back to article McKinnon faces final appeal against extradition

Accused US military hacker Gary McKinnon faces a legal hearing on Tuesday afternoon key to his long-running campaign to avoid extradition to the US on hacking charges. Two judges will review a decision by UK prosecutors not to prosecute McKinnon in the UK during a hearing that's expected to last two days. The same appeal court …


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  1. EdwardP

    Hang on, I missed this one...

    David Gilmour recording a tune with McKinnon???

    How did I miss this...

  2. The Vociferous Time Waster

    sad to see

    I almost want him to be extradited because the idea that the Daily Mail is powerful enough to overturn decisions made in the high court fills me with fear and loathing.

  3. Steve Walker


    I just feel this is an epic waste of the tax payers money. (I'm not alone surely?)

    By the time he and his lawyers have finished eating up the public funds there will be no legal aid until 2015 at this rate for anyone else :-(

    I feel the only winners here are the lawyers :-(

  4. EnricoSuarve

    I've GOT IT!!

    Put him in an orange jumpsuit and shackle him, tell the US he's been held for the last few years without trial as a terrorist

    They'll shit themselves at airport security and never allow him in - worst case he ends up with a house in Barbados

    Job done - Pub methinks

  5. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Sir Bob, the Dark Horse and Passionate Trojan

    That recording site is a sweet and sticky model. Very Clever Sublime Marketing from whom? ... the Rats?

    Would making it also Free Pay it More as Man Gets SMARTer and Realises AI Great Game with Currency Input for the Granting and Sharing of Power and Control. The Present Problem may be that the Rich do not have anything Interesting to Buy and thus is their Wealth Commandeered for Speculative Trades Spawning Profiteering Bankers.

    And there is every Possibility that many Companies do not Actually Exist and thus is the Speculation, all so Fraudulent.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why is he still here?

    Anyone else remember all the comments years ago about the iniquity of the one-sided extradition treaty? Not much of an extradition treaty if nobody is actually extradited before dying of old age.

    Kick his sorry ass over the Atlantic now.

  7. Rob


    Surely the cost of all these court cases now out weighs the alleged damage he caused the 'merkins defence PC's.

  8. richard 69
    Big Brother

    go and piss off

    and take gilmour with you........

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Blairs Extradition law

    Ahh, the extradition treaty, signed by Blair that means you can be extradited to the US for things that are not crimes in the UK. And these appeals are not about his guilt or innocence or evidence, it's about the legality of that Blair process.

    But this is not a good test case, because it was also a crime here. It was just considered so petty that he wasn't prosecuted.

    Guess who signed away our right for judges to see the evidence for extradition.... David Blunkett, slipped in just before Christmas.

  10. Ian Johnston
    Thumb Down


    is, according to Asperger himself, the extreme end of normal male behaviour.


    It is no excuse at all for antisocial or obviously wrong behaviour. What's next - claims that he was abused as a child?

  11. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Asperger's

    What a spectacularly ignorant comment.

    I so look forward to McKinnon threads. Always a haven of clear thinking and compassion. Oh, and prison rape jokes. Come on, guys, where Bubba at?

  12. No, I will not fix your computer

    OK, I'll say it (flamebait, rather than a flame)

    Given the bloke is very smart, is it possible that the recent 'diagnosis' has been manufactured? is this just the intellectual equivalent of 'pleading insanity'?

    For a proper diagnosis (differential), does schizophrenia or bipolar disorder fit? as there is no medical diagnosis of Aspergers possible (no 'chemical imbalance' or physical attribute which says 'definitely Asperger Syndrome, can't be anything else'), in the same way as every IBS diagnosis is made after excluding everything else?

    OK, so he might be 'a bit mental' so it wasn't really his fault, maybe being sent to America will be traumatic, maybe American courts will be mean to him, but we're not talking Sharia law, he did commit a serious crime against a country that we have an extradition agreement with, if it was the other way round and an American hacked a UK government site I wouldn't want the US saying that we couldn't try him (for whatever reason), if he has a genuine mental disorder then the US courts are obliged to take this into consideration (to be fair they might ignore it, as in the case of William Cottrell which may have set a precident).

    Before you all 'flame on', have a think, what if this guy wasn't very smart, no diagnosis of Aspergers, would you still feel the same?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Re: Asperger's

    Gah. It's not like he was hacking to feed his poor starving family, is it? I still don't see the argument for not putting somebody in prison when they were basically coherently-minded enough to know they were doing something illegal. People who are (say) clinically depressed might well have a harder time in jail too -- though depression doesn't have the annoying Internet fanboy movement that autism does -- but that just suggests they should try not to do things they know will put them in there.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let's hope gary spends a long, long time in a U.S. prison

    Time to face the music.

