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July 2009



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By Michael Seamark and James Slack
Last updated at 10:59 AM on 31st July 2009

British computer expert Gary McKinnon today lost his latest High Court bid to avoid extradition to America where he faces trial for hacking into U.S. military networks.

His lawyers argued that extraditing the 43-year-old, who suffers from Asperger's Syndrome, would lead to 'disastrous consequences' for his health, including possible psychosis and suicide.

But today Lord Justice Stanley Burnton and Mr Justice Wilkie, sitting in London, dismissed his claim for judicial review.

Mr McKinnon, from Wood Green, north London, asked the court to overturn decisions of successive Home Secretaries allowing his extradition to go ahead.

He also challenged a refusal by Keir Starmer QC, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), to put him on trial in the UK on charges of computer misuse.  UK trial would allow him to avoid extradition.

Lord Justice Burnton said: 'For the reasons set out in the judgment the claims against the secretary of state and DPP are dismissed.'

In a 41-page ruling, the judges said extradition was 'a lawful and proportionate response to his offending'.

Whether or not Mr McKinnon can appeal further will be decided at a later date.

Lord Justice Burnton said it was a matter that should be dealt with 'as expeditiously as possible', probably in September.

His mother, Janis Sharp, said outside court: 'We are heartbroken. If the law says it's fair to destroy someone's life in this way then it's a bad law.'

She added: 'Our hope still lies with the Government. What more evidence do Gordon Brown and Alan Johnson need to understand what extraditing Gary would do to him, let alone us?

'Gary would not survive and I would never see my son again. All to oblige the Americans?

'If Gary's was such a dreadful crime, he should have been prosecuted and sentenced here years ago.

'Instead he's been left tortured by fear for seven years. Compassion can and must now prevail.'

She made an impassioned appeal to Barack Obama to halt attempts to extradite her son.

His lawyers today sent a letter to the U.S. president signed by 40 British MPs asking him to step in and 'bring this shameful episode to an end'.

She said: 'Stand by us and make this world a better place, a more compassionate place.

'Obama wouldn't have this. He doesn't want the first guy extradited for computer misuse to be a guy with Asperger's, a UFO guy. He wouldn't want this.

'I'm just praying, please hear us, Obama, because I know you would do the right thing.

'I know you would have the strength to stand up and not have this.'

Lawyers for Mr McKinnon, who was told the decision yesterday, described him as an 'UFO eccentric' who had been searching for evidence of extra-terrestrial life, and described the idea that he was a danger to U.S. national security as 'a complete fantasy'.

Karen Todner, Mr McKinnon's solicitor, said: 'This ruling is hugely disappointing. But we shall not stop here.

'Alan Johnson still has the power to act. We have 28 days to review the judgment and will continue to explore every legal avenue until we achieve a just and proper result.

'The Government promised “ample protection” of individuals' rights, but we have yet to see this in practice.

'Extradition without effective safeguards is a denial of justice for every UK citizen.'

If sent to the U.S., Mr McKinnon is likely to receive a substantial prison sentence of up to 12 years, possibly served in a Supermax prison used for high risk inmates, and is unlikely to be repatriated to serve his sentence.

The U.S. authorities said Mr McKinnon was responsible for the 'biggest military hack of all time' that had been highly damaging and involved 97 government computers belonging to organisations including the U.S. Navy and Nasa.

A large campaign involving family, politicians, civil rights groups, sympathetic media and celebrities has supported the hacker's long battle against extradition.

His mother, Janis Sharp, has expressed fears that he could face a 60-year sentence in a tough U.S. jail and she would never see him again.

She said last night: 'My biggest fear is that if it goes against Gary there would be a plane waiting for him tomorrow night. 

'If we lose, our solicitor will ask for the statutory 28 days to appeal but if they refuse… that's what terrifies me and Gary.

'But whatever the decision – the fight goes on.

'If it goes against us I may cry, but I will never give up, not in a million years. He has to stay here.'

