Monday, 21 November 2016

Free Love - A Major Rant

I do try not to get too political on this blog. I recognise the right to freedom of speech, and of belief, and I know that many of my friends have different opinions from mine, and are of the same faith, or different faith or none. I am not out to offend anyone.But I have just spent 2 days in Norfolk, and watched "Look East" the local news programme. They have been covering the case of Lauri Love, a young man facing extradition to the USA for computer hacking. 
Lauri is undeniably extremely gifted when it comes to computers, and he is also an activist for human rights and freedoms. But he also suffers with Asperger's Syndrome. Imprisonment, and especially solitary confinement, and restricted contact with his parents...these things would be intolerable for him. It is three years since Aaron Swartz committed suicide - another AS sufferer who had been indicted on hacking charges
When she was Home Secretary, in relation to Gary McKinnon [another guy that the Americans wanted to extradite for trial] Theresa May said this
I should explain to the house that the statutory process under the extradition act 2003 has long ended. Since I came into office the sole issue on which I have been required to make a decision is whether Mr McKinnon’s extradition to the United States would breach his human rights.Mr McKinnon is accused of serious crimes. But there is also no doubt that he is seriously ill. He has asperger’s syndrome, and suffers from depressive illness. The legal question before me is now whether the extent of that illness is sufficient to preclude extradition.As the house would expect, I have very carefully considered the representations made on Mr McKinnon’s behalf, including from a number of clinicians. I have obtained my own medical advice from practitioners recommended to me by the chief medical officer. And I have taken extensive legal advice.After careful consideration of all of the relevant material, I have concluded that Mr McKinnon’s extradition would give rise to such a high risk of him ending his life that a decision to extradite would be incompatible with Mr McKinnon’s human rights.I have therefore withdrawn the extradition order against Mr McKinnon...Conclusion; Mr Speaker, ... it is in the overwhelming public interest that our extradition arrangements function properly. They must also be fair. We must balance both strong safeguards for those accused of cross-border crimes, with assurance that justice will be done. That is the government’s aim, that is what our proposals will produce and I commend this statement to the house.
That's what she said four years ago, and Gary's extradition was blocked. Now she is PM and Amber Rudd is Home Secretary. In October, 105 MPs signed a letter to Barack Obama asking him to block Lauri's extradition. That number has now risen to 114. Last week Amber Rudd approved the order. The Home Office said Love “has been charged with various computer hacking offences which included targeting US military and federal government agencies”. He has 14 days to appeal against the order and is expected to do so. Love, who also has depression and eczema, had argued that his health means a jail term in the US could drive him towards a mental breakdown or suicide. However, the US district judge, Nina Tempia, said in her ruling on 16 September that Love could be cared for by “medical facilities in the United States prison estate”. She said he faced “extremely serious charges” and, while she accepted that he suffered from “both physical and mental health issues”, she believed provision for his condition was adequate in the US.
I am NOT saying Lauri is innocent of the charges brought against him. Although I would point out that the US have been less than detailed about the exact nature of these charges, which has made it hard for his lawyers to build a case.  But I am genuinely concerned that should he be extradited, his life would be at risk.
Not just from depression and suicide - but from the treatment he may receive. He could be imprisoned for three months pre-trial. By which time, the President will be the man who said in February...

Torture works. OK, folks? You know, I have these guys—”Torture doesn’t work!”—believe me, it works. And waterboarding is your minor form. Some people say it’s not actually torture. Let’s assume it is. But they asked me the question: What do you think of waterboarding? Absolutely fine. But we should go much stronger than waterboarding.

That really concerns me. How can Theresa May and Amber Rudd allow his extradition knowing what might face him in America?  Lauri himself said this

"I'd much rather exude hugs and understanding and sympathy and love but there is a lot we have to be angry about. Not angry towards people, even if it's convenient rhetorically to hang our barbs on the agents of injustice. In fact we must always be intolerant of the injustice itself, while remaining compassionate and understanding towards those who find themselves wrapped up in its application and implementation."
I've worked in an Autism Support Unit. I have friends who suffer with Asperger's - and friends who are parents of children on the autism spectrum. These people need support and care. Lauri lives with his parents, good people, who both work within our British prison system, showing compassion and understanding for the people around them. I cannot imagine the anxiety they are facing right now.
For an alleged crime of hacking USA computers and showing them what weak security they have? No damage was made, no profit was made, yet USA seem to want to persecute Lauri with up to 99 years in prison! Lauri suffers from a range of health problems and experts have said that there is a real risk that he will kill himself if faced with a USA jail sentence. He must not be extradited to USA for their draconian intentions.
Read more here, and please consider signing the various petitions [herehere and here] and if your MP was not listed among the 114 who petitioned Obama,[my MP Christopher Chope, Conservative didn't sign]  then write and ask them to reconsider. 
Thank you for bothering to read all of this, I just had to get it off my chest!


  1. Signed. I can't get my head around this anyway. The offence was here surely? Political wheels within wheels I suppose.

  2. Yes he was here, but it was USA government computers allegedly hacked. So they want to try him in their courts.


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