerable? In which case, they should be paying him for finding it.
Here's another thing that peeves me. What twat gave the USA the power to extradite our citizens then didn't ensure that we could extradite theirs?
I'm guessing the same crew that train our bobbies huh?
What do we pay taxes for? Fun?
"One of the traditions we have is that the President doesn't get involved in decisions around prosecutions, extradition matters," Obama said.
Maybe Cameron can bounce that comment back in respect of Al Megrahi. "The Scottish Judicial system made their decision, and its not the job of Prime Ministers to be involved...."
McKinnon would be solved by implementing a UK law that forbids extradition of its citizens where the accused is willing to admit committing the equivalent UK offence and accept a UK judgement and sentence.
"McKinnon would be solved by implementing a UK law that forbids extradition of its citizens where the accused is willing to admit committing the equivalent UK offence and accept a UK judgement and sentence."
Isn't this idea rather silly since it only protects the guilty. What about someone protesting innocence and is worried about the rather poor judicial standards in the US. Whereas US federal justice is generally pretty high up in the world league tables, US state justice isn't. And by the time your case has made it up to a district court of appeal, you have normally done a lot of time in a rather poor quality jail. Remember that many US county jails, especially in the South, have dormitory housing which means that the guards really can do very little to stop such heinous things as prison rape etc.
In McKinnon's case I have little sympathy. He obviously committed a crime, and it is a federal crime, so he won't get dealt with by the vagaries of local justice in the US. I worry about the one sided nature of the extradition treaty, but we already shipped out people like the NatWest 3 to the US under that treaty, so again whilst I oppose the treaty, I have difficulty getting worked up over McKinnon.
He commited the offences in 2001-2002 and the offences weren't serious enough allow extradtion at that time, also the CPS looked at the crime and decided not to proceed. However McKinnon is now being extradidted under a 2003 treaty, forget the one sided nature of the treaty, he's being prosecuted under legal agreements that didn't exist whe he went wading through the US military's computers.
Personally I would have though that ECHR Article 7, about how criminal offences cannot be retroactively applied would be fairly large block on the extradtion. But I guess the other side have better lawyers
When he committed the offence in 2001/2 it was illegal in the jurisdiction in which he was operating (he hacked a US computer, albeit across the intertubes, but still a set of US computers). The offence was extraditable at the time. The extradition treaty changed, but what didn't change was that it was an extraditable offence both before and after the new treaty. The key is though, it was illegal in 2001/2, and so under ECHR Article 7, no criminal offence is being retrospectively applied.
You can argue that the old extradition treaty should be used. It wouldn't be required under ECHR Article 7, but there are moral reasons to say it should apply. I wouldn't disagree.
You can argue that he should be tried in the UK under the Computer Misuse Act. Again, I wouldn't disagree.
You can argue that the current extradition treaty is one-sided and we should get out of it. Again, I wouldn't disagree.
You can argue that the US is overstating what he did, and that the potential punishment in no way fits the crime. Again, I wouldn't disagree.
However, I am still going to have zero sympathy for Gary McKinnon. He committed a crime, and he should not be surprised to be having his day in court accordingly.
There are people extradited under this treaty for who I would have sympathy.
Let's start with: Alex Stone. Alleged child abuse, extradited, spent 6 months in US jail before the charges were dropped.
Ian Norris. Alleged price fixing, not a crime in the UK, Lords blocked extradition. Extradited on obstruction of justice instead.
>>When he committed the offence in 2001/2 it was illegal in the jurisdiction in which he was operating (he hacked a US computer, albeit across the intertubes, but still a set of US computers).
He was in the UK. He was not in the US. The law applied to the US. It did not apply to the UK. That he used the connectivity that they left open does not apply him to the US law framework at all.
Or should we start holding US television stations accountable for their shameless breaking of Islamic Law? Or even of current UK law regarding extreme pr0n? Since their show is available there across the interwebs too.
The Computer Misuse Act in the UK does not require you to secure your computer in order to make unauthorised use illegal. The same is true in the US. And anyway, McKinnon did not walk into an unlocked house. He walked into a house which had remarkably easy to pick locks. He cracked weak security, he didn't walk through no security. And don't try to play his tune by saying he was looking for aliens. He also left messages concerning 9/11 about which the US was likely to be highly sensitive.
Just because a crime is easy to do, it doesn't make it anything but a crime. Following your poor analogy attempts, what about shops which have displays outside, or stands at stations that have displays all around the stand, but only one shop-worker. If you steal something because it is easy to steal is that ok? Just because it was easy to hack these US government computers doesn't make it less of a crime. And regarding leaving messages, if I break into a rail yard and spray paint all the trains with a message saying "no aliens here", I've still committed vandalism.
This case has many issues associated with it. McKinnon's self confessed and obvious guilt is not one of them.