She pleaded again for Alan Johnson to heed the advice of leading barristers that the Home Secretary has the power to intervene and prevent the extradition of Gary, who has Asperger's Syndrome.

Mr McKinnon was not in court today to hear the judgment.

But the National Autistic Society, which has supported him, said it was 'extremely disappointed at the decision'.

Amanda Batten, the charity's head of policy and campaigns, said outside the High Court: 'We are angry that Gary is still in this position.

'This legal case has been going on for seven years. We are involved in supporting his case because we think that in the light of his Asperger's Syndrome that extradition should not go ahead.

'We will continue campaigning and do all we can to support Gary to stay in the UK.'

Mr Johnson's own terror adviser, Lord Carlile, and eminent human rights lawyers have warned against sending him across the Atlantic under a controversial U.S./UK treaty ostensibly introduced to combat terrorism.

The Home Secretary snubbed a plea by Gary's mother for a face-to-face meeting but Mrs Sharp said: 'Mr Johnson can, and must intervene. It's an absolute.

'He's ignoring the best legal advice in the land, even his own adviser on terror is saying “don't send Gary.” It just seems ridiculous.'

Support for Gary has poured in after the Daily Mail launched its 'Affront to British Justice' campaign – with tens of thousands of readers petitioning the Home Secretary to use his discretion and intervene – and ministers will be braced for a public backlash if he loses the High Court appeals.

A raft of leading politicians, including Tory leader David Cameron and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg, along with many high-profile celebrities are backing the fight to stop his extradition on 'cyber-terrorism' charges.

Gordon Brown offered a glimmer of hope for Gary last week when he said he was 'sympathetic' to the 43-year-old computer hacker's plight.

Actress and environmental campaigner Trudie Styler, wife of pop star Sting, who was present in court, said afterwards: 'My heart goes out to Gary, Janis and all those who have fought so hard.

'Reason and common sense dictate that Gary's extradition would be abhorrent.

'We cannot let this be the end of the road. It is quite clear that Gary is a deeply vulnerable man, ill-equipped to cope with the trauma of extradition.

'I am determined to continue to press government to intervene in this blatant travesty of justice.'

Shadow home secretary Chris Grayling said: 'This is very disappointing news. People are right to be extremely concerned about our extradition arrangements.

To Read Article in Full:  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1203365/Decision-extradition-case-Aspergers-Syndrome-hacker-Gary-McKinnon.html?ITO=1490

Hacker McKinnon's Mum's Fury At The Government(Video)

Computer hacker Gary McKinnon has lost his appeal against extradition to the US after admitting accessing Nasa computers. Outside court his mother Janice said the decision was an outrage.


Gary McKinnon ruling: 'UK Extradition laws(Video)

Shami Chakrabarti(Director, Liberty) hopes a plea from Gary McKinnon's mother to Barack Obama is successful, but says UK extradition laws must be changed. http://uk.news.yahoo.com/4/20090731/video/vwl-gary-mckinnon-ruling-uk-extradition-15af341.html


I might never see him again: Mother of Gary McKinnon pleads for mercy from Obama after hacker loses extradition fight

Last updated at 3:52 PM on 31st July 2009

The mother of computer hacker Gary McKinnon made an impassioned appeal to US president Barack Obama today after her son failed in his latest High Court bid to avoid extradition to America.

The 43-year-old, who suffers from Asperger's Syndrome (AS), is wanted for trial on charges of hacking into US military networks.

His mother, Janis Sharp, has expressed fears that he could face a 60-year sentence in a tough US jail and would be at real risk of suicide because of his medical condition. She also fears she would never see him again.

But today Lord Justice Stanley Burnton and Mr Justice Wilkie, sitting in London, dismissed his claim for judicial review.

The Daily Mail has led a high-profile campaign to prevent Mr McKinnon's extradition which has received widespread backing from politicians, celebrities and civil liberties campaigners.

