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Alan Turing pardoned


Zombie

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Alan Turing has been granted a Royal Pardon for his conviction for homosexual acts [technically it was called "gross indecency"]

I'm in two minds about this. On the one hand I'm sure it will be some comfort to his descendants to have the state cancel out the criminal conviction of a man who is rightly revered as a brilliant mathematician whose vital Enigma code-breaking work undoubtedly shortened WW2 and who is seen as the father of modern computing. On the other hand it's important that history remembers the shocking ingratitude shown by his country for the crucial work he did which shortened the war and saved countless lives, and for choosing instead to disgrace him and subject him to chemical castration for doing nothing more than express his love for another man. The historical record must not be altered or changed to airbrush this injustice from history.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/world-war-two/10536246/Alan-Turing-granted-Royal-pardon-by-the-Queen.html

More details in this archived thread
https://www.gayauthors.org/forums/topic/35030-alan-turing/

Edited by Zombie
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It's great news that Turing has been pardoned.  He is a true national hero for Britain and deserves recognition for his services.

 

How many hundreds (thousands?) of Britons have been found guilty of homosexuality?  Pardons for all of them would be an even greater tribute to Turing and a tribute to the British sense of justice.

Edited by MikeL
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I always wonder about the concept of pardons; does really invalidate the original sentence of guilt? or does it merely give an exception to the ruling of law?

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It's great news that Turing has been pardoned.  He is a true national hero for Britain and deserves recognition for his services.

 

How many hundreds (thousands?) of Britons have been found guilty of homosexuality.  Pardons for all of them would be an even greater tribute to Turing and a tribute to the British sense of justice.

 

Mike is right. The logic is unassailable.

 

To answer the question I believe it's around 50,000, many of whom are still alive.

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I read of this on the NBC news website and then went and looked at the report on the BBC site as well.  I then turned to this forum and saw the topic had already been posted.  Mr. Turing was certainly one of the most accomplished persons of the twentieth century.

 

While we lament that this man was driven to suicide as a result of the conviction for a 'crime' under the mores of the day, we have to realize we live in an imperfect world that changes more slowly than we like at times and too fast at others.  In many ways we have the advantage of 59 years of hindsight.  In other ways we are still blind to present day short-comings.   

 

After reading the various articles, it does seem that the pardon was deemed important and therefore commendable.  That only three such 'mercy pardons' have been granted since 1945 says something about its importance as well.  

 

While we can't change the past, it is important that we learn from it and that the lesson is not forgotten.

 

As to the wholesale, pardoning of all those convicted of homosexuality, that is beyond the scope of the crown and perhaps would be more the province of Parliament.   I suspect that at least some were convicted of more than just being homosexual but also aggravating crimes as well including child molestation, rape, and other assorted crimes which are still criminal offences. 

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when i heard this on the radio this morning, i was a bit like Zombie, in two minds. part of me goes, great, at least they recognised that they were wrong, and the rest of me goes well, it's not like it makes a jot of difference to him now he's dead. Also i wish they'd stop saying he committed suicide, there is no evidence of this and there is evidence that he was pretty happy and it was a chemical mistake/mix up.

 

also, i can't help but feel this is some bid by The Crown to show they accept homosexuals without coming right out and saying it. which if it is true, is pretty weak of them.

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Unfortunately, it's too little, too late.  The man should have been honored for his accomplishments, but instead he was persecuted for his sexual orientation.  Although it may ease the conscious of the government and give a modicum of justice to his relatives, it does nothing for him.  The man died humiliated, when he should have been basking in the accolades of his contemporaries. 

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From what I read, he was so unassuming that he didn't crave the accolades, he just wanted to do his work and when he lost his security clearance he was denied doing anything meaningful thereafter.  That is the pity as he was really gifted.  While it is true that there is some controversy as to whether it was a suicide, there was evidence of cyanide causing death.  

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Its more than to just say its an accomplishment ... he's considered the father of computing ... we all on this planet enjoy the creation of computing he pioneered although its a byproduct because breaking the code was the military concern in turning around the wolfpack submarine warfare around in the good guys favor.

 

If computing were to be deem a military asset then perhaps computing for the public could have been delayed for all. We wouldn't know Alan accomplishments until it was declassified while publicly we would know he paid the for being gay.

 

I wonder if Oscar Wilde is counted in the 50,000 but it shows that gov't hasn't changed for generations.

 

If they were to keep their gay matters private then they could survive better in the UK than the USA. There is a price to pay for all to gain the right to be openly gay. A Pardon doesn't really undo the personal injustice, he's not alive to receiving its blessings. It seems its only we the public is just receiving the sign that we all can be gay openly or closeted without being persecuted.

 

The royalty gave a bw press release that is a cheap way of saying sorry.

 

If the UK gov't would publicly produce a pay homage event to Alan or donate 10 million to a charity in Alan name or put in place a law that helps improve the quality of life ... then it would make many feel much better about seeing if gov't cares about clearing up the bad history they have with its people. 

 

I also wonder how many ppl had to petition and make the case to royalty to even consider pardoning Alan. Was Oscar ever pardon? If they were to pardon each and every of the 50K to one million without being petitioned about it. How would we feel about it?

 

The pardon is the product of years of campaigning by the LGBT community, along with prominent scientists such as Stephen Hawking. Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown in September urged "this recognition of Alan's status as one of Britain's most famous victims of homophobia (as) another step towards equality, and long overdue." 
But the royal act raises discomfiting  questions about what a pardon means, coming six decades late. Can it wipe the slate clean? Or is it, as Lanier says, "nothing but dust and posturing"? The question boils down to whether a society learns anything from the embarrassment of righting a wrong after six decades. Given the hypocritical treatment still imposed by society today on disadvantaged communities--LGBT, black, Latino, poor--what pardons will we be asking posterity to grant us?
 
