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back to article Hain breaks ranks with Cabinet over McKinnon extradition

Cabinet splits are appearing as political pressure over the extradition of Pentagon hacker Gary McKinnon grows. Peter Hain, the Secretary of State for Wales, broke ranks with his colleagues last weekend to call for McKinnon to be tried in the UK, the Daily Mail reports. The move follows a rejection by two senior judges of …

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Anonymous Coward

Fat Chance...

The US Government clearly want to crucify this man and have obviously made substantial threats to ensure the UK Government allows his extradition. Once they have him on US soil, I reckon there's zero chance he'll ever set foot in the UK again.

I guess it's just a case of our spineless politicians continuing their submission to their lord and master across the Atlantic...

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Actually Johnson is Right

"During the debate Home Secretary Alan Johnson said he had no authority to intervene in the case or in any extradition actions unless the death penalty was involved."

Damn right too. Politicians can, through the correct process, create laws. It is up to the legal profession to interpret those laws. Giving an individual politician the power to overrule the judiciary would put us in danger of living in a dictatorship in pretty short order. It has to be said that Nulabour seem to have spent the last twelve years trying to implement just such a situation, but thankfully they have failed.

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At last...

... someone doing something right.

Here's hoping that it snowballs...

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Double standards

See Hazel Blears on the Andre Marr show?

When pressed about the Gary McKinon extradition case rightly said its us to the legal system and politicians should keep out of it.

But the interviewer then pulled out the Sir Fred the shred comments on the same program where she said that Fred's case may be ok in a court of law but not in the court of public opinion. Guess New Labour only keeps out when theres no political capital to be had.

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Torture

I thought that we, (the UK) were not obliged to extradite to countries that use torture & was activly supposed to object to any such request?

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Fact not accusation.

"She rejected the accusation that the extradition treaty between the US and UK was one-sided."

The US has accepted only 70% of UK extradition requests, the UK has accepted 90% of US requests. It is therefore not an accusation that the treaty is one-sided, it is outright fact.

Harman then, is either a disingenuous liar or incompetent. Then she wonders why there aren't more women in cabinet? perhaps because all those so far (i.e. her, Blears, Jacqui Smith) have been the most incompetent muppets to grace British politics in the last decade? That's not to say male politicians are more competent, but it seems foolish for her to play the sexism card when she's incompetent because even if Brown's government is sexist, she's hardly arguing from a point of strength when they can just point out her, and her colleagues incompetence.

Get some competent women in government please, then we can really see if it's about sexism or incompetence. Currently one can only assume it's the latter, because competence to do the job is surely more important than what sex, race or religion someone is to satisfy some arbitrary equality quota incompetent people like Blears think should be imposed?

Still, not meaning to go off-topic too much, just a rant about Harman who looks like she's trying hard to be the new Jacqui Smith after Blears managed to do such a good job of being the new Jacqui Smith that she got herself into the roll of government laughing stock and out before we'd all finished celebrating the real Jacqui's departure.

The extradition treaty is one-sided, period. This is fact, not accusation or suggestion.

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Black Helicopters

job

Why has no-one offered him a job hacking computers, I thought this was standard procedure for a hacker this dangerous ? :S

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Black Helicopters

Anyone with sense would want to avoid a US trial

This is the country who put Mitnick in solitary confinement after the prosecutor convinced the judge that he could start a nuclear war by whistling into a phone.

-AC

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Anonymous Coward

Embassy

If reassurances on McKinnon serving any potential prison time in the UK can be given pre-trial. Then anyone know if he could be tried in a US Embassy in the UK?

Save a hell of a lot of hassle.

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Flame

@Torture

Very difficult to make it stick when you were crucially involved in that particular bout of torture.

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FAIL

Hate to be picky but....

'Deputy MP Harriet Harman appeared to political talk shows'

Deputy MP? Is that being hopeful or is it a typo? Perhaps Deputy PM is the sad truth.

Anyhow, this whole unilateral extradition agreement is the problem. From a legal sense I would say that he has to be extradited. But I think that the people involved in agreeing the deal should be investigated for, at the least, gross negligence in signing off such a biased deal.

I cannot believe that anyone with a minimum of security knowledge could give credence to this being the 'biggest hack' ever as the guy was using blank / default passwords, so surely that would go some way to negate the US position (at least in a world where common sense applied).

I know lots of people have said this before, but for me the target's of his attacks should be the ones under scrutiny. I'd hate to have the conversation with my insurance company if I'd left my house and garage door's open all the time and had everything we own nicked....

Also I'd love to know how the cost of the 'damage' was calculated? Changing passwords shouldn't be that hard, should it?

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Stop

It ain't pretty but ...

there we go. It's likely this guy is never again going to see light-of-day in Britain.

Hopefully it will put all the other young British hackers off doing the same thing and save us all a lot of time and resource sspent trying to deal with the problems these fuck-wits cause.

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FAIL

If only he waited

I remember many years ago they said he left messages on some of the computers detailing serious political grievances he had with the USA (strange they don't like to mention them in the news), and that he worked alone and was committed to the USA's destruction. Guess that means he's off to Guantanamo then....

