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Pardon Alan Turing Campaign

Discussion in 'Post War 1945-1955' started by GRW, Dec 15, 2012.

  1. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    "A man credited with saving thousands of lives during World War Two should be posthumously pardoned for his historic conviction, Professor Stephen Hawking has said.
    Codebreaker Alan Turing was convicted of gross indecency in 1952 following his relationship with another man and killed himself two years later.
    Hawking is among a group of scientists who have written to the Daily Telegraph asking for the conviction to be overturned for Turing who is considered to be the father of the modern computer and key in cracking the enigma code.
    It said: 'We write in support of a posthumous pardon for Alan Turing, one of the most brilliant mathematicians of the modern era.
    'He led the team of Enigma code breakers at Bletchley Park, which most historians agree shortened the Second World War.
    'Yet successive governments seem incapable of forgiving his conviction for the then crime of being a homosexual, which led to his suicide, aged 41.
    'We urge the Prime Minister to exercise his authority and formally forgive the iconic British hero to whom we owe so much as a nation'.
    The letter comes after Lord Sharkey, a Liberal Democrat peer and one of the signatories, introduced a private member's bill in the Lords to grant Turing an official pardon in July.
    Gordon Brown issued a posthumous apology to Turing in 2009, describing his treatment as 'apalling' but stopped short of granting an official pardon."
    Enigma hero Alan Turing 'should be pardoned for historic gay conviction', says Stephen Hawking | Mail Online

     
  2. Volga Boatman

    Volga Boatman Dishonorably Discharged

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    This presents an age old problem for governments. How do you rationalize a conviction for a crime that is no longer viewed as a crime?

    This explains, to a large extent, why many law makers and enforcers are unwilling to change law and legal practice. Having told us how right and proper they were in the past, its a loss of face to have to back away from earlier decisions and overturn them, admitting that your understanding and enforcement of the law was somehow lacking.

    The one thing you notice when trying to get the legal fraternity to change anything is the very fact that these pillars of the community are ALWAUYS right, even when they're wrong.

    This very aspect of law and government has been the cause of many an injustice.

    While we are at it, lets get Oscar Wilde's conviction for homosexual practice overturned as well. Wilde spent time in prison doing 'hard labour' for this 'crime'.

    Alan Turing deserves the respect and admiration of us all for his part in the defeat of Fascism in Europe, and abroad. There really were only a handful of men that could have done the same job, in the same manner and speed, and with similar results. Turing was practically indespensible, so should be acknowleged for his services to the state and people of Great Britain, the Dominions, and our allies.
     
  3. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    Must admit I'm not a fan of rewriting legal history, since it usually starts an avalanche of other "deserving" cases and no-one ever knows where to draw the line (or dares).
    Really don't know what the answer is here.
     
  4. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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  5. Buckskinz

    Buckskinz Member

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    "Turing who is considered to be the father of the modern computer and key in cracking the enigma code"

    Turing is not considered "to be the father of the modern computer" Nor was he key in cracking the Enigma Code. A fully operational Enigma machine was handed to the Brits from the Poles at the beginning of WW2. Later on in the war the Germans added rotors to their "Enigma " machine. He built an analog set up that could crunch the work needed for much quicker reading of the German mail. That Turing was brilliant is not debatable. Not long before D Day the US Navy captured naval code books from a German U Boat that they had disabled. This takes nothing away from the code books captured by the Brits from a German weather station at sea earlier in the war. Bletchly Park was an allied effort from day one. As for Turing's sexual indiscretions, what was abhorrent in the time frame he was convicted may not be so in ours. That would make a pardon at this stage meaningless.
     
  6. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    Not just German weather stations. The Brits had their own run in with a U boat and salvage for Bletchley. Memorials to the sailors involved stand in a small British town to honour them. But on Enigma...It was as useless then without the interceptors and sigint as is the uav of today without comms link control and annalysts of todays's generations. Otherwise it was just a glorified typex machine.
     
  7. Buckskinz

    Buckskinz Member

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    There would always be several operators who were a day late or used their G/F's initials every time, or other such giveaways. The real problems came when when they first started adding rotors.
     
