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Alleged British Hacker Fears Guantanamo 661

Magnifico writes "The BBC is reporting that Gary McKinnon, a British man accused of breaking into the U.S. government computer networks, could end up at Guantanamo Bay. His lawyer is fighting his extradition to the United States arguing, 'The US Government wants to extract some kind of species of administrative revenge because he exposed their security systems as weak and helpless as they were.'"
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Alleged British Hacker Fears Guantanamo

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  • by caluml ( 551744 ) <slashdot@spamgoe ... minus poet> on Thursday April 13, 2006 @11:12AM (#15121173) Homepage
    Seems like if you're shipped there, you're automatically guilty, and if you're automatically guilty, you have to stay there until you stop being guilty. Is this one of those cases using the new extradition system, whereby the US doesn't have to show any evidence to the UK - it just has to say "Hand him over", and he gets sent?
    Still, just label him a terrorist, even though he claims he's nothing more than a script kiddie, and then people aren't allowed to say no.
  • The real story (Score:5, Interesting)

    by acvh ( 120205 ) <geek@m s c i g a r> on Thursday April 13, 2006 @11:20AM (#15121243) Homepage
    is that his actions are said to have caused $5000 of damage to each PC he connected to, which, coincidentally, is the threshold at which he can be sentenced to a year in prison, which, coincidentally, is the threshold at which he can be extradited.

    The US government is gaming the system to get its hands on this guy. That's why it's news.

    Funny thing is, I live a half mile from the base he is said to have "disabled" and this is the first I've heard of this story.

  • by ShyGuy91284 ( 701108 ) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @11:23AM (#15121281)
    You commit a crime, you get punished. He may end up in a US prison (which seems common-sense, since f I commited a fairly major crime in the UK, I'd expect to be in prison there, not here) , but I have my doubts they would send him to Guantanamo, especially since the US did not hint at it.... This revenge stuff is bs. True, he exposed a lot of vunlerability, but if they don't punish him hard, many more will try thinking they can get away with a slap on the wrist. This is just politics warped in the opposite direction. There have been times when people against the Patriot act and other Bush decisions have seemed as bad if not more obnoxious and ignorant then some of the hard-core Bush followers. I don't mean to troll, but it sounds like this article is written by someone wrapped up in the anti-Bush attitude. Balance is hard to find. It's much easier to just choose a side and let them give you a bias then to continue to think on your own, joining a side momentarily when you agree.
  • Disproportionate (Score:5, Interesting)

    by golodh ( 893453 ) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @11:36AM (#15121430)
    I think that he has reason to believe that he would not face justice but the equivalent of gang-justice if he were extradited.

    Guantanamo Bay was called into being to exploit a juridical loophole in order to hold people without accusation, without legal representation, and without trial for as long as the authorities need to either build a case against them or to clear them. The reason this was done was to get at people considered to be the equivalent of enemy combatants but without a state that you could hold responsible, without a "home front" which would moderate their actions, and which on balance were considered potentially far too dangerous to let walk around free. In other words: for real terrorists who threaten real lives. Not for teens who make a hobby of breaking into poorly protected computers.

    What we see now is that laws are stretched a bit to mark anyone from overseas who breaks into a defense computer as a "terrorist" and hence eligible for "terrorist" treatment. Which includes e.g. a lack of legal representation and a 20 year prison sentence (if he's lucky) or a 60 year one if he's unlucky. Which in this case is of course totally out of proportion.

    What worries me most is the cries of "he commited a crime and thence should not whine about the time". Nice copy, but more than a bit barbaric when you come to think of it. Punishment should be proportionate to the offense, and people's rights (e.g. to legal counsel and reasonable sentences) should not be set aside simply because the administration currently in power happens to feel like it.

    If we seriously consider 20 years of prison as just punishment for the electronic equivalent of breaking and entering on federal property, then why not adopt "Islamic" laws such as cutting of hands for petty theft and stoning for adultery? Those laws were made in and for a medieval society. Don't tell me that the US of A is becoming the appropriate setting for that kind of law.

  • by Frank T. Lofaro Jr. ( 142215 ) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @11:40AM (#15121458) Homepage
    Amnesty International has an anti-US slant in many cases:

    "The unlawful detention of "enemy combatants" ": We follow the requirements of treaties regulating POWs, etc. These enemy combatants didn't follow the rules of war - hence no protection. Even the UN isn't complaining!

