The “Thinking Mans Idiot” London Mayor (Boris Johnson) strikes again, and this time it's in favour of soon to be extradited Gary McKinnon. To be honest I don't get involved or reference politics but I will make an exception and say that Boris is definitely my favourite [current] UK comedian…..
London mayor appealed to Obama to forgive British hacker who hit military computers.
January 29, 2009 (Computerworld) A former prosecutor says the mayor of London was ignoring the facts this week when he publicly threw his support behind the man who has admitted hacking into U.S. military computers in 2001. Scott Christie, an assistant U.S. attorney in New Jersey in 2002 when Gary McKinnon of London was indicted in the case, told Computerworld that London Mayor Boris Johnson's emotional defence of the hacker is obscuring the facts and circumstances surrounding the crime. McKinnon has acknowledged that he hacked into U.S. government and military computer systems simply to look for information on UFOs.
But while the U.S. government alleges McKinnon caused $900,000 in damages to computers in 14 states, and that he caused the shutdown of critical military networks shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the mayor of London offered a very different take on it in a column that he wrote for London 's Telegraph newspaper. The column was a public plea for President Barack Obama to drop the case against McKinnon.
Johnson called U.S. efforts to prosecute McKinnon a "legal nightmare." And saying that McKinnon is not a threat to the U.S. , Johnson also referred to the Department of Justice's ongoing efforts to extradite McKinnon to the U.S. for prosecution as "American bullying."
Christie, who now leads the information technology group at law firm McCarter & English LLP, said it's clear that Johnson doesn't have all the information about the case.
"[McKinnon] has created this cause celebre status in order to appeal to folks who will beat the drum on his behalf and they conveniently ignore the facts of the situation and the entire nature of his conduct," said Christie. "I think that, unfortunately, it lends some credence to the individuals who are painting McKinnon as a victim, to have the mayor of London weigh in as part of that team ... people are resorting to a distortion of the facts in order to further his celebrity status as a victim. It's troubling."
In his column, Johnson asserts that McKinnon is not a "proper hacker," adding, "He was so innocent and un-furtive in his investigations, that he left his own e-mail address, and messages such as 'Your security is crap.'"
Christie, though, says that's not true, noting that McKinnon had worked as a system administrator in the U.K. He also said that McKinnon was able to surreptitiously enter Department of Defense computers and cause a significant denial of service within weeks of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
He added that McKinnon also did not leave his e-mail address behind.
"That's not true. Mr. McKinnon took great pains to obscure ... where he was coming from and who he actually was," said Christie. "He certainly did not leave his e-mail address. He was able to be identified only through the hard work and diligent investigation by the Naval and Defense Department criminal investigators. It's unfortunate that that Mr. Johnson doesn't have a full understanding of the facts in his rant in favor of Mr. McKinnon."
He also said he was surprised that any plea to a national leader would be made so publicly and not through normal political channels.
Late last week, it was announced that McKinnon was getting yet another chance to avoid extradition when the High Court in London ruled that the case can be reviewed by Keir Starmer, director of public prosecutions for England and Wales .
McKinnon, who was an unemployed system administrator in the U.K. at the time of the 2001 hack, has been using a series of legal manoeuvres and appeals over the past seven years to fight extradition to the U.S. McKinnon, now 43, was indicted in November 2002 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. He has said he broke into U.S. military computers hoping to uncover evidence of UFOs.
McKinnon has admitted to hacking the computers and described how he did it in detail at computer security conferences in London .
Source: Computer World
And here's the original article penned by Boris Johnson for the Telegraph (26th January 2009)
Americans who want a harmless hacker extradited from Britain must be from a different planet, says Boris Johnson.
Way to go, Mr President. I think we can all agree that it has been a cracking first week. Apart from the swearing-in glitch – which was entirely the fault of that judge – I have supported just about everything that Barack Obama has done.
I liked the speech, and the promise that America is ready to lead again. It is good news that he is getting rid of Guantanamo and water-boarding and extraordinary rendition, all the dread apparatus of the Bush regime.
But before we all get too misty-eyed about the new era, and before Barack devotes himself entirely to the meltdown of the banks, there is one more thing in his diplomatic in-tray. There is one last piece of neocon lunacy that needs to be addressed, and Mr Obama could sort it out at the stroke of a pen.
In a legal nightmare that has lasted seven years, and cost untold millions to taxpayers both here and in America , the US Justice Department is persisting in its demented quest to extradite 43-year-old Londoner, Gary McKinnon.
To listen to the ravings of the US military, you would think that Mr McKinnon is a threat to national security on a par with Osama bin Laden. According to the Americans, this mild-mannered computer programmer has done more damage to their war-fighting capabilities than all the orange-pyjama-clad suspects of Guantanamo combined.
And how? He is a hacker. He hacked into the Pentagon, he hacked into the army, the navy, and the air force, and the Americans say he temporarily paralysed US Naval Weapons station Earle, by deleting some files.
