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Daft Hacker Faces 70 Years In US Jail

John Ronson sticks up for the Crouch End One:

These past few weeks, politicians and newspapers and business leaders have been falling over one another to support the NatWest Three, the bankers extradited to the US to stand trial for their alleged part in the Enron collapse. And as they do, I think: what about north London hacker Gary McKinnon? He’s about to be extradited, too. Why is nobody interested in Gary McKinnon?

The NatWest Three have secured the services of a PR company; Gary McKinnon hasn’t: he can barely afford to pay his phone bill. People such as Sir Digby Jones, the former director general of the CBI, have been giving speeches about how US-UK business relations are suffering in the wake of the NatWest Three’s extradition; nobody is giving influential speeches in support of Gary McKinnon. The only people who seem to care much about him - besides the odd Lib Dem MP - are his fellow stoner UFO nerds. And who is going to listen to them?

The prison sentence the US justice department is seeking is up to 70 years. What Gary was hunting for, as he snooped around Nasa and the Pentagon’s network, was evidence of a UFO cover-up.

Given the state of their prison system, I don’t think we should extradite anyone to the US, let alone this chap, who comitted his crimes in the UK and should therefore be prosecuted under the Computer Misuse Act 1990.

See also: Game Over, Ronson’s 2005 Guardian piece on McKinnon, and the campaigning website Free Gary McKinnon.

Posted at 7pm on 21/07/06 by Jack Mottram to the politics category.
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  1. 70 years is rather harsh. This could be a fluke and I think it is very likely that it will be turned over in an appeals court.

    Posted by Political Forum at 10pm on 26.05.07

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