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McKINNON 2 : 0 THE STATE

By Pete Moore On December 14th, 2012

Comes the truly excellent news that Gary McKinnon will not face any charges in his homeland. Having beat the extradition rap already, he’s home free at last after more than a decade of psychological torture.

Keir Starmer QC, the Director of Public Prosecutions, concluded it was not practical to make the 46-year-old stand trial here for what are alleged crimes against America. The decision effectively ends a 10-year legal battle by Mr McKinnon, who has been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome and depression. His family is now going to lobby US President Barack Obama to issue a full pardon to end once and for all the risk of extradition.

Don’t worry about that last one. Just never visit the US. Have a great weekend. I’ll be raising extra beers this evening to him, and two fingers to the paranoid control freaks who lost.

34 Responses to “McKINNON 2 : 0 THE STATE”

  1. Well said Pete.

  2. It is good news.

    If the US is sensible, it will not only pardon him, but it will pick his brains and have him on its testing team.

  3. Pardon him for hacking into military computers, causing damage, and hampering our (and lets face it his) national defense. Hmmm. No thankee.

    I do hope that he is cured from his medical condition which was apparently diagnosed years after the charges as I am sure the diagnosis was unrelated.

  4. You don’t get cured of Aspergers!

  5. Aileen – I suppose one would need to have it first.

  6. Mahons

    It is not an uncommon condition, and often undiagnosed – in this country anyway. Not at all unexpected that he wasn’t diagnosed until he came to attention re this issue.

  7. Indeed, and someone who used false identity to gain unwarranted access would likely not be someone who (or for whom) such a “diagnosis” was convenient.

  8. I’ll read up some more on this, but at the moment I am underwhelmed by his defense.

  9. He didn’t hamper any national defence. That’s an obvious fed prosecution lie.

  10. A diagnosis being convenient doesn’t stop it being real.

    I would expect Aspergers to be disproportionately prominent amongst hackers.

  11. Pete – So he was randomly selected because they wanted to trouble someone with Aspergers? What acts do you beleive he engaged in?

    Aileen – As I said, I’l lread up some more, perhaps it is real. By the way is Aspergers itself a defense in the UK?

  12. In principle, I’ll also drink a toast to McKinnon’s freedom tonight.
    However, I think there may be more to this whole story than meets the eye. This guy was apparently clever enough to hack into NASA (or whatever it was he hacked into) but simultaneously was not clever enough to cover his tracks in doing so? That doesn’t quite add up, to me.
    Yet, that’s a side issue. The main thing was, he was in the UK, and thus under UK laws and no-one else’s. The USA had no right to demand his extradition, as he was not subject to USA law. You want to protect your NASA computers from hackers, that’s your problem. McKinnon did you a favour if anything, by highlighting the security flaws.

  13. Aspergers isn’t a free pass to everything but it would be relevant in terms of beng a suicide risk, which as I understand was key in ths case.

    In terms of “wrong doing”, Aspergers doesn’t mean you are intellectually not capable of telling right from wrong but you may not notice the things that “normal” people would and you may not respond in expected ways, which can make behavour seem suspicious. One of the traits likely to be relevant here, is the cumpusion/obsession to solve the puzzle. Anything that s not relevant to that may not register.

    In many cases I would say that our criminal justice system is stacked against those of us on the spectrum. Sae goes for employment justice etc.

  14. Tom

    That would fit with Aspergers. He was focused on his objective and covering his tracks was not part of that.

    As I said if security really matters the US would not pass up the opportunity to improve it, using his skills.

  15. Aileen, whilst I do not doubt the medical existence of Aspergers Syndrome per-se, I reckon that it was all too easy for McKinnon’s lawyers to dream it up after the fact, as a convenient excuse. There’s no end of these “syndromes” these days, the existence of which only seems to serve as a get-out clause for any undesirable actions. “Oh, it’s not his fault (that’s the salient point); he suffers from XYZ Syndrome”. (ie, “he’s not in control, not responsible for his actions”). It’s a complete scam.

  16. As stepfather to a young lad with Asperger’s, I can tell you that Aileen speaks a lot of sense here. It’s a strange condition, which can infuriate and frustrate both the person who has it, and the person they interact with. Attention to seemingly irrelevant details, difficulty in reading others’ body language, difficulty in reading what would be to you or me, ‘ordinary’ signs and signals of ‘ordinary’ behaviour.

    It can, most definitely, lead to depression, and suicidal thoughts.

    In some, it manifests itself as a drive to succeed, to be the best, as in the case of Bill Gates. It is also being suggested now that Einstein may have had Asperger’s.

  17. Tom, many people go through their entire lives without being statemented, as in, being definitely diagnosed with Asperger’s. It’s no real shock to discover a man of this age would have it, nor would it be a shock that it hadn’t been discovered earlier.

  18. Tom

    It is not a scam, it is ignorance.

    You have made a comment about something you think doesn’t add up. However it does add up in the context of Aspergers.

    It is not the issue that he suffers from Aspergers and so things are not his fault.

    Firstly many people with Aspergers do not suffer from it, they suffer from the lack of accommodation from the neurotypical world for their difference.

    A blind person is, responsible for his actions but, hopefully, not blamed for not responding to the “keep out sign”.

  19. Tom Tyler –

    “Aileen, whilst I do not doubt the medical existence of Aspergers Syndrome per-se, I reckon that it was all too easy for McKinnon’s lawyers to dream it up after the fact, as a convenient excuse.”

    Just to note, I know Gary McKinnon’s lawyer. She’s first class and absolutely above board. No-one dreamed up any illness of convenience.

