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Pardon for WW2 Code-breaker Alan Turing 

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Old 12-24-2013, 02:45 AM
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Pardon for WW2 Code-breaker Alan Turing

From AP 24/12/2013:

Second World War code-breaker Alan Turing has been given a posthumous royal pardon for a 61-year-old conviction for homosexual activity.

Dr Turing, who was pivotal in breaking the Enigma code, arguably shortening the Second World War by at least two years, was chemically castrated following his conviction in 1952.

His conviction for "gross indecency" led to the removal of his security clearance and meant he was no longer able to work for Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) where he had continued to work following service at Bletchley Park during the war.

Dr Turing, who died aged 41 in 1954 and is often described as the father of modern computing, has been granted a pardon under the Royal Prerogative of Mercy by the Queen following a request from Justice Secretary Chris Grayling.

"Dr Alan Turing was an exceptional man with a brilliant mind," Mr Grayling said.

"His brilliance was put into practice at Bletchley Park during the Second World War where he was pivotal to breaking the Enigma code, helping to end the war and save thousands of lives.

"His later life was overshadowed by his conviction for homosexual activity, a sentence we would now consider unjust and discriminatory and which has now been repealed.

"Dr Turing deserves to be remembered and recognised for his fantastic contribution to the war effort and his legacy to science. A pardon from the Queen is a fitting tribute to an exceptional man."

Dr Turing died of cyanide poisoning and an inquest recorded a verdict of suicide, although his mother and others maintained his death was accidental.

There has been a long campaign to clear the mathematician's name, including a well-supported e- petition and private member's bill, along with support from leading scientists such as Sir Stephen Hawking.

The pardon under the Royal Prerogative of Mercy will come into effect today.

The Justice Secretary has the power to ask the Queen to grant a pardon under the Royal Prerogative of Mercy, for civilians convicted in England and Wales.

A pardon is only normally granted when the person is innocent of the offence and where a request has been made by someone with a vested interest such as a family member. But on this occasion a pardon has been issued without either requirement being met.

In September 2009, then-prime minister Gordon Brown apologised to Dr Turing for prosecuting him as a homosexual after a petition calling for such a move.

An e-petiton - titled "Grant a pardon to Alan Turing" - received 37,404 signatures when it closed in November last year.

The request was declined by Lord McNally on the grounds that Dr Turing was properly convicted of what at the time was a criminal offence.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: "Alan Turing was a remarkable man who played a key role in saving this country in World War Two by cracking the German Enigma code.

"His action saved countless lives. He also left a remarkable national legacy through his substantial scientific achievements, often being referred to as the father of modern computing."

Sadiq Khan MP, shadow justice secretary, said: "This is a long overdue recognition of the crucial role played by Alan Turing in the efforts to win World War Two and in our nation's proud record of scientific discovery.

"A pardon from the Queen is a truly fitting tribute and reflects the hard work of those who've campaigned for many years so that the shameful way he was treated could, in a small but important way, be righted."

Liberal Democrat peer Lord Sharkey, who introduced the private member's bill in the House of Lords calling for a royal pardon, said it was "wonderful" news.

Lord Sharkey said: "This has demonstrated wisdom and compassion. It has recognised a very great British hero and made some amends for the cruelty and injustice with which Turing was treated.

"I am proud to have been a part of the campaign. And I am proud of my colleagues in the House of Lords who strongly supported my Bill to grant a pardon to Turing.

"It's a wonderful thing, but we are not quite finished yet. I will continue to campaign for all those convicted as Turing was, simply for being gay, to have their convictions disregarded.

"That will be a proper and fitting and final end to the Turing story."

The Liberal Democrat MP for Manchester Withington, John Leech, described Dr Turing - who worked at the University of Manchester - as a hero.

He said: "A lan Turing's contribution to Manchester was enormous as well as his efforts in bringing the war to an early conclusion. He is a national hero.

"I want to thank all those who have campaigned so hard for this pardon. Without their efforts and their dedication, this would not have happened."

A shame it's taken so long.

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Old 12-24-2013, 02:51 AM
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Re: Pardon for WW2 Code-breaker Alan Turing

It's about god damned time.

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Old 12-24-2013, 02:56 AM
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Re: Pardon for WW2 Code-breaker Alan Turing

Thought this was done a long time ago. Thanks for positing some interesting comments here from when it was announced that he would be pardoned

It isn't Alan Turing who needs a pardon

The news that Alan Turing is to be "pardoned" for consensual adult homosexual acts (Enigma codebreaker Alan Turing to be given posthumous pardon; 17 July) engenders mixed feelings among his many admirers. His conviction was, in reality, a government crime. The UK government should be confessing that his chemical castration was actually a crime against humanity. A memorial to Turing and other gay victims of this state-sponsored persecution would be a more appropriate response because one can only be pardoned for a crime. Turing was not a criminal but a very distinguished victim of a legal witchhunt against adult homosexuals that showed no mercy – even to a national hero.

How about a pardon for the 48,999 other gay men, now dead, who were convicted under the 1885 Criminal Law Amendment Act? Pardoning just one man because of his "outstanding achievements" implies that the others are not worthy of a pardon. Surely the rationale is that the act was unjust and that gay men were inappropriately criminalised. This was true for all the men and not just for Alan Turing

A simple amendment to the Alan Turing (statutory pardon) bill could extend it to all those traduced by the 1885 legislation. I'm not normally in favour of rewriting history, but this is surely one occasion when justice should be comprehensively done.

You report that the government is allowing parliament to decide on Alan Turing's pardon "in whatever way its conscience dictates". Interesting to note that the dictates of conscience are an exception in parliament, and then only with permission.

America is just the country that shows how all the written guarantees in the world for freedom are no protection against tyranny and oppression of the worst kind. There the politician has come to be looked upon as the very scum of society - Peter Kropotkin
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Old 12-24-2013, 01:20 PM
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Re: Pardon for WW2 Code-breaker Alan Turing

For all he done for our country surely the powers that be could of simply turned a blind eye to his indiscretions.

He was a fuckin' GENIUS

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
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Old 12-24-2013, 01:56 PM
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Re: Pardon for WW2 Code-breaker Alan Turing

Even his co-wokers and superiors at the time said it was unjust.

The dark ages where not that long ago, not that they are completely over

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Old 12-24-2013, 07:48 PM
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Re: Pardon for WW2 Code-breaker Alan Turing

To little , to late.

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Old 12-25-2013, 09:29 PM
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Re: Pardon for WW2 Code-breaker Alan Turing

Better late than never as they say.

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Old 12-26-2013, 10:54 AM
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Re: Pardon for WW2 Code-breaker Alan Turing

'Back in the day' fucking bullshit

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Old 12-26-2013, 12:11 PM
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Re: Pardon for WW2 Code-breaker Alan Turing

Chemically castrated.....horrifying

"High moral character is not a precondition for great moral accomplishments."
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Old 12-26-2013, 12:14 PM
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Re: Pardon for WW2 Code-breaker Alan Turing

Wow, just wow.
Scary to think this was not that long ago.
He was so brilliant, and so young.

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