back to article McKinnon loses extradition fight

The European Court of Human Rights has refused to intervene in preventing the US extradition of accused Pentagon hacker Gary McKinnon. The ruling by the seven judge court, made Thursday, kills off McKinnon's last hope to avoid extradition to the US to face charges of hacking into US military and NASA systems, following the …

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  1. Andy Tyzack
    Thumb Up

    lets see here

    before you do the crime, think about the time.

    cha'mon.

    whats he whinging for? crime commited, caught and detained, END OF.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    "McKinnon's fate now seems sealed"

    So does Jacqui Smith and the government's.

    I'm a Labour voter of nearly 30 years and this is the final straw. They have to go.

  3. Skyraker

    Only way is ...

    ...to commit a crime in the UK that will get him a custodial sentence or at least a lengthy trial as that takes precedence over the septics.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Alien

    Perhaps...

    His appeals would have been more successful had his lawyers not tried completely different grounds for appeal at each step. Surely that undermined their case somewhat? And now we have the issue of his suffering from Asperger's syndrome, surely if his lawyers really considered that a reason for him to be tried in the UK it should have been the basis of their appeals?

    Straws and clutching.

  5. Daniel Silver badge

    Jacqui Smith

    Why *wouldn't* Jacqui Smith intervene? She's intervened in every-bloody-thing else happening in this country...

    (having said that, considering the consequences when she 'intervenes' I'm not sure I'd particularly want her on my case)

  6. Solomon Grundy

    Asperger Syndrome

    What the hell does that have to do with anything? Totally irrelevant to the case - what would have been relevant would have been to have a rant about how fecked up it is that this entire thing is even happening. There's no reason for my govt to be spending all this money on a geek looking for UFO stuff.

    P.S. Asperger Syndrome is a silly, silly thing to mention in the article - you should be ashamed.

  7. Robert Morgan
    Paris Hilton

    Dragging And Screaming

    Well, at least he's off on the dragging and screaming option....

    Tis total balls though, the guy was in the UK at the time - the crime might have been on machines on US soil but still, the law changed since he committed the crime. Its a bit unfair to drag him to the US.

    Hacking into US Military stuff is serious but honestly, if its that important it should be on a private network, not the internet... live and learn, if the same happened to a US company from a hacker in the UK I doubt the same rules would apply here.

    Paris, because Gary may be visiting a prison near her shortly.

  8. Dave McKewan
    Paris Hilton

    Bye bye

    He did the crime, now he should shut up and do the time.

    Breaking into people's systems is a crime and if you're caught, then tough tities.

    He broke into systems in the Strates, then he should be tried in the States.

    Paris, because I'm sure she has a back door....

  9. Angus Wood
    Unhappy

    Farewell Gary, we hardly knew ye

    Now off to federal prison you go, destined for the brutal regieme of incarceration with a couple of hours of excersise a day and the ever-present threat of rape and serious violence.

    Incidentally, John - the "pentagon hacker" subtitle in most of the McKinnon stories is hardly accurate - millitary interest machines, yes, but they were all in support roles (unclassified mailgates, desktops etc.). Hardly "War Games".

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    don't do the crime if you can't do the time....

    y'know if he flew out to the states and blew someone away he'd be dealt with stateside, even if it meant a death sentence. He clearly knew it was US government owned networks he was breaking into, so if he couldn't figure out he'd be prosecuted under US law (if those responsible could catch him at least) he must be dumber than he thinks.

    I do feel that the punishment meted out is likely to be disproportionate, but it could all have been avoided. There are penalties here in the UK for intruding into networks. Even accepting the hmmmmm..... dubious sounding UFO story, what on earth made him think that his actions would have no consequences.

    I'm sorry Mr McKinnon, but this is a truly epic fail on your part, and it is now time to pay the piper.

  11. Drew Cullen (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

    Re: Asperger Syndrome

    This is relevant to the case. McKinnon's own lawyer put this forward as a reason why he should be prosecuted in the UK.

  12. Dan White
    Pirate

    Advice for Mr McKinnon...

    Plead guilty as fast as possible and then kiss as much ass as you can, otherwise you're going to the big house until you're a pensioner :-(

    Whilst I can't condone his actions, neither can I condone this Government's blatant USA brown-nosing by refusing to prosecute him over here.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Well that's that then.......

    I'll get your coat for you as it can get cold over there.....

  14. Andy Taylor
    Unhappy

    Special Relationship

    Once again the "special relationship" works in the favour of the US - we do whatever they want us to and get nothing in return.

    Disappointed that the ECHR has decided not to hear this case, sets a dangerous precedent for the future.

  15. api devlab
    IT Angle

    A Lamb to the slaughter

    Simply outrageous.... not a lt more I can say. While it is pretty obvious he commited an offence (and should face justice) the collusion shown by our Government (if you can call them that) is simply sickening.

    The poor guy is likely to be hung out to dry, lets hope the trial becomes a thorn in the side of the incoming president he MAY then have a slim chance of a more leniant sentance.

    How far will our ruling muppets go, wonder if we will see Phorm, BT et al facing charges for the same thing, somehow I doubt it.

  16. James Pickett
    Thumb Down

    Spineless

    How come the special relationship only ever works in one direction? IIRC, we asked for some US pilots to give evidence a while ago (when they'd killed some of our troops) and they wouldn't even attend court as witnesses.

    Perhaps Gary McKinnon could get George Galloway to represent him in the US...

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    Now if he was an MP,...

    he could even have invaded another country and no-one would have been able to touch him!

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    How can _WE_ appeal?

    I think it's fair to say that the majority of el Reg readers are against McKinnon being extradited to the States.

    To that end is anyone running any kind of campaign or petition to uk.gov?

    I know it's probably too little too late but I think we have to do something.

  19. Samuel Walker
    Stop

    How convenient

    That this all came to a head when Downing Street's petition site is on holiday.

    Not that any petition ever gets listened to.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To all the crime / time idiots...

    I think everyone agrees that he's guilty.

    If you spent 5 minutes (generous, as I suspect your literacy skills are sub par) reading the article, you'd see that the debate is over the fitness of the punishment for the crime.

    The argument is that being locked up in a 3rd world state at the whims of a not-too-bright dictator is a bit unfair for an idiot who found a bunch of ill-secured computers.

  21. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge
    Stop

    To be honest...

    I don't really care anything about this guy or the syndrome that he has "suddenly" developed in the hope of garnering some form of sympathy for his case. Whatever syndrome he allegedly had... or now has; it certainly did not inhibit his ability to break into multiple computer systems, at which ever way you look at - is illegal in this country, and most likely illegal in every country around the world. What he was looking for during these hacks is totally irrelevant I feel.

    Should he be extradited? Probabaly not. But it will most likely happen as the UK "authorities" most likely want to get rid of this case ASAP so they can get back to squandering public money on pointless projects and to stop having to make decisions.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Robert

    "Tis total balls though, the guy was in the UK at the time - the crime might have been on machines on US soil but still, the law changed since he committed the crime. Its a bit unfair to drag him to the US."

    Lets look at it from another angle shall we. Lets say somebody in a foreigh country plants a bomb on an airliner that explodes over the UK. Where should they be tried. In the country where they planted the bomb (which may or may not be supportive of their actions), in the UK or in the country where the plane was headed?

    Complicated.

  23. adnim Silver badge

    Three crimes have been commited

    One by Mr McKinnon for breaking into US military systems.

    One by the US government for sloppy security practice which allowed Mr McKinnon to hack said systems.

    One by the UK government for bending over and taking it up the ass from the US.

    Ooops my mistake, buggery was legalised between consenting adults within England and Wales in 1967. So I guess only two crimes have been committed.

  24. Lee

    @Skyraker

    Surely the point should be that he has comitted a crime in the UK. Thats why he should be tried here.