  8. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    *Bump*
    "Alan Turing, the Enigma codebreaker who took his own life after being convicted of gross indecency under anti-homosexuality legislation, is to be given a posthumous pardon.
    The government signalled on Friday that it is prepared to support a backbench bill that would pardon Turing, who died from cyanide poisoning at the age of 41 in 1954 after he was subjected to "chemical castration".
    Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, a government whip, told peers that the government would table the third reading of the Alan Turing (statutory pardon) bill at the end of October if no amendments are made. "If nobody tables an amendment to this bill, its supporters can be assured that it will have speedy passage to the House of Commons," Ahmad said.
    The announcement marks a change of heart by the government, which declined last year to grant pardons to the 49,000 gay men, now dead, who were convicted under the 1885 Criminal Law Amendment Act. They include Oscar Wilde.
    Ahmad told peers: "Alan Turing himself believed that homosexual activity would be made legal by a royal commission. In fact, appropriately, it was parliament which decriminalised the activity for which he was convicted. The government are very aware of the calls to pardon Turing, given his outstanding achievements, and have great sympathy with this objective … That is why the government believe it is right that parliament should be free to respond to this bill in whatever way its conscience dictates and in whatever way it so wills.""
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk-news/2013/jul/19/enigma-codebreaker-alan-turing-posthumous-pardon
     
  9. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    I don't buy the offensive of the gay movement PR section : Turing violated the law,for which he was punished .What he did during the war was totally irrelevant .There can't be 2 sorts of law:eek:ne for the ordinary citizen and one for war "heros".Can some one with a MC violate the law with impunity ?
     
  10. ptimms

    ptimms Member

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    Yes but the law he broke isn't one that's on the statute books today and it should never have been. He was punished for being gay not mass murder. Our government tormented, persecuted and ultimately directly caused the death of one of the greatest minds of the 20th, if not any century. Why? because he didn't like women. Add to the that the fact he had made a massive contribution to winning the war and I have no doubt he should be held up as a hero of these isles.
     
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  11. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    And after his death, tried to keep his name from history...Allowing no memorials or recognition. A bench on a small road with a roundabout....Was all his worth to this nation at one time.
     
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  12. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    Well, they've been and gone and done it apparently.
    "The hero, who was pivotal is cracking the Enigma code and has been credited with shortening the Second World War by at least two years, was chemically castrated for 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 following service at Bletchley Park during the war.

    But the Prime Minister, today hailed Dr Turing as a "remarkable man" as he was granted a pardon under the Royal Prerogative of Mercy by the Queen, following a request from Justice Secretary Chris Grayling.

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

    "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."

    During the Second World War, Dr Turing worked at the Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park - the forerunner of GCHQ - where he devised the techniques which cracked the German Enigma code."
    http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/450233/Second-World-War-code-breaker-Alan-Turing-pardoned-for-gay-conviction

    And as much as I admire the man's achievements, this is political BS-

    "There had been a long campaign to clear Turing's name, including a private member's bill. In 2009, an "unequivocal apology" was issued by then prime minister Gordon Brown. An e-petition calling for a pardon received 37,404 signatures when it was closed in November last year. The request was declined by the then justice minister Lord McNally on the grounds that Turing was properly convicted of what at the time was a criminal offence.
    A pardon is normally granted only 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. On this occasion, a pardon has been issued without either requirement being met."
    http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/dec/24/enigma-codebreaker-alan-turing-royal-pardon
     
  13. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    Long overdue, no matter any deviations from the normal pardon process! I hadn't realized until reading about this that they had chemically castrated the poor bastid... :(
     
  14. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    Aye, my eyes are still watering too....
     
  15. Brian Smith

    Brian Smith Active Member

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    Whether the guy was a hero or not misses the point. He, as many others, suffered due to legislation based on ignorance. Whilst this pardon is welcome lets not forget it only happened because of his fame and leaves many more treated the same way with still an unjustified stain on their character.

    Brian
     
  16. gunbunnyb/3/75FA

    gunbunnyb/3/75FA Member

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    to be quite honest i really dont care if a guy is gay, back when i was in my last unit we had a guy who every one knew was "light in the loafers" but he was a hell of a trooper, he was booted out after we had a new co. who was overly gung ho on the anti gay rules, if HM'Gov gave a offical parden to turing,ok big deal lets move on.
     
  17. LG'96

    LG'96 New Member

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    what does that mean?
     
  18. gunbunnyb/3/75FA

    gunbunnyb/3/75FA Member

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    what i meant was that i thought that it just seemed like people were making a bit more of a big deal about pardoning turing than it was worth.i mean the mans been dead half a century,he's waaay past caring.
     
  19. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    I did mention something about this case being liable to unleash a bandwagon for some.
    "Gay rights activists and politicians yesterday signalled their intent to now expand the campaign which led to the posthumous pardon for Turing, to obtain the same consideration for other gay or bisexual men prosecuted for offences that would have been perfectly legal had their partners been women."
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/gay-men-call-for-equity-following-alan-turing-pardon-9027621.html
     
  20. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    Pretty strange legal situation, if someone is condemned and then the law changes, and what he as accused of is no longer a crime what happens? Technically I believe there is no grounds for a pardon but the story of Turing's trial sounds so horribly wrong to our contemporary way of thinking that "something" needed to be done.

    Of course activist will try to make political mileage of such a case, that's in the nature of the beast.
     

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