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David Burrowes MP, Sunday, July 26 2009

This last month has been an unusual one since it has involved a constituent’s case receiving national prominence and has led to Parliamentary calls for a review of both an Act of Parliament and a Treaty. 

There are other occasions when a constituent comes into one of my regular advice surgeries in Enfield Southgate and raises issues which need national or at least Parliament and Government’s attention. 

The case of my constituent Gary McKinnon is though unique. Sadly unique in Gary being the first UK citizen accused of a computer hacking crime to face extradition to the US; unique in that Gary’s condition of Asperger’s syndrome makes him particularly vulnerable as he face up to 60 years in a US jail. Also unique is that last week Gary’s case was the subject of our Opposition Day’s debate in Parliament when we debated a motion to review the Extradition Act 2003. 

These issues are of crucial importance to Gary McKinnon since he fears mental health problems and even suicide if he ends up in a US jail. However the principles at stake are crucial for all of us. 

The principle of a fair hearing lies at the heart of the campaign to provide justice in his country for Gary. He has admitted breaking computer laws by hacking into US systems whilst in his flat in North London. Yet the Home Secretary and DPP hide behind the unbalanced extradition arrangements the Government agreed with the US.  

The Home Secretary says it is a matter for the DPP to decide whether to prosecute in this country, whilst the DPP has refused to prosecute him despite other computer hackers’ being brought to justice in the UK and cedes jurisdiction to the US. What we need is the implementation of the amendment, secured by the late and much missed Lord Kingsland, to the legislation which would allow a court to properly decide which country’s jurisdiction should apply.

I was a solicitor specialising in criminal law for over 11 years before entering Parliament. I came across many people with special education needs like autism and the criminal justice system sadly became the dustbin for the failures to identify and support the young person at an earlier stage. 

Gary McKinnon’s impending extradition is also an example of failure, but let us not allow Gary to be extradited due to our failure to act. Please let the Home Secretary know of your opposition to Gary McKinnon’s extradition by writing direct to the Secretary of State or writing to your own MP.


Hacker Gary McKinnon will receive no pity, insists US

Gary McKinnon, the Briton accused of hacking Pentagon and Nasa computer networks, faces an increasingly hostile climate on cyber security in the US if his extradition is approved this week.

By Philip Sherwell in New York
Published: 7:00AM BST 26 Jul 2009


Gary McKinnon, accused of hacking into U.S. military computers and facing extradition to the U.S. to stand trial, leaving the High Court in London Photo: AP


American officials have made clear that they regard Mr McKinnon, 43, an unemployed computer programmer who has been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, as a serious offender whose case must be pursued rigorously in the US courts.

Following a recent explosion of cyber assaults on US military, intelligence and government networks, the authorities say they are more determined than ever to prosecute national security hackers vigorously.

A senior military officer at the Pentagon told The Sunday Telegraph: “US policy is to fight these attacks as strongly as possible. As a result of Mr McKinnon’s actions, we suffered serious damage and lost a lot of time and money.

“This was not some harmless incident. He did very serious and deliberate damage to military and Nasa computers and left silly and anti-American messages. All the evidence was that someone was staging a very serious attack on US systems.”

A US intelligence official echoed those comments. “He really caused us a lot of trouble,” he said last week.

Read Article in Full:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/5907994/Hacker-Gary-McKinnon-will-receive-no-pity-insists-US.html

An affront to British justice: How the dice were loaded against Gary MccKinnon

Gary McKinnon: Ruling in days

By James Slack
Last updated at 1:22 AM on 28th July 2009

The odds are stacked overwhelmingly against any British citizens wanted by the Americans for extradition, it was revealed last night.

Courts in the UK are approving an astonishing 89 per cent of U.S. extradition requests.

By comparison, only seven in ten requests to the Americans by the British authorities are granted.

The revelations from analysis by the Liberal Democrats will inflame controversy over the case of Gary McKinnon, an Asperger’s sufferer facing extradition to the U.S.

According to the figures, Britain has extradited over twice as many people to America as have been sent back to this country since the Extradition Act came into force in 2004.

It will fuel concerns that Gary, accused of hacking into U.S. military computers while seeking evidence of alien life, had the dice loaded against him by the Act.

The Act was pushed through in the aftermath of 9/11, ostensibly to fight the war on terror. But it has proved hugely controversial from the outset and ministers are under pressure to review it.

Crucially, the U.S. can demand a Briton’s extradition without having to provide any evidence while Britain has to prove its case in a U.S. court. Judges can refuse extradition on only very limited grounds, such as abuse of human rights.

Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne said: ‘These figures show that British people have far less chance of successfully fighting extradition than Americans, who are also protected by their written constitution.

‘It is sad evidence of Tony Blair’s willingness to do the United States’ bidding that he was willing to offer less protection to his own country’s people.

‘The United States should have to offer evidence to press for extradition, just as we do in the U.S.

‘What sort of special relationship is it if British citizens have second-class status in securing a fair trial? British people must have equal rights.’

Hacker’s ‘moral crusade’ over UFO

Tuesday, 28 July 2009 14:13 UK

A Briton fighting extradition to the US for hacking into top-secret computers claims he was morally justified in breaking the law.

Gary McKinnon, 43, from Wood Green, north London, admits hacking into 97 US government computers, including Nasa’s and Pentagon’s, during 2001 and 2002.

He told the BBC he was on a “moral crusade” to prove US intelligence had found an alien craft run on clean fuel.

Results of judicial reviews into Mr McKinnon’s case are due on Friday.

They focus on whether Mr McKinnon should have been allowed to face trial in the UK and whether the decision to extradite him should have been reconsidered in light of his diagnosis as having Asperger’s Syndrome last year.

His lawyers say he is “eccentric” rather than malicious and that he should be tried on lesser charges in the UK to protect his mental health.

Read Article in Full:  http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8172842.stm

Previous Updates:

Gary McKinnon Updates: In In the Name of Compassion, Britain Must reverse This Shameful Decision”

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