back to article Mayor Boris backs McKinnon in extradition fight

Gary McKinnon has attracted the support of London Mayor Boris Johnson. In his weekly column in the Daily Telegraph, the Tory mayor calls upon President Barack Obama to ask US prosecutors to abandon efforts to extradite the British hacker, who faces a seven-count US indictment of allegations he broke into US military and Nasa …

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  1. Paul

    Make this man prime minister...

    "How can the British government be so protoplasmic, so pathetic, so heedless of the well-being of its own people, as to sign the warrant for his extradition?"

    It's a shame that so many people in government seem to have forgotten who they work for.

    One of the downsides of having long lived governments I think. They get too used to being in power and forgot how and why they got there.

  2. Skyraker
    Thumb Up

    Make politics fun

    Boris for P.M.

  3. Ian
    Alien

    So what about Mandelson?

    I don't know about Brown or Darling but claims of Peter Mandelson being of lizard origin would have a certain ring of truth about them.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Take that Merkins

    with Boris on the case you had better be scared.

    With his buffoonery he will make you wish you never illegally stole tea and then dumped it in our Boston estuary, bunch of colonial squatters.

  5. Keith_C
    Thumb Up

    Good old BoJo

    Once again he affirms his position as one of the very few politicians in the world I would willingly buy a drink for.

  6. RichardB
    Thumb Up

    Boris For PM

    you know it makes sense.

  7. michelle
    Heart

    I LOOOOOOOOOVE BORIS

    thats it

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The lizards from Tharg have clearly got to Boris

    However, I, for one, welcome etc. etc.

  9. Mark
    Alien

    RotM

    He should be brought in on ElReg's team investigating Lizard Army softening up techniques, then.

    I, for one, welcome our green-men-hunting overlords!

  10. Jack Evans

    My God

    Boris said something I agree with!!!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Heh

    "Perhaps Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling are themselves supersized saurians who have been sent on a 10-year mission to wreck the UK economy, in preparation for the great lizard takeover."

    I love that part!

    But I need to say - most of the article is quite well written and intelligent. All that American bullying has gone way too far - here - and as well all over the world.

  12. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    I can't say it better than Boris

    So I won't. But he is definitely right about this case and in his assessment of the spineless British Govt, which, for the lack of ability to hurt any other nation on Earth is doing it's damnedest to hurt this one.

    This Lizard thing is interesting though - I was often wondering if it was just an illusion when I could just seem to see greenish scales glistening on Alistair Darlings's face in some TV interviews. And this funny movement Gordon does with his jaw now and again - now I'm sure it is to hide the forked tongue when the fly swatting reflex takes over...

  13. Richard
    Thumb Up

    For all the good it will do...

    Still, good ol' Boris!

  14. Dunstan Vavasour

    Prosecuting the negligent

    Prosecuting those who gain unauthorised access to computer systems is the equivalent of putting an ambulance at the bottom of a cliff.

    This vigorous pursuit of McKinnon looks to be 100% about deflecting attention from the DoD's lax security, and 0% about safeguarding US national security.

    However, if there is an existing extradition treaty, the letter of that treaty must be complied with. If it is a poor treaty then it should be renegotiated, but this case cannot be taken outside its scope on its own.

  15. John Bayly
    Thumb Up

    I love this guy (but not in a prison movie way)

    And I'm still annoyed that Londoners voted him in. The moment I moved into his (now former) constituency, he upped sticks and left for the big smoke.

    Nice to see El Reg acknowledge that he's not a bumbling fool either.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Bah-ris

    If Boris isn't careful, he will end up dead in a ditch somewhere - with all the blood drained from his body.

  17. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects
    Boffin

    Yo Bo" You go!

    I agree wholeheartedly. In fact I wouldn't even send him for trial. Anyone who has open servers is fair game.

    If anyone should be sorted out in a US court it should be the Windozing IT buffoons of the Unsafe Stupids of America.

    As for comparative terrrrst values. The kidnapping Victims now being held in a Cuban coaling station are more dangerous to the US for being held in a Cuban coaling station than anything else. Even the one they call Ossama's right hand man was tortured into admitting everything.

    The records have all been hidden/removed/destroyed and their suspected activities must therefore be regarded as zero thus a multi-dudes of such people will have, as Boris indicates, as much value as the Brit in fomenting terrorism.