  15. cjmUK

    It's not about the Aspergers...

    The fact is that the law that allows this to happen a) sucks and b) is not reciprocated. The guy did next to nothing but the US is treating him like Public Enemy Number 1.

    In this country, he'd receive a short sentence or probably only a community service order. But the US are bigging him up to make an example of him.

    But I like Eduardo's idea if putting him in an orange jumpsuit... If they guy could only convince the US that he'd be persecuted if he came back to the UK, he might find himself one of the lucky one sent to Bermuda...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Time to face the music??

    ...what a prize knob-end you appear to be. Are you a bit mental? Why on earth would you want Gary to go to prison? What has he done to you? I am absolutely baffled by some of the anti Gary, pro US gov't comments. Why on earth would any decent human being back any gov't over an inidividual, who's only crime was highlighting the fact the pentagon is, shock horror, not actually that secure at all. Best of luck to the boy.

  17. richard 69


    "Why on earth would you want Gary to go to prison? What has he done to you?"

    because he's a criminal, he's done nothing to me, neither has the twat that robbed the old bloke down the road - they're still criminals and should serve the time.

    he knew what he ws doing, he's messed with US government property, any schoolboy knows that's a bad/illegal idea.

    he should fry.

  18. GeorgeTuk

    Done the crime now do the time

    Sorry but unless he has serious learning difficulties then he should be going to prison.

    It doesn't matter what the crime is, you have to take the punishment. He knew he was committing a crime, admitted to it but now doesn't want to do the punishment.

    Its like me saying, yes I will commit fraud and get lots of cash but if you catch me I am sorry and I was only doing it for charity. Hacking into secure government systems at home or abroad is a crime, he knew it and whether he was doing it for good or bad he committed a crime, and sorry but crime carries a punishment.

  19. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

    @ Sarah Bee

    Care for a cup of tea?

  20. Red Bren

    What crime?

    He managed to access unsecured systems - tough! If you leave your front door wide open, don't expect much sympathy if someone robs your house.

    Even with a signed confession, the Crown Prosecution Service deemed the case a waste of effort.

    He did it in 2001, years before the US/uk extradition treaty was signed or ratified. It sets a dangerous precedent to allow legislation to be applied retrospectively, but if we're going down that path, there are quite a few members of the PIRA that ought to be sent in the other direction to answer some proper terrorism charges.

    The would be better off spending some money on a security expert instead of a witch hunt.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Re: Time to face the music

    Because he broke the law. Isn't that enough for you?

  22. Anonymous Coward

    To be fair

    To be fair to the US gov, he was trying to steal their precious UFO secrets. It's not like he was innocently buying a botnet from a criminal for TV entertainment purposes.

  23. copsewood

    OK so Gary's been a naughty boy

    Come on folks, let's keep this one in perspective. The kind of thing someone should get a hundred hours community service for shouldn't make them into a martyred saint or folk hero. Given that the nature of his alleged offence is not enough to hold him on remand because he isn't a threat to anyone, this also doesn't justify grinding him through years of trials to decide whether or not he's going to be locked up in a foreign country thousands of miles away for years on end.

    Gary should be tried in this country or better, the judges should decide he's suffered enough already. The fact that the Mail is on his side doesn't mean we should automatically think they are as wrong on this as they are on most other issues.

  24. Anonymous Coward

    @AC 15:19

    because the coverage of what he's actually alledged to have done (or did do? Hasn't he confessed?) is horrendously lacking- he's "the guy that hacked the Pentagon" as opposed to "the guy that showed the Pentagon had blank passwords on Admin accounts at several sites, was infiltrated by the Russians and... generally wasn't doing it's job right, so is now the target of ridiculous levels of retribution".

    He shouldn't be extradited because the crime was committed over here, and we have laws to deal with that crime here. Plus... well, it's a really one-sided treaty that shouldn't have been signed- and is almost certainly illegal under european law.

    Alien as he didn't find anything- or he did and this whole thing's just one big cover-up...

  25. Fred Flintstone Gold badge
    Paris Hilton

    @ I've GOT IT!! and @ Aspergers

    Just have to make sure he ticks the "Have you been a terrorist or are you planning to become one?" box on the immigration form, otherwise they may not get the hint :-)

    On Aspergers, that condition is a functional one (i.e. alleged sufferers can function in a normal society) which appears to suggest a certain sense of "right and wrong" exists (in reality, people with that condition tend to create a rule set for themselves which mostly matches society expectations but lacks a moral basis because that "feeling" aspect isn't working too well. The result usually works, though). I personally consider Aspergers a weak excuse in this case, debilitating as it can be to especially one's social life.

