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back to article McKinnon battles renewed Obama-era extradition push

Family and supporters of Gary McKinnon remain confident that their campaign against his extradition to the US will ultimately prove successful, despite the insistence of a senior Obama government law official that the alleged hacker ought to stand trial in the US. Eric Holder, the US Attorney General, vowed that the Obama …

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Black Helicopters

Already guilty?

I don't think the US Attorney General has done their argument any favours. By claiming McKinnon needs to be "held accountable for the crimes that he committed" he is implying that a guilty verdict has already been reached before trial - there's a presumption of guilt which will bias the court.

You'd think someone in that position would know better. Even The Sun realise they'll get a smack on the wrist unless they make generous use of phrases such as "accused of" and "alleged".

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Anonymous Coward

Uhm no...

If the prosecution didn't take the stance that McKinnon was responsible for committing the crimes then there could be a question of reasonable doubt.

McKinnon's supporters are attempting to take statements out of context in an effort to raise public support and pressure on their government to not allow the extradition.

Unfortunately it will fail. The only issue at hand is if Aspergers (sp) would qualify as a medical defect that would not allow him to travel and be tried. There's going to be a problem if the British courts allows this as a defense against extradition.

Could then Assange use the same defense against his rape allegations in Sweden? That he has now been diagnosed with a mental illness and that he's not fit to stand trial in Sweden?

Sorry for the example, but his is also another well known extradition appeal that is currently in the works.

Sorry but McKinnon should go to the US and work out a plea deal.

You do realize that he's put his family through more harm than if he hadn't appealed the extradition and then worked out a plea deal with the US in the first place, right?

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Re: Uhm no...

If the Daily Mail report is right and the Attorney General has vowed to have McKinnon "held accountable for the crimes that he committed", then that would just not be acceptable in the UK.

Such a statement may even have made a trial in the UK impossible - you just can't make assertions like that. If that was said during a trial here, it would probably cause the case to collapse; the judge would order an acquittal and probably haul whoever said that into court for contempt.

Maybe you can prejudice trials like that in the US, but certainly not in the UK.

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"...McKinnon should go to the US and work out a plea deal"

That would a deal like "We're going to hold you on remand in prison in a foreign country for years, until you agree to plead guilty to these charges."...like the NatWest Three.

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Plea deal? Ever seen how the Merican Justice system works?

By plea deal you mean firstly he gets instantly tagged as a 'flight risk' or 'ongoing danger to the Security of the Merican people' and gets remanded to a high security jail, possibly on solitary confinement. He then get an offer that instead of waiting several years for his case comes to trial (and once on Remand the Prosecution will take as long as possible - no hurry) with the possibility of 70 years on conviction, they will allow him, out of the goodness of their hearts, to only do 3 years in a low security facility and may even allow him to do his time back in the UK.

When you have worked out that you will spend longer in a high security Jail in the US on remand than they are offering you in a minimum security Jail in the UK, who would not be pressured to take the deal? Result! No messy trial and a 'threat to Security avoided' headline. Coffee and Donuts all round.

Want proof? Look up the Nat West three story. Look up the stastics of how many are guilty due to a plea bargan (97%). Look up how many guilty plea bargan convictions have been subsequenty found to be innocent after all. Look up how many convicts say that they pled guilty only to get favourable sentance rather than risk all in a court.

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Unconvincing

Oh, come on! The guy said very clearly and unequivocally that Gary McKinnon committed serious crimes. The context doesn't change that. It's a presumption of guilt, pure and simple, and quite incompatible with any possibility of a fair trial (not to mention incompatible with the evidence).

Up until Holder's pronouncement, the only issue presently being decided was whether the atypically disastrous effect of extradition on McKinnon due to his Asperger's amounts to an unlawful breach of his human rights. That's laying aside for a moment the fact that the extradition allegations against him have already shown to be false. Now, though, there is another very compelling reason not to extradite, namely the fact that he's unlikely to receive a fair trial in the US. Would you want to send your son for trial in a country that had already pronounced him guilty?

As for a 'plea deal', such things are looked upon with distaste in Britain's legal system, as being improper and counter to the interests of justice. Especially when those offering them decline to guarantee that any deal will be honoured, and instead make equally distasteful threats to 'fry' a person.

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Send in the seals

So if Theresa says no will the US send in the seals for him ?

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Joke

Re: Send in the seals

Then there'll be no choice but to deploy the killer whales in response.

