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An Open Letter About My Son, Gary McKinnon, to Theresa May and David Cameron

September 25, 2012

My son has spent 10 wasted years awaiting extradition to the US on computer hacking charges. Please help end this daily torture

Gary McKinnon … ‘He has no life and is broken, like a wounded animal with no outlet and no hope’ Photograph: Linda Nylind for the Guardian

Dear Theresa and David,

As you are aware, my son Gary McKinnon, who has Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism, was arrested in London in March 2002 for computer misuse and has now been under virtual house arrest for over 10 years while fighting extradition to the US.

People find it hard to believe that this can be happening in Britain in the year 2012, but it is.

Gary was arrested more than 10 years ago for allegedly hacking into Nasa and Pentagon computers from his bedroom in London while searching for evidence of UFOs and free energy that Gary believed was being suppressed by the US government. It’s true that Gary left cheeky cyber notes telling the US that their security was virtually nonexistent and that he’d continue disrupting by leaving cybernotes until someone at the top listened to him and installed passwords and firewalls that should have been there in the first place to protect their systems, but weren’t.

To his detriment Gary also left a cyber note saying that American foreign policy was akin to state-sponsored terrorism. Had this been scrawled on a wall few would have noticed and to a young man with Asperger’s syndrome, telling the truth as he saw it was as natural as getting out of bed in the morning. However Gary had now not only embarrassed the US by highlighting their lack of any basic security, but he had angered them.

No one, but especially someone with Asperger’s, could ever have realised the horrendous consequences that would arise from a country whose first amendment is one protecting free speech. Or that an extradition treaty with America, yet to be written, could allow him (without any evidence being presented to a British court) to be forcibly removed from his home, his family and all that he has ever known, to be taken to a foreign land where he could be incarcerated in a foreign prison for up to 60 years. All for a crime that according to the Hi-Tech Crime Unit in 2002, would have attracted a sentence of six months community service in Britain.

My son has now been under arrest for longer than any British citizen ever has. He hasn’t raped anyone, he hasn’t murdered anyone, so can’t understand how this can be happening to him, as no matter how much anyone may choose to exaggerate his crime, the fact is that his crime was tapping on a keyboard in his bedroom in north London in search of information on aliens from outer space.

Gary rarely ever leaves his home as he is traumatised to the core. A boy who cycled, swam, composed music and sang, now sits in the dark with his cats and never wants to see or speak to anyone.

He has no life, and is broken, like a wounded animal with no outlet and no hope, seeing only the dark side and the cruelty that exists in the world.

My only child has lost 10 years of his youth and has aged and died before my eyes.

Ten years of being in a constant state of fear while fighting to stop my son Gary being taken from his home and family has made the days, months and years indistinguishable from each other, as hopes raised to the heavens come crashing down to Earth on a regular basis.

We were elated when in a bid to have Gary tried in the UK, you, our prime minister, raised Gary’s case with President Obama during your first televised joint press conference in America in 2010. When President Obama said an appropriate solution would be found, we were moved to tears. We waited and waited and waited, but the months passed and nothing happened.

We were again ecstatic when you raised Gary’s case with President Obama for a second time during your second joint press conference in London in 2011, but in spite of President Obama stating that it was a British decision that America would respect and despite great expectations from all who heard it, and constantly being congratulated by strangers in the street, nothing happened.

When Gary’s MP David Burrowes asked the American ambassador why the US was still pursuing Gary, his response was: “He mocked us“.

I wrote to the Queen during her diamond jubilee to ask her to bestow the gift of mercy on my son who was arrested before even her golden jubilee 10 years previously, but in a response from Buckingham Palace, it seems only our government is privy to the Queen’s powers which she herself is unable to use.

I constantly write letters in the hope that the pen really is mightier than the sword and that I can reach souls of courage and compassion in the heart of our government, who can put an end to this decade of mental torture.

Whether the rain falls or the sun shines means little anymore, as we live in this unreal world where Gary sits in the dark and I spend each day and night until the early hours of the morning working on trying to save my son from virtual death. I no longer have any other conversation as I’m unable to escape from this mental imprisonment, grounded in fear.