    What I DO see very clearly is the certainty that he stands a snowball's chance in hell getting a fair trial. I mean, come on. He's looked at some alien stuff and embarrassed someone who was supposed to secure matters, it's not like he dug up the location of all nuclear secrets and sold it to the Chinese (AFAIK they probably already know anyway).

    It's a big, no, HUGE leap to call UK judging anyway near fair or even consistent, but it's a matter of comparison. The effort expended to get him to the US is ridiculous. For what, exactly? Planning a new one-way flight into some other US building? Assassination of Obama? No, it's for looking for some hazy UFO shots. Duh. Talk about losing perspective.

    I don't particularly like the guy, but that's based on what I read so I could be wrong, yet I wouldn't want him to be handed over to ye olde US lynchmob who is trying to play tough after they screwed up. Let me quote you Article 10 verbatim of a well known Universal Declaration:

    "Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him."

    He's got rights. Human Rights. THAT is IMHO the key argument against extradition in context of the expected lack of fair treatment.

    Paris, because she has rights too.

  26. Kevin Bailey

    Are you lot bored?

    For accessing servers which hadn't had passwords set he should have been thanked.

    The US should just be grateful that it was someone who was only looking for evidence of LGM and not anyone from the Axis-of-Evil. But then again - maybe the AoE were in there poking around.

    Still, easier for the US military to go after one obsessive geek than North Korea.

  27. James Pickett

    @ No, I will not fix your computer

    "I wouldn't want the US saying that we couldn't try him (for whatever reason)"

    But they would, though, wouldn't they? They wouldn't even send their pilots over here to give evidence (simply as witnesses) in a 'friendly fire' incident. So much for reciprocity.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Will he dupe the authorities?

    Will a criminal escape punishment by using arse-wipe syndrome as an excuse? Soon we will know.

  29. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge


    Would you blatantly uninformed nutters explain to us what _crime_ he might have committed, back in '01, when he accessed a passwordless system and engaged in a discussion with the operator of said system about the security (or lack thereof) of said system?

    An offense, yes. Crime? think again. Worthy of deportation? Certainly not. Or any speeding or parking ticket is extradition-worthy.

  30. Ascylto

    It's US - v- UK

    Leaving aside Aspergers and other arguments, we have a UK-v-US situation.

    The US can demand extradition from the UK WITHOUT evidence or proper legal argument. And, surprise, surprise, the UK cannot demand the same in reverse.

    Whoever signed up to this agreement on the UK side should be put in the Parish Stocks for a month, beaten with clubs to within an inch of his life and then hanged, drawn and quartered. We should all then be invited to jump up and down on the bits. Whoever it was must have been so far up the US's arse that the sun was not shining. Mind you, he would get to meet Tony Blair.

  31. Lionel Baden

    dont agree with what he did

    but can we use this as an excuse to shoot mrs smith ????

    dotn think he should be thrown over to america plainly because they just want to flex muscle its got fuck all to do with justice

  32. Andraž 'ruskie' Levstik

    It's not he not wanting to do the time

    It's that he is willing to plead guilty in the UK and serve his time in the UK. But the UK doesn't want that. Or the US through the backhole.

  33. John Taylor 1

    If he needs to be put on trial...

    He should be put on trial here under the British court system instead of the US courts and as far as I know we still have our own laws and our own justice system.

    Whoever signed that retarded extradition treaty with the United State's should be ashamed of themselves (I would use stronger terms but as this is a public form...)

    Notice I am not saying that he should not be tried, but he should be tried under British law as he is a British citizen.

    (whoever was responsible for security of those servers should have his ass fired however)

    Last time I looked up from my keyboard I believed we still had not become the 51st state (hard to believe I know).

  34. BossHog

    Not so complex...

    Let me summarise:

    a) Gary has committed a computer mis-use crime

    b) He should therefore probably face *some* form of punishment

    c) He has Aspergers, but this doesn't usually excuse criminal behaviour


    d) He is a British subject

    e) He committed the crime on British soil

    f) The Americans want to put him away for 40 years (or something daft)

    To me, (f) is clearly disproportionate punishment, considering the facts of the case.

    Therefore, (d) means we should attempt to protect him from this disproportionate punishment.

    And (e) means that the entire justification for extradition seems a bit dodgy in the first place, and we should probably start to renegotiate this treaty.

