Anonymous UK plans to attack the Home Office

Anonymous’ #OpTrialAtHome is timed to commence at 9:00pm on Saturday, April 7, with a DDoS attack on the Home Office website
Anonymous’ #OpTrialAtHome is timed to commence at 9:00pm on Saturday, April 7, with a DDoS attack on the Home Office website

An announcement on the @AnonOpUK Twitter feed declares “#OpTrialAtHome as been initiated, We are inviting every #Anon to join us in our fight against #Extradition and the #EAW.” An associated photo/poster shows images of Gary McKinnon, Richard O’Dwyer and Christopher Tappin. McKinnon and O’Dwyer are awaiting extradition from the UK to the US. Tappin’s extradition was effected on 24 February when he was flown to El Paso, Texas.

There is growing public concern in the UK that if a crime is committed in the UK by a UK citizen that crime should be prosecuted in the UK – and hence the name #OpTrialAtHome. The European Arrest Warrant, also mentioned in the Anonymous announcement, is a form of EU internal extradition; it is an arrest warrant valid throughout the European Union. Once issued, it requires a member state to arrest and transfer the suspect for trial or detention at the issuing state. Julian Assange, the editor-in-chief and founder of WikiLeaks, was arrested in the UK under an EAW issued by Sweden, and is currently fighting extradition to Sweden.

McKinnon is currently fighting extradition to the US for what has been called the ‘biggest military computer hack of all time,’ involving 97 US military and NASA computers over 13 months. McKinnon claims he was looking for proof of a government cover-up of UFOs. He was indicted by a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia in November 2002 on seven counts of computer-related crime and faces up to 70 years in prison. All appeals have so far been rejected, but as a diagnosed Asperger sufferer his position is currently being considered by the Home Secretary Theresa May on medical grounds.

O’Dwyer owned and operated TVshack.net, a site that provided links to copyrighted material. The key point for the US authorities is that its purpose was to facilitate or even encourage copyright infringement. However, it was neither hosted in the US, nor actually stored any illegal material. It is doubtful that O’Dwyer has broken any UK law, and he has not been charged with anything in the UK.

TVShack.net was seized by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials on 30 June 2010. The US Justice Department requested his extradition in May 2011. In January 2012, a UK judge ruled that extradition should go ahead, subject to approval by the Home Office. On March 9, 2012, Home Secretary Theresa May approved the extradition, and on March 21 his lawyers lodged an appeal, which is pending.

Tappin has already been extradited. He was accused by the US Government of exporting zinc/silver oxide batteries to Iran that could be used in surface-to-air missiles. Tappin claims he thought he was supplying car batteries. On arrival at the Heathrow Airport Police Station immediately prior to the extradition, Tappin said, “Abu Qatada is walking the streets of London today and we cannot extradite him. He has more rights than I have. If I was a terrorist I would not be going to America. I think it’s a shame, a disgrace. The Conservative government, while in opposition, promised to reform the law and they failed to do so and they’ve let me down, they’ve let you down, they’ve let the whole country down.”

Anonymous’ #OpTrialAtHome is timed to commence at 9:00pm on Saturday, April 7, with a DDoS attack on the Home Office website.

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