  25. AC
    Flame

    @How can _WE_ appeal?

    "I think it's fair to say that the majority of el Reg readers are against McKinnon being extradited to the States."

    I'm pleased to inform you that I fall into your assumed minority which will turn out to be a majority.

    Either way cheerio to mckinnon, we wont miss you.

  26. Gordon Pryra

    @petition to uk.gov

    Tell you what, why not have a poster campain or an intensive leaflet bombardment!!

    Maybe some natty T-Shirts!!

    N.B. The guy knew he was playing with fire. The fact that what he was so easy should have made him realise that someone would be so embarresed that there was zero chance of him NOT having the book thrown at him.

  27. David Simpson
    Flame

    The man is a huge tool !

    I am FOR extraditing him.

    He did commit the crime on US soil, that where the computers he hacked were.

    Why is the IT community uniting behind this guy, he is an idiot ! He has also spent the last 5 years wasting tax money on legal aid defending something he admitted to doing ! He was offered a soft option of 6 months in minimum security US prision then being sent back to the UK to serve the rest. HE TURNED IT DOWN !

    Asperger Syndrome does not give you the right to commit crime punishment free.

    I hope they throw the book at him, hacking other peoples data is illegal, he certainly didn't do it by accident and he did it right after 9/11 HOW STUPID IS THIS GUY ?

    If he'd hacked the home office and copied several thousand names and addresses of tax payers, the general public would be baying for blood.

    Remember when you see TV pictures of him being dragged into a plane

    HE IS A MASSIVE TOOL !

  28. DMG
    Alert

    @ Anonymous Coward

    There was a petition previously - http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/GaryMcKinnon/

    I would suggest writing to your MP instead and see if you can get them to ask a question in the house.

    http://findyourmp.parliament.uk/commons/l/

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    @AC

    "this is the final straw. They have to go."

    The FINAL straw?? FFs, fella! Where've you been hiding???

    The final Straw was YEARS ago!!

    This Labour supporter turned away about 2 years after Tony Blairius came to 'power'!

    The dude did the crime, so he needs to do the crime. End of.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    @AC RE "@How can _WE_ appeal?"

    "I'm pleased to inform you that I fall into your assumed minority which will turn out to be a majority."

    I doubt it. With the exception of a few slow thinkers like yourself, most readers seem to agree that what he did was wrong, but crucially also understand that McKinnon is likely to face an unjust and disproportionate sentencing in the USA.

  31. Ian Johnston Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    @Lee

    The computers he (allegedly) broke into were in the US. I think that's a pretty good definition of "where the (alleged) crime took place". If someone stood on the French side of the Rhein and shot someone on the German side, wouldn't they be tred in Germany?

    That aside, I'm disappointed that his legal staff have got this far without trying the old "abused in childhood" defence.

    Paris, because unauthorised entry really isn't her thing.

  32. Paul Donnelly
    Black Helicopters

    Civil Disobedience anyone?

    I watched Gandi again the other day... as long as we are willing to stand up for our rights en masse, then we are guaranteed keeping them. There will be a few who suffer greatly at the hands of our oppressors, but the grand majority will benefit.

    Anyone else up for a national day of prayer and meditation? If the entire UK stops for a day, thats billions of our GDP gone, and the government would certainly notice that, after all, our debt is greater than our GDP! Maybe then they'd realise that WE ARE NOT IN AN AMERICAN JURISDICTION, AND HAVE NO DESIRE TO BE.

    I'm extremely disappointed that the French (what with their EU presidency) didnt step up and block this.. but then again, they've all had the alien tech for a while, and it wouldnt do to let the knowledge go public.

    I'd go AC, but there's no point. The police already filmed me for exercising my democratic right ("evidence gathering" - evidence of what?) to go out and publically protest the rather illegal and expensive war in iraq that our government happily piled us into. They probably have a big thick file of my El Reg posts, and I bet that they get a picture of me in my nice new Black Helicopters tee shirt FROM a Black Helicopter before i manage to get one of me in said tee shirt with one of them in the background.... ooh, and I dont doubt the letters to my MP about Phorm will be stashed in there too.

    Mine's the one with the cutout front to proudly display the aforementioned black helicopters tee shirt.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    USA Bully Boy Tatics

    The UK just has no backbone, that grubby little country committed crimes against UK property, remember the Boston Tea Party.

    I think we should posthumously extradite their founding fathers, try them and bury or cremate on English soil. We should also demand that common criminals not appear on monies exchanged on the global market. Declare the bill of independence an illegal document, and take back the Americas again wrongfully stolen from us.

    That's the American attitude, at the end of the day he accessed a few unsecured American computers whilst he was in the UK, so bring charges in the UK.

    Oh, and we really should be going after the Americans who funded the IRA terrorists, they cost actual lives and directly supported terrorism, they are still around today, so yeah let's have a tit for tat you can take our computer cwacker, and we will have those who funded the killing of innocent British lives.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Lee was Re:@Skyraker

    No, he committed the crime from the UK, but committed the crime in the US.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    The US the new USSR

    This should have been tried in a UK court as the crime was committed in the UK. A reasonable sentence for the crime would be somewhere in the region of 6-12 months, possibly suspended. In the words of Albert Pierrepoint (UK hangman):

    "I have come to the conclusion that executions solve nothing, and are only an antiquated relic of a primitive desire for revenge which takes the easy way and hands over the responsibility for revenge to other people"

    US Justice = Goulag

    The people who should be going to the Goulag should be the US military computer system administrators and designers for criminal negligence with respect to security.

  36. Britt Johnston

    petty nationalism

    In these days of hacking, hijacking aircraft, internet betting, or offshore banks, the world is so small that national boundaries aren't relevant. Yet there is disagreement on what an extraditable (i.e. serious) crime is.

    What's needed are some first steps in international justice. The Hague or Guantanamo spring to mind: too bad the Hague ducked the question.

  37. nana

    This is not about where the crime was committed

    There is no doubt that this crime was perpetrated against US systems, irrespective of the perpetrators physical location (amazing thing, the interweb - It allows you to affect actions thousands of miles away).

    The US legislates that such access is illegal, irrespective of the location of the perpetrator (c.f. Sir Ivor Jennings quote that parliament can legislate to ban smoking on the streets of Paris if it so wishes - such is supreme sovereignty). It is that the UK and the USA to agree bilaterally to extradite individuals to the respective jurisdiction, which lends weight to that legislation.

    The issue is not whether he committed a crime, but that he is being extradited with (as far as I know) no presentation of prima facie evidence, on the basis of a unilaterally biased extradition treaty, to a state that has time and again demonstrated a lack of integrity in it's legal process whenever the terrorism card is played.

  38. Jared Earle
    Boffin

    Aspergers?

    I await the "Reiser is innocent" crowd to latch onto this one. Yawn.

  39. Bill

    Erm.....

    Excuse me, but the guy broke the law.

    Extradition is then left to the courts to decide within the restrictions and interpretations of the law of the land and it's international obligations.

    If he didn't want to be extradited he shouldn't have commited the crime. He is no different from any other person who breaks into some-ones house or business.

  40. Charles Silver badge

    So who gets jurisdiction?

    Going to the "bomb in the plane" scenario (we all know where this comes from, so I'll skip it). Suppose a person from one jurisdiction plants a lethal device in a second jurisdiction, the device activates in a third jurisdiction and happens to kill a person from a fourth jurisdiction, and there is no overarching jurisdiction covering all three at once...who gets to try the bastard? Jurisdiction 1 (the perpetrator's home), jurisdiction 2 (the place where the delayed action began), jurisdiction 3 (the place where the delayed action ended), or jurisdiction 4 (the victim's home)? Is there a precedent for such cases?

