back to article McKinnon's mum up for human rights gong

Janis Sharp, the campaigning mum of alleged Pentagon hacker Gary McKinnon, has been shortlisted for a human rights award by Liberty. The human rights charity recognised her efforts in battling for her son and against the Extradition Act; critics argue the law is one-sided. "I’m incredibly honoured and hoping this will help Gary …

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Anonymous Coward

The human rights charity recognised her efforts in battling for her son

If that's how it gets awarded, they'll have to start mass producing these medals.

Nevermind these people who died in north Africa and the middle east for democracy, they only sacrificed their lives for their countries. Battling to avoid your own son going to jail for something he really did, now THAT'S something worth rewarding.

Yeah, vote me down, don't care, no wonder why people are more concerned about a dead football player earning £200k/week than the £600/week NHS member that saved their life.

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@Cricri

I for one applaud this award. Janice has show tremendous courage in the face of extreme adversity.

It must be terrible to have a son accused of crimes by a hostile foreign power, but doubly so when he is mentally retarded as well. The only thing he seems to be guilty of is looking for evidence of UFO's where do these people get off?

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@Clare

Not sure if you are being serious, but don't describe him as mentally retarded - a crack SWAT team from the Aspie Police will smash through your internet browser to tell you Gary has a neurological difference causing difficulties in social interaction.

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seems to me that what she is doing and what they are doing is pretty much the same.

While 99.9% of us sit on our arses whining about how the world has gone to shit with corruption endemic in our politics. Schoolyard bullyboy tactics taking the place of international diplomacy. The rule of law becoming increasingly irellevant to those in power...

and she's fighting against it - maybe bush-blair et al are slightly less repugnant than gadaffi/assad but their brand of evil needs to be quashed every bit as much as the everyday injusticies in the middle east.

good on yer mrs mcinnon. wel deserved and best of luck

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Lots of people have been extradited to the USA...

...since this Gary McKinnon thing started. If it is the case that it is unjust to extradite people to America, why is the focus just on him and his mother? Why does she deserve an award, and not some lawyer trying to stop his client from being extradited?

Could it be that the Gary is represented by Bell Yard Communications, the very people who managed to make the 'Natwest Three' look like saints, rather than greaseball bankers later convicted of fraud? This is why GM is constantly in the news, and why he gets Chrissie Hynd et al to song songs about his plight.

Bell Yard are very good indeed. I would want them on my side if I were in Gary's situation. But everyone who supports him, and thinks the extradition treaty is wrong, should maybe look at other cases that aren't quite so high profile.

http://www.bell-yard.com/mckinnon.php

For the record, I do not think the extradition treaty is wrong, but you may think different. I'm just asking: why not support other people being extradited to the states?

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Unhappy

Diluting your cause

Honestly, I am very much against this treaty because of how one-sided it is. However, I would like to see the fight based on one high-profile case because that way you can garner more support, keep the story alive and use it to fight the point.

I'd prefer if that one case wasn't McKinnon, but from what I understand, he's the best posterchild we have right now.

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Stop

Good Mum award?

I'm surprised on this. While I take my hat off to her for the work she has done on behalf of her son she does have a vested interest here. I'd prefer her to get a good Mum award and be used as a role model for the many mums we have here in the UK who only have a passing interest in their off-spring.

Surely the human rights award should go to those who campaign or work towards benefitting people who's rights have been infringed?

I have been following the McKinnon case and while there is little doubt he is guilty of the charges, I do think the US has overblown the seriousness of the charges. When you factor in the effect of the prolonged appeals process has had on McKinnon, I'm not sure that deporting him to the US is a balanced or fair result. Given his health issues it might have been better for him to have been tried in the UK and if found guilty, to have served his time here in the UK.

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Re When you factor in the effect of the prolonged appeals process

Yes, but who is responsible for prolonging it?

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Every Mother's son

You seem to forget what this woman is up against.

She is fighting the U.S.A. military and government. She is fighting the U.K. government and now, it seems, people who ought to know better.

She is fighting for possible the life of her son who shouldn't be in this position of possible extradition to the U.S. who, you may have forgotten, sometimes is as repressive as the other regimes. Yes, they are the current flavour of the month yet you have also forgotten where these regimes get encouragement from .

The US has dictated policy of outher countries by being a huge international bully. There are people dying in stinking jails becaus of this international repression. Many of the dictators being questioned are only there due to US intervention.

