#Freegary – the @ukhomeoffice reply – more Spin and shenanigans, but no ANSWERS?
#freegary in #2011
To whom it concerns , I wrote to you in November, as suggested by your website , to air my views on Extradition and Gary Mckinnon – yet there has of yet (3 months later) been NO reply from the Home Office .
I enclose a link to a copy of the letter I sent you, which appears on my Blog.
It would have been nice, courteous even, to have received confirmation that your Office had received and were dealing with my email.
It is (in my opinion) another example of the whole intransigence surrounding anything related to Gary McKinnon.
Today , Thursday 10th, is Gary’s Birthday – why not give him (and his mother Janis) the present they deserve and announce that the UK Government will not bow down to American bullying, and will refuse to answer their call for Extradition without evidence.
After all, refusing to answer seems to be very high on your Office’s Agenda?
Below is the reply I received to my email of the 9th February in which I complained that I had still had NO response to my earlier Letter and a second email which contained 1,000 Tweets from Twitter users expressing their concerns, anger and worries about the Extradition Act of 2003 and how it is being applied to Gary McKinnon,
who is CLEARLY NOT A TERRORIST, for whom this Act was intended..
The main body of Mr. Wood’s text is obviously a prepared ‘canned’ reply
and I would ask, if each individual who sent the Home Office an email and received a reply late in 2010 could get in touch with me, I would love to compare responses?
Direct Communications Unit
2 Marsham Street, London SW1P 4DF
Mr Cliff O’Sullivan 14 February 2011 Reference: T2655/11
Dear Mr O’Sullivan,Thank you for your e-mail of 9 February concerning the USA’s request for the extradition of Mr Gary McKinnon.
Allow us first to apologise for the apparent delay of over three months in replying to earlier correspondence. We very much regret to say that, for reasons which are unclear, we have no trace of your earlier letter and the link to it which you have helpfully provided does not work.
(I have read receipts for the missing emails, so – where did they go? You do not get a Read receipt for anything that gets caught in a spam filter,
so it must have appeared on someones screen and in someone’s inbox? As regards the link to my earlier email, which was a link to the Copy I place on my blog –it works fine for me, and trust me – I HAVE TESTED IT Mr. Wood? Here it is again , for your perusal – http://cliffsull.wordpress.com/2010/11/12/my-letter-to-home-office/ )
We are therefore sorry for any seeming discourtesy where, you may be assured, none was intended.
(Well, thanks for the apology, eh? – What follows is the Canned response)
As regards the case of Gary McKinnon, this has been very widely reported and we take careful heed, of course, of the degree of Parliamentary, press and public interest, including your own, which it continues to arouse. It may assist, however, briefly to summarise the procedural history of the case and the action which is now being taken – for it is not always entirely as has been reported in some quarters.
The conduct of which Mr McKinnon stands accused by US authorities occurred between February 2001 and March 2002 and concerns the unauthorised access from his home computer in London to 97 US Government computers. The systems into which he is said remotely to have “hacked” included US Army, Navy and NASA computers concerned with national defence and security, and naval munitions supply. Mr McKinnon is alleged to have deleted critical data and by his actions to have caused, amongst other things, the shutting down of the entire US Army’s Military District of Washington’s network of over 2,000 computers and the rendering inoperable of a US Army and Naval Weapons Station computer system at a critical time following 11 September 2001. His conduct is alleged by US prosecuting authorities to have caused some $700,000 worth of damage.
Mr McKinnon was arrested in the UK for extradition purposes and granted bail in 2005. There followed a series of proceedings under the Extradition Act 2003. Those came to an end in July 2008 when the House of Lords dismissed his appeal.
Those acting for Mr McKinnon then approached the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg which briefly imposed but then lifted a bar on his extradition to the USA going ahead.
In the ordinary course, the person concerned would at that point have exhausted all of his available avenues of challenge and would therefore have been surrendered to US authorities in fulfilment of the UK’s international obligations. In Mr McKinnon’s case, however, further representations were made on the basis, amongst others, that he had just been newly diagnosed as suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome.
As above, however, all proceedings under the 2003 Act had by then been completed. In such circumstances, the position is that extradition would become unlawful if, but only if, the new factors demonstrated that to proceed would breach the person’s human rights. It is thus a strict test and one which does not permit the exercise of any wider discretion by the Home Secretary. A decision was reached in November 2008 in Mr McKinnon’s case that extradition would not breach his human rights – meaning that there was thus a duty to uphold the order for surrender to the USA. In July 2009, the High Court dismissed Mr McKinnon’s judicial challenge to that decision; and, in October 2009, the Supreme Court refused him further leave to appeal.
Further representations followed, attesting to a heightened risk of Mr McKinnon committing suicide if his extradition were to proceed but, following further consideration, another decision was reached in November 2009 that extradition would not breach Mr McKinnon’s human rights.
The latest position is that a judicial review of that decision was due to have been heard by the High Court in May 2010. However, those proceedings now stand adjourned. That is because the
Home Secretary wishes to have a chance to consider the issues raised by the case. To that end, she agreed to receive up-to-date representations from Mr McKinnon’s solicitors. Those are now under consideration and we are in close touch with Mr McKinnon’s solicitors.
Pending this renewed consideration, the Home Secretary does not think it would be right to comment further; but we hope that it helps to have set out the latest position in the case and the consideration which is being given to it.
Renewed apologies for this seemingly belated reply to your earlier letter.