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WikiLeaks To Ship Servers To Micronation of Sealand?

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the crossing-the-line dept.

Censorship 350

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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Wow, does that PR stunt even work anymore? (5, Interesting)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879103)

This has never worked, would never work, and could never work. And it was a PR stunt when Pirate Bay said [theregister.co.uk] they were going to do it, it was a PR stunt when HavenCo [wikipedia.org] was founded, and I can't believe anyone thinks anyone still buys it. Hell, even the batshit-crazy Sealand founder [wikipedia.org] and his family long ago abandoned their "country" and HavenCo collapsed in 2008. It's also been pretty much abandoned since a fire in 2006 (amusingly forcing the few "independent" countrymen left to cry for a rescue from the British Air Force). The facility has a single generator left and living facilities for one person. There is no way to get fresh water on its own. And there are DAMN SURE no internet trunk lines there.

Re:Wow, does that PR stunt even work anymore? (5, Informative)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879143)

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.

Re:Wow, does that PR stunt even work anymore? (5, Interesting)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879249)

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.

And Monte Carlo has no judges of its own, and all of its judges are supplied by the French... stick to the "it has no territory" argument, it holds far better water than any other "it has no XY"...

Re:Wow, does that PR stunt even work anymore? (3, Insightful)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879459)

TFA states, saliently, that where the data resides does not determine jurisdiction anyway.

The advantage of this Sealand "strategy", if there even is one, is that the servers are removed from within the borders of a country which might choose to comply with pressure from the United States to shut an ISP down.

It does nothing to stop said government from influencing the provider of traffic to Sealand - whomever owns the dish communicating with it, for example, whomever owns the building on which it is mounted, whomever in the UK is providing the service. It does nothing to stop the ability to prosecute the people who are breaking the laws involved.

It doesn't move them out of reach, it just adds an extra step or two to takedown.

Makes takedown far easier ... (2)

drnb (2434720) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879671)

It doesn't move them out of reach, it just adds an extra step or two to takedown.

A takedown would actually seem to be far easier. The site could be treated as a vessel engaged in criminal activity on the high seas and an naval vessel could board it, search it and confiscate contraband.

It would seem that in reality they have removed the required legal steps for a takedown.

Re:Makes takedown far easier ... (2)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879693)

It doesn't move them out of reach, it just adds an extra step or two to takedown.

A takedown would actually seem to be far easier. The site could be treated as a vessel engaged in criminal activity on the high seas and an naval vessel could board it, search it and confiscate contraband.

It would seem that in reality they have removed the required legal steps for a takedown.

If you don't recognize Sealand's sovereignty then it is well within the UK's territorial waters, so it's not "a vessel engaged in criminal activity on the high seas".

Re:Makes takedown far easier ... (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879787)

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

Re:Makes takedown far easier ... (5, Informative)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879895)

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.

Re:Makes takedown far easier ... (3, Interesting)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879925)

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.

Re:Makes takedown far easier ... (2)

PRMan (959735) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879955)

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.

And as such, if you thought the US beat Iraq easily in the first Iraq war, just wait until you see what they can do in this one.

Re:Makes takedown far easier ... (1, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879973)

Sealand is 6 miles away from the coast of the UK, and thus lies within the UK's territorial waters. It is UK territory and best described as such.

Re:Wow, does that PR stunt even work anymore? (5, Insightful)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879753)

" It does nothing to stop the ability to prosecute the people who are breaking the laws involved."

Personally, I don't recognize that Wikileaks is breaking any laws. I'm an American, and a veteran of the US Armed Forces. But that doesn't blind me to the fact that Corporate America has been throwing their weight around, using their bought congressmen to bully the rest of the world into submission.

Wikileaks has violated no reasonable law.

Re:Wow, does that PR stunt even work anymore? (2)

kiwimate (458274) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879763)

Monte Carlo is an administrative area of the Principality of Monaco. It's not a nation.

Re:Wow, does that PR stunt even work anymore? (2)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879363)

A nation by definition must have territory.

A nation, in practice, needs nothing more than no one with sufficient force to apply objecting to its exercise of sovereign authority.

In theory, the key thing is the recognition of soveriegnty by other nations.

No interpretation of International Law I've ever seen allows a steel man-made structure to be considered territory.

Every reasonable interpretation of international law allows plenty of man-made structures (independently of their construction material) to be considered soveriegn territory of nations.

