McKinnon Extradition? Crime, Penetrating Pentagon Computers ©

Gary McKinnon, also known as Solo is now 39 years of age.  He is a Briton, from Wood Green, north London.  He is a calm and steady man, and today he stood before the courts as such. Family and friends were at his side.  They wanted to actively show their support.  After, the proceedings all exited and were met by the press.  The media asked if the group would pose for photographs or make a statement.  These requests were denied.  For McKinnon and his entourage, the day was done; it had been quite a trying one.  The trial was a fight against extradition.

It seems an embarrassed America wants to punish this man for his crime against the States; they believe that only they can do this well.  US government officials are not willing to trust their dearest friend and ally, the United Kingdom.  They do not think that the Brits can deliver the dictum or carry out the penalty.  American bureaucrats do not believe that the United Kingdom will castigate this criminal as well as they themselves can.  Therefore, American attorneys are posed to present their case.  They want the head of Gary McKinnon on a skewer, an American skewer.

According to the United States government, from February 2001 until March 2002, McKinnon hacked into 97 military and National Aeronautics and Space Administration [NASA] computers.  This action caused an estimated $700,000 in damages.  McKinnon is thought to have exploited poorly secured Windows systems.  He is suspected of attacking networks run by NASA, the Pentagon, and twelve other military installations.  His efforts affected systems in fourteen states.

McKinnon said of this endeavor, “It was easy, easier than expected.”  Many believe that for Gary McKinnon it was an adventure. He loved the hunt; as a young man he was looking for ways to pick locks.  He knew that defense computers were supposedly “locked” tight and this intrigued him.  McKinnon wanted to see if he could open these impenetrable systems.

Mr. McKinnon had long been interested in defense computers.  He wanted to determine if the technology these departments use truly defends against invasion. He explored and discovered these software systems were flawed.  He would live to regret this finding, for it changed his life in a way he had not imagined.  Perhaps, it was not the discovery that altered his life; instead, it was the way in which he revealed it.

Gary McKinnon boldly scripted a note stating, “US foreign policy is akin to government sponsored terrorism these days . . . I am SOLO. I will continue to disrupt at the highest levels.”  He left this message on an Army computer.  This communiqué was a threat, a threat to the image of the United States government and at the Department of Defense.  Officials were livid; an appearance of strength was lost.  Revealing the vulnerability of US computer systems is a crime against illusion. Though not an act of treason or terrorism, this action is punishable by law.

Gary McKinnon had not been considered a powerful man in the past.  Yet, he exhibited power beyond what others expected.  A manager and former supervisor to Gary McKinnon spoke of this saying, “He was personable, relatively happy around the office.”  While working at the London-based telecom equipment seller, Corporate Business Technology Limited, Mr. McKinnon was thought to be a friendly chap, though an unremarkable fellow.  The supervisor offered, “You wouldn’t have realized that he could do what he did.”

McKinnon, worked for CBT for approximately ten months, leaving late in 1999. He left on good terms. “As I remember it, he decided to leave because he was bored working here,” says the manager. “But at the time that he left, he didn’t have any place to go to.” The American government claims, he went off to entertain himself.  Gary McKinnon probed the Pentagon; he assessed the ease with which he could penetrate Department of Defense computers.

By 2001, the unemployed systems administrator was hacking into United States government computers.  In February 2002, he is said to have shut down Internet access to 2,000 military computers in the Washington area.  The systems were down for a full day.  Prior to this effort, he scanned networks for vulnerabilities, extracted administrative accounts and passwords, snooped on network traffic, and installed hacking software.  McKinnon, Solo is also accused of deleting system logs.

In March 2002, United Kingdom police arrested Mr. McKinnon.  However, it was not until November 2002 that an indictment was filed by US Federal Grand Jury.  Eight computer crimes were listed in the official dossier.  The lapse of time is significant, and was mentioned by the defense in today’s extradition hearing.

Karen Todner, McKinnon’s solicitor, spoke on her client’s behalf.  She argued that as a Briton her client ought to be tried in the UK.  Later, in a prepared statement Ms. Todner furthered her case, “Gary McKinnon continues to vigorously contest extradition which was only belatedly requested by the US government. The British public need to ask themselves why British citizens are being extradited to the USA when the US government has not ratified the extradition treaty between the two countries.”

Great question, why is it that American officials profess, “Do as I say, not as I do?”  US authorities do not sanction expatriation contracts; yet, they expect to seek one.  This seems quite a contradiction.  American authorities want the United Kingdom to honor what they do not.

