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Royal pardon for codebreaker Alan Turing

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-25495315

 

 

Computer pioneer and codebreaker Alan Turing has been given a posthumous royal pardon.

 

It overturns his 1952 conviction for homosexuality for which he was punished by being chemically castrated.

 

The conviction meant he lost his security clearance and had to stop the code-cracking work that proved vital to the Allies in World War II.

 

 

I don't think he should of been pardoned.

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-25495315

 

 

 

I don't think he should of been pardoned.

 Yes any reason why? and having my pedantic head on it should be "I don't think he should HAVE been pardoned." they reckon his work cut the war short by at least two years.

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-25495315

 

 

 

I don't think he should of been pardoned.

For me the past is a different country, they did things differently there.

Is he being pardoned because he was a homosexual? If so then anyone convicted of a homosexual ( consentual) act should be pardoned too.

Or is he being pardoned only because as a homosexual he did something worthwhile? In which case how do you measure what is " worthwhile"? lots of Homosexuals acted as ambulance personnel or stretcher bearers often under heavy fire.

I used to work with a homosexual who was imprisonned in the 1950's who had been a Bevin Boy during the war, isn't that " worthwhile" too?

During both World Wars people were shot or imprisoned in circumstances that by today's values we would not condone.

That's history. It's gone, learn from it and move on.

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 Yes any reason why? and having my pedantic head on it should be "I don't think he should HAVE been pardoned. they reckon his work cut the war short by at least two years.

 

And so saved thousands upon thousands of lives. 

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A pardon implies guilt.

 

Why only 1 man (as important and brilliant as he was), not the 75,000 others?

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I see what you mean but better 1 pardoned than 75,001 not? Might it not show the way forward?

 

in any case, possibly a pardon as  he was guilty under the law at the time, even though that law was clearly repressive, discriminatory, inhuman and wrong? 

 

Still, it has taken far to long to correct. 

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A pardon implies guilt.

 

Why only 1 man (as important and brilliant as he was), not the 75,000 others?

 

Out of interest to the debate, what about the executed soldiers from WWI who were pardoned?  Were they then guilty of cowardice or desertion under harrowing conditions never experience before in battle, as at the time it was deemed so? 

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For me the past is a different country, they did things differently there.

Is he being pardoned because he was a homosexual? If so then anyone convicted of a homosexual ( consentual) act should be pardoned too.

Or is he being pardoned only because as a homosexual he did something worthwhile? In which case how do you measure what is " worthwhile"? lots of Homosexuals acted as ambulance personnel or stretcher bearers often under heavy fire.

I used to work with a homosexual who was imprisonned in the 1950's who had been a Bevin Boy during the war, isn't that " worthwhile" too?

During both World Wars people were shot or imprisoned in circumstances that by today's values we would not condone.

That's history. It's gone, learn from it and move on.

I think that's a very good point

Why should Turing be treated differently to other gay men who were persecuted and imprisoned? The idea that what he did somehow earns him the right to be 'pardoned' is imho untenable- the idea if pardoning someone who has done nothing wrong seems a bit shaky to me as well

 

However there are still people alive who were imprisoned for being gay, there are still people alive who lived their lives in fear of imprisonment and homophobia is still a major social issue blighting the lives of a significant number of our population

 

Surely an act of contrition is in order

Not just for Turing 

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Out of interest to the debate, what about the executed soldiers from WWI who were pardoned?  Were they then guilty of cowardice or desertion under harrowing conditions never experience before in battle, as at the time it was deemed so? 

Those clearly suffering from PTSD or similar who were executed were rightly pardoned as a moral act of conscience recognising that we, as a country, were wrong at the time regardless of the evidence available.  Surely it's the same with everything else where our modern morals and understandings show that we mistreated people based on our current understanding.  If that means we have to retrospectively pardon anyone convicted of homosexual acts then so be it.

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Those clearly suffering from PTSD or similar who were executed were rightly pardoned as a moral act of conscience recognising that we, as a country, were wrong at the time regardless of the evidence available.  Surely it's the same with everything else where our modern morals and understandings show that we mistreated people based on our current understanding.  If that means we have to retrospectively pardon anyone convicted of homosexual acts then so be it.

