Gary McKinnon, UFO Hacker

I notice that the legal profession is still fighting hard for Gary McKinnon. He embarrassed the United States military by going onto their comically insecure computer systems to look for evidence of extraterrestrials, and found only the Navy's eighteenth century 'terrestrial' and 'non-terrestrial' language. For this, he is threatened with a ludicrous prison sentence.

His extradition, under the deeply unbalanced treaty between the US and UK, has been delayed again, on the grounds that a new psychiatric assessment of his condition must be taken into account.

I hope that it is successful, and not counter-productive. A friend of mine in France once wanted to avoid national service, before Chirac abolished it. He got some good books on nutters. He faked schizophrenia so well, given its definition at the time, that a doctor said that he would be a danger with a gun (and therefore obviously did not belong in the French Army). His superiors agreed.

He ended up serving in the NATO general staff in Brussels or somewhere as an aide--after all, you can't do any harm hanging around that alliance's nuclear planning headquarters, can you? That's the proper approach to psychiatric assessment. The people who should be diagnosed often aren't; those who are, often are for another purpose.

Gary McKinnon should not be extradited. Of all the ridiculous ministers in this government, and I went to Balliol with a few, Alan Johnson strikes me as one of the most authentic and competent. I hope that his lawyers at the Home Office find a way to save the UFO hacker from some awful gaol.


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