Talk:Principality of Sealand/Archive 2

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Archive 1 Archive 2 Archive 3

No, seriously, request mediation?

Okay, so in response to "Let's request mediation", the answer, from both sides, is apparently "Argue argue argue roar argue roar".

Yeah, that's great. Seriously though, why don't we request mediation? -Rwv37 00:31, May 11, 2004 (UTC)

Given that the rogue user who has been disrupting the ongoing editing of this page has been banned it may be worthwhile to unprotect it now.--Gene_poole 05:19, 21 May 2004 (UTC)

Mediation might be useful if we were dealing with a rational individual; instead we are dealing with Wik, who is a crackpot, a content-perverter and radical POV-pushing vandal with precisely zero interest in permitting any facts that are at variance with his/her perception of reality into Wikipedia.--Gene_poole 01:27, 13 May 2004 (UTC)

I have no opinion on that. However, for the sake of argument, assume it's true. Then it would seem to me to behoove you to request mediation: (By assumption) this will fail. You would then request arbitration. (By assumption) this would result in a decree in your favor. (By assumption) this decree would be flagrantly violated. User/IP ban follows, and you've won. Finally, I want to make it clear once again that I have no opinion on the validitiy of your claim about Wik, or in fact about your view of this article vis a vis Wik's view, and therefore I am not claiming that mediation will fail, that arbitration will result in a decree in your favor, that Wik would violate such a decree if it were issued, et cetera. I am merely taking your claim as an assumption in order to argue that - if you truly believe that your claim is true - it is still in your interest to request mediation. -Rwv37 02:54, May 13, 2004 (UTC)
I agree with Rwv37 - it think Sealand is a very interesting issue and I can understand why you might get heated about it. Go for mediation if you can spare the time - if it doesn't work out, there's always arbitration. - EuroTom 13:09, 13 May 2004 (UTC)

I found the paragraph beginning "In 1978, while the Prince was away, Sealand's then Prime Minister, Professor Alexander G Achenbach and several Dutch citizens forcibly took over Roughs Tower and held Prince Roy's son..." rather confusing. When was Achenbach prime minister? How did this fit in with the "royalty"? Why was Achenbach so motivated to assert control over Sealand? Why did the other countries involved in the dispute care? Zashaw 02:00, 24 Aug 2004 (UTC)

What is confusing about it? The facts are described fairly clearly. Achenbach's status as Prime Minister is historically well-known (he was appointed by Prince Roy), and the motivations of other countries (specifically Germany and the UK) should be self evident. Germany obviously sought the release of one of its nationals (Achenbach), who was being held against his will on Sealand, and the UK refused to become inviolved, forcing German diplomats to deal directly with Sealand's Prince. The takeover attempt was basically a failed re-run of what happened when Roy himself ejected a group of competing pirate radio broadcasters from Roughs Tower in the 1960s - before occupying it and renaming it Sealand. The episode basically boils down to a desire to control of a valuable physical resource by 2 competing groups. Nothing unusual there, other than the size of the resource being fought over, and its unclear legal status.--Gene_poole 03:51, 24 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Thanks for the clarifications. Perhaps some of what you write could find its way into the article. I'm not sure what you mean by Achenbach's status as PM being "historically well-known", and I think it's appropriate for an enclyclopedia article to not require the reader to make educated guesses when they could be explicitly stated. I found your response helpful. Zashaw 00:12, 26 Aug 2004 (UTC)
No problem. By "historically well known" I meant by those who have researched Sealand's history in third party sources. Agreed - that is probably not exactly thousands of people. I should have clarified that point. I have been intending to do a major re-write of this article for some time, to attempt to make it less of a confusing mess than it is currently, but I keep getting distracted writing less controversial articles and defending more controversial ones from attacks by sockpuppets and their proxies. --Gene_poole 01:09, 26 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Why does this piece of nonsense merit an article in a serious encyclopaedia? Adam 09:23, 26 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Because what from your POV is "nonsense" may well be a subject of serious interest to others.--Gene_poole 09:33, 26 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Whether or not you agree with Sealand or any historical event, for that matter, does not mean its nonsense. Its actually quite interesting that such a thing could happen.


I removed mention of overseas government employees from "population", as they are not part of that entity's population.

I also added some scare quotes round disputed stuff in the taxobox. Martin 22:04, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Accuracy dispute?

