A psychology expert has advised the Home Secretary Theresa May that Gary McKinnon is not going to kill himself if he is sent to the US to face one of its quaint kangaroo courts.
Professor Declan Murphy’s latest assessment is different from what he said three years ago and has been made without seeing McKinnon. The assessment is based on intuition, or, as we say at TechEye, he guessed.
A few years ago he said that McKinnon would require one-to-one observation to avoid a serious suicide bid. It is not clear what could have happened in three years that would make McKinnon cheerful about his 60 year sentence. Perhaps he assumes that McKinnon would be happy to get out of the UK.
His report would allow Home Secretary Theresa May to authorise Mr McKinnon’s extradition. Theresa May loves her extraditions – she is so happy about extraditing ‘suspected terrorists’ despite the fact they probably will face torture that she promises to make it an annual event.
To be fair to May, the UK government has been wanting to get rid of McKinnon for some time, because the case highlights how one sided the extradition treaty between the US and the UK is. Basically, if the US calls, the UK must send its citizens over to face trillian year sentences for whatever bizarre crime they have decided is in their bible this week. If the UK asks for a US citizen to be extradited, the US tells the UK to sling its hook, which is pretty balanced.
In the case of McKinnon, he hacked into a military computer network 10 years ago and the US threatened that if he did not come over and face the music they would add decades onto his sentence. The US was particularly embarrassed that someone like McKinnon could hack into its computers.
Murphy wrote that he judged the risk of McKinnon’s suicide to be moderate. The risk of actual self-harm could be “ameliorated by regular contact with mental health professionals and with supportive counselling and listening services of the type that are available within UK prisons”.
We notice that supportive counselling is not something which is mentioned in US jails unless supportive is what you have when two people hold you in the showers.
This report is suspect as it was made without Murphy actually seeing McKinnon. Most shrinks insist on seeing their patients before they write a report about their psychological state. But we are sure that Murphy gained an in depth view of McKinnon’s mental state by interviewing his Office programme.
McKinnon’s mum, Janis Sharp, pointed out to Channel 4 News that Murphy’s report goes against the expert opinions of four of the top people in the country, who say that Gary will absolutely be at risk of taking his own life.
She said it is an absentia report and it contradicts his previous face-to-face report.
McKinnon admits hacking but claims he was looking for evidence of UFOs. He would be happy to be tried in a British court, where the sentence will fit the crime, but is less keen to be punished in a country that voted for Bush twice in a row.