Pink Floyd's Gilmour backs McKinnon protest gig

UFO hacker gets support from Dark Side of the Moon


Updated Legendary Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour has agreed to participate in a musical protest against attempts to extradite UFO enthusiast turned hacker Gary McKinnon to the US.

Janis Sharp, McKinnon's mum, is organising a sing-in protest to coincide with President Barack Obama's upcoming visit to London for the G20 conference on the global economic crisis at the beginning of April. News of Gilmour's involvement gives a massive publicity boost to these efforts.

"Dave Gilmour of Pink Floyd is going to sing Graham Nash's 'Chicago' for our son Gary McKinnons 'Sing In' for World Autism Day 2nd April yea," Sharp excitedly announced via micro-blogging service Twitter on Wednesday.

Sharp added that the offer came by email and that Gilmour had agreed to "sing/record Chicago on our backing track for Gary's 'Sing In'”. The Pink Floyd legend will not be able to attend the demo itself, however.

"Dave Gilmour can't come to the live "sing in" because he's going on half term holiday on Friday with his wife and children," Sharp told El Reg.

In a follow-up message, Sharp explained how Glmour came to offer his help.

"We've known Joe, Dave Gilmour's brother-in-law, since Gary was a child and Joe knows Gary is a good person," she writes. "Joe told David Gilmour and his sister Polly (Polly is David Gilmour's wife) and Dave immediately offered and emailed me to say he is happy to sing on our 'Sing In' recording/cd for Gary."

Gilmour's email, Ma McKinnon tells us, also said: "I agree that your son Gary should not be being extradited to the USA for his naïve hacking. It is hard to understand that our so-called fair justice system could not be more effectively used to prevent this."

Shine on you crazy diamond

Gilmour, legendary singer and guitarist with Pink Floyd needs little introduction, but what's not-so well known is that the rocker has supported charities including the European Union Mental Health and Illness Association and Amnesty International over the years, something that's probably made him more receptive to McKinnon's plight.

Sharp has rewritten the lyrics (but not the tune) of Graham Nash's Chicago so that it serves as a protest anthem against long-running attempts to haul her self-confessed UFO evidence hunter turned US military hacker son over to the US. The protests seeks to draw attention to the "one-sided" UK-US extradition treaty more generally.

Nash is famous as a member of Crosby, Stills & Nash. Sharp choose the song partly because it harked back to the era of the Vietnam War protests as a mechanism to "rekindle the spirit of protest" of those times. The title of the song also references Obama's adopted home city.

Crank up the volume

Music has been a feature in McKinnon's long-running campaign against extradition. Celebrity supporters of McKinnon's include former Police frontman Sting and wife Trudie Styler.

Ross Hemsworth, managing director of Glastonbury Radio and UK director of the International UFO Congress, suggested plans to organise a benefit gig on McKinnon's behalf back in November but the idea never came to fruition. Kayleigh-admirers Marillion inititally supported the idea of a gig but later pulled out, partially out of fears of upsetting their US fanbase.

Hemsworth also floated the idea of bringing musicians together to make a recording of a song written by McKinnon, called Only a Fool, with the proceeds going to autism charities. So far that idea is yet to come together, either.

Samples of McKinnon's other musical work can be found below, via YouTube.

McKinnon's team obviously have the prog rock, folk and new age music scenes well covered. Sharp adds that "Cliff Williams the Bass Player of AC/DC is an old friend from Muswell Hill", so metal may get covered too.

Newer genres - such as rap and techno - seem to be a bit more tricky.

The planned 'sit-in' musical protests will take place two months before judicial review on whether the Home Secretary was right to allow extradition proceedings against McKinnon to continue in spite of his recent diagnosis with Asperger's Syndrome. The hearing represents McKinnon's best hopes of avoiding extradition and trial following earlier failed appeal to the House of Lords and elsewhere last year, prior to the diagnosis of McKinnon with a mild form of autism. ®

Broader topics


Other stories you might like

  • Lonestar plans to put datacenters in the Moon's lava tubes
    How? Founder tells The Register 'Robots… lots of robots'

    Imagine a future where racks of computer servers hum quietly in darkness below the surface of the Moon.

    Here is where some of the most important data is stored, to be left untouched for as long as can be. The idea sounds like something from science-fiction, but one startup that recently emerged from stealth is trying to turn it into a reality. Lonestar Data Holdings has a unique mission unlike any other cloud provider: to build datacenters on the Moon backing up the world's data.

