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back to article McKinnon a 'scapegoat for Pentagon insecurity'

As accused Pentagon hacker Gary McKinnon hopes against hope to avoid being extradited to the US, another reformed military systems meddler considers his own case - and how different the outcome was. McKinnon is probably days away from extradition. Only a last minute plea to the Home Secretary "Wacky" Jacqui Smith - based on …

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Is this guy still around?

Why can't he just hop on the plane and go - he's getting very annoying.

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Plea bargaining

A lot of people have commented that he was already offered a lower sentence, almost as if he has no right to defend himself in that case. It seems to me that plea bargaining has to be strictly controlled if justice is to prevail, otherwise we get into the situation where defendants can be frightened into almost anything.

Taking into account an admission of guilt, in cases of, eg, violence against the person, is justifiable --- the defendant's admission makes the process slightly less traumatic for the victim(s) than it otherwise would be. Plea-bargaining in cases like McKinnon's though, is all about saving money. And, whlist a laudable aim, when it is given primacy, it cannot but erode the accepted principles of justice.

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Alien

And since "UFO" was mentioned again...

...here a link that should make you think:

http://scribd.com/doc/2331671

https://thepiratebay.org/tor/3231674

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Anonymous Coward

Deliberately goading a potential army of hackers?

The use of such heavy handedness (He is British and commited a crime in Britain, he should face British justice, if it still exists.) seems likely, to me, to provoke hackers to attack their systems.

It would seem either.

1. They have tightened up security and want to test it.

2. They have two systems, a dummy insecure system that they need to appear to care about and hidden system that does the real work.

3. They are clueless.

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Enough is Enough ...usually means Any more and you Pay for IT Dearly

A compelling and very clear article for "Wacky" Jacqui to read, to help her do the Right thing in this despicable charade of a Malicious Prosecution/Persecution.

One cannot even begin to Imagine the Indignant Ire and Trail of Virtual Destruction to Systems, which a Community which has one of its Own, Used and Abused as a Scapegoat for Other Lesser Mortals Wrangling Pork/Stealing Public Wealth, will Wrought/Write.

And with the Home Office highlighted as the Last Chance for Natural Justice Saloon, thus is it probably First Port of Call for Virtual Attention with Jacqui's Credentials and Fitness for Future CyberSpace Purpose exposed to Scrutiny and Derision.

This USDOD vs McKinnon fiasco is not a Physical Crime Case, it is an Improper and Gratuitously Malevolent Intellectual Property Assault against a Foreign National. A Flighty Piece of Proxy Phishing by a ..... Norwegian Blue of an Adminstration and a Most Unremarkable Turkey, it is too.

Pssst, Jacqui, ...... If you let Bullies shaft you once, get used to more of the same and that is hardly the sort of action we need to see in the Home Office, is it, for it is most unseemly.

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Renditions our go.

"The internet is 'not real' to many people, it's just stuff that happens somewhere else. It is here that people can do things they would never normally do in the real world and do not see the correlation between online activities and real world consequences."

The internet isn't 'real', it IS just stuff that happens somewhere else. It's there that people can do things they WOULD normally do in the privacy of their own home and any fool that can't understand that concept shouldn't allow state secrets access to it.

One wouldn't expect a chimpanzee to see the correlation between online activities and real world consequences but you'd think its keepers would.

And as for the Home Orifice sending someone to a third world country like the USA to suffer cruel and unusual punishment for what amounts to poor taste in home entertainment strikes me as very bad government and criminal negligence.

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Stop

retrospective laws

Don't you love this planet?

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Please write your MP

I hope others with join me in writing their MPs about this. This latest article makes the entire proceedings even more of a farce and this man should definitely not be tried in the United States; moreover this extradition law shouldn't apply to the United States if they cannot ratify it even 5 years later, but honestly, I don't see why fast track extradition is warranted at all (the law presently applies to Canada, New Zealand and Australia -- all have reciprocal laws in effect).

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Boffin

Not again...

"..extradition friendly.."?

