back to article MPs join fight to save McKinnon from US prison

MPs are being asked to support accused Pentagon hacker via a motion demanding he serves any jail time he might eventually receive in the UK, even if his long-running campaign to avoid extradition and trail in the US fails. Lawyers for McKinnon claim his recent diagnosis with Asperger's syndrome ought to preclude his extradition …

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I'll pay for his airfare to the US....

He did the crime, so now it's pay back time and for all those muppets that will state "he did it in the UK so he should stand trial here"

It does not matter where the perpetrator was when he committed the crimes, his victims were in the US, the systems he attacked were in the US, so simple logic suggests that the trial should be in the US.

After all, a Libyan who planted bombs on a Jumbo was not in Scotland when he did that, but as the victims were in Scotland when the Crime happened and the properties that were destroyed/damaged were in Scotland, they stood trial on Scottish 'soil'. and under Scottish Law.

See, isn't logic easy !!!

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Pirate

Remind me; Who do we pay to look after us?

Lets be honest. This isn't about what has been done, but about what has been SEEN to be done.

So the USA is made to look inept, if that was a criteria for conviction most of their politicians/general staff would be banged up. This man has done wrong, but in the overall scope of things he's done bugger all. He's killed none of our troops, he's not defied UN rulings. So sod the USA and punish him under UK law.

If Gordon Brown wants to kiss USA a**** he can do it on his own time, and not at the expense of UK citizens.

Can I have an Icon for "You don't have to pay your friends for help"

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Do the crime, skip the time... if your have a sick note!

Pathetic. If this chap is found guilty in a fair trial, then let the yanks pick up the tab for his holiday at His Presidents Convenience instead of her Majesty's. Like we have plenty of spare space... I hear there is a waiting list for jail these days.

Anyone got a spare sick note, I fancy doing some serious crime and would like to avoid the jail sentence if I am stoopid enuff to get caught.

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AC

cheerio

too harsh for him, how tragic. My black heart bleeds. Perhaps he shouldn't have commited the crime?

Typical that the human rights of criminals are upheld while the law abiding get shoved into the gutter.

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Time, crime, you know the rest.

Since he's guilty, why exactly should he get away with it? He should be extradited, tried, convicted and sentenced in accordance with the law of the country in which he committed the crime: the US. He had ample opportunity not to commit the crime, just like the rest of us, but chose to break the law anyway - now he deserves to be punished for it. UK prisons are far too soft anyway, but since his crime was attacking systems in the US it is there that he should be punished.

Will those seeking to protect him from the consequences of his actions rush to defend 419 scammers and other international criminals? Just throw away the key. I'm sick of seeing script kiddies think breaking into computers doesn't really count as a crime because it's "only" electronic.

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Anonymous Coward

Throw the bum in prison in the U.S. where he belongs

Gary is just scum and he needs to pay for his crimes. The international community needs to make it perfectly clear that hiding behind your PC monitor will not buy you immunity from prosecution, particularly in the country where you hacked computers. Gary should feel lucky being incarcerated in the U.S. for his crimes. In some countries his worthless arse would be executed for his crimes.

Don't cry for Gary, he deserves 20 years or more in prison, in the U.S. for his crimes.

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Anonymous Coward

Supporters include David Blunkett?

Why would Blunkett support this? Looks like his guide dog steered him wrong on this one.

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Doh!

"he needs to pay for his crimes"

Making the Pentagon look stupid isn't a crime - it's an obligation!

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Stop

A little harsh?

Well, aren't you guys quite the sympathetic little club of law-lovers?

Fact is, we shouldn't be extraditing McKinnon at all, but Aspergers can be quite a handful to live with, and for this reason alone we should refuse the American's request.

If there's sufficient evidence of a crime, then try him here - if not, then leave the guy alone.

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Anonymous Coward

I get it!

Most of the people who comment here whenever McKinnon is mentioned are actually his friends and supporters, pretending to be US Americans and acting so as to confirm the impression that McKinnon will not get a fair trial in a country populated by such pigshit thick morons.

The guy had no evil intention and did no real damage. He has already suffered more than would be an appropriate punishment and should be released immediately.

