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  (Source: Wired's Threat Level)
Hacker cites human rights concerns over possible military treatment, unfair plea bargain

UK Hacker Gary McKinnon is set for extradition to the United States, after a last-resort appellate committee at the UK’s House of Lords denied his attempts to appeal Wednesday. He is now taking his case to the European Court on Human Rights in Strasbourg, France.

McKinnon is wanted in the United States for allegedly hacking into Pentagon and military computers between 2001 and 2002, where it is claimed he was searching for evidence of a UFO cover-up by the U.S. government. As a byproduct of his escapades, U.S. authorities accuse McKinnon of tampering with military log files – some of which were used to assess the battle readiness of U.S. Navy ships – and deleting critical information which, in one case, knocked more than 2000 U.S. Army computers offline in Washington, DC.

In one case, McKinnon even left authorities a calling card in the form of a note, which read:

“US foreign policy is akin to government-sponsored terrorism these days ... It was not a mistake that there was a huge security stand down on September 11 last year ... I am SOLO. I will continue to disrupt at the highest levels...”

The Law Lords’ opinion of USA v. McKinnon notes that McKinnon “admitted responsibility” to his crimes with UK authorities after his arrest in 2002, and evidence mounting against him across the pond indicates that he has little chance of walking away with a not-guilty plea in the United States. To that end, U.S. authorities offered McKinnon a plea deal: if McKinnon plead guilty and came to the United States willingly, he’d endure a lenient, 6-12 month sentence at a minimum security prison in the U.S., followed by repatriation to the UK and most likely supervised or paroled release.

McKinnon has repeatedly turned down this offer, however, and instead spent the last six years fighting the U.S. government’s extradition request. The sentence he now faces is decidedly more severe: at least 8-10 years in a medium- or high-security U.S. prison, and have little opportunity for parole or repatriation to the UK.

In his defense, McKinnon said the U.S. plea-bargaining process – a technique foreign to UK courts – was a violation of his human rights: the only way to seek punishment in his own country, he argued, was to give in to the U.S. plea-bargain and surrender willingly – a process that would have him automatically admitting guilt and, according to his supporters, opting out of a fair trial.

McKinnon’s defense has also expressed fears of special-category, Guantanamo-style military treatment, should he be extradited to the United States.

His supporters note that the Law Lords’ opinion, agreed on unanimously by the court, was written by ex-Intelligence Services Commissioner Lord Brown of Eaton-under-Haywood, automatically slanting his opinion in favor a cultural “partnership” mentality with the U.S.

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Just Plead Guilty
By IceBreakerG on 8/1/2008 9:24:18 AM , Rating: 5
From reading the article, this guy has spent the last 6 or so "years" trying to fight the extradition process. The plea bargain he was offered was 6-12 "months" (max), he gets parole, "and" he gets to go back home. Instead, he's spent almost 10 times that amount of time trying to get out of this, and his possible sentence is MUCH worse. This guy is a moron and deserves to go to trial with his "not guilty" plea. Then he'll see how much he's screwed up.

From experience (not criminal court, just traffic court), pleading guilty gets you a less severe punishment (all of my speeding tickets in 1 local city have been dismissed because I pleaded guilty). Now, I'm not comparing a federal crime to a minor traffic violation, but the terms are still similar. Plead guilty, get off easier. Plead not guilty, and when you are found guilty, you get your ass handed to you.

We can see that this guy would rather skip the minimum security prison and go to federal pound me in the ass prison. I don't know about you all, but I don't want to go to federal pound me in the ass prison. Ever.

RE: Just Plead Guilty
By FITCamaro on 8/1/08, Rating: -1
RE: Just Plead Guilty
By martinrichards23 on 8/1/2008 9:47:53 AM , Rating: 3
Oh dear god no, why oh why does someone have to bash the EU at any given opportunity?

This is a tech forum, lets keep on topic.

RE: Just Plead Guilty
By FITCamaro on 8/1/08, Rating: -1
RE: Just Plead Guilty
By Ammohunt on 8/1/2008 1:39:50 PM , Rating: 1
Becasue the EU is a joke?

RE: Just Plead Guilty
By B3an on 8/1/2008 5:13:41 PM , Rating: 3
The US is a joke. So is Guantanamo and your human rights.

RE: Just Plead Guilty
By MamiyaOtaru on 8/1/2008 8:31:04 PM , Rating: 2

RE: Just Plead Guilty
By KCjoker on 8/1/2008 5:35:55 PM , Rating: 1
People never take cheap shots at the USA on here. *sarcasm alert*

RE: Just Plead Guilty
By afkrotch on 8/1/2008 10:05:04 AM , Rating: 2
I don't see that happening. I'm hoping he gets thrown into Gitmo. Making an example is always a good thing.

"Death Is Very Likely The Single Best Invention Of Life" -- Steve Jobs
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