  18. Eddie

    You gotta hand it to Boris

    He does a rant better than just about other pundit. Being right is also a help.

    More attention should be drawn to the hideous one-sided extradition deal that our lords and masters (Blair and Brown) have agreed to with the US - we didn't even get a kiss after they screwed us over - we have to extradite our people, the US don't

    This is not a treaty. It's the first step to subjugation.

    Cheers!

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Go Boris, Go Boris, Go Go Go !!!

    Ever since catching Boris on TV over two Saturdays (can't recall the title, but it was about Christianity and Islam) I have been consistently amazed at how well an obviously educated, cultured, intelligent man can be portrayed as a "buffoon".

    Then I remembered "I Claudius".

    I am also impressed with Boris political nous and way of speaking - he's like the history teacher you always hoped you'd get. You may not learn much history, but who else could quote from "Pulp Fiction" when discussing the crusades ?

    Open note to Tory Party : If Boris led you, I *might* vote for you ......

    Can we have an "up yours septics" icon ?

  20. Chris
    Thumb Up

    Well well

    I didn't vote for BojoCop and I didn't like him banning booze on the tube, but he's absolutely spot-on with this one.

    Our goverment should simply refuse to hand over McKinnon. Unfortunately they are utterly retarded, and completely out of touch with what the people want.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Go Boris

    Entertaining to the end. Why cant more politicians be like this? Not saying he is right or wrong... just refreshingly Barak.

  22. fixit_f
    Thumb Up

    I didn't vote for him, and he's a raging Tory nadsack.....

    .... but on this occasion he's been one of the few public figures to take any interest in this farce and put some kind of perspective on it - well done him.

  23. M Room
    Coat

    Crap charges

    If the USA top security system was entered then they should be paying this guy for showing up their weakness, not prosecuting him.

    What actually is the offence - their was no damage to their system, no "stolen" information for financial gain and basically they have actually made total fools of themselves (and even worse, continue to do so) by showing up how insecure their system was to the rest of the world.

    Perhaps the American saying "Have a nice day" should be changed to "Get a Life".

    Mines the one with the file of blank passwords in the pocket.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Boris went up in my expectations...

    ... when the letters came out from Police Chief Sir Ian Blair demanding Boris withdraw his "the police were trigger happy in the Menedez shooting" comment.

    I reckon Blair was wrong to demand Boris shut up. Boris was right, and even if he wasn't he was entitled to voice his opinion.

    That Boris didn't immediately roll over to the Rozzers showed promise that's rarely seen these days. If a senior politicians can't protect his own right to free speech from overzealous rozzers then how can the rest of us?

    As for this case, again I agree with Boris. The extradition treaty is one sided, it was Tony Blairs feltching of Bush and should be made more balanced.

    I hope the courts kick it out, since Parliament decides what is a crime here, not foreign powers, yet that treaty permitted extradition for offences that are not crimes in the UK but are crimes in the USA, it did not require it to be an offence in the UK. It had the effect of letting US define a crime to apply to the UK, that was not defined by Parliament.

    Since Parliament is the ultimate authority that was not consistent with Parliamentary authority.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Shame...

    That it takes Boris to provide some balence (even if it is in Boris-style) to the public side of this argument. But maybe everyone else is too focussed on the race to cosy up to the new American administration.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    Anyone else out there

    Remember how many IRA paramilitary soldiers, fundraisers and bombers ran to the US as they were guaranteed not to be extradited back to the UK for trial? Then they have the nerve to accuse libya of funding terrorism.,....look in your backyard before ratting on your neighbours

    McKinnon just happened to find a machine open and accessed it, had it been a bank, they'd have denied it and covered it up

    Short memories them yanks have, like coming in to a war just as it's over and making films on how they won it........dont see many korean or vietnam films on how they won wars they were in from the start do you?

    Leave Gary alone, and be thankful it was him, not Bin Laden or Gadaffi who hacked your defence computers, and get your software industry to make security a priority, not an add-on

  27. Russell Howe
    Coat

    I for one...

    ... welcome our green saurian overlords.

    Mine's the one with a free one-way ticket to NY in the pocket

  28. Bob Gulien
    Thumb Up

    Good show, Boris

    Ejits, those Americans

  29. jon
    Alien

    Go Boris!