Gary McKinnon has his appeal against extradition rejected
Janis Sharp, with Sting's wife Trudie Styler (left), outside the High Court. She has vowed to take her son's case to the European Court

Mr McKinnon, from Wood Green, North London, asked the court to overturn decisions of successive Home Secretaries allowing his extradition to go ahead.

He also challenged a refusal by Keir Starmer QC, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), to put him on trial in the UK on charges of computer misuse.  UK trial would allow him to avoid extradition.

Lord Justice Burnton said: 'For the reasons set out in the judgment the claims against the secretary of state and DPP are dismissed.'


NAS angry and disappointed at Gary McKinnon outcome

Journalists: download our latest media release about Gary McKinnon's case in 'Related resources' at the bottom of this page.

Today, the National Autistic Society expressed great disappointment at the High Court decision that Gary McKinnon, a man with Asperger syndrome accused of hacking into US Government computer systems, should be extradited to the US. The ruling follows two judicial reviews where it was argued that his Asperger syndrome had not been given due consideration by those deciding on his case.

Mark Lever, chief executive of the NAS said: “We are so disappointed for Gary and his family and so angry he is still in this position. The threat of extradition has been hanging over him for seven long years and sadly the nightmare continues. The NAS has campaigned hard for his extradition to be reconsidered in the light of his diagnosis of Asperger syndrome. We will continue to do whatever we can to keep him here in the UK and will support him in his appeal to the Supreme Court.

“People with Asperger syndrome are often far more vulnerable than initial appearances would suggest, frequently isolated, often bullied and sadly many experience severe mental health problems if they do not get the right support. We are extremely disappointed that the High Court has decided to continue with Gary's extradition despite these concerns.”

The ruling today comes after two Judicial Review hearings examined whether the Home Secretary had been right in deciding to extradite Gary following his diagnosis with Asperger syndrome, and whether the Director for Public Prosecutions should have allowed him to stand trial in the UK.  The NAS supplied evidence about Asperger syndrome during the judicial review process, urging that his condition be taken into consideration.

The National Autistic Society has been campaigning to stop Gary's extradition since his diagnosis and has written to both the Home Secretary and the Attorney General. Thousands of NAS supporters have also voiced their support, writing to their MPs and signing a petition which was delivered to Downing Street by Garys mother earlier this month.

Gary may now have the opportunity to appeal to the House of Lords. The NAS will continue to campaign for his extradition to be stopped.

Show you support for Gary.
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Background to Gary McKinnon's case

Gary McKinnon was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome in August 2008 and stands accused of allegedly hacking into US Defense computer systems. As a result of Gary's late diagnosis, his Asperger syndrome was not taken into account in any legal proceedings prior to August 2008. We have continued to express our concern that Gary's diagnosis be taken into consideration and took action by writing to both the Home Secretary when his diagnosis first came to light last year, and the Attorney General. Asperger syndrome is a form of autism, a condition that affects the way a person communicates with and relates to others and the world around them. It is not uncommon for people with Asperger syndrome to develop single-minded, obsessional interests, and to be unaware of the effect their actions have on others. The decision on Friday 31 July follows two judicial reviews of Gary's case. The first, heard on 9th June 2009, looked at the Home Secretary's decision to extradite Gary following his diagnosis. We submitted evidence during this judicial review explaining the nature of Asperger syndrome and the fact that diagnosis in adults is often late, as in Mr. McKinnon's case. This included information explaining that people with Asperger syndrome may be particularly vulnerable because of their difficulties with social awareness and communication, and may be susceptible to additional mental health problems as a result of their disability. Earlier this year, over 4,000 supporters took part in our campaigner action to email the Attorney General asking that Gary be allowed to stand trial in the UK. His appeal to the Crown Prosecution Service was turned down in February 2009 and this decision was the subject of a second judicial review, heard on 14th July 2009.