  41. Duncan
    Paris Hilton

    poor bloke

    @ crime/ timers i agree but the point is he's gonna get delt with far more harshly than he ever could have accounted for.

    my guess is though that he'll only do a small amount of time in the US in some nasty jail then he'll be transfered back to a comfy cell here in the UK with playstation do a couple of years and probably get a degree

    next stop cushy IT security job?

  42. Bill Gould
    Gates Halo

    Charges

    In some fashion his trial will be tied to a terrorist plot and an attempt to subvert the US military, etc.... It's a GitMo he be goin'. He might get a trial... maybe.

  43. George
    Stop

    Quelle surprise?

    Hacking is illegal.

    He knew they were US DoD networks.

    There should be no surprise in this ruling or the succession of previous ones which he has tried to overturn.

  44. James O'Shea Silver badge
    Unhappy

    No sympathy

    The silly bugger hacked Yankee military computers (even if they were shockingly insecure) and got caught. He was offered a short stay in a Club Fed pen before being sent back to Britain. He turned it down.

    Well, now he's gonna get the book thrown at him. Expect a very long stay in a really serious pen, laddie. You should have taken the plea.

    Idiot.

  45. Andy Barber
    Pirate

    @ AC & "Straws and clutching"

    Absolutely agree! Throw away the key!

  46. Robert Hill

    Extradite the loser...

    The guy is a TOTAL liar, and anyone that can't see that is frankly a twat. Looking for UFO information on not one but many US military computers? Right after 9/11? Yeah, THAT'S really likely - because we all thought that UFOs hit the twin towers, right?

    No, he was out to confound the US government, and ended up wasting a whole lot of taxpayer money (that's yours and mine, btw) in both the US and the UK. Stop having sympathy - our governments could have bought each of us reading this a new automobile for what Kinnon has cost us taxpayers. How ANYONE can feel sorry for him, in the slightest, is beyond me. He's a tool, and frankly those that feel sorry for him (at their own financial expense!) are tools too.

    And I repeat someone else's point above - he was offered 6-months in the US/remainder of time in the UK deal 5 years ago...he turned it down, and has made we the taxpayers pay another 5 years of legal fees prosecuting him. Funny, I think my kids could have used that money better, maybe on their schools...

    Send him down a deep, dark hole somewhere for a long time.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Why have some commenters here turned off their brain?

    On the bright side, we will now be able to see clearly how the US press will censor reporting about the case. Hopefully some of the retired US military crowd will finally have some guts and use the opportunity to spill the beans.

    It's kind of hard for me to understand the self-righteous comments of some of the (supposedly British) guys here -- wearing blinders, missing spine, hitting in their pants and not knowing how to spell system buster either, besides having strong pre-programmed but absolutely uninformed opinions... Sorry, got somewhat carried away...

  48. Don MacVittie
    Alert

    Wrong Thinking.

    1. Where he sat when doing the crime is - must be - irrelevant. Failure to extradite him when the crime is an attack on government computers in another state would set a scary standard. Why not extradite him if his attacks were not government sponsored?

    2. All this talk of disproportionate punishment in the states is wrong. I'm not certain where you get your info, but our criminals are treated better than many citizens of third world countries. It's not like he'll get bread and water and the guards will beat him or anything - And he didn't commit a violent crime, so even if they don't give him a break for being a foreigner (they will), he'll be out relatively quickly.

    3. Maybe I missed the point (as a US reader), but it was the European court that stopped his appeal, so why the grousing about Labor? If it was a UK court that would make sense to me. Just trying to understand that bit.

    4. It utterly surprises me that so many people are willing to come to the cause of a criminal. There are so many needy people out there, go try to help homeless or cancer sufferers or veterans and let the criminal serve his punishment.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the guy was an idiot

    He did it. He's said he did it.

    He broke into another nations machines (even if they were woefully secured), and dicked about.

    He was offered 2 years in a minimum security prison then returned to the UK, but decided to be a tit, and now he's going to get punished for being a tit, twice.

    Why would anyone stand up for the guy? He must of had some shocking defence if they did anything other then "just take the damn plea you f------g idiot!"

  50. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    to all the "don't do the crime if you can't do the time" posts

    He didn't DO a crime. The crime he DID do was charged to him and dropped for lack of evidence.

    Should we export Paris Hilton to Saudi Arabia to be stoned to death for showing her bits off? After all, that's illegal there and the internet is a public place (which is why you keep telling us we have no expectation of privacy wrt our ISP's) that extends all the way to Saudi.

    Burn the witch!

  51. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    @Ian Johnson

    "The computers he (allegedly) broke into were in the US. I think that's a pretty good definition of "where the (alleged) crime took place"."

    So how come when it comes to TPB working in Sweden, this is a crime in America? How come BetOnSports operate in the UK but the ex CEO got arrested in the US? When the RIAA tell us that AllOfMP3 is illegal because they have no license in the UK when the copy is made in Russia, how does that work with this new ideal of "where the crime happens"?

    When are the soldiers who "did the crime" and shot innocent civilians going to be sent to trial in Iraq where their actions took place?

  52. Gianni Straniero
    Dead Vulture

    Poor fool

    From the interviews I've seen, he does seem like a harmless sort of chap, but "I was only looking for UFOs" is not a defence to hacking in the same way as "I was only after some tinned ravioli" is not a defence to burglary.

    The "thousands of dollars" of damage he is accused of causing is probably bollocks, though. This was most likely the expense incurred in retrospective security work that should have been done in the first place.

    Still, it's a shame he's going to do some hard bird (hence icon) in the US.

  53. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: This is not about where the crime was committed

    Yeah, but our extradition deal with the US is a teeny tiny bit one-sided. Wait till someone in the US does something approximate to this and we ask to bring them over here for a Dose of British Justice, and see how far we get once they've let go of their sides and wiped their eyes.

    Y'know.

  54. Charles Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Re: petty nationalism

    It may be petty, but it's their identity, and they don't want to give it up. When it comes to sovereignty and identity, there's only one thing every country in the world will agree to when it comes to some overarching governmental authority with actual powers to enforce: they will agree *to disagree*. Fundamental thinking is just to different in too many parts of the world to find any common ground.

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've not followed the case so maybe well Off beam but...

    If the authorities can put as much effort into this case - as they appear to have done - why can't they put a bit more into nailing down some of the more serious commercial and industrial miscreants from the Russian Federation, China and some of our other so called economic and "War_on_Terror" allies.

    He would appear to have done the crime and, like the NatWest 3, is to be USA bound. Possibly a shameful waste and unjust but definitely legal - so far......

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Alien

    Bye.

    Maybe he could take some anti-virus software with him as a peace-offering for NASA...

  57. TomJ

    How was this ever a European problem?

    It's Britain that doesn't have a written constitution which gurantees basic freedoms and constitutional court that decides when laws violate these freedoms, that's why so many such cases end up at the ECHR.

    And last time I checked it was the British parliament that agreed to this ridicolous extradition deal with the US.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    @Sarah

    Hmmm, good point. However, I feel that the justice system in the US is far harsher than our puny system. Therefore, why WOULD we extradite that person to the UK from the US? I know there are a few legal wranglings (*cough!* *splutter*) re:Gatmo, but even so.. I think our clinks are a 'tad' full when there is plenty of jail space elsewhere..

    Mine's the one with the laser-sighted taser in the pocket.

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    @Bill

    "If he didn't want to be extradited he shouldn't have commited the crime."

    When he committed it, this extradition treaty DID NOT EXIST.

  60. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    sigh

    I'm rejecting your prison rape jokes because they ain't funny, and I don't think you really wish that on anyone else, do you? Especially not a Simple Hacker who hasn't even done anything horrid to children or anything.

    If you really do wish that on people then, well, if I were the sort of person who wished it on people, I'd wish it on you. So there.