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Alien

All this and....

we still arent any better off with proof that the US, actually have previously 'gray-owned' UFO's in their possesion. :(

For that he deserves to go down, but he'll be ok.. Its appearing to do something about Hackers but most of the time they get hired. So I doubt he will actually server any real hard time at all. And they know this!

All them PC's and still no proof, just shows you that the UK goverment need to learn a thing or two from the US goverment on Data Protection.. (Like proof of aliens being kept on a windows pc....yeah alright!)

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@Joskyn Jones

What crime did he do? If the loss is less than $5000 it isn't criminal.

Oddly, though, the damage done for each break in *was* $5000. Convenient, wot!

The crimes that he DID do were ones that in the UK were fines/community work. They were dropped for lack of proven damage or malicious intent.

Then the US changed their laws and suddenly they NEED this "terrorist".

Strangely enough, though, the people who put secure systems on the PUBLIC INTERNET are still free of jail time for their treason. Those too incompetent to make the password anything other than a simple guessable word (like "password") have not been sacked for incompetence.

It looks like the US don't want to punish USians for this, they want a scapegoat. A foreign one would be best. And so they want to hang this guy out for crimes he didn't commit.

PS When are we going to get the US soldiers who shot a reporter in this country to tell a court what happened?

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What is the crime Trespass ?

Was criminal damage done ?

Why does Gary deserve any more or less time than say grandmother Lindis Percy ?

Lindis Percy climbed the gates of Buckingham Palace and has been detained more than 150 times since 1996, In total, Mrs Percy has been imprisoned 12 times since she started campaigning in 1979. She was jailed for nine months in 1999 for trespassing on MoD land at Menwith Hill and also served nine days of a 14-day sentence in 1992 for climbing over a perimeter fence and trespassing at RAF Alconbury.

Both people are accused of trespass on government property.

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Stop

Most commenters have not read the article, have they?

The point is not that he should not be punished, the point is that any time spent in the US prison system with its endemic violence is not proportional to the crime committed. I agree he should be given punishment, but given the medieval nature of some US prisons, I consider it barbaric to send him there. Violent offenders might be a different matter, but whatever else you say about him, he is not accused of any violence.

Punishment should be proportional to the crime, a point frequently lost on commenters here.

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hmmm

@ He's killed none of our troops, he's not defied UN rulings. So sod the USA and punish him under UK law.

If Gordon Brown wants to kiss USA a**** he can do it on his own time, and not at the expense of UK citizens.

- wtf? you contradict yourself mate. if the yanks do everything we dont pay anything. if we keep him here it costs us all ~£600/week.

also, after looking into aspergers its not something that you can really use in defence. im asthmatic - should i be precluded from staying in freezing colds cells?

@ "The guy had no evil intention and did no real damage. He has already suffered more than would be an appropriate punishment and should be released immediately" - yes, just like all the people doing bird in uk jails for drugs offences (posession/supply etc). arguably they did little wrong also.

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commentards missing the point

For all the commentards calling Gary "scum" and the like, you seem to be missing the point... he's unlikely to get a fair trial in the US. It's fairly obvious the system there has serious egg on its face over its own negligence in securing its networks, and by the look of things they're not looking for a proportionate sentence, but rather to throw the book at him to cover up their own incompetence and let themselves glow in their own misplaced sense of righteous indignation.

The punishment should fit the crime, and I don't believe the US will be particularly even-handed about meting out appropriate punishment in this case. The proof of the pudding will be seen if and when the prosecution paints him to be a terrorist. When that happens he can forget any chance of a fair trial. I hope the campaign to keep him in the UK gains some traction.

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Stop

Meh

IMHO Gary should receive some sort of award for revealing security flaws. No, seriously - if he hadn't stumbled across them, thereby forcing them to be fixed, who can say what actively hostile individuals might not have ended up abusing them?

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Heart

WHat do you know

The point is not that he should not be punished, the point is that any time spent in the US prison system with its endemic violence is not proportional to the crime committed. I agree he should be given punishment, but given the medieval nature of some US prisons

Have you ever seen a US prison ?? Talked to people that worked there ?? First off he will he in a minimum security prison . He wont be in with murders or rapist .