You can read more about Asperger syndrome, and access information for criminal justice professionals on our website:

More about Gary McKinnon's case: 

NAS delivers Gary McKinnon petition to 10 Downing Street
 Photo: Janis Sharp and Trudie Styler On 3 July, we delivered a petition to 10 Downing Street calling on the Prime Minister to prevent the extradition of Gary McKinnon. Signed by 4,388 NAS supporters, it was delivered by Gary's mum, Janis Sharp, and Trudie Styler, one of several celebrities supporting Gary's case.

Related resources

Relevant documents for downloading



Now show some guts, Mr Johnson: Judges say Home Secretary CAN order Gary McKinnon to be tried here

By Michael Seamark and James Slack
Last updated at 12:43 AM on 01st August 2009

Alan Johnson is under huge pressure to 'pluck up the courage' to save Gary McKinnon after judges warned he might kill himself if extradited.

They ruled they could not stop the Government from sending him to the U.S., where the vulnerable Asperger's sufferer faces up to 60 years behind bars.

But the two High Court judges declared in a pointed statement that, if extradited, 'his mental health will suffer and there are risks of worse, including suicide'.

Gary McKinnon and his mother Janis Sharp
'This sorry saga': Gary McKinnon and his mother Janis Sharp

Crucially, the judges also said the 43-year-old computer hacker could be prosecuted in London – a process which would automatically halt extradition.

Chris Huhne, the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, said: 'The succession of government ministers who have let this sorry saga drag on for seven long years should bow their heads in shame.

'It is time for Alan Johnson to pluck up the courage and ensure that Gary McKinnon is tried in a British court. Nothing else will do.'

Tory leader David Cameron said: 'Gary McKinnon is a vulnerable young man and I see no compassion in sending him thousands of miles away from his home and loved ones to face trial. If he has questions to answer, there is a clear argument to be made that he should answer them in a British court.'

Read Article in Full:  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1203568/Now-guts-Mr-Johnson-Judges-say-Home-Secretary-CAN-order-Gary-McKinnon-tried-here.html?ITO=1490


Cameron calls for rethink after hacker fails to halt extradition

Judges back removal of Briton who broke into US military networks

David Cameron yesterday joined the growing call for a review of extradition laws after computer hacker Gary McKinnon, originally from Glasgow, failed in his bid to avoid removal to the US.

The 43-year-old, who now lives in Wood Green, London, suffers from Asperger’s syndrome (AS), and is wanted for trial on charges of hacking into US military networks.

Campaigners seeking to block his extradition say his only crime is being a “UFO eccentric” who searched for evidence of extraterrestrials.

They claim he acted through “naivety” as a result of AS – a form of autism which leads to obsessive behaviour – and should not be considered a criminal.


We'll take Gary's fight to UK Supreme Court

Published Date: 01 August 2009
THE Scottish computer hacker who has lost his latest legal challenge to avoid extradition to the US is likely to make one final appeal to the newly formed UK Supreme Court.
Lord Justice Stanley Burnton and Mr Justice Wilkie yesterday ruled Gary McKinnon's extradition was a “lawful and proportionate response” to his offences as part of a judicial review….
….Numerous high-profile supporters of Mr McKinnon's case, including Terry Waite, the human rights campaigner and former hostage, expressed anger at the decision. “No nation under the sun ought to convict an individual whose behaviour is occasioned by illness,” Mr Waite said. Trudie Styler, the wife of rock star Sting, described the court's decision as the “death of common sense”. Mr McKinnon's solicitor, Karen Todner, said she would lodge an appeal against the High Court's ruling within 28 days and, if possible, take it to the Supreme Court and even to Europe. She added that they would “explore every legal avenue until we achieve a just and proper result”.

Gary McKinnon: Pentagon hacker's worst nightmare comes true

The autistic UFO conspiracy theorist has been extradited, charged with the biggest US military hack of all time. 'I sit up all night thinking about jail,' he says

Jon Ronson

The Guardian, Saturday 1 August 2009

For the past seven years, in bedsits in Crouch End and Bounds Green, north London, the Pentagon hacker and UFO buff Gary McKinnon has – according to his family and friends – been suffering one long anxiety attack. He's prone to regular fits of fainting and thoughts of suicide. He's written that he can't look himself in his eyes when he's shaving in case the sight of himself sets the spiral off. He jumps out of his skin if someone touches him by surprise. I've met him sporadically during these years and can vouch that he's a chainsmoking, terrified shell.

