See them there? That’s Nick Clegg and Chris Huhne rallying for Gary McKinnon before the last election. This alone should have been enough to persuade the Daily Mail to rethink its mighty campaign on behalf of Mr McKinnon. Apparently not, however, and so the Home Secretary today passed her responsibilities to Paul Dacre and bravely agreed with the editor of the most powerful newspaper in Britain. Accordingly, Gary McKinnon will not be extradited to the United States.
Technically, Mrs May found that extraditing Mr McKinnon would breach his human rights. Relying on the much-hated (not least by the Daily Mail) Human Rights Act the Home Secretary concluded that the combination of McKinnon’s Aspergers’ and his apparently persuasive threat to kill himself if extradited meant that she had no choice but to thwart American efforts to put him on trial in the United States. Annoying Washington is less dangerous than angering Mr Dacre.
Poor old Babar Ahmad and Talha Ahsan eh? Their appeals against extradition to the US did not enjoy such powerful patrons. No wonder there’s more than a whiff of double-standards about this case, not least since Ahsan also has Aspergers.
Now, as David Allen Green observes, if McKinnon’s suicide-threat is credible then the Home Secretary may have acted correctly. But as he also notes denying the extradition on those grounds and no others suggests the legal case for McKinnon’s extradition, absent any complicating factor such as his health, was watertight.
As it should be. McKinnon was not, whatever some people want you to believe, some innocent kid who inadvertently blundered into the Pentagon’s computers in search of evidence of UFOs. On the contrary there is ample evidence – not the least of which comes from his own statements – that his hacking was a politically-motivated action. It Was McKinnon who left a message on a US army computer he had infiltrated which read:
“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.