Monday, 17 May 2010

What A Difference A Week Makes

Early in August last year Alan Johnson, the then Home Secretary, gave his reasons as to why he could not stop computer hacker, Gary McKinnon's extradition to the US for trial. He stated it would be unlawful.

The 43 year old's family expects confirmation within days from the new government that the decisionto send Gary to the USA has been overturned.

His family and supporters have spent years fighting the extradition order, although previous Labour ministers refused to block the US bid. But the campaign won heavyweight backing from the Tories and Lib Dems, with David Cameron and Nick Clegg both previously voicing concern.

Foreign Secretary William Hague last week promised a fresh look at the extradition arrangements. Mr McKinnon's lawyer lobbied the new Home Secretary Theresa May on Saturday and urged her to overrule her predecessor.

A source close to the case said: "It's looking more likely Gary will face the courts in the UK rather than be sent to the USA."

I'm pleased for the man and his family, although this does raise some serious questions. Are our laws so badly written that they can be overturned so quickly or was the last labour government just bloody minded?


Captain Ranty said...


I think it is just more damning evidence that the Labour party hated us. With a passion.

They would have thrown McKinnon to rabid wolves for any reason whatsoever. They allow(ed) hundreds of Britons to languish in gaols all over the place. No evidence required. Not as long as that European Arrest Warrant was filled in correctly.

I hope this man gets a fair hearing in his own country.

Kudos to the LiTors for saving his bacon.


Apogee said...

Hi SR.
The extradition treaty was a botched job by the labour government, totally biased to the advantage of the USA.

You dont think Johnson was going to say that Straw made a hash of it,
do you?

Jeanne Tomlin said...

I am glad. While he would have been in a federal prison which don't have the horrible reputation of some of the state prisons, this treaty is just plain bad and unfair from the UK point-of-view.

I'm not sure how much defense his mental and emotional problems are, but even as an American, I have to say I have more confidence in his receiving a fair trial in the UK.

The US DoD, FBI, and CIA have a huge act to grind with this man by showing up how easy it was to penetrate their computer defenses.

I've been very suspicious of this new coalition since there is something definitely "hinky" (look it up ;) ) about a liberal/conservative coalition. But this looks like the right thing to do so maybe I should be more open-minded.

subrosa said...

I too hope he gets a fair hearing here CR and I commend those who fought long and hard for this to happen.

Least of all his mother who stood against Jack Straw in the election.

subrosa said...

Got to keep in with our 'special' friend Apogee. Goodness me if we didn't...

subrosa said...

Jeanne I appreciate your empathy if this new government do make this decision.

I've always thought the US should commend him for showing how easy it was to get into us tope security sites. Perhaps some in the US ought to read the novels of Lee Childs. :)

Indyanhat said...

Pleased as punch he may get to stay here, the extradition treaty is a JOKE as is the special relationship, although BLIARS done very well out of it. He ought to be extradited and his assets stripped and JAILED for LIFE!!!!

subrosa said...

Indyan, I'm also pleased, not least for his mother who has worked so hard for this well deserved result. I do hope the new Home Secretary makes the announcement this week.

Jeanne Tomlin said...

I agree that they actually owed him thanks but our DoD does not like to be embarrassed which he did. I'm afraid they were out for blood.

Since the damage he did (if any) seems to have been pretty minor, I do hope he is treated reasonably over there and not handed over to our lot.

I'm not sure about renegotiating the treaty but someone seriously blew it on your side.

Anon said...

Labour appears to the most 'fascist' of the parties.

- aangirfan.

Surreptitious Evil said...

There are two main problems with the Extradition Act - one is the abolition of the principle of dual-criminality, which largely applies to the European Arrest Warrant (and doesn't apply in Gary's case because what he did is clearly against UK law, if treated somewhat less seriously than it is in US law), the other is that the US have neither ratified nor implemented their side of the treaty which was supposed to equalise treatment with that of the Act and, I suspect, cannot ever because of Constitutional (5th Amendment - requires Grand Jury) issues.

So, we have a treaty specifically designed to allow rapid legal rendition of terrorist prisoners, badly worded (deliberately?) to allow use in non-terrist criminal cases (although the US have, rightly in terms of US law if morally appalling, insisted McKinnon is a 'terrorist' - think of him as an 'alien truther fundamentalist' and you might see how this dubious proposition dodges through the statutes).

Does as treaty which has only been ratified on one side have effect? Doesn't matter, in this case, because the Extradition Act was passed without direct reference to the treaty (this is one of the cases where Nuew Labour's favourite legal trick of an enabling clause should actually have been used: The above sections will take effect when Her Majesty's Sectrtary of State lodges in the library of both Houses a letter from the Government of the United States of America confirming etc, etc)

subrosa said...

I haven't read the treaty Jeanne, I've just read interpretations of it from those who have legal minds.

The opinion from many seems to be it should be renegotiated or even done away with as it's very one sided (ie pro US).

subrosa said...

It does Aangifran, more and more so. They just can't hide their background any more.

subrosa said...

SE, you're a gem explaining it again. I'd forgotten the intracasies although I remembered the US hadn't ratified it.

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