back to article McKinnon battles renewed Obama-era extradition push

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


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  1. Iain Purdie
    Black Helicopters

    Already guilty?

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

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

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Uhm no...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      1. Old Tom
        Thumb Down

        Re: Uhm no...

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

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

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

      2. JohnG Silver badge

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

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

      3. peter 45
        Thumb Down

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

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

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

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

      4. Bill99


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

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

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

  2. Lars Silver badge

    I think

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

  3. John Miles 1

    Send in the seals

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

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Send in the seals

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

  4. alain williams Silver badge

    And then Obama to Pakistan ?

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

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

  5. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Big Brother

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

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

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Avian Shield - Was it aloft at the time?

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

  6. Jim Carter

    I do wonder

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

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

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

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

    1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge


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

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

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

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

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


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

    1. Anonymous Coward

      @AC re: Jeez

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

      Embarrassing right?

      1. Anonymous Coward


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

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

      2. The Fuzzy Wotnot

        Who downvoted?

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

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

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @ AC: RE: RE: Jeez

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

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

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

        1. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

          an even better analogy

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

          With apologies for yet another analogy ...

          1. TelePom
            Thumb Up

            Okay, okay...

            Frumious wins.

            1. Danny Roberts 1

              don't forget

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

        2. shaunhw

          Left in the street more like.


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


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

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

        3. Bill99


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

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

      4. deive

        Also @AC: RE: RE: Jeez

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

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


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

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

          1. shaunhw

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

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

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

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

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

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

  8. Anonymous Coward

    US Military exposes itself

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


  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh the hypocricy.

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

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: US Military exposes itself

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

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

  10. Reasoner

    First they came ...

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

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

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

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

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

  11. doperative

    Blowing it out of his Ass

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

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

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

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

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

    1. mark l 2 Silver badge

      Windows NT

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

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Time to end the deceptive games

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

    1. hplasm Silver badge

      And you are?

      Another JudgeJudy and executioner.


      1. Ted Treen
        Big Brother


        That's incredibly mild...

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    McKinnon committed the worst crime imaginable.

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

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

  14. Anonymous Coward 101

    Read the 'Jack of Kent' blog about Gary McKinnon

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

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

    1. Bill99


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

  15. Head


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

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

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

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

    That's my PoV anyway.

    1. mhenriday
      Big Brother

      Head, you misunderstand -

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


  16. Winkypop Silver badge

    US plea deals.....

    ...appalling non-justice.

  17. Bram

    down vote

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

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

    1. Vic

      Re: down vote

      > the guy caused some serious problems

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


  18. Richard Jukes


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

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

    1. shaunhw

      Asperger's: Would you really know that ?


      blaming his aspergers is a load of bollocks.


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


      1. Anonymous Coward 101

        Two points

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

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

        1. Bill99

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

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

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

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Richard Jukes

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

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

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

  19. Magnus_Pym

    It all depends...

    .. on whether you think he would get a fair trial in the USA. That is why all the US commentards say' extradite him' and the rest of the world says 'no'.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    I'm Gary McKinnon

    No, not really. I recently discovered that I almost certainly have Asperger's too. It's a huge relief, I can tell you, finally understanding why everyone else is so weird. The unfortunate thing is that the real weirdos have been treating me as one for as long as I can remember. I've always felt different from the majority of people although, on the whole, as an adult I, more or less, pass muster as a slightly odd neurotypical and have a reasonable number of friends. The problem is that some people are highly attuned to the differences I do exhibit, take an instant dislike to me and, if at all possible, endeavour to make life difficult for me. This has been happening all my life and hasn't made for a uniformly happy existence. I've been mistreated by those in authority since nursery school, i.e. primary school, secondary school, university, employers, doctors, police and parts of the legal system. If this sounds like a sob-sob story, it is, I'll be honest.

    I don't doubt that Gary has Asperger's and I'm sure that he's faced difficulties in life not too dissimilar to mine. I have also spent a considerable number of years working my way through the legal system in an attempt to put my life back together after it was destroyed by the criminal acts of others but I'm still not there yet. It's remarkable the lengths some people will go to and the risks that they will take in order not to admit fault even though it's clear that they will be exposed eventually, their lies will catch up with them and the end result even more damaging to their lives and those of others. In Gary's case, as in mine, he exposed the criminal incompetence of people charged with protecting something extremely valuable. They are desperately trying to pin the blame on Gary in order to detract attention from their own failings. Nothing more.

    I would say Gary has certainly suffered enough; not just as a result of his own actions but as a result of the way he's been treated throughout life because of his differences. Extradition would be "cruel and unusual punishment" and his chances of a fair trial non-existent. He should've sent them an invoice for helping to harden their security and they should've offered to pay him not prosecute him.

    For those referring to Asperger's as a mental condition, it's nothing of the sort. It's the result of an unusual brain architecture. People with Asperger's think differently from the majority of the population and it's a bloody good thing too. People with Asperger's are responsible for some of the greatest art, science and literature ever created. They should be identified, helped and encouraged to make the contributions to mankind their often brilliant brains were made for. Instead, they're singled out, bullied, humiliated, mistreated and forced to expend their energies just surviving day-to-day life rather than applying themselves to whatever they have a talent for. It's a shocking waste and a tragedy that so many people are ignorant of it. I knew nothing about it myself until a few weeks ago.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I have Aspergers.

