|British UFO fan in 'biggest US military hack of all time' faces 60 years in jail after losing extradition fight|
By Neil Sears
Gary MacKinnon can still appeal to the European Court Of Human Rights, in which his chances of success are likely to be far better than in the British House Of Lords, which is much too beholden to U$ interests to turn down extradition requests by the U$ Dept. of (In)Justice, no matter how ill-founded they are. The alleged "terrorism" argument put up by U$ prosecutors is totally false. Hopefully, there will be a change of régime in the U$A before such an appeal is heard, which could result in a Presidential Executive Order effectively abandoning the prosecution.
Defeat: Gary McKinnon will now be extradited to the US to face charges he sabotaged vital military computers A UFO fanatic who hacked into hundreds of American military computers faces a 60-year jail sentence in the U.S. after the Law Lords rejected his appeal against extradition.
Gary McKinnon, 44, who was first arrested six years ago, now plans to take his case to the European Court. A self- confessed 'bumbling nerd', he became a hacker after watching the film WarGames, in a which a teenager almost starts a war by accessing Pentagon secrets.
Convinced that the U.S. Government had made contact with aliens, McKinnon spent years seeking evidence by hacking into official computers from a North London bedroom. He claims he was caught while trying to download a photograph of a UFO. But he also concern when, calling himself Solo, he left a threatening message on an army computer suggesting the September 11 attacks were an 'inside job'.
His message said: 'US foreign policy is akin to government-sponsore d 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.'
In November 2002 specialist UK police arrested him and seized his simple home computer in the bedroom of his girlfriend's aunt's house in north London.
The UK Government supported the American extradition call, but McKinnon fought through the High Court to the House of Lords, complaining that the U.S. government had infringed his human rights by threatening him. The programmer, who wanted to be prosecuted in Britain, says he will be treated as a terrorist, could be tried by a military tribunal and held in Guantanamo Bay, and that one U.S. attorney said the authorities want him to 'fry'.
McKinnon's lawyers said he faces dire consequences after rejecting a deal to accept extradition and guilty to limited offences. That would have meant serving as little as 18 months.
But McKinnon said he was told the deal would not be put in writing and 'only a fool' would have gone to the U.S. on those terms. He admits hacking into 97 computers belonging to the U.S. army, navy, air force, Nasa and the Pentagon, but denies sabotage.
They said he now faced a long sentence, and referred to a similar case in which an overseas offender was warned by an attorney 'You are going to be the boyfriend of a very bad man if you wait out your extradition' , which was said to be a threat of male rape.
But five law lords, in a unanimous judgement given by Lord Brown of Eaton-Under- Heywood, yesterday rejected the appeal against earlier extradition orders made by a district judge and the High Court.
Lord Brown said it had been perfectly acceptable for America to offer McKinnon a deal, and suggested the lengthy sentence he faces in America is no more than his 'just desserts'.
McKinnon, from Enfield, North London, is banned from accessing the internet and travelling abroad and has to report to police every Friday. He is supported by the campaign group Liberty, and hopes the European Court will take up his case, halting the extradition.
He is currently banned from accessing the internet and travelling abroad, and has to report to police every Friday.
Last night his lawyers, Kaim Todner of London, said in a statement: 'Gary McKinnon is neither a terrorist, nor a terrorist sympathiser. 'His case could have been properly dealt with by our own prosecuting authorities.
'Instead, we believe that the British Government declined to prosecute him to enable the U.S. Government to make an example of him. 'American officials involved in this case have stated that they want to see him "fry". 'The consequences he faces, if extradited are both disproportionate and intolerable and we will be makingan immediate application to the European Court to prevent his removal.'
Hacked: Computers in the Johnson Space Centre McKinnon, from Enfield, North London, hacked into 97 American military computers at the Pentagon and Nasa between 2001 and 2002 from the bedroom of his girlfriend's aunt's house.
U.S. officials say he stole 950 passwords, deleted vital files, probed computers responsible for arming the navy's Atlantic fleet - and once shut down the army's entire Washington network for 24 hours, crippling defence plans for the capital.
A U. S. representative told a London court that the hacking, which cost £500,000 to put right, was 'calculated to influence and affect the U.S. government by intimidation and coercion'. He never denied that he wandered around the computer networks of a wide number of US military institutions.
But he has always maintained that he was motivated by curiosity and that he managed to get into the networks only because of lax security. American authorities claim he stole 950 passwords and deleted files at Earle naval weapons station in New Jersey.
He was accused of using his computer skills to gain access to 53 US Army computers, including those used for national defence and security, and 26 US Navy computers, including those at US Naval Weapons Station Earle in New Jersey, which is responsible for
replenishing munitions and supplies for the deployed Atlantic fleet. He was also charged with hacking into 16 Nasa computers and one US Defence Department computer.
Mark Summers, an official representing the US government, previously told a London court that Mr McKinnon's hacking was 'intentional and calculated to influence and affect the US government by intimidation and coercion'. Sophisticated: McKinnon hacked into 97 U.S. computers from his bedroom
McKinnon lost his case at the High Court last year and went straight to the highest court in the land, the House of Lords, last month. There David Pannick QC, representing him, said his extradition would be an abuse of proceedings.
McKinnon had been warned by the US authorities that he faced a life sentence rather than a couple of years in jail unless he agreed to plead guilty and accept extradition. Without cooperation, said the authorities, the case could be treated as one of terrorism. It has been reported that US prosecutors wanted to 'see him fry'.
McKinnon, who claims he came across Russian and Chinese hackers on the U.S. computers, has said: 'What I did was illegal and wrong, and I accept I should be punished. But I am not a member of Al Qaeda. I believe my case is being treated so seriously because they're scared of what I've seen. I'm living in a surreal,nutter's film. 'They should employ me to bust paedophile rings or credit card frauds rather than stick me in jail for the rest of my life.'
McKinnon became obsessed with the idea that the U.S. was using alien technologies to create weapons and 'free energy'. He gave up work to pursue the search every night, clad in his dressing gown and smoking cannabis in his bedroom at a house belonging to his girlfriend's aunt.
He used programs sold on the internet to discover that thousands of U.S. military computers effectively had no passwords. McKinnon said: 'I was amazed at the lack of security. The reason I left not just one note, but multiple notes on multiple desktops was to say, "Look, this is ridiculous". ' His supporters say he is being made a 'scapegoat' for security shortcomings on US military networks.
McKinnon described his exploits as 'ridiculously' easy. After a previous hearing, he said: 'I was amazed at the lack of security and the reason I left not just one note but multiple notes on multiple desktops was to say "Look, this is ridiculous". 'My intention was never to disrupt security. The fact that I logged on there and there were no passwords means that there was no security.'
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