How about "supine", or "desperate to be screwed in the ass" as a better description of NuLab's terrific extradition policy with the Rumsfelds of this world?

I don't remember Uncle Sam being so hot on "Terror" when our Fenian friends were blowing up civilians, or murdering off-duty squaddies, and then skulking off to the Home of the Brave to hide...

The US legals all became misty-eyed sons of Erin, supporting their noble "freedom fighters" like extras in a 3rd-rate Caffrey's commercial.

Couldn't be because they were scared to offend the Paddy vote in the US, could it? Surely they would never be that cynical?

Pah! A plague on their houses - especially the White one on Pennsylvania Avenue.

(I'll be back in 42 days...)

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Not real

The internet isn't real ?

Does this mean also that Lara Croft isn't real ?

Get a grip !!

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Just tio add my two cents worth...

Try him in the UK, and if any punishment is metered out - then he serves it in the UK.

The Yanks can just fuck off. If this was the other way around, they'd tell us to whistle Dixie.

The US military should be highly embarrassed at the state of its computer security. If I was the Defense Secretary, I'd concentrate more on ensuring this doesn't happen again by imporving security - and by sacking those in charge if it does.

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Anonymous Coward

Jurisdiction shopping...

"McKinnon's supporters argue the case has wider political implications involving the UK's willingness to deport suspects to the US and Europe without requiring evidence to be presented."

McKinnon is a crap case because nobody has sympathy for him, however the principle problem is there.

Officer Y of USA says 'we want him for this crime'

Citizen X of UK says 'this is a false malicious claim'

Our system automatically takes the word of Officer Y of the USA over our own citizen X of the UK. All men are equal, but some are less equal than others and those some are British*.

It's inherent on a country to protect it's citizens, yet Blair signed that protection away. Americans were smart enough to put in a judicial check and require evidence, Blair did not.

What is so wrong with requiring the extraditing party provide evidence to support the extradition request and that evidence be reviewed by a judge with knowledge of UK law?

Chr*st you suggest a judicial check on something these days and the rozzers act like the judges are their sworn enemy.

* And European of course, you created a hole in Europe that allows extradition to the UK followed by extradition to the USA... all without any judicial check.

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Oh FFS

Yeah, nice one Kuji. Yet again someone who should really know better is mixing up issues to try and make a point in the McKinnon case.

Whether solo was stoned out of his face and/or has Aspergers is _completely_ irrelevant. Neither of these prevented him from holding down a regular job, or getting a girlfriend, strong indicators that he is perfectly able to function within 'normal' social parameters.

Stop trying to defend the person, and get on with attacking the process. I don't care if he's a decent chap, I don't care if he's a "pacifist", I don't care if he was "just curious" about big bad Uncle Sam covering up little green men. I certainly don't care if he was a stoner or afflicted with Aspergers. Join the fucking club. I don't care if he was to fucking stupid to realise that actions have consequences.

I _do_ care very much that he is about to be grabbed by a repressive government with a documented affinity for torturing people, with barely a nod toward the sort of "due process" they bang on about as being a mark of why they are so damn civilised, and I _do_ care that my supposedly sovereign government is consistently happy to drop their kex, bend over, gape their chocolate starfish and let the Bushies do them from behind while whistling yankee doodle.

So for fucks sake, grow up and stop trying to paint the guy as some kind of saint. He certainly isn't, and it makes absolutely zero difference to the process, which is the real issue.

As a s(n)ide note, I can't help but notice the UK's old 1337 demonstrating once again that what it really takes to be clasped to their hirsute bosom and admitted to their pathetic inner circle is to get yourself nicked for doing something really fucking dumb.

Some things never change.

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Uncle Sam I am

Bend over Britain, the USA is about to dock.

An extradition treaty that is not equal in both directions. Plans to apply retrospective laws. The law lords make a mistake on this one. All that stuff about the legal systems being close in the way they operate seems to be wrong.

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re: Is this guy still around?