 

http://www.newstatesman.com/david-allen-green/2013/07/putting-right-wrong-done-alan-turing

 

The problem with posthumous pardons is that they are practically - and legally - meaningless.  It is a gesture.  Indeed, the statutory pardon for the 306 soldiers expressly stated that the pardon did not affect either the conviction or even the validity of the sentence given.  The argument was that it was wrong to impugn the official decisions which led to the executions.  All that the Ministry of Defence did was, as an administrative act, to put a copy of the pardon on each executed soldier’s file.

 

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I see the point you're making but it's a public recognition that it was wrong.  If you pardon one then you pardon them all.  If you can't pardon all then you pardon none otherwise you make an unconscious point that either others were rightly convicted or they aren't worthy of pardon.

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For me the past is a different country, they did things differently there.

Is he being pardoned because he was a homosexual? If so then anyone convicted of a homosexual ( consentual) act should be pardoned too.

Or is he being pardoned only because as a homosexual he did something worthwhile? In which case how do you measure what is " worthwhile"? lots of Homosexuals acted as ambulance personnel or stretcher bearers often under heavy fire.

I used to work with a homosexual who was imprisonned in the 1950's who had been a Bevin Boy during the war, isn't that " worthwhile" too?

During both World Wars people were shot or imprisoned in circumstances that by today's values we would not condone.

That's history. It's gone, learn from it and move on.

I welcomed his pardon as an acknowledgement that what he did was not wrong and as a symbolic pardon for others convicted of the same offence.

Where I differ is with those people calling for an apology.

If the state did this it would do nothing else for the next ten years.

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If someone receives a Royal Pardon, isn't it supposed to mean that they were not guilty of the offence they were convicted of?

 

Timothy Evans, who was hanged in the 1950s for murdering his wife and child, was granted a Royal Pardon when it became clear that he was innocent, and that the Rillington Place murders had been committed by John Christie.

 

Similarly, soldiers who were wrongly court martialled and executed in the FWW for cowardice should receive a Royal Pardon on the same basis.

 

There is another class of criminal offence that Turing and other gay people could be classified as, which are criminal acts that they committed that are later legalised. I'm sure there would be other criminal offences from the past that would also look barbaric to us today.

 

Turing was a genius and was treated appallingly. But then no doubt so were many others who were less intellectually able, and there were other famous people who were convicted of homosexual offences, including the actor John Gielgud.

 

Perhaps there should be a procedure whereby people convicted of crimes that are no longer criminal offences could have their guilt collectively annulled by a subsequent government decree.

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If someone receives a Royal Pardon, isn't it supposed to mean that they were not guilty of the offence they were convicted of?

 

Timothy Evans, who was hanged in the 1950s for murdering his wife and child, was granted a Royal Pardon when it became clear that he was innocent, and that the Rillington Place murders had been committed by John Christie.

 

Similarly, soldiers who were wrongly court martialled and executed in the FWW for cowardice should receive a Royal Pardon on the same basis.

 

There is another class of criminal offence that Turing and other gay people could be classified as, which are criminal acts that they committed that are later legalised. I'm sure there would be other criminal offences from the past that would also look barbaric to us today.

 

Turing was a genius and was treated appallingly. But then no doubt so were many others who were less intellectually able, and there were other famous people who were convicted of homosexual offences, including the actor John Gielgud.

 

Perhaps there should be a procedure whereby people convicted of crimes that are no longer criminal offences could have their guilt collectively annulled by a subsequent government decree.

 

A pardon means you are forgiven.  It does not necessarily mean you are now considered not guilty.

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A pardon means you are forgiven.  It does not necessarily mean you are now considered not guilty.

So Timothy Evans was forgiven for something he didn't do?

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For me the past is a different country, they did things differently there.

Is he being pardoned because he was a homosexual? If so then anyone convicted of a homosexual ( consentual) act should be pardoned too.

Or is he being pardoned only because as a homosexual he did something worthwhile? In which case how do you measure what is " worthwhile"? lots of Homosexuals acted as ambulance personnel or stretcher bearers often under heavy fire.

I used to work with a homosexual who was imprisonned in the 1950's who had been a Bevin Boy during the war, isn't that " worthwhile" too?

During both World Wars people were shot or imprisoned in circumstances that by today's values we would not condone.

That's history. It's gone, learn from it and move on.

it's not really "gone" though if it's part of the living memory of some people. It's not like some massacre committed by conquering Romans.

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If Turing is the trickle that creates the waterfall, then so be it.

 

It is incredibly difficult to take a fifty year-old perspective and not be aghast at it. Hindsight and all that.

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So Timothy Evans was forgiven for something he didn't do?

