Janis' Letter to US President Obama
11th May 2011.
Dear President Obama,
This is the most important letter I will ever write as my son Gary’s life depends on it.
To see my son Gary intent on taking his own life because he would rather be dead than to be dragged from the Island he was born on and removed from the family he depends on, is to my mind reminiscent of what happened to slaves in days gone by and to Jewish people in Germany during the second world war.
Contrary to popular belief it was not only black people who were kidnapped and sold as slaves. The same thing happened to Scottish and Irish people as long ago as 1630. People were kidnapped, betrayed and sold by their own people and sent to American colonies and plantations. Tens of thousands of the kidnapped white slaves were children and is where the word kidnapped came from.
According to the Egerton Manuscript in the British Museum, the law enacted in 1652 allowed Judges to ship Scottish people to a foreign colony or plantation.
The U.S/U.K 2003 Extradition Treaty is a similar unjust law in that it is one of the worst betrayals ever inflicted by a British government on its own people, as it has removed our right to have evidence presented that can be contested by us in a British Court before being forcibly dragged from the Island we were born in.
Without evidence of a serious crime Americans are protected from the terror of extradition and are tried in their own country. Surely British people deserve to have equal rights and to be treated with equal consideration to that of almost every other citizen in almost every other country in the world. People from Israel and from Romania have recently hacked into the Pentagon and have been tried in their own country and given suspended/very short sentences without any requests from the U.S for Extradition.
Equality of people regardless of creed, colour or ability is a measure of our humanity towards each other.
Gary has Aspergers Syndrome, a form of Autism. He is no ordinary man, he is extraordinary. Gary is intelligent, vulnerable, gentle and naive to the core. When searching for information on UFO’s he discovered that there were no passwords or firewalls on American military computers, so being Gary, he left cyber notes telling the U.S military to improve their security as a matter of urgency. When Gary got no response he left a cyber note saying that he would continue to disrupt at the highest level [by leaving cyber notes] until someone paid attention.
Gary had a primitive computer and was on a dial up connection in his flat in North London at the time of his offence ten years ago.
I understand totally the need for computer security and in an odd way Gary’s naive actions have ‘hopefully’ resulted in U.S military computer security being improved.
The Extradition Treaty between our countries was never intended to be used against someone like Gary but was designed for terrorists and the like and for people who had fled from a country where they had committed a heinous crime. In Gary’s case no heinous crime was committed and he has not fled from any country so cannot be ‘returned’ there. The 2003 Extradition Treaty was not even written at the time of Gary’s computer misuse or his arrest in March 2002, so he was unable to understand the consequences.
When someone who is mentally fragile feels so much dread, fear and terror over the prospect of being dragged from his homeland to incarceration in America that he would rather embrace death! For our governments to then literally force him to submit to what in his opinion is a terror worse than death, is nothing less than inhumane torture and punishment far in excess of that fitting the crime.
To inflict such extreme agony on an individual in order to make an example of him in another country is far too high a moral price to pay. Why would any government with an ounce of compassion wish to do this when anyone can see that it would be morally wrong?
Gary realises and accepts that he was wrong to access US computers. However, his eccentric crime, born of his obsessional interest, does not merit the torment he has suffered ever since he understood that the US were determined to remove him from the land he was born in to take him 5000 miles away from his home, family and support network.
Gary has effectively already lost nine years of his life. He has never tried to avoid Justice but asks only to be tried in the U.K. In terms of the law it does not matter which country Gary is tried in but it is in the interest of humanity and natural justice for Gary to be tried in the U.K.
Compassion is the mark of civilization and is exactly what distinguishes our society both from anarchy and from tyranny. There is no doubt that what Gary did was foolish in the extreme but our country has had a long tradition of being tolerant of peaceful protest and no one in the world has ever been extradited for hacking. For someone like Gary to be the first would be a damning indictment of U.S and U.K Justice.
In the first Worldwide Press Conference with David Cameron, you mentioned the friendship between the U.S and the U.K and said words to the effect that an appropriate way forward would be found.
Surely as President, the only logical and compassionate way forward is for you to show the compassion that a man of your stature is capable of and to agree to a British Trial for my son Gary McKinnon.
Every morning I wake up with a heavy heart often finding it difficult to put one foot in front of the other. Every night my heart is filled with terror at the thought of losing my only child.
Gary does not deserve to be driven to suicide, or to suffer irreversible damage to his mental health, or to face the prospect of ending his life in a foreign prison or dying in a mental institution as my grandmother did.
Gary does not deserve either a real or a virtual death sentence.
I do not deserve to lose my only child.
Please Help Me
Janis Sharp (Gary McKinnon’s Mum)
David Cameron - “It should still mean something to be a British citizen - with the full protection of the British Parliament, rather than a British Government trying to send you off to a foreign court” ....(July 2009)
Nick Clegg - "If he boards the plane to the U.S., it is almost certain he will never set foot on British soil again, doomed to pass out the rest of his days in shackles on a foreign shore. This is nothing short of a disgrace” ....(August 2009)
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