Tag: mckinnon

McKinnon charges dropped after ten year battle

Charges against Gary McKinnon for breaching US government IT systems have been dropped by UK authorities, bringing a decade long battle to an end.

In a statement from the Crown Prosecution Court and Metropolitan Police it was announced that a case against McKinnon would not proceed in the UK, following the decision to block his extradition to the US.

The joint statement highlighted the difficulties in bring a case against McKinnon in England, in part due to the logistics of transferring sensitive information prepared for US courts over to London, and need for US witnesses in a trial based in London.

The chances of bringing charges against McKinnon are also relatively low, the CPS contended.

“The prospects of a conviction against Mr McKinnon, which reflects the full extent of his alleged criminality, are not high,” the statement read.

“Against this background, the joint CPS/police panel recommended to the Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police that he should not commence a new criminal investigation into Mr McKinnon. The Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police has accepted that advice.”

Since 2002, McKinnon has been embroiled in a fight to remain in the country, with the Asperger’s sufferer demanding the right to stay in the country on medical grounds.  It had been suggested by doctors that there would be a high chance of suicide if the Enfield resident was to face a sentence in US prisons. 

McKinnon is accused of gaining access to 97 US government computers between 2001 and 2002. He maintains that he was looking for evidence of UFOs on Nasa servers, rather than attempting to cause damage to any computer networks.

Following a lengthy legal battle, and an awareness campaign from his mother Janis Sharp, Home Secretary Theresa May announced in October that McKinnon would no longer face extradition to the US, although it would have been political suicide for May.

Sharp spoke to TechEye earlier this year about her appeal to Prime Minister David Cameron, who she hoped would resolve her son’s extradition battle directly with President Obama.   

Sharp appealed for a full pardon from the US government.

“I would love more than anything for President Obama to give Gary a Christmas pardon,” she told the BBC.  “A pardon would mean that it is completely finished in everyone’s head”.

The proposed extradition of McKinnon, along with another British citizen, Richard O’Dwyer, accused of copyright infringement, generated strong opposition from some MPs. The existing extradition agreement had been labelled one sided in Parliament.   

Open Rights Group Director Jim Killock recently told TechEye that despite the success in the legal battles for both McKinnon and O’Dwyer, under current legislation similar cases could still arise.

Theresa May appoints her cat to assess Gary McKinnon

Comedy home secrety Secretary Theresa May has defended her decision to let her cat assess whether UK hacker Gary McKinnon really has Asperger’s Syndrome.

May appointed Mr Tiddles to provide crucial medical evidence, despite never gaining any medical degree, nor having any particular interest in mental illness before.

The Home Office has ordered that McKinnon undergo a further medical examination to see if there is any risk he might kill himself if he is stuck in a US jail.

May is reported to be “personally concerned” that McKinnon has not been examined by a Home Office-appointed medical assessor. Indeed, she is so concerned that she has personally appointed someone with no experience in looking at Asperger’s.

Tiddles is well known at the Home Office for his break-through methods in kitty litter distribution. He is understood to be qualified in getting under the feet of junior ministers.

He is known as May’s Mr Oddjob because he is always leaving odd jobs around the place.

When cornered by TechEye, Mr Tiddles said “mew” and ran underneath the sofa.

We made some of that up. What is scary is that it is 90 percent true. The untrue bit was appointing her cat.

In fact May has appointed Professor Thomas Fahy, who has as much experience with Asperger’s syndrome as Mr Tiddles.

McKinnon’s mother, Janis Sharp, said he had “no choice” but to refuse because the expert the Home Office had named to carry out the examination.

McKinnon had three medical examinations in April by three leading experts in Asperger’s and suicidal risk. Professor Simon Baron Cohen, Professor Jeremy Turk and Dr Jan Vermeulen all concluded that he was at extreme risk of suicide if extradited, and that he is unfit for trial. But that is not enough for May, she wants someone who knows nothing running the show.

To be fair this is Tory policy. After all, you have a Chancellor of the Exchequer who knows nothing about the economy, and you can get away with it, why not appoint someone who knows nothing about Asperger’s and suicide to do a report on someone with Asperger’s and how very well may kill themselves?

We understand Mr Tiddles hopes for a cabinet position in the next reshuffle. The cabinet is where there are the juiciest rats. 

Anyway, the Guardian reports that the crucial decision on whether to export McKinnon, complete with cuffs, will not be made until  October. The reason for this is because the Olympics are, to May, more of a priority.

Government shrink says Gary McKinnon not going to top himself

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. 

Top hacker says Aspergers is no defence

Adrian Lamo, a man once hunted by the FBI for hacking the New York Times, who was institutionalised for Aspergers Syndrome claims that it is no defence for hacking.

Lamo, who was recently sectioned after he was discovered out of it  by cops, was diagnosed as having the mild form of Autism.  He said he never really knew about it until he was transferred to the Woodland Memorial Hospital near Sacramento, for nine days.

The staff evaluated him and gave him some medication and discharged him a couple of weeks ago.

Asperger’s is rapidly becoming the hacker’s defence against conviction.

In December, a defence psychiatrist concluded that credit card thief Albert Gonzalez exhibited behaviour consistent with Asperger’s. A government-appointed psychiatrist rejected the claim, and Gonzalez got 20 years. A Los Angeles computer intruder involved in a lucrative fraud scheme received a slightly reduced sentence because of his Asperger’s, which his lawyer argued made him vulnerable to manipulation by the ringleader in the scheme.

British hacker Gary McKinnon was diagnosed with Asperger’s at the age of 42, shortly after losing a legal challenge to an extradition order.

Lamo thinks while Asperger’s might explain his knack for slipping into corporate networks, Wired says that he scoffs at the notion that Asperger’s should mitigate the consequences of illegal behaviour.

He said that Asperger’s might help explain his success in hacking, but not his willingness to do it, he told Wired.

“If, in fact, the diagnosis is accurate, it had zip to do with my actions at that time,” he said. 
Bad news for you Gary.

New home secretary reconsidering UFO watcher case

The UK Home Secretary has confirmed that she is considering a request from UFO watcher Gary McKinnon to reconsider his extradition to the US on hacking charges.

McKinnon’s legal team has asked the new home secretary Theresa May to reconsider the planned extradition of their client.

McKinnon, 43, is about to be extradited to the United States to face charges of hacking into 97 computers operated by the U.S. government, including those of the Pentagon, Army, Air Force and NASA.

America was deeply embarrassed when the bumbling hacker looking for a UFO cover-up crashed his way though the finest cyber security the US had on offer. It wants to lock him up and throw away the key and had been asking the Brits to hand him over.

McKinnon, who is mentally ill, has maintained that he would top himself if the US play out its revenge fetish.

Last year, former Home Secretary Alan Johnson said that, after reviewing medical reports and court filings for McKinnon, who suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism, he found no evidence of why McKinnon should avoid extradition.

McKinnon is now taking his case to the High Court, where a judge soon is set to rule on whether Johnson was correct in his decision.

But if May decides to reverse the decision then the case could be tried in this country.

Before they were elected, there was some support from both the Tories and the Liberal Democrats for McKinnon. The Brits have been jolly good at handing over people who the US has been accused of being bad guys but the US on the other hand is not so keen to extradite the people the British say have been naughty.

There is no doubt that rather than getting jailed for the rest of his life McKinnon would get a much lighter sentence in Blighty, if he went to jail at all.

A Home Office spokesman told TechEye that May had received the letter and was considering it. He could not say when she would make her mind up.