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back to article McKinnon family 'devastated' by Home Sec's latest knock-back

Solicitors for Pentagon hacker Gary McKinnon are planning a 11th-hour judicial review after Home Secretary Alan Johnson decided new medical evidence was insufficient reason for him to step in and block US extradition proceedings. McKinnon's mother Janis Sharp told the BBC she was "devastated" by the ruling. "Gary has been in …

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WTF?

Just wondering...

Who exactly has he hurt in hacking the FBI's files to look for UFO nonsense? OK, it is illegal, but did he have any kind of malicious intent?

The way I see it, the US are just interested in punishing someone who's made them look like a bunch of incompetents. The effect of which is that they now look both incompetent and like bullies. Also yes, our extradition laws are so one sided, it's just crazy.

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I love America. But....

Be under no misunderstanding I love America. But there are times the Great nation simply gets things wrong. Errors of judgement such as the decision to pursue this MENTALLY ILL MAN. He may have embarrased the Great USA by proving their IT infrastructure is pretty pathetic - but perhaps they should use him as an IT expert to advise them on how their IT infrastructure can become more perfect like that of the United Kingdom. America you are wrong about this - you are pursuing a vulnerable young man. If I were Prime Minister I would not let him be deported.

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FAIL

Every word

Yes, they look both incompetent and like bullies.

And our government looks intransigent and uncaring.

There is only one icon suitable for this shameful and miserable excuse for a government.

McKinnon did something very stupid. But the punishment is out of all proportion, contrary to natural justice, and (given his mental condition) contrary to his human rights. Next time they lecture China, I am sure the chinese will have a ready repost.

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Votes

Mine goes to whichever party changes the treaty.

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That is unlikely

to happen.

There are other laws when the USA has advantage over the host country for example...

Crimes committed by US military in a foreign country

Access to SWIFT data

No politician is going to rock the boat (unless Hugh Grant is PM!!) with the USA as the 'relationship' is to valuable to jepodise.

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How come the Judicial Review is limited to a week?

Everybody else gets 3 months.

Looks to me like Johnson is hoping it all goes away. I have news for you Alan. This is going to haunt you for a long time to come.

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WTF?

@Richard81

So it's okay if I break into your house and have a look around, as long as I don't damage anything?

Let me know your address and I'll come round one night and watch your wife whilst she's sleeping.

I don't understand this whole thing at all, really. He broke into Pentagon computers - what does he expect?

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WTF?

You know what?

I've had just about enough of this guy.

Suicidal is a psychological state of mind, not a verb, so his mother cannot claim that he should not go through this due to the fact he stupidly infiltrated a lax security system. If someone's door is open, it doesn't give you the right to wander in.

As somebody very technical, who enjoys reading the register, we should forget this guy's asperger's syndrome, not because I don't believe he had it at the time, but because the fact is this whole thing seems like a massive over-reaction. We should base being against the extradition on that, not on some illness that he likely did not have at the time when he was knowingly entering systems.

He was old enough to know better, and that's all I have to say.

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Hmmm

Asperger's does not stop you differentiating right from wrong. Hw was an obsessive idiot who knowing that it was illegal, hacked into american computers at the height of the terrorist panic, and then acted surprised when they turned round and wanted his balls in a butty. So I have no sympathy for the medical excuse.

However, I utterly anf totally reject that he should be extradited because a) the crime was comitted in the UK (even if the effects were in the US - filesharers get done on local laws, not the laws in the country they download from - probably specious, but 'm not a lawyer so i don't care) and b) the extradition treaty is hideously lopsided in favour of the US it really should have no legal basis for operation, but since the labour numpties signed up to it, they have to abide by it.

Hey ho, 6 months and counting down - new ministers, new decisions? We'll wait and see....

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Anonymous Coward

you forgot

c) the US waited for 3 years until the extradition treaty came in and then applied to use it retrospectively

d) they deliberately exaggerated the damages bill (which seems to be mostly the cost of adding firewalls that should have been there anyway) so that they could apply for extradition

e) this treaty was intended to make it easier to extradite terrorism suspects, not UFO-hunting looneys

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I wonder if

Gary was an American & he had hacked into GCHQ, would he be extradited to the UK for trial as part of the (not so) 'special relationship' that we have with the USA?

or are the pigs ready for take off!

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Inaccurate

GCHQ is our version of the NSA. Gary McKinnon gained access to NASA and US Military systems, nothing to do with Intelligence services.