Re:Wow, does that PR stunt even work anymore? (-1, Troll)

kiwimate (458274) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879569)

Given that you can't construct a coherent sentence, it's probably not surprising that you also can't parse one.

Re:Wow, does that PR stunt even work anymore? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879837)

Can you show me any decision in domestic courts or international tribunals that recognizes man-made structures as extensions of territory? We have disputes about whether even building up islands against natural erosion as legitimate territorial claims, and you think some fucking derrick well within UK territorial waters that has no recognition from anyone other than a few crackpots who printed up some faux passports somehow constitutes a legitimate claim of sovereignty? They can't even decide on the ultimate fate of Western Sahara, and you think there's some reasonable interpretation of International Law that allows a completely man-made structure to be seen as territory?

Re:Wow, does that PR stunt even work anymore? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879433)

HOWEVER...

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

Re:Wow, does that PR stunt even work anymore? (3, Informative)

drnb (2434720) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Wow, does that PR stunt even work anymore? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38879479)

A few island nations scared of global warming might beg to differ.

I find it amusing that Americans could be so fearful of a couple of guys thousands of miles away marooned on a platform in the ocean.

Re:Wow, does that PR stunt even work anymore? (0)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879521)

Sounds like you need to do more reading.

Re:Wow, does that PR stunt even work anymore? (1)

jimbolauski (882977) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879745)

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.

If SeaLand is not a territory then must be a ship (sea vessel), sinking, destroying, and or boarding said ship would be considered an act of piracy. As a ship SeaLand would have to find a nation and fly it's flag and would be protected by that nation. I'm sure certain nations would be glad to stick it to their neighbors up north and might even agree to allow a communication cable to SeaLand which would be protected by treaties. The big problem and cost would be power and supplies. I am unfamiliar with maritime law so a blockade may not violate any international treaties and there would be nothing SeaLand could do to stop it.

Re:Wow, does that PR stunt even work anymore? (1)

scubamage (727538) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879761)

The interesting thing about law is it changes over time.

Re:Wow, does that PR stunt even work anymore? (3, Insightful)

sohmc (595388) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879805)

Territory can be anything. You have to be able to defend your territory from other nation states, terrorists, etc.

Put it this way: The only reason the POTUS can be president is not because the Constitution says so. It's because the force and might of the US Armed Forces that protects the Constitution gives the POTUS power. I can say I'm the President but without the military, I'm just some lunatic.

Whether Sealand is "officially recognized" is not the point. They must be able to defend themselves from usurpers, much like the US did during the revolution. And they must be able to continually do so, less they become like some African nation that is constantly in civil unrest.

Re:Wow, does that PR stunt even work anymore? (1)

Expertus (1001346) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879829)

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.

perhaps a simple matter of semantics, but does one necessarily follow the other?
That is to say (and, please forgive my ignorance on the matter), I assume that non-British citizens can petition the court and do have some standing to sue (just as non-citizens can be sued by the British court) to redress some wrong.

If that is the case, does asking the British courts to issue an injunction against the British Navy necessitate a recognition of sovereignty?

and if such a request of the court does imply such a recognition, where is the line drawn? Can the United States, or Mexico, or China ask the British government to refrain from blowing up their stuff without such a recognition?

and to where would the recognition apply? Do we acknowledge that the British possess total sovereignty (of all it surveys), or simply sovereignty over its own Navy, or would it be sovereignty over the requesting nation?

And What Defenses Does It Have? (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879171)

To add to your doubt, the wikipedia article for Sealand makes it sounds like a couple guys with a boat and some small arms could over take it ... so, uh, you're moving your servers to a defenseless island? Where no other nation recognizes you? Where no one will come to your aid if someone decides to just blow you out of the water? And you're planning on hosting what? Oh, sensitive information about the United States government that they consider to be a threat to national security? Yeah, good luck with that. The US will take out anybody in Pakistan (or a number of other countries) in the middle of the night if they want to, I highly doubt they'd be worried about slapping some thermite to some servers out in the middle of the ocean and calling it a day -- which government would they worry about upsetting if they did so?

Re:And What Defenses Does It Have? (1)

JeanCroix (99825) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879255)

To add to your doubt, the wikipedia article for Sealand makes it sounds like a couple guys with a boat and some small arms could over take it ...

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

Re:And What Defenses Does It Have? (4, Informative)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879427)

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.

Re:And What Defenses Does It Have? (3, Interesting)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879413)

which government would they worry about upsetting if they did so?