To start the conversation rolling: what factual errors do people believe this page has? My initial understanding of the above talk is that the primary concern is one of implication (eg, the taxobox implying countryship), and neutrality (how much priority to accord the minority belief that Sealand is a state), rather than any dispute over the facts of the matter. What have I missed? Martin 22:24, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Those are factual matters. An implied claim that is incorrect is as much an inaccuracy as a directly expressed one. The taxobox has to go or at least has to use quotes for the title "Principality of Sealand". Then there are further implications throughout the text that it is a state. That is not a POV question, since the belief that it is a state is essentially a crackpot belief, i.e. one held only by a negligible minority. If I were to go to the Elvis Presley article and insist to write there (if only by implication) that he is still alive, then it would also not be enough to put an NPOV disclaimer there, but an accuracy one. An NPOV dispute tag would suggest merely that the article is biased in favour of one of several common POVs. Gzornenplatz 23:12, Aug 30, 2004 (UTC)

Thanks for confirming that you are not disputing the factual accuracy of any explicit statements in the article, only implications and the question of how much space to accord to the "crackpot belief" regards Sealand being a state.

This sounds like a general disagreement over the appropriate use of the accuracy dispute header. You believe that it could be used whenever an article implies something that someone believes is not true, or gives disproportionate space to a minority opinion. My prior understanding is that such matters are neutrality disputes, and that accuracy disputes should be used for cases where we have reason to suspect that the direct factual statements of an article are inaccurate.

Perhaps you could discuss this issue with me and others at wikipedia talk:accuracy dispute, since it clearly affects more than this one article? Martin 23:50, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Thanks for confirming that you're not listening. Nowhere was it stated that questions of factual accuracy have to refer only to "explicit statements" - you just changed the policy on that yourself. How much space is given to a crackpot belief would not be an accuracy question as long as the belief was properly identified as a crackpot belief. The point is that this is not the case here. The crackpot belief is treated (by implication) as fact. Gzornenplatz 08:08, Aug 31, 2004 (UTC)
Thanks for providing yet another example of your trolling technique. You were offered, in good faith, an opportunity both respond to my indisputably verifiable statements of fact hereunder, and to articulate your wider concerns re factual accuracy in the appropriate forum. In response you published a rant against the editor who made the invitation. Frankly, you're starting to act rather like another well-known user who ended up banned for abusing community standards. --Gene_poole 09:06, 31 Aug 2004 (UTC)

The article clearly articulates in the opening paragraphs that according to generally accepted definitions Sealand is NOT a state. How Gzornenplatz can possibly interpret this as a claim that Sealand is a state is completely beyond me. There are no "implications that Sealand is a state" in the article. The article does include indisputable statements of documented historic fact that show it to be an anomalous entity of some sort. --Gene_poole 00:47, 31 Aug 2004 (UTC)