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Happy

I think

McKinnon has suffered enough, first bye finding no evidence of any UFO and second bye this extended story. And did he not help the US military and government to improve their security.

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Big Brother

You know Eric Holder will find a porn stash under his bed....

... just after a SEAL team orchestrated a Counterstrike Event on his hideaway, which resulted in unforeseen circumstances [tm] while he was using his parrot as avian shield.

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Coat

Avian Shield - Was it aloft at the time?

If so they'll get him on bioweapons charges - after all the bird "flu"

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Silver badge

And then Obama to Pakistan ?

So presumably the USA govt will thus be all to willing to extradite Obama to Pakistan when they decide that he ordered a killing mission into their sovereign territory withough first seeking agreement from the Pakistani government.

I also note that it is illegal for the president to order someone's death, but that the USA govt lawyers jumped backwards summersaults to say that this was OK.

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I do wonder

If some sort of statute of limitations applies to Mr McKinnon.

Also, I agree comments made in the media by senior US government officials are clearly prejudicial and would jeapordise any chance of a fair trial, whether here or in the US.

Leave the man alone now, or try him in a British court.

This has gone on for long enough and is franlky a waste of tax-payer's money.

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Alien

How?

Statute of limitations in a civil as well as criminal case deal with when charges are brought.

McKinnon had been charged in the US and is fighting extradition. So no, no statute of limitations would apply.

Here's a hypothetical example of how statute of limitations could apply. Suppose you, Jim Carter, committed a security breach against the US Government. You don't get caught. 20 years pass and you write a book where you detail your exploits. If the statute of limitation for your crime was 10 years, you couldn't be tried for your crime. ( I don't know the exact statute for committing a crime like that, just using an example...)

This definitely had gone on long enough, but its not because of the US or British courts, but because of McKinnon. If you want to blame anyone, blame McKinnon.

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Anonymous Coward

jeeez

And all because the U.S. Sysmins forgot to change the out-of-the-box passwords, embarrassing huh, someone should pay!

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WTF?

@AC re: Jeez

So, because you forgot to deadbolt your door and turn on your alarm, someone burgled your house and stole your stuff.

Embarrassing right?

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FAIL

@WTF

Well, I'd certainly feel stupid as well as embarrassed. A bit like the US Gov does.

However, your analogy is wrong in more ways than I can be arsed to write about.

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Pint

Who downvoted?

Alright McKinnon has some issues to deal with and yes you should change the passwords, but heck as the man said, just 'cos you forgot to lock your front door does not give anyone the right to wander in and have a good nose around you stuff!

I fully support his case, he needs to stay here to face trial and punishment but nothing gave him the right to wander into systems he knew were not his and have look around. He was smart enough to know how to find his way there, he's smart enough to know it was wrong to do it, even if his condition prevented him from stopping himself.

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Anonymous Coward

@ AC: RE: RE: Jeez

"So, because you forgot to deadbolt your door and turn on your alarm, someone burgled your house and stole your stuff."

An accurate example would be me forgetting to lock my door and turn on my alarm and then someone walks into my house, has a look around and then walks out again, disturbing pretty much nothing during the soiree. Some time later I find out about this and demand the police send him to prison for 70 years for aggravated trespass with intent (he would have killed me and raped my goldfish if he had got the chance, so he would, my Lord).

See, when you put it in perspective it is nothing like it is in your imagination.

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Also @AC: RE: RE: Jeez

If you left your door open and someone came in and stole your stuff, do you think your contents insurers would pay up?

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Anonymous Coward

@deive

Surely they would not pay up. However I fail to see where Gary McKinnon is supposed to have "stolen" anything - so your question / analogy is fatally flawed. Fatally.

Nothing was nicked, no systems were damaged and no national security was compromised.

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Anonymous Coward

So, because you forgot .. someone burgled your house and stole your stuff.

"So, because you forgot to deadbolt your door and turn on your alarm, someone went in and watch your TV. " would be a better analogy.

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Bronze badge

an even better analogy

would be that he wandered onto a farmer's land in search of a werewolf or something, had a nose around all the fields and then left a note to say how he'd gotten in through a hole in a fence. It might sound a bit facetious, but the key point is that trespassing on land isn't an offense. Neither was logging onto the US computers and having a nose around at the time he (allegedly) did it, at least not in the UK.

With apologies for yet another analogy ...

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Okay, okay...

Frumious wins.

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don't forget

that the farmer then adds the cost of building walls around his land to the 'damage' done by the trespasser!

