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A small but vocal coalition of groups have banded together in support of Gary McKinnon, the 45-year-old Glasgow-born former Systems Administrator accused of hacking into nearly 100 U.S. government and NASA computers a decade ago. They coalition is made up of the following organizations:
UK Autism Foundation which was founded in 2000 by parents and carers Ivan and Charika Corea.
Autism Trust which was founded by Polly Tommey, a mother of an autistic child.
Autism London which was formed in 1984 by parents of children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.
Disabilities Trust which was founded in 1979 to provide an imaginative new concept of personal care and specialist housing for people with special needs, including those diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.
NORSACA which was formed in the late 1960s by a group of parents with children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.
Autism Initiatives UK which was formed in the early 1970s by a group of parents with children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.
Asperger Women Association USA which was formed in 2008 by a group of medically diagnosed women with Asperger along with self-diagnosed women allegedly with Asperger Syndrome.
Staffordshire Adults Autistic Society (SAAS) which was founded in 2007 by Kevin Healey.
UPDATE (June 13, 2011): MIDNIGHT IN CHICAGO wishes to confirm that we have received information that the listing of the Asperger Women’s Association USA on Kevin Healey’s petition website concerning Gary McKinnon is inaccurate at best. Please read the comments below for a more details explanation. Thank you.
UPDATE (June 17, 2011): MIDNIGHT IN CHICAGO wishes to draw the reader’s attention to the update of June 17, 2011 with regards to the organizations mentioned in this article. The update can be found at “Organizations Supporting Gary McKinnon.”
With U.S. President Barack Obama’s most recent visit to the U.K., Kevin Healey has redoubled his efforts to see the extradition dropped. For those who are unfamiliar with the Gary McKinnon story, let’s recap the facts.
2001 and 2002: Gary McKinnon allegedly hacks into nearly 100 U.S. government and NASA computers, causing approximately $750,000 worth of damage according to the U.S. government.
2002: Gary McKinnon is arrested at his apartment by British police
2002: Gary McKinnon is indicted in the US states of Virginia and New Jersey on eight counts of computer-related crimes
2005: US authorities begin extradition proceedings
2006: Judge at Bow Street Magistrates’ Court rules that Gary McKinnon should be extradited
2006: Home Secretary John Reid signs order allowing for Gary McKinnon’s extradition to the US
2007: High Court dismisses Gary McKinnon’s legal challenge against extradition
2008: Gary McKinnon loses Law Lords appeal against being extradited
2008: European Court of Human Rights says it will not prevent his extradition
2008: Gary McKinnon is diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome
2008: Home Secretary Jacqui Smith gives go-ahead for extradition
2009: Gary McKinnon wins permission to apply for a judicial review
2009: Crown Prosecution Service refuses to bring charges against Gary McKinnon in UK as an alternative to US prosecution
2011: U.S. President Barack Obama visits U.K.
Gary McKinnon has become one of Britain’s best-known conspiracy theorists over the past few years with the help of people like Kevin Healey. Even London Mayor Boris Johnson allegedly feels that Gary McKinnon is a “classic British nut job” who believes in “little green men.”
The 45-year-old, along with his current girlfriend, lives in Wood Green in north London. Kevin Healey and followers claim that Gary McKinnon could serve up to 60 or 70 years if found guilty of the crimes with which he is charged. Remember that Gary McKinnon allegedly hacked into nearly 100 US Army, Navy, Air Force, and Department of Defense computers as well as NASA computers. Gary McKinnon doesn’t deny hacking into the systems; he claims he was on a “moral crusade” to find classified U.S. documents about Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs).
Gary McKinnon has said that he should be tried in Britain, where he thinks he will draw, at the most, 3 to 4 years in prison if he is found guilty, and banking that a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome will further reduce any sentence a court might hand down. The fact of the matter is that Gary McKinnon has already been offered a much better deal than the 3 to 4 years in prison he thought he might draw from a trial in the U.K. McKinnon was offered a deal in 2003 wherein he would serve 6 months to a year in a minimum security jail in the US for his crimes, after which time, he would be returned to the UK and placed on probation. The deal was structured similarly to the deal made with Adrian Lamo. Gary McKinnon TURNED DOWN that offer.
In 2009, it is alleged that PM Gordon Brown proposed a deal to the U.S. that Gary McKinnon plead guilty, make a statement of contrition, and serve any sentence of incarceration in the UK. PM Gordon Brown cited deep public concern that Gary McKinnon, with his diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome, would commit suicide or suffer injury if imprisoned in an American facility. However, Professor Simon Baron-Cohen — the medical professional who diagnosed Gary McKinnon with Asperger Syndrome in August of 2008 – stated to the media in the UK that “someone with Asperger’s Syndrome will find it very difficult to tolerate a prison environment.”
Suffice it to say that prison is difficult to tolerate for nearly all prison inmates, diagnoses aside.
In 2006, findings from a study conducted by a team led by clinical psychologist, Professor David Allen, of Bridgend-based Bro Morgannwg NHS Trust, studied a population area of over a million people across south Wales, were released. The study sought to identify if those involved in criminal behaviour actually showed characteristics of Asperger Syndrome. According to the findings, there was very little data to support an association between Asperger Syndrome and criminal behaviour.
Foremost authority on Asperger Syndrome, clinical psychologist Dr. Tony Attwood stated that it was important to inform the public of findings of this study.
Since we know from media reports that Gary McKinnon has not been incarcerated –- he hasn’t even had a trial yet due to all the attempts to do an end runaround on the courts after being charged with more than one crime –-why are his mother, Janis Sharp and SAAS and AAUK founder Kevin Healey tweeting comments like these tweets posted on May 20, 2011 ….
and May 23, 2011?
I’m sure that more than a few people in the Autism Community as well as the general public would like to know who’s backing hacking.
Founder and Creator
MIDNIGHT IN CHICAGO
ARTICLE REPRODUCED IN THE FOLLOWING MEDIA
Asperger’s Daily News, 13 June 2011