Please if you are going to make comments, no the facts

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Extradition Treaty

We should refuse to send him until america signs an extradition treaty with us. Its time that america learns that can't have its cake and eat it. What are they going to do now? Economic sanctions? Ho ho ho.

Ummmm.... Cake.

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Stop

ICJ - do the US have a case?

The US Don't accept ICJ rulings - i.e. international law.

He committed a US crime. It's also illegal to have online gambling in the US, so anyone residing here in the UK who sets up a site where US residents can gamble is breaking the law - there are other US laws we can break from here. Extradite everyone ?

There should be a full trial here to see if he's guilty under UK law and then, if he is, extradite him. The US-UK treaty is very biased in favour of the US... let's see the UK government try and extradite a US citizen resident their soil for trial over here - not a chance in hell.

He knew he was breaking the law and is most probably guilty, but we should determine guilt and extradition based on our own laws.

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Flame

His crime was to make the US military look stupid

Still, it's no wonder they haven't got time to sort their security - they're usually too busy trying to find ways to avoid giving evidence at inquests into friendly fire deaths.

Fuck you America, fuck you very much.

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Paris Hilton

re: hmmm

I don't understand how you manage to twist the words there to contradict.

the only way you can consider that is if "expense" can ONLY mean "monetary outlay". Not, say, justice, citizens rights (Gordo isn't going to spend time in a US jail for trumped up charges, so he's selling McKinnon's rights), due process or even our own sovereignty.

The US have still not ratified the treaty on their side.

The US still refuse to have their soldiers or politicians or other US citizens face international court.

The Russians don't send their citizens to foreign courts if there's a death penalty available in that country (since such a penalty is barbaric).

But as long as Gordo isn't facing the firing squad, he wants to suck up to the US. Do so when it's YOUR arse on the line, Gordon.

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Stop

Basic rights

@Liam

By "at the expense of UK citizens" Steven does not mean monetary, but rather that McKinnon is being used as a pawn to placate the Merkins. Last time I checked McKinnon was a UK citizen, and you could certainly describe him being banged up in prison to be "at his expense".

@James

I agree, we should treat McKinnon exactly how we treat 419ers. That is, prosecute them under section 419 of the Nigerian penal code. Oh wait, hmm, that would be in Nigeria, the place where they commit the crime!

When are people going to get the implications of this case - how can we possibly let the US can impose their law with precedence over our own? McKinnon has already been processed by the criminal justice system, and charges were dropped on the basis that he didn't actually do anything criminal. You can't make up a new law then apply it a) retrospectively and b) in another country.

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Alert

how exactly are the yanks gonna provide evidence of his hacking?

how are the yanks gonna provide the actual evidence? print outs? the case will fall to bits once it goes to court .... me thinks thats why a few months ago the US changed the law so the military dont have to provide evidence for cyber related crimes .... something tells me they're trying to cover something up ... ??

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Joke

JOKESKYN JONES

JOSKYN JONES, lets look at the comparison, Gary DID NOT KILL ANYONE. The Libyan did. Nuff said.

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Biggest Military hacker, My Arse !

Hey septic tanks, the Chinese and the Russians have been playing packman on your NORAD mainframe for years without you knowing dummies, and you won't believe the porn they found on GW's laptop !

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re: What do you know

So the US has already agreed to that?

No.

Get the hose on that idea, there's still shit all over it.

Next time, think about where you're getting those ideas from.

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Anonymous Coward

Xenu bless the USA?

Why would ET's prefer to deal with the USA?

If many countries are aware of or posses advanced ET tech, why would they all hide it? Why wouldn't one of those countries use the ET tech to advance their own national interest?

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Pirate

Why some species eat their young

Liam,

If your knowledge of history extended beyond last Wednesday maybe you would have understood my comments.

We only finished paying off our WWII loan to the US last year, and as one US commentator said at the time "That doesn't include the interest", implying we were still beholden.

How much did we charge the US for our support in an illegal war?

Also, recently, the US refused to extradite the "Friendly fire" pilots to the UK to answer for their actions. They killed people, do you understand that?