“I'm walking down the road and I find I can't control my own legs,” he has told me. “And I'm sitting up all night thinking about jail. About male rape. An American jail. I'm only a little nerd … My life is like walking through a world you know is probably going to end.”

And yesterday, at 10am, it did. The high court ruled that extradition to America was “a lawful and proportionate response to Gary McKinnon's offending”. It is unlikely that anything will stop it now. How did he become, in the eyes of US prosecutors, the man who committed “the biggest US military hack of all time”? And does he deserve his fate?

Read Article in Full:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/aug/01/gary-mckinnon-extradition-nightmare


Friday, 31 July 2009 

In quotes: Hacker judgement

The failure of computer hacker Gary McKinnon's latest High Court bid against extradition to the US has provoked widespread reaction.


It would be illegal for me to stop the extradition of Gary McKinnon, which the court ruling has made clear.

Mr McKinnon is accused of serious crimes and the US has a lawful right to seek his extradition, as we do when we wish to prosecute people who break our laws.

My predecessor has already sought and received clear assurances from the US that Mr McKinnon's health and welfare needs would be met, should he be extradited.


I am deeply saddened and disappointed with this decision. Gary McKinnon is a vulnerable young man and I see no compassion in sending him thousands of miles away from his home and loved ones to face trial.

If he has questions to answer, there is a clear argument to be made that he should answer them in a British court.

This case raises serious questions about the workings of the Extradition Act, which should be reviewed.

Read Article in Full:  http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8178321.stm


Cabinet split over McKinnon extradition

Welsh secretary Peter Hain backs McKinnon's calls to be tried in the UK

Phil Muncaster

In a new twist to the long-running campaign for Nasa hacker Gary McKinnon to be tried in the UK, Welsh secretary Peter Hain today dramatically broke ranks with the government and backed the calls.

Hain is quoted in a Daily Mail report as saying that it would be better for McKinnon, who suffers from Asperger's syndrome, to be tried in “a British context”, given that he committed the offences while on British soil.

“I have a lot of sympathy with Gary McKinnon and his mum, who is a very brave woman fighting for his rights,” Hain is reported as saying. “He has Asperger's syndrome which does tend to produce the kind of behaviour that is very compulsive.”

Read Article in Full:  http://www.v3.co.uk/v3/news/2247169/cabinet-splits-mckinnon


Political support builds for Nasa hacker

Tom Espiner ZDNet.co.uk

Published: 03 Aug 2009 17:41 BST

Amid a surge in political support for Gary McKinnon, the deputy prime minister has said the government will press for a British prison stay for the self-confessed hacker.

Harriet Harman told BBC1's Andrew Marr Show on Sunday that the UK would seek for McKinnon to be repatriated if he is found guilty of hacking military networks by a US court.

“If he is found guilty, then obviously straight away we will seek for him to serve any prison sentence — if he is sentenced to prison — back in this country,” said Harman.

Read Article in Full:  http://news.zdnet.co.uk/security/0,1000000189,39703964,00.htm


Minister lends support to hacker

Welsh Secretary Peter Hain has suggested that British computer hacker Gary McKinnon should face trial in the UK rather than be extradited to the US.

He told the Daily Mail the offence was committed “on British soil” and should be “assessed in a British context”.

Mr McKinnon's mother Janis Sharp said Mr Hain's words were “refreshing”, but the Lib Dems called on the government to do more to prevent the extradition.

