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back to article Terry Waite backs McKinnon

Former Beirut hostage Terry Waite has spoken out against attempts to extradite self-confessed Pentagon hacker Gary McKinnon to face a US trial. Waite, who since his release in 1991 has become a human rights and police campaigner, argues that the US military should thank McKinnon for exposing security holes in its systems. …

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Anonymous Coward

Looks like McKinnon is headed for the U.S.

With the U.K. not pressing charges, it looks like McKinnon is headed to the U.S. to face charges.

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Ash

Do we have a location?

I'd be interested in showing my support for the chap outside the courtroom, inside if they have a gallery.

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Silver badge
Stop

Private prosecution?

I Am Not A Lawyer but - The CPS are refusing to prosecute, but what would happen if some helpful soul started a private prosecution in the UK for what he is accused of? Would that delay any extradition process? What would happen if the prosecution failed and so he was acquited in a British court? What if it succeeded and he was found guilty (or pleaded guilty) and was sentenced? Either way, can he be extradited for an offence of which he has been convicted or acquited in the UK? Sounds like double jeopardy. The CPS website notes that they have the right to take over a private prosecution and discontinue it, but only for very clear reasons - insufficient evidence, not in the interests of justice etc.

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Anonymous Coward

Really?

"No nation under the sun ought to convict an individual whose behaviour is occasioned by illness"

So when a paranoid schizophrenic goes on a killing spree we stick them on medication and let them go? I know it's an extreme example, but it's covered by Mr Waite's statement (always assuming he hasn't been misquoted or quoted out of context).

I refuse to believe that McKinnon did not realise that what he was doing was illegal. In the case of the abovementioned paranoid schizophrenic I can accept that they may believe in extreme cases that their actions were the will of some deity and they they were not doing wrong. I certainly accept in these cases that they are often unable to stop themselves even when they know that what they are doing is wrong. This does not, however, alter the fact that they should be tried and convicted even if they do serve their entire sentence in a mental institution.

Any crime committed however occasioned should be subject to the due process of law. If for no other reason that the process can be seen to have been followed. If the courts decide that there is no case to be answered then due process has still been followed. If these decisions are made by unqualified politicians then due process has not been followed and there is no transparency. If Waite supports the idea that a politician can make these decisions without due process being followed does he equally support the idea that the same politician can pass sentence without due process being followed?

The biggest question here is: Would McKinnon's case be such big news and would he be getting such support had he hacked British military computers?

Commit a crime in a foreign country and it seems a large part of British society and it's media treat you as a victim, commit the same crim on British soil and those same people will brand you a monster.

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Black Helicopters

Obama

Maybe the new Obama administration will be more likely to let this one go instead of throwing him to the wolves/hawks...

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Happy

Keep the fool at home

I think it is very wrong to send him to the US, And, well, yes I still think the US military should send him a UFO t-shirt and start to do something about their IT systems security.

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Unhappy

Onerist

If after going through all the courts in the UK & then the EU & havering failed, McKinnon is now hoping that Terry Waite can help him?

There must be a supernatural super-being if this happens!

McKinnon is an onerist.

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Anonymous Coward

@Nigel Callaghan

"The CPS are refusing to prosecute, but what would happen if some helpful soul started a private prosecution in the UK for what he is accused of?"

You can only launch a private prosecution with (wait for it, wait for it) the permission of the CPS! As they appear to have caved in to political pressure on the case, I doubt they'd give permission.

As for Andy Barber's "McKinnon is an onerist (sic)" :

He might be, but Andy Barber is clearly an illiterate onanist.

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Stop

Two things

1) Common Sense and the US military + US Justice departments. Total oxymoron. Never the twain shall meet etc.

2) Until the US ratifies its half of the treaty The UK should refuse to allow _ANY_ UK subject to be handed over to the US authorities for any reason. The USA must realise that treaties have two sides, not just "Cave in to what we want and we'll do nothing in return." The USA have consistantly refused to allow its citizens, military or civil, to be extradited for any reason, they should expect the same response back.

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Gold badge

Re: Two Things

Since the US hasn't ratified the treaty, presumably the UK isn't actually bound by it and is merely agreeing to hand him over out of the kindness of their hearts (bless!). In which case, could someone not issue Habaeus Corpus against the kind-hearted UK government? It would be nice to see the Home Secretary up in court for kidnapping.

Of course, all that would require that the law took a consistent viewpoint when asked different questions about the same case, and where would *that* leave us? Madness!

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DR

internet lawyer alert (i.e I don't technically know what I'm talking about)

he broke the law.

he hacked into computer systems,

and however funny his reasoning it doesn't mean that he didn't break the law. and it doesn't mean that he shouldn't be tried in the country in which he broke the law.

if he genuinely incurred costs by putting in methods so he could get back in after dinner or something then he should pay for that.

if the costs incurred (as claimed by the us mil) are just the cost of fixing the existing holes in their systems then this shouldn't even form part of the case.

If a burglar broke into your house because you were yet to install windows you could prosecute for unlawful trespass, but you couldn't claim that he had to pay for your cost to secure your house.

the costs that they are claiming he incurred are besides the point though. he still broke the law. he broke the law in this country and he broke the law in America too. and he should be tried for his crimes (that he admits he committed) in a court of law.

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In the USA

There are certain subjects where the truth may not be spoken, and jokes may not be cracked. Such as 9/11 or hacking into Pentagon computers.

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