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