The entire sections on "Domestic Law" and "Princes and Princesses" (in fact, those section titles already!) imply it is a state. States have domestic laws, fictions don't. Actual principalities have princes, fictions don't. Gzornenplatz 09:12, Aug 31, 2004 (UTC)
Your use of the term "fiction" is selective and interesting. If Sealand somehow does not exist please provide evidence to refute the contrary evidence from the multiple cited sources. If, as you assert, it has no domestic law, provide evidence of the UK government physically enforcing UK law on Roughs Tower, or successfully prosecuting Bates on the basis of British law. You might wish to discuss the web hosting issue as a good starting point, and explain how it is that UK content hosting and reporting laws apparently don't apply on Sealand. You might also wish to explain why it is that the UK government refused to become involved in the dispute of the imprisonment of a foreign national on Sealand. If you can provide a reasoned, coherent response, citing examples, I will grant that your assertions have a basis in something other than a total ignorance of the subject under discussion. --Gene_poole 09:25, 31 Aug 2004 (UTC)
If you refer to the 1978 incident, that was before the extension of U.K. territorial waters, so the U.K. had nothing to do with it - it was an incident in international waters. As to the supposed non-collection of certain taxes or non-application of "content hosting and reporting laws", those are matters of practicality - it is just not worth applying certain laws to the tower simply due to its location (it's like someone sitting in the middle of the empty sea - the tower, while within U.K. territory, is not assigned to any local jurisdiction (district, county, etc.), it's not a valid postal address etc.). It would be the same if someone was squatting on the tower without declaring independence, he would be likewise ignored. However, it is clear to everyone that if "Sealand" would really test its independence by doing something serious like distributing child porn or copyrighted material on a large scale - I don't think anyone doubts that the U.K. would not show the slightest hesitation in ending this, and again it wouldn't make the slightest difference whether the occupants of the tower would have declared "independence" or not. Gzornenplatz 09:41, Aug 31, 2004 (UTC)
The irony of the fact that you have just described a de facto independent entity - which is what Sealand is - appears to have eluded you. --Gene_poole 12:40, 31 Aug 2004 (UTC)
I have done nothing of the sort. Otherwise you could describe any remote part of any country as independent, just because the government would ignore any recluse settling there (as long as he doesn't do anything critical). Gzornenplatz 12:44, Aug 31, 2004 (UTC)
The fact of the matter is that there is no other part of the UK where the conditions that apply on Sealand apply. Like it or lump it. --Gene_poole 12:49, 31 Aug 2004 (UTC)
That doesn't make it a "de facto independent entity". Bates knows very well that he can not do whatever he wants there (which is what real sovereignty would mean). Otherwise he would already be offering his "data haven" for certain purposes that would be very lucrative if he didn't know very well that he wouldn't get away with it. Gzornenplatz 13:13, Aug 31, 2004 (UTC)
Firstly, I am almost totally certain that you know precisely nothing about what "Bates knows". Secondly you have no idea what data is actually hosted within Sealand. Thirdly if what you imply about certain purposes" (whatever they are) was actually true, every nation in the third world would be in on the game. Fourthly, none of the above addresses the fact that Sealand is demonstrably (a) outside the physical control of the UK, and has been for over 30 years, (b) is likely to remain that way for the forseeable future, and (c) is therefore a unique entity. Your assertions that it is a "fiction" are as wrong now as they were half a page ago, and your attempts at suggesting that factual details outlined within the article are somehow not factual are equally wrong. You can attempt to split hairs and twist your logic into as many knots as you wish for as long as you like, but facts are facts are facts. I suggest you learn to live with that, and take a less combative and more consensus-driven approach to editing articles if you want to remain on Wikipedia for any length of time.--Gene_poole 13:31, 31 Aug 2004 (UTC)
It would not remain a secret if anything critical would be hosted there. And no, third world nations have no interest in doing that - they would be quickly expelled from international organizations such as the WTO if, for example, they would stop recognizing any copyrights. Sealand, however, would have nothing to lose in that regard as it is not recognized anyway. What would happen to Bates, however, is that he would simply be arrested by British police, which of course is fully in physical control. The fact that it hasn't been there is because it had no reason to. I never had police in my apartment - maybe I should call it an independent state. Wait, who am I telling this? Anyway. As to me being combative, that is interesting for you to say when you call everyone with a different viewpoint a crackpot or vandal; fortunately it is not for you to choose who remains on Wikipedia. Gzornenplatz 14:36, Aug 31, 2004 (UTC)
Editors who ignore or refuse to rationally discuss cited 3rd party references that disprove their POV, but instead interpolate article content consisting of demonstrably false assertions are vandals. Editors who do so obsessively, repeatedly and unapologetically are cranks. --Gene_poole 01:24, 1 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Thanks for confirming that you're not listening.

I regret that I did not understand precisely the point you were making. I am glad that I explained what I thought your position was, so that this misunderstanding could be corrected.

Nowhere was it stated that questions of factual accuracy have to refer only to "explicit statements"

I was stating my prior understanding of the appropriate use of "accuracy dispute" headers. It appeared your understanding differs. Hence my thought that a wider discussion might be helpful. I am glad that you have started that at wikipedia talk:accuracy dispute, and I have joined you there.

I see that Gene Poole has removed the biased section header "domestic law", in favour of a more neutral wording. I have made a few changes myself, though I am not attached to any of them. Given those edits, could you tell us what outstanding concerns you have with this article? Martin 16:16, 12 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I appreciate your edits, though it remains to be seen if Gene Poole lets them stand. I still think the whole infobox is inappropriate. But I won't insist on the accuracy dispute. Gzornenplatz 17:34, Sep 12, 2004 (UTC)

As far as accuracy dispute goes, the most egregious POV in the article I see now is the heading 'Royal family' that implies support for a claim that is only held by a small minority. No other sovereign nation supports the claim of a Sealand Royalty. The Sealand "royalty" is entirely self proclaimed, so a heading like that is POV. The only reason I have not changed it is I cannot think of something less POV that does not state something like 'Self described royalty status'. In addition none of the references seem to be from those critical of Sealand's claim to sovereignty. - Taxman 19:02, Sep 13, 2004 (UTC)