  20. Seimi

    I am totally convinced that it leads to depression and suicide not directly because of the syndrome but the lack of accommodation for the difference. I have little doubt that undiagnosed or unaccomodated ND (including Aspergers), is disproportionately to be found amongst suicides (and attempts). Similarly disproportionately amongst alcoholics and drug addicts, where if they have not been diagnosed already have precious little hope of it as all that will register will be the addiction and that will mask the ND.

    I have little doubt that Einstein has Aspergers. If not he certainly had many of the traits.

  21. Pete

    How interesting!

    We need more of her!

  22. Mahons –

    “Pete – So he was randomly selected because they wanted to trouble someone with Aspergers? What acts do you beleive he engaged in?”

    Certainly McKinnon hacked into DOD and NASA computers. He admits it. It’s alleged to deleted files and did whatever else.

    However, the idea that he “hampered national defence” is plainly silly.

    Come on, we’re talking about humans and human reactions at the end of it. The US military and space establishment spends billions of dollars each year on IT security. Then along comes a bloke in his girlfriend’s aunt’s house with a fixation on UFOs and makes a mockery of those billions.

    Clearly, it’s in the interests of those in charge of US IT security to portray McKinnon as a mastermind of IT hackerdon, rampaging through the systems and endangering the very existance of North America.

    The alternative is to admit that they are crap, because a bloke in a basement in London with a home PC taking the piss means they are crap. This explains the heavy handed and paranoid reaction, because the reaction was grossly heavy handed and paranoid. It was so because careers and pensions were on the line.

    Come on, Gary McKinnon endangered US national security? If so you’d better be worried, because US and foreign corporations, and organised crime rings, not to mention foreign government agencies, must all be running wild through the DOD computers.

  23. Aileen –

    We do.

    Karen Todner is her name. She’s always honest and sharp and clear. I know that because she’s working on something for me. If I suggested to her that we attempt to pull a fast one she’d kick my backside.

  24. Peter, I recall that you have said before that you know McKinnon’s lawyer.
    Whilst I did not specifically state that I thought his lawyer “dreamed up” Aspergers as a defence, I admit that that might be reasonably inferred from my comment.
    Therefore, as I know that you know the lawyer, and because in general I trust that you don’t post lies on here, I am willing to retract what I said (or at least disavow what could reasonably be inferred from what I said). Let me rephrase myself:
    I think that, sometimes, in general terms, some lawyers will jump upon these new-fangled “syndromes” as easy defences for their clients. This might, or might not be the case with Mr McKinnon, I honestly don’t know, and offer no opinion.
    I hope that is a good enough retraction, while still maintaining my generallly held view.

  25. Pete

    Do you know tha to your cost? 😉

  26. Tom Tyler – It’s alright, not having a ruck with you. We all remember Ernest Saunder’s mysteriously disappearing Alzheimer’s disease.

    Aileen – I have a healthy respect for tough ladies!

  27. Another slightly odd thing (at least to my mind): Peter, if I had a lawyer who was currently working for me on any matter, then the very last thing, the VERY BLOODY LAST THING I would EVER even think of doing, would be to publicise that fact, and to name that lawyer on this, or any, website. I mean, for God’s sake, there’s client confidentiality for one thing. And secondly, your real name may or may not be Pete Moore, but if you publicise Karen Todner’s name and say that you are currently her client in a legal matter, then it might not take a genius to unravel the whole affair and post details which could compromise both your, and Ms Todner’s ability to act professionally.
    You usually strike me as a serious, mature guy, Pete, so it seems to me that if that’s true, then all is not what it seems with your apparent willingness to publicly name your solicitor here.

  28. ….Err, apart from the above, your economic arguments are spot-on, Pete. But don’t go soft and imagine that the internet is a free-for-all, that’s all I’m saying. Protect your property rights at all costs.

  29. Just to note, I know Gary McKinnon’s lawyer. She’s first class and absolutely above board.

    Pete – I hope she has warned him that he is a heightened risk for suicide, heart attack, car crash and even plane crash.

    McKinnon went looking for evidence that the US ‘defence’ sector was hiding evidence of UFO’s and discovered crew change rosters for undeclared space stations with ‘non-terrestrial officers’. It isn’t as though US Military Inc. wouldn’t seek to weaponise space?

  30. Aileen, re your 11.05:-

    Absolutely agree. A friend’s son who has Asperger’s, has attempted suicide at least twice, once because somebody misunderstood a post he made on a social networking site and made a joke out of it.

    Trying to make a person with Asperger’s see the world as you do, is, and always will be, a pointless exercise, until you attempt to comprehend how the world appears to them.

  31. Oh dear, more limitless excuses. We should never attempt to “see the world” through normal eyes, but instead we must make unlimited accommodation for how “others” see the world, as viewed from their afflicted point of view.
    You want to kill everyone in sight? Oh dearie dearie me, we must not be judgemental, that would be so, so wrong. It’s merely a symptom of the much misunderstood syndrome “kill-everyone-itis”.

  32. We must pour millions, no, billions of taxpayer money into understanding this illness. It’s not their fault, they are poor, poor victims.

  33. Tom Tyler – Noted and I agree about t’interweb. I wouldn’t go further than what I’ve said.

    Allan@Aberdeen – It’s a fair point, one that occurred to me. Say no more.

  34. Tom

    Iwhat stops you trying to see the world from more than just the narrow “normal” eyes? How does an intelligent man ( as you don’t have the excuse of stupidity) turn the suggestion that you attempt to see the world from the ND perspective to a suggestion that you should only see it from this?

    Again who said “unlimited”accommodation? Some would be nice though!

    Your “kill everyone in sight” is offensive. Not just offensive but stupid too.

    As I said we are not victims of the condition. We are victims of the ignorance and lack of imagination of others! You shoukdn’t need to pour millions into understanding the condition. You have to stop being a jackass!