    "It's inconceivable to me that we are keeping our most precious assets, our knowledge and our data, on Earth, where we're setting off bombs and burning things," Christopher Stott, founder and CEO of Lonestar, told The Register. "We need to put our assets in place off our planet, where we can keep it safe."

    Continue reading
  • Conti: Russian-backed rulers of Costa Rican hacktocracy?
    Also, Chinese IT admin jailed for deleting database, and the NSA promises no more backdoors

    In brief The notorious Russian-aligned Conti ransomware gang has upped the ante in its attack against Costa Rica, threatening to overthrow the government if it doesn't pay a $20 million ransom. 

    Costa Rican president Rodrigo Chaves said that the country is effectively at war with the gang, who in April infiltrated the government's computer systems, gaining a foothold in 27 agencies at various government levels. The US State Department has offered a $15 million reward leading to the capture of Conti's leaders, who it said have made more than $150 million from 1,000+ victims.

    Conti claimed this week that it has insiders in the Costa Rican government, the AP reported, warning that "We are determined to overthrow the government by means of a cyber attack, we have already shown you all the strength and power, you have introduced an emergency." 

    Continue reading
  • China-linked Twisted Panda caught spying on Russian defense R&D
    Because Beijing isn't above covert ops to accomplish its five-year goals

    Chinese cyberspies targeted two Russian defense institutes and possibly another research facility in Belarus, according to Check Point Research.

    The new campaign, dubbed Twisted Panda, is part of a larger, state-sponsored espionage operation that has been ongoing for several months, if not nearly a year, according to the security shop.

    In a technical analysis, the researchers detail the various malicious stages and payloads of the campaign that used sanctions-related phishing emails to attack Russian entities, which are part of the state-owned defense conglomerate Rostec Corporation.

    Continue reading
  • FTC signals crackdown on ed-tech harvesting kid's data
    Trade watchdog, and President, reminds that COPPA can ban ya

    The US Federal Trade Commission on Thursday said it intends to take action against educational technology companies that unlawfully collect data from children using online educational services.

    In a policy statement, the agency said, "Children should not have to needlessly hand over their data and forfeit their privacy in order to do their schoolwork or participate in remote learning, especially given the wide and increasing adoption of ed tech tools."

    The agency says it will scrutinize educational service providers to ensure that they are meeting their legal obligations under COPPA, the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act.

    Continue reading
  • Mysterious firm seeks to buy majority stake in Arm China
    Chinese joint venture's ousted CEO tries to hang on - who will get control?

    The saga surrounding Arm's joint venture in China just took another intriguing turn: a mysterious firm named Lotcap Group claims it has signed a letter of intent to buy a 51 percent stake in Arm China from existing investors in the country.

    In a Chinese-language press release posted Wednesday, Lotcap said it has formed a subsidiary, Lotcap Fund, to buy a majority stake in the joint venture. However, reporting by one newspaper suggested that the investment firm still needs the approval of one significant investor to gain 51 percent control of Arm China.

    The development comes a couple of weeks after Arm China said that its former CEO, Allen Wu, was refusing once again to step down from his position, despite the company's board voting in late April to replace Wu with two co-chief executives. SoftBank Group, which owns 49 percent of the Chinese venture, has been trying to unentangle Arm China from Wu as the Japanese tech investment giant plans for an initial public offering of the British parent company.

    Continue reading
  • SmartNICs power the cloud, are enterprise datacenters next?
    High pricing, lack of software make smartNICs a tough sell, despite offload potential

    SmartNICs have the potential to accelerate enterprise workloads, but don't expect to see them bring hyperscale-class efficiency to most datacenters anytime soon, ZK Research's Zeus Kerravala told The Register.

    SmartNICs are widely deployed in cloud and hyperscale datacenters as a means to offload input/output (I/O) intensive network, security, and storage operations from the CPU, freeing it up to run revenue generating tenant workloads. Some more advanced chips even offload the hypervisor to further separate the infrastructure management layer from the rest of the server.

    Despite relative success in the cloud and a flurry of innovation from the still-limited vendor SmartNIC ecosystem, including Mellanox (Nvidia), Intel, Marvell, and Xilinx (AMD), Kerravala argues that the use cases for enterprise datacenters are unlikely to resemble those of the major hyperscalers, at least in the near term.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022