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WikiLeaks To Ship Servers To Micronation of Sealand? 350

Posted by samzenpus
from the crossing-the-line dept.
Velcroman1 writes "Julian Assange's investors are in the process of purchasing a boat to move WikiLeaks servers offshore in an attempt to evade prosecution from U.S. law enforcement, FoxNews.com has learned. Multiple sources within the hacker community with knowledge of day-to-day WikiLeaks activities say Assange's financial backers have been working behind the scenes on the logistics of moving the servers to international waters. One possible location: the Principality of Sealand, a rusty, World War II-era, former anti-aircraft platform off the coast of England in the North Sea. Based on a 1968 British court ruling that the facility is outside the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom, Sealand's owner has declared the facility a sovereign state, or 'micro-nation.'"
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WikiLeaks To Ship Servers To Micronation of Sealand?

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  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @01:28PM (#38879143) Journal

    A nation by definition must have territory. No interpretation of International Law I've ever seen allows a steel man-made structure to be considered territory. Thus Sealand, whatever it may be, is not a nation, and thus while it may not be within Britain's sovereignty, if the Royal Navy decided tomorrow to blockade it or sink it, there is no lawful means by which the owner could hope to prevent it, save by appealing to a British court, which means the owner recognizes the sovereignty of Britain.

  • by snowgirl (978879) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @01:54PM (#38879427) Journal

    If I remember my Sealand history correctly, a couple guys with a boat and some small arms almost did overtake it.

    Indeed, Achenbach a German citizen also carrying a Sealand passport hired some mercenaries and assaulted the platform with a few boats and a helicopter.

    Later, the original monarch recovered the platform, and since he carried a Sealand passport, they charged Achenbach with treason.

  • by drnb (2434720) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @02:27PM (#38879827)

    HOWEVER...

    a long tradition of operating pirate radios has been to do it from a vessel on international waters.

    Such a ship has no physical contraband to seize and they are merely violating local broadcasting regulations. Possessing "stolen" diplomatic messages ups the controversy to espionage, the later being something that might give a naval vessel in international waters the authority to board and search.

    If you are beyond territorial waters and flying no flag to avoid legal responsibilities you must accept the risk that you also have far less legal protection.

  • by snowgirl (978879) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @02:33PM (#38879895) Journal

    No one that counts recognizes Sealand's sovereignty. It is within the UK's territorial waters, it belongs to the UK.

    Cool, what court case do you have to substantiate this position? Because there are already two UK court cases that explicitly disclaim Sealand as being under UK jurisdiction...

    I understand that no one has made any positive recognition of Sealand's sovereignty, but it has acted with de facto sovereignty for a number of years already now, and modern international law does not require anyone's recognition of your sovereignty.

    Sealand has fallen through a weird legal crack, that the UK could easily pave over at any moment, but until that time, Sealand is best described as an unrecognized sovereign territory.

  • by snowgirl (978879) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @02:51PM (#38880107) Journal

    The legislative conditions that created that stemmed from a time when the UK's territorial waters only extended 3 miles beyond the coast. This is no longer the case, so while it was not within their jurisdiction at the time it would be today.

    Agreed, if Sealand were to attempt to construct its sovereignty now, it would fail, because the territory would already be under the jurisdiction of the UK.

    However, Sealand constructed its sovereignty when it was not UK territory, and thus has rights to establish its own sovereignty.

    One could argue that when the UK extended its territorial waters from 6 miles to 12 miles, that it annexed Sealand, and Sealand is now properly territory of the UK, however this has not been established by any legal rulings, and the UK continues to not assert any jurisdiction over the territory, while Sealand continues to operate with de facto sovereignty.

  • by krlynch (158571) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @02:58PM (#38880183) Homepage

    Contrary to popular belief, diplomatic missions do not enjoy full extraterritorial status and are not sovereign territory of the represented state.[5][6] Rather, the premises of diplomatic missions remain under the jurisdiction of the host state while being afforded special privileges (such as immunity from most local laws) by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diplomatic_mission [wikipedia.org]

  • by Americano (920576) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @06:06PM (#38882727)

    The answer given by GP poster is entirely correct. The technical term for it is "foreign establishment." The US was leased Guantanamo in perpetuity under the Cuban American Treaty of 1903, as part of the overall negotiations involving the removal of troops from Cuba after the conclusion of the Spanish-American War, and leading to recognition of Cuban independence by the US. The US was granted complete control over the area defined by the treaty, but the territory is ultimately acknowledged as sovereign territory of Cuba.

    The treaty was signed long before the current government of Cuba came to power. If they want the US military out of the territory, they have 2 options:
    1) Negotiate a new treaty whose terms include a peaceful withdrawal of the US from the leased territory in such a way that re-establishes Cuban jurisdiction over the territory;
    2) Declare war and evict the US military through force of arms.

    Number 1 is difficult when you have no official diplomatic relations under which to initiate negotiations; Number 2 is pretty much impossible for a small, fairly poor island nation 115 miles off the coast of the US.

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