You would throw away the life of an individual, ignoring how he has come to be in this position as he is not the flavour of the month.

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"You would throw away the life of an individual, ignoring how he has come to be in this position as he is not the flavour of the month."

He came to be in this position because of his stupidity and nothing else. Also, yes he >is< flavour of the month thanks to Bell Yard Communications.

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Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Given that the US are one of the most egregious violators of human rights in the world, I'd say standing up to them is worth recognition. They're trying to lock away a mentally unbalanced individual for doing something that caused them no harm beyond a little embarrassment - and maybe even helped them, as it's better that someone like McKinnon found and highlighted the flaws in Pentagon security than a real enemy of the state.

(And please, don't make me laugh by suggesting the Libyan NTC are about democracy. Gaddafi offered to set up a peaceful transfer of power and the NTC refused. When they caught him, he was executed without trial. Clearly an organisation deserving of human rights awards.)

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"Gaddafi offered to set up a peaceful transfer of power and the NTC refused."

Really? When did this happen? Not saying it didn't, but I was following the situation and never saw that. That and if he'd really wanted a peaceful resolution all he had to do is leave the country never to return. Banishment would have been better than anything he could have realistically expected from the NTC (starting with imprisonment, of course).

"When they caught him, he was executed without trial."

You forgot that they beat him to a bloody pulp while parading him around while he begged for mercy before they executed him. Yeah, they dang sure shouldn't be in line for any human rights awards. Hopefully that's the last of that kind of behavior we'll see from them, but I'm not optimistic. How a group treats a defeated enemy is usually a good indicator of how they'll treat their subjects.

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Transfer of power

It was on BBC News several months back.

Also, Gaddafi simply leaving the country wouldn't have done anything to resolve the situation as his loyalists would have continued the fight so he could return.

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Logic Error

Just because Janis Sharp is campaigning for her son does not mean she isn’t doing something worthwhile. Usually, it's only when something affects someone in your family do most people actually get off their bums and do something about it.

Just think about it, if you found a badly protected website and then found that your grovelling grubberment were going to extradite you to north korea, wouldn’t you want/expect your family to do something about it?

@Jedit - Gary McKinnon is not mentally unbalanced, he has asperger's syndrome, which is an autistic spectrum disorder characterised by significant difficulties in social interaction.

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Headmaster

Or in words that the typical commentard can understand...

... "mentally unbalanced".

It really doesn't matter whether McKinnon is obsessed because he has OCD or Asperger's Syndrome or anything else - he still hacked the Pentagon because he has a brain disorder that influences his choices, not because he sought to cause harm or wanted the challenge. You and I may be aware of the differences between those various disorders, but ultimately they're not important here.

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WTF?

Huh?

Ok,

Here's the simple solution.

Send him to the US to face trial.

His lawyers can then argue their case in court.

They can continue to appeal it if they lose.

The problem is that a) Asperger's ?sp? doesn't necessarily mean that he isn't fit to stand trial, or that he is incompetent by a mental defect.

b) He has openly admitted to doing the act. His excuse was that he was looking for sekret alien files.

There's more, but again all of the arguments including mens rhea need to be made in court. You do realize that had he gone to the US instead of fighting extradition, he would have already be done with this mess by now.

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he would have already be done with this mess by now

and well into the 4th year of his 999 year sentance!! - no doubt on suicide watch - therefore unable to sleep for more than 15 minutes at a time. in solitary - for his own protection. etc etc etc

what the fuck.

If the US had even the beginings of a fair legal system, then fair enough. but it doesnt. not by along chalk.

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"If the US had even the beginings of a fair legal system..."

Ok...so name a country that DOES have "...the beginings of a fair legal system..." Yours perhaps?

Probably open to a lot of discussion, especially in light of the goings-on in Britain of the Murdoch empire lately.

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Mushroom

@Naughtyhorse... Huh?

Dude!

The Julian Assange thread is over there.... the one where Wikileaks is about to go tits-up.

And BTW, Assange duped Manning in to doing something stupid.

Here we have a Brit citizen who was going to face charges on hacking the US Govt.

Guess what. There's this thing called making a deal... plead guilty, avoid a trial, so you can do a fraction of the time that faces you.

Seems you know nothing of the law. Of course , federal sentencing guidelines make things difficult in terms of plea deals.

