Exclusive: A Message from Gary McKinnon's Mother

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

cliff sull


"The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing, but newspapers..." ~ Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), third president of the United States.

"Thank goodness for the real free Press which I call the Interwebs..." ~ @cliffsull (2011) - fan of Jefferson.

I suppose everyone gets tired of hearing the same old story being rehashed and reported, and for the purposes of this post I give an advance apology, for that is exactly what this post is... its the same old story.

It’s the #FreeGary tale...

For a story to grow 'boring' means it is never discussed, which breeds inaction amongst the pen-pushers who are currently deciding a mans fate and future and I simply cannot allow it to fade away into a footnote in the public's memory bank.

It is a mans mental and physical health and well-being that is at issue here. Forget everything else you may have read before!

We live in the here and now, and for Gary McKinnon and his family - this is very real. It's not just a 'story' - it is their lives we are talking about.

I am a proud supporter of Gary and of his mother, Janis Sharp, and her fight against the ludicrous 'extradition' request from the US Justice Dept. Gary is NOT a Terrorist. The Act plainly does not apply to him.

I saw a post on this site recently asking if 'Aspergers' was the new Defence for Hackers' -  although the post was not about Gary, it did mention him and I felt it did not do his story justice.

Gary is the most non-malicious guy on the planet.

To be blunt and from what I hear - Gary now 'exists'  from day to day. He cannot look to the future until all of this is finally sorted out (one way or the other).

Gary is suicidal at times - I think perhaps many others could appreciate that - especially when you are facing the might of US Officialdom.

Imagine waking up everyday and not being able to plan a tomorrow.

Despite medical evidence from experts in the field... there are still those who dismiss Aspergers syndrome as a defense against criminal activities.

There is a lot of stuff written about Gary, mostly by people who have never spoken to him or his mother themselves, but simply rehashed blog posts of old stories from the past 9 years.

In some small quarters  there are those who are totally pro Gary's extradition and who would do almost anything to see it happen. They fight their corner well... but we try to hold our own.

We must accept that there will always be 'hardliners' who find it hard to lay down their beliefs. We are just as steadfast in our belief, that no justice will be served by extraditing and jailing Gary. Check out the #FreeGary hashtag and you will see it is never quiet...

There are certain aspects of this case which never get very much attention. I have many question:

  •  Why was the security so crap at NASA and the other military networks which Gary 'hacked'?
  •  Why are the Justice Department so vehement in their pursuit, yet President Obama has stated publicly that he will accept the decision of the UK Government and Courts on the issue of Gary being extradited?
  •  Why has the UK Home Office allowed Gary and his family to languish in their hellish limbo?
Why has the US Justice Department not chased down the hundreds and thousands of attempted hackers, ever relentless against NASA and the Pentagon networks... Because we all know Hollywood (and the media) has ensured that these networks are the Golden Chalice of the newbie scriptk1ddy.

Gary s extradition is being done under an Act which was signed by Tony Blair and George Bush in 2003. The Act was designed for use against Terrorists - and it was signed not long after 9-11.

The Act itself I had an immediate issue with, because now ALL who live on UK Soil can be legally 'renditioned' on 'suspicion' and WITHOUT THE NEED FOR EVIDENCE!

The UK Government has only recently announced a review of the Extradition Treaty as it stands.

The Home Office has yet to arrive at a decision, which makes them, in my eyes, guilty and complicit of mental persecution against Gary.

That does not take into account the families fears and worries and those of Garys friends and supporters.

I end this post with an Exclusive message for InfoSec Island readers - it is from Gary's mother Janis:

Words for Infosec as follows.

McKinnon's momWe had high hopes of receiving a good decision from Theresa May and our Government before Parliament rises for their two month holidays but it looks as though this is continuing to drag on and we remain in limbo.

Gary was 35 years old when his alleged crime took place, he is now 45 years old. I was 52 years old and am now 62 years old.

I'm desperate for an end to the years of mental Torture Gary has endured, so that he can have some years of relative youth left to have a life again and perhaps even to speak at the Infosec Security conference in London as he did on several occasions after his arrest, when giving advice to attendees on how to protect their computers.

I also hope that this is over soon so that I can have some years left to have a chance to enjoy the life I once had for however many active years I might be left with.

Being left in limbo for so many years is a horrendous form of cruelty and mental torture for a crime that the High Tech Crime Unit told Gary in March 2002 would be likely to attract a sentence of 6 months community service.

We live in hope of an imminent end to this nightmare.

Janis (Gary's Mum)

Special thanks to Janis for getting back to me and supplying the above. I hope your nightmare ends soon Janis.

If anyone else is interested - I also blog here http://cliffsull.wordpress.com
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Barracuda Bob Yeah, I get all teary eyed when I read letters from mothers of the accused. Ol'Gary admits to hacking into computers, admits to nefarious attempts at gaining information that he assumed might be present in computers NOT belonging to him. Listen, people are tired of hackers, their CC #'s have been stolen, medical records stolen, log ins stolen and the whole plethora of personal information that makes people the people they are....and you wonder why the whole #FreeGary story is met with apathy.

So this writers question is why was NASA's network vulnerable. Because it was, that doesn't mean you're allowed to hack into it and NOT face the consequences if caught. Time to accept some responsibility Gary & Gary's mom. He's admitted guilt.