I don't want to worry anybody here, but most of you do not live in secure houses. Most houses are very easy to enter. Many have locks which offer little or no resistance in that respect your house is probably less secure than your car. Even if your locks are secure ot is the work of seconds to bust open a door or window. How often is one of your doors unlocked while you are upstairs? How often is your kitchen door unlocked while you're sitting in the living room with the TV turned up loud? Oooh you've got a burglar alarm? I bet that really scares potential burglars. When was the last time you heard an alarm going off and called the police?
The burglars haven't refrained from nicking your stuff because your house is secure. Firstly it is only in the world that Daily Mail readers imagine they inhabit that some scrote will nick your stuff the second you leave it unattended. Secondly even the scummiest scrote is very cagey and circumspect about which house they break into mostly because they know they're doing something wrong and might get caught. They have to be pretty confident they will get away with it in order to overcome that fear. They won't just pop your back door open because they can. They have to be pretty confident that there's nobody home, that nobody is likely to be home and that nobody will see them do it.
Ever come home to find you've left the door unlocked or a window open and nobody has nicked your telly? Funny that innit?
So burglary is a pretty good parallel. There are computers all over the world with poor security, but people don't go "hacking" into them all the time. Just like most houses are not particularly secure but people don't steal from them.
Oh and before some smart arse suggests it I'm not supposing that all burglard have Asperger's.
"Barack old bean, in the interests of fairness and equal rights for all (something I am sure you are passionate about); the UK will henceforth apply the same criteria as the USA for extradition. So kindly send your boys over and prove your extradition case in a UK court of law. Pip-pip."
[And before someone says it, the USA *has* ratified the treaty but it is still one-sided.]
might mean that they'd win that case.
It doesn't matter how one sided the treaty is, in this particular case they do have ample proof that he did it!
This is more around the punishment being disproportionate, in that the UK basically gave him a slap on the wrist and said don't do it again, probably while laughing about it. Whereas the Americans want him bankrupt for life and in prison, for embarrassing them.
It's the same old US mentality that they own the world and everything in it. Craps sakes, I've seen the way their military behave over here in Ireland on leave; they own the place apparently.
Look too how they treat citizens in Iraq. I have extended family over there on Journalist roles; it's almost funny. They'll kick a private citizen's door down, hold guns in the family's face, and then - as sometimes happens - when they get shot at for, I dunno trespassing/entering with intent to harm/etc; they get all "we're here to help". Yeah, sure. Whatever.
and don't get me started on them 'inviting' british officials to speak to one of their senate committees... maybe those senators don't realise that we are not the 53rd state of the good ole US of A.... probably don't have passports the idiots.. Cameron is in a difficult position, balancing the relationship, but if you're bent over and someones pushing you off balance from behind sometimes you just have to tell them to knob off....
it's about the fact that they are claiming a huge financial cost due to his hacking which then meets the criteria for the extradition.
they did not incur costs due to his hacking... they put locks on the doors that they had failed to lokc previously. the cost of his hacking was much smaller and should not come anywhere near the figure for extradition.. and then of course the whole 'agreement' is another example of why Labour had to go out of office whatever your left or right leanings, they had simply lost the plot.... tw@ts
That's the nub of crux of the heart of the matter. If you're a British citizen who commits an offence in Britain, there should be a reasonable expectation that you will be tried according to the standards and laws of your own country. Otherwise, what next... will we extradite UK citizens to Saudi Arabia or Iran so they can be flogged or stoned for adultery, send them to China for posting on a political blog, etc...?
This seems like a CRITICALLY important issue to me. The first and foremost duty of any government is to protect its own citizens, not sacrifice them to the whims of a foreign judicial system out of political expediency.
"Cameron needs to grow a spine and tell the yanks that Britain brooks no interference in its law-and-order system from obese morons across the Atlantic." .... Neil McGowan
And grow some balls too, for it is all so rather embarrassing for Eton and Oxford to have produced such an apparent wimp.
And reference the alleged suit ..."US authorities blame McKinnon for crashing systems at the US Army’s Military District of Washington and causing $800, 000 in damages." ..... the suits in banks milking and bilking their ponzis and the monetary system on Wall Street and causing damage to the tune of trillions, are rewarded with millions and billions.
David, what we want hear from a Prime Minister in such a perverse situation is ...Please, Mr President, Fuck Off . You deal with your nutters and we'll deal with ours. Thank you. Now, what else can we be of help to you on.
Methinks nowadays, Uncle Sam has a lot more to be concerned about with regard to cyberspace than they are intellectually equipped to handle.
last week the European Court of Criminal ^H^H^H^H^H^H^H Human Rights said that extraditing Abu Hamza would breach his human rights because he might be given a long prison sentence.
So if you publicly proclaiming you'd like to people killed it is OK, but guessing a few passwords is such a serious offence that you can be extradited no matter what you are facing.