Legal citations

The legal opinions referenced in the 'Legal opinions regarding Sealand' section fall far short of a full citation. The second doesn't have anything but the attorney's name. What were they published in, if at all, and here can they be found now? If these details cannot be found, the section should be removed as unsubstantiated POV. - Taxman 19:02, Sep 13, 2004 (UTC)


I have come up with an idea I think can help the POV debate. As noted above some sections of the article are POV because they assert an objective agreement to the claims of Sealand's sovereignty even though these claims are disputed. Therefore to obtain NPOV I think a number of the sections that make or imply such claims should be made subsections of a new section titled 'Ostensible features of sovereignty'. The sections that should be moved include "Royal family", "Constitution and internal affairs", "Stamps", "Coins", and perhaps all of the infobox, but especially the flag, seal, and motto. The term ostensible covers the fact that the claims have been made, but not accepted by the majority. It also does not say they are false. Unless consensus objection to this proposal is made, I will make this move in a week. - Taxman 20:04, Sep 13, 2004 (UTC) (Initial proposal withdrawn as it has been largely satisfied by other means) - Taxman 13:17, Sep 15, 2004 (UTC)

I object. To delete the taxobox would be for Wikipedia to make a claim that we do not support the claims of nation-hood, which is itself a POV. Sealand exists. Although its natioinhood is laughable, we can't pretend that it doesn't. It's not a micronation which exists only in Cyberspace. RickK 20:12, Sep 13, 2004 (UTC)

Supporting the claim of sovereignship would be POV, something wikipedia should not do. So, removing the support for that claim is the only way to achieve NPOV. The infobox definitely is inferring support for the claim of sovereignty, as are the other section headings I mentioned. - Taxman 21:16, Sep 13, 2004 (UTC)

I agree with Rick. The unrecognised anomalous nature of Sealand entity is not merely implied via such means as the proliferation of inverted commas, but is explicitly stated numerous times throughout the article. The 'Royal family', 'Constitution and internal affairs', 'Stamps', 'Coins' all specifically explicity state the nature, status and legitimacy of subjects that are factual (and in the case of physical artefacts, tangible and widely documented). in a clear, concise NPOV manner. Further qualification serves no purpose other than to push the article back into the POV realm from which it has recently been rescued. --Gene_poole 20:40, 13 Sep 2004 (UTC)

While the unrecongized nature is stated, the structure of the article still infers the POV that Sealand is a sovereign nation. By the way, those items do not "specifically explicity state the nature, status and legitimacy of subjects...". Sealand can mint coins and hand them to you, but that does not make it sovereign. It is only a physical piece that represents the POV that it is sovereign. The "inverted commas" were only used in my comment to noted that I was quoting the names of the sections from the article, so I have replaced them with quotes to denote that meaning. Also, removing an inferred POV will not push the article back into POV. - Taxman 21:16, Sep 13, 2004 (UTC)

I find this to be an interesting article and I have been following the dispute for some time. I think the idea of Sealand is interesting, and its status leads to some useful discussion and questions, particularly since of the various "micronations" it has the most compelling claim to soverignty as well as being the only one that has any economic activity tied to its status as a micronation. I don't believe that it is useful or necessary for Wikipedia to take a stance on its nationhood.

If it demonstrates anything at all, Sealand shows us that nationhood is more of a continuum than a yes/no question. There are other examples of smaller nations whose significance on the international scene is low and whose dependence on closely related nations is high, though these places have a longer tradition of nationhood and a larger permanent population.

Given the inclusive nature of Wikipedia generally, and style and usage on other controversial articles, I think that it is appropriate to leave the taxobox as is and avoid adding "weasel words" to the various headings. I think it enough to point out, once, that the "price" and "princess" and "currency" and "stamps" and flag and other trappings are based on a doubtful claim of authority. This is a matter of style and usage, not POV, since as a matter of style we do not repeatedly use "purported" or "ostensible" or other weasel words throughout other articles explaining controversial (or even doubtful) topics.

