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Who breaks a butterfly on a wheel?

Gary McKinnon is to be extradited to the United States to help cover up US government ineptitude.


LONDON (Rixstep) -- The UK Home Secretary decided on 4 July to allow supposed hacker Gary McKinnon to be extradited for trial in the US where he awaits up to 70 years in prison and incarceration in Guantanamo Bay. Although McKinnon caused no damage to the wide open Windows systems he accessed, the US military are trying to throw the book at him to cover up their own bumbling ineptitude.

As pointed out by hacker philosopher Dr K, the real issue is the US military mindlessly installing Microsoft products for remote control of Windows PCs without bothering to secure them - without even changing default passwords [sic].

Something that's tantamount to the revelation not too far back that thousands of ICBMs with nuclear warheads were left unprotected for years with only a default password of '00000000' [sic].

What's happening now is that the McKinnon case is exposing shoddy procedures on the part of the US military who will have to institute proper security no matter what - and what they're trying to do is blame McKinnon for this supposed 'extra cost'.

Not to mention it's just plain embarrassing to be found out to be so disorganised and so stupid.

The solution? Bury the guy alive.

This must not be allowed to happen.

Two Years

The 'hole' Gary McKinnon crept through in his search for a US initiated UFO coverup was known to the US military for two years. During these two years the US brass did nothing to secure their systems. Now they have to, as word of it has hit the media, but fixing the hole costs them money they're not eager to spend.

Blame Gary McKinnon instead. Focus public attention on McKinnon. Demonise him. Trick the public into forgetting that their guardians are fools - expensive fools.

Dr K has the word.

Gary McKinnon might be many things.

He might have pulled off the 'greatest military hack' of all time in the eyes of the media but many of his peers have a slightly different opionion of him - opinions that make it plain we are NOT dealing with some super-criminal quasi-terrorist über-hacker.

There are laws in the UK to deal with this kind of trans-national data crime - and it is important that they are used to maintain national sovereignity - especially in the face of the US led 'war on terror' where we are all are potential suspects and anyone could suffer 'extraordinary rendition' if their name is similar to a name on the ever-increasing list of secret databases that watch our every move.

The UK should not extradite Gary McKinnon to the US.

Not just because the US military were incompetent, and not just because it would be a 'cruel and unusual punishment' or for any of the other reasons that anyone has suggested.

But because the UK should try, sentence and punish Gary McKinnon in the UK - in a jury of his peers, in the UK, where he is not seen as a 'foreign combatant' - and to ensure that any other UK citizen accused in the 'war on terror' is not whisked away at a whim by the US government.

Anything else would be nothing more than an attempt at scapegoating a hacker for governmental shortcomings.

The money spent on this case would be better spent on training systems administrators and ensuring that MILITARY systems do not have default passwords and vulnerabilities that last for TWO YEARS.

Who breaks a butterfly on a wheel?

McKinnon Quotes

How about some action against the clueless sysadmins who left vital Army, Navy, Air Force, and DoD systems vulnerable to such a sophomoric and elementary 'attack' by not passwording administrator level accounts? If I ever failed to protect my network against such an intrusion, I'd be cleaning out my desk at the end of the day.

Of course, if the U.S. is just looking for another 'terrorist' to keep the public's fear level at fever pitch, I suppose the über-hacker Gary McKinnon will do nicely.
 - TripMaster Monkey

70 years? Something is not right.
 - Unski

How lazy were the US Military to not notice the hole for two years?
 - Cheapy

Would US hackers support the extradition of another hacker being extradited to France for hacking a french military network? I suspect not - no matter how stupid and obnoxious the hacker's behaviour was.
 - Whiney Mac Fanboy

International law is funny that way. The U.S. does not have a reciprocal agreement to extradite people to the UK.
 - TubeSteak

I would think that if the U.S. government really suspected that he saw something as important as evidence that aliens exist, that we wouldn't even know this guy existed.
 - suso

McKinnon himself has admitted his 'hacks' are low tech and utilitarian - a 2-line PERL script.
 - spyrochaete

So that people the world over are subject to US law? So that people exercising their civil rights in their home countries can be dragged off to the US, be given a fair trial and hanged, because they offended the moral sensiblities of the mighty nation of manifest-destinians? Like Dmitry Sklyarov, who was held accountable for simply exercising his rights in his own home country?

I for one would rather not be dragged off to the US to be judged and condemned for exercising my rights in my home nation. Over here, people can drink after they're 18. Should they be dragged off for infringements of the oh so higher and purer US statutes on alcohol consumption?

You might consider that trollish, but it just amazes me how arrogant some americans can be in their attitudes towards other countries and their judicial systems, particularly in these days of Camp Delta, Guantanamo Bay. Your country is not exactly a shining example of enlighted jurisprudence.
 - ObsessiveMathsFreak

So what did McKinnon actually do? Is his harsh sentence for changing/using/leaking/stealing information or just because he embarrassed the Government in the 'post-911' world?
 - digitaldc

McKinnon isn't judged because he's a moron, he's judged because he exposed that the most powerful nation in the world has the weakest information security in the world - and the US wants to punish him for that.
 - Spy der Mann

Clearly the guy has some pretty outlandish views. But apart from that his only crime was proving how incredibly poor federal computer security is in the US even long after their biggest ever attack on home soil.

The only real crime worth talking about here is the lack of security. If I was walking down a street in London and saw a door marked 'Ministry of Defence. Top Secret. UFO archive.' I'd probably keep on walking - unless the door was wide open. Then I might just peek inside out of curiosity. Now if it turned out to be the real deal how the hell could anyone with a brain and a conscience prosecute me for that?

McKinnon is not entirely innocent but he is quite right to be concerned about being extradited to a country that seems to feel that it can suspend the rule of law in order to best fit the fear-mongering 'everyone that's not with us is against us', 'we'll get the terris' mentality.

Perhaps if the US didn't have such a ghastly recent history this wouldn't be a problem. But the fact is that no one outside the US is ignorant of Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, the foreign torture flights - you name it. And the type of people currently running the Pentagon, NSA, CIA and indeed the White House are hardly grounds for giving the US justice system the benefit of any doubt whatsoever.

We know these people have little or no regard for equal human rights. We know these people will happily bend, ignore or entirely circumvent their own laws to suit their own needs.

We know that innocents have been mistreated, tortured or killed during this administration's watch.

We also know that Gary McKinnon is pretty harmless, and unsurprisingly didn't actually manage to do any harm to the world's biggest military and technical power.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that if us Brits could still trust americans to practise what they preach then we wouldn't have a problem sending him over for his wrist-slapping. But sadly we can't. And we don't want to see another British subject subjected to media-friendly kangaroo courts that do little more than to quench the american right's thirst for heads to roll - whether they're the right heads or not.
 - Attaturk

When something stupid rears its ugly head you can know Microsoft are lurking right around the corner.
 - AJ Kargo

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