Debunking Myths: Rentoul on Harris on McKinnon & the Extradition Act

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    3rd December, 2009

    Extradition Act 2003 states:

    The Government set out its proposals to reform the law on extradition in a consultation document “The Law on Extradition: A Review” in March 2001.

    That was six month before 9/11, incidentally. Crucially, it states… (more below)

    John Rentoul has some fascinating information, via Tom Harris here, on the case against Gary McKinnon’s extradition to the USA, first “debunked”, in Rentoul’s term, here by Harris.

    Why has it taken so long for anyone to NOTICE this discrepancy over this Act and its time-frame? Why, Mr Johnson? Why, Mr Brown? This is not, definitely NOT to criticise Tom Harris MP for shedding some light on this. It is not HIS job to defend the legal/government’s position. But come ON, Mr Brown’s people!

    Blairless? Clueless.

    Let’s hear it from the TROOF SEEKERS now. They need to get in some grovelling practice. They may soon be grovelling at the feet of the former PM too.

    From Tom Harris’s site:

    Myth #7

    Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

    YOU OFTEN hear claims that the treaty under which Gary McKinnon’s extradition is being sought was constructed specifically for dealing with terrorists.

    This is false.

    The explanatory notes to the Extradition Act 2003 state:

    The Government set out its proposals to reform the law on extradition in a consultation document “The Law on Extradition: A Review” in March 2001.

    That was six month before 9/11, incidentally. Crucially, it states:

    Crime, particularly serious crime, is becoming increasingly international in nature and criminals can flee justice by crossing borders with increasing ease. Improved judicial co-operation between nations is needed to tackle this development. The reform of the United Kingdom’s extradition law is designed to contribute to that process.

    Extradition is an important tool in dealing with international crime: no one should be able to escape justice by simply crossing a border. The law should provide a quick and effective framework to extradite a person to the country where he is accused or has been convicted of a serious crime, provided that this does not breach his fundamental human rights.

    So, no mention specifically of extraditing terrorists, although we can assume that terrorism falls under the “serious crime” heading.

    And yet a myth – one of many in this case – has developed that Gary is to be extradited under legislation “intended” for terrorists. And I have been asked quite a few times on my Twitter page whether I think Gary is a terrorist. To which my answer, of course, is “no”. If he were facing terrorist charges in the US, the indictment would have made mention of the fact.

    The Extradition Act 2003 was framed in order to deal with serious crimes. And, as Alan Johnson told the Commons today:

    Gary is accused of serious criminal offences. He is alleged to have repeatedly hacked into US Government computer networks over a period of 13 months, including 97 US military computers from which he deleted vital operating systems and then copied encrypted information on to his own computer, shutting down the entire US army’s military district of Washington’s computer network for 24 hours. During interviews under caution, Mr. McKinnon admitted to much of the conduct he is accused of.

    And another thing…

    Regarding our allegedly “imbalanced” extradition trearty with the US, Alan told the Commons:

    …members of both main Opposition parties have argued about this point. That argument was made in 2003, when the treaty was being concluded. What has happened since? In how many cases have we failed to get extradition from the US? None. Zilch. Nil. None whatsoever. Every case we have made to the US using probable cause has been successful. In contrast, there are seven cases in which the US has sought extradition from this country that are still held up in the system

    I wonder if that fact will be covered by tomorrow’s Daily Mail? Hmm…

    (You can read #1-6 of the Gary McKinnon myths here.)

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