  61. William Old
    Paris Hilton

    @Britt Johnston

    > the world is so small that national boundaries aren't relevant. Yet there is disagreement on what an extraditable (i.e. serious) crime is.

    I have a degree of sympathy for the issue to which you refer in the first part of your comment, but when you consider the number of uninformed people on this thread who refer to "UK Courts" when there is no such thing (Scotland having its own legal system and Courts, and England & Wales having theirs) that you are going to have an uphill struggle even to generate an intelligent debate on the subject.

    Add to this the impossibility of harmonising key differences between the two jurisdictions (e.g. the age of criminal responsibility in England & Wales is 10, but in Scotland it is 8), and that further complicates things. Even Road Traffic legislation has to cater for this - the offence of "Taking and driving away", S.178 Road Traffic Act 1988, applies only to Scotland because it was needed there - E&W has "Unlawful taking of a motor vehicle" but all Scottish theft and kindred offences are common law offences, not derived from statute.

    I wish you well!

    Paris, because her boundaries are important - I want to find out where she would draw the line...

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @ crime/time-ers

    people like you are another reason i can't wait to scrape a few pennies together and leave this stinking cesspit of a country for good!

    if you really can't see that there's something obscene about a man being dragged off to do hard time in a US prison - for having sat in his foetid bedroom in the UK doing a bit of [ultimately] harmless computer hacking, then i don't want to breathe the same air as you.

    i hope you remember your smug words when the knock on the door in the dead of night sounds and they come and drag you away. because make no mistake, that's the way this country is going. and saying 'well, if you're not doing anything wrong, you've nothing to worry about!' isn't a very sensible attitude to adopt in a state where the list of things that are 'wrong' grows longer every day.

    finally; shame on the european court of human rights for [as the reg puts it] 'washing their hands of the affair'. that was one institution that i actually did have quite a lot of respect for. but i guess that big yankee cock is just so tempting, everyone bends over and spreads 'em eventually!

  63. scotchbonnet
    Happy

    The Best Summation I've Seen

    To the Anonymous Coward who penned the following:

    "He did it. He's said he did it.

    He broke into another nations machines (even if they were woefully secured), and dicked about.

    He was offered 2 years in a minimum security prison then returned to the UK, but decided to be a tit, and now he's going to get punished for being a tit, twice.

    Why would anyone stand up for the guy? He must of had some shocking defence if they did anything other then "just take the damn plea you f------g idiot!"

    I have to say that's the best, most concise summary of this case I've seen. McKinnon has had dozens of opportunities to make more productive decisions for himself throughout this whole travail, right from the outset. He, with the apparent support of his counsel, has consistently made this worse on himself. He should either cut his losses, or stop whinging. He reminds me of one of those fools who gets nicked for some rather minor crime and then escalates their struggle with the PC's into such a battle that they get injured in the process. They had the chance to go along quietly but failed to grasp the significance of that opportunity, thus turning a minor problem into a major beating/cause celebrè.

    True martyrs, political or otherwise, meet their fates willingly, even happily, not whinging, appealing, obstructing, and otherwise making a hash of the whole process. Someone up the comment chain said that McKinnon is a tool. I concur wholeheartedly.

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    @AC, Re @Robert

    "Lets look at it from another angle shall we. Lets say somebody in a foreigh country plants a bomb on an airliner that explodes over the UK. Where should they be tried. In the country where they planted the bomb (which may or may not be supportive of their actions), in the UK or in the country where the plane was headed?

    Complicated."

    Not complicated at all - in that case, you spend years pursuing someone, who then get's tried by a Scottish court formed in the Netherlands, and then lock someone up, despite the evidence not being conclusive, purely because a tin-pot dictator wants to sell some oil.

    Easy.

  65. Mark
    Alert

    @Gianni Straniero

    "The "thousands of dollars" of damage he is accused of causing is probably bollocks, though."

    However, this was REQUIRED to make this incident a criminal offence. Without the thousands in damages, this is a misdemeanour and the extradition would not hold.

    Strange also that EACH offence met the $5,000 minimum to become a criminal act.

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    My advice is for him to..

    Bugger off to Cyprus quick!

  67. Barton71
    Stop

    Its Not A Two Way Street!

    This goes far beyond Gary McKinnon. There is a much bigger picture to see here.

    Firstly, at the moment, the USA can extradite anyone they wish from the UK. They don't even need to show that a crime has been committed. They just need to say that someone in the UK is a suspect in a crime, and there is nothing we can do to stop ourselves being carted off to the USA.

    Secondly, you can be extradited to the USA, even if you have not committed a crime in the UK. For example, there is a couple in Scotland, who sold chemicals, perfectly legally, over the internet, to all the countries in the EU, including the UK, and beyond. Because someone in the USA bought a certain chemical which is banned in the USA, they are in the process of being extradited to the USA for supplying said chemical.

    Thirdly, the UK can not extradite a US citizen under the same circumstances. The USA dont not have to show any kind of evidence when extraditing a UK citizen (a mere allegation is suffice), but the UK still needs to show "probable cause" requirement in the US when seeking to extradite someone from the USA.

    Lastly, the UK authorities had the opportunity to try Gary McKinnon in the UK under the Computer Misuse Act. They declined to do so. Had they tried him in the UK, no matter if he was found guilty or not guilty, he could never have been extradited to the USA.

    Everyone in the UK was sold down the river by Blunkett and New Labour, when he signed this extradition treaty. A treaty, which i might add, was not subject to parliamentary scrutiny until months after it was singed.

  68. Britt Johnston

    @William Old, charles

    Thanks William, you are correct, but missed out the bit about extradition between Scotland and England.

    I think nana and TomJ have it about right, we are back in the other Elizabethan era, where malicious fooling around poking holes becomes terrorism, treason or espionage if the recipient is "the State". (Conspiracy doesn't fit unfortunately, he was too anti-social).

    That is why extradition was, until recently, limited to serious crimes. And why it should be withstood when there is, as Charles says, no common ground.

    I accept the point that English Justice, and ECHR felt it was a waste of money to argue the point, but that is no solid foundation for a more justified case.

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    does anyone agree about anything?

    I mean, seriously....did he break into someone else's computers or not?

    If he did, and admitted it; then there's some time to do. I don't think it really matters WHERE he gets to do the time, but a slap on the wrist is (1) no punishment to him and (2) no warning to others not to do the same.

    Frankly, I doubt anyone in the UK or US wants to spend another blinkin'

    penny on this guy...why should the taxpayers be the ones punished?

    Paris, 'cus i know she wants to get off, too.

    Ohhhh, noes; just found out i have arsehat syndrome..i want to get off too.

  70. Avalanche
    Boffin

    Clarification

    @Britt Johnston:

    > The Hague or Guantanamo spring to mind: too bad the Hague

    > ducked the question.

    The Hague was not involved. The ECHR is not in The Hague, but in Strasbourg.

    I think you are confused with the ICC or one of the other international courts housed in The Hague

    @Dan McVittie:

    > 3. Maybe I missed the point (as a US reader), but it was the European court

    > that stopped his appeal, so why the grousing about Labor? If it was a UK

    > court that would make sense to me. Just trying to understand that bit.

    Citizens of countries within the European Union can appeal decisions of the highest court in their country at various European courts, in this case the European Court of Human Rights. As I read it, the ECHR decided that there was no case for them to decide about (either because it was outside their power, or because it had no merit).

    The fact the British are grousing on Labour, is that a Labour government signed the (unbalanced) treaty with the US that made the extradition without solid evidence possible in the first place.

  71. adnim Silver badge

    His only mistake was...

    He was caught. Advice... Don't hack from a traceable location.

    Even though I have ultimate respect for the US military and the US administration, after all a more altruistic bunch of chaps you could never hope to meet, I feel Mr McKinnons punishment will be a tad disproportionate to the crime.