The UK government. Sealand did not fall within the territorial waters of the UK before, but now it does. As such, if Sealand were not recognized as a sovereign nation, then it would be UK territory.

I highly doubt that the British would take kindly to us singing a large-ish structure in their territorial waters.

Re:And What Defenses Does It Have? (1)

jbeaupre (752124) | more than 2 years ago | (#38880005)

I highly doubt that the British would take kindly to us singing a large-ish structure in their territorial waters.

At least not without proper payments to BMI.

Re:And What Defenses Does It Have? (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879727)

can you really blame them for wanting to try?

I doubt the US govt. could swallow the PR of blowing sea-land up. I hate to say it, but public empathy towards white European extreme liberals is much greater than Muslim empathy.

Re:And What Defenses Does It Have? (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879927)

This. The way I see it, Sealand may not be in the jurisdiction of UK, but it sure as hell is in the "jurisdiction" of RAF and Royal Navy. And is there any doubt that, should US ask, UK will be happy to oblige?

Bank of America more likely to take it out ... (1)

drnb (2434720) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879963)

Oh, sensitive information about the United States government that they consider to be a threat to national security? Yeah, good luck with that. The US will take out anybody in Pakistan (or a number of other countries) in the middle of the night if they want to, I highly doubt they'd be worried about slapping some thermite to some servers out in the middle of the ocean and calling it a day -- which government would they worry about upsetting if they did so?

A far more likely scenario is that some Bank of America middle managers who want to win favor from upper management will land on the island, shove the occupant aside, unplug the servers and toss them into the ocean.

Re:Wow, does that PR stunt even work anymore? (5, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879403)

It's also not in international waters in any meaningful sense. The British have pretty much let it be so far because it's basically harmless, but if they start posting embarrassing secrets about the US government from there, you can bet the US will put pressure on the UK to re-assert its territorial rights over it.

The only real way they could get into international waters these days would be to be mobile in the middle of the Pacific ocean. Even then, if they started putting out information the US considered truly dangerous, it would only be a matter of time before their floating fortress was "accidentally" sent to the bottom of the sea by a wayward torpedo.

This whole idea is a fantasy, of course. The only way to be safe from the US shutting it down would be to host it in a country willing to stand up against the US to protect it. I don't think there are very many countries on that list.

Re:Wow, does that PR stunt even work anymore? (4, Insightful)

demachina (71715) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879577)

"I don't think there are very many countries on that list."

Russia and China almost certainly would be on the list if Wikileaks would confine itself to only embarassing the U.S. But doing that you are trading an increasingly dictatorial police state(the U.S.) for a couple that have been there for a while. I seem to recall Putin was fairly delighted with all the state department cable leaks for exposing how duplicitous the U.S. and its allies are.

But, I think Wikileaks is an equal opportunity embarasser of repressive states so I doubt they would partner with Russia or China.

The real problem is you need a country that is willing to stand up to the U.S. AND isn't heading towards repressive police state itself and THOSE are sadly somewhere between vanishingly rare and non existent.

Re:Wow, does that PR stunt even work anymore? (4, Funny)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879985)

Well then, the thing to do is to have two versions of Wikileaks. One that only publishes things not about China, and is hosted in China, one that only publishes things about China, and is hosted in the USA...

Re:Wow, does that PR stunt even work anymore? (1)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879601)

This whole idea is a fantasy, of course. The only way to be safe from the US shutting it down would be to host it in a country willing to stand up against the US to protect it. I don't think there are very many countries on that list.

Not true! There's a substantial list of countries on that list. It's just that most of them have a lot less sympathy to the Wikileaks cause than even the US does. The Iranians, North Koreans, Chinese, or any of a number of other countries have sufficiently poor relations with the US that they'd love to host secret and possibly embarrassing US documents. Assuming that Assange and company are quite clear on the fact that nothing the host country does is to be subject to the least negative scrutiny or leaking.

There's plenty of countries willing to stand up to the US, but few if any of those are any more (indeed often far less) willing to accept the idea that anything and everything is subject to full disclosure.

Re:Wow, does that PR stunt even work anymore? (1)

RenderSeven (938535) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879709)

The only way to be safe from the US shutting it down would be to host it in a country willing to stand up against the US to protect it. I don't think there are very many countries on that list.