      This paragraph of yours:

      "For those referring to Asperger's as a mental condition, it's nothing of the sort. It's the result of an unusual brain architecture. People with Asperger's think differently from the majority of the population and it's a bloody good thing too. People with Asperger's are responsible for some of the greatest art, science and literature ever created. They should be identified, helped and encouraged to make the contributions to mankind their often brilliant brains were made for. Instead, they're singled out, bullied, humiliated, mistreated and forced to expend their energies just surviving day-to-day life rather than applying themselves to whatever they have a talent for. It's a shocking waste and a tragedy that so many people are ignorant of it. I knew nothing about it myself until a few weeks ago."

      it so spot on there's not much I can add other than the general population don't get it that it's the 'anomalies' that truly advance the human race, without the likes of Einstein etc. we'd still be just be banging rocks together and living in caves.

      The human race has a lot to thank the exceptional for and they need to help nurture their abilities to help everyone.

      I don't profess to be exceptional, just different, and a lot of my energy is spent trying to 'fit in' and be one of 'you' instead of spent exploring new ideas etc., that's where we're let down.

  21. humanoid

    The extradition treaty is a betrayal of british people

    Mckinnon is a test case so that America can feel free to extend its jurisdiction and extradite any web designer/ blogger/ hacker who does not fit in the American Global Picture'. Be very very clear you could next.

    The inhumanity of the McKinnon case is obvious to anyone sane and knowledgeable enough to care. But the underlying problem is that as a treaty, it allows governments to evade the most basic legal protections citizens have by asserting blandly that very different legal systems are so similar that no injustice can arise. That is eminent twaddle.

    McKinnon acted in the UK based on a lifetime in the UK. He assumes people are logical. They are not. He is being sacrificed to appease a 'special relationship' which apparently guarantees only that British citizens will be denied standards of justice and fairness which we take for granted. That treaty is unconscionable and must be amended. It would not take a major change, merely a requirement that the courts asess a prima facie case. Our government owes us that much if it has any respect for ancient British traditions of justice and fairness.

  22. Gizelle


    Gary McKinnon has severe mental illness on both sides of his family and his NHS records show that he was referred to a neurologist in 1983 and in 1994 as recorded in Professor Declan Murphy's report on his assessment of Gary McKinnon and as publicly stated during a public debate on Gary McKinnon in the House of Lords and as widely reported in the media.

    We all know that America frequently executes vulnerable people with mental health issues and often shows scant compassion for them in their courts.

    See this link via: Reprieve: Brain Damaged Man to be Excecuted on 17th May 2011 with drugs meant to cure him.

    Gary McKinnon must be tried in the U.K as is his right. He was arrested in March 2002 long before the 2003 extradition treaty with America was even written.

    He was left on the internet for a further three and a half years after his arrest proving that the U.S and the U.K Governments did not consider him any threat whatsoever.

    The delay was America's fault as they waited three and a half years before requesting Gary McKinnon's extradition from the U.K as by then the 2003 Extradition Treaty was being used requiring no evidence whatsoever of the alleged damage without which the alleged crime was not Extraditable.

    American prosecutors frequently use a loophole of issuing superseding indictments in order to trawl back years in order to Extradite. In Gary's case the only change in the superseding indictment was withdrawing several American universities who came out publicly to say that Gary McKinnon had not caused any damage.

    Thankfully this coalition government have promised to substantially change the 2003 Extradition Treaty with America. The unpopularity of America's relentless pursuit of Gary McKInnon will help to ensure that this will happen and the sooner the better

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dear US, we are not your bitch.

    And neither is the rest of the world, stop imposing YOUR ideals on everyone else, sort out your own house before you start trying to hold the rest of the world to account.

    Yours, everyone outside of the US.

  24. Anonymous Coward 101

    An Echo Chamber

    The GM case has become an echo chamber on the internet, with people shouting the same 100% wrongheaded 'facts' at one another to mutual applause.

    I will simply reiterate - read the Jack of Kent blog about the GM case. It clears away all the fallacies that are being mentioned on this thread, and on countless others all over the internet.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    @Anonymous Coward 101

    I have read some of JoK's blogs on the matter. JoK is certainly a good self-publicist but I don't think he's totally infallible or that his legal opinion, qualified as it maybe, would necessarily hold in a court of law. The vagaries of the justice system are such that, well, you never know.

    JoK changed his mind, it seems, deciding that McKinnon should be extradited and any mercy owing to his Asperger's applied in sentencing. However, McKinnon has had his life turned upside down for the best part of 10 years. If he is anything like me, then his legal troubles will essentially be the focus of his life meaning that it is exceeding difficult, if not impossible to apply himself to anything else in the mean time. His life is essentially on hold and he has effectively already "done" 10 years for his crime. People with Asperger's have great difficulty stopping one task and starting another. They also have difficulty in resuming whatever task they were engaged in when interrupted by another. In my case, I have had two major court cases in my life and every other aspect of my life essentially fell apart because my attention was focused on the cases and I couldn't put them out of my mind even when there was nothing to do in order to do other things.

