UFO Hacker to Be Extradited
by Nigel Watson
After four years of legal wrangling and several hearings, British Home Secretary John Reid has signed papers to extradite Gary McKinnon to the United States. McKinnon has until July 18, 2006, to make a final appeal against this decision.
McKinnon is charged with gaining unauthorized access to U.S. security computer networks at a time when it was still recovering from its worst-ever terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001. This is accordingly seen as equivalent to a terrorist attack itself on U.S. security networks.
McKinnon was indicted by New Jersey and Virginia District Courts in Nov. 2002.
In New Jersey, he is accused of stealing passwords and hacking into the Earle Naval Weapons Station Colts Neck computer system. The court accuses him of using the commercially available software system RemotelyAnywhere to access the NWS Earle network on April 7, 2001, during June 18-21, 2001, and on Sept. 23, 2001.
In Virginia, the charge is that he caused $900,000 worth of damage by hacking into computers in 14 states during February 1- 22, 2002.
The U.S. has since removed from the original indictment all mention of his having gained unauthorized access to civilian computers in American universities, etc., after at least six of the civilian establishments denied that Gary had caused any damage. This could still lead to his receiving a 70-year prison sentence in the U.S., the risk of being sent to Guantanamo Bay and the possibility of fines of up to $1.75 million.
Gary McKinnon's defense is that he was searching for evidence for the existence of UFOs and for the technology of free energy.
He regards himself as a bumbling computer nerd who just wanted to hack into computer systems to find out more about aliens. From his home in North London he systematically searched through computer networks used by NASA, the Pentagon, U.S. Navy, Army, and Air force facilities, as well as by civilian systems.
By way of mitigation, McKinnon claims that his hacking was not very sophisticated or malicious. Armed only with a copy of The Hacker's Handbook, a computer with a paltry 56kbps dial-up modem and a tiny Perl script available from off-the-shelf software, he was able to scan for blank passwords and scan 65,000 computers in about eight minutes. He was then able to hack into computers that had inadequate firewall or password protection. Using the codename "Solo" and taking time zones into account, he avoided detection as he looked for classified information relating to UFOs.
There was some hope for McKinnon when a note from the U.S. Embassy was produced at a hearing on April 12, 2006, saying that if he were extradited he would not face charges under military law designed to deal with suspected terrorists. Defense witness, attorney Clive Stafford-Smith, based in the U.S., said, however, that since the note was not signed it was not binding and that the U.S. need not provide any evidence for their charges, according to the U.K. Extradition Act of 2003.
When a continuance was obtained to another hearing on May 10, 2006, at Bow Street Magistrates Court, London, his defense argued that McKinnon might be held as an enemy combatant and subjected to inhumane treatment. Judge Nicholas Evans rejected these claims and referred the question of his extradition to the Home Secretary, the Hon. John Reid. Denied access to the Internet, McKinnon has been on bail and plans to appeal.
As a teenager Gary read science fiction novels and joined the British UFO Research Association (BUFORA). These interests, combined with The Hacker's Handbook, led him to seek for evidence of UFOs on the Internet. As he put it in a telephone interview with me on May 19, 2006, "Hacking for me was just a means to an end."
From his reading he felt that governments have suppressed anti-gravity and UFO-related technologies and information about free energy. He feels that "This should not be kept hidden from the public, when pensioners can't pay their fuel bills."
He came across something called the Disclosure Project, whose Website explains that it is "a nonprofit research project working to fully disclose the facts about UFOs, extraterrestrial intelligence, and classified advanced energy and propulsion systems." Gary emphasized that it contains "400 testimonials from everyone from air traffic controllers to those responsible for launching nuclear missiles -- very credible witnesses. They talk about reverse technology taken from captured or destroyed alien craft."
He found the most direct evidence of suppressed UFO evidence in Building Eight at NASA's Johnson Space Center. His slow dialup connection struggled to download graphics, but he was able to glimpse a picture of a silvery, cigar-shaped object with geodesic spheres on either side. It had no visible seams or riveting and certainly did not look man-made. It looked as if the photograph had been taken by a satellite above the craft. There was no reference to how big or small this object was. As he was downloading this information during what he calls his "crowning moment," someone at the center discovered what he was doing and disconnected him.
On another occasion, he obtained access to Excel spreadsheets entitled "Non-Terrestrial Officers," containing the names and ranks of U.S. Air Force personnel who are not registered anywhere else. There was also information about ship-to-ship transfers, referring to vessels not logged anywhere else by the U.S. armed forces.
He speculated that these references could be to real but very secret space missions or could be part of some form of military strategy game, outlining hypothetical situations. He was certain that "The military want to have military dominance of space." I asked him more about his interest in UFOs. He told me.
"I was a member of BUFORA as a teenager but, with starting work and other things, my interest in UFOs lapsed. When I was in my mid-thirties I got back into UFOs. This was because there is so much information about them on the Internet, without having to pay for magazine subscriptions."
Story continues at ohmynews.com.