There are plenty. Iran, North Korea, China to name a few. Except they all take a very dim view of free unrestricted information. Wikileaks cant exist without the *relatively* unfettered access to the internet provided by the Western nations they want to expose. Ahh sweet irony.

Iran? (1)

Quila (201335) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879881)

The only way to be safe from the US shutting it down would be to host it in a country willing to stand up against the US to protect it. I don't think there are very many countries on that list.

Iran would gladly host that information. However, WikiLeaks would have to stick to anti-Western information. If anything embarrassing to the Iranian government gets posted, then anybody in Iran associated with WikiLeaks would be strung up after a quick show trial.

I know, dual WikiLeaks. WikiLeaksEast, WikiLeaksWest. The one in the West only publishes info about the East, and vice versa. The US would likely claim "First Amendment" if dirt on Iran were dished within our jurisdiction and Iran demanded it be taken down. Iran would claim interference by the Great Satan if the US claimed likewise.

Re:Wow, does that PR stunt even work anymore? (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879467)

FYI, Wikipedia says that The Pirate Bay was actually going to go through with it, but the deal fell through.

Uh Oh (1)

rotorbudd (1242864) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879133)

? "Torpedo's away"?

Re:Uh Oh (2)

sycodon (149926) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879205)

This whole deal is starting to sound like a Monty Python skit.

Re:Uh Oh - Serving from a different kind of Cloud (1)

riondluz (726831) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879777)

Hi

If not a Monty Python skit, then maybe closer to
this fantastically dark and over the top peek into the relm of the implausible:

The American Way(1986) (aka Riders on the Storm)
http://articles.latimes.com/1988/may/13 [latimes.com]
      May 13, 1988|MICHAEL WILMINGTON

      "Riders of the Storm" (selected theaters) is a surprise: a little ragged blast of a science-fiction film that packs more energy and ideas in its shots than many pictures twice its size. It won't be to everyone's taste; some will
      find it either crude, misogynistic or tasteless. There are lots of script problems and stereotypes; some of this movie is quite bad.

  But the best of it has an almost raving, full-throttle comic intensity, like a "Saturday Night Live" sketch suddenly taken over by genuine maniacs.

[snip]

      It's one of those overheated, hyper-intense films--crazy, tasteless, but daring--that almost seems to be blowing apart at the seams: political satire-fantasy with an edge. In the movie, Dennis Hopper and a Strangelove-ian planeload of counter-culture Vietnam veterans run the ultimate outlaw TV station from a bomber in the sky. Their name is S & M TV, their logo is a goony cartoon eagle with a bomb in its talons, and their programming philosophy seems derived from MTV, Wolfman Jack, New York's Ugly George and Abbie Hoffman. They bombard the airwaves with rock 'n' roll videos and terrorize evangelical broadcasts and news programs with unannounced incursions of sex and violence

www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL10C98154240E4B11
www.youtube.com/watch?v=qebqNtHe5Ng
www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6HnWLo4rt8

Re:Uh Oh (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879227)

No... "Lost at Sea".
Unscheduled travel "got in the way" of some War Games.
Knowing the boat was filled with valuable servers it got taken over by pirates and looted.

Moving servers, you mean physically, seriously? (4, Insightful)

John.P.Jones (601028) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879155)

In this day of age of virtualization, cloud deployments and the like the idea of moving servers offshore being equivalent to physically moving boxes across the ocean seems absurd. You setup some new machines at the new location, sync the data across this thing called the Internet, flip a switch and then wipe the old boxes and sell off the hardware (if you ever owned it to begin with).

Re:Moving servers, you mean physically, seriously? (2)

ForgedArtificer (1777038) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879207)

It's already mirrored in multiple locations anyway. Even if the servers are seized, the information's not going anywhere, and they must know it.

Re:Moving servers, you mean physically, seriously? (3, Insightful)

SethJohnson (112166) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879279)

Uhhh, but then you don't get to buy a boat to do the moving. Your suggestion interferes as much with the original goal as renting a boat. Or paying a shipping company to move the servers. These are all dead-end approaches that fail to result in someone writing off a boat purchase on her taxes and then getting to sail the boat around for the purpose of 'helping' WikiLeaks move servers.

Seth

Jurisdiction? (3, Insightful)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879165)

Anybody actually think that would stop the bombs and bullets? Please! It would only suffer the same fate as Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Vietnam, Philippines, etc etc etc.

All disks on one platform (2)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879197)

One fatal flaw. Easily declared an enemy combatant and easily bombed.

