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January 2011



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January 13, 2010.

A Briton who hacked into NASA and Pentagon computers has won the right to challenge the government’s decision to refuse to block his extradition to the United States, his lawyers said on Wednesday. Skip related content

Gary McKinnon was arrested in 2002 after U.S. prosecutors charged him with illegally accessing computers, including at the U.S. Defence Department and NASA, and causing $700,000 (429,817 pounds) worth of damage.

The U.S. Army’s entire network of more than 2,000 computers in Washington was shut down for 24 hours in what U.S. authorities called “the biggest military hack of all time.”

Lawyers for McKinnon, who suffers from a form of autism known Asperger’s syndrome, say he is not fit to be sent to the United States and that his health would suffer.

But Home Secretary Alan Johnson said in November that the information he had been provided with did not demonstrate that sending McKinnon to the U.S. would breach his human rights, therefore he could not block the extradition.

McKinnon’s lawyer Karen Todner said she was delighted with the High Court decision but said the pressure of the proceedings had left her client in a “very poor mental state.”

“I would urge Mr Johnson to review his decision and I appeal to (U.S. President Barack) Obama to withdraw the application for extradition,” she said in a statement.

The hearing was expected in April or May, she said, and McKinnon would remain in Britain pending the review.

The Home Office noted the decision and said in a statement that it would not comment further, pending the review’s outcome.

A judicial review examines whether a public body came to its decision lawfully — so Johnson could again allow McKinnon’s extradition to go ahead, as long as he followed the right procedures in coming to his decision.

McKinnon has told Reuters he was just a computer nerd who wanted to find out whether aliens really existed. He became obsessed with trawling through large military data networks for any proof that they might be out there.

If convicted by a U.S. court, McKinnon could face up to 70 years in prison.

(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; Editing by Jon Boyle)


A plea from Gary McKinnon’s mum: text the Government to show your support

By Christopher Hope Last updated: January 12th, 2010

Here is a heartfelt plea from Janis Sharp, the desperately worried mother of Gary McKinnon, the Briton who is wanted in America on computer hacking charges and faces decades in jail if found guilty.

She says: “Please help my son Gary McKinnon by Texting GARY to 65000 to show Government the level of support there is for Gary in the U.K  before court decision or extradition can take place. For more info see:  http://www.londontv.net/press-release.html#freegary

The ambition of the texting campaign is “two-fold”.  The campaign’s website says: “First to give voters an opportunity to directly manifest their frustration at a lack of protection for vulnerable UK citizens such as Gary, and second to encourage the main political parties to reform our imbalanced extradition arrangements as part of their manifesto pledges.

“Any British Citizen can be extradited to America without any evidence being presented on a mere suspicion. THIS HAS TO END.”

Any day now Mr McKinnon, who has a form of Autism, will learn whether the High Court will grant a judicial review of the decision by Alan Johnson, the home secretary, to ignore fresh medical evidence about the effect of being extradited on him.

Ms Sharp has thrown her every ounce of energy into trying to keep her son in Britain, where he is happy to answer charges (he is accused of hacking into Pentagon and Nasa networks from his bedroom in north London). She has had extraordinary success: on the first day of the texting campaign nearly 4,000 texts were sent in support of Mr McKinnon.

Yet the Government has been deaf to her pleading and has been content to fall into line with the wishes of the US Justice department, in what many see as a supine show of deference towards Uncle Sam, by extraditing Mr McKinnon using an unfair treaty which was designed to target terrorists.

Proposals from Dominic Grieve, the shadow Justice secretary, to introduce a clause into the treaty to prosecute offenders in the UK if the majority of the crime was committed here are a palpably sensible solution to an unfair piece of law-making which discriminates heavily against Britons.

Source:   http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/christopherhope/100022087/a-plea-from-gary-mckinnons-mum-text-the-government-to-show-your-support/

Judge says extraditing Gary McKinnon may be unlawful

Asperger’s sufferer faces lengthy prison sentence in the US for breaching US military and Nasa computers

Afua Hirsch

The Guardian, Thursday 14 January 2010

The home secretary may have acted unlawfully by pursuing the extradition of the computer hacker Gary McKinnon, a high court judge said yesterday.

Extraditing McKinnon, an Asperger’s sufferer who is facing a lengthy prison sentence in the US for breaching US military and Nasa computers, raises “stark and simple issues”, Mr Justice Mitting said.

In a letter, the judge described medical evidence that McKinnon would be at high risk of suicide in an American jail as “as yet unchallenged and unqualified”.

That evidence may require the home secretary “to refuse to surrender [McKinnon] to the government of the USA” Mitting said, in a letter yesterday. “It is arguable that the [home secretary’s] decision was unlawful”, the letter added.

The decision is seen as a dramatic change from the approach of the high court in previous hearings on McKinnon.

His mother, Janis Sharp, said: “I can’t believe it – some common sense at last. This judge has made such an honourable and decent decision. Gary’s health has badly declined it’s been traumatic to see. I hope this brings him comfort that the right decision will be made, even if it requires the courts to impose it rather than our government to reach it.”

Read in Full:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jan/13/gary-mckinnon-hacking-extradition?CMP=AFCYAH


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