Maybe if you were personally affect by the events taking place around you, you would be forced to try and understand them, but I tend to think that even then they would be beyond your comprehension.

So, one thousand words, to be on my desk by tomorrow morning, comparing and contrasting our so-called bi-partisan agreement with the US.

Either that, or f*** off and keep your tabloid generated opinions to yourself

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Paris Hilton

Wasn't even a *real* hack - Free Gary

This whole thing has been blown out of all proportion IMO. I'm sure the young-man has learned his lesson and wont go poking around of other peoples computers anymore. As I understand it, he's much more of a "script-kiddie" than a 1337 uber h4x0r, so I'm not really sure he was ever the danger he was made out to be. The US and UK governments should be doing something to go after the real threats rather than locking up wanna-be's like Gary. Maybe we should extradite him to Iceland because apparantly they're all terrorists too.

Paris, because she has 133t ninja h4x0r skillz.

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@What do you know

"Have you ever seen a US prison ?? Talked to people that worked there ?? First off he will he in a minimum security prison . He wont be in with murders or rapist ."

When we asked for a commitment that he wouldn't go to gitmo they refused. Why would the person they call "The biggest military hacker of all time" be put in a minimum security prison?

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Anonymous Coward

Bad choice

"I agree, we should treat McKinnon exactly how we treat 419ers. That is, prosecute them under section 419 of the Nigerian penal code. Oh wait, hmm, that would be in Nigeria, the place where they commit the crime!"

In the EU the do extradite 419 scammers. France and Germany has gone down to Nigeria to extradite those 419ers

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Anonymous Coward

It's amazing how dumb some people are

If I rob a bank and only take $4,999, but I didn't mean to harm anyone, did I commit a crime?

Well friggin DUH !

The foolish perception that there is no crime unless there is $5000 in damages shows a very distorted undestanding of law and order in society. While some folks think the U.S. would treat this criminal different than the U.K., it's all irrelevant because the crimes occured in the U.S. and thus the U.S. has the right and obligation to extradite McKinnon and presecute him. Any mental illness or other health issues McKinnon may or may not have are totally irrelevant. He committed the crime and now it's time to pay for his crime. End of smoke screen.

All the dumbass beliefs in the world are not going to stop McKinnon's prosecution so I'd suggest Gary's fan club find a new martyr or crusade because this one's a waste of time and energy. The boy should feel lucky that he won't get fried here in the U.S. for his crimes. I'm sure there are a number of countries that would like to torture this looser and then kill him, just to make the point about crime and punishment crystal clear to those who don't get it.

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wsm

Possesives

Odd how some people want to claim criminals as their own, therefore they did no wrong. Let's turn this around the other way with a few simple questions. 1) Would you want this man loose on your network, particularly one that provided your livelihood or secured your data? 2) Even if you believe he would only look at things he deemed to be related to UFO technology, would you allow him to go anywhere he wanted? 3) Why would it be OK for him, or anyone else, to trespass on any other network?

Is it really possible to excuse his actions? Though he may not be entirely effectual in any capacity, he definitely is not quite right in any respect, legal or otherwise. I wouldn't let him loose and say it never happened. The only problem I see is in the legal precedents for exporting hackers for prosecution.

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Stop

Slippery slope

"It does not matter where the perpetrator was when he committed the crimes, his victims were in the US, the systems he attacked were in the US, so simple logic suggests that the trial should be in the US."

So, let's say you visit a web site about Tibet that's illegal in China, or view some pornography that's illegal in Saudi Arabia, do you think you should be extradited to those countries?

Or more realistically, suppose you run a mailing list or some sort of online business from this country, with customers all over the world and that the USA (or any other country) has a law that governs this in some detailed respect but which you fall foul of. Perhaps you're obligated to keep off site backups, or mustn't keep personal details longer than N days, or must keep transaction details at least M days, or must offer such and such a refund, or whatever. Maybe you sell a bit of shareware to a customer in Cuba or Libya or North Korea and your bank has an office in New York so you're suddenly in contravention of US trade laws.

Some countries have vastly disproportionate punishment for certain offences by our reckoning, and it's absolutely appalling that the UK Government is so willing to sacrifice its own citizens to foreign jurisdictions just to keep the foreign governments happy when there are perfectly good laws by which someone like McKinnon can and should be tried in this country.

