Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Cameron Shows Leadership Over McKinnon

If ever you wanted an example of the difference between Gordon Brown and David Cameron as Prime Minister, look at what's happening in Washington.

Brown and his Ministers cow-towed to the Americans over the one-sided extradition treaty and refused even to raise the subject of Gary McKinnon with their American counterparts.

On his first visit, Cameron raised it with Obama, and if reports are correct, has got the Americans to agree that he can serve half his sentence in Britain. That is still not enough, but it's far more than Brown got - mainly because he didn't even try as he thought that by merely mentioning the issue would harm US-UK relations.

Cameron has shown real leadership. He should now go further and renegotiate the extradition treaty so both sides operate on an equal basis.

20 comments:

WriterPaulB said...

Iain, how can he serve half his sentence in the UK if he has never been found guilty of any crime?

Jimmy said...

Obama must really rate him.

tapestry said...

Heave sigh of relief that Brown, Blair have gone. We are an independent country once more, but with fifteen years of concessions to undo, both with the US and with the EU, not to mention £4 trillion in debts, and another £4 trillion in yet to negotiate banking liabilities.

We could have fought WW2 with that sort of money. Yet all we got was social security and 10 million people living on state largesse doing nothing for a decade.

They wasted lives and most of our resources for little or nothing in return. Maybe Cameron will have the strength to undo some of the damage.

Victor, NW Kent said...

kow tow - it is Chinese. But I am being pedantic. the issue is more clear - Gary MacKinnon should not be extradited in adherence to a treaty which operates one-way only.

He is faced by a possible term of 70 years in gaol. The confessed Russian spies received a rap on the knuckles and were deported. No need to deport Gary - he is already here.

We must watch carefully for the increasing signs of anti-British sentiment in the United States.

sinosimon said...

half his sentence(assuming a guilty verdict) will be little consolation if some cheney inspired judge decides gary is the greatest threat to US security since 9/11 and gives him 30 years......
the offences took place here.....we should try him, find him guilty(as he undoubtedly is)and give him a community service order that ensures he understands looking for little green men is not a valid excuse for illegal activity. we should then tell the yanks the matter has been dealt with, he has served his time, and we will not allow him to be tried twice for the same offence.

Ian said...

Surely all that is need to be done is for the Home Secretary or Justice Secretary to refuse the Extradition Application.

Thats the impression we got before the election but then again too many pre-election promises seem to have been scuttled by the Civil Service

javelin said...

Half way !!!.

Real leaders, just like real lovers, don't do in-betweenies.

.

Munguin said...

Of course he had to admit that Britain played second fiddle in the special relationship in Time magazine the other day. That is hardly showing leadership and neither Blair nor Brown ever had to let the veneer of equality slip in such a way.

Unsworth said...

Frankly Cameron should tear the treaty up. It is a comletely one-sided agreement with no benefit to Britain whatsoever.

Dave H said...

You have to admit cow-towed is a much funnier image. It's why Gordon's Brown.

Tom said...

Iain, regarding the 'one-sided' treaty which is so often brought up, see http://jackofkent.blogspot.com/2010/06/gary-mckinnon-and-flat-earth-news.html which explains that things aren't precisely as they appear in the papers. This case is actually much more complicated than that.

George said...

"""On his first visit, Cameron raised it with Obama, and if reports are correct, has got the Americans to agree that he can serve half his sentence in Britain."""
======================================================================

Iain, very prescient comment.

Poor ole McKinnon hasn't been tried yet, so this only goes to reinforce the thought that fair trials in the US arn't possible unless you're rich and wealthy and have some political clout. Clearly, for reasons we can only speculate about, McKinnon has already been found guilty and will be subject to imprisonment.

All the more reason for the Extradition Treaty to be torn up. It is unfair, one sided, and results in UK subjects being railroaded in US courts, which are biased and corrupt.

................................. said...

renegotiation would require both sides to agree to a negotiation.

trap-door said...

The McKinnon case is not as simple as many people believe it to be. Nor is it as one-sided as many people believe it to be. Nor is the extradition legislation one-sided any more.

I strongly recommend a reading of the "Jack of Kent" investigation and report in to the McKinnon case. It is written by a lawyer who wished to document the entire case in a truthful and skeptical manner (by which I mean based on the proper facts, rather than potentially-inaccurate media reports).

The summary article (with links to each of the 5 details articles) is here:

http://jackofkent.blogspot.com/2010/06/gary-mckinnon-and-flat-earth-news.html

Unsworth said...

@ Tom

So because the case is "more complicated" than some reports might indicate that's a good enough reason to extradite McKinnon?

Really? Why?

Elby the Beserk said...

At July 21, 2010 1:35 PM , Blogger Munguin said...

That is hardly showing leadership and neither Blair nor Brown ever had to let the veneer of equality slip in such a way.
//

Yeah right - that would be why Brown chased Obama all around that G20 meeting post crash, desperate tpo have his photo taken with him - which eventually happened in the kitchen.

It's a lot easier to work out if you stop thinking of Brown as a human being. He ain't.

Libertarian said...

@Tom

Thanks for the link to (your blog?)

It is always good to take stock and do some actual research as I'm afraid now more than ever our media just cannot be believed. It is not always malicious mostly it is just the lazy churning of press releases and cheap easy headline. A bit like politics really

Grand_Inquisitor said...

I presume the Americans are huffing and puffing over this purely because of a loss of face over their computer security being shown to be less than was claimed. However that treaty does need revising to make it equitable.

Scary Biscuits said...

Iain's being very generous to Dave. Hague has apparently said it would not be legally possible to stop the extradition. Well that depends on whether you repeal the relevant law. Obviously, if it stays in place, one assumes the Tories agree with it and then it would indeed be difficult to stop the extradition.

On the other hand, treaties can be cancelled simply by a letter from the Queen, or even a verbal briefing to the relevent ambassador. As [blank] says, renegotiation requires the participation of both sides but renenciation can be unilaterally. (The same applies to the EU, which is why Cameron' is talking nonsense when he talks about changing our relationship with Europe without leaving. Unless we leave, or are believed to be serious about leaving, the other side will simply ignore our requests for renegotiation.)

Coming back to McKinnon, he could be legally free this afternoon if Cameron willed it. More likely, he will be sacrificed for the benefit of BP.

James said...

"Poor ole McKinnon hasn't been tried yet, so this only goes to reinforce the thought that fair trials in the US arn't possible unless you're rich and wealthy and have some political clout."

No, just that once you ADMIT your guilt it's rather difficult to dispute. He's still legally entitled to a trial, but we can consider him guilty for the purposes of debate since he has admitted it already!

"Clearly, for reasons we can only speculate about, McKinnon has already been found guilty and will be subject to imprisonment."

He said he's guilty - and yes, that should indeed lead to a long period of imprisonment.

Now, for anyone thinking this is really about extradition policy or a matter of principle, if the UK gave harsher sentences for this crime than the US, how many of you would still be arguing for him to escape extradition and face a UK court for his attacks on US systems?

Personally, as a UK taxpayer, I'd rather see him do time in a US jail than one of ours - and I'd rather see him do a long stretch than a short one.