    On balance, we should politely decline to extradite, and assure the Americans we will take appropriate action for a crime committed under British jurisdiction. This would probably be a stiff fine, or a short stay in an open prison (preferably one without internet access!).

  35. Eponymous Cowherd
    Black Helicopters

    Not about McKinnon.

    What McKinnon did or didn't do and his Aspergers are irrelevant.

    The issue here is the non-reciprocated extradition treaty with the US. Either the UK should require the US to provide evidence to extradite UK citizens to the US or the US should drop that requirement when the UK wants to extradite US citizens.

    Given that the US will never concede to the 2nd option the UK should revoke the agreement until the US agree to, and provide, prima facie evidence against anyone, McKinnon included, before extradition is considered.

    If anyone should be put on trial it is the spineless poodles who signed up to, and continue to support, this ridiculous treaty.

    (Trying to imagine what a spineless poodle would look like. Not pretty.)

  36. Anonymous Coward

    Throw away the key

    He's a wanker & a VERY naughty boy!

  37. alan 39

    re Anonymous Coward 14th July 2009 15:19 GMT

    What a prize knob end you are.

    Why shouldnt we honour an agreement we have made with one of our allies. Why should we just accept the word of criminal that he didnt do any damage.

    Yes I personally wouldnt have signed that agreement and if I was in charge would look at getting it altered, I would want to see the evidence first. But the guy committed a crime and they rightly want to bring him to justice. They are a free country with a decent legal system, so why the hell not?? Like someone else said its not like its Sharia law, they arent wanting to chop his hands off.

    Would you happly believe him over america if lets say the crime had been mass rape and murder of school children, and he said he hadnt done it?? NO, you would side with america. Well what makes this different? Oh yes he admits that he is guilty!!

    And you are happy to insult people but not reveal your name, well done.


  38. Ascylto

    @ alan 39

    What a prize knob end YOU are!

    Do you seriously think the USA is our ally? We've only just repaid the 'loans' the USA made to us after World War II.

    The US is a free country? Read the Patriot Act!

    They have a decent legal system? Their judges are picked by politicians who put our duck-house, moat cleaning bunch to shame for depths of cynical opportunism.

    They do exactly as they please, UK or not, and I wish WE took the freedoms of our 'citizens' as seriously as the US Americans do.

    FFS ... McKinnon is a wanker, but he did break into a supposedly fortress data system! They should employ him, not imprison him! Better still ... WE should employ him at GCHQ!

    There is such a thing as BAD Law and those who oppose it are right to do so.

    Incidentally ...

    My nephew has Asperger Syndrome. On holiday in Vienna he memorised the entire Vienna Metro system within two days and advised Viennese natives on best routes ... but can he get a job as a Postman in this country? No, because he can't pass the Post Office test paper!

  39. No, I will not fix your computer

    What a prize knob end YOU are!

    Jeez guys! find some common ground (or get a room)

    Extradition is either something you believe in or something you don't, either way it's there and we are obliged to honor it, if you post a threat or have posed a threat to a foreign country you're a terrorist (unless you're at war in which case you're a hero), extradition itself is not seen as a punishment so retrospective application is irrelevant (unless you have already been punished).

    The US is not a free country, the patriot act and earlier sedation acts means that a US citizen better not pose a threat to the government (important note, government not country), the recent treatment of vaguly arabic looking US citzens is unmatched by the treatment of vaguely Japanese looking US citizens back in WW2, the conditions that some US citizens put up with in the US was obviously better than Nazi concentration camps, but people still died, still lost jobs and homes, it will happen again.

    McKinnon needs to be punished, employing him at GCHQ is a stupid idea, punishment should be a deterrent, he should serve his time then perhaps pursue application of his skills in a more productive way - if he is not punished then every script kiddie out there will think that every hack is a job interview.

    Alan - assuming that the post office test has vaguely relevant questions on it's paper then it's probably appropriate, finding an efficient route is a great skill (although routes are all worked out in advance), but what if he opens the letters, refuses to post anything unless it's spelt correctly, folds "do not bend" letts that are too large, can't use initiative when an address doesn't exist, is agoraphobic, etc. etc. equal opportunities employment is out there for a reason, if it's wrong challenge it but don't assume the post office test paper is irrelevant for the job.

    I was once caught for speeding rushing to my daughter because she had a motorcycle accident, does this excuse the crime? no, I freely accept this (it is a mitigation), it may explain but not excuse, I would hope McKinnon gets fair treatment, I cannot see who it serves not to punish him, but if motive and mental state is not taken into account then that would be unfair, maybe don't throw the book at him, maybe a small pamphlet and restric further access to computer systems - but it's no my call.

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