    Go Boris!

  30. Andy Moore
    Alien

    Go Boris

    As you say he he a lot smarter than people take him for. This whole scenario is farcical.

    Could not resist that avatar

  31. James
    Jobs Halo

    Eh? "Electronic jihadist"?

    Forget the "electronic jihadist" BS - he's a criminal, and being extradited as such under a treaty intended to cover criminals, not just terrorists. He broke the law, and admits it - the only question amounts to where he should be sentenced. For obvious reasons he'd prefer to be let off by our pathetic parody of a "justice" system, where even a so-called life sentence for murder amounts to a few years in a cheap hotel with locked doors, while those of us with a strong dislike for criminals in general and those who think it's OK to break the law if you do it electronically in particular would prefer a serious sentence in the much less comfortable surroundings of American prison.

    I believe that in general crimes should be prosecuted where the victim is located (so if you shoot someone the far side of a border, you go and stand trial on that side, regardless of where you were standing at the time); the CPS has a rather more waffly bureaucratic official position, mainly concerned with the interests of the victim, the availability of witnesses and evidence as well as the location where "the majority of the criminality or loss occurred". In this case, all those factors seem to point to a US trial rather than a UK one - and the CPS specifically says that the different sentencing powers should *not* be considered as a factor.

    What I resent most, though, is the suggestion that Aspergers should somehow get him off. It isn't even close to being a valid defence, and I resent the implication that it renders Aspies incapable of obeying the law!

  32. David Webb
    Alien

    Go Blondie!

    In the tone of some Yank voice over...

    "The end of days is nigh.... Aliens from the planet Tharg are upon us.... Only one man can save us from enslavment by the lizard race.... (cue Arnie whispering about the man) the man who saved us from Red Ken... (cue Ken Livinstone standing next to a Lenin statue with the USSR flag waving in the back ground) the man without fear... (cue Boris facing off against the Stig in Top Gear) the man who can save us all..... Boris! (cue lots of explosions, Parliment being blown up, the Union Flag on fire waving in the wind then Boris running up to the aliens and saying "do you know, if you change gear on your warp drive engines at a lower revolution, you'll have less CO2 and save dilithium crystals? We can save the world! Together!"

  33. Daniel Garcia
    Thumb Up

    boris for PM? buffons have more common sense than proffesional politicians.

    i dont agree with a few of his policies, but i am happy to see that the my city mayor is a man drives by common sense. totally agree with his thought about all this.

    And no, El Gordo Marron and his kickside are not lizards, they are oversize-egopumped rats.

  34. Sillyfellow
    Thumb Up

    ahhh....

    some common sense at last. well done to Boris.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Lizard Merkins?

    ***"How can the British government be so protoplasmic, so pathetic, so heedless of the well-being of its own people, as to sign the warrant for his extradition?"***

    Hasn't Boris noticed that whenever the US tell the British Gov't to jump, the reply is always "How High?"

    I don't know about Lizards, but this historical and continuing spinelessness of British Governments, of all colours, when confronted with unreasonable American demands certainly suggests that the Merkins are able to exert some kind of 'leverage' against the UK that they cannot exert against other countries.

    Its also curious that anti-American rhetoric from opposition politicians, and even backbenchers of the incumbent party, changes to fawning boot licking of American feet as soon as they are in power and / or given a Ministerial position.

  36. James Pickett
    Happy

    Poor Boris!

    John Leyden, who works for The Register, but is actually quite bright, said today...

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Alien

    BoJo for PM!

    I mean....he couldn't make a worse job of it could he?

    He's thoroughly entertaining............and lizard friendly too!

    BoJo for President!

    BoJo for (Take us to your ) world leader!

  38. Ash
    Thumb Up

    Whats the world coming to?

    Whats the world coming to? I'm agreeing with a Tory. This really is a brave new world, and all it took was Tony Blairs war crimes and Jacqui Smiths insane crusade against civil liberty.

  39. Egons Proton Pack
    Thumb Up

    the world is run by giant lizards in disguise.

    And I for one welcome our new evil lizard overlords...