Re:All disks on one platform (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879229)

Don't need to bomb it. It's a tiny man-made structure in the sea. A couple of cruisers could blockade it. Without food, fuel and freshwater, Sealand would be done in a few weeks. The thing was always a fiction, all this would do is force to the British government to finally do something about it.

Re:All disks on one platform (1)

Malties (1942112) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879345)

A couple of cruisers! Hell, a cutter circling it for a couple of days could do the same thing. Who would be interested in "running the blockade" to bring fuel for the generators or food?

Re:All disks on one platform (1)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879373)

A rubber dinghys and a rifle could blockade it.

FTFY

Re:All disks on one platform (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38879291)

That was the first thing I was thinking when I read this: "Sweet! Now we'll finally get conclusive proof of how well big talk, handwavey interpretations of international law, and the hard realities of a complete lack of resources needed for internet server hosting stand up against one 'accident' with a strategically-aimed torpedo!!"

Re:All disks on one platform (1)

KhabaLox (1906148) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879367)

To be fair, that flaw exists under the current model too. Hell, it exists under *any* model.

Re:All disks on one platform (2)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879765)

Well, unless you are an American in America or abroad (which the US can now bomb at will) or a foreigner in a war zone, you cannot be bombed without there being diplomatic repercussions.

But my point was even more subtle than that. One predator drone has enough firepower to take out the computing infrastructure. It is also easily boarded. Without UN recognition, it doesn't really exist. And it is unlikely to get any recognition before, and especially now.

Re:All disks on one platform (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38879587)

Declare it an enemy combatant over internet servers? That is a hell of a stretch and would set off alarms in every other country.

outside the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom (1)

onyxruby (118189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879223)

Outside of the UK, than it's fair game for a 500# bomb. The nice thing is it is even conveniently located for a nearby F-15 to get to. Who want's to starts the SeaLand Death Watch website?

Re:outside the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38879643)

Wait, are you saying being outside of the UK automatically means they can engage in acts of war? Seriously, it isn't as frivolous as that. You seem to be blurring the line between your video games and reality.

It's not a nation (5, Interesting)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879235)

Sorry, but them claiming it doesn't make it so. You can claim anything you like, doesn't make it the case. The two ways you can become a sovereign nation is by force and diplomacy.

The first is the most obvious: You simply have a large enough, powerful enough military that nobody can tell you that you aren't sovereign. They are unwilling to spend the money, material, and men to take you down so that is that. You are sovereign on account of nobody being able to say otherwise. This is how the USA gained sovereignty, as an example. They said "We are independent," England said "Nuh uh." A war was fought, the US won, that pretty much settled it.

The second is diplomacy. You get the big, powerful, nations to recognize you as a nation, as well as international bodies like the UN. They all say "Yep, you are a sovereign nation and have the right to your own government and laws," and you do. Since they agree and won't try to attack you, and also usually will keep others from doing so, you are sovereign. The big boys have agreed to leave you be, so there you go.

Sealand has neither, and in fact the UK claims it belongs to them. They can go on all they want and the UK doesn't really care but push comes to shove and the UK has a reason, they can clamp down on them. One platoon of Royal Marines would do the trick.

So this would solve fuck all for Wikileaks.

Re:It's not a nation (5, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879257)

You don't even need a platoon. A Sea King helicopter would probably be sufficient. Hell, one torpedo from a British sub and the whole thing goes to the bottom. Sealand is tolerated because it's just some morons with comprehension problems. But if it starts committing acts that might be viewed as criminal, such as, say, violating the national security of the United Kingdom, then the whole farce will come to an end in short order.

Re:It's not a nation (2)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879387)

Why spend money? Just withhold rescue services and patiently wait for the next big storm.

Re:It's not a nation (1)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879541)

Sealand is tolerated because it's just some morons with comprehension problems. But if it starts committing acts that might be viewed as criminal, such as, say, violating the national security of the United Kingdom, then the whole farce will come to an end in short order.

Or say, like firing on ships that travel too close to the structure as well... they would be hauled into British court, and charged with a crime.

Oh, wait, that already happened? The British courts ruled that it was outside of their jurisdiction? So, the sovereignty of Sealand was established BEFORE it lay within the UK's territorial waters, and there are international laws pertaining to how territorial waters work if two nations are within 12 miles of each other.