    All those "He broke the law, he deserves what he gets" advocates. Yup the law is sacrosanct, never wrong and drawn up by the wholly righteous...Excuse me whilst I go throw up.

  72. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Hahahaha....

    No sympathy from me at all - none. He wanted to be a big-mouth and boasted "I am Solo. I will continue to disrupt at the highest levels."

    Now let's see if your ass can pay the cheque your mouth wrote, big boy. Hahahaha!

  73. Andus McCoatover
    Unhappy

    Why the difference in sentences?

    If the sentence is supposed to fit the crime...

    Take a plea and get 6 months or so in a low-security joint

    or:

    Plead innocence and get life with Bubba.

    Erm....anyone see anything a bit amiss here....?

    <Yank-bashing comments here, please>

  74. Mark Manderson
    Happy

    bye bye Gary! bend over and take it like a man (McKinnon that is!)

    I have no pity or feel anything for this bellend.

    He knew what he was doing he was a system Admin, to say he was a bumbling amatuer at hacking is complete tosh....I heard a radio interview with this bellend a month or two back and he was actually complaining because of all the publicity he couldnt get another job in IT......err sorry you tool but that wasnt because of all the bad press, no-one could trust you, you twat!

    the other reason he gave in the interview was that he was looking for ufo evidence as this "should" be for all worldwide......sorry when did you become Fox mulder McKinnon????? That makes it ALL allright then...........

    Hypothetically if someone orchestrated a contract killing from the UK to say a US citizen located in the US at the time of the killing....where would he be trialled.....yup you guessed it US of A, this is not any different, the criminal act of circumventing protection (even if there is none) the PCs without permission is a criminal act and one that a so called "system-admin" would know exactly what he was doing!

    He knew exactly what he was doing, was even handed a mickey mouse trial/sentence chance in the US and the chutney ferret turned it down.

    Get read for Bubba, Gary, your his little puppy now!

    To the posters saying why are we bending over and taking uncle sams beef jerky? Err you ever seen JUST how much £ we owe the US of A for their "help" in WWI and WW2? Think of them like your mean big brother, you know him, the guy who defends you against those little twits at school, then on the way home he demands your Texan bar and tomorrows dinner money cos he "helped" your sorry ass!!

  75. Plankmeister
    Thumb Down

    The punishment should fit the crime...

    Here in Denmark last year a 15-year-old savagely and unprovokedly attacked another guy (family guy - 2 kids and a wife) walking down the street. He jumped up and down on the guy's head until he died. Then he filmed the aftermath on his mobile phone and went to a party, showing off the clip on his phone, and his bloodied shoes and clothes.

    Just a few weeks ago, the attacker (now 16 - who can't be named for legal reasons) was given 4 years in prison, and will likely be out in two.

    And McKinnon caused $a couple hundred K damage to some PCs on an unprotected network and he could potentially end up dying of old age in prison in America.

    What the fuck kind of fucked up society is this? Makes my blood boil.

  76. This post has been deleted by its author

  77. adnim Silver badge

    @Plankmeister

    It is acceptable for us to commit the most abhorrent atrocities to each other, especially as this does not damage property/material wealth, the state or status quo. But woe betide those who do shit on the system, the wealth or the tools of control.

    Scary isn't it?

    Makes my blood boil too, but McKinnon exposed the incompetence of the US military machine. He has to pay for his crime against those tools of control. What's more he has to be made an example of to others who may question at or any point doubt the righteousness of our overlords.

  78. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Don MacVittie

    "I'm not certain where you get your info, but our criminals are treated better than many citizens of third world countries. It's not like he'll get bread and water and the guards will beat him or anything"

    Whoopty-f***ing-Dooo! American jails are better than third world jails! Who'd a thunk it????

    I'm sure that we're all glad that you set yourself such high standards to live up to.

  79. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To hack or not to hack

    Robert Morgan wrote:

    "Hacking into US Military stuff is serious but honestly, if its that important it should be on a private network, not the internet... live and learn, if the same happened to a US company from a hacker in the UK I doubt the same rules would apply here."

    He claimed that some of the systems didn't even have passwords set. Getting into a system just by telnetting in without a password, or even the use of the system default password, in my view isn't hacking. Hacking to me, is where you put some effort in to defeat the security measures in place.

    I don't know what the legal definition of hacking and perhaps there isn't one.

    But leaving a door open, people walking in and taking a look around and walking backout, in my view is completely different to spending hours kicking the door down, walking in, trashing the place, stealing stuff and then walking back out.

    They're going to try to sentence him for the latter scenario, which allegedly he didn't do. It's a show trial and he's going to be made the scape goat for the incompentence of the American Military.

  80. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Response to David Simpson

    David Simpson wrote:

    "I am FOR extraditing him.

    He did commit the crime on US soil, that where the computers he hacked were."

    No he did not commit the crime on US soil. He was actually phsyically located in the UK at the the time. That is fact. The target of his attack were computers in America.

    You're trying to suggest that because his target was in America that's grounds for his extradition. Sorry mate, that's not the way the law works.

  81. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Response to Domn MacVittie

    Don MacVittie wrote

    "1. Where he sat when doing the crime is - must be - irrelevant. Failure to extradite him when the crime is an attack on government computers in another state would set a scary standard. Why not extradite him if his attacks were not government sponsored?"

    No! The location of where he sat when he committed the crime is very relevant.

    For someone to be extradited to another country, the crime he has committed in the other country must also be a crime (offence) in his home country, otherwise he can not be extradited.

    Supposing, under UK law, hacking into another computer was not illegal, and he hacked in to computers in the USA, he could not be extradited.

    So, it is in fact, very relevant where he was sitting at the time he committed the offence.

  82. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mutiple Jurasdictions

    "Suppose a person from one jurisdiction plants a lethal device in a second jurisdiction, the device activates in a third jurisdiction and happens to kill a person from a fourth jurisdiction, and there is no overarching jurisdiction covering all three at once...who gets to try the bastard? Jurisdiction 1 (the perpetrator's home), jurisdiction 2 (the place where the delayed action began), jurisdiction 3 (the place where the delayed action ended), or jurisdiction 4 (the victim's home)? Is there a precedent for such cases?"

    The answer to this problem is a simple one. Juradisctions 2,3,4 experienced crimes.

    For each crime in the jurasdictions, each jurasdiction would need to be determine whether their particular crime is also a crime in Jurasdiction 1. If the answer is yes, and the jurasdiction has an extradition agreement with jurasdiction 1, then J2,3,4 can approach J1 for extradition.

    Who gets him? Anyone's guess. One or none. He can't be in more than one place at a time.

    With this approach, there's no need for a precedent, an apparantly complex scenario is broken down to a simple one, and this principle can be applied to whatever the complexity of scenario: and that's the way it has to be, otherwise you'd end up forming legislation for every conceivable scenario in advance of any possible act being committed.

  83. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Labour government

    Barton71 wrote:

    "Everyone in the UK was sold down the river by Blunkett and New Labour, when he signed this extradition treaty. A treaty, which i might add, was not subject to parliamentary scrutiny until months after it was singed."

    Anyone else noticed that most of what this useless Labour goverment does is against the interests of the citizens of the UK?

    Name me something substantial that has actually been in our favour?

  84. Viet
    Boffin

    @Ian Johnston

    "If someone stood on the French side of the Rhein and shot someone on the German side, wouldn't they be tred in Germany?"

    Bad analogy ; it's prohibited in France to extradite french nationals (doesn't prevent them to be tried home, though, provided the alleged crime exists in french laws).

  85. adnim Silver badge

    Oh I forgot to add,

    this is for our own good, it is the "free" western world they are protecting after all.

  86. Carlos Incognitos

    sorry to say ...