PC gone mad?
Since the US will not sign their end of the 'reciprical' extradicion agreement, I say that we repeal it.
Similarly we should look at anything else that is one-sided to the US and ask why.
Oh and suck on this too. (Just pretend it's one of those landmines you like leaving around).
"Cameron later suggested a compromise whereby McKinnon might be allowed to serve part of his sentence in the UK."
Don't quite get it. If a guy can acknowlegde guilt, yet be innocent, why is there no 'presumed innocent until proven guilty' clause.
Naturally, the British bit of his 100-year sentence means he'd only serve 99 in the US, then enjoy the last year in Brighton.
The question isn't WHETHER he should be punished, but what a suitable level of punishment is. He's not a murderer, he's not a rapist, he's not a terrorist, he's not a child molester.
The typical sentence for a first hacking offence in this country is a suspended sentence, or maybe a few months in jail in aggravated circumstances - not 99 years in a penitentiary in a foreign country!! THAT"S the reason why people are so up in arms about this case, don't you get it??
He's a British citizen who committed an offence in the UK, so he has a right to be tried as such.
"He's a British citizen who committed an offence in the UK, so he has a right to be tried as such."
Yes he does, but him and his mother are launching appeals firstly that he should be tried in the UK, and secondly that any punishment should be in the UK
Notice how it's ANY punishment and not THE punishment, they're still using his disability as an excuse to get tried in this country for the sole reason any sentence he MIGHT get will be mediocre
Personal note, Russia would have someone assassinated for the same crime so 100 years in prison is nothing compared to Communist punishments
If i was stupid enough to attack another country i would be expecting a long sentence
I have a problem with the idea that he committed a crime in the UK. How do you stand on the legal position regaring the Lockerbie bombing?
Yes I'm well aware that the crimes are on totally different scales, but it's a useful parallel in so far as the bomb was placed on the plane in one country and exploded over another. That is to say the damage was actually done in scotland even though the bombers actions were actually carried out elsewhere. After much legal discussion it was decided that the suspect should be tried under Scottish law, but not in Scotland.
In this case McKinnon did something in England which allegedly caused damage in the US, so if the Lockerbie case sets any precedent at all he should be tried under US law. I have no problem with that, nor do I have any problem with his being tried in England under US law,
And yes it is England and not "the UK" we do not have a single legal system in the UK. Scottish law differs from English law,
One could certainly make a case that the Lockerbie bombers should have been tried in Germany, yes.
With the internet you have to VERY careful about letting laws in one country apply to actions you commit while in another. Let's suppose you're sitting at your desk at work in the UK and decide to forward a funny pornographic email to your best mate from college, only he's currentlly working on an oil rig in Saudi Arabia. Are you saying you'd like to be treated as if you committed the offence in Saudi Arabia?
I'd like to see the US estimate the cost of securing their systems had Mckinnon not been involved at all. In addition, I'd like to see the cost that would have been estimated if they had simply left their systems the way they were and North Korea or Iran hacked into their systems.
These were the early days of hacking, there's was not the criminal intent that hacking these days tends to have and what he did then can best be looked as doing them a favour. He he hadn't done that back then, then the risk to their systems would have greatly increased with all passing time.
Whilst I have to agree with Sarah this is an argument that has raged, on and off regarding McKinnon. On a personal level I think he is probably guilty, aspies generally have an enhanced understanding of rules, regulations and routine in particular, and the defence that he didn't really understand what he was doing is to say the least weak. On another level I suspect that the punishment he may get will be disproportionate to the offence.
I do wonder if he has considered the benefits of just turning himself in to the Feds. I mean at the end of the day in the last few years he hasn't been able to work, and has suffered all sorts of stress to do with these legal proceedings.
If he just hands himself in there are many benefits. His problems detailed above are negated. On the down side his life may well be uncomfortable for a year or two, and he will probably never suffer from constipation again. With any luck he may get incarcerated somewhere warm, and lets face it with the weather in the UK that has got to be a major plus. When he gets out he will be a major 'cause célèbre', can write a few books, and do lectures.
Has anybody read the book 'Mr Nice' ? Howard Marks did alright out of his probably equally unfair incarceration by the US of A. So a few years of suffering and after that pretty well set up for life as a writer and raconteur. Big bonus. Read the book Marks sleeps with a whole load of women.
I guess the summary of this is 'Sad Loner Geek' rehabilitated to 'Respectable Cool Author who gets on far better with girls', oh yes and has a bit of an income as well. Big bonus to my way of thinking, anyways, simples. Didn’t even mention apron strings……..
I doubt very much that the apparently socially inept McKinnon would magically transform into a charismatic rogue a la Marks, who was a charismatic rogue before he got banged up. It's a hell of a stretch to make. You seem to be essentially suggesting a spell in chokey would sort his Asperger's out a treat, which is absurd.