Read Article in Full:  http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8181830.stm

How Gary McKinnon became a cause celebre


Clockwise from top left: Jilly Cooper, Keith Duffy, Julie Christie, David Blunkett, Sting, Barry Norman, Emma Noble and Terry Waite
 By Caroline McClatchey
 BBC News
British computer hacker Gary McKinnon's fight against extradition to the US has drawn support from a large and diverse range of influential people. How did his case become such a cause celebre?
It has to be one of the most unlikely partnerships in the history of popular music – one is a toned and tanned boy band singer, the other a brooding and balding lead guitarist from one of the rock giants of the 1970s.

But it's not music that has brought Boyzone's Keith Duffy and Pink Floyd's David Gilmour together – it's the case of computer hacker Gary McKinnon.

Mr McKinnon has become Britain's best-known conspiracy theorist, or, as London Mayor Boris Johnson put it – he's a “classic British nut job” who believes in “little green men”.

Gary McKinnon
Gary McKinnon has Asperger's Syndrome

The American authorities see it differently. The 43-year-old is a wanted man in the US, where he has been accused of “the biggest military computer hack of all time”. For the past five years he has been fighting an extradition request from the American authorities which want to try him on US soil.

If convicted there he faces up to 60 years in prison.

Along the way he has amassed a legion of supporters, as diverse in their make up as they are distinguished in their own fields of achievement. They include novelist Nick Hornby, film critic Barry Norman, Emma Noble, the ex-glamour model and former daughter-in-law of John Major, Sting, his film producer wife Trudie Styler and actress Julie Christie.

Politicians of all hues have also leapt on Mr McKinnon's case. And pop stars Chrissie Hynde and Sir Bob Geldof have teamed up with Gilmour to record a song of support.

In the past six weeks his cause has been further bolstered by a high-profile campaign in the Daily Mail newspaper.

But how did Mr McKinnon's fight become such a rallying cause for this disparate group of supporters?

Mr McKinnon does not deny he hacked into Pentagon systems, but claims he was searching for evidence of a UFO cover-up. His story started back in 2002 and the media have, periodically, followed the twists and turns of his legal battles (see graph, below).

Mention in press

There was also a spike in coverage when he was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome – a form of autism – last year, but the campaign to stop his extradition has gathered pace, passion and people in the last six months.

While a PR agency has taken on some of the work, Mr McKinnon's campaign has won support for a variety of reasons.

Read Full Article:  http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/8181100.stm

Fight goes on for hacker despite extradition ruling

06 August 2009
Charlotte Newton GARY McKinnon's parents are preparing to take their legal fight to the House of Lords to stop their son being extradited to the US, the Ham&High has learned. Wilson Sharp and his wife Janis have until September 14 to prepare a case on why Mr McKinnon – who has Asperger's syndrome – should be allowed to appeal to the Supreme Court, the new name for the judicial functions of the House of Lords. They plan to use the European Convention on Human Rights to argue for Mr McKinnon's right to humane treatment and say family life would be breached if he were extradited and tried in the US. Mr Sharp spoke out after his stepson lost his latest bid at the High Court on Friday to avoid extradition on charges of hacking into US security and defence computer networks. “Gary is in a very bad state mentally,” Mr Sharp said. “He's been okay up until now but Friday's decision was a step too far. He's extremely anxious, he's not talking.”

Read Article in Full:  http://www.hamhigh.co.uk/content/camden/hamhigh/news/story.aspx?brand=NorthLondon24&category=Newshamhigh&tBrand=northlondon24&tCategory=newshamhigh&itemid=WeED06%20Aug%202009%2010%3A40%3A58%3A820

Autism Campaigners Appeal To President Obama On Gary McKinnon

Article Date: 06 Aug 2009 – 14:00 PDT

Autism campaigners Ivan Corea of the UK Autism Foundation and Kevin Healey Chairman of the Staffordshire Adults Autistic Society (who has Asperger's Syndrome) have issued a joint appeal on Gary McKinnon to President Barack Obama at the White House. They have also launched a new online petition in support of Gary McKinnon who hacked into 97 America military computers at the Pentagon and Nasa between 2001 and 2002.