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Troll

quoted out of context for fun and proffit

"NASA and US Military systems, nothing to do with Intelligence"

on a more serious note. I am a brit, and think he should be prosecuted. The problem is, with the one sided treaty, and obvious scapegoating, it is no longer a judicial/criminal issue, but a political one.

I mean, at one point the phrase "hes gonna fry" was infamously muttered to mckinnon's legal council (referring to the electric chair).

Ex employees (of other companies) have done more damage (moniterally) and not had this level of "he's a bad guy" scapegoating. Little wonder he doesn't expect a fair trial...

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Stop

I fear this will end badly

Johnson is obviously a weak or vindictive man, perhaps both.

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Umm

Both - + stupid (and that is not a reflection on our average postperson - the two who provide services to my office are several notches above Johnson)

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Grenade

go and fry

stop feeling sorry for him, he knew what he was doing and knew the consequences of messing with the U.S governments stuff. yes, they were poorly protected but that's really not the point.

he cannot play any 'looking for aliens' or 'oooo i'm too poorly to go to prison' excuses now.

see you later gary, you had your fun and knew exactly what the outcome would be..

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Stop

Please!

look, he didn't just hack in and look for UFO material, that's just a bullshit excuse trotted out by his family at every opportunity. He hacked in, trashed some stuff and left a message saying how great a hacker he was. That's a bit different.

Also, what exactly has the "lopsided" nature of the extradition treaty have to do with this case? So what if the standards of evidence that have to be presented are not exactly the same, when THE GUY ADMITS HE IS GUILTY??? Again, a smokescreen used by those who want him to be let off with a slap on the wrist and a warning not to do it again.

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FAIL

He admitted he was guilty of an offence under UK law

on the understanding that the CPS would pursue the case in the UK.

They then pulled out, in deference to our Colonial Overlords, leaving him right up shit creek.

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Anonymous Coward

Brits DEVASTED by Alan Johnson

More to the point, he's established that the conditions to use this extradition treaty will never be checked by a Home Secretary.

And since no court ever sees the evidence for extradition for the UK to US leg, and no court can reject extradition based on FALSE or EXAGGERATE evidence... then any British person can be extradited on any false claim.

You may not have any sympathy for this bloke (me too), but he could be anyone in the UK. Since the person, charge and evidence don't make any difference to this.

Suppose for example, Mr Gonzales demands the extradition of Damien Green MP, claiming he supports terrorist financially. Mr Green cannot block the extradition based on the evidence because no evidence is provided, the court isn't allowed to consider it. Mr Green cannot go to some higher court over the UK and USA (like ECHR) because there isn't such a court. So he gets extradited, no judicial check possible.

The idea was that Blunkett trusted the US more than citizens of the UK, so the citizen is PRESUMED to be bad , and the US person demanding extradition, PRESUMED to be good.

The person is extradited, the prosecuted under the US laws. So for example if the US wants to prevent online gambling, and seize the CEOs of betting companies, it can use this and no mechanism ever protects those people from that misuse of this treaty.

What should happen is the proper check should be put in, US submits its evidence that the crime was done and is serious enough to use this treaty, the person challenges or not, a judge decides, and the extradition happens or not.... no slimy politicians involved.

These political disingenuous tricks that Alan Johnson does, have no place in a judicial process.

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before you do the crime

think about the crime.

he gained access to a computer system to which he has no business being in therefore appropriate punishment to be dished out.

His intent is irrelevant, so is what he was looking for.

Hacking a computer is as illegal as its always been.

I for one am sick of hearing about him.

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Anonymous Coward

yawn

Go back to the Dail Mail where you belong

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FAIL

aww,

my comment has nothing do with with the daily mail, are you sure you are on the right page?

this page is to comment on the story, not comment on the comments.

move along now!!!!

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Anonymous Coward

The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

"Gary has been in heightened terror for almost eight years… to do this to someone who has Asperger's syndrome... and suicidal is wrong," she said.

I don't think anybody is arguing with this, but who exactly is doing this to him? Is it the goverment that has made this take years? Nope that's just due process. This is dragging on and on because his family and legal team are dragging it out. Presumably the longer it takes the more money his legal team will make. You have to wonder whether he'd be home by now had he faced the music straight away.

Anyways, here's a compromise that I don't really think anybody could argue with: Why not try him in the UK under US law?

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Unhappy

Failure all round

McKinnon should sack his lawyers. This has lasted 8 years. The Americans were offering a plea bargain of 3-4 years jail if he plead guilty. No wonder he's suicidal. But as for the claims about his mental state (1) he had a demanding full-time job as a systems administrator before he was arrested, he's not some idiot savant incapable of understanding his actions, and (2) most people would be depressed at the prospect of years in jail - suicide rates in US jails are 5 times the overall US rate - but you can't let people off on those grounds or the jails would be empty.

