ACTION ALERT: British Computer Geek Begins 10th Year in Prison for 'Hacking' US Military Computers
February 15, 2012 BBC World News & The Daily Record
Gary McKinnon, a British citizen who has Asperger's syndrome, hacked into US military computer systems in 2002 while searching for information on UFO. He was sent to jail and fears extradition to the US. On the tenth anniversary of his confinement, McKinnon's mother and Shami Chakrabarti, the director of human rights group Liberty, appealed to Downing Street to show compassion and put an end to a McKinnon's "unfair" confinement.
Interview with UK Hacker Gary McKinnon May 24, 2006 (16 min) / Uploaded by bluevision
Computer Hacker Gary McKinnon's Treatment 'Barbaric' BBC World News
LONDON (February 11, 2012) -- The mother of computer hacker Gary McKinnon has delivered letters and poems to Downing Street to mark the 10th anniversary of her son's arrest. Mr McKinnon, who has Asperger's syndrome, is accused of hacking US military computer systems in 2002.
Janis Sharp said the treatment of her son, who admits hacking into military computers but claims he was looking for evidence of UFOs, was "barbaric".
"Ten years have gone by and still Gary lives in a nightmare world," she said.
Ms Sharp, from Brookmans Park in Hertfordshire, urged Prime Minister David Cameron to raise the issue with US President Barack Obama when the two leaders meet at the White House next month.
"This endless pressure on an Aspergic man with severe mental health issues is barbaric," she said. "And for what? A foolish act that caused embarrassment to the US. Where has our sense of proportion gone?"
'All the Promises'
The director of human rights group Liberty, Shami Chakrabarti, who accompanied Ms Sharp to Downing Street, said Mr McKinnon's plight was "unfair" and showed a "lack of compassion".
She said: "It is astonishing we are still here, despite all the promises made by both parties that are in this coalition government before they were elected.
"It would be a flagrant breach of Gary's human rights to send him to the US and we have got to stand up against this."
The High Court expressed concern over how long Mr McKinnon's case was taking to return to court last month, with two judges listing the case for July in a bid to speed matters up.
Scots Computer Hacker Gary McKinnon Terrified at Thought of Being Extradited to US
(February 8, 2012) -- Computer hacker Gary McKinnon is "unable to control the terror that consumes his every waking moment" as he fights extradition to the US, his mother said today.
Janis Sharp said the treatment of her son, who admits hacking into military computers but claims he was looking for evidence of UFOs, was "barbaric". She urged Prime Minister David Cameron to raise the issue with US president Barack Obama when the two leaders meet at the White House next month.
Ms Sharp said: "10 years have gone by and still Gary lives in a nightmare world -- unable to control the terror that consumes his every waking moment. This endless pressure on an Aspergic man with severe mental health issues is barbaric. And for what? A foolish act that caused embarrassment to the US. Where has our sense of proportion gone?"
The High Court expressed concern over how long McKinnon's case was taking to return to court last month, with two judges listing the case for July in a bid to speed matters up. They acted after hearing that Home Secretary Theresa May is "considering afresh" whether Asperger's sufferer McKinnon should be extradited to the US to face trial for hacking into military computers in 2002.
Ms Sharp was speaking ahead of meeting supporters outside Number 10 today to hand over poems of support for her son to mark the 10th anniversary of his first arrest. She said: "In March David Cameron is visiting President Obama to discuss our 'special relationship'. What an opportunity for our PM to finally announce an end to Gary's 10-year ordeal. This act alone would prove that the 'special relationship' has true meaning and is one of mutual respect."
McKinnon's legal team hopes Mrs May will block extradition amid predictions he could be jailed for 60 years in America.
Medical evidence shows the 45-year-old was "suffering from a serious mental disorder and there is a serious risk of suicide if extradited", his legal team has said. McKinnon, from Wood Green, north London, admits hacking but claims he was looking for evidence of UFOs.
