USA Goes After British Hacker Who Just Wanted Proof Of Little Green Men

The latest example of British lunacy is the decision to extradite to America Gary McKinnon. Gary, for those who have missed all the media coverage, is both autistic and also an internet hacker. After he happily hacked his way into Pentagon and NASA computers,  America demanded his extradition. And the reason for his cyberspace mischief…?

Gary was looking for proof of  aliens. Yep, that’s right. His primary interest is ‘little green men’. Now, personally, I think the Pentagon should be offering Gary a job – clearly, their security is woefully lacking, as proven by this British alien enthusiast.

America has other ideas, though. Now Gary faces a sixty year sentence and the prospect of dying in a US jail cell. U.S prosecutor Mark Summers insists that Gary’s actions were ‘intentional and calculated to influence and affect the U.S. government by intimidation and coercion’.

Here in the UK, though, numerous politicians, celebs and mental health experts are calling on the government to intervene, insisting that for a person with Asbergers, extradition and prison could be fatal.

And why can’t Gary be tried in the UK? After all, it’s here where his crimes were actually committed. He could be sentenced to a maximum of five years in prison, under the Computer Misuse Act.

Instead, legislation that was intended to deal with terrorists, is being applied to this 43 yr old autistic bloke who no doubt wishes one of his beloved UFOs would indeed swoop down and rescue him from the long arm of American ‘justice’.

Lord Carlile, a former Liberal Democrat M.P., is the government’s Independent Reviewer Of Terrorism Legislation.  He has repeatedly lobbied the  Home Office to rethink Gary’s case. In a letter to the Home Secretary, he says:

…I believe we have a duty to protect the vulnerable and even the eccentric. Mr Mckinnon has had the shadow of extradition hanging over him for five years already, during which time he could have been tried, sentenced and perhaps served any prison time, were he to have been prosecuted in the UK.’

Meanwhile, let’s peruse the list of people that Britain apparently either can’t extradite, or is having trouble doing so, shall we…?

There’s radical Islamic cleric Abu Qatada, for a start. Described as Bin Laden’s ‘ambassador in Europe’. Qatada has been in prison here since 2005 while battling extradition to Jordan on terrorism charges.

Then there’s Rachid Ramda, an Islamic terrorist who spent an entire decade resisting extradition to France, where he was wanted for a series of bombings on the Paris metro in 1995. He was finally extradited in 2007.

Oh, and let’s not forget the case of four wanted for mass murder in Rwanda. They were successful in avoiding extradition and are now in Britain, totally free.

Finally, there’s convicted killer Selami Cokaj, an Albanian who who broke out of jail in his home country and in 1997, was discovered living in Nottinghamshire, running a car washing business.

Twice, British police arrested him. Yet he w

as freed on bail by British magistrates. Finally, Cokaj successfully avoided extradition to Albania – by lodging an eleventh hour asylum claim…

But Crown Prosecution Service lawyers – funded by the good old  British public – have been advised they have no choice but to work towards Gary’s extradition.

Quite apart from anything else, this case illustrates the strange nature of Britain’s extradition treaty with the U.S.   British citizens can be apprehended on little or no evidence – yet the criteria for extraditing Americans are far stricter.

To be clear: I’m not seeking to condone Gary McKinnon’s online exploits. I just think public funds could be put to far better use than turning over to the U.S. this vulnerable man whose dearest dream in life was to find proof of alien life.

Update:

It seems that Gary McKinnon’s motives in hacking into the Pentagon and NASA may have been somewhat darker than I, for one, initially realised. Fellow blogger Sultan Knish has pointed out the following:


http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200708/ldjudgmt/jd080730/mckinn-1.htm

16. Analysis of the appellant’s home computer confirmed these allegations. During his interviews under caution, moreover, he admitted responsibility (although not that he had actually caused damage). He stated that his targets were high level US Army, Navy and Air Force computers and that his ultimate goal was to gain access to the US military classified information network. He admitted leaving a note on one army computer reading:

“US foreign policy is akin to government-sponsored terrorism these days . . . It was not a mistake that there was a huge security stand down on September 11 last year . . . I am SOLO. I will continue to disrupt at the highest levels . . .”

McKinnon’s mother apparently refers to his being a ‘9/11 Truther’:

http://www.computerweekly.com/Articles/2009/01/12/234180/gary-mckinnons-mothers-appeal-to-the-dpp.htm

To quote a programme that some of us used to rather enjoy: the truth is out there…!

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16 thoughts on “USA Goes After British Hacker Who Just Wanted Proof Of Little Green Men

  1. HELLOSNACKBAR:

    I do agree with you – though SULTAN KNISH has also made some very valid points 🙂

    But given that in the UK we have all manner of Islamic terrorists and terrorism supporters who are free to peddle their insanity, it does seem insane that Gary McKinnon has been subjected to the full force of the law, while they have not.

  2. This nonsense with Gary McKinnon and extradition is ludicrous.
    Obviously this wildly eccentric loon is not a serious danger to US security interests.
    But peevishly they have been resolute with respect to his extradition and possible 50yrs+imprisonment.
    This whole matter shames both countries,
    Surely it would have been much more sensible to ask Garry how he performed this hacking job;in order that they might update their security precautions.
    Instead they clumsy bullying seems nothing more than a childish wish to expiate their embarrassment.
    Leave the poor bugger be!

  3. This case somehow reminds me with that of Louise Wood wood. You may remember around ten years ago, the English nanny on trial in Boston for allegedly shaken to death the baby she had been looking after.

    The connection I see is the passions the case invokes , while not sure if I had the internet at that time it certainly existed all types of claims and counter claims were being made regarding her innocence or otherwise.