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Bronze badge

Asperger's

As I understand it the one of the major parts of AS is the inability to interact socially. If this is a bar to being imprisoned then surely it is also a bar from having a job or otherwise being part of everyday society?

Frankly this is getting fucking ridiculous. If this one fails what will his next bid be? He can't go to a US prison because being a scot he would get sunburn in the excercise yard.

It is an ex horse. It has run up the curtain and joined the choir invisible. Now stop flogging it.

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Anonymous Coward

Bored Now

I'm totally bored with the fact that when somebody gets caught up to no good in a foreign country (by electronic proxy or not) then we must assume them to be cleaner than the driven snow and either naive, controlled or both (think Brits caught smuggling drugs in Thailand).

If the boot were on the other foot and the wee lad were a yank who had infiltrated British networks who over here would be defending him.

If, indeed, he had been a Brit infiltrating British military computers on British soil would his defence be so high profile?

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@Bad choice

"In the EU the do extradite 419 scammers. France and Germany has gone down to Nigeria to extradite those 419ers".

My comment was made in good faith, the only extraditions I am aware of have been of individuals who carried out scams in this country at some point (i.e. they actually came over to collect money). Or to the US, who as we are learning have their own rules. So do you have a reference for an example?

In any case, allow me to present another example: criticising the Chinese government. I imagine there would be a few bloggers/reporters left rather non-plussed to discover our eager-to-please government was packing them off to China to face their particular brand of "justice".

To be clear, I have no support for McKinnon himself. Normally I wouldn't say something as crass as "he did it, now it's time to pay" since he has never been tried, but a confession under no apparent duress makes it pretty much a forgone conclusion. Clearly he's an idiot who did something sane folks would know is going to get them in trouble. If he didn't get some kind of punishment he'd be lucky.

The point is, we have our laws, they have theirs. We have to have a proper system to deal with this kind of thing, and unfortunately we don't have a credible one. If he had done something actually bad (as opposed to doing them a favour by highlighting their own ineptitude), or if the US didn't have the death penalty (cue US officials promising to see him burn), detention without trial (cue Gitmo) or torture (cue the cute question "well when you say torture...") it would be an easier sell. But to top it off, a reverse arrangement is not in place and we aren't even trying to use McKinnon to see it done. In fact it's very unlikely to happen because it's a flagrant violation of the US constitution, and what does that tell you? Even the Merkins think it's a bad practice.

The fact is there are just too many reasons why it doesn't fit a British idea of justice. Even if you think white collar crime is under-punished in this country, it's still our law.

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Realistic penalty required

I think two issues are going on here, firstly whose computer system it was and the hacker's background.

1) As it was the Pentagon's computer system, there will be a huge amount of lost face. The fact that someone managed to hack in to the system suggests that security was lacking. There are bound to be many red faces. The attack on esteem would be viewed more seriously than any damage (if any) that was caused.

2) Asperger's syndrome is an autism spectrum disorder, some of the characteristics of the disorder include a poor ability to read other people's motives, body language among others, he will be at risk in a prison environment. What is required is a penalty that is suitable.

A major problem with Asperger's syndrome is that in the majority of cases, there is little outward sign save for somewhat eccentric behaviour (in some people) to suggest that there is anything wrong.

I wager that if McKinnon had a disability that was visible, there would be no chance of him being shipped off to the states. If the American's get their way, it would be imperative that he has suitable backup support and have access to professionals who have an adequate knowledge of autism spectrum disorders to argue his case.

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re bored now

Uh, this wasn't in another country. This was in THIS country.

It is illegal to criticise the Chinese government or take the piss out of the Thai monarch. Or even show too much titty in SA.

Many UK sites show one or all of them.

These sites can be seen in these other countries.

Should they be shut down or are they comitting a crime "in that country" by being able to be seen there?

What about those machines that were on the public internet? They are public spaces. Not illegal to walk on a public space unless there's a notice saying you can't. There was none.

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Paris Hilton

re aspergers

There aren't jokes about PMITA prison or how Bubba will make your tubes bigger when you're talking about working places.