 

I don't know the details of that pardon.  Clearly Evans did not kill anyone whereas Turning was homosexual - so the pardon can't be for the same reasons.

 

EDIT

Turns out Evans' family wanted his conviction quashed not a pardon as the pardon did not say he was innocent.

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fine he has a pardon  but really what good does it do .  the guy is dead  it wont bring him back  .

 

just another attempt to rewrite history 

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If someone receives a Royal Pardon, isn't it supposed to mean that they were not guilty of the offence they were convicted of?

 

Timothy Evans, who was hanged in the 1950s for murdering his wife and child, was granted a Royal Pardon when it became clear that he was innocent, and that the Rillington Place murders had been committed by John Christie.

 

Similarly, soldiers who were wrongly court martialled and executed in the FWW for cowardice should receive a Royal Pardon on the same basis.

 

There is another class of criminal offence that Turing and other gay people could be classified as, which are criminal acts that they committed that are later legalised. I'm sure there would be other criminal offences from the past that would also look barbaric to us today.

 

Turing was a genius and was treated appallingly. But then no doubt so were many others who were less intellectually able, and there were other famous people who were convicted of homosexual offences, including the actor John Gielgud.

 

Perhaps there should be a procedure whereby people convicted of crimes that are no longer criminal offences could have their guilt collectively annulled by a subsequent government decree.

 

A lot of people are confused about what this pardon actually means.

 

Firstly it does not mean that the person is now not guilty of the offence. Indeed, the statutory pardon for the 306 soldiers executed in the first world war expressly stated that the pardon did not affect either the conviction or even the validity of the sentence given.  The argument was that it was wrong to impugn the official decisions which led to the executions.  All that the Ministry of Defence did was, as an administrative act, to put a copy of the pardon on each executed soldier’s file.

 

What does a pardon do? It simply removes the consequences of the guilty verdict. In other words it removes the punishment.

 

A pardon is actually intended for the living not the dead. If you are in jail seving 10 years and you are pardoned after a year then you are set free from the punishment. You are still in the eyes of the law guily of the original offence.

 

It is therefore a VERY odd thing to pardon a person dead since 1954. I suspect as usual it a political stunt with the politicians banking on the public thinking it is a "jolly good thing" knowing that they won't have a clue what it actually means.

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fine he has a pardon  but really what good does it do .  the guy is dead  it wont bring him back  .

 

just another attempt to rewrite history 

How does it rewrite history?

We know what he achieved, what he contributed, what he endured and how he was treated.

In what way has that been altered?

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A lot of people are confused about what this pardon actually means.

 

Firstly it does not mean that the person is now not guilty of the offence. Indeed, the statutory pardon for the 306 soldiers executed in the first world war expressly stated that the pardon did not affect either the conviction or even the validity of the sentence given.  The argument was that it was wrong to impugn the official decisions which led to the executions.  All that the Ministry of Defence did was, as an administrative act, to put a copy of the pardon on each executed soldier’s file.

 

What does a pardon do? It simply removes the consequences of the guilty verdict. In other words it removes the punishment.

 

A pardon is actually intended for the living not the dead. If you are in jail seving 10 years and you are pardoned after a year then you are set free from the punishment. You are still in the eyes of the law guily of the original offence.

 

It is therefore a VERY odd thing to pardon a person dead since 1954. I suspect as usual it a political stunt with the politicians banking on the public thinking it is a "jolly good thing" knowing that they won't have a clue what it actually means.

Well said

If you are pardoned you are forgiven not exonerated

 

I think the problem arises because of the fact that homosexuality was illegal at the time and Turing was 'guilty' of it

Unlike cases where a person hasn't committed the crime, been found guilty and punished.

 

Imho it's good that atonement is being thought about and I believe it's called for and that it should apply to all gay men convicted of this 'offence'

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We also know that (especially) in the early fifties homosexuals were considered a security risk, given the Burgess and McLean affair involved gay men.  Turing allegedly committed suicide, but he was poisoned  with cyanide, tbh  I wouldn't have a clue where to get hold of any cyanide. There is a strong suspicion that he was assassinated by MI5 or MI6.  Given the revelations about what they were up to (undermining elected British and other governments) I wouldn't be in the least surprised.  

What a way to treat a man who more than many others actually made a positive contribution to our country. As has been said, his work shortened that war, and save thousands (possibly millions) of lives.  Pardon! We should be ashamed of ourselves.

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