Read Article in Full:  http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/160039.php

URGENT!: Tell Barbara Lee to Save Gary McKinnon
by Autism Liberation Front
Thursday Aug 6th, 2009 11:01 AM
Gary McKinnon has an autism spectrum disorder; he needs to be saved from the clutches of American injustice. Barack Hussein Obama continues the extradition of Gary McKinnon, despite testimony of Autism Specialists, a former NASA prosecutor, and members of the current British government. Obama's first extradition in his version of the war on terror is someone with a developmental disability.
1301 Clay Street Suite 1000-N
Oakland, CA 94612 Lee's Phone: (510) 763-0370 Fax: (510) 763-6538

============================ Please, Gary needs your help. Please help Gary's mother and the Autistic community in saving Gary McKinnon. Obama's first extradition in his version of the war on terror is someone with autism. I repeat: OBAMA'S FIRST EXTRADITION IS SOMEONE WITH AUTISM! Gary McKinnon has an autism spectrum disorder; he needs to be saved from the clutches of American injustice. He needs to stay home in the UK with his mom and his friends. Gary faces 70 years in an American super-max prison. His mental health with deteriorate, and we fear he will die in jail far sooner than later. Barack Hussein Obama continues the extradition of Gary McKinnon, despite testimony of Autism Specialists, a former NASA prosecutor, and members of the current British government. Gary has the support of Lord Alex Carlile and the Liberal Democrats, as well as the Green Party of England and Wales. He has the support of Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London. In 2001, Gary McKinnon entered unprotected (no passwords, no cyber-security) servers from NASA and the Pentagon. He was looking for photos of UFOs. The US Government ludicrously claims he was online not to look for pictures, but in attempt to destroy key parts of America's cyber-infrastructure. Simon Baron-Cohen (cousin of Sacha Baron-Cohen), head of Autism Research at Cambridge University, has testified that Gary's Asperger's Syndrome played a key role in his behaviour and that he had no true criminal intent. He has examined and interviewed Gary, and basically serves as his therapist. Gary was looking to satisfy his own curiosities and had no sinister motive. Former NASA prosecutor, as well as cyber-security expert, Joseph Richard Gutheinz Jr has spoken on behalf of Gary. Gutheinz argues the truth, that Autism is not respected in American, that the US over prosecutes people with development disabilities, and that Gary must stay in the UK. Gary McKinnon's cause has been taken up by bob Geldof and David Fimour who put together a digital single to raise money and awareness for his legal defense.
====================== STATEMENT BY GUTHEINZ VIA HERALD I am retired NASA Office of Inspector General Senior Special Agent. I have seen the harm that illegal hacking has caused. I was even trained by the United States Government to hack into computers to understand the psyche and techniques used by hackers. After retiring from NASA, I started practising criminal law and found that the American judicial system turns a blind eye towards the needs of the mentally ill. America is a great country and I am a proud American, but it is a country tied to many archaic legal principles. Until just recently America executed mentally retarded offenders and still jails schizophrenics and other seriously mentally impaired defendants with little compassion. It is a country which fights drug addiction with long prison terms for the addicted. Individuals become judges on a record of zero tolerance where compassion has little value or is viewed as a negative. If I were the prosecutor on Gary McKinnon's case, I would say keep him in England: you can have him fly him over here, he'll plea out, and we'll put him probation in England for a number of years with conditions. That is the compassionate thing to do, and that is what I haven't seen the American government offer. And that is where I think they are wrong. I tell my students that laws exist to be followed and when the law is ignored, anarchy follows. I am known as a conservative on law and order issues, but I also believe in justice. I worry that Gary McKinnon might not find any justice in America. For two years I fought to keep a young boy out of juvenile prison or a psychiatric ward, a boy who like Gary McKinnon has Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism. He went through hell in the legal system. There was no compassion, no understanding. They just wanted to lock the kid away. It was a heart-breaking case. Predicated on that experience I was grateful when Texas Governor Rick Perry appointed me to the Texas Criminal Justice Advisory Committee on Medical and Mental Impairments, but once there I saw the same lack of concern by law enforcement and the judiciary towards the mentally ill that I saw as a defense attorney. Gary McKinnon's is a case that demands that we use a little bit of compassion. What are you going to accomplish by extraditing him back to the United States and punishing him and putting him in prison? Are you sending a message out that if you've got a mental illness you better watch it? I do believe in what his mother says – separating him from her and his environment is going to be detrimental to his well being. I hope a deal can be reached with American prosecutors that will offer Gary treatment rather than jail or prison, and permit him to remain in England around surroundings and people that will nurture him, and to this end I ask America to halt its efforts to extradite Gary and in the alternative work out a compromise that will protect its national security and enhance Gary’s well being. If the guy didn't have autism, I'd say he's made his bed and he's got so sleep in it. My opinion would be different if Gary was a physical threat to others or a continuing threat to American national security, but neither appears to be the case. If America is unwilling to strike a compassionate plea bargain with Gary’s defense attorneys I believe England must take steps to protect its citizen. In the case of Gary McKinnon, I have come to the conclusion that England should not extradite this man to America to face the prospect of injustice masked as justice. Joseph Richard Gutheinz, Jr., J.D.
Attorney at Law
Retired NASA OIG Senior Special Agent