A side thought: what are the odds of David Cameron altering the extradition agreement? Zero. The Tory front bench love the USA even more than Labour do.

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Black Helicopters

First they came

With apologies to Martin Niemöller

First they came for the paedophiles, and I did not speak out because I was not a paedophile;

Then they came for the terrorists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a terrorist;

Then they came for the copyright infringers, and I did not speak out - because I was not a copyright infringer;

Then they came for the tall photographers, and I did not speak out - because I was not a tall photographer;

Then they came for the autistic children, and I did not speak out - because I was not an autistic child;

Then they came for me - and there was no one left to speak out for me.

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Americans must act

It is not the UK's fault to sort this guy out. At first I was in his favour because he is British and was clearly a little obsessive.

On the other hand the UK can't do a damn thing. The Iraq war is what allowed the Americans to put extradition on Gary, however if the Iraq war ever turns out to be linked to the Bush Administration, Gary *MIGHT* have a leg to stand on. Otherwise, this is what Britain agreed to and as Gary was a systems admin *for a living(!)* , he really should have understood the implications of what he was doing, regardless of whether it was wrong or right.

Of what authority is Gary on UFO's anyway that even if it were true, he should be the one to tell us all?! Although he has no authority on the subject, maybe he should have realised that even if he did discover "the truth", who would believe him?

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The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

"It is not the UK's fault to sort this guy out."

errmmm.... is it not the duty of the UK to protect its citizens.... this sounds like the UK Gov are saying, here have Gary, we don't give a fuck about him and what might happen to him.

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Stop

Aspergers!!!!!!!!!

Oh look, it's this story again.

Just ship him out, play to the sympathies of the US court, then he can come home.

Just stop blaming Aspergers for him committing a crime, and stop trying to say the crime he committed wasn't that bad anyway. That's not how the law works.

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Um, it is

"stop trying to say the crime he committed wasn't that bad anyway. That's not how the law works."

That is exactly how the law works which is why you don't get the same sentence for shop-lifting as you do for murder.

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@ AC 12:38

"So it's okay if I break into your house and have a look around, as long as I don't damage anything?"

A fairer question is, "Is it okay if you walk into my house because I left the door open, have a look round, and don't damage anything".

Because that's all McKinnon really did.

His big mistake was entering a house where those who should have locked the door are more concerned with punishing someone for their own failures than admitting their fault.

Imagine you're walking home tonight and see an ISP's road-side cabinet unlocked and open. Interested in IT you take a peek inside. Is it fair that you are then dragged into court to face years of imprisonment because the ISP claims billion pound damages for having to change locks on all cabinets, changing all passwords on customer accounts, re-install software and replace broadband links across the UK ? No, that's taking the piss.

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Yes it is

In answer to the house question, yes it is. If your house gets robbed as a result of you opening the door to some lowlife, neither the insurance company or the old bill will help you (unless they assualt you etc.) you opened the door (or left it open) and are deemed to have given that lowlife permission to enter.

Now I'm not saying that it's right, but that is how it is. Why is this that different?

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FAIL

more foolishness from the EU

Jason let's make a more appropriate analogy.

A perp walked up to your house repeatedly looking for a way into your house. After carefully examining your windows and doors over a several week period and trying to get into your house by jimmying the windows, he scars up all the windows frames and breaks the frames up so badly all you windows have be replaced. Then McKinnon decides the windows aren't a good way to get so he tries jimmying the door and cracks the door frame. FInally, he gives up and uses a hammer to drive the tumblers out of the lock. When you get home from work you see the damage, find the perp in your house just looking around. By your logic the only "damage" is the broken lock which only a few dollars. On the other hand to restore your house to the state it was in will require several thousand dollars and your time to deal with all the contractors doing the repair work

A more appropriate ISP analogy is your are an IT pro and after watching a banks IT people go into/out of the server room, you rush into the server room when the door is open to allow a staffer into the server room. Once you're in the server room you try logging into servers just to see how secure they are, disconnecting/reconnecting network cabling and powering servers on/off.

If you think it's wrong for McKinnon to be shipped to the US for trial because it violates EU rules and laws, why it just fine for the EU to stop a sale of one US company to another US company in US laws?

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Stop

Stop right now

As other's above have said, we cannot live under this lop-sided treaty.

