My point is that I am skeptical, however, of believing any and all claims made against anyone by the Prosecution. Under your law and ours, he is innocent until proven guilty. We cannot take at face value any claim that is made. When they claim that he left "Anti-American" messages, a vague term with no legal meaning, I would have to take them at face value. Even according to their own claims, he never declared war against our country and its form of government. I fear the loss of liberty from my own politicians, both Parties, than I do Gary.
Being skeptical is good and to be encouraged, but he actually confessed with his own mouth. He does not deny his crimes, he denies the impact of them and he denies the justice of the sentence. I would never presume to say he's guilty until proven innocent, but as he has confessed then it is correct to call him guilty.
He did not declare war against the US, but he did attack it at a time when the nation needed to have its military as intact as possible.
I also have difficulty believing that one guy hacked for 5 to 7 years with impugnity. Of course, "5 to 7 years" means that 9-11 had nothing to do with it, since he would have started in the 90's, but that is neither here nor there. I doubt that he could have done all that was claimed. If he got in, then perhaps there were people inside who let him in for some reason. Has this possibility been considered? Gary is smart, but I doubt that he could go up against then mightiest military power on Earth with all of its prime number based encryptions.
I seriously doubt 9-11 had anything at all to do with Gary's motivations, he just had horrendously bad timing. I do believe he was honest in stating he was looking for UFOs.
Looking at the methods he used, it did not take him much skill. I question a great deal his judgement in the way he pulled off the attack as it was essentially a matter of time until he was caught. He was ultimately caught because someone sitting at one of the machines he broke into saw the mouse cursor moving by itself. Someone with more talent would know not to do that, and if graphical interface was needed then there are better alternatives to the commercial (and highly visible in add/remove programs) product he used.
Encryption is nothing to do with it, that merely secures the communications link - it doesn't protect against malicious data being sent over the link.
In any case, Gary might very well hold political views with which I would disagree. He might well hold views on the Middle East or Israel that would differ from mine. They may even be extreme, for all I know. Yet, he appears to be a left-leaning person and not an Islamicist. In fact, I tend to think that Islamicists do not believe in alien life, or consider the whole thing to be of the Satan like many other religious groups would. Gary, by contrast, seems to hold a pollyanna and very rosy view of UFO's as being benevolent. I have never heard him declare any kind of violent intent toward either our government or the purported aliens.
I don't think his political views are all that relevant, except to say that it is doubtful that he has any islamic sympathies. He seems unlikely to have an ulterior motive beyond what he has publically stated, though I would not dismiss this idea completely.
What we do know is that he does believe in alien life visiting earth and he does believe the US government is covering it up. That belief is perfectly fine for him to hold, but it does not excuse his actions.
He may not have declared a violent intent toward the government in the normal sense of the word, but he did declare malicious intent - "I will continue to disrupt at the highest levels".
And, what if clean energy is found? This would free us from foreign oil, which would do a great deal for national security! Now, to be clear, I do not advocate hacking, period. I fear Russian identity thieves who seem to have the backing of Putin a lot more than this guy, but I oppose hacking in a blanket sense. So, give Gary the business for the fact that he hacked, a short sentence perhaps, to be served in the UK (celebrity time in protective custody, with lots of exercise and fan mail). Then, let him sell the movie rights and lets get on with important issues. That would be entirely consistent with the American way in most cases...
If clean energy is found, that's great - but absolutely nothing at all to do with this case at all. In my view, as regards autism rights, he should be given precisely the same treatment an NT would receive. Only at the sentencing phase should there be possible considerations as to his safety in prison.
I do not believe that he should be exposed to physical danger against his person for his none-violent crimes, but I do believe that he deserves imprisonment. Undoubtedly he will be seen as a celebrity for many years to come, and personally I do find that sad.
Admittedly though, I do quite admire Kevin Mitnick for the way in which he has turned his life around and used his knowledge constructively. My admiration though does not mean I would have joined the "free mitnick" crowd back in the 80s if I had been of age back then - nor would I give the man a pat on the back for his crimes.
The same goes for Gary McKinnon - but less so, as to be honest I resent his using his diagnosis like he is, and I also resent the way in which he is being portrayed as some kind of oppressed genius.
For the record, I have done similar things, which while low level are just as illegal. I deeply regret doing them even where I strove not to cause direct harm. One thing I would never have dreamt of doing in my rebellious period is breaking into and then trashing any system on which lives could depend. The absolute worst I have ever done is to knock my high school's network temporarily offline, and I was justly punished for my stupidity. To break into a military system or even a hospital and disable it would have required no regard for human safety.
I can think of plenty of people who have done dumb things in their youth, some deeply criminal, and who have learnt from their mistakes. The ones I can now respect never crossed the boundary into risking actual danger to people's lives - that's a line that is inexcusable to cross. Curiosity and childish behaviour can be forgiven, endangering lives can't be.