Promoter hunts stars for McKinnon benefit gig
Rock against extradition
Updated Rock band Marillion have offered to take part in a gig in support of accused Pentagon hacker Gary McKinnon with proceeds going to autism charities, according to local media reports.
Ross Hemsworth, managing director of Glastonbury Radio has taken on the role of promoter to write to 100 bands asking them to perform at a benefit concert next month, the Hampstead and Highgate Express reports. The Rock Against Injustice concert aims to highlight concerns about McKinnon's plight as well as wider worries about the UK's extradition treaty with the US.
A galaxy of stars including the Kaiser Chiefs, Madonna, George Michael, Brian May and Jamiroquai have been invited to take part in the gig. How many of these celebs will respond, especially on such short notice, is open to question but 80s prog rockers Marillion appear to be well up for the job. Mark Kelly, keyboardist for Marillion, told local reporters that as something of a computer geek himself he symphathised with McKinnon's plight.
"I thought he [McKinnon] seemed quite harmless. He was only looking for UFOs. His story struck a chord with me. When I heard he was being extradited, it seemed so unjust. He shouldn't be made an example of just because of American incompetence," Kelly said.
Hemsworth, UK director of the International UFO Congress, is clearly keen to do everything he can to help a fellow UFO enthusiast in peril. He also hopes to recruit pop stars to take part in a charity recording of a track written by McKinnon, entitled Only a Fool, at London's famous Abbey Road studios.
All proceeds from the concert and the record will go towards funding the Autism Research Centre in Cambridge. McKinnon was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome (a mild form of autism) in August.
McKinnon's lawyer, Karen Todner, was unavailable for immediate comment on the charity gig idea at the time of going to press. A spokesman for the FreeGary support campaign welcomed the sympathetic quotes from Marillion band members but added "whether that translates into an actual concert in time remains to be seen".
The Scot has run a long campaign against extradition the the US, where he faces faces seven charges of hacking into US government and military systems from his then girlfriend's home in Crouch End during 2001 and 2002. He admits hacking but denies causing damage. To US prosecutors McKinnon is the "biggest military hacker of all time", but the former sysadmin describes himself as a bumbling amateur, one of many hackers to have infiltrated US military systems, looking for suppressed evidence on UFOs.
McKinnon has suffered a string of legal setbacks in his fight against extradition. The House of Lords to denied his appeal against extradition and the European Court of Justice washed its hands of the case earlier this year. Lawyers acting on behalf of McKinnon were refused a written judicial review of the Home Secretary's decision not to suspend extradition proceedings following his recent diagnosis with Asperger's Syndrome, but an oral hearing has been scheduled for 5 December. ®
Interesting where their priorities lie.
So a chap logs into their systems looking for UFO info and they pursue it like hunting dogs, however we in the UK get inundated with US originated spam phone calls designed to get gullible old ladies to press 9 to see what holiday they have won for their grandchildren, thus triggering a US charging mechanism, which according to BT support adds up to $100 reverse charge on the bill for which the old ladies are responsible .... US response - zilch. Why? - because the phone hackers are in the US and they can't track them! Apart from that it does wonders for the balance of payments.
"A man posts a letter bomb in one country in explodes upon delivery in another country. In which country did he commit his crime?"
In all likelihood, he has committed a crime in both countries. If, for example, such a bomb was mailed from the US to the UK, he would have possessed explosives (illegal without a permit from the ATF), mailed explosives (also illegal without paying a hazardous materials surcharge), possibly violated US exportation laws regarding the export of militarily significant materials (another act for which a permit is required), and clearly endangered the postal carrier(s). Being as I am not British I don't know UK law well at all, but I imagine it's still illegal to blow people up (or attempt to).
In short, there'd be enough laws broken on both sides of the pond to send the stupid fucker to jail for a very long time.
Regarding McKinnon's extradition, I think it's pointless and solely a matter of pride for a US agency that was left red-faced by his behavior. He should be tried in Britain for the offences which allegedly occured on US soil, in order to provide him with a fair trial. An outcome that might be better for everyone involved, but would never be allowed to occur, would involve Mr. McKinnon working for the US Government for a very generous salary, exposing vulnerabilities in order to patch them. Oh well, putting the poor sod in jail for a long period of time, leaving him permanently embittered and hateful of the US certainly would be better for everyone. It's not as if turning a potentially useful hacker into a hateful enemy ever did anyone harm.
Considering the USA is basically a fundamentalist ('turn the other cheek') Christian country, that's the first time since 2001 I have heard someone offer forgiveness to Osama. If the Lord didn't mean for there to be terrorists, he wouldn't have given you Guantanamo Bay.
Military systems should be better protected, McKinnon didn't have to try very hard by the sound of things. If I leave my kitchen window open, and you walk past and steal my teapot, you should be done for theft. If I then call in a team of security consultants to tell me how to close my kitchen window, and they charge me £10,000, that does not mean you should be tried for commiting £10,000 worth of damage, it just means you are a thief and I am a dick.
Imagine the people in charge of that network reporting the hack to their bosses, they have two choices.
1. Admit that they are pathetically bad at their jobs.
2. Make out that the person who took advantage of their lack of ability is a criminal mastermind.
McKinnon's activities don't seem to have caused any person any physical harm. So the problem must be all about the money it cost to put right his meddling (or more accurately, the money it cost to put the security measures in place that should have been there from the start and prevent any future embarassments).
If it is about the costs, then yes I would say spamming is worse than military hacking. Spam cost the whole world much more money than McKinnon's 'military hacking'. Estimates range between $20 and $50 BILLION a year. Most spam comes from the USA:
McKinnon is a meddler (maybe a malevolent meddler, yes) - he needs to have his wrists slapped. He doesn't need to disappear into Gitmo and be tortured by rednecks.
Extradition generally isn't overkill. The idea of extradition to the present day United States of America for a crime that they can interpret as a kind of terrorism, is terrifying.