Sunday, 2 August 2009

Our sense of fairness vs. septic retribution

Alan Johnson writes a well-reasoned apologia in the Times this morning on why he can't halt Garry McKinnon's extradition. No doubt he believes every word of it - and demonstrates that he really doesn't get it.

No-one disputes that McKinnon did something illegal. No one disputes that the septics are truly pissed about it (to use their term). However, and whisper it softly, there's a certain quiet pride that an English lad faddling about in his bedroom was able to penetrate the most sensitive military computers of the world's most arrogant nation. A fair resolution may be for us to try and convict McKinnon, and if the court imposed a six month custodial sentence then I suspect many people would think twelve weeks in an open prison would be a fair punishment for Garry. He wouldn't do it again.

The objection to McKinnon's extradition I suspect comes from our knowledge of the septics' desire for harsh retribution, not for any damage caused, but for laughing at them. They want the opportunity to humiliate him, to terrify him, to subject him to appalling indignities and place him at real risk of physical and mental harm for years on end. And that's what we object to.

Johnson is part of a government that prattles about 'fairness' whilst not understanding a thing about it. They should learn that the British people already have a finely honed sense of what's fair and what isn't, and they ignore it at their peril.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

In any appraisal of fairness.You should look at the question from all angles turn the thing around and ask if some spotty yank had hacked GCHQ would we be able to have him extraditted.

measured said...

McKinnon is a pawn being sacrificed. The Government are misguided to play a board with such excellent single minded double bluffing strategists. Walk away. With hindsight those involved will realise that it would have done no harm to have excluded McKinnon from their play. You could not have summed it up better, Raedwald.

Raedwald said...

Anon - it's not about extradition; I'm not questioning extradition rights. It's about punishment.

davidncl said...

"However, and whisper it softly, there's a certain quiet pride that an English lad faddling about in his bedroom was able to penetrate the most sensitive military computers of the world's most arrogant nation."

Not in this heart. He did serious pollically motivated harm to the national defence systems of a our major ally. Over and over again. On purpose. During a war. He should be looking at never getting out.

Had he done it to British systems I would be arguing that he should face execution for treason.

William Gruff said...

Actually it is about extradition, and the attitude of Americans to international law, as well as their barbaric lust for brutal revenge whenever someone, somewhere, humiliates them, yet again.

Americans love to sneer at foreigners but all too often turn into nasty snarling animals when the sneers are turned back on them, which is not at all difficult. They need to be shown that they are not above the constraints and decencies of international law and cannot impose their will wherever and whenever they please. Refusing to abide by and repudiating the extradition treaty that Blair foisted on us, and which they have still not ratified, would make a start.

Anonymous said...

No-one disputes that McKinnon did something illegal.

I dispute it. He is alleged to have committed a crime but, in law and in common decency, he is innocent until proven guilty in a court.

Mr Ecks said...

DaVinci

You are the idiot in need of execution.If the yanks had the brains of a gnat they would offer him a job with the NSA. Johnson needs the shit beating out of him--along with the rest of NuLabour.

The Great Simpleton said...

What Mr Ecks says, except MI6 or GCHQ should have snapped him, given him a new identity and told the yanks that they he'd escaped to Timbuktu.

What is wrong with tjis case is the asymetric nature of the extradition treaty; as far as I am aware it stil hasn't been ratified over there.

wildgoose said...

"davidncl" you are an idiot who doesn't understand the first thing about computers.

Logging onto machines which have no Administrator password set could be done by a 4 year old.

Just looking for any evidence of information on UFOs and then leaving a helpful note advising them to secure the machines is hardly "serious politically motivated harm".

And finally, these were NASA computers. Having the US military (which in any event has its own separate space programme) reclassify them as top secret "military" computers is just a sick joke.

And as for your bleating about our "allies", these were the same people who have always refused to extradite wanted IRA terrorist murderers to face justice here.

If we had a Government actually interested in looking after the citizens of this country it would tell them to get stuffed.

JuliaM said...

"However, and whisper it softly, there's a certain quiet pride that an English lad faddling about in his bedroom was able to penetrate the most sensitive military computers of the world's most arrogant nation"

Nope. He knew what he was doing, and he needs to face the music for it.