    As you say “The truth is out there!

  4. Thanks SULTAN KNISH for this extra info; later today I’m going to add an update to the original post 🙂

  5. Obviously the extradition of Islamic terrorists should take priority, and this sort of thing is typical enough of criminal cases involving the government, particularly when it comes to hackers, when the whole thing is ridiculously inflated with all sorts of ominous charges

    hackers who demonstrate bad security, which McKinnon clearly did since he showed blatant laziness and incompetence by Federal employees in classified positions, tend to produce that kind of overreaction in bureaucracies

  6. the judgement from parliament mentions it

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200708/ldjudgmt/jd080730/mckinn-1.htm

    16. Analysis of the appellant’s home computer confirmed these allegations. During his interviews under caution, moreover, he admitted responsibility (although not that he had actually caused damage). He stated that his targets were high level US Army, Navy and Air Force computers and that his ultimate goal was to gain access to the US military classified information network. He admitted leaving a note on one army computer reading:

    “US foreign policy is akin to government-sponsored terrorism these days . . . It was not a mistake that there was a huge security stand down on September 11 last year . . . I am SOLO. I will continue to disrupt at the highest levels . . .”

    his mother mentions that he was a 9/11 Truther then, but implies that he no longer is

    http://www.computerweekly.com/Articles/2009/01/12/234180/gary-mckinnons-mothers-appeal-to-the-dpp.htm

    the UFO thing does make for a better story and makes him more likable

  7. Many thanks STEVEN 🙂

    I haven’t heard anything about his being a ‘911 truther’ either, but of course that may just be because the British media are supporting his cause and thus don’t want to portray him as anything less than a fully sympathetic character. The Daily Mail, in particular, has a running campaign to get the extradition order blocked.

    It’s certainly an interesting case. And it does illustrate the ‘lopsided’ nature of the British-American extradition treaty.

  8. Just done a goggle search for Mckinnon, found his case tagged on to those of “911 truthers. though could not find anything to suggest he is one. Though may have missed something.

    True though 911 truthers are quite often, anti Semites , who circulate the lie that” no Jews died that day.

    Like there are J F K conspiracy” freaks who claim “Mossad were behind the assasianation.

  9. SULTAN KNISH:

    Thank you for providing that extra bit of context.

    I think you sum it up well when you say there has been overreaction on both sides. I suspect one of the reasons so many Brits are outraged at how McKinnon is being treated is because of the sheer number of Muslim extremists that are not being subjected to the same condemnation etc.

    Thanks for posting 🙂

  10. Hi Lee 🙂

    Excellent points, as always:)

    Take a look at Sultan Knish’s comments as well 🙂

  11. While the charges and claims of damage against McKinnon are excessive, he was not simply an innocent UFO enthusiast. McKinnon is a 9/11 Truther and left a Truther message along with a statement that he would continue to disrupt computer systems. This was not simply innocent UFO wackiness, but Truther motivated hacking.

    I’ve seen 9/11 Truthers in action and frankly they are some of the most vile people in the world. And they are second to none when it comes to hating Jews and screaming about Israel. These days there is also overlap with a lot of the general conspiracy crowd, and they all leak into the far right and far left.

    There has been general overreaction on both sides, with the American authorities treating him as a master criminal and some British politicians and media treating him as an innocent young martyr who had no idea what he was doing. The truth lies somewhere in between.

  12. Okay, so let me see if I have this correct:

    1) A young Israeli man hacked into the IDF computer system in Israel and, once determining that he was not a terrorist, the IDF hired him to handle their computer security;

    2) Then, an autistic Scottish man hacks into the US Pentagon and NASA computers and, although he is just looking for information that the US should be turning over to its citizens anyway, the US bullies Britain into sending him to them, even though the British Crown had refused to prosecute him;

    3) Meanwhile, back in Israel, the United States military is providing combat training to terrorists, many of whom are also members of an organization classified by the US itself as a “foreign terrorist organization” (Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades). In addition, the US is also supplying arms to the US-trained terrorists, even after a large amount of those weapons were taken from them by a more highly trained terrorist organization (Hamas). These same US-trained terrorists have been involved in many terrorist attacks against Israel over the years, resulting in hundreds of deaths, including many US citizens.

    Have I got that right? I just want to make sure as there is no logic to use in this situation.

    So the US bullies Britain into turning McKinnon over to them so they can bury him in their system so deep that nobody will ever hear from him again. All this because the US is raving mad because someone showed the US its military system security was sadly lacking … something it has been told by the US Government Accounting Office, Congress, Senate and private security firms for years. The United States doesn’t take kindly to being made a fool of and will generally extract its revenge in the end.

    One British prosecutor described McKinnon’s work as the “biggest military computer hack of all time.” So much for feeling safe in the US.

  13. HI STEVEN,

    I agree. It is scary that this legislation – intended for terrorist suspects – is now being applied to ‘ordinary’ people. This case is absurd; this man could have been tried in the UK years ago.

    Hopefully the Home Secretary will intervene…. I’m not counting on it though!

  14. “How can we have respect nowadays for the British constitution? legislation which became law in the wake of natural sympathy for the United States in the wake of 911 , has been abused, by what I can only call ” sadistic and cruel Judges on both sides of the Atlantic.

    As in the case of the Iraq war Parliament was mislead, legislation the government claimed was intended to deal with Terrorism should not be then used to extradite allegedly” dodgy bank directors, much less computer hackers looking for” U F O S.

    Those wishing to campaign against the exradition of Garry Mac Kinnan might be advised to go over the heads of this ” useless Government and partition the Queen. Not that I am so “silly to think that would do any good. but would make a point clear.

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