(Photo: Henry Nolan) Asperger’s sufferer Gary McKinnon with his mother Janis Sharp
Daily Mail on January 7, 2012 released the following:
“By NICHOLAS PYKE
Gary McKinnon, the computer buff accused of hacking into the Pentagon, faces an ordeal of terrifying brutality if he is extradited to the United States.
That is the verdict of Gary Mulgrew, one of the NatWest Three and the author of a compelling new account of two blood-spattered years spent at the hands of America’s penal system. The book, Gang Of One, is serialised in The Mail on Sunday’s Review today.
Mr McKinnon, 45, suffers from Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism which, say campaigners on his behalf, means he is too vulnerable for extradition and should be put on trial in the UK.
Mr Mulgrew’s experience will go some way to justifying their fears. Gang Of One details a regime of degradation that began from the moment his plane landed in Houston, Texas, in the summer of 2006.
Stripped naked, threatened and screamed at by the immigration service, he was later sent to a jail controlled by gangs. There, confined to a vast dormitory of ‘wall-to-wall psychos’, he witnessed savage beatings, including one of such ferocity he remains unclear whether the victim lived or died.
This, he says, was despite a promise from the then Prime Minister Tony Blair that he and his fellow accused, David Bermingham and Giles Darby, would be in safe hands.
‘What awaits Gary McKinnon if he is actually extradited to the US is unthinkable,’ said Mr Mulgrew, 49. ‘Why subject a British citizen to such stress and degradation when they could and should be dealt with here in the United Kingdom?’
The case of the NatWest Three generated years of controversy. They were extradited using highly contentious fast-track procedures that require little or no evidence and were originally aimed at tackling international terrorism. The same fast-track treaty has been employed in the McKinnon case.
Despite a parliamentary vote in favour of the three bankers and overwhelming public criticism of the American stance, the Blair Government failed to intervene. The NatWest Three had been accused, wrongly, of playing a part in the 2001 collapse of Enron, one of the world’s biggest commodities and energy companies.
They later pleaded guilty only to breaking the terms of their employment contracts with NatWest – pleas extracted from them, says Mr Mulgrew, as a result of threats from the US Department of Justice.
Referring to his treatment at the Houston immigration suite, where he was abused by two official ‘goons’, he writes: ‘It all seemed so unnecessary, although I learned later this was just the standard fare – everyone extradited got to enjoy this experience. Even then I wondered how Gary McKinnon, for example, a hacker with Asperger’s, would ever cope with such a welcome.
‘I thought of England. Of Tony Blair. I remembered I had heard him saying how we would be well treated.
‘I thought of my family, sitting at home wondering what was happening to me. Probably tuned into News At Ten by now, with some Labour puppet assuring everyone we were in the best possible hands. I wished they could see the hands I was in.’
Mr Mulgrew is now attempting to re-establish his life. Following his release, a video was published in which he described the US trial process as akin to torture. He is particularly angry at the tactics of the US DoJ, which told him that without a guilty plea, he faced a jail sentence so long he would never see his two children grow up.
And he is also critical of America’s claim that any ‘wire fraud’ crossing its national boundaries gives it the right to prosecute. ‘British parents with teenage children should know that a simple email sent through a US server could be enough – in the wrong circumstances – to see them extradited,’ he writes.
Mr McKinnon was arrested ten years ago after allegations he hacked into Nasa and Pentagon computers from his North London home, causing £450,000 damage. He admits breaching the computer systems, saying he was looking for the existence of ‘little green men’, but denies causing damage. US authorities want to jail him for up to 60 years.
His mother Janis Sharp says her son has lived through ten years of daily terror and his mental health is continuing to decline. After failed legal appeals, Mr McKinnon is waiting for a judicial review of whether he is fit to travel to the US.”
Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
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