Arrested in 2002, and then again in 2005, an order for his extradition was made in July 2006 under the 2003 Extradition Act. That triggered three successive applications for judicial review and questions about the fairness of the UK-US extradition treaty, which critics claim is "one-sided".
An independent review of the UK's extradition arrangements by Sir Scott Baker last year found the current treaty between the US and the UK was both balanced and fair. But the Government is under pressure to ignore its findings after MPs called on ministers to bring forward new laws and attempt to change the UK-US extradition treaty.
In a House of Commons debate in December Tory MP Dominic Raab said: "Gary McKinnon should not be treated like some gangland mobster or al Qaida mastermind."
A number of other figures in high-profile cases are also fighting extradition to the US, including 23-year-old student Richard O'Dwyer who is accused of breaking American copyright laws. Retired businessman Christopher Tappin, who is accused of conspiring to sell components for Iranian missiles, and Babar Ahmad, who is wanted for allegedly raising funds for Chechen and Afghan insurgents over the internet, are also fighting against extradition.
Ms Sharp added: "My heart goes out to others in a similar situation including Chris Tappin, Richard O'Dwyer and Babar Ahmad and their families, who are themselves suffering at the hands of a discredited piece of legislation. I remain confident our Government will eventually do the right thing and amend our extradition laws."
Shami Chakrabarti, director of the civil rights group Liberty, said: "As Gary's ordeal continues so does the current rotten extradition regime. No one is immune from unfair treatment and the lack of compassion in the system is already devastating too many lives. Liberty urges Government to honour the promises of opposition and put a little common sense and justice back into our extradition laws." ACTION ALERT: Free Gary McKinnon http://freegary.org.uk
This blog website is intended to support British citizen Gary McKinnon, who is facing "fast track" extradition to the USA (after over five six seven eight nine years since his initial arrest!). Gary was indicted by a US court in November 2002, accused of "hacking" into over 90 US Military computer systems from here in the UK.
The unjust treatment of British citizens (and others) when facing the might of the US Military "justice" system, which practices detention without trial in Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere, and stands accused of making use of torture by allied regimes ("extraordinary rendition") is an ongoing scandal. It cannot be excused even by a "war on terror". It seems only just that Gary should face any charges in a British court, and to serve any sentence, if he is found guilty, in a British prison.
Write in Support of Gary
If you feel strongly enough that Gary McKinnon should not be extradited to the USA, but should be tried here in Britain, then there are various people you can write to.
Firstly you can write to us here at email@example.com. We will pass your messages of support on to Gary, and publicise this support to the media and to the politicians.
You can post anonymously on this blog, but please be polite. Alternatively you can send us emails, but if you want a reply and the latest news, then you need to use a valid email address.
You can write to your Member of Parliament via WriteToThem. If your Member of Parliament has not already done so, then please ask them to sign
Early Day Motion 2388 sponsored by David Burrowes MP
(Previously, EDM 241 sponsored by the then-Conservative MP and now Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, also gathered a large number of MP's signatures opposed to the unfair Extradition Act 2003 and the Extradition Treaty with the USA).
You can also write to Theresa May who is now the 6th Home Secretary who has had the responsibility for Gary McKinnon's extradition case:
You can send an email public.enquiries@ homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk or a letter to:
Home Secretary, Rt Hon. Theresa May MP
c/o Direct Communications Unit
2 Marsham Street
London SW1P 4DF
Home Office Contact Us page
Write to US President Barack Obama
WhiteHouse.gov -- the official website of the President of the Umited States of America, Barack Obama.
"President Obama is committed to creating the most open and accessible administration in American history.
To send questions, comments, concerns, or well-wishes to the President or his staff, please use the form below: Contact the White House web message form.
Please use this form to remind them just how counterproductive and damaging to US national interests it would be -- especially to their supposedly changed international reputation – to put Gary McKinnon on trial in the USA.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.