Welcome To Zelo Street!

This is a blog of liberal stance and independent mind

Tuesday 16 October 2012

Gary McKinnon, Tories, The Mail, And Yuman Rights

The case of Gary McKinnon, who hacked into the US Military’s computers from his bedroom at the family home in the UK, has been championed by just about every newspaper able to climb on the bandwagon. The prospect of his being extradited to the USA, and the subsequent prospect of a long prison term, turned the usual slavish pro-American press very defensive, and very rapidly.

After all, McKinnon suffered from Asperger’s Syndrome, which suddenly ceased to be a way for Richard Littlejohn to kick the disabled, and was transformed into some kind of life-threatening condition if combined with a Stateside prison regime, although of course that regime was fine for Muslims, or indeed anyone not white and with what Littlejohn likes to call a “foreign sounding name”.

And so it came to pass for Home Secretary Theresa May to pronounce on the application for extradition. The Mail was on the case: in an “exclusive”, under the by-lines of James Slack and Michael Seamark, readers were told “Theresa May will today unveil a major shake-up of Britain’s lopsided extradition laws”. This was “a victory for the Mail’s Affront to British Justice campaign”.

So the article goes on, with references to “Labour’s unfair Extradition Act”, although it wasn’t unfair to Babar Ahmad. The possibility of McKinnon practising self-harm or even being at risk of suicide is solemnly stressed. That US citizens do not appear to be getting extradited the other way is also shown to be a sign that the existing arrangements are one-sided.

But, as one Zelo Street regular has observed, there is one phrase missing from the Mail’s report, and that is “human rights”. There is a very good reason for this: while the Mail pretends to deplore “unfair” practices, it also hates anything coming out of Europe, because they talk foreign and live in cities like Brussels. So human rights as a concept is vilified and given to Littlejohn to ridicule as “Yuman Rights”.

So it will be interesting to see how the Mail spins Ms May’s decision, because she has blocked the McKinnon extradition, but has done so by citing the very concept that the paper has spent so many years ridiculing. As the BBC has reported, she “said the sole issue she had to consider was his human rights”. And this from a Government whose majority partner has moved against that concept.

Time after time, we hear Tory MPs and even ministers arguing for a withdrawal from the European Convention on Human Rights. But when it’s a high profile extradition case, and the Fourth Estate is in full cry, they all go quiet while applauding the Home Secretary’s decision. Meanwhile, the Mail reported Theresa May’s words but otherwise declined to mention human rights anywhere else in its report.

The stench of sanctimonious claptrap and rank hypocrisy is overwhelming.

No comments: