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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 akugami on 8/2/2008 1:41:25 PM , Rating: 2
They did try to just give him a "smack on the wrist" and leave him in the UK. He'll be in a minimum security prison and likely do 6 months tops. It is a matter of national security for any country to keep their military computers free of illegal access, especially access by a non citizen. Likely they'd keep it as anonymous as possible too just to avoid attention.

For the military this is a slap on the wrist but they can't just let him not be punished. It would be the same if the country is China, the UK, France, Russia, etc. A country must protect its interest and letting someone hack into military computers is such a serious crime that the country in question must pursue this even if it takes 50 years before they send his rear end in prison. They already look bad having their computers hacked. They will look like incompetent idiots if they don't send a message to others that you can't illegally access our computers with impunity.

Bottom line, he had the right after being extradited to defend himself in a court of law. This idiot knew they had him red handed and that he was going to do time. Not federal pound me in the ___ time, not even close but he wanted to avoid doing any time at all. He had the right after being extradited to defend himself in a court of law.


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