I am not an expert on Asperger Syndrome (autism) . I can see, however, that it should be taken into account when examining the case of a man who, on his own, hacked into Pentagon and NASA computer systems out of intense curiosity – a feature of his condition.
I am not an expert on counter-terrorist operations. I can see, however, that the extradition of Gary McKinnon to the United States and the possibility of a 70 year sentence is excessive. If he were tried in his home country would receive a maximum of 5 years under the Computer Misuse Act.
I am not an expert on US National Security. I can see, however, that Mr McKinnon did not, nor did he seek to, use access to the Pentagon’s computer systems to damage the United States nor threaten its citizens. He accessed their systems to look for evidence of UFOs, that it was possible is an embarrassment to the Pentagon – many of the computers were not even password protected. His extradition would be a travesty and if it happens it will be an embarrassment to the United Kingdom, our ‘special relationship’, or plain old diplomatic relations with another democracy.
Why is it that Binyam Mohamed, an innocent man captured, transported to Morocco and tortured, is not allowed a trial or legal redress under UK law because of ‘national security’, yet under agreements to protect this country, Mr Gary McKinnon, an autistic man fascinated by UFOs, is being transported to the United States for making a mistake that could be dealt with in this country?
Lord Carlisle, a government advisor on anti-terror law, has said that extradition would be ‘disproportionate, unnecessary and unconscionable’. He is an advisor to the Home Secretary, Alan Johnson, who has stayed silent and will not act. Mr Johnson’s spokesman has said ‘the Home Secretary has no influence’. Neither do I, I’ll say Mr McKinnon should not be extradited. I trust that the law in this country is sufficient to try a British Citizen, I hope Mr Johnson eventually will agree.
PS. See this BBC interview for more information about Mr McKinnon.