There's enough law in the UK (and EU) to prosecute him for computer misuse and for him to serve a sentence in the UK, regardless of exactly where the computers were located. Shipping him off to the USA just because the USAians ask for it, cannot be a good thing for any of us.

Needless to say this wouldn't apply in the scenario where UK forces had picked him up, and shipped him off to some CIA terror camp in Algeria via extraordinary rendition from where he was shuffled around for 5 years and finally ended up in Gitmo. Because obviously that would be entirely justified.

So let's hope everyone can string this out till after the next election and the incoming Home Secretary can stick two fingers up to the USA.

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FAIL

An Asperger's sufferer writes

"Asperger's does not stop you differentiating right from wrong."

Umm... yes, it does.

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Re: An Asperger's sufferer writes

As an Asperger's syndrome sufferer No it does not stop you from differentiating right from wrong.

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Flippant answer

How do you know you can tell right from wrong if you have Asperger's and allegedly can't tell right from wrong?

A more accurate response would be that some Asperger's sufferers cannot tell right from wrong but that the vast majority have no sense of what constitutes "appropriate behaviour".

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@AC

"he gained access to a computer system to which he has no business being in therefore appropriate punishment to be dished out"

No one is arguing against that. What do you consider to be an appropriate punishment then? 60 years in jail? He's a British citizen who committed a crime in Britain. He should be tried here.

Let's say you have an affair with someone who happens to be married. Are you volunteering to be extradited to Sudan so you can be stoned to death, or do you have an expectation to be treated according to the norms and standards of your own country if that's where the affair took place? Or for an Internet-related example, do you think you should be extradited to China if you post a comment on a pro-Tibet blog?

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@Rolf Howarth

"Let's say you have an affair with someone who happens to be married. Are you volunteering to be extradited to Sudan so you can be stoned to death, or do you have an expectation to be treated according to the norms and standards of your own country if that's where the affair took place?"

Oooh, I like that analogy. Kinda fits. Unlike most posted here.

PS my vote too to whichever political party changes this treaty*. Which'll be when Satan starts ordering antifreeze and woolly mittens, because they're all a bunch of ball-less brainless f*cked up retards.

Yes, I really do feel that strongly, and really would make a revenge vote issue out of this.

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Oops forgot something

Johnson, you're a cock.

There we go.

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Anonymous Coward

Damage

I think a lot of people are having problems with the legal concept of "damage".

When the law talks about damage it does not mean that he actually harmed anything as such. Damage in law includes all sorts of things appart from physical harm, in this case this would include the cost of investigating whether or not he had done any harm, any time lost as a result of the hacks, etc. IOW and costs incurred as a result of the hacks. Whether or not he actually deleted and files, installed any malware or did anything else of a malicious nature is entirely irrelevant to the concept of damage.

As a parallel entering somebody's house without permission when the door is unlocked is trespass, which is not a criminal offence*. However it becomes burglary if you take anything away with you, commit any violence or cause any damage while you are there. What surprises many people is that in this case damage may include something as apparently innocuous as leaving a muddy footprint on the carpet.

Burglary is of course separate from breaking and entering.

*This excludes crown property and the national rail network which is covered by the offence of criminal trespass. So under our own laws unautorized entry to a military site is a criminal offence. Could the same be said of military computer systems?

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FAIL

You miss the point.

He is being made a scapegoat for some appalling lapses of security by those who should have known better, who can now hide away from scrutiny because they have a fall guy instead of taking responsibility for their own dreadful incompetence.

Anyway, the costs were

a) GROSSLY INFLATED

b) needed to be paid anyway, as their security was nowhere near adequate (if it existed at all). To continue your analogy, if I had no locks on my doors, the fact that someone walks in doesn't alter the fact that I should have already paid for them to be there in the first place (and I would not be able to claim this as damages, as I could just still not put locks on if I chose).

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FAIL

see below for an utterly crap example

if I had no locks on my doors, the fact that someone walks in doesn't alter the fact that I should have already paid for them to be there in the first place (and I would not be able to claim this as damages, as I could just still not put locks on if I chose).

WTF.

how is this the same thing? he didnt knock on the door of the pentagon and say 'oooo, hello, can i see your nice shiny computers'

some people are such loosers.

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Stop

@AC 12:38 GMT - justice delayed is justice denied

I agree that you don't "understand this thing at all really".

"So it's okay if I break into your house and have a look around, as long as I don't damage anything?"

I agree that this isn't OK, and this would be a worse kind of offence than poking around in an unsecured PC with nothing of importance on it. That said, even the more serious offence you suggest in comparison probably would not justify extradition, especially if appropriate justice could be done more quickly without extradition being required.