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Megaphone

Left in the street more like.

"

just 'cos you forgot to lock your front door does not give anyone the right to wander in and have a good nose around you stuff!

"

More like them leaving a bag of stuff lying in the street with a flimpy lock on it, and not expecting anyone to look in it.... The internet is a public space. Anyone wanting a private area within it, must be responsible for the security of that space. Gary's actions might well have been a crime here but with a much lessor penalty. Considering all the facts then he should be tried here. The government should tell the Americans to let it be, or risk damaging relations between the two countries. We are NOT the 51st state of the US, and they are partly to blame because they failed to secure their systems. Even if they were legally and morally correct, there's no doubt that they were asking for trouble if their security was so lax.

Who knows what people might do (look what happened to Sony) if they continue to push this and I would have little sympathy to be honest. Gary was wrong, I don't doubt it. However the US could admit that they weren't entirely blameless because of their lack of security.

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FAIL

The US are embarrased that's all, but someone has to pay the price.

In my opinion, the US government was deeply embarrased by their lack of security.

I too am unaware that Gary caused any real damage, apart from making the US government look complete fools. For that they seem to want him to pay a heavy (and unacceptable IMHO) price.

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Umm...

Nose around your stuff? Stuff that was so secret you chose to put it online and not secure it? Really?

I'm not sure what the rest of your argument is saying. If his condition prevented him from stopping himself, then he can't hardly be held responsible for it, can he?

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Anonymous Coward

Oh the hypocricy.

It's a damn shame they don't have the same drive to put the gitmo detainees on trial.

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WTF?

US Military exposes itself

to millions of dollars worth of damage (supposedly), on internet facing systems, with weak security, and no backups... so much so that a loner UFO nutcase in another country can bring a superpower to its knees... and yet no American is fired for their failure, incompetence, and negligence?

WTF?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: US Military exposes itself

Or a Private in the US military supposedly leaks tons of secrets by using the special Namco cheat codes, or whatever, and you have the usual military fetishists demanding tough justice while the intelligence services of just about every other nation are laughing their arses off at the incompetence. No wonder the Russians had that Chapman bird operating "undercover" in the US - it could have paid off with slightly better odds.

The treatment of Private Manning is enough to demonstrate that those in the US military responsible for arse-coverage are vindictive and cruel. Reason enough not to dignify *any* extradition requests indefinitely. The US regime can get its house in order and should forget about pressing any charges against McKinnon if it really wants to save face.

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First they came ...

Guess no-one here has heard of the poem "First they came ... "

Why is it that the UK is the only signatory to the extradition treaty when it does not run both ways and the US is exempt from actually providing any actual proof.

At what point did you all decide your "elected" officials could behave this way?

Check out this interview with Gary himself for more ...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_fNsah-0vpY

Perhaps he did break the law ... but if the rabbit hole is a deep as some suggest then there is no-one who is going to come and save us except ourselves.

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Alien

Blowing it out of his Ass

"We have a good extradition relationship with the UK and I'm confident that the review that the Home Secretary will make will be an appropriate one", Eric Holder

No, under the same criteria McKinnon could not be extradited from the US to this country.

"Well McKinnon is a person who commited serious crimes resulting in about a million dollars worth of damages in the United States", Eric Holder

What really happened was McKinnon logged into Windows NT machines with a blank administrator password (presumably because they were all loaded from the same image). Installed a remote desktop app (RemotelyAnywhere). Alerted the operators by typing msgs in wordpad and leaving them on their desktop. They caught him because he used his own email address to register the RemotelyAnywhere software. And finally Gary was only looking for evidence of secret spaceships, only he can't really remember if he found some as he was "smoking a lot of dope at the time".

http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian/2005/jul/09/weekend7.weekend2

"I'd instant message them, using WordPad, with a bit of a political diatribe. You know, I'd leave a message on their desktop that read 'Secret government is blah blah blah.' "

http://www.zdnet.co.uk/news/security-management/2005/07/13/the-nasa-hacker-scapegoat-or-public-enemy-39208862/

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Windows NT

If the statement that the US mil were really using Windows NT on the internet no wondered they got owned. Using Windows NT is like bending over in a public gents toilets with your pant down

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Anonymous Coward

Time to end the deceptive games

McKinnon is an acknowledged hacker. Now he must be prosecuted and imprisoned in the U.S. for his crimes. Stop pissing away time and money on this fool. Just extradite him and get on with life.