Currently, McKinnon is out on bail; however, if convicted in United States, McKinnon faces charges punishable by fines.  He could serve as much as 80 years in prison.  A guilty ruling in the United States would mean a life lost.  I know not whether a British ruling might be less severe; however, imprisonment in a land so far from family and friends would certainly place an unimaginable strain or the supposed “felon.”

Thus we have today’s hearing.  It was held at London’s Bow Street Magistrates’ Court.  United States prosecutors detailed and restructured the allegations against Mr. McKinnon.  American attorneys now say Solo seized control of over 53 US Army computers, 26 US Navy computers, 16 NASA systems, one US Department of Defense computer, and one US Air Force computers.

Mark Summers, the lawyer representing the US government said,  “The defendant’s conduct was intentional. His objective was to disrupt the operation of the US government; thus endangering public safety.”  Summers stressed the seriousness of the supposed attacks, however, he and the American authorities passionately proclaimed, “No classified information was obtained through the year long assaults.” Authorities also emphasize McKinnon acted alone.

These positions are important to note.  They are meant to reassure an already anxious American public.  Some ask, Gary McKinnon: Scapegoat or public enemy?

Crimes against the United States are punishable by law, American law.  Penetrating Pentagon computer systems is certainly a crime; however, American citizens, be reassured, this man acted alone.  He is not a terrorist.  Nonetheless, we will treat him as such.

How dare he think to threaten America security systems!  Does he really believe that demonstrating the vulnerability of the strongest nation in the world is acceptable?  He must know that we will punish him, harshly!  All people throughout the globe must know that the United States will take strike out against any intimidation.  Let it be known, “No man or woman show that America security can be compromised.  If they do, they will suffer, publicly, privately, and in prison!”  According to the United States government, Gary McKinnon must be penalized severely, American style.

Porter Goss Respects Sovereignty ©

Porter Goss spoke and the nation listened.  The world heard this leader.  However, the question is, can we trust the words of this man?  Is he doing, as others in this administration do, presenting the propaganda of the day?

In a recent interview with a Time magazine reporter, Timothy J. Burger, Porter J. Goss was asked of the hunt for Bin Laden.  Is there any progress?  Does American intelligence know where this terrorist is?  Goss responded: “I have an excellent idea where he is.”  Mr. Goss added, however, “when you go to the very difficult question of dealing with sanctuaries in sovereign states, you’re dealing with a problem of our sense of international obligation, fair play.”

Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Goss is suggesting that America acknowledges and honors the sovereignty of other states.  He indicates that we are doing what is necessary to respect the dominion of foreign nations.  Goss is even implying that America will not violate the sanctuaries of sects that differ from our own.  These words would lead one to believe that the United States is allowing other nations to think for themselves and to act independently of our wants.  One might even suppose that the desires of the neoconservatives are not our dictum.  Is “change a regime” no longer our mission?  Possibly, US policy has been modified.  Could this be?

Goss continues, “We have to find a way to work in a conventional world in unconventional ways.”  Now the truth is told.

We as a nation are practicing the policy of “unconventional” wisdom.  We will find a way to do as we desire; however, we may need to do it in a manner that is unexpected, and we have thus far.

America, our President and the Pentagon, chose to unilaterally attack countries in the name of “spreading democracy!”  This is not as convention would dictate.

Our Commander-in-Chief announced his intent.  He stated, “You are either with us or against us!”  This might be considered other than the normal course.  Even Daddy chose to build a true, large, and lasting coalition.

The Whitehouse manipulates information, they “fix facts” in an attempt to gain greater support from allies.  Is this powerfully avant-garde or standard practice?

When the Downey Street memorandum is discovered, the administration denies that they ever did anything other than what they know to be “right,” correct, or ethical.  Denial is the custom of Bush 43 and his Band.  Well, we cannot always perform in an unusual manner.

We have our traditions.  The people of the United States trust in God.  We inscribe the words on our coins and print these on our currency.  Americans know God is on their side.  Our President tells us so.  George W. Bush claims to be a disciple of God.  He states publicly and proudly God told him it is his mission to lead the people of the United States of America.  Bush proclaims, “I trust God speaks through me.  Without that, I couldn’t do my job.”

Knowing that the all-mighty supports our President, we follow him.  We venture forth.  As a country, we impose our beliefs on others.  We do so forcibly. America dictates democracy, occupies, and calls it liberation.  This nation is respectful in these unconventional ways.  Through these acts, we exhibit “our sense of international obligation, fair play”; or so Porter Goss would have us believe.