    Great Britain has been cancelled.

    Very disappointing to read so many dismally ignorant comments from the educated - one might have thought - readers of The Reg.

    Surely the real point is not that a clever brother fiddled around in the US military machines, but that the British parliament, along with their European counterparts, have allowed the US law authorities to extend their menacing grip over the Atlantic, with barely a hint of an agreed legal framework to support their claim.

    Shame on Amerika ! Shame on the UK !

    I'll feel sorry for Mr Gary McKinnon as he is dragged away by a dumbf**k US bounty hunter. And very sorry for the ignorant educated Brits who scorn him.

    Their fate may well be even worse.

    Carlos

    Canada

  87. George
    Stop

    @ AC about Extradition

    You clearly don't have a grasp of what an extradition treaty is. It is a legal agreement between two governments to send a suspected criminal residing in it's borders to the country in which the crime took place. Many things are considered before signing this including the "trial by jury" and Human Rights Charter points. It is not based on individual laws.

    Why is it that when these stories come about controversial and mainstream worthy El Reg suddenly get inundated with ACs keen to make a point that they can't be held to account for.

    Paris at least when she makes a point she sticks around to take the flack.

  88. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Key Points

    1. He is innocent until proven guilty. There has been no trial, no evidence submitted and no judge or jury has convicted him of committing a crime. So as far as THE LAW is concerned you cannot say he is guilty of these alleged acts. He has not admitted to causing damage, and it is the damage that qualifies him for extradition.

    2. A foreign government, without evidence of a crime taking place, can request the extradition of a British national. The problem with this is the potential for mistakes or at worse abuse of this power. This treaty does not protect British citizens, but appears to have added protection for US citizens.

    3. It appears he was offered a "deal" but at the same time there were NO GUARANTEES to this deal. A huge risk if he accepted and then they threw the book at him anyway. What is worrying is the disproportionate proposed sentences 2-3 years if he accepted the deal vs 8-10 years. The veiled threat of a maximum security prison and no chance for repatriation seems to be an attempt to abuse the plea bargaining process. A heavy handed approach that forces people to plead guilty - essentially coercion...

    4. The "trial" if there is one (and remember the US has a history of not even giving people a trial!) is unlikely to be "by his peers". Having a trial in a place (round the corner from the Pentagon) where the jurors are likely to have friends or family working for those affected by his alleged damaging activities - also seems unfair. These points need to be considered if he is to have a fair trial.

    If you compare his case to other hacks etc it just seems that the response by the US does not fit the crime. Why are they doing this? To make him an example? To protect secrets? Or simply because he had the audacity to refuse their deal? Either way it appears many people think that the UK government should protect one of our citizens from an approach that does not seem "fair".

    I agree that McKinnon has been foolish (he may even be guilty!), but even fools need protecting when foreign governments start to overrule people's fundamental rights. Everyone, including McKinnon, has the right to a fair trial - will he get this in the US?

    This whole thing is bigger than McKinnon and we need to reevaluate the extradition treaty in light of cases like this.

  89. Darren Barratt

    @Mark Manderson

    "Err you ever seen JUST how much £ we owe the US of A for their "help" in WWI and WW2"

    None. They received the final payment in 2006.

  90. MYOFB

    Shame On All of US!!

    FOR and AGAINST this extradtion!!

    Yeah, it can be said that GM's lawyers turned his case, appeal and all other appeals, into a circus but FFS how can anyone criticise THEM and HIM for that, when you are doing so much WORSE than they could ever do??!!

    This is NOT . . . I repeat . . NOT, a REALITY TV show. It is NOT any type of SHOW!! This is real life . . . someones REAL LIFE!! Not one that can be decided with the push of a voting button!!

    Nor is it one that deserves to be placed in the same context as such a SH(AM)OW!!

    Is GM guilty of the charges? YES!!

    Is GM guilty of being innocent? NO!!

    Is GM guilty??? I would like to say "The Jury is out on that one" . . . but obviously it isn't.

    Quick . . . Flick to another channel . . .Get another update on who's NON REAL life you have just decided to discard!!

    Do I think GM is guilty?? My answer . . .

    . . . It doesn't really matter what I think as an individual . . . It doesn't really matter what YOU think . . . as an individual.

    All that really matters is . . .

    That you feel comfortable and at ease with the bunch of FUCKTARDS you voted for back in 1997 along with the FUCKTARDS you voted for back in 1979!!

    Feeling comfortable and at ease then?? Well you shouldn't . . . Because you are the biggest FUCKTARDS out of all of them!!

    I will sign off with this . . .

    Depending on your beliefs, you are either gonna take an UP escalator to the Pearly Gates or a DOWN elevator to the fires of Hades!!

    Me? . . . Probably the latter but only because the former is a load of Bollocks!!

    Don't like my viewpoint?? Then BITE ME!!

    So, anyway . . . We all get to the bottom of the Hades elevator, the doors open and we are confronted with . . .

    "Right MOFO's . . . We aint got all day . . . get your sorry asses outta the lift and listen carefully as you do . . .

    "All you CUNTS line up against the LEFT wall and all you BASTARDS line up against the RIGHT wall !!"

    Everyone was all lined up and ready to go, when one dazed recruit came out of the elevator and tapped Old Nick on his shoulder and said . . .

    "I am not a CUNT!!"

    Old Nick's reply??!! . . . .

    "Well get over there . . . YOU BASTARD !!!!!!"

    Think about it . . . It could happen to you!!

  91. Chris Forzetting
    Alien

    Opportunity and chances

    1. He has admitted the offense, so the 'prima facie evidence' issue seems moot.

    2. He had the chance for the easy sentence if he would have extended his confession (one obtained by British authorities, not a CIA black bag team) to a guilty plea.

    3. By being stubborn and unreasonable, he has gone into the "it's not the crime, it's the stupidity in not just going to the easygoing jail for six months and getting things over with, but instead wasting almost three years' worth of time and money" zone, so the comments about how the sentence is expected to be disproportionate seem a bit vapid... he he had his chance for the slap on the wrist sentence that many commentators have suggested feels right to them, and threw it away.

    Ave Atque Vale.

    (Perhaps he will be abducted by aliens and not only be saved from jail but vindicated in his UFO beliefs... or not.)

  92. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The only thing 'great'

    about Great Britain is the sign that says 'Thank you for visiting. Please come again'

    Not bloody likely!

  93. scotchbonnet
    Stop

    @plankmeister

    "Here in Denmark last year a 15-year-old savagely and unprovokedly attacked another guy (family guy - 2 kids and a wife) walking down the street. He jumped up and down on the guy's head until he died. Then he filmed the aftermath on his mobile phone and went to a party, showing off the clip on his phone, and his bloodied shoes and clothes.

    Just a few weeks ago, the attacker (now 16 - who can't be named for legal reasons) was given 4 years in prison, and will likely be out in two."

    Yep, you've got a right mess on your hands in Denmark if someone who commits a heinous crime such as the one you describe gets out in two years, juvenile or no. My blood would boil too. Sounds as though your legal system (judges, prosecutors, etc) need to get their priorities set straight. It's pretty hard to feel safe in a society in which brutal thrill killing is given such a light punishment. Maybe you ought to consider forming some kind of a movement to get the judges and prosecutors removed and more sensible ones installed in office.

    But, that said, the fact that your boy will slide out of gaol so fast, really has no bearing on what McKinnon may, or may not get with respect to a sentence. It's just a tad presumptuous to think, or even consider that the schedule of punishments for crimes is the same the world around. If you're worried that McKinnon may serve a longer sentence in the US for his crimes than your teeny murderer will in Denmark, does it upset you that people in Iran are hung for being homosexual? Does it trouble you that people are caned and lashed in Indonesia for drugs possession? Does it make your blood boil that men (fathers and brothers) in Muslim cultures the world around get a pass from Sharia courts for murdering their daughters/sisters for dishonouring their families?