  40. Chris Thomas
    Thumb Up

    lol@boris

    that guy always makes me laugh, he may have a funny way of talking sometimes! very! funny! indeed! but I believe! that! he is! a nice! guy! (must have shares in yahoo! or something)

  41. Hollerith

    when does the defence..

    ... 'he's suffered enough' get to be used? If not in McKinnon's case -- seven years, for Zog's sake! -- then for whom? Were he an executive, obviosuly the sensitive fabric of his psyche would be in tatters by now and we'd be arguing with tears in our eyes that hearts must soften.

    Way back when he did his little 'crime', everybody who could was doing it. We are wiser and more bored now, and the USA is making itself look like a pillock (OK, more of a pillock).

    Of course, hounding McKinnon is a lot easier and is a quicker win than, say, Osama.

  42. Ian

    Uh

    It's great Boris is doing this but come on:

    "Johnson, a former journalist turned Tory politician, is known for playing the buffoon in public but is actually quite bright."

    If one can class Boris as bright it's simply a testament to how stupid people in the UK have become. He is at best average, and that's quite arguable.

    The whole reason he got into power was because he caters better to the idiocy brought on by the big brother generation rather than intelligent, smart, thoughtful people who realised Livingstone whilst not brilliant, was still a far superior choice.

    My friend's situation when he was in the queue to vote summed it up nicely where behind him a first time blonde bimbo voter commented "I don't know who to vote for I think I'm going to vote Boris because he has funny hair".

    Boris is an embarassment to our country and we were laughed at hard internationally when he took London.

  43. Alan Paice
    Heart

    All hail

    Boris, please run for Uber leader. Come one who doesn't love him?

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rubbish

    The yanks claim McKinnon caused hundreds of thousands of pounds of damage, I suspect the cost is probably the cost of the military then deciding to implement proper security on their systems, which should have been there in the first place!

    I can't see how McKinnon could have caused that amount of damage to their systems, unless he managed to trash many many applications and render the machines inoperable which then necessistated the need for new hardware, or recovery processes to rebuild the hard drives, and this is the cost of the time spent rebuilding those PCs.

    The yanks had extremely poor security protocols in place and they're embarassed to the hilt about it, so they're looking for a scapegoat, someone to blame "It wasn't us, and our shite security, it was the hacker who was incredibly good and caused terriffic damage".

    I agree with everything Boris said.

  45. Ted Treen
    Alert

    Boris for PM!

    At least ONE politician...

    a) has gonads

    b) sees through the crap

    c) still seems to have common sense.

    Boris for PM.

    NOW!

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why not allow all criminals to be free?

    Why not just release all criminals and allow them to run free? Makes as much sense as what Obama is doing.

  47. Mycho Silver badge

    @All hail

    All hail Boris and McKinnon!

    Boris and McKinnon, all hail!

    Okay, maybe not but I felt a bit shakespearey.

  48. Brian
    Thumb Down

    @James

    I really really hoped I'd manage to get through the comments to this story without reading a pathetic Daily Mail style rant along the lines of your comment.

    McKinnon did the US government a service by showing up lax security practices. Sure, he poked around fulfilling his LGM obsession, but they should be paying him a bounty rather than prosecuting him, and since he was in the UK when he committed these 'offences', he should be tried here and given an ASBO at worst.

    Still, you're entitled to your view, however stupid it may be.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Alien

    @Ian

    Um, In your opinion, who would count as bright? or rather how would you define bright if you disagree with the statement in the article.

    If memory serves me correctly Boris was Eton, then Oxford; bear in mind though he is 40+ which means oxbridge entrance.

    He was bright enough to get into the best* university in the country but doesn't fulfil your definition of bright?

    *best is contentious I know, no slight intended for all those MA(cantab) out there.

  50. Mark
    Alien

    Proof of our Saurian Masters

    Look at a lizard.

    Does it EVER smile?

    No. The best it can manage is a kind of gaping rictus.

    Now, watch Gordon Brown smile.

    Scary....

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @James

    Aspergers is not a defence against his activities, its a defence against being handed over to a system that can barely look after normal inmates in a decent way.

    That said Boris makes his points well even he acts daft about somethings. Hope he's mayor still when Olympics is in town - chance he might tell it how it is then too.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Why not allow all criminals to be free?

    "Why not just release all criminals and allow them to run free? Makes as much sense as what Obama is doing."

