written by Janis Sharp, mother of Gary McKinnon
18 June 2012
18th June 2012
Dear Aung San Suu Kyi,
As you make this historic return to England, forgive me for invoking a sense of shared suffering, for both you, and my son Gary McKinnon have endured a form of imprisonment for the past decade.
My son Gary has Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of Autism, and was arrested in London in March 2002 for computer misuse and has now been under virtual house arrest for over ten years while fighting Extradition to the U.S.
People find it hard to believe that this can be happening in England in the year 2012 but happening it is.
Gary was arrested more than ten years ago for allegedly hacking into NASA and Pentagon computers from his bedroom in London while searching for evidence of UFO’s and Free energy that Gary believed was being suppressed by the American Government. He left cheeky cyber notes telling the U.S that their security was virtually nonexistent and that he’d continue disrupting by leaving such notes until someone at the top listened to him and installed passwords and firewalls that should have been there in the first place to protect their systems, but weren’t.
To his detriment Gary also left a cyber note saying that American foreign policy was akin to state sponsored terrorism. Had this been scrawled on a wall few would have noticed and to a young man with Asperger’s Syndrome, telling the truth as he saw it was as natural as getting out of bed in the morning. However Gary had now not only embarrassed the U.S by highlighting their lack of any basic security, but he had angered them.
Someone with Aspergers could never have realised the horrendous consequences that would arise from a country whose first amendment is one of Free Speech, or that an Extradition Treaty with America, yet to be written, could allow him (without any evidence being presented to a British court) to be forcibly removed from his home, his family and all that he has ever known, to be taken to a foreign land where he could be incarcerated in a foreign prison for up to sixty years of his life, for a crime that according to the Crown Prosecution Service in 2002, would have attracted a sentence of six months community service in Britain.
My son has now been under arrest for longer than any British citizen ever has. He hasn’t raped anyone, he hasn’t murdered anyone so can’t understand how this can be happening to him, as no matter how much anyone may exaggerate his crime, the fact is that his crime was tapping on a keyboard in his bedroom in North London in search of information on Aliens from outer space.
Gary rarely ever leaves his home as he is traumatised to the core. A boy who cycled, swam composed music and sang, now sits in the dark with his cats and never wants to see or speak to anyone.
He has no life, and is broken, like a wounded animal with no outlet and no hope, seeing only the dark side and the cruelty that exists in the world.
My only child has lost ten years of his youth and has aged and died before my eyes.
Ten years of being in a constant state of limbo while fighting to stop my son Gary being taken from his home and family has made the days, months and years indistinguishable from each other, as hopes raised to the heavens come crashing down to Earth on a regular basis.
We were elated when in a bid to have Gary tried in the U.K David Cameron our Prime Minister raised Gary’s case with President Obama during two televised joint worldwide press conferences in 2010 and in 2011, but the American government remained unmoved and are still pursuing my son, and our Government seem afraid to upset them.
I wrote to the Queen during her Diamond Jubilee to ask her to bestow the gift of mercy on my son who was arrested before even her Golden Jubilee ten years prior, but in a response from Buckingham Palace, it seems only our Government are privy to the Queen’s powers which she herself is unable to use.
I constantly write letters in the hope that the pen really is mightier than the sword and that I can reach souls of courage and compassion in the heart of our Government, who can put an end to this decade of mental torture.
Whether the rain falls or the sun shines means little anymore, as we live in this unreal world where Gary sits in the dark and I spend each day and night until the early hours of the morning, working on trying to save my son from virtual death. I no longer have any other conversation as I’m unable to escape from this mental imprisonment grounded in fear.
I am hoping with all my heart that our Home Secretary Theresa May who is said to be a strong woman, will find in her heart, some of the courage that you possess that will allow her to do what is right and to give my son his life back.
Gary has lost more than ten years of his life and as his case draws closer to the end, the deterioration in his mental health is marked, as the mental torture becomes increasingly intolerable.
Gary does not deserve to be driven to suicide, or to suffer irreversible damage to his mental health, or to face the prospect of ending his life in a foreign prison, or dying in a mental institution as my grandmother did.
Gary does not deserve either a real or a virtual death sentence. I do not deserve to lose my only child.
I pray that one day I will see the light return to my son’s eyes and that this seemingly never ending torture comes to an end.
As you will be speaking to both our Houses of Parliament, seeing the strength you portray in your struggle for the Freedom of your country, and the sacrifices you have made while standing up to an oppressive government, will hopefully inspire our Government to once again become a proud and sovereign nation who is prepared to stand up, speak out and fight for the values that our fore fathers fought and died for, including the rights and the protection of the most vulnerable in our society.
If our Government is afraid to make a right and Just decision for fear of upsetting our friends, then something is wrong with that friendship which must be put right, or we as a nation are allowing our people to be enslaved, making us unable to command respect that by its very nature has to be earned.
You Aung San Suu Kyi, have earned the respect of the World and our hearts are with you.
I pray that one day your country will attain the freedom and democracy you crave, and that our country will remember who they are and will strive to regain and retain the Rights and Freedoms we have sacrificed in order to appease another nation.
With Sincere and Deepest Respect
Janis Sharp (Gary McKinnon’s Mum)
Editor’s note: permission via Twitter by Janis Sharp to reprint. Thank you, Janis, for sharing the most loving and heartfelt of mother’s pleas. You are the kind of mother that all mothers aspire to emulate. For all your bravery, dedication and selflessness, you deserve to be rewarded by having Gary’s freedom awarded him. Good luck, we are all with you.