I am hoping with all my heart that Theresa May our home secretary, who I believe is a strong woman, will have in her heart the courage and compassion that will allow her to do what is right and to give my son his life back.I pray that one day I will see the light return to my son’s eyes and that this seemingly never-ending torture will soon come to an end.

If our government is afraid to make a right and just decision for fear of upsetting our friends, then something is wrong with that friendship which must be put right, or we as a nation are allowing our people to be enslaved, making us unable to command respect that by its very nature has to be earned.

We are now at the final hurdle and it takes strength and courage to make that final jump, but jump it we must, if we are to emerge with dignity and self respect.

Our government’s first duty is to protect British citizens, including our most vulnerable. Please have the strength to do what is right and to give my son his life back.

With deepest respect,

Janis Sharp

source The Guardian

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The Most Important Letter I Will Ever Write

June 20, 2011

In May 2011 The White House Organised a State visit by President Barack Obama to the United Kingdom. I wanted to reach President Obama somehow, as I felt if he really understood Gary’s case he would drop the extradition request and agree to Gary being tried in the U.K. In the hope of achieving  this I wrote the following letter to him which was placed directly in the hands of Eric Holder the US Attorney General a week  prior to President Obama’s visit.

 

Dear President Obama,

          This is the most important letter I will ever write as my  son Gary’s life depends on it.

          To see my son Gary intent on taking his own life because he  would rather be dead than to be dragged from the Island he was born on and  removed from the family he depends on, is to my mind reminiscent of what happened to slaves in days  gone by and to Jewish people in Germany during the second world war. 

          Contrary to popular belief it was not only black people who  were kidnapped and sold as slaves. The same thing happened to Scottish and  Irish people as long ago as 1630. People were  kidnapped, betrayed and sold by their own people and  sent to American colonies and plantations. Tens of thousands of the kidnapped  white slaves were children and is where the word kidnapped came from. 
          According to the Egerton  Manuscript in the British Museum, the law enacted in 1652  allowed Judges to ship Scottish people to a foreign  colony or plantation.          

The U.S/U.K 2003  Extradition Treaty is a similar unjust law in that it is one of the  worst betrayals ever inflicted by a British government on its own people, as it  has removed our right to have evidence presented that can be contested by us in  a British Court before being forcibly dragged from the Island we were born  in. 
           Without evidence of a serious crime Americans are  protected from the terror of extradition and are tried in their own country.  Surely British people deserve to have equal rights and to be treated with equal  consideration to that of almost every other citizen in almost every other  country in the world. People from Israel and from Romania have recently hacked  into the Pentagon and have been tried in their own country and given suspended/very  short sentences without any requests from the U.S for Extradition.
          Equality of people regardless of creed, colour or ability is  a measure of our humanity towards each other.

          Gary has Aspergers Syndrome, a form of Autism.  He is  no ordinary man, he is extraordinary. Gary is intelligent, vulnerable, gentle  and naive to the core. When searching for information on UFO’s he discovered  that there were no passwords or firewalls on American military computers, so  being Gary, he left cyber notes telling the U.S military to improve their  security as a matter of urgency. When Gary got no response he left a cyber note  saying that he would continue to disrupt at the highest level [by leaving cyber  notes] until someone paid attention.

          Gary had a primitive computer and was on a dial up  connection in his flat in North London at the time of his offence ten years ago.

          I understand totally the need for computer security and in  an odd way Gary’s naive actions have ‘hopefully’  resulted in U.S military computer security being improved.

          The Extradition Treaty between our countries was never  intended to be used against someone like Gary but was designed for terrorists  and the like and for people who had fled from a country where they had  committed a heinous crime. In Gary’s case no heinous crime was committed and he  has not fled from any country so cannot be ‘returned’ there. The 2003  Extradition Treaty was not even written at the time of Gary’s computer misuse or his arrest in March  2002, so he was unable to understand the consequences.

