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First Published Thursday, 26 February 2009

Gary McKinnon

Hacker loses extradition battle

Computer hacker Gary McKinnon lost the latest round of his fight against extradition to the US when British prosecutors refused to bring charges against him.

Mr McKinnon, 42, from Wood Green, north London, is accused of sabotaging vital American military systems after the terror attacks of September 11 2001.

His lawyers appealed for him to be prosecuted in Britain on lesser charges, but the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) rejected their request.

Mr McKinnon insists he was only looking for evidence of UFOs when he hacked into a series of US military networks in 2001 and 2002. He has signed a statement accepting that his hacking constituted an offence under the UK’s Computer Misuse Act 1990.

His supporters say he acted through “naivety” as a result of suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome – a form of autism – and should not be considered a criminal.

But the US military alleges that he caused 800,000 dollars (£550,000) worth of damage and left 300 computers at a US Navy weapons station unusable immediately after the September 11 atrocities.

Mr McKinnon’s legal team hoped to avoid his extradition by having him prosecuted in the UK, and made a formal request for this to director of public prosecutions Keir Starmer in December.

The CPS said it found enough evidence to bring charges against the hacker under the Computer Misuse Act for obtaining “unauthorised access with intent”. But Alison Saunders, head of the CPS organised crime division, said: “The evidence we have does not come near to reflecting the criminality that is alleged by the American authorities.”

The CPS also decided that the case was best prosecuted in the US. Mrs Saunders said: “The bulk of the evidence is located in the United States, the activity was directed against the military infrastructure of the United States, the investigation commenced in the United States and was ongoing, and there are a large number of witnesses, most of whom are located in the United States.”

Glasgow-born Mr McKinnon is accused by the US of “the biggest military computer hack of all time”. He allegedly hacked into 53 US Army computers and 26 US Navy computers, including those at US Naval Weapons Station Earle in New Jersey, which is responsible for replenishing munitions and supplies for the Atlantic fleet. He is also accused of hacking into 16 Nasa computers, one US Department of Defence computer and one machine belonging to the US Air Force.

Source:   http://uk.news.yahoo.com/21/20090226/tuk-hacker-loses-extradition-battle-6323e80.html

Nasa hacker judicial review date set

Tom Espiner ZDNet.co.uk

Published: 27 Feb 2009 18:03 GMT

A date has been set for a High Court judicial review of Nasa hacker Gary McKinnon’s case.

The review, set for the 9 and 10 June, will focus on whether McKinnon’s diagnosis with Asperger’s syndrome was taken into account during his appeals process.

Gary McKinnon’s mother Janis Sharp told ZDNet UK of the judicial review date via an email on Friday. Sharp said she had felt “broken” and “beaten up” by a Crown Prosecution Service decision on Thursday not to prosecute McKinnon in the UK, but that she was now “getting back in fighting mode”.

McKinnon has been accused by US prosecutors of “the biggest military hack of all time”. The US authorities allege that McKinnon caused $700,000 (£500,000) of damage, and disabled systems and military equipment, by hacking into US military computers at the Pentagon, at Nasa, and at US military installations in 2001. McKinnon has never denied hacking US systems, but denies causing damage. He claims to have been searching for UFOs.

McKinnon faces up to seventy years in a maximum security if found guilty by a US court. He is currently forty-three.

McKinnon’s solicitor Karen Todner told ZDNet UK on Friday that she hoped the High Court review would prevent McKinnon’s extradition.

“We’re hoping the court will say that Gary’s Asperger’s will prevent his extradition, as to extradite him would be a breach of his human rights,” said Todner.

The review will include an appraisal of Home Secretary Jacqui Smith’s decision not to halt McKinnon’s extradition to the US in September. Smith was aware of McKinnon’s Asperger’s when she turned down the autumn appeal against McKinnon’s extradition.

Source:   http://news.zdnet.co.uk/security/0,1000000189,39619910,00.htm

Judicial Review To Decide Of McKinnon’s Fate In June 2009

Gary McKinnon has been handed yet another lifeline as it was revealed that a court will decide whether McKinnon’s Asperger’s syndrome should have been taken into consideration by the CPS.

According to ZDNet, the High Court Judicial review will “focus on whether McKinnon’s diagnosis with Asperger’s syndrome was taken into account during his appeals process.”

The CPS rejected McKinnon’s request to be trialled in the UK earlier this week and the hacker seemed doomed, having gone through a number of previous reprieves.

A number of high profile supporters have publicly voiced their support for McKinnon. They include Singer Sting, London Mayor Boris Johnson, Prof Simon Baron-Cohen, director of the Autism Research Centre at Cambridge University and Terror law watchdog Lord Carlile.

Of course, the decision by the CPS comes during the week when former Guantanamo Bay detainee, Binyam Mohamed returns to the UK after what Duncan Campbell from the Guardian, calls “his appalling mistreatment at the hands of the US authorities”. He also questions whether the UK government should offer another British citizen to the US criminal justice system.

McKinnon’s mother, Janis Sharp, has also written to President Barack Obama, pleading her son’s case with probably the only man in the US who can reverse the extradition and grant him pardon.

There’s something fundamentally flawed about the way McKinnon is being treated by the British Government. It surely has nothing to do with the fact that he is of Scottish origin. The government seems to have done more for Binyam Mohamed, who is not even a UK citizen, than for McKinnon and this doesn’t bode well for the rest of us.

Related Links

Nasa hacker judicial review date set

Source: http://www.itproportal.com/security/news/article/2009/3/1/judicial-review-decide-mckinnons-fate-june-2009/

NAS – Disappointment at Decision Not To Prosecute Gary McKinnon In The UK

Despite widespread public support from campaigners and the autism community, the Crime Prosecution service (CPS) announced today (26 February 2009) that it would not bring charges against Gary McKinnon in the UK.