    "Many of these detainees allege they have been subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. In desperation, some detainees have attempted suicide. Others have gone on prolonged hunger strikes, being kept alive only through painful force feeding measures."

    People can allege anything. I can allege North Korea is using microwaves beamed from a satellite to control my thoughts - that doesn't make it true. People attempt suicide for many reasons, including guilt. And if we didn't force feed people, we'd be accused of letting them starve to death.

    Anything we do, or don't do, will get criticized, unless we let them all go and wait for another terrorist attack.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 13, 2006 @12:06PM (#15121750)
    you haven't been watching the news much lately than. "no substantive reason", uh, he is accused of attacking the US military in a fashion. where do you think they have been putting people? Disneyland?
    I'm no lawyer, but with the recent US history of their war on terror, why should the guys lawyer expect he will get a fair trial?
    as an earlier post said (comment againts the man), if he did these crimes than he should do the time, but also if the US is going to hold people without trial in Guantanamo, then they should equally be not surprised that other countries won't believe they are going to get fair trials for their citizens.
    as much as the lawyer is looking for any avenue of escape for his client, the US gave him the biggest piece of ammo with the usage of offshore prisons.
  • by imadork ( 226897 ) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @12:40PM (#15122097) Homepage
    Remember that the U.S. has not signed on to the International Criminal Court for roughly the same reasons. If the US had signed on, then US servicemen or polititians could be hauled into the ICC on suspicion of war crimes and not given all the safeguards that the U.S. court system has. I guess that bit about "All men are created equal" needs revision now.
  • by ghost. ( 85872 ) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @01:07PM (#15122358)
    If we're treating them so well, and everything's all nice and legal and on the up-and-up, why not imprison them on American soil?

    And as someone else pointed out, many of these detainees were turned in by bounty hunters who got paid by the head. I doubt there was a lot of discriminating intelligence involved in that rounding-up process.
  • by Straif ( 172656 ) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @01:18PM (#15122448) Homepage
    Is this the same Amnesty international report that was written based almost entirely on the unsubstantiated accounts of released prisoners; many of which are currently serving sentences in their home countries.

    The same Amnesty International that, even with a direct invitation to visit GITMO refused because they wouldn't be given unfettered access to all the prisoners but instead would only be permitted the same level of access as a visiting US Senator.

    I don't know about you, but even if I couldn't get all the info, I would at least like to see the subject of my 'report' before condemning it; unless, of course, you already know what you are going to write and wouldn't want any facts to get in your way.

    I'm guessing they left out the part about the younger prisoners that were held at GITMO who have said they missed it [] and while they didn't like being away from their families, much preferred their time at GITMO to their current living conditions back home. Something to do with the free education, good food, snorkeling on the pristine Cuban beaches, daily football, basketball and volleyball games with the guards.

    And while I'm sure not everyone is treated to this level of kindness (it is a prison after all) the type of things Amnesty International now considers torture for the purposes of their reports on US detention centers has pretty much made the word meaningless.

    If you want to see reports of inhumane treatement of detainees just look up some stories about the treatment of prisoners in pretty much any French jail.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 13, 2006 @02:00PM (#15122813)
    [Not really a response to parent, rather to the whole thread]

    You really are so far from the reality in these countries that you even try to justify this stuff.

    First, the most countries in the world has a mandatory military service. If you are a man, you go to the army or you get shot (well, punished severly at least). This is, by the people, just considered as just a few years of say 'school'. Something that has to get done. They have not chosen to be soldiers.

    The countries are often very, very poor. Buying uniforms to their army is an expense, and if your army has not given one to you - are you to blame? All they gave you a Kalashnikov and told you to shoot the invaders, which you do since you think they are there to kill you and your children. And most destroy everything you believe in. Surprise, surprise, many of the men forced to act as soldiers have children, and all they want to do is to return to them.

    Now, it happens that some of these fathers and sons get captured, and tortured indefinitely just because of this. This is so inhumane that every American should be disgusted. Has the lawyer culture grown so thick among you that every word (about uniform, is a war declared etc) has to be analyzed and you really believe it is ok to behave the way you do?

    Guess you still don't understand why 9/11 happened, and why stuff like that will keep happening. Damn you (as a nation) deserved it. Ask yourself, how many of your civilians should you allow USA to kill before trying to do something back? Guess you already killed that many, several times over. Before 9/11. How many blows do you accept from the local bully before you at least try to hit back?


