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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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RE: What a wuss.
By rippleyaliens on 8/1/2008 2:13:23 PM , Rating: 3
He should have took the deal.. 6mos in a Min Security Prison, = own bed, access to phone, lax guards. Possible weekend furlough. BEEN THERE done that. 3mos at work release. Very laid back. Then this guy goes home, with nothing on his record. Able to work, can possibly get a job at a computer security firm. (yah yah yah, he isnt that good, YET better than most)..
So he is risking being sent to Camp Leavenworth for 6-8 years, which let me tell you. that is a REAL federal prison. Military guards, lock down, very serious place to be. as a prisoner. And that is on the nice part. If he goes to a Max security prison -- that = 23hrs a day in your own cell. no outside contact at all. ALLLL THIS POSSIBILITIES to see if ET is phoneing home? Sometimes i wonder

RE: What a wuss.
By Kraenar on 8/1/2008 9:55:41 PM , Rating: 2
Let me ask you, when you say "Been There", do you mean a Minimum Security Prison, or Leavenworth? I doubt Leavenworth because it's a FORT not a camp, and it's only federal because it's part of the government. Fort Leavenworth houses soldiers who have broken laws. But you are still correct in saying it's a REAL Prison. It's basically a Penitentiary. To the best of my knowledge (I used to be a MP Correctional Officer (95c) for the Army. I now work for the Federal Bureau of Prisons. FBOP) civilians, terrorist or not, do not go to Leavenworth. Even terrorists go to and stay in the BOP. I've seen my fair share.

And I agree that he should have taken the deal. 6-12 months in a camp (minimum) is very easy time. Martha Stuart anyone? Everything rippleyaliens said plus no fences to bother with. Camp FED! He's just doing the old inmate on death row thing, trying and doing everything he can to find the one bleeding heart out there to save him.

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