          When someone  who is mentally fragile feels so much dread, fear and terror over the prospect  of being dragged from his homeland to incarceration in America that he would  rather embrace death! For our governments to  then literally force him to submit to what in his opinion is a terror worse  than death, is nothing less than inhumane torture and punishment far in excess  of that fitting the crime.
          To inflict  such extreme agony on an individual in order to make an example of him in  another country is far too high a moral price to pay. Why would any government with an ounce of compassion wish to do this when  anyone can see that it would be morally wrong?
          Gary realises and accepts that he  was wrong to access US computers. However, his eccentric crime, born of his  obsessional interest, does not merit the torment he has suffered ever since he  understood that the US were determined to remove him from the land he was born  in to take him 5000 miles away from his home, family and support network.
          Gary has effectively already lost nine years of his life. He  has never tried to avoid Justice but asks only to be tried in the U.K.  In terms of the law it  does not matter which country Gary is tried in but it is in the interest of  humanity and natural justice for Gary to be tried in the U.K.
          Compassion  is the mark of civilization and is exactly what distinguishes our society both  from anarchy and from tyranny. There is no doubt that what Gary did  was foolish in the extreme but our country has had a long tradition of being  tolerant of peaceful protest and no one in  the world has ever been extradited for hacking. For someone like Gary to be the  first would be a damning indictment of U.S and U.K Justice.

In the first  Worldwide Press Conference with David Cameron, you mentioned the friendship  between the U.S and the U.K and said words to the effect that an appropriate  way forward would be found.
          Surely as  President, the only logical and compassionate way forward is for you to show  the compassion that a man of your stature is capable of and to agree to a British Trial for my son Gary McKinnon.
          Every morning I wake up with a heavy  heart often finding it difficult to put one foot in front of the other. Every  night my heart is filled with terror at the thought of losing my only child.
Gary does not deserve to be driven  to suicide, or to suffer irreversible damage to his mental health, or to face  the prospect of ending his life in a foreign prison or dying in a mental  institution as my grandmother did.


Gary does not deserve either a real  or a virtual death sentence.

I do not deserve to lose my only  child.

Please  Help

During the Presidents Visit Prime Minister David Cameron and Barack Obama gave a joint press conference to the worlds media and only four
questions were allowed,  two from American Journalists and two from British Journalists. The topics discussed were Libya, Palestine, The Global Economy and…… Gary McKinnon.

When asked by Tom Bradby ITN, The President Obama replied

 “We have confidence in the British legal system coming to a just conclusion, and so we will await resolution and we will be respectful of that process.”

Furthermore, Prime Minister David Cameron added:

“The case is in front of the home secretary who has to consider reports about Gary’s health and his well-being and it is right that she does that in a proper and effectively quasi-judicial way. I totally understand the anguish of his mother and family about this issue. We must follow the proper processes and make sure this case is dealt with in the proper way and I am sure that is the case.”

The BBC reported it here

I believe the government here has always been mindful of how America would react to a refusal of extradition. Now, at last, the President
has said that America will accept and respect a UK decision (and will not Oppose it). The decision is now thankfully in the hands of the Coalition,
who were committed to Gary remaining in the U.K and who promised to change the 2003 extradition treaty as it was never intended to be used in a case like Gary’s and had in fact been intended only for use against terrorists and the like.

Prime Minister David Cameron said

“I simply see no compassion in sending him away to serve a lengthy prison sentence, thousands of miles away from his home, his family and his friends.

‘If he has questions to answer, there is a clear argument to be made that he should answer them in a British court.’

“The Extradition Act was put in place to ensure terrorists didn’t escape justice. It was never intended to deal with a case like Gary’s.”

“It should still mean something to be a British citizen – with the full protection of the British Parliament, rather than a British Government trying to send you off to a foreign court”

This case raises serious questions about the workings of the Extradition Act, which should be reviewed.”

 Dominic Grieve, the Attorney General said

‘The Gary McKinnon case throws into sharp relief the crude and clumsy extradition procedures Britain now has in place.

‘The Extradition Act was introduced after 9/11, so that we could fast-track terrorist suspects to face trial abroad. The intention was reasonable. But it was never intended to operate in cases like this, diluting the safeguards protecting such a vulnerable man – and a British citizen at that.

‘Ministers must make every effort to see justice done for Gary McKinnon.’

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said

“It is wrong. It is simply wrong for our government to have signed a treaty in secret which sells our rights down the river while protecting the rights of American citizens. It is certainly wrong to send a vulnerable young man to his fate in the United States when he could and should be tried here instead. It is simply a matter of doing the right thing.” now have the opportunity to do so.

Now they Have the opportunity to do just that.

http://garystays.co.uk