Awww. Is ickle widdle ooo cying boo boos because oo is inconwenienced?

Diddums.

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re: Plea bargaining

Ach, we've had the example of the worst of this regarding the sex offenders register.

People (almost all male) are found peeing in doorways or something like that and arrested. They are charged with indecent exposure and told that if they just cop a plea saying they are guilty, they'll not be charged.

They forget to mention that they will still go on the sex offenders register (even if it is only the low-risk one).

They do mention that if they go to court, they will have NO chance to win and will likely have jail time and a sexual offence rap on their record.

Scared into saying yes so that the police can increase their rates.

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Grrrrr

I look forward to seeing Gordon Brown and cohorts being extradited to China for watching the BBC.

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Totally agree with Mark

They're just a shower of bastards. He should get community service for the "crimes".

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Coat

Where is he now?

What is Mr McKinnon doing these days?

Is he a waster using his benefit money to buy more drugs?

Or does he have a proper job, perhaps following in the footsteps of some of the other famed hackers and being ethical with his skillz?

I don't agree with the extradition thing, but if he's just louting around on my hard earned taxes, then maybe he should be a burden to the US rather.

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Paris Hilton

The aliens are running the USA

Have been for years, that's why they need to get the foreigners into their labs where they can chip them.

Proof is at http://www.enterstageright.com/archive/articles/0808/0808obamaalien.htm

Paris because she's an alien.

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Dan
IT Angle

they have to

The US government has to make him out to be some ultra dangerous super-hacker otherwise they have to admit that he hacked into their network using techniques a 10 year old child could have learned from the 25 year old Wargames movie.

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Unhappy

Sounds about right

More or less what I have said all along, this is simply a chance to make an example of McKinnon, a nice show trial and banged up the slammer in a cosy 8x10, stateside. 10 years ago, if this had gone through he might get 5-6 years, however with all this fuss over non-existent terrorists and Gitmo, he'll be lucky if he sees freedom before 2025.

I do feel it's a little unfair to make an example of the poor sod, however if you go poking your nose in where you know it's wrong, don't be surprised if something nasty tries to bite it off. I wish him well, but somehow I can't see much stopping him being loaded onto a plane bound for the US, I certainly can't see dear Jacqui giving a rat's!

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Alert

@ The other Steve

Steve,

Please report for duty as Home Secretary at once. You have succinctly, if colloquially, put the salient points.

As I assume you could do the gorgeous, pouting Jacqui's job twice as well in half the time, would you be interested in taking over from the boy Milliband as well?

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Ash

He still faces extradition?

Here's a quick solution to his problems.

If extradition is granted, he immediately pumps his thumbs into the eye sockets of the closest person to him, as soon as he finds out. If it's someone involved in the extradition process, all the better.

If he's going to be tried for a crime with a sentence similar to Murder in this country, better he serve that sentence in one of our jails than one of theirs.

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Disown this one-sided treaty

When we get a proper government, one of the first things it should do (in the first 24 hours, ideally) will be be to repudiate this extradition treaty with the USA. Our Foreign Secretary should tell the US government that, until it can obtain the consent of its own Congress to full reciprocity, the UK will not regard the treaty as being in force.

In any case, the DoD computers in question do not require an expensive security revamp. Changing the root password from the default value would be a good start, followed by the next 10,000 items on a routine security checklist.

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Abuse

> "high chances of abuse, torture, rape and drug abuse" in US prisons.

So this counts as extraordinary rendition, no? I thought we didn't do that...

As for : "louting around on my hard earned taxes", I think the US will be sending us the bill, and our government will be stupid enough to pay it.

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Black Helicopters

NWO Smackdown

McKinnon vs Childs!

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Anonymous Coward

re: Plea bargaining

The US system does seem to be a mite different to ours; according to a program

on the Beeb they get something like a 90% conviction rate, thanks largely to their very aggressive approach to plea bargaining (e.g. 2 years for a guily plea vs 10 years without).

