A British-American bluestocking living in the UK writes about politics, pop culture, and emerging new paradigms as they unfold on both sides of the Atlantic. (New content.)

Thursday, 26 May 2011

And After Obama's Visit? Gary McKinnon Is Still to be Extradited

Gary McKinnon
Buried underneath all the hoopla of the Obama State Visit was the lingering issue of Gary McKinnon and his impending extradition to America. Gary McKinnon stands accused of having hacked into various governmental agencies in the United States searching (he says) for any information on extraterrestrial life. But the United States government isn't buying his story. Despite pleas from his family and his therapists and many celebrities, McKinnon who suffers from Asperger's still is scheduled to be extradited unless the British government chooses not to do so.

The McKinnon family were hoping that President Obama would simply halt the proceedings and allow Gary to be tried at home due to his challenging mental and emotional state. But instead Obama simply said that he would "await resolution" (from British legal system) and "be respectful of that process."  The problem that McKinnon faces is that British courts have already refused to block his extradition for over a decade and it doesn't look like they are willing to change. The Extradition Act is very clearly biased toward the United States. Obama basically left the issue in the hands of the British government. But that could mean that Britain must abide by its extradition laws or that McKinnon can be tried in the UK. None of this was very clear.
We don't know what sort of discussions are going on behind closed doors regarding this issue. But we do know that it is an issue that is very much in the minds of the Prime Minister and the President as they did engage in conversation about this while the President was in the UK.

However, US Attorney General,  Eric Holder only this month said that McKinnon would be extradited and "held accountable for all the crimes that he committed."

McKinnon has been living as a virtual prisoner for more than a decade. It's time to put an end to his misery.