Gary McKinnon was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome in August 2008 and is facing extradition to the United States to stand trial for allegedly hacking into US Defense computer systems. As a result of his late diagnosis, his Asperger syndrome was not taken into account in any legal proceedings prior to August 2008.

The National Autistic Society (NAS) Chief Executive Mark Lever said:

“We are very disappointed by today’s CPS decision not to prosecute Gary McKinnon in the UK. Over 4000 people emailed the Attorney General about this through a campaign on the NAS website and gary continues to have a lot of support from the autism community. We still strongly believe that the extradition, and a possible maximum security prison sentence, would be inappropriate and very damaging for anyone affected by Asperger syndrome.

“Despite this setback we will continue to challenge his extradition and we are urging you to contact your MP and request that they sign up to Early Day Motion 487 in support of Gary McKinnon.”

The case now rests on a Judicial Review of the Secretary of State’s decision to extradite Gary, which is likely to take place in the next couple of months. The decision to allow Judicial Review was the result of a High Court hearing on 23 January 2009. The NAS submitted evidence to this hearing relating to the nature of Asperger syndrome and the issue of late diagnosis. This evidence was particularly important since the High Court acknowledged that Gary had been diagnosed with Asperger syndrome late and that it seemed that late diagnosis was not uncommon.

Please visit this page, www.autism.org.uk/mckinnon, again soon to find out how you can take action in support of Gary McKinnon.

Related resources

Relevant areas/articles elsewhere on this website Media statement: Gary McKinnon

Source:   http://www.nas.org.uk/nas/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=1895&a=18512

Sting Supports Hacker McKinnon’s Fight for UK Trial


Author: Ian Grant
Posted: 16:00  02 Mar 2009

Police frontman Sting and wife Trudie Styler are among the latest celebrities to support self-confessed hacker Gary McKinnon’s bid to be tried in the UK for what US officials call “the biggest military hack of all time“.

Sting and Styler have written to home secretary Jacqui Smith backing his case against extradition to the US, reports the Mail on Sunday.

Last week, the director of public prosecutions (DPP) said he found “no evidence” on which to charge McKinnon in the UK. Lawyers for McKinnon said the DPP had not asked to see what evidence the US held for its extradition request.

Extradition arrangements between the US and UK allow the US to demand and receive the extradition of UK citizens without having to show prima facie evidence that supports their suspicions. However, the US insists that British requests for US citizens to face trial in the UK are supported by evidence.

McKinnon earlier wrote to the DPP to confirm that he had admitted to UK police in 2001 to contravening the Computer Misuse Act. McKinnon also asked to be tried in the UK rather than the US, where he faces up to 70 years in jail.

Sting told The Mail on Sunday, “It is a travesty of human rights that Gary McKinnon finds himself in this dreadful situation.

“The US response in relation to the true nature of Gary’s crime is disproportionate in the extreme. Gary is even contemplating suicide because of his fear of incarceration as a terrorist in a US jail.

“The British government is prepared to hand over this vulnerable man without reviewing the evidence.”

Earlier, the government’s former terrorist watchdog Lord Carlile supported a local trial for McKinnon. London mayor Boris Johnson also lent his weight to McKinnon’s bid.

Cambridge University’s Simon Baron-Cohen, a world authority on autism, said McKinnon, who suffers from Asperger’s syndrome, an autistic condition, should be tried in the UK. McKinnon should be treated not as a terrorist but as a man with a social disability, he said.

Source:   http://www.computerweekly.com/Articles/2009/03/02/235094/sting-supports-hacker-mckinnons-fight-for-uk-trial.htm

Ma McKinnon plans musical extradition protest

G20 ‘sing-in’

By John Leyden
13th March 2009 12:20 GMT

Janis Sharp, mother of US extradition target Gary McKinnon, has hatched plans to conduct a sing-in protest to coincide with President Barack Obama’s upcoming visit to London.

The demo is planned to coincide with Obama’s visit to attend the G20 conference at the beginning of April, where global leaders will meet to discuss the global economic crisis. Sharp has rewritten the lyrics (but not the tune) of Graham Nash’s Chicago as a protest against long-running attempts to haul her self-confessed UFO evidence hunter turned hacker son over to the US and the “one-sided” UK-US extradition treaty more generally. Nash is famous as a member of Crosby, Stills & Nash.

Sharp said that she picked the song, which comes from the era of the Vietnam War protests, in order to “rekindle the spirit of protest” of those times. She hopes to get television crews along to film the protest, first mentioned in a Twitter post. “We want to appeal to Obama for justice,” she told El Reg.

Music has featured quite a bit in McKinnon’s long-running campaign against extradition. Recent converts to McKinnon’s cause include former Police frontman Sting and wife Trudie Styler.

Ross Hemsworth, managing director of Glastonbury Radio and UK director of the International UFO Congress, floated plans to organise a benefit gig on McKinnon’s behalf back in November. Kayleigh-fondlers Marillion expressed an initial interest but pulled out apparently because of concerns about upsetting their US fans, according to Sharp.

Hemsworth also talked of bringing musicians together to make a recording of a song written by McKinnon, called Only a Fool, with the proceeds going to charity. That venture didn’t quite make it to fruition either.

The planned ‘sit-in’ musical protests come in the run-up to a June judicial review on whether the Home Secretary was right to allow extradition proceedings against Gary McKinnon to proceed following his recent diagnosis with Asperger’s Syndrome. The hearing represents McKinnon’s last best hope of avoiding US extradition and trial following failed appeal to the House of Lords last year and a more recent decision by UK prosecutors not to bring a case against McKinnon in the UK. ®

Source:   http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/03/13/mckinnon_musical_protest/

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