Also its not generally possible to overturn a conviction unless you can show a legal fault in the original trial - i.e. being able to prove your innocence later will have no effect on your sentence etc. Still, I guess that saves on compensation claims.

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Black Helicopters

Reciprocity

I think we should afford the US of A the same sort of assistance and cooperation they provide the UK when seeking to investigate the performance of their military with regard to 'friendly fire' in Iraq and Afghanistan, i.e. precisely ZERO.

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re: Sounds about right

It's "wrong" to go behind enemy lines and act as a spy in a foreign sovereign country.

It is still done and even expected.

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Al

So the fast track extradition has taken six and a half years, so far without resolution, when the perpetrator publicly admits the crime.

I'd hate to think how long the standard procedure would take.

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Anonymous Coward

Not that old chestnut

"He is British and commited a crime in Britain, he should face British justice, if it still exists.) "

The internet effectively placed him in the US. His "crime" was comitted on computers on US soil, albeit remotely.

If somebody in China stole your bank details, emptied your bank account and secured massive credit in your name would you insist that they were tried in China? Would you expect justice?

Had he launched a missile attack against the US from, picking a country out of the hat here, Iran would you consider that he should be tried in Iran because his crime was comitted in Iran?

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Unhappy

US born malware

I have had my computer infected by US born malware more times that I care to mention. Whether having my screen abused by Popups, having my privacy invaded by companies such as Double Click. To me companies such as DoubleClick (but not necessarily Doubleclick) and those like it have hacked my life and invaded my privacy without my permission. I actually charge money for things like spyware installs and tracking cookies. By my counts I am owed a lot of money by certain US Companies who are wholly unscrupulous and act without morals. Can I demand all the information they hold on me? Can I heck - well that is what our Home Secretary should be doing on our behalf - especially as if they manage to buy a dodgy copy of some of the data our government has lost - which would add much more context to data they have collected.

Also, anyone who supports McKinnon should boycott American products and vote against UK governments who consistantly support america war mongerers and then send our own citizens on a whim.

Great Britain - not. Do you honestly think the French would have one of their own sent to America for the public flogging that McKinnon is obviously going to receive. I think not. This country is fast become a disgrace to it's people and history - and this is just another example to myself of why I plan to leave Great Blighted, take my business with me and live somewhere that doesn't feel like a Facist Dictatorship. I know a lot of people in the computer business who are doing the same. I mean honestly - citizens of liberal countries laugh at us - we are not called 'Prisoners Of Mother England' for nothing you know.

If our government doesn't stand up for it's own citizens - collective we should say enough is enough and hold the government to account for data it has lost under it's watch. We should demand that the likes of the home secretary are put in prison - because they don't have the excuse of being a stoner and claim to be professional people. Perhaps the british people can sue the government in the EU caughts for gross misconduct. I think there are millions of people who would have a case.

Sad, because week by week, I seem to hear nothing positive about anything that the government is involved with. Sad, because I like the humour - but I'm fed up with this piss taking bunch of charlatans that people actually voted for (I didn't - I didn't vote for Blair, and I certainly wouldn't vote for Brown).

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Enough of this shite

A state should protect it's citizens, even criminal ones. The idea that you give up your rights for stepping on the cracks on the pavement is a disease clearly imported from the smallpox-blanketeers over the water.

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re: Not that old chestnut

And any pictures from the Sun can be in Saudi Arabia because of the internet, where such pictures are illegal.

Would we listen to them ask us to deport them for summary execution for showing teh boobeez?

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Errrr

"The US system does seem to be a mite different to ours; according to a program

on the Beeb they get something like a 90% conviction rate, thanks largely to their very aggressive approach to plea bargaining (e.g. 2 years for a guily plea vs 10 years without).

Also its not generally possible to overturn a conviction unless you can show a legal fault in the original trial - i.e. being able to prove your innocence later will have no effect on your sentence etc. Still, I guess that saves on compensation claims.

Um try more like 50-70% I dont know were they got that stats from.

