Wikileaks: Brown’s McKinnon plea was ‘ignored’ by US
As revelations from the Wikileaks files continue to pour out, it has emerged that Gordon Brown’s attempts to raise the issue of Gary Mckinnon’s extradition were repeatedly spurned by Washington.
The news comes from a secret cable from ambassador Louis Susman to US secretary of state Hillary Clinton.
Mr McKinnon, who suffers from Asperger’s syndrome, is alleged to have hacked Pentagon networks in 2001, ostensibly to search for UFOs. He is currently awaiting a review into his case. American authorities want him extradited to the US, where he may face a 60-year prison sentence.
The leaked cable gives an account of Mr Brown’s attempt to make an arrangement with Mr Susman to prevent the extradition. It read: “PM Brown, in a one-on-one meeting with the ambassador, proposed a deal: that McKinnon plead guilty, make a statement of contrition, but serve any sentence of incarceration in the UK.
“Brown cited deep public concern that McKinnon, with his medical condition, would commit suicide or suffer injury if imprisoned in a US facility.”
It appears that although Mr Susman raised the issue with the US attorney general, the matter failed to gain any purchase at the highest echelons of the government in Washington.
Mr McKinnon’s mother, Janis Sharp responded to the news of Mr Brown’s personal intervention, telling the BBC she was “really pleased. I wish we had known at the time and I would have thanked him.”
Of the UK-US extradition treaty, she added: “This is supposed to be an equal partnership. I can’t understand why they will not let this go. This is a litmus test of our government. I believe they will keep their word.”
Other cables published by the Guardian suggest US authorities may have been responding to the Scottish government’s decision to release the Lockerbie bomber on the grounds that he was terminally ill.
The leak confirms suspicion that the Obama administration adopted a dismissive attitude to Gordon Brown, initially suggested after an infamous incident where it was claimed the former prime minister was ‘snubbed’ in his pursuit of a meeting with the president last year.
David Cameron has announced a review to look at the extradition treaty between the US and UK amidst criticism that it is heavily weighted in favour of Washington.
Another leak suggests the Mr Cameron had raised Mr Mckinnon’s case last December, before he became prime minister. It reads: “Cameron said he had raised the extradition with the ambassador in an earlier conversation because the case was a matter of concern for many in the British public. British people generally feel McKinnon is guilty ‘but they are sympathetic’, Cameron said.”
The continuing leaks from the website, concerning matters from Prince Andrew to North Korea, are causing intense embarrassment internationally and have been roundly condemned on both sides of the Atlantic.