Saturday, 8 August 2009

Gary who? Thoughts about Gary McKinnon's Plight

There has been a lot of activity on Twitter regarding the case of Gary McKinnon. He has been getting a lot of support although I was strongly attacked by one Twit who clearly thought that Gary should rot in hell. I guess it takes all sorts. I don't support Gary's cause blindly. I didn't know much about the case when it first came to my attention. I took the opportunity to talk to his mother on Twitter and did some research of my own. I managed to find a TV interview with Gary. It was clear that Gary was a very intelligent man with an obsession with finding the truth about UFO's. He approached this problem by hacking to the Pentagon and NASA computers. I sensed no malice in Gary's motives. He just seemed misguided. He seemed to be aware that he had done wrong. It was clear to me that it was a result of a mental impairment and obsessive thinking.

As a long term sufferer from Bipolar Disorder, I recognise that my behaviour at times has been irrational. If I had the skill to hack into computers, it wouldn't have been surprising if I followed the same path as Gary. In my periods of mania, I may have lacked the obsessive component but I would do things that I would never do when well. I believe strongly that Gary needs good medical help and not a military show trial in the USA. The Americans should look to their very inadequate security systems and not look for a mentally impaired scapegoat. I think everyone agrees that Gary should receive some punishment but it should take account of his Asperger's Syndrome. He needs help rather than being treated as a criminal.

I am not an expert on the case, especially the extradition situation. I gather that there is a one way system in place. If an American was hacking into UK systems, they wouldn't be extradited to the UK. That is my understanding of the situation. I would think the American military would have more important things on their plate, small things like Afghanistan and Iraq.

There is a Free Gary slogan being displayed on Twitter a lot. I think most supporters think that Gary should not be extradited to the US and he should be handled by UK courts in a sympathetic way. The only reason this extradition situation exists was the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. The US are taking advantage of this situation. Gary is clearly not a terrorist. The US should work on their security in case real "terrorists" hack into their systems. They might hire Gary as a counter-hacking consultant.

I ask everyone to support the cause of stopping extradition and having Gary tried in UK courts. A lot of UK politicians haven't got the guts to stand up and be counted. They would rather defer to anything that the US wants. Hopefully President Obama will step in and end this farce.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

UK Family History - An offer of help

I have done a lot of work on my family tree over the last few years. I have got back to the early 1800's for many legs of my family. I have built up a lot of tools and some extra knowledge as I have gone along. I am happy to help anyone with their UK family history. I can get you started on building up a tree. All I would need are details of relatives who were alive in 1911 or better those alive in 1901. Full names and birth dates or birth years and birthplaces where you know them. The more you know the better. I am available to work back through the census data as far as the earliest in 1841. Please email me at with Family History in the Subject. I am particularly thinking of UK people but I might be able to work on UK history of non-UK residents. I can't offer a full research service but I can get you started on your family history.