    If so, why aren't you mentioning your outrage at these travesties at the same time as you're blasting the US?

  94. David Simpson
    Flame

    @RotaCyclic

    @RotaCyclic

    "McKinnon said the legal basis for his appeal was that the extradition treaty under which he is to be sent to the US has not been ratified by the American government."

    Actually read the whole treaty, If a person is charged for an offence they can be extradited to be tried for the crime, doesn't matter where you are, the computers are in America they were attacked the offence happened in the States regardless of where Gary was.

    After all the Lockerbie bombers were tried in Scotland and one of them is still in prison outside Glasgow, how is Gary any different ?

    and don't call me "mate" I'm really not.

  95. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  96. Plankmeister

    @scotchbonnet

    Every person in the world knows that killing someone in cold blood is a far more serious crime than hacking into a poorly secured network.

    The reason I mentioned the Danish killing is because it's been all over the media here recently, and it's caused a lot of uproar here - understandably.

    At the same time, of course I also have boiling blood at all the other attrocities you mentioned. They have no place in modern society. But I can hardly go ranting on about every injustice in the world to placate you. IMHO Sharia law should be abolished. It has no place in modern society.

    I was merely making an observation about the imbalance between two western countries who have similar legal and sentencing systems.

    America's actions in this case are inexcusable. They are over-reacting. Fair enough, the guy committed a crime, and he should be punished for it. But making an example of him will NOT prevent people in future from hacking. If they wish to prevent future attacks they should properly secure their network.

    Imagine a scenario where you left your house unlocked while you were out and a guy lets himself in. He looks around a bit, goes through any papers he finds, maybe moves the furniture around a bit, leaves a bit of graffiti on the walls. Maybe even eats what's in the fridge, sleeps in your bed and watches your TV. This happens for a few months every time you go out. The police catch the guy. He's been a severe irritation to you. Is it justifiable to send him to prison for the rest of his natural life? I think not.

    As I said: The punishment should fit the crime.

  97. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    @ Chris Forzetting

    1. He has admitted the offense, so the 'prima facie evidence' issue seems moot.

    > Chris, he hasn't admitted to damaging US computers, this is the charge that qualifies him for extradition. The US should have to PROVE he did the damage, and not the other 50 odd hackers that had access to those systems. Considering how poor their security was I suspect they do not have any evidence that proves he did the damage. SO, prima facie evidence SHOULD be provided by the US. Yes I know the treaty does not require this for UK citizens - but it should! Please review the treaty Jacqui!

    2. He had the chance for the easy sentence if he would have extended his confession (one obtained by British authorities, not a CIA black bag team) to a guilty plea.

    > There were no guarantees that the sentence would be easy. The plea bargaining process was also abused by the US authorities when they threatened him to max security prison and no repatriation. Essentially he was being coerced to admit he had caused the damage.

    3. By being stubborn and unreasonable, he has gone into the "it's not the crime, it's the stupidity in not just going to the easygoing jail for six months and getting things over with, but instead wasting almost three years' worth of time and money" zone, so the comments about how the sentence is expected to be disproportionate seem a bit vapid... he he had his chance for the slap on the wrist sentence that many commentators have suggested feels right to them, and threw it away.

    > Stubborn and unreasonable? Regardless of how long it takes his right is for due process and a fair trial. As I stated the plea bargaining process did not include any guarantees and if he is not guilty of the damage (remember he is presumed innocent!) why would he accept the guilty plea? If someone simply accused you of theft and then threatened to put you away for life if you try to defend yourself - would you admit guilt even if you didn't do it - just to serve 2 years instead of 70? Remember at this point there is no proof you actually committed the theft!

    People need to be objective about this. This isn't about hacking, McKinnon, general hatred towards the US, Aspergers or damaging US computers. This is about a fair process for British citizens, a fair treaty and basically common sense! This is a great example of the difference between the law and justice....

  98. Nemo Metis
    Thumb Up

    damage...

    right, so we all know he accessed the computers, that's nothing to quibble over. we all know that the UK and Kinnon are being well and truly shafted by this extradition treaty, which buggers us all really. I'm still trying to figure out why this has become so bloody big. Yes, he accessed the computer, due to very lax security, butno harm no foul surely. There is bugger all evidence that any of this so-called "thousands of pounds worth of damage" happened. Hell, if the damage happened, i think that would have constituted news given the overall effect any damage would do to those systems.

    And why are they baying for his blood so hard? Should they be offering the guy a job, as their own people clearly aren't up to it.

    time to hitch hike my way around the rest of the universe...

  99. James O'Shea Silver badge
    Flame

    One more time

    McKinnon was offered a plea whereby he got a few months in a Club Fed, such as the Federal Minimum Security Penitentiary at Eglin Air Force Base here in Florida. The cons at Eglin mostly spend their time raking the sand traps and otherwise doing groundskeeping at the officer's golf course on the base. When they get done with their groundskeeping, they can use the golf course themselves so long as they don't get in the way of the officers. This is more than the enlisted men at Eglin can do... God-damn, but that's hard time. Raking sand and trimming grass in the morning, doing a few rounds of golf in the evening, maybe getting a furlough off the base that night. Durance vile, you betcha.

    And then, after a short Florida vacation at taxpayer expense, he'd have been flown back across the Atlantic to dear old Blighty.

    As he's _admitted_ that he did the crime, it all appears that he simply doesn't want to do the time. Well, he should have taken the plea. Now he's got gonna get a short stay, and his much longer stay ain't gonna be in a Club Fed. Probably something more like Leavenworth, Kansas, or Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The weather ain't as nice as Florida, the inmates ain't well-behaved white collar crims, and the cons don't get to play golf.

    The idiot should have taken the plea.

  100. Bill

    Anonymous Coward

    Oh how tiresome of you Anonymous.

    The Extradition Treaty of 2003 didn't exist but the Extradition Treaty of 1972 did. Under the 1972 treaty Gary McKinnon could have been extradited given prima facie evidence against him. Note that it is prima facie evidence not absolute evidence of the crime.

    As he has admitted the crime he would have been extradited.

  101. AC

    @ Bill

    Are you saying he admitted to damaging US computers? Because it is the damage part of the alleged crime that qualifies him for extradition... He admitted to accessing those computers but NOT the damage.

    The US has claimed thousands of pounds worth of damage that they have no evidence that McKinnon contributed to... and he hasn't admitted to causing the damage. Sorry Bill, one more time, he hasn't admitted to causing the damage and there is no proof he did it.

    The NEW treaty doesn't require prima facie evidence and THAT is the problem I have with it.

    Under the 1972 extradition treaty he would NOT have been extradited.

  102. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Andus McCoatover

    The reason for pleas,

    Simply put if you take a plea you save the government the expense and difficulty of trying you (also in other cases it means less distress for various people and so on) as such you've shown some honesty, and saved alot of time and money.

    This tit has made this a very expensive case indeed and he is going to get stuffed as hard as possible for making it so.

    As an aside, if the appeal courts, the high court and the european court all think he should go, I don't think the armchair lawyers here have much on all those guys.

    There are some things generally wrong with laws and lawmaking today (extreme porn laws, allowing rumours to end careers, using child "protection" databases to profile kids, national id databases, making security tools illegal), this isn't one of them.

  103. Bill

    Disgusted

    ...and four spelling errors in my last post. I am disgusted with myself.....

  104. Bill

    @AC

    I beg to disagree.

    With only knowing what is in the press and none of the details I would still suggest there is enough prima facie evidence to ensure that extradition would have occured under the rules of the 1972 extradition treaty.