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Troll

And you are?

Another JudgeJudy and executioner.

Pillock.

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Big Brother

Pillock?

That's incredibly mild...

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Anonymous Coward

McKinnon committed the worst crime imaginable.

He humiliated the US military and NASA by exposing their utter incompetence.

America considers itself infallible so this cannot be allowed. That's why they're treating him like some super-hacker, no mortal could have defeated their security.

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Read the 'Jack of Kent' blog about Gary McKinnon

Seriously. This intelligent blogger, who actually went out and obtained the facts pertaining to the case, found that there is no reason why he should not be extradited. Essentially, everything we hear about this case, from The Register and others, is not at all as it seems.

There is a well orchestrated campaign by the people at Bell Yard Communications - they that made the wealthy fraudsters they dubbed the 'Natwest Three' seem like the Guildford Four - to stop the extradition of GM. They are very good at what they do.

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Seriously?

This intelligent blogger, who actually couldn't be bothered to mention the CPS disclosure indicating 'no evidence' for the extradition allegations, or the forensic IT report indicating the same? The evidence that was presented to a packed courtroom in 2009, including reporters from just about every national newspaper? That Jack of Kent, is it? Mister Bandwagon? Mister Selective? Mister Blatant Agenda?

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Hmmm

I for one fail to see how the US claims the crime was committed in the US...

The crime was obviously done in the UK where Gary was. The crime was committed from his PC located in his house (or where ever).

The effects of the crime were felt in the US, but it was committed in the UK.

It's somewhat similar to the JFK assassination: Was the crime committed from the book building, or from JFK's car?

That's my PoV anyway.

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Big Brother

Head, you misunderstand -

the US has (or at least claims to have) universal jurisdiction, so that what it calls «crimes» committed anywhere in the world (UK, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, wherever) are all to be dealt with by that country's «justice» system as the latter sees fit - a civil trial in the US, a military trial at Guantánamo, or a bullet to the head in Abbottabad. The good thing about this is that newspaper readers and net users do get to learn a lot of geography in the process....

Henri

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FAIL

US plea deals.....

...appalling non-justice.

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Grenade

down vote

When any quotes the law or a legal way of thinking they get down voted a lot. It says a lot for our laws and how we view them.

Anyway the guy caused some serious problems and breached security intentionally. Mentally disturbed or not there should be a trial and some sort of consequences. If he is mentally ill it should be taken into consideration, but no he shouldnt just be left alone that would be stupid.

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Vic
Silver badge

Re: down vote

> the guy caused some serious problems

From what I've read so far, he didn't *cause* problems, he *exposed* them.

Vic.

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Simples

He gained access to a system he was not intended to have access to (illegal, but if he had at this point logged out and alerted the sysadmins in charge they probably would have changed the passwords and left it at that) however he had to go and install some remote admin software and leave political rants in wordpad on the machines. You cant pull a tigers tail and not expect a face full of claws!

Furthermore, there is no reason he cannot be extradited, blaming his aspergers is a load of bollocks.

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Unhappy

Asperger's: Would you really know that ?

"

blaming his aspergers is a load of bollocks.

"

You wouldn't write that if you had a son with Aspergers as I do.

.

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Two points

I'm afraid I agree with the poster who said it is bollocks. It was only diagnosed well into this affair when other tools to prevent extradition failed.

However, even if he really does have a mental condition, it does not mean he should not be put on trial. This has never been the case. It means that, if found guilty, it is taken into account when being sentenced.

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You've got the wrong end of the stick, mate

So? Asperger's wasn't recognised by WHO until the 90's. People of his age didn't get the chance to be diagnosed in childhood, as people are today. In addition, the tests for autism (the ADOS etc) are very robust and pretty much impossible to get a false positive.

On your second point, the argument is not about whether he should be put on trial, but whether he should be extradited. And the Asperger's does speak to the question of the lawful limit of the article 8 human rights violation that extradition necessarily entails.

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Anonymous Coward

@Richard Jukes

Do you actually know anyone on the Autistic spectrum, or are you just plain ignorant?

Autistic/Aspergers people think differently and see the world differently, essentially we have a different set of logics to the rules of life and interaction with people, computers on the other hand are one of the closest things to pure logic and that's the reason why a lot of use are drawn to them.

I say "we" because I have Aspergers and I chose to post anonymously because I've taken enough shit in my life from pig ignorant numpties like you to let you know who I am and allow you to persecute me personally by name.

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