He became Britain’s most famous hacker when he penetrated US military systems looking for hidden data on unidentified flying objects.
Under George W. Bush, the US spent millions of dollars to get McKinnon extradited to stand trial, accused of, “sabotaging 2,000 military computers and causing damage worth $700,000,” says PC World, going on:
“Speaking in 2005, US prosecutor Mark Summers alleged McKinnon’s actions had been ‘intentional and calculated to influence and affect the US government by intimidation and coercion’.”
If he’s found guilty, he faces up to 70 years in a high-security US federal prison.
Now, “We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to lead his Government in providing protection against extradition for people with autism and Asperger syndrome in the criminal justice system, particularly in the case of Gary McKinnon,” says an online petition.
Submitted by Lisa James of The National Autistic Society, the deadline to sign up May 25, and as we post this, there are 2,226 signatures.
Adds PC World »»»
Gary McKinnon was born in Glasgow in 1966, but moved to London with his mother when he was six. He inherited his passion for UFOs from his stepfather, Wilson Sharp, and became so fixated on the idea that he joined the British UFO Research Association when he was only 15. He was, according to his mother, “always a bit of an unusual kid who didn’t have many friends”. Instead, he’d spend a lot of time talking about the stars and learning to program on his computer, an Atari 400. Despite his growing affinity for the machine, he left school at 17 to become a hairdresser, a career cut short by a friend’s insistence that there was better money, and he was better suited, to a career in IT.
Then came WarGames, the 1983 film in which a young man almost starts World War III after hacking into US military computers. In an interview with The Guardian in 2003, McKinnon told how the film dazzled him and left him wondering, “Can you really do it? Can you really gain unauthorised access to incredibly interesting places? Surely, it can’t be that easy.” In 1995, he decided to give it a try.
Say in Latest News for Gary McKinnon »»»
Clark McClelland ScO, Space Shuttle Fleet, Kennedy Space Center Gary McKinnon is actually a hero for all of us. No prison time for this hero. I have also suffered for what I have disclosed for the human race. The TRUTH will set all of us FREE.
Peter Gabriel I am Happy to be counted as a supporter of the campain to stop Gary’s extradition to the US …
Sting It’s a travesty of human rights that Gary McKinnon finds himself in this dreadful situation.
David Gilmour Gary McKinnon should not be being extradited to the USA for his naive hacking. It is a heavy handed response from the US and it’s hard to understand that the English justice system could not be more effectively used to prevent this. I am hoping that common sense will prevail.
And Janis Sharp, Gary’s mother in a letter to Keir Starmer, director of public prosecutions, published in Computer Weekly, asking for her son to be tried in the UK.
Gary is facing extradition to the United States for alleged computer hacking almost seven years ago and the possibility of a maximum sentence of 60 years in a hard line US prison.
It has just come to my attention via information from the internet, that a British man named Aaron Caffrey who was accused of hacking into the computer system of Port Houston shortly after 9/11 was allowed by the CPS to be tried in a UK court in 2003.
This was despite the fact that both cases were very similar. What is even more odd is that one Russell Tyner from the CPS was involved in both Gary’s and Aaron Caffrey’s case at around the same time.
Russell Tyner led Gary and his solicitor to understand at the time that he had been instructed from “the very top” to basically stand aside for America to prosecute Gary. What we did not know at the time was that simultaneously the CPS was deciding to approve the prosecution of Aaron Caffrey in Southwark Crown Court.
Gary has recently been diagnosed with lifetime Asperger Syndrome and this explains why without having engaged a lawyer and without a lawyer being present, Gary admitted to computer misuse. Gary was also anxious for his girlfriend to be allowed to go home as they had been held for some time in the police station.
Having Aspergers Syndrome Gary is naÃ¯ve and trusted the police when they told him he would probably serve a six months community service sentence. They also mentioned the possibility of a future job with the High Tech crime unit and this gave Gary a false sense of security.
Many people with Aspergers have a heightened sense of justice and have obsessions, which can sometimes get them into trouble. Gary’s obsession was computers, and people with Aspergers often interact more with machines than with people.
Gary is a musician and is a gentle vegetarian and a pacifist. He logged onto US computers in search of information on UFOs and free energy, which he believed was being suppressed.
The note he left saying that America was guilty of state-sponsored terrorism and that he believed it was no accident that there was a stand down after 9/11, is being portrayed as akin to terrorism. Cyber-graffiti and a cyber-peace protest would seem a more accurate description.
(At the time Gary believed in the conspiracy theory that 9/11 was an inside job)
Gary has admitted to computer misuse but denies the alleged damage.
In breach of the rules/text of the extradition treaty, Gary’s hard drives were taken to America in 2002 and were never returned.
The new Extradition Treaty with America was not ratified by the US until 2007 but in Gary’s case it was used retrospectively and he was denied his right to contest any of the allegations made against him. Gary has always denied the alleged damage.
I am fighting to secure some form of safety for my Aspergic son. I am not asking for Gary to be excused I am merely asking that he can be tried in the UK on all of the charges already brought by the Americans and if need be, punished here.
I am not requesting this merely for compassionate reasons but am asking on the basis of the right for my son Gary to receive equal treatment to Aaron Caffrey.
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