    Bear in mind this, if all of this happened in Britian Gary McKinnon would still face trial. Why, because enough prima facie evidence suggests that he committed a crime. The court case would then decide if this is true or not.

    Under the 1972 Extradition Treaty McKinnon would face extradition if the prima facie evidence is sufficient to warrant a criminal trial.

    It seems to me that you are mixing emotion with facts. I too dislike the 2003 Extradition Treaty as being inordinately weighted in favour of the American Interests and not British Interests. It is highly unfair and therefore the Government that agreed to it were not acting in British interests but that of America. That to my mind is incomprehensibly incompetent and verging on a form of treason on the British Governments behalf. The Americans have acted in their interests as they should be expected to do.

    However, Gary McKinnon admitted to illegal access of computer networks. The American Authorties assert that damage was done. The court case would be to ascertain the verasity of that ascertion. America do not need to prove that damage was done just present evidence that, on the face of it (that is what prima facie means) the damage was linked to the illegal access.

  105. Gary

    The Late Mr Joyce

    Shortly after WW2, (You remember, the war immediately after the war to end ALL wars!) we executed a particularly nasty piece of shit who had been doing his best to demolish the morale of Britain by broadcasting on German radio to gloat over the way WW2 was going. (How he kept going towarrds the end beats me!) He claimed a few things in his defence, but he did noit, as far as I know, try this one. (Who knows,in future law books this may be called "The McKinnon Defence.".) Anyway,we topped the bastard who rejoiced in the nickname of "Lord Haw Haw" and rightly so. The point is, he comitted the act in Germany but against us,the Brits. I see a definite parallel here. Don't worry,all you pinko liberal faggots, I am NOT advocating we strung up poor Mr McKinnon. Let him teach IT in SanQ! Gary

  106. James O'Shea Silver badge
    Flame

    Lord Haw Haw & McKinnon

    IIRC the then British Gov really, really, REALLY wanted to hang him. They searched, hard, to find something they could use, and finally found the Treason Act of 13xx (I think 1348, but don't hold me to that) and used that. The moral of the story: don't seriously piss off a government. They _will_ find something to nail you with, and then they will swing the hammer as hard as they can.

    McKinnon, by first breaking into the computers, and then by spending _years_ dodging what could have been settled easily--if he'd taken the plea _he would already be back in Blighty_ by this time--has seriously pissed off the American government. And they have found some nails and a really big hammer and intend to use said hammer vigourously.

    He should have taken the plea. Idiot.

  107. JimC Silver badge

    Rampant xenophobia on display...

    honestly, its worse than the Sun.

    Still, look, on the bright side, I bet all the lawyers, especially his, have earned a decent whackout of this case, so its not all bad is it?

  108. Bill

    @James O'Shea

    Actually, I think you will find that William Joyce (aka Lord Haw Haw - along with at least three other broadcasters as the alias was applied to almost any broadcaster from Germany using English at that time) was tried under the Treason Act of 1945.

    A Government does not have to search for an obscure law to try people with when they can make them up as they go along!

    I also agree, he should have accepted the plea bargain.

  109. amanfromMars Silver badge
    Alien

    Leadership Vacancies ...... Universal dDivision/Global Matters Sub DivisionD

    "McKinnon, by first breaking into the computers, and then by spending _years_ dodging what could have been settled easily--if he'd taken the plea _he would already be back in Blighty_ by this time--has seriously pissed off the American government. And they have found some nails and a really big hammer and intend to use said hammer vigourously.

    He should have taken the plea. Idiot." .... By James O'Shea Posted Friday 29th August 2008 22:05 GMT

    James,

    What it has highlighted admirably, are Idiots supposedly piloting Blighty and Europe. And that is a Myth which has been comprehensively destroyed and extraordinarily rendered to be a Fiction.

    And it is not the American government seriously pissed off, but rather some incompetent dolt who lobbies hard for dodgy systems easily entered by inquisitive minds, sat in some armchair far too big for his limited talents and now they are scamming for a foreign scapegoat too, whenever the problem is In House at the Executive Administration Level ....... probably some Jumped up, Wannabe Commander in Chief Type Bozo...... suffering Delusions of Grandeur and Hubris.

    One of those Useless Idiots who think themselves Indispensable and Untouchable.

  110. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    Maybe commenters should have to attach a "country of origin" flag...

    You know, you get a chance to set up a username for your account, password, etc. etc. Maybe we should offer up the ability to (preferably require) a country of origin tag. And the ability to filter comments based on country. In a situation like this, it would be really very interesting to see how many of these comments came from Americans, and how many came from That Part Of The World That Isn't The US.

    For the record, I'm Canadian, and I think the guy should have the book thrown at him. In a BRITISH court. A European court? (Does the EU have an EU-wide court system that could/would deal with this?) Hell, give him to us, we'll try and convict him here in Canada, and give him a FAIR sentence.

    For the love of whatever deity you may or may not believe in, don't throw him to the barbarians. Giving him to the USians for "justice" is like torturing animals for pleasure. It's just wrong, no good will ever come out of it, and everyone else loses huge gobs of respect for you. If I had any respect left for the UK, it's gone now. It's managed to get itself added to my list of "countries never to visit under any circumstances whatever." Right there in the number two slot. Below the United States.

    And for all those that disagree: it'd be interesting to see where YOU come from, and what values your culture is imparting you.

  111. Bill

    @Anonymous Coward

    Not that it matters but I am an expat-British.

    All countries go through good and bad times. Britain is going through a bad time now mainly through lack of leadership and the electrorate choosing politicians who are "nice" in preference to those who are competent.

    Regardless of whether you agree with the extradition or not, it is beholden on Britian to fulfill it's obligations. This is the honourable thing to do. No-one forced British politicians to sign the Extradition Treaty of 2003 with America but now they have we have a duty to see it through.

    Britain should, though, renegotiate the whole deal as it is unfair and unjust.

  112. Andus McCoatover

    @@Andus McCoatover

    Yep, appreciate that.

    Problem is, the disparagy 'twixt the sentences. Saving time and money - costs a person's life?? Is life so cheap in Uncle Sam's Bighouse? Coercion or what? What if the 'perp' believes (s)he's innocent? Or, lawyers convince him (s)he is ? (OK, IIRC, Mr. GM admits he dunnit)

    As I said before, lookup Lotfi Raissi. And castrate Bubba while you're at it.

    After the above (Lotfi Raissi) debacle, who trusts US justice? Sigh.

  113. amanfromMars Silver badge
    Alien

    Chickens coming Home to Roost

    "The Government of the United States have sought his extradition from the United Kingdom to stand trial on charges of fraud-related activity in connection with computers. He is alleged to have gained unauthorised access to military computers in the United States from his home in the United Kingdom." .... ECHR Press Release: European Court of Human Rights refuses request for interim measures by Gary McKinnon .... http://freegary.org.uk/

    What fraud-related charges?

    Gaining unauthorised access to military computers in the United States from homes in the United Kingdom is a Fault in and the fault of Routers with Dodgy Network Keys/SAPs .... Special Access Programs.

    Sue the Arse of those Shysters* who provide Military Systems with Sub Prime Security Controls. Hell, who's to say that they are not Snooping on All Military Activity themselves as it Routes through their Systems and as we all Know, all such traffic is easily copied/split/diverted for ........ Special Interest Attention.

    Hell, boy, it is QuITe Probable that the Register flies a Red Flag at Fort Meade and/or Cisco and/or Langley and/or GCHQ and/or BEA and/or...... although if listening is all that they do because they don't really understand the new Binary Landscaping Tools of open source Codes, then they aint worth a jot in Solutions with Applied ProgramMIng and are themselves an Intelligence Fraud ..... which is probably what they are trying to hide/avoid.

    Hell, that stable is empty with the horse bolted some time ago now.

    * Some Friends are really Enemies masquerading as Friends

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