Alan Turing Hub




Was Alan Turing Murdered By British Security Services?

Although Alan Turing — the famous British World War II codebreaker who helped thwart the Nazis and was later prosecuted for being gay — recently received a royal pardon for "gross indecency," British gay activist Peter Tatchell wants an inquiry into Turing's death, as he suspects that Turing may have been murdered by British security services rather than committed suicide as previously thought.

TurningAfter what Tatchell calls a "perfunctory and inadequate" inquest of Turing's death, Turing's cause of death was reportedly self-poisoning through ingestion of a cyanide-laced apple.

However, Tatchell says that during the homophobic and xenophobic political atmosphere of the 1950s "the security services would have been very fearful that Turing [and his gay life were] vulnerable to blackmail and anxious that he might pass information [regarding his 'expert knowledge of code breaking, advanced mathematics and computer science'] to the Soviets."

Tatchell adds that, "Although there is no evidence that Turing was murdered by state agents, the fact that this possibility has never been investigated is a major failing... A new inquiry is long overdue, even if only to dispel any doubts about the true cause of his death.”

Turing's punishment for "gross indecency" was to undergo chemical castration to diminish his sex drive — a hormone therapy that rendered him impotent and caused him to develop breasts. Nevertheless, Express.co.uk reports, "There was nothing in Turing’s final days to suggest he was in despair. He had left a note on his office desk the Friday before he died reminding himself of tasks to be done after the weekend."

Turing has experienced a recent resurgence in popularity. In addition to the royal pardon, the famed cryptoanalyst has also received a statue of himself in Paddington, London; an upcoming movie about his life as well as a petition to get him on the £10 note.


First Look: Benedict Cumberbatch as Gay Codebreaker Alan Turing in 'The Imitation Game'

Cumberbatch

In the wake of Alan Turing's royal pardon this week from the British government for his conviction for "gross indecency", Black Bear Pictures has released the first image of Benedict Cumberbatch as Turing in the forthcoming biopic The Imitation Game, The Wrap reports:

Cumberbatch stars as codebreaker and mathematician Turing, who was prosecuted for being homosexual and eventually committed suicide via cyanide poisoning.

Keira Knightley co-stars alongside Matthew Goode, Mark Strong and Charles Dance. Morten Tyldum (“Headhunters”) directed from Graham Moore’s script, which topped the 2011 Black List.

In addition to producers Teddy Schwarzman, Nora Grossman and Ido Ostrowsky, the project boasts a top notch below-the-line team including Oscar-winning editor William Goldenberg (“Argo”), composer Clint Mansell (“Black Swan”), cinematographer Oscar Faura (“The Impossible”) and production designer Maria Djurkovic (“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”).

Said Justice Secretary Chris Grayling, announcing the pardon: "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."


UK Codebreaker Alan Turing Receives Royal Pardon

Nearly six decades after he took his own life following a conviction of "gross indecency" for being a homosexual, the famed World War II codebreaker Alan Turing has finally been granted a royal pardon by the UK government. The Guardian reports:

Alan TuringTuring was considered to be the father of modern computer science and was most famous for his work in helping to create the "bombe" that cracked messages enciphered with the German Enigma machines. He was convicted of gross indecency in 1952 after admitting a sexual relationship with a man.

He was given experimental chemical castration as a "treatment". His criminal record resulted in the loss of his security clearance and meant he was no longer able to work for Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), where he had been employed following service at Bletchley Park during the war. He died of cyanide poisoning in 1954, aged 41.

Announcing the pardon, [justice secretary Chris] 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."


Alan Turing Likely To Receive Pardon This Year

British Parliament will very likely issue a pardon to pioneering mathematician Alan Turing - almost 60 years after his death.

AlanturingThe Guardian reports:

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."

In the past, many notable have called for a posthumous pardon for Turing, including Stephen Hawking.

Watch a BBC video of the Parliamentary debate of the pardon last week, AFTER THE JUMP.

Continue reading "Alan Turing Likely To Receive Pardon This Year" »


New Sculpture of Alan Turing on Display: PHOTO

Turing
(wynn abbott - instagram)

A new sculpture of Alan Turing has been put on display in Paddington, London.

During World War II, Alan Turing, who is known as the father of modern computing, devised the Turing Bombe, a codebreaking device that was used to decipher the Nazi enigma codes, up to 3,000 messages per day. He was also gay, and two years after being convicted of "gross indecency" for being homosexual and sentenced to undergo hormone therapy, he killed himself with a cyanide-laced apple.

Activists and lawmakers are still working to get an official pardon for Turing's conviction from the British government.

Pink News reports:

The two-dimensional sculpture appeared near St Mary’s, Paddington, alongside sculptures of fellow local heroes, famous nurse Mary Seacole and Paddington Bear author Michael Bond.

The sculptures are part of the Portrait Bench series by Sustrans, transport charity, which installs the sculptures, as voted for by local residents. The sculptures are made from Corten steel, the same as the Angel of the North, and will eventually rust to give a more organic look.


Stephen Hawking, Fellow Scientists Call for Pardon of Gay UK Codebreaker Alan Turing

Professor Stephen Hawking and a long list of scientists have joined the chorus of voices calling for an official pardon of Enigma codebreaker Alan Turing, in a letter to the UK's Telegraph:

TuringWe write in support of a posthumous pardon for Alan Turing, one of the most brilliant mathematicians of the modern era. He lead the team of Enigma codebreakers 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 formally to forgive this British hero, to whom we owe so much as a nation, and whose pioneering contribution to computer sciences remains relevant even today. To those who seek to block attempts to secure a pardon with the argument that this would set a precedent, we would answer that Turing’s achievements are sui generis. It is time his reputation was unblemished.

Lord Currie of Marylebone
Lord Grade of Yarmouth
Lord Faulkner or Worcester
Lord Rees of Ludlow
Astronomer Royal
Lord Sharkey
Lord Smith of Finsbury
Baroness Trumpington
Sir Timothy Gowers
Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics, Cambridge University
Dr Douglas Gurr
Chairman, Science Museum Group
Professor Stephen Hawking
Sir Paul Nurse
President, the Royal Society

During World War II, Alan Turing, who is known as the father of modern computing, devised the Turing Bombe, a codebreaking device that was used to decipher the Nazi enigma codes, up to 3,000 messages per day. He was also gay, and two years after being convicted of "gross indecency" for being homosexual and sentenced to undergo hormone therapy, he killed himself with a cyanide-laced apple.


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