uc 20:44, 13 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Ostensible is not a weasel word. It describes the physical and ceremonial features that the supporters of Sealand have created in order to support their view. It is not enough to note once in the text that those are disputed, then throughout the rest of the article, allow the article headings (which are larger and appear more athoritative) to refer to them as if they were fact. - Taxman 21:16, Sep 13, 2004 (UTC)
I beg to differ. "Ostensible" in the context you've proposed to use it in is most certainly a charged POV weasel word the use of which is made unneccesary by explicit statements of qualification throughout the article - which neither asserts nor implies that Sealand is a sovereign state - merely that it is some sort of unique anomalous facility that those who exert undoubted physical control over elect to self-identify as a sovereign state. The manner in which they do so, and the artefacts they produce to that end are described factually in a manner that leaves no doubt whatsoever about their actual status. The section headings merely reflect a documented reality that is widely accepted. Sealand's stamps are referred to as "stamps" and not "ostensible stamps" by international philatelic organizations and publications, and it's coins are referred to as "coins" - and not "ostensible coins" by international numismatic organizations and publications. --Gene_poole 23:03, 13 Sep 2004 (UTC)
If you think it is a weasel word, that is your opinion and I can respect that. Can you think of a better way to refer to the above items as claims of sovereignty that they are, not the way the article now implicitly supports them? The article does clearly confuse the issue with the section headings being the way they are implicitly supporting the POV that sealand is sovereign. I concede the coin and stamp sections appear to be described factually, but the royal family heading clearly infers support of their claim of sovereignty. On what grounds do you debate that? - Taxman 23:21, Sep 13, 2004 (UTC)

Taxman, you said you would delete the taxobox unless you got objections. You've now gotten objections and are arguing that you still should be allowed to delete the taxobox. You should stand by your first proposal. RickK 22:46, Sep 13, 2004 (UTC)

Wow, that is a mischaracterization of what I have proposed and am doing. I'm just working to improve the article. I'm not pushing deleting the infobox, and never did. I just think it should be moved to avoid the inherent POV in the way the article stands. You guys are both so quick to jump on this and support the current POV of the article instead of just working to collaborate to make a great article about a very interesting subject. Are we agreed that that is the goal? I also request that both of you re-read what I have written with an eye towards improving the article, not arguing with one or two of the points I have made and ignoring the rest. - Taxman 23:21, Sep 13, 2004 (UTC)
I am very clear on the intent of your proposal, and appreciate that you are taking the time to do more than simply institute an edit war - however I fail to see how adding a new section heading using the word "ostensible", under which everything other than Sealand's history is encompassed adds anything aside from a more derogatory POV to what is now a fairly well balanced article. Nobody reading the article as it stands can be left in any doubt about Sealand's status. --Gene_poole 23:42, 13 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Excellent. But don't miss the message by focusing on one word. I asked if anyone had a better word or heading to use. My point I've mentioned several times is the article is not fairly well balanced for reasons that many people have noticed. For the reasons stated above the article still carries a strong POV. The text is much better though. Think of it like this: there are objective facts about Sealand that make it a very interesting issue and a strong test case to challenge ideas about what makes a nation. If the legal cases noted are fact, then they lend a strong backing to the case for Sovereignty. If the Belgian cancelling of the stamps without additional surcharge is true, that is another strong point. They are fact. However, things like Roy and his wife being royalty, Sealand having a legal system, the flag, seal, motto, are things posited by the founders of Sealand to make Sealand appear more sovereign and are a POV that Sealand is in fact. Their inclusion in the manner they are right now is heavily POV.

You have to grant that there are two levels of information in the article, those posited by Sealand supporters (royalty etc.), and then the verifiable facts (legal cases, etc). Not accepting this is keeping a strong POV in the article, even if the text says differently. The Sealand issue does not need more than its facts to be an interesting case, and anything but NPOV ruins its believability. - Taxman 02:22, Sep 14, 2004 (UTC)

The factual distinctions you propose are to my mind so subtle as to be meaningless. Roy Bates calls himself Prince Roy, and has been widely referred to as such for over three decades. Sealand issues stamps and coins that are widely known as such. These are simple documented facts that are no less objectively correct than "Roy Bates occupied Roughs Tower in 1967", or "Roy Bates is married to Joan and has a son named Michael". Sealand itself is lent neither implicit nor explicit "recognition" through the inclusion of such statements and terminology within the article, because their usage, intent, meaning and practical implications are qualified by the article content itself. --Gene_poole 03:09, 14 Sep 2004 (UTC)
The distinction is not remotely subtle, and the fact that you cant or refuse to see that troubles me. Perhaps you are so emotionally involved in this article that you cannot see the important difference. If there are things that a Sealand supporter would posit about Sealand, but anyone but a supporter would say is incorrect, then that is not an incontrovertable fact, and cannot be presented as such. Yes, he calls himself Prince, no one else that is not a Sealand supporter does, or you'd have to provide some objective evidence for "widely". The article doesn't lend support to the Sealand POV by discussing those things, but by their placement in the section headings as if they are objectively agreed upon by the supporting POV and the diseenting POV. They are not. Especially not the royalty, "Constitution and internal affairs" and the infobox. Those section headings do in fact represent "implicit and/or explicit "recognition"". How many times do I have to say, the text is getting much more NPOV (though it has some work to go of course), it is the article structure that is the problem. The coins and the stamps are the sections that can be left as is, since as a topic they are objective and can be verified. The others, as mentioned, are the problems. - Taxman 16:14, Sep 14, 2004 (UTC)

