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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 2:14:20 PM , Rating: 2
There is a lot of anti-US sentiment in other parts of the world. Now, I don't know the full details of what happened when he accessed the US computers BUT I doubt you do either. Even if he did bring down US computers, which I'm not saying he did, it would be extremely stupid of him to admit to it outside of a court of law and against his best interest. Heck, Michael Vick said he didn't know about the dog fights at his house until he got into court. We all know how that went.

I know there has been rantings from some people in forums about a lifetime sentence and buttf**cking but the truth is that having known someone who did about 10 years, that doesn't go on much and only for those who consent. This is a guy who was a drug dealer and abuser. The popularity of the term is due to the fact that most of these people are criminals and they deserve punishment, a popular idea with many, and the fact that TV shows and movies perpetuate the huge burly cell mate who is going to make you his girlfriend bit.

As for the life in prison, most of us here aren't idiots however most people who come to DailyTech are likely from the US. Regardless, it is wrong for that guy to hack into computers, get caught and now try to escape from doing time. Hence all the jokes and stuff about throwing him into prison for life. 99% of the people do not realistically expect him to be thrown in prison for life without his day in court similar to Sean Connery in The Rock. Even Saddam Hussein got his day in court and no one believes his innocence. Anyone outside of the US who seriously believes the US will throw this guy into prison for the rest of his life is an idiot. If he had hacked into US government computers looking for information to sell to others, now we're talking lifetime imprisonment regardless of nationality.

For the record, I was not born in the US but I am a citizen. I see points of views outside of those who have lived solely as a US citizen and have never traveled abroad. I still think this guy should get his rear end in the slammer. If he was hacking into UK computers, he'd get much much more than a plea bargain for 6 months in a minimum security prison with all the evidence they have on him. If he was a US citizen hacking into US computers he'd get much more than 6 months in prison.

The sentence he was being offered was more than fair IMHO. He also had every right to defend himself in a court of law and either dispute the charges or at least say that his crimes were not as serious as those he was being charged with.

With a 6 month sentence in a minimum security prison, where you can basically do whatever you want outside of following a few basic rules, it was basically a slap on the wrist comparatively speaking. The reason he is going to get a heavier sentence of up to 10 years in a stiffer prison is because he refused the offer that was given in the plea bargain. I am someone who got caught doing something stupid in my youth that could have netted me up to two years in prison. They gave me a plea bargain, which I accepted, of 6 months probation and expunging my record if I didn't do anything else stupid and complete my court ordered 6 months of probation (it was non reporting, so you'd have to be an idiot to not complete it). Had I refused it, I likely would have done two years time in prison due to the evidence against me. I did have the option to refuse the plea bargain and fight the charges in court. This guy refused the plea bargain and he is now reaping what he sowed. I seriously do not see how his human rights were violated anywhere. He has always had the opportunity to come to the US to fight the charges. Which he knows he will lose because they caught him red handed. Whether it was his own stupidity that got him caught is irrelevant.

The EU courts will not stop the extradition because when he is sent to the US he still has a chance to argue his case in court. Again, with the amount of evidence on this idiot's rear end, fat chance of winning that one. He knows it, the world knows it, only anti-US people are arguing in his favor and booing the US in this case. I'd guarantee that if it was a US citizen hacking into UK (or pick almost any foreign nationality) computers most of you supporting this guy would have called for the beheading of the US hacker if he fought extradition to the UK. I do believe in extraditing US citizens to a foreign country if they committed similar crimes btw, so long as there is no death penalty in play.

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