Re:It's not a nation (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879891)

You're overinterpreting the decision. No one recognizes Sealand as sovereign. No nation would, because of the potential it would have for some crazy asshole trying it on them. At best invading it would be seen as an act of piracy, not an invasion.

Re:It's not a nation (4, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879897)

Oh, wait, that already happened? The British courts ruled that it was outside of their jurisdiction?

It's not quite that simple. They were hauled before Crown Court when the comic opera 'nation' was outside British waters. Now, not only are they inside British waters, the finding of the Crown Court is not binding on an Admiralty Court anyhow.
 

there are international laws pertaining to how territorial waters work if two nations are within 12 miles of each other.

Since Sealand is not a signatory to any of those instruments, and is not recognized as a sovereign state by any signatory, and there is no binding decision, precedent, or principle to provide them with de jure or de facto recognition... My guess (though IANAL) is those laws don't apply.
 
tl;dr version: you can't both claim to not be bound by the law *and* seeks it's protection. Not to mention that if you don't understand the difference between different types of courts and laws and their jurisdictions, you shouldn't be parroting crap you patently don't understand.

Re:It's not a nation (2)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879575)

You simply have a large enough, powerful enough military that nobody can tell you that you aren't sovereign. They are unwilling to spend the money, material, and men to take you down so that is that. You are sovereign on account of nobody being able to say otherwise.

Ok, apart from mixing up "ability" with "unwilling"... you know, because the US could oust just about any government from power, so all of them are no longer sovereign?

So, taking it that the case is "No other nation is willing to spend the money, material, and men to take you down", Sealand is in fact a sovereign nation, as the UK has not attempted to assert that Sealand is within its jurisdiction since the original court ruling that it lies outside of of their jurisdiction.

Re:It's not a nation (2)

kiwimate (458274) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879605)

You're confusing "we recognize your sovereignty" with "we really don't care enough to give a toss, we're busy working on actual issues". The difference being that if they start to do things which are genuinely embarrassing/awkward/dangerous, the former will get you censured in the U.N. whereas the latter will just get you a night-time invasion.

Re:It's not a nation (2)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879769)

You're confusing "we recognize your sovereignty" with "we really don't care enough to give a toss, we're busy working on actual issues". The difference being that if they start to do things which are genuinely embarrassing/awkward/dangerous, the former will get you censured in the U.N. whereas the latter will just get you a night-time invasion.

But modern international law holds that recognition by other countries is merely declaratory, and not constructive of the nation.

Correct, no one recognizes it as a country, but the fact that the UK has not enforced its jurisdiction over the property, and has explicitly denied jurisdiction over the territory opens the door to Sealand declaring its sovereignty.

Also, please note that I never said that the UK or anyone else recognizes Sealand's sovereignty, but then again, recall, modern international theory holds that recognition is not necessary for it to have sovereignty.

You state yourself that as long as someone else doesn't come in and kick you out, you have sovereignty. Believe it or not, Sealand has de facto sovereignty, and no one has bothered to come in and kick them out, and assert their jurisdiction. And even if the UK decided to do that tomorrow, that wouldn't change the fact that Sealand has operated as a sovereign territory for years.

Re:It's not a nation (1)

kiwimate (458274) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879839)

You state yourself that as long as someone else doesn't come in and kick you out, you have sovereignty.

No, I don't. To claim I do is inaccurate.

that wouldn't change the fact that Sealand has operated as a sovereign territory for years.

It wouldn't change the fact that Sealand has claimed they've been operating as a sovereign territory for years.

Re:It's not a nation (1)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879957)

You state yourself that as long as someone else doesn't come in and kick you out, you have sovereignty.

No, I don't. To claim I do is inaccurate.

Should you read your own posts [slashdot.org] ?

They are unwilling to spend the money, material, and men to take you down so that is that.

that wouldn't change the fact that Sealand has operated as a sovereign territory for years.

It wouldn't change the fact that Sealand has claimed they've been operating as a sovereign territory for years.

They haven't claimed shit. They actually have been operating with de facto sovereignty. Until you can show me a UK court case involving recognition that Sealand is within their jurisdiction, the question remains a vague "maybe?" and even a possible "unlikely?" as Sealand has already been explicitly ruled as being outside of UK jurisdiction.

The fact remains that until the UK comes in and enforces its jurisdiction over the territory, it remains in a quasi-legal limbo, which has de facto sovereignty, but no international recognition of that.

