LIB-DEM LEADER Nick Clegg has performed an about face on the Government's power to stop the US from extraditing accused UK hacker Gary McKinnon.
The Deputy Prime Minister has thrown the prospect of a Home Office tribunal for McKinnon into doubt after suggesting that neither he nor anyone else in the coalition can save the UFO hunter from a US show trial.
While out of the government Clegg was a long time supporter of McKinnon, believing extradition would be a contravention of human rights. He sharply criticised Alan Johnson, the previous Home Secretary, for claiming he was powerless to intervene.
"It's simply not good enough for Alan Johnson to shrug his shoulders and claim that nothing can be done," Clegg wrote in the Daily Mail back in 2009.
"It's completely within his power to enact amendments from the Police and Justice Act, which would allow Gary McKinnon to be tried over here," Clegg protested at the time.
Then, on a BBC radio interview yesterday, Clegg completely reversed his position. The powers he had claimed were possessed by Johnson apparently had somehow vanished once Clegg himself joined the Government.
"What I haven't got power to do, neither has the Home Secretary neither has even the Prime Minister, is to completely reverse and undo certain legal aspects of this," he whinnied.
Clegg continued, "That of course you wouldn't want politicians to do. That's what we are looking at at the moment. It's legally very complex. But on the sort of morality and principle of it, I haven't changed my view one bit."
What's going on? The new coalition government is already rolling over under US pressure to take McKinnon away for trial and likely a very long prison term overseas. Clegg's protestations that his moral view hasn't changed apparently will be worth nothing for McKinnon.
The US wants to get its claws on McKinnnon after it claimed he caused $800,000 in damages during his searches for UFO coverups on US military and NASA networks. The US is still reeling from "the biggest military hack of all time" after being badly embarrassed by the autistic McKinnon.
A self-confessed bumbling computer nerd who suffers from Asperger syndrome wrote a simple Perl script that tied together other people's programs and searched for blank passwords, circumventing what should have been some of the world's most secure computer systems. Now the US government wants to make a severe example of him out of a desire for revenge. And the lame UK Government won't prevent it. µ
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