Computer hacker case attracting worldwide support

5:02pm Friday 7th August 2009

THE FATE of computer hacker Gary McKinnon, who looks set to face trial in the US, has led to a surge in support and sympathy from around the globe.

“Gary McKinnon has admitted that he has done wrong by hacking into US computers and all we are asking is for Gary to be tried in the UK.

“President Obama, with the stroke of his pen, can change things for Gary McKinnon.”

Mr McKinnon has won backing from politicians, such as Ilford North MP Lee Scott, David Cameron, Peter Hain and Boris Johnson. The online petition, which asks for Gary to be tried in the UK, has the full support of Mrs Janice Sharp, the mother of Gary McKinnon, who has been protesting on her son's behalf.

Organisers are hoping that thousands will sign as Mr McKinnon's lawyers are given 28 days to appeal against the High Court decision to allow the extradition to go ahead.


Sign the petition at http://signup4garymckinnon.yolasite.com/


Hacker with Asperger's syndrome gets reduced sentence 

Ian Grant 

11 Aug 2009 

Asperger's syndrome saved a Los Angeles hacker from a longer prison sentence, it was reported today, bringing scant hope to self-confessed British hacker Gary McKinnon (pictured), who faces extradition to the US on hacking charges.

Viachelav Berkovich, an illegal Russian immigrant and Asperger's sufferer, received a 55-month sentence for his part in a man-in-the-middle attack on a shipment trucking website, according to a report in Wired.

This was five months less than the minimum recommended by the probation office and prosecutors, and 23 months less than the federal minimum. His co-defendant received 70 months for masterminding the scheme.

“The court tried to make a fair sentence [It] gave us some of what we asked for and did accept that Mr Berkovich suffered from Asperger's, but at the same time felt that this was serious and that a substantial prison sentence was called for to deter others,” Kiana Sloan-Hillier, Berkovich's defence attorney, told Wired.

Read Article In Full:   http://www.computerweekly.com/Articles/2009/08/11/237281/hacker-with-aspergers-syndrome-gets-reduced-sentence.htm


Hacking Autism – Gary McKinnon

Posted on August 21st, 2009

Gary McKinnon, could face extradition from Britain to the United States where he would stand trial for hacking into US government computers and could face a sentence of sixty years (Charged with 7 counts, proposed sentence Ten Years Per Count)

Gary has recently been diagnosed as suffering from Lifetime Aspergers Syndrome, which is why his family, friends and supporters around the world are arguing that Gary should be allowed to stay in the U.K and face the courts in the country where the offence, if offence there was, was committed.

Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, a world renowned expert on Aspergers and Autism feels strongly that Gary should absolutely not be extradited to the U.S.

Read in Full:  http://www.bloggernews.net/121967



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