In their continuing rage at this electronic lèse-majesté, the Americans want us to send him over there to face trial, and the possibility of a 70-year jail sentence. It is a comment on American bullying and British spinelessness that this farce is continuing, because Gary McKinnon is not and never has been any kind of threat to American security. He had only one reason for fossicking around in the databanks of Pentagon computers, and it had nothing to do with the war on terror or indeed the military capabilities of any country on earth.
Mr McKinnon believes in UFOs, and he is one of the large number of people who think that there is a gigantic conspiracy to conceal their existence from the rest of us, and that this conspiracy is organised by the US government.
I am not so brave as to claim that UFOs do not exist. The Astronomer Royal, Sir Martin Rees, has said he believes in life forms on other planets, and no decent empiricist could rule out the possibility.
It may be that the former footballer and BBC presenter David Icke is right, and that the world is run by giant lizards in disguise. Perhaps Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling are themselves supersized saurians who have been sent on a 10-year mission to wreck the UK economy, in preparation for the great lizard takeover. Maybe the whole plot will climax in Davos this week, when all 2,500 leading economic and political lizards will meet in the Swiss alps – having done untold damage to global finances – and hail the arrival of the lizard mother ship as it perches on the mountain top.
All this is certainly theoretically possible, just as it is possible that there really was an accident involving an alien spacecraft at Roswell , and that there really is an extra large teapot in orbit around Mars. It is just that I happen to think it vanishingly unlikely, and we have a word for people who persist in believing in alien abduction. They are cranks, and they do not deserve to be persecuted. They do not deserve to be arrested, and have their lives ruined by the agonising delays of the law, unable to work, a drain on the resources of the state and of their families.
Gary McKinnon wasn't even a proper hacker. He did something called "blank password scanning", and because these military computers were so dumb as to lack proper passwords, he was able to roam around their intestines in search of evidence of little green men. He was so innocent and un-furtive in his investigations that he left his own email address, and messages such as "Your security is crap". And yes, since you ask, he does think that he found evidence that the US military is infiltrated by beings from the planet Tharg. He even knows the names and ranks of various non-terrestrial officers, though unfortunately they have been deleted from his hard drive.
It is brutal, mad and wrong even to consider sending this man to America for trial. He has been diagnosed as having Asperger's syndrome, for heaven's sake. How can the British government be so protoplasmic, so pathetic, so heedless of the well-being of its own people, as to sign the warrant for his extradition? What kind of priorities do we have these days? We treat a harmless UFO-believer as an international terrorist, and are willing to send him to prison in America , and as for real terrorists – people who bombed and maimed innocent civilians in this country – we seem willing to give their families £12,000 each, on the grounds that they are all "victims" of the troubles in Northern Ireland .
The British government is obviously too feeble to help Mr McKinnon, and even though the courts last week granted him another review, it is plain that the matter will simply drag preposterously and expensively on.
It is time for Barack Obama to show the new leadership the world has been crying out for. It is time for the Commander-in-Chief to tell the US military to stop being so utterly wet, dry their eyes, and invest in some passwords that are slightly more difficult to crack.
In the words of the spiritual with which he began his inauguration ceremony, it is time for the new President to let our people go. To persist with this extradition is so cruel and so irrational that the only plausible explanation is that beneath their suits the US Justice Department and the UK Home Office are occupied by a conspiracy of great green gibbering geckos from outer space.
Source: The Telegraph
“I could not fail to disagree with you less.”
The following is from the Freegary.org.uk website & posted January 29th 2009:
Gary McKinnon and family thank supporters of the fight against his extradition to the USA
Gary and his Family would like to say a Huge Thank You to everyone that has helped him in his fight against extradition to America . Thank you for the support of everyone who has contributed to this website and to the brilliant fg who runs it.
Thank you to everyone that has gone on the Demos outside the Home Office and the American Embassy, often in freezing cold weather and Thank You to everyone that has taken the time and trouble to write to their MP's, to the Home Office, to the Director of Public Prosecutions and to President Barack Obama and to those that have come along to the court to lend support and to report on the events taking place.
We have no doubt that it is because of the spirited actions of people like you that this fight has been brought into the public eye, and is the reason that there have been some positive results of late.
In the last court hearing we all sat there listening to negative comments and rulings being read out by Justice Kay and suddenly we began to hear a few positives.
(Janis Gary's Mum said): I was scared to believe we might actually have won. I wasn't sure if the Judge was saying that Gary had won the right to a Judicial Review and I looked over at Gary 's solicitor Karen (Todner) and she had her head in her hands and was crying and I started to cry too.....
Journalist Ronke Philips said "so you've lost" and I said "No we've won this round" and Ronke said "but you and Karen are crying" and I said...."That's because for the first time Gary has won something and he now has a fighting chance of staying in the UK
This was an Amazing day for us and although it was a small victory; we were up against giants and we feel as though we've won a major battle.... and for the first time we have real hope.
Thank you so much to everyone out there who has stuck by us and supported Gary for such an incredibly long time and helped us to fight Goliath.
I know we've still got a way to go but for the very first time we have real hope....
WITH ALL OUR HEARTS....THANK YOU!!!
Janis, Wilson, Gary, Lucy, Charlie & Jeana & their sons... Gary 's brothers, Alan, Steven and Ryan.