Just shows how long ago it was as he was using a dial-up back then. If only he had waited until he could leach Wi-Fi and then been untraceable....

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Badgers

@Torture

No, the UK does not extradite to countries who use Torture in the same way that the USA does not use torture. As in, if you believe one, you will believe the other.

Badgers, we don't know what the US penal system does with them but they're clearly not used for purposes of torture.

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Here's a thought

Man is accused of breaking law.

Man gets tried for breaking law.

The only realy question should be wether he should be tried in the UK, not the US, as he commited the offence here. If the US wants to waste its tax payers money sending the crazy fool to prison, rather than ours, then let them go for it.

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Big Brother

treaty for purpose

This treaty was designed to speed the extradition of terrorists. Gary isn't a terrorist, although admittedly he's a bit of a cock. The guy has no ideology and no political motivation so this is abuse of a treaty which was set up for another purpose.

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Politicians should not override the law?

I would agree if it wasn't for the fact the government has clearly being putting pressure on the judiciary and its own members to make sure McKinon *is* extradited. And that the government happily interferes with or breaks the law whenever it suits its own purposes.

If this case has done nothing else it has helped highlight the abusive relationship this country is in with the USA. One has to wonder what the US government have over the the Labour Party that keeps them so strictly in line?

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Happy

War criminal

"US authorities only have to say they want a subject for trial on an indictable offence"

Does this mean that a US judge could extradite Tony Blair as a war criminal without having to produce evidence to UK court? I like it!

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Megaphone

@Embassy

"If reassurances on McKinnon serving any potential prison time in the UK can be given pre-trial. Then anyone know if he could be tried in a US Embassy in the UK?"

The Lockerbie bomber was tried in The Hague under Scottish law. As the UK and US are such "special" friends, why not try him over here under US law? Of course, the jury would have to be made up of his peers, i.e. other computer literate, UFO conspiracy theorists with Asperger's...

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@Grease Monkey

It's not about the interpretation of the law, everyone knows he's broken it, he's admitted as much.

It's the extradition that's wrong and this is political.

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@Red Bren

The Lockerbie trial was not held in Den Haag but at Camp Zeist, over an hour away, on the other side of Utrecht. There's a fair bit of memorabilia around the place, particularly in Het Wapen (a bar) in nearby Soesterberg, if you're ever passing.

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Depends on the punishment.

If there are legal grounds to try the person here in the UK then the potential punishment should be considered.

If they will likely receive a vastly disproportionate sentence in another country over what they would get if convicted here then they should be tried here.

I believe this is so in this case.

This is another example of America clicking it's fingers and Britain rolling over to have it's tummy tickled.

It's about time we stood up to America on issues that can be dealt with here.

I don't blame America for taking advantage of our lack of backbone, I blame the cowards in government for not defending our sovereignty

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@Leigh Smith

"I would agree if it wasn't for the fact the government has clearly being putting pressure on the judiciary and its own members to make sure McKinon *is* extradited."

Go on then, outside of your tinfoil hat where is your evidence of this?

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Alien

You are missing the POINT !

The man has knowledge of alien technology FFS!

It was probably the shock of that technology that gave him aspergers!

It could fall into the wrong hands unless he is taken over to the USA to be reprogrammed in Area 51 and/or work for the NSA.

It is only the UK graviton force field that is stopping the aliens abducting him now from UK soil.

The sooner we hand him back to appease the aliens the better imho.

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@Glynn 2

"Why has no-one offered him a job hacking computers, I thought this was standard procedure for a hacker this dangerous "

McKinnon did offr his services to the the yanks but they rejected it saying that 'any idiot was capable of doing what he did'.

So, that's the dangerous cyber criminal angle pretty much rubbished, so all that's left is the simply fact that they want to throw the book at thim for making them look like a bunch of incompetents.

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Coat

@Red Bren

"The Lockerbie bomber was tried in The Hague under Scottish law. As the UK and US are such "special" friends, why not try him over here under US law? Of course, the jury would have to be made up of his peers, i.e. other computer literate, UFO conspiracy theorists with Asperger's..."

Firstly the reason the Hague was chosen IIRC was that it was neutral.

The US wanted the accused tried in the US under US law on the grounds that it was a US plane and US citizens were victims. The UK govenment wanted them tried in Scotland under Scottish law, on the grounds that the bomb exploded in Scottish air spaced. The Libyans didn't want him to be tried at all but agreed to Scottish law in a neutral location.

I suppose in a way this sets a precedent in the McKinnon case in as much as the bomb was not planted in Scotland, but the damage was done in Scotland. In the McKinnon case he was situated in England, but the "damage" was done in the US.

As for the jury of his peers thing, it doesn't really work like that otherwise Peter Sutcliffe would have been tried by psycopathic, truck driving prostitute murderers. Now Clarkson will tell you that it's not impossible to find 12 of them, but such a jury would have sympathised with the accused.

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Anonymous Coward

So, Mr Hain ...

... the pre-election manoeuvres have started, have they?