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Fairer than the US's system

Let us not forget that the treaty the US government wishes to use to extradite McKinnon is not symmetrical. If a US citizen hacked MI5 in the way McKinnon hacked the Pentagon and we asked for that man to be extradited, the US would simply tell us to get stuffed. They have no obligations under that treaty to allow extradition of their citizens, whereas they can request extradition of foreign nationals to the US for almost any reason.

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well....

we dont execute children overe here (therefore 'here' is not China, Iran, Pakistan, Sudan or the US - now theres a club you can be proud to be part of) so my system is not perfect, but it's on hell of a lot better than yours

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bollocks

he'd get tried as aterrorist and all bets are off, he'll live out his life in cuba, forced to listen the garth fucking brooks wearing orange. and you know it

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@Jedit

"They have no obligations under that treaty to allow extradition of their citizens, whereas they can request extradition of foreign nationals to the US for almost any reason."

This is completely wrong. Courts have repeatedly stated that the extradition treaty is not biased against Britain.

Why do GM supporters not assimilate this information?

Why do GM supporters simply carry on as though their statements have not been challenged? It makes any debate impossible if points made by opponents are ignored point blank.

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RE: Naughtyhorse

Wow, why not assume the worst? For all you know the judge and jury could accept the idea that McCrim had no evil intent and was/is just a schmuck. Surely it would have been better to get him in front of a jury before he got painted as just trying any excuse to get out of facing the music for an act he already admitted to?

And please do detail exactly what it is that you think makes him unlikely to get a fair trial, or can we just assume that's more blow-hard venting?

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"Why do GM supporters carry on as if unchallenged?"

That would be because their statements haven't been challenged. To make a challenge would require a contrary statement containing fact or truth.

For what it's worth, I'm also not a McKinnon supporter. I am, however, a supporter of justice, and I know full well that McKinnon will not receive any if he is extradited. He should be tried here, under the law of the country in which he committed his offence, and punished according to that law if punishment is deemed necessary. In no way should we support America in their belief that they rule the whole world and their law applies to everyone everywhere.

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Devil

@Jedit...

I wonder how many US citizens go off and hack an Eastern European Country's banking system to steal money and create fraud and identity theft?

So to your point, just because there isn't a 'one for one' number of extraditions, doesn't mean that there's any asymmetry. Or undue action on the part of the US.

Like you and other commentards who think that the US Government is the 'big bad wolf' and needs to be taken down... guess what. Most US citizens think that the EU governments are just whinny bitches who aren't worth the bother of hacking.

So where's the symmetry in that?

BTW, If you had any understanding of the history of the last century, you would understand why the US does what it does. But I guess being a Brit, knowing something about the War of the Roses is somehow much more relevant in today's society? :-P

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WTF?

@Jedit

"I am, however, a supporter of justice, and I know full well that McKinnon will not receive any if he is extradited. "

Really.

You must think really highly about yourself.

You also don't know much if anything about the law.

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Coat

Awww

There was me hoping the ceremony was going to be in Washington DC, with a invitation for Her and one guest...

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Anonymous Coward

Really ?

What human rights is she fighting for, protection of a criminal who admits to his crime and who knows the difference between right and wrong? We need more Mums fighting for such "justice"... or NOT !

Ferchrissake both Mum and Gary need a large does of REALITY !

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At the risk of sounding stupid, could someone please spell out exactly what is "one sided" about the current extradition treaty? For full disclosure purposes, I am from the US and I understand that America is prone to strong-arming other countries (as I suspect most countries given the opportunity would be). I can see an obvious imbalance in the use of the treaty but as far as the document itself goes, I don't really see a problem. I haven't read it and have only read summaries but I was hoping someone with the opinion that it is unfair could clarify things for me.

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The treaty is not one sided

A UK legal review board report posted the other day states that the extradition treaty is not one sided nor inappropriate.

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Or to put it another (more correct) way

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extradition_Act_2003

It is a 1 sided act. the US can seek extradition for any act committed by anyone in the UK if it is against US law, and irrespective of what act's a US citizen carries out anywhere they cannot be extradited.

equally there is HUGE disparity between levels of proof required - the us merely have to say 'we want this guy', and extradition will follow. A US citizen needs to be on video, standing over the victim, with a bloodied knife in his hand shouting "I'm glad i killed the bastard" before the US will even consider an extradition hearing.

sounds pretty 1 fucking sided to me - and had blair been able to pull his head from between dubyah ass cheeks for just 1 second in '03 then even he would have been able to see that.

apparently he couldn't

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