"I don't understand this whole thing at all, really. He broke into Pentagon computers - what does he expect?"

A Pentagon or NASA computer used for highly sensitive purposes, or one used to play games in the visitor canteen ? The evidence available from both sides strongly implies something closer to the latter than the former, which makes the location of the computer irrelevant.

The point is that extradition should only ever be used for serious crimes. It should never be used for minor offences. This is because the process of taking someone away from their home and trying them in a foreign land by people with a different culture thousands of miles away from friends and family, disproportionately harms the suspect processed in this heavy handed manner.

What Gary did was wrong. But it justifies at best a non custodial sentence. Without the mitigating factors clearly evident, it would justify at worst a very short period inside in order to teach him a lesson. Dragging on extradition proceedings for a substantial fraction of Gary's life prevents him from learning from his wrongdoing and getting on with a life in which he can carry out a responsible job and pay taxes.

This is a clear case of justice delayed being justice denied.

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Flame

well speaking of getting on with his life...

...he would very likely be doing that now, if he hadn't chosen to spend the last few years fighting his extradition. If he'd gone willing, pleaded guilty, stressed his illness, probably got a plea bargain, served in worst case a couple of years, possibly in the UK.

He (or his idiot lawyers) have chosen to make a point against his best interests.

The media mess is the Natwest three all over again, completely guilty as charged and somehow made to look like a victim by a skin deep PR campaign. Helps that the public seems to be under the impression that the US legal system is incapable of actually fairly applying the law.

In case you haven't guessed, I've no sympathy and no time for him.

That aside, no matter who's computer he attacked, he broke the law and

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Grenade

door open

except the "door" wasnt left open. He just picked some weak locks. So , now is it of if i come into your house if i find your locks easy to pick?

If he was clever enough to know how to hack , then he is clever enough to know the consequences.

If he gets off, then its just another message to potential deviants that you can get away with wrong doing.

Its time people were properly punished, so others get a message of what will happen to them if they do it.

and if they are of diminished capacity , it sends a message to the carers/parents that they need to also take responsibility.

If i knew my son was of diminished capacity, i certainly wouldn't let him loose on a computer without observation

seeing as i am ranting, i am also sick of the "sorry judge, i kicked the crap out of this guy, but i was off my face on drugs" defense. Why arent these people being then convicted of 2 crimes??? They have just confessed to both openly. No, instead, they get a reduced/probationary sentence because they were not in control of their actions.

i'm sure they same excuse wouldnt work in the case of "sorry judge, i mowed down 5 people in my car, but i was langers drunk at the time"

if only i was a frog

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FAIL

So when did...

...a 43-year-old become a "young man"?

..."Don't hold me accountable, I have Asperger's" become a get-out-of-jail free card?

...different judicial standerds in the US and the UK become relevant in a case where the defendant has made a full confession?

..."I was looking for flying saucers" become a rationalization for Web site defacement?

I must have missed the memo.

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Flame

don't know about the memo

but you clearly missed out on a few other things

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@Various

He broke into military computers and probably expected that if caught he'd be tried in the UK- where he was when he broke a law. As opposed to the USA.

If I was in the UK and managed to somehow intercept (for example) bank details from someone's satellite internet connection but that person was across the Channel in France (satellite comms have a helluva wide footprint) then you'd surely expect me to be tried in the UK for, amongst other things, nicking bank details. You'd not expect me to be pulled off to France- no only was I not in France when I committed the crime but the UK has laws that cover exactly this sort of thing.

If I discovered that I could read/hear/intercept a Norwegian military pager network (pagers frequently send messages as cleartext) then again would you expect me to be charged in the UK or in Norway? Once again, I'd be punished in the UK.

If I had a sniper rifle and used it to shoot someone in the Republic of Ireland while I was standing in Northern Ireland, I'd probably be tried in Northern Ireland.

So why is someone who committed what is a crime in the UK, while in the UK, being sent to the 'states for punishment? Not only that, but no evidence apart from his confession has, AFAIK, been produced by the US to support this extradition. We're relying on the liars behind the Iraq invasion and the confession of someone with mental problems.

I don't think anyone's arguing for him to not be punished, I think they're just wanting his punishment to be fair.

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Grenade

This is so funny!

Here they want to bring him to court but countries like Israel still pat Israeli boys on the back for hacking with no jail term and no court to visit.

The evidence is clear now who is the greater human.

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Happy

HMMM

He's off to see the wizard, the wonderful wizard of Oz,

Because, because, because.....

He's a hacker twat!!!

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