Unless you want to own up to wanting to work in a place like that...

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Alien

re Possesives

1) I haven't left my PC unsecured from hacking

2) I haven't left my PC unsecured from hacking

3) I have left a website open on my PC. He is welcome to look in there for anything he likes. It's why I made a webpage

So the first two would require that he actually BREAK a law. The last one is no crime and I have no problem with it.

Why do you want to feed another person to a corrupt regime that has on its books the death penalty?

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Paris Hilton

re: It's amazing how dumb some people are

He hasn't robbed a bank.

Yup, you really ARE stupid.

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Black Helicopters

Crime and locations and punishment

Actually location has a lot to do with where the trial should be held. Given the Merkin's track record of dealing with foreign convicts and the relative rights afforded US citizens in America compared to foreigners I would expect there to be an assumption of prejudice against a fair trial and treatment.

It is, of course, possible that a UK trial would be prejudicial against the Merkins, *but* you don't alter the situation by shipping the defendant around to the least favourable jurisdiction. As a point of principle, the trial should be in the UK and the cost of a trial should not be a consideration.

As for "victims" and "damages" I'm under the impression that there really weren't any, beyond the cost of analysing and actually fixing the security issues which were always there and created by the Merkins themselves. As has been pointed out, it was essentially trespass. The UK government should have prosecuted him quickly under UK law and let him go.

He's admitted guilt and there's no real damage, except egg dripping down the US military's face. Sentence him to time served and a fine of £1.50 to cover the cost of a facecloth.

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Anonymous Coward

Denial will not prevent prosecution

Despite the fanboy denial and nationalism, this won't prevent McKinnon from being prosecuted in the U.S..

Move along. Whinning won't change anything.

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Anonymous Coward

You might want to

Start some were smaller. After reading about how that German extradition warrant was issued, and actually made it to court with no proof, you might want to start there and then work your way up. If such a warrant can even make through your courts, what chance do you think McKinnon had ??

What that Aussie did was not illegal in the UK, the crime didnt happen in Germany, and the Germans had no proof. And yet the Aussie was detained and had to go to a hearing.

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re: Denial will not prevent prosecution

I don't know what you mean by "denial".

If it's "no, you won't get McKinnon" then it WILL prevent prosecution.

If it's "No, you prove that there's a case to answer to a UK court Judge and THEN we'll extradite him", then this will prevent incorrect prosecution.

If it's "No, we looked at the case and decided not to prosecute", then this will prevent prosecution (double jeopardy).

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"He admitted to it!"

What did McKinnon admit to, though?

There are people who have been approached by a police officer and cautioned about peeing in a public place. They are told that if they accept the caution then there won't be a criminal case and if they don't accept it then they will be taken to the police station and it may go to criminal court.

They agree to the caution.

They then find that they are now on the Sex Offenders register.

Do you think they agree they were a sex offender?

Do you think that if they were told that accepting the caution would be admitting to being a Sex Offender that they would have agreed to it?

No.

So what did McKinnon agree to?

In fact, what did he THINK he was agreeing to?

In the BSD/GPL one side say the other is "less free" than their side.

BSD are thinking as programmers. The BSD means the PROGRAMMER is more free.

GPL are thinking as end users. The GPL means the END USER is more free (if you get work done under BSD unless you specify in the contract, you CAN be locked out of the work you paid for. If it is GPL'd, you cannot. That the programmer is not free to make such a contract as to lock out the end user from the code makes them less free but allowing that makes the end user less free).

So what did McKinnon think he was agreeing to? Looking at stuff on the servers? He may say "yes" but the prosecution think they are asking "did you hack into these computers". It's why you should never agree to anything in a legal sense without counsel. If you don't know the legal meanings, you can be agreeing to something you don't realise.

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Stop

Joskyn Jones - Check your facts

The Lockerbie trial was conducted under 'Scottish Law' but in Holland. This was done due to the concerns people had about the defendants getting a fair trial.................(sound familar?)

The exact place was a disused ex-US Base called Camp Zeist just outside Utrecht.

In this case one of the two was found to be not guilty......................(shock horror)

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