Also, you should know my feelings by now about any combination of the phrase 'do the crime, do the time'. If you don't, why don't you come here and I'll whisper them to you. No, no, closer than that. Reeeeeaaaaaally close.
Hmm yes sorry about the 'Do the crime .....' etc. I couldn't really think of a better title. Should I be in the vicinity of vulture towers (which is very unlikely) by all means shout in my ear, and I will get you a drink. Just noticed I seem to have sparked a few more as well… whoops.
In my defence I haven’t really followed up the title along the more stereotypical lines. Again proffering my two pennies, presupposing he is guilty which really is a matter for judicial opinion (mind I think if he got to the US of A this would be taken as read) his sentence should be minimal, fined £20 … couple of hours community service (again as has been pointed out this would almost certainly not be the case if the good ole boys get hold of him).
Whilst again I agree with you Sarah the suggestion that McKinnon would emerge as a charismatic rogue is probably a little far fetched. I suspect that he may indeed emerge a more rounded individual. My understanding is that people who suffer with Aspergers tend to thrive in environments with clear routine. Once he had overcome the initial shock ‘a spell in chokey’ probably wouldn’t be as much of a problem as his mother, and lawyers are suggesting.
As a minimum he would emerge without all the stresses he now faces. He might just come out of the experience with a better understanding of life. Just on the basis of his Celeb status he could probably get a job as some sort of security consultant. His public persona would no longer be of a complete geek that believes there is an area 51 etc. All of this would be a heck of a lot better than spending another 7 years unemployed and in fear of the consequences of being extradited.
[Quote] Sarah: "You seem to be essentially suggesting a spell in chokey would sort his Asperger's out a treat, which is absurd." [End Quote]
Oh, really? So I suppose calling American jails "Correction Centers/Facilities" seems a bit absurd, too. Especially when the 'correction' can take 99 years. That'll cure his Aspergers syndrome a treat!
Phrase "Arbeit macht frei" springs to mind....
Oh, give over, Sarah.
McKinnon admitted he did it.
The CPS did not consider his crime serious enough to proceed with.
Despite this the US DoJ have persisted.
The damages the Pentagon *claim* McKinnon's actions have caused are *suspiciously* high. NB US corporations and the federal government have done this before. See "The Hacker Crackdown" and "Out of the inner circle."
The Pentagon systems security was grossly inadequate, but this is *not* a defense.
However the Pentagon staffs gross negligence means they are *partly* responsible for any damage caused. If you ignore things you *know* to be wrong and don't report them to anyone and stuff happens whose fault is it?
The burden of proof to obtain an extradition is *grossly* disproportionate between the UK and the US on this treaty.
The treaty should be re-negotiated or torn up until an EU wide one is agreed.
Arguing with the Moderatrix when she hasn't been fitted with a bite mask and her hands are still free is a *bad* idea.
Otherwise game on.
If they'd gone ahead and prosecuted, either McKinnon would never have set foot in jail or finished his sentence by now. Also flying him over to the USA to face trial for the same charges would no longer be an option. So if the CPS would reopen the case set a trail date and get on with it, it could all be over by Christmas.
Is the $800K figure subject to any scrutiny by the UK courts before they accept this figure? You know - to make sure it isn't being falsely inflated by the US authorities in order to simply get their hands on someone they want?
We all know the figure of damages is bogus and that in such matters the US authorities figure the damages to be the cost of putting their house in order, rather than simply covering what was damaged/destroyed.
Surely the UK courts should examine the validity of the US's claims before accepting them on faith.
"Surely the UK courts should examine the validity of the US's claims before accepting them on faith."
I think you'll find that's one of the *issues* with this treaty.
UK courts take US evidence at *face* value.
US courts don't.
You may *think* it's grossly out of proportion BS just to get extradition as an option, but UK courts have to take it as *true*.
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You already know the answer to that one. Obama was advised to go after BP for one simple reason. The US government had encouraged oil companies to start dangerous deep water drilling in this area against the judgement of many industry safety experts. The reason they did this was the same as the reason that the US suddenly became keen on renewable energy. They want to reduce their reliance on oil from the middle east and will do so by any means.
Of course had Obama not gone after BP the victims of the spill may have gone after the US government for compensation instead. No matter what you think of BP they were only drilling there because US.gov wanted them to and as such Obama and his bitches have to take some of the blame.
There are those who say that Obama went after BP because the rig was operated by a US company and that he didn't want a US company to take a kicking. I'd be more inclined to say that it was more likely that he knew the company concerned were too small to be able to afford the sums concerned.
One thing is for sure, however, it's going to be very difficult for US.gov to use reducing their reliance on arab oil as a justification for authorising any more drilling in dangerous areas. Indeed I'll be the average US voter is now totally against any form of offshore drilling.