    I watched a video of McKinnon on YouTube being interviewed about his experiences so far. At one point he said that, as a result of his arrest, he stopped eating and washing properly. I recognised this immediately as a characteristic of Asperger's: one particularly issue takes precedence over everything else to the detriment of most other aspects of life. I would say that the prolongation of the extradition process is a breach of many of McKinnon's Human Rights but particularly, I would say, Article 3. McKinnon has already been subject to torture defines as "inhumane or degrading treatment". It's self-evidently inhumane to treat someone with Asperger's in the way McKinnon has already been treated because of the effect it has had on his life. We then have Article 5 which provides for "the right of prompt access to judicial proceedings to determine the legality of one's arrest or detention and to trial within a reasonable time or release pending trial, and the right to compensation in the case of arrest or detention in violation of this article."

    All of this is in addition to the one-sided nature of the extradition treaty, the trumped up damages claimed, the excessive tariffs for the alleged crimes and the apparent refusal of the US to put any assurances regarding McKinnon's treatment in writing.

    1. Anonymous Coward 101

      Thank you...

      ...for your response.

      It is perfectly true that JoK's analysis is just his and may not be accepted in a court of law, suffice to say that judges in multiple courts all agree that he should be extradited. JoK merely analysed the publicly available documents to find out why the courts found as they did.

      I obviously do not know about your court cases or the outcome, but I will say that >anybody< facing two court cases will find them all consuming and very stressful. People with Asperger's do not have a monopoly on stress or fear.

      Moreover, it is not an infringement on anybody's human rights to have to account for themselves in court when there is evidence they have committed a serious crime, guilty or not. This is not inhuman or degrading. If they have 'mental issues' (usually much more serious than Asperger's) then they should be taken into account, but in no way do we just let people off. The length of time this matter has been going on reflects the number of appeals GM has made, typically with shoddy legal arguments. Had the prosecution been the party messing around, I would grant your argument about the length of time.

      If you had read JoK, you would know that the extradition treaty >was< one sided, but it has since been ratified by America and is thus no longer one sided, and in any case GM could have been extradited under the old treaty had it still been in place.

      1. Anonymous Coward


        Of course anyone facing court cases experiences stress. In the case of someone with Asperger's, however, the effect is far more debilitating than on the typical person. I am afraid that you will just have to accept that and, if you can't, then it's fortunate for McKinnon that you won't have anything to do with his case.

        You may have missed the part in my post about timely justice(see Article 6 ECHR). McKinnon committed his crimes before the US extradition treaty came into force, 2000 and 2001 I think. The US didn't start extradition proceeding until 2004 and didn't ratify the treaty until 2006. If 70 years for making the US look foolish isn't inhuman then perhaps the problem here is that you're actually one of the ETs Gary threatens to expose and you're posting here as an agent provocateur?

        How many times does it have to be explained to you that Asperger's isn't a "mental issue"?

        McKinnon commits crimes in 2000-2001; the US don't apply for extradition until 2004; they don't ratify the treaty until 2006 and you claim McKinnon is somehow responsible for "messing around" and delaying things? Come off it.

        You seem to doubt that I've read JoK? Are you serious? I've read what I wish to read of it and more than sufficient to comment.

        1. Anonymous Coward 101


          My central point, which you have failed to pick up, is that regardless of what conditions anybody has, it doesn't mean due process stops. If someone with, for example, schizophrenia commits a crime, it must be terrifying for them to have to face justice if they believe those around them are trying to harm them. We don't stop them facing justice because of that - we account for it.

          I meant 'mental issues' in a broad sense, meaning all 'brain related problems/differences that a court must allow for', which would include Asperger's.

          We will have to disagree about whether he has received timely justice. Every block in this case has been placed by GM, such as the refusal of a plea bargain (to a crime he admitted), or the discovery of Asperger's in 2008 and his legal team deciding it is somehow relevant to him being extradited or not (courts disagree).

          He won't get 70 years either. All just rubbish.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Your central point

            I think I did pick it up and deal with it. A person's mental state goes to the appropriateness or otherwise of them facing a court in the first place. In the severest cases, there is no court case and the person is committed to a secure mental health unit. The argument is whether or not McKinnon is fit to face "due process" in the US or if it would be "cruel and unusual punishment" which is my central point but seems to have eluded you.

            Your broad sense is simply too broad I'm afraid but amply demonstrates that you have little appreciation of Asperger's and its effect on the fitness of a defendant to plead.

            McKinnon is on the record as saying that he would have accepted the verbal plea bargain had the US been prepared to put it in writing. They refused, leaving him with little choice but to reject it. Now, I don't know about you but, unfortunately, I would not be prepared to accept someone's word that such a plea bargain was available if they would not commit it to writing in good faith before getting on a plane to a country where life means life. In any case, I fear that the agreement would not have been worth the paper it was written on.

            I repeat, he had no guarantee that he would not find himself facing the full gamut of the charges and a potential 70 years in prison which is, of course, effectively life.

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