Why hasn't the US Govt chased down every hacker? Come on, are you that daft? They catch who they can, they catch those who make mistakes, they catch those who have been ratted out et al.

Here's a tip Gary, next time, hack into the MoD and not a foreign entity. That way, maybe you won't 'languish' so long.

No one cares the why's behind the hacks, no one cares what a mother of a 45 year thinks, what we do care about is our security online. Gary chose to do what he did willingly. Gary didn't even consider for a moment what the repercussions might be. Gary thought he was smarter than everyone else, yet Gary got caught. All that for information you might hear about at some obscure website frequented by foil-headed zipperheads.

It's the same story around the world, I did what I did and now I'm sorry. Ok, fine, now you'll do the time. Sowwy. I know how to hack, but will I? Noooooo, and you know why Gary? See Gary, I'm allergic to jail...so I don't do things that might land me there.

Gary, you're a grown man, time to belly up to the bar and act like one.

And mom? Start treating your son like an adult.

Yer Pal,
Terry Perkins @Barracuda Bob - my sentiments run in that same vein.
Andy Andy The point isn't whether Gary is guilty or even whether he should be charged, the point is he shouldn't be extradited.
Terry Perkins @Andy.... I don't think that is the point AT ALL!
colin forth Mckinnon was born with Asperger's Syndrome which means, amoung other things, compulsive obsessions and his, from age ten, was UFOs.

Inspired by the Disclosure Project he decided to look into UFO cover-ups and found on a great many NASA computers a total lack of passwords and firewalls. Shocked by this he left many many notes telling the various administrators that their security was deeply flawed. Their answer was to demand extradition and sixty years in prison!

As far as the punishment being a deterrent - What he did was not extraditable it was 'illegal access' punishable by 6 months probably non-custodial. He did no damage, the damage figure (magically the exact minimum figure to make it an extraditable offence) was invented to make an example of the guy. (The UK High Court even threw out the damage claim as "inadmissable and hearsay"!)

We were told by our Government that the 2003 Extradition Treaty with America was mainly to be used to extradite terrorists. Why is it then that people who have committed significantly more serious crimes than Gary McKinnon are not being extradited, yet America is continuing to pursue Gary McKinnon nine years after his arrest in march 2002, despite him having Aspergers and having been referred to a neurologist in 1983 and in 1994 and having serious mental illness recorded on both sides of his family and being in danger of taking his own life.
Gary McKinnon never travels, never leaves home and has never been away from his family as he does not cope without his support network.

Should someone so vulnerable that he agreed to be questioned by the police in 2002 without a lawyer because he thought he didn’t need one, as he knew he had done no damage, be pursued for ten years after the alleged crime?

Would you rather Gary McKInnon, a lone guy with Aspergers on a primitive computer in his bedroom in North London with a dial up connection, had not discovered the gross lack of security in U.S military computers? As, I'm sure, Al Quieda with their resources, could have done so much real damage had not the US millitary been thus forewarned.

Do you think that British citizens should have equal rights to that of their American counterparts?

Would you be happy to allow American citizens to be extradited to Britain without the need for any evidence of the alleged crime to be shown?
Elaine Dobson The point is actually pretty simple, though it's often obscured by those who prefer to distort the facts in order to endorse the affront to justice that this extradition represents.

The only offence for which evidence exists is not one which is eligible for extradition. Gary McKinnon damaged nothing, according to evidence presented in the High Court, and the CPS disclosure. As such, his extradition would be neither just, nor lawful - hence the scale of opposition to this extradition by the well-informed.

As to the Asperger's, no-one is arguing that it excuses his actions (though it does to some extent mitigate, as anyone with understanding of autistic spectrum conditions will know). The point is that because of his condition, the lawful limit of the human rights violation entailed by extradition per se, is somewhat lower than for neurotypical persons. In other words, given the offence (the most minor class of offence there is in British law), given the entirely unsubstantiated nature of the grossly overblown allegations, and given the atypically damaging effect of extradition on a person with AS (compared to a person without) - as evidenced by the severely injurious effect of the mere threat of extradition upon Gary's mental health - given all these factors, extradition is not only unwarranted, but also amounts to a grave injustice. And we in Britain do not like injustice, especially against the ill and vulnerable. Which is why I for one, continue to press for justice for Gary McKinnon.
♠ StyleWar ♠ The US suffered from his judgment, he now suffers at theirs...Lest we forget that he left the following note (cracked a system, accuse the victim, and then rubbed mud in their bloody eye) on one of his escapades:

"US foreign policy is akin to Government-sponsored 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"
cliff sull Some of the comments are exactly what I expected - thank you all.
The idea of this post was to foster debate and discussion and its achieved that.
The main 'issue' of this blogpost was the Extradition Treaty.I feel very strongly it is wrong to extradite Gary and so do many others.
No one is saying Gary did nothing wrong. No one has ever said that. Yes he left some silly notes and yes he hacked the US Military.
But, it was NOT malicious.
We have always said - if Gary is to be 'punished' for this (although, God knows, 9 years in legal limbo is a fair old punishment) then let him be tried here in the UK.
UK trial - or NO TRIAL !!

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