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The Gary McKinnon extradition story: in photos

THE story of Gary McKinnon’s extradition to the USA is one of a man with a passion falling foul of the law. He hacked into scores of US State department computers. The man who has Asperger’s Syndrome was looking for evidence of alien life. The Americans wanted to interrogate the computer expert on their soil. The British dithered and then saved him. Others might want to admire his skills:


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File photo dated 20/01/09 of computer hacker Gary McKinnon, whose case returns to the High Court today.

Posted: 16th, October 2012 | In: Reviews, Technology | Comment

Gary McKinnon gives a boost to compassionate Conservatives

GARY McKinnon, from Wood Green, north London, will not be heading to a concrete box in the United States. Home Secretary Teresa May has blocked his extradition. Gary McKinnon hacked into US military computers.

Mrs May told MPs:

”After careful consideration of all the relevant material I have concluded the Mr McKinnon extradition would give rise to such a risk of him ending his life that a decision to extradite would be incompatible with his human rights”.

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Posted: 16th, October 2012 | In: Reviews, Technology | Comments (10)

Does Scottish UFO hunter Gary McKinnon deserve 60 years in a US prison?

GARY McKinnon’s timing was disastrous. For a 13-month period between 2001 and 2002, the then 35-year-old Scotsman hacked into nearly 100 Pentagon and NASA databases. He claims he was searching for extra-terrestrial energies and cover-ups of UFO activity.

Not long after McKinnon got busted the 2003 Extradition Act was enacted. This was an agreement drawn up between the UK and the US in the wake of September 11. Though originally designed to fight terrorism it has been used as a tool to combat a range of other crimes. The US demanded McKinnon’s extradition and so his expected sentencing to six months of community service in the UK turned into a potential 60-year prison term in the US.

McKinnon and his mother, Janis Sharp, have spent the past decade trying to fight the extradition order, urging for McKinnon to be tried at home instead. Backed up by the Daily Mail, Sharp has urged for reform of the 2003 Extradition Act. Meanwhile, the WikiLeaks phenomenon has heightened US sensitivities to hacking and security breaches, a situation which hardly plays in McKinnon’s favour.

McKinnon has said that he was smoking a lot of marijuana at the time of his hacking ventures and he has since been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. Doctors are warning he may commit suicide if forced to board a plane to the US. But at least he has garnered a lot of sympathy. The Daily Mail‘s Affront to British Justice campaign has been backed by a number of MPs — including the now UK prime minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg — as well as celebrities, medical experts and civil liberties groups.

This week, the campaign took a leap forward as the House of Commons called on the government to reform the 2003 Extradition Act, as well as the European Arrest Warrant regime, which is currently being invoked to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to Sweden. At the Commons hearing, Conservative MP Dominic Raab said: “Gary McKinnon should not be treated like some gangland mobster or al-Qaeda mastermind.”

A central gripe of the reform proponents is that the 2003 Extradition Act places unequal demands on the British and UK judiciary systems. The US can demand the extradition of British citizens based only on “reasonable suspicion”, whereas US judges can reject a British application if no “probable cause” is shown. In other words, if the UK wants to extradite someone from the US, a prosecutor must produce proof of the crime, but not the other way around.  Since 2004, 29 UK nationals or dual nationals have been extradited to the US, and only five US nationals have been handed over to Britain.

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Posted: 9th, December 2011 | In: Key Posts, Reviews | Comment (1)

Is Gary McKinnon The Original Julian Assange?

GARY McKinnon is not Julian Assange. Up the road from Westminster, Assange and his grandstanding celebrity pals was getting mobbed by the media. On Westminster Bridge, Janis Sharp held aloft a card signed by politicians and well wishers for her son, computer hacker Gary McKinnon.

The US military and politicos want him to stand trial for hacking into top secret military computers and, allegedly, messing with files. If he is found guilty for seven charges, he could be sent down for 70 years. Mr McKinnon is 44.

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Posted: 14th, December 2010 | In: Technology | Comment

Best Of British, Gary McKinnon

BRITISH citizen Gary McKinnon, made a mistake, writes John Blake.

He hacked into 97 American military computers, and, now the American government seem to want him to pay a big price.They want McKinnon’s arse. Such is the determination of the American government to nail McKinnon, that its a fair bet that he will face a long sentence in an American prison after being extradited.

What interests me about this case is how the British government(clowns in pin-striped suits?)are happy to bend to American pressure and hand Mckinnon over like an unwanted bag of dirty washing.

So how many English people consider Mckinnon a “terrorist” and a danger to the UK or anyone? I’ve a hunch that comparatively few feel that he is a truly bad guy on the block, and, that any sentencing regarding his behaviour should be in the UK and under British law.

How ironic indeed, that New Labour are happy to dump him across the Atlantic, when there have been numerous reports in the media about British government departments losing highly confidential information, thousands of laptops, and, very important secret CD’s that contained information about millions of British citizens.They certainly deserve a GOLD MEDAL for making so many cock-ups!

So is is just as easy for the British government to get a wanky yank extradited to the UK? Well, apparently not.New Labour’s rear-end seems open wide and 24 hours a day to please the American administration,and the British Home Office and government officials seem so pathetic and callous about protecting a UK citizen.

McKinnon claims he is being made a scapegoat because hacking into sensitive military
computers was “ridiculously easy”. I feel that Mckinnon DID do wrong by poking his nerdy face into America’s business but consider that he should be prosecuted in Britain and under British laws, where the “crime” took place.

There have been loads of cases over over the years where whizz kids with computers have hacked into secret computer files, and exposed joke security.

We certainly now live in times when terrorism and the fight against it is constantly spoken about,but Mckinnon deserved more protection from his own government.If they will behave that way towards him, then the same will apply to anyone.

How interesting to look back and remember that before the attacks on 9/11 that the head of the CIA apparently said that,” he didn’t want to hear anymore talk about the threat of terrorism.” The billions spent on security proving utterly useless when the attacks on the World Trade Centre happened on that tragic and historic day.

Good luck Mr. Mckinnon. Your going to need LOTS of it in the very near future.

John Blake

Posted: 11th, September 2008 | In: Reviews | Comments (5)