 

 

 

Edited by hh5
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there are a lot of people who got their reputations and lives ruined because of their sexual orientation which was abhorent in not just the eyes of the people but the eyes of law... unfortuntately there are those in this world still who will see this as a sin, and will not appreciate him being pardon, who will not see the genious but the orientation.

Mostly however people won't care and won't know who he is.... i mean people know Einstien, far fewer people know Robert Oppenheimer, how many people Know David Bohm...

...

how many people know James Baldwin (not the modern Actor), Jane Adams, Karen Boye, Roger Quitler, Richard Halliburton, Anton Walbrook... just to name a few moderately famous dead Gay/bi/lesbian people.... i didn't until i looked them up.

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There is one, Roger Quitler, and half the boys of my generation known him thru "The Ash Grove" and Arnold Book of Old Songs, but like me, did not know anything more about him. 

 

The Arnold Book of old songs, and The Ash Grove was the standard songs book you had to learn.

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When I studied computing I only heard of him not his orientation, lol

there are a lot of people who got their reputations and lives ruined because of their sexual orientation which was abhorent in not just the eyes of the people but the eyes of law... unfortuntately there are those in this world still who will see this as a sin, and will not appreciate him being pardon, who will not see the genious but the orientation.

Mostly however people won't care and won't know who he is.... i mean people know Einstien, far fewer people know Robert Oppenheimer, how many people Know David Bohm...

...

how many people know James Baldwin (not the modern Actor), Jane Adams, Karen Boye, Roger Quitler, Richard Halliburton, Anton Walbrook... just to name a few moderately famous dead Gay/bi/lesbian people.... i didn't until i looked them up.

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Did they return the poor man's balls?

 

The horrible thing about chemical castration is the side effects. In Alan Turing's case although he kept his balls he grew breasts because of it :(

 

Just to clear up a few points. My first post was wrong - the pardon doesn't "cancel out the criminal conviction", it is forgiveness of the crime and cancellation of the penalty, so the historical record won't be "altered or changed to airbrush this injustice from history" :)

 

Also, it derives from the prerogative of mercy. It used to be the absolute power of the monarch but now it's granted by the government as a derogated power, mindful of public opinion. It is very rare. So the Queen had nothing to do with the decision - all she did was sign off as Head of State the bit of paper shoved under her nose by some greasy government oik :P

 

Obviously this has been timed to mark the 60th anniversary of his death. I guess there'll be a lot of stuff on the telly this year to celebrate his achievements.

 

Unfortunately, it's too little, too late.  The man should have been honored for his accomplishments, but instead he was persecuted for his sexual orientation.  Although it may ease the conscious of the government and give a modicum of justice to his relatives, it does nothing for him.  The man died humiliated, when he should have been basking in the accolades of his contemporaries. 

 

You need to understand that all the people involved were sworn to secrecy, and they kept that secret - for decades. The wartime codebreaking work was not declassified until the late 1970s so none of these people or their achievements were known or recognised until the 1980s when they began to talk about it, so accolades were never an option. I know this because I had an elderly relative who only spoke about her work at Bletchley Park when she was finally satisfied she could talk about it :)

 

It was so secret that Churchill ordered that the Colossus computers plus all records designs and plans - remember these were the first ever programmable electronic digital computers which were used to automate part of the codebreaking process from February 1944 - should be destroyed at the end of WW2 to preserve their secrets, and hugely valuable computer knowledge and skills were lost because of this and the dispersal of the team who mostly went back to their old jobs. Two computers did in fact survive at what became GCHQ and continued to be used after the war - slyly, Britain sold encryption  machines to other governments and then used the Colossus computers to decypher them :lol:

 

Geeks may be interested to know some of the team that built the Colossus computers completed a fully functioning replica based on original notes, their recollections and authentic parts in 2007 and it can be seen at the National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park :)

 

320px-ColossusRebuild_11.jpg

 

320px-ColossusRebuild_12.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

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maybe by 2085 Oscar Wilde will be pardon on his 200 anniversary??

 

 

Is a Pardon Due for Oscar Wilde?

http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/25171

Wilde was prosecuted for 'offences against public decency' for his relationship with Lord Alfred Douglas, and imprisoned for two years hard labor. 
 
Like the case of Alan Turing, another British icon who was convicted of indecency, there has been an effort to petition the British government for a posthumous pardon. This past summer the British government indicated it would be moving forward to finally grant a pardon for Turing, but not for the 49,000 other gay men, including Wilde, who were convicted under the 1885 Criminal Law Amendment Act.
 
An epetition was created for Wilde's pardon in 2012, but it fizzled out. 

 

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maybe by 2085 Oscar Wilde will be pardon on his 200 anniversary??

 

No, it's not the same. OW's conviction was really a tragedy of his own making. It was OW who decided to start legal action against the Marquess of Queensberry [his lover's dad] to have him prosecuted for criminal libel for making allegations about OW's homosexuality. The problem is these allegations were true. Wilde obviously did this to try and protect his reputation but it meant he was being dishonest in using the law this way. During the trial evidence was then produced that confirmed Queensberry's allegations and because of this charges were then brought against OW and the rest we know. If OW had just kept his head down then probably nothing would have happened. It's very sad but that's what happened.

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