Oh yeah being innocent does show legal fault. You are allowed to introduce new evidence after you ar convicted, so long as as it would of swayed the jury. Such as a new witness,. a video tape showing you were no were near the crime.

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Why doesn't the US get some evidence to support their allegations

If McKinnon is supposed to be a terrorist, where is the confession tortured out of his accomplice captured in Afghanistan?

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Black Helicopters

"securing extra funding"

But for what? The logical answer is to close the holes that McKinnon exposed. Here's an idea: screw extra funding and force sysadmins and beancounters in charge of affected systems to follow the bare minimum security standards that they are no doubt already mandated to follow. In other words, send word down the line that leaving default passwords on 'net-connected systems is not acceptable practice. If they start whingeing about extra funding, just tell them to suck it up and get the job done. End of story. If the custodians still don't get their acts together, send in the Tiger Teams. Or leave it to the crackers (of whatever hat colo(u)r) to give them some basic schooling in password management. Let the beancounters learn that while the second option appears to cost nothing, it's actually more costly in the long run.

Of course, the logical answer is probably not what is happening here. As the article suggests, any extra funding would not go towards plugging basic holes in the system, but rather some flag-draped, gee-whiz, bells-n-whistles "initiative" whose primary goal will be to convince the general public that the administration is tough on cybercrime, while in reality having nothing going on behind the curtain.

<--- because my ride's here

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That old chestnut indeed

"The internet effectively placed him in the US. His "crime" was comitted on computers on US soil, albeit remotely"

And I thought El Reg readership was of the IT kind...

I wish you were right though. That would make life quite hard for ambulance-chasing lawyers acting on behalf of the MPAA, RIAA or whoever. After all, the offence takes place in Dog knows which distant country -albeit remotely-, in which copyright legislation might be a tad less retarded... or does it?

If I'm watching kiddie porn hosted in Russia and paying my subscription through a US-based money transfer company, where should I be extradited to?

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For the conspiracy theorists

And this article seems to have relied heavily on one... I'd just like to point out that here in the States there is nothing to cover up... I'm going to go out on a limb and represent the American population at large by saying we don't give a fuck that McKinnon broke into some crap computers (I say crap because I've seen no mention that he actually made it onto a .smil network) If you were to ask 1000 Americans at random who Gary McKinnon is, I bet over 99% would tell you they didn't know. For those thinking the military needs this as a means to get more funding - erm, we already have the likes of Russia launching cyber attacks - much more effective than some kid for scaring up money...

I'm not saying to not have fun and think of lots of nice conspiracy theories to waste your days with - just come up with some decent ones please. -_-;

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Dan
Stop

100% dangerous

I guess he must be more dangerous and more wanted than Abu Hamza, since his extradition to the US was blocked.

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Unhappy

And another thing

This all opens the door to US laws and legal processes superseding UK (and even EU) laws and legal processes.

Is this what we want, Is this where we want to go?

The British government and legal systems have been weak and short sighted and, no doubt, improperly expedient.

I'm sure independant legal analysis would conclude differently and would not hand over UK citizens to the US and wash their hands of the consequences both to the individual and the bigger picture.

A good article!

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Anonymous Coward

@Not that old chestnut.

>"He is British and commited a crime in Britain, he should face British justice, if it still exists.) "

>The internet effectively placed him in the US. His "crime" was comitted on computers on US soil, albeit remotely.

Then he can serve his sentence just as remotely.

>If somebody in China stole your bank details, emptied your bank account and secured massive credit in your name would you insist that they were tried in China? Would you expect justice?

I would expect them to be tried and sentenced in China (and in that case it'd probably be worse for the perp.)

>Had he launched a missile attack against the US from, picking a country out of the hat here, Iran would you consider that he should be tried in Iran because his crime was comitted in Iran?

If the country had a proper justice system, then yes. The ones without are probably the same ones who would support such an attack anyway.

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Paris Hilton

‘McKinnon a 'scapegoat for Pentagon insecurity'’

The Yanks are going to burn McKinnon, Aspergers and/or skunk or not.

