Liberty central sidelined by the Daily Mail

Gary McKinnonGary McKinnon

The Guardian's Liberty Central contains many articles relating to civil liberties. However, the Daily Mail, a 'redtop' no less, also often reports on such issues. It is now leading the campaign to prevent the extradition of Gary McKinnon. This is a cause célèbre and relates to the asymetrical extradition arrangements between the USA and the UK. Gary's seven year wait for a decision would appear to be coming to an end and the Daily Mail is leading the campaign. Now we hear that House of Commons officials have been accused of 'gagging' MPs who want to speak in his support.

They banned a motion yesterday that urged the Government to halt his extradition to the U.S, where he faces 60 years in jail for hacking into Nasa and Pentagon computers. The Parliamentary authorities only concluded that the case was 'sub judice' after Home Secretary Alan Johnson said this was the case in Parliament, while being urged to halt extradition. Mr Bercow, the new Speaker, has discretion to waive the rules. Guidance says: 'Leave may be granted to discuss policy matters relating to an ongoing court case but without going into the details of the case itself.' So much for a 'new start'.

What of the other papers? There would appear to be no comment. Although in the past the case has been discussed and unanimous support for Gary given, there is no support for or comment on the Mail's campaign. If all the other papers got behind the Mail this would bring the case to the fore. Even the sainted Henry Porter fails to comment. Could it possibly be because the campaign is run by the Mail? Only the Spectator gives its support and praises the Mail.

Gary's mother says:
I believe that, because so much support is gathering for Gary because of this campaign, the Government does not want hundreds of MPs to be seen to be signing the EDM as they might be forced to debate the matter in Parliament and halt the proposed extradition. Surely if the Government can send Gary thousands of miles away from home, the least they can do is allow themselves to be held to account for it by their fellow MPs.

Boris Johnson is making sensible proposals to urge Peers to enact an amendment to the Extradition Act that would prevent such gross miscarriages of justice affecting not only Gary but many other Britons. He calls the proposed extradition:'brutal, mad and wrong'.