    (sorry, just reading how some of you self-rightous USians behave made my blood boil)

  • Best sum-up so far! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Teun ( 17872 ) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @02:25PM (#15123041) Homepage
    The way to fight terror is courage and cosistency, demonstrating to the terrorists that they cannot affect one's ideals and principles, no matter what they do. But what does Al-Queda get for the cost of 19 pairs of box cutters? Wholesale abandonment of the supposedly most cherished American principles of "habeas corpus", freedom of the press, unreasonable searches, personal liberties and the like in favour of fascist surveilance and arbitrary imprisonment in a Gulag.

    Osama must be laughing his ass off at such a spineless attitude.

    Well spoken!

    And I cry for the people of the once Free World.

  • British Perspective (Score:2, Interesting)

    by nuser ( 198161 ) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @02:49PM (#15123293)
    One thing i haven't seen in the comments is the difference between the Uk and US operation of their extradition treaty. The UK government seems to be happy to go along with the US and extradite people, but the reverse hasn't been true to date. I'm thinking of the suspected IRA members that the UK wanted, but the US wouldn't extradite, as I think the US considered them 'political activists' where the UK considered them to be terrorists.

    I suspect a lot of folk here learnt some of their networking skills doing much what this guy did, albeit before it was illegal, and I for one think the massive fines/prison sentences the US metes out are way over the top. I think the worst he could get here is 5 years, more likely to be 2 or 3. So yes this is probably legal shenanningans to try and avoid extradition, but if it was me I know where I'd prefer to be tried.
  • by x2A ( 858210 ) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @02:55PM (#15123352)
    "Thanks, but you didn't answer my question"

    How have I not answered your question? Your questions:

    "but when did people start taking prisoner's accounts as gospel."

    "How are they suddenly credible?"

    "why people are in such a rush to believe things that could well be fabrications"

    My answer was that it is not that we are automatically believing the accused are innocent, the problem we have is that they are not being given chance to defend themselves and claim their innocence, they are being held without being charged, and those who have been released, have been released without explanation as to why they were held, or any kind of most basic apology.

    That said, if someone's not given chance by someone to say "it wasn't me", "I didn't do it", it makes you wonder why!

    "How does that elevate the discussion?"

    I already said what I intended to to help understanding and "elevate the discussion", and everyone who understands why I say what I did above that statement fully understands why I made the statement itself. America IS proving itself to be a complete disgrace (spelt right this time tho). You can't kidnap people outside the law (changing the law to allow you to kidnap people doesn't count), outside all human rights, and not expect the world get become furious with you. The only reason America's not in half as much trouble as it is at this moment is that the people doing the fighting (against) are religious nuts, which alienates themselves from the rest of the world who would actually agree with them more than they agree with what America is doing. But that won't last forever.


  • Re:Interesting... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by LordCrumb ( 543602 ) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @02:59PM (#15123397)
    Did he find any UFOs? Not exactly, but what he did find was intriguing. He granted an interview to Jon Ronson you can read at The Guardian:,3605,152 3143,00.html [] From that article:
    "What was the most exciting thing you saw?" I ask. "I found a list of officers' names," he claims, "under the heading 'Non-Terrestrial Officers'." "Non-Terrestrial Officers?" I say. "Yeah, I looked it up," says Gary, "and it's nowhere. It doesn't mean little green men. What I think it means is not earth-based. I found a list of 'fleet-to-fleet transfers', and a list of ship names. I looked them up. They weren't US navy ships. What I saw made me believe they have some kind of spaceship, off-planet."
    Also of note:
    "Once you're on the network, you can do a command called NetStat - Network Status - and it lists all the connections to that machine. There were hackers from Denmark, Italy, Germany, Turkey, Thailand ..." "All on at once?" I ask. "You could see hackers from all over the world, snooping around, without the spaceniks or the military realising?" "Every night," he says, "for the entire five to seven years I was doing this."
  • by Descalzo ( 898339 ) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @09:04PM (#15126561) Journal
    What about the battlefield at Gettysburg? Congress did NOT declare the Civil War. Were the Southern soldiers combatants or not? How about the Union soldiers?

    Granted, this was before the Geneva Conventions, but I wonder how it fits into your ideas.

  • by meringuoid ( 568297 ) on Friday April 14, 2006 @06:33AM (#15128213)
    The wisdom that can be learned from Nazi Germany is that when a country becomes unjustly militant against its neighbors, they must be stopped immediatly.

    Wow. And you're using this line to justify your support for Bush? Classic.

Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. -- Thomas Alva Edison