Re:It's not a nation (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879971)

There's still the issue that Sealand is not actually a territory. A man-made structure is not territory. Period.

Re:It's not a nation (1)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879607)

By your definition, Costa Rica isn't a nation.

Re:It's not a nation (1)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879717)

Sealand has neither, and in fact the UK claims it belongs to them. They can go on all they want and the UK doesn't really care but push comes to shove and the UK has a reason, they can clamp down on them. One platoon of Royal Marines would do the trick.

Or just one Chuck Norris.

Re:It's not a nation (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879989)

Have you seen him lately? I think it would take at least two Churck Norrises nowadays.

Force OR diplomacy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38879783)

You repeat yourself.

Are you not aware that government is defined by its special "right" to employ force (or threat thereof) as a business model? Anybody else who does so is a criminal.

Force is what makes government. It is nothing less than the essence and key prerequsite of government.

I can think of dumber ideas (5, Funny)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879241)

Not many, but there are some. Moving it to Mogadishu, for instance.

Re:I can think of dumber ideas (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879951)

That's where the backup servers will be.

What?

On the other hand... (5, Interesting)

ForgedArtificer (1777038) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879273)

If they were to move some FAKE servers out into the middle of the ocean and just wait to see what happened, the results might be very interesting.

I'd imagine they could prove a very good point about the lengths governments will go to in order to censor information - or at least take some attention off of the actual servers.

Hacker Community? (5, Insightful)

cosm (1072588) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879285)

Multiple sources within the hacker community

WTF does that even mean? I understand Fox is trying to tie the negative connotations of the modern day usage of the word hacker to WikiLeaks, but who the flying fuck is this conglomerate of the hacker community such that Fox can claim them as reputable sources, much less assume that these people speak for the community as a whole, assuming that there is a uniform grouping of people that aren't just an amoeba group of a couple people who claim to be 'hackers', and thus the whole community is now tied to WikiLeaks via Fox's shitty sourcing in the first couple sentences that catch eyes.

Ein Volk. Ein Reich. Ein Fuhrer. Ein News Channel.

Re:Hacker Community? (0, Flamebait)

ForgedArtificer (1777038) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879339)

Knowing them, "hacker community" is "anyone under the age of 30 who owns a computer"

Re:Hacker Community? (2)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879759)

Knowing them, "hacker community" is "anyone under the age of 30 who owns a computer"

Yeah, you know, smart people, i.e. "the liberal elite".

A really bad idea... (1)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879287)

Besides the fact that Sealand is only there because the UK government chooses to ignore it, my study of the brief history of Sealand has shown that it's simply a pretty unsavory place to do anything. It *may* work for now, but even if some government doesn't "invade", there is simple risk to the equipment from the sheer sketchiness of the endeavor.

And let's face it, even if Sealand takes off, all they have to do is be considered to harbor terrorism and an actual invasion is certainly in the cards. It's not like being sovereign stopped Iraq or Afghanistan from being overrun once even slightly plausible links to terrorism were defined.

Just what we need... (1)

davegravy (1019182) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879323)

...is to give the US more reason to incorporate off-shore into their "territory".

Hosting company would be more secure. (1)

harl (84412) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879361)

Yeah this is way out there but . . . .

A hosting company would be more secure. A large hosting company with onsite staff and cameras. With redundant trunks and power. For anything to happen it would have to be nice and legal. Maybe secret can't talk about it NSL but legal.

Taking out power or net to Sealand would be trivial with a small covert group. Take control of the whole place would be trivial. It was done already by amateurs. There would be no way to tell what happened in the event of a problem. A small covert group would allow denyability.

Frankly I don't think the government cares enough about wiki leaks for any of this to happen.

Sealand is a novelty. It exists because governments refuse to acknowledge it not because they respect it's sovereignty.

Good deal on a ship (4, Funny)

zule666 (1175419) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879421)

I think Costa Cruise lines has a good deal on a slightly used ship Wikileaks could use.

Satellite in Orbit (2)

debrain (29228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879439)

Wikileaks should put a server on a satellite in orbit if they want autonomy.

Re:Satellite in Orbit (2)

cpghost (719344) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879525)

It's way too expensive for WikiLeaks to do this alone. However, there's already a satellite in orbit, and it's called the moon. HAM operators have been bouncing RF waves off the moon [vhfdx.info] for ages now, and that was with old technology. Imagine what you could do with current tech!