    Indeed this is why we can't allow McKinnon to be tried in the USA, because there are still plenty of people like you and he could not expect a fair trial.

  53. Ali
    Thumb Up

    On a dull and dreary winters day....

    ... you can rely on Bozza Jozza to lift your mood. :)

    If all politicians were like Boris we'd be utterly broke but you'd be laughing so much you wouldn't care!

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    OK, If he is a criminal, Criminals should be punished...

    Fined Five Pounds.

    Now go away and don't do anything like this again.

  55. Joe M

    @James

    I agree with you 100%! But why not go all the way. Let's start chopping off hands and feet. Maybe a few blindings or castrations would do some good. And the odd auto-de-fe could whip up flaming support for our cause. Anything will do as long as it puts the hated criminal Aspie Unermentschen amongst us back into their place.

    Just one thought though! I fear that posts like yours may give us ignorant, deluded, vindictive, cruel and primitive rednecks a bad name.

  56. Pierre Silver badge
    Alien

    Oh my... (and @ RotaCyclic)

    Oh shit. BoJo is making sense.

    @RotaCyclic:

    "The yanks claim McKinnon caused hundreds of thousands of pounds of damage, I suspect the cost is probably the cost of the military then deciding to implement proper security on their systems, which should have been there in the first place!"

    Spot on. If memory serves, they say they had to shut down entire networks while plugging the holes (read: putting passwords), and the money they claim is mostly the cost of this maintenance.

  57. Alex Rose

    @John Leydon

    For the love of God! The treaty *has* been ratified by Congress. Go over The Times archives and read the letter sent by the US Ambassador explaining this a couple of weeks ago after all the who-ha generated by their article on this subject. Then go back to journalism school and retake the "Researching your Facts" module.

    Note: I'm not a US citizen, simply a British person who hates sloppy journalism.

  58. Moss Icely Spaceport
    Alert

    Crime and punishment need to be relative

    Surely a 'hacker' who is freely allowed access to another computer, does no lasting harm isn't quite the "worst of the worst" in a criminal sense.

    Perhaps a politician who takes people into a phoney war, kills thousands and spends trillions of dollars is just, maybe, perhaps, slightly worse....?

    Oh, but that's right George W hasn't been charged yet, has he?

  59. Stu

    But surely...

    ...the point is that McKinnon has *never* been under US Jurisdiction, ergo can't have committed a crime "in the US" (because he was on UK soil at the time), and at the time what he did wasn't actually explicitly illegal under UK law.

    So a) the US are trying to extradite him to try him for a "crime" he didn't commit in the US and b) we now think that the next best option is to try him over here when it's debatable whether or not he commited a "crime" here either?

    Forget Aspergers, this is law gone mad, in the same vein as the "tell us your encryption passwords or we'll jail you for 2 years" - "what encyrption passwords?" "SLAM".

    That said, good work Boris.

  60. Mr Larrington
    Paris Hilton

    Help!

    That's twice in living memory I've agreed with the Tory Spawn of Stan. First chopping Ian Bliar off at the ankles and now this. What next, buying the Daily Telegraph?

  61. BossHog

    @@Ian

    >> *best is contentious I know, no slight intended for all those MA(cantab) out there.

    No offence taken!

    Your points regarding Boris are spot on. Anyone who thinks he isn't bright probably isn't in a position to pass judgment!

  62. Ashley Stevens

    Catch22

    As much as I dislike GordonB he's in a bit of a Catch-22 on this. If he doesn't send McKinnon over to the States then that proves (to the 'merkins) that McKinnon's actually an agent of the British State. If he does then it proves Gordon's a heartless bastard. Which of course, he is, so guess what he'll want to do?

  63. Wortel
    Thumb Up

    Now there,

    Is finally some common sense.

  64. Pierre Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    @ Ashley Stevens (catch 22)

    "If he doesn't send McKinnon over to the States then that proves (to the 'merkins) that McKinnon's actually an agent of the British State"

    It just proves that Gary is a harmless numpty (sorry Asperger's sydrome defenders) which is kind of obvious. Unless they have a really, really low opinion of the "British State". But that cannot be. It's not like they consider the UK as their faithful doggy-dog, is it?

    Black copter, because it's a stealthy one and nobody can see it :-D

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