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Ratification

They should block his extradition until the US ratifies the treaty, which, as far as I know, they haven't yet done. UK law implementing such treaties should make sure they contain a clause that only allows them to come into effect when the other party has fully ratified them.

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NationalTreasure Troves in Private Loot and Pirate Booty*

This was just posted on the FreeGary.org.uk site ..... and it fits in quite well here too, methinks ...

"..you are not taught hacking, or any form of illegal activity as companies rely heavily on trust, Hacking is underground and illegal and untrustworthy individuals carry out the activity, and its very hard to learn how to hack effectively, it takes more than a trip down the library, so the intent is their already." .... Darren | August 1, 2009 9:24 PM

Darren,

That is a Open Vulnerability which Intelligence has Failed to Take Control of. It is though something which Officers in Cyber Security Have Addressed and are BetaTesting with Quantum Control Systems and Global Operating Devices.

A little something Mr Cameron and Lord Mandelson would know about, should they like to Imagine they have a Finger on the Pulse of the Nation..... for it has been dDirected to their Lairs, but probably QuITE Indirectly through Officious Layers and Hired Help ..... Official Hindrance.

And for All Political Buffs and Virtual State Diplomats, it is a Matter of Strategic National Security and Intelligence that any Prosecution and Questioning of Mr McKinnon, which will provide a Vulnerability Roadmap into Militarised Systems, be Assessed and Considered for OCS Use, and to Imagine that Defence in the Virtual Realm is an Indictable Offence in any Jurisdiction is an Obvious Travesty of Justice?

It is good to hear Peter Hain's voice on the matter, too.

Posted by: amanfromMars | August 3, 2009 3:48 PM

* Probably One of the First Modern Original Sins Founding Civilisations and therefore a Vital Element in Evolving Growth and Greater Consciousness. ... Distributed Attributed Knowledge in AI Beta Education ProgramMINGs.

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@Number6

"They should block his extradition until the US ratifies the treaty, which, as far as I know, they haven't yet done."

But they have, as thirty seconds on the search engine of your choice would demonstrate.

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@ Job by Glynn2

He wasn't a 31337 hacker. He admits that himself!

He wrote a perl script that searched a list of IP's for Window$ systems with the username of Administrator and a blank password. Not exactly a chained exploit there...

He then used PC anywhere to get onto the systems.

Not that I'm railing on Solo, he's a decent bloke and I hope this all works out for him soon!

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PT

Life or death, same thing

If extradited, he might as well be facing the death penalty. He's never going to see the light of day again anywhere, ever. The usual practice in the USA - especially in matters that upset the government - is to sentence to consecutive terms for each offense, which in this case will probably total more than his life expectancy.

@ledmil - "I'd love to know how the cost of the 'damage' was calculated? "

I thought everyone knew that. After prolonged and exhaustive analysis, it was found to be the exact amount necessary in each case to make it an extraditable felony. Funny how these things work out.

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Alien

Clearly, extradition is the wrong approach.

Next time some inbred redcoat breaks into our military servers, we'll just arrange for a convenient traffic accident or some special sweetener in his tea. Much cheaper, much quieter, less hassle.

Alien icon; Because all your aliens are belong to us.

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Big Brother

"Because all your aliens are belong to us" ? The Peak of Hubris and a Sad NationAOL Indictment?

"I suppose in a way this sets a precedent in the McKinnon case in as much as the bomb was not planted in Scotland, but the damage was done in Scotland. In the McKinnon case he was situated in England, but the "damage" was done in the US." .... By Grease Monkey Posted Monday 3rd August 2009 14:50 GMT

Any "damage" done, and some would say that "necessary highlighting of systemic stategic weaknesses" is a much more accurate versioning of events, was not done in the US, it was done by IT Systems in the XXXXPanding Fields of CyberSpace.

Has that Facility/Vulnerability been Plugged yet or does it remain with the XXXXPerienced Amateur IT Professional as a Future CyberSpace Development Tool under New InterNetional Rules/Virtualised Guidelines.

The amfM HyperRadioProActive Posit is that it is Just So.

Would you Agree? ..... or Choose to Deny IT with another Intelligence which would only do Battle against and Exponentially Increasing Damage to itself, to Hide the Discovery in Order to Try and Maintain and Retain Flawed and Floored Systems, which have reached their Own Glass Ceilings? It is hard not to reasonably conclude that, QuITe Obviously, would such a Course of Puerile Actions be Catastrophically Self Defeating on an Unprecedented and Unpresidented Scale.

"Next time some inbred redcoat breaks into our military servers, we'll just arrange for a convenient traffic accident or some special sweetener in his tea. Much cheaper, much quieter, less hassle." .... By Anonymous Coward Posted Monday 3rd August 2009 22:10 GMT .... And how typically moronic, AC, of the Lower Gifted/Intellectually Challenged.

And the Big Brother icon because Brother Blair knows the score whilst keeping his mates in the Dark with Spinning Tales for that is what keeps him in Clover and Deep Cover. ........ although other would spell it differently and share that he is buried in IT as S**T and a Wannabe Leader.

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