Anybody but me who noticed... (5, Insightful)

internetcommie (945194) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879489)

... that this story came from FAUX News???? Nothing about it makes any sense at all. Apart from that moving the servers to Sealand would be illogical and stupid, it would take more than one boat as they already are in many different locations. And investors who might consider buying a boat for the purpose must have so much money that it is likely they already own at least one boat that could do the job. In addition, of course, boat can be hired or rented. Somebody are trying to drum up hysteria about Wikileaks again; probably to cover up something that is really happening. NOT news, but normal operational practice for media.

Planet Starbucks.... (1)

Rooked_One (591287) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879493)

And next, the Army of the MPAA.

Re:Planet Starbucks.... (1)

ForgedArtificer (1777038) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879535)

Plenty of "private defense contractors" (read:mercenary organizations) out there already, why not? The way the world is going, private armies are practically an inevitability.

Lame joke warning (2)

andrewa (18630) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879573)

Brings a whole new meaning to the name Wiki 'leaks'....

It's easy to see how this will pan out... (2)

dfenstrate (202098) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879599)

If the ongoing activities at Sealand ever bother a major power, they'll work with the UK to simply demolish the platform.

If it's a micronation... (2)

eternaldoctorwho (2563923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879721)

...why not send MicroServers?

Not safe, especially not safe there. (0)

EasyTarget (43516) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879735)

One of the purposes behind the MegaUpload action was to test the ability of of the Corporate states of Americas to gag anybody who gainsays them by proving that cloud services can be disrupted if attacked hard enough.

Another of it's purposes was sexual gratification; those NSA/NRA/GOP/MPAA/RIAA thugs get a stiffy when they see this much force being applied.

And yet another was it's use for the chilling effect of 'sending a message to our enemies' (ie people who have genuinely achieved free speech) .....

There were many purposes..protecting copyright probably being the least of them.

Re:Not safe, especially not safe there. (1)

gregulator (756993) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879931)

a) WTF does the NRA have to do with anything? If you are looking for freedom, the citizens with guns are generally behind you.

b) The GOP? It was Obama's DOJ and FBI that applied all the force to Megaupload.

This isn't as simple as Rednecks vs Liberals.

Not a Nation, a State (1)

hakioawa (127597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879811)

There is a difference. I don't think anyone is claiming the inhabitant(s) of SeaLand are made of a distinct ethnic, cultural, or religious group. It is also worth nothing that even without land, groups can have rights under international law. Take the Palestinians for example.

Excuse me, but... (1)

Speck'sBacon (1042490) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879841)

Wasn't this the plot to a James Bond movie?

Don't know if troll... (1)

HotTuna (928802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879863)

It would be way cheaper for Wikileaks to just push their servers off a pier and into the ocean - Which is exactly where they're going to end up after the cruise missile strike on Sealand. Wikileaks' 'investors' are seriously overestimating respect for sovereignty and international law in 2012.

This story sounds FAKE (5, Insightful)

tekrat (242117) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879911)

I call shenanigans. The story has all the hallmarks of being manufactured.

#1) It's from Fox News, a known organization that will lie, lie, lie, violate the law, lie some more, and then lie to cover up the law violations. Oh, and they lie.

#2) "According to sources in the hacker community" == something I heard on Reddit. A rumor.

#3) You don't have to physically move machines to a new host -- There's this thing called FTP I'm sure the author knows nothing about.

#4) Wikileaks is already redundant across the globe. What would be the point of putting machines on Sealand? This is also something the author doesn't understand.

#5) Sealand, if they were to be the sole host, like the author implies, doesn't have the bandwidth to serve Wikileaks.

It's worse... (1)

Maury Markowitz (452832) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879923)

Imagine that SeaLand did actually have internet, etc. And that someone wanted to set up whatever on it.

Ok, now imagine which is more difficult:

1) a raid on SeaLand that steals a bunch of servers.
2) a raid on RackSpace in a secure downtown building that steals a bunch of servers.

Or for that matter:

1) cutting IP to a platform in the middle of the ocean.
2) cutting IP to a underground facility with multiple high-speed fibres pulled through old manholes by robots?

And when you're done answering that, which do you think is more likely to work

1) getting SeaLand to make a diplomatic request to return your servers?
2) getting the Canadian government to make a diplomatic request to return your servers?

Dumbest. Idea. EVAR.

Come and get it (1)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879937)

Good move, because the United Stated would never send a bunch of it's thugs there to just take what they wants.
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