Remember they fry mental defectives and used to fry teenagers. Uncle Sam isn't interested in justice, Uncle Sam wants revenge for being shown up by foreigners - look at Guantanamo.

Paris, because she didn't show that much - but it was a bloody sight more interesting.

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Anonymous Coward

Boycott American Products

we are not the 53rd state.

If he gets extradited, I say we boycott all American products.

What is at stake here is much larger than a single man, a message needs to be sent load and clear that we will not tolerate US inteference in the UK legal system.

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Happy

@Why doesn't the US get some evidence to support their allegations

First off, it's: retroACTIVE (ex post facto), not retroSPECTIVE, and the U.S. can't do that with laws. They can only have any effect from the point of establishment onward. I don't know how things work in the U.K., but whatever he could have been charged with when he was detained is all he can be charged with, now ... same penalties, same classification.

Second, the United States is not a Democracy, it's a Republic.

Um, back to the question of evidence ... let's see ... because the U.S. doesn't need any?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but McKinnon admitted his guilt, right? Therefore there is no need for a trial, at all. The guy is verifiably guilty. No evidence required.

There are only two things to be decided:

1) Which country gets to pick his punishment, and

2) Which country gets to effect said punishment

These wouldn't even be an issue if YOUR government hadn't already agreed to some form of extradition arrangement with the U.S. Bitch at your representatives, if you don't like it. See, that's what "extradition" is all about. And we don't have an extradition agreement with China, so if it's a Chinese hacker, they get to be dealt with under Chinese law with no argument from us. If your country wasn't such a blissful utopia for criminals of all kinds, we wouldn't even care.

And there's no need for torture, in this case. We only use that on people who haven't confessed enough or who we figure won't confess unless we waterboard them. And then, we only waterboard them a little bit, so it's not like old school thumb-screw torture. Didn't you read the (now-disgraced) Justice Department's memo? Jeez ... and the rumors were that the British are such courageous folk. Wusses.

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hackings artificial

you cant proove he wasnt given authorized access to a system. and all evidence of damage would long be fixed, until the day your ip and timestamp in the header of packets and blah written

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@ James Butler

"Second, the United States is not a Democracy, it's a Republic".

In that case, why is it spending trillions of dollars and killing millions of Asians to "spread democracy"?

Maybe Americans should try democracy themselves first, if they think it's so wonderful. Rome was a republic, but we don't necessarily model ourselves on the Romans. (Certainly not their approach to foreign policy).

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Scapegoat...

The point of a scapegoat was that it hadn't committed the sins...

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Alien

Yanks Go Home ....... Your Time is Up.

"Second, the United States is not a Democracy, it's a Republic".

In that case, why is it spending trillions of dollars and killing millions of Asians to "spread democracy"?" .... By Tom Welsh Posted Thursday 4th September 2008 07:04 GMT

Because it is a Pariah Virtualised Administration with Lead Players, Bit Part Actors to the Root of All Evil hiding in the Undergrowth/Background/Vaults/Clubs ....... and printing dollars is Easy to make one Rich but Spending them whenever they become Worthless as a Simple Way to Teach the Idiot a Lesson they will never forget, is also Easy and will stop Aggession and Armed Traffic Immediately in ITs Tracks.

$1bn to Georgia ..... a worthless bribe to enslave and embed the Root of all Evil?

Time for some Eastern Dreamers to Do Their Thing ...... and with their Benefit of Millenia of Hindsight to your Century of Pig Iron Pre-Eminence and Bitter Bastard Stewardship....... and now, Complete Lack of Fruitful Future Global Intelligence.

And if that is GCHQ speaking out of Turn, Sit on IT and Spin ...... for that is the Future in ITs AIReality.

A Junk Yard Dog has no Place in a Virtualised World Order with Binary Control of Digital Signalling ........ Semantic Communications Feeds.

Or is that a False View which you have Created/not Removed ...... and thus an Abject Failing of the Perceptions Management Team Manager?

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