I have changed the two section headings to which you object. The second of the two I feel to be less than ideal, but I can think of no other way of describing a section about Sealand's constitution and internal affairs without actually using those words. If you have an alternative please change it. --Gene_poole 01:18, 15 Sep 2004 (UTC)

That is much better. I agree the second is less than ideal, but it is much better than before. The Bates family section heading is much better. I had another thought that the "Sealand operations" section could be dramatically improved by adding a new introductory paragraph with a simple factual description of the status of affairs, including that there is not a functioning government in the traditional sense, but that various provisions of a legal, political, and governmental system have been set up nonetheless. Without this, saying there is a constitution and a legal system is misleading or requires too many weasel words like " system is said to follow...". Isn't that something that can be verified? With a factual intro like that, it is possible the heading could be made more accurate without being POV. I also added a very carefully worded sentence to the intro, I think it really improves the accuracy and sets the article up well. - Taxman 12:58, Sep 15, 2004 (UTC)
I think your suggestion concerning the Sealand operations section has merit. Do you want to have a go at writing an appropriate intro? --Gene_poole 00:05, 16 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Permanency of population

I have discovered today with the greatest interest this article and this talk page. I felt a bit disappointed to find in the article so few details underpinning the most surprising assertion according which Sealand would be a state as defined under Montevideo Convention, since it fulfils the condition of a "permanent population". I see further above in the article that the population number is 1, who seems to be Mr Michael Bates, according to the article Paddy Roy Bates.

Does this mean that Mr Michael Bates never leaves the controversial territory ? Or how should this criterion of "permanent population" be understood ?

French Tourist 21:34, 13 Sep 2004 (UTC)

It is my understanding that the Roughs Tower facility has been continually occupied since the Bates' initial occupation by members of the family themselves, and by various business partners and associates, in varying numbers that have never exceeded a handful. Were it not so there is no doubt the UK would have re-taken and destroyed it long ago, as they did with all the other Sea Forts subsequent to Sealand's creation.--Gene_poole 23:14, 13 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Recent additions to the intro

J.J., given that this is a disputed article, you should be more careful on what you add to the intro. Using words like "odd fantasy" and "highly eccentric", are POV at best and quarrelsome at worst. It is especially POV to use the "some say" weasel word. A statement like that would need an attribution to not be POV. With those changes, it may be a good addition to the intro. - Taxman 12:59, Sep 16, 2004 (UTC)

Re: description

The initial description of this topic is factually incorrect. In the second paragraph it is incorrectly stated that: "Sealand consists of a World War II-era fortress constructed by the United Kingdom in the North Sea ..." This is incorrect. It was not constructed in the North Sea. The factual history of this entity shows that it is the former HMS Roughs, a Royal Navy vessel constructed and launched from Southern England and floated into position fully staffed with troops. When the barge was position over Rough Sands sandbar the vessel's hold was flooded so that it settled on to the sandbar itself. The two legs and the remaining structure that is visable above the water line is in fact the superstructure built into the hold of the vessel. Various vandals demolished parts of the superstructure before the Bates family squatted on the former HMS Roughs. Because all Royal Navy forts such as HMS Roughs were vessels built in England and floated into position, they are sunken Royal Navy vessels. They were not forts constructed in the North Sea. UK Ordinance Survey maps refer to the site as Rough Tower. - 10:52, Sep 21, 2004

You've dug up some good information. Keep up the good work and make fixes you thing should be made as you get more good data and sourcs. Just make sure what you change can be supported. - Taxman 21:35, Sep 21, 2004 (UTC)

The name begs an explanation

Overlooked in all of the discussion on this topic is the very name of this alleged "nation". It has been called a "principality". A principality is not self-created, it is created by a principal sovereign power having both jurisdiction and authority to convey a sub-authority or a lesser authority on its principality. In the case of Monaco the power resides jointly with France and Spain, although it is my understanding that if the Prince's line fails that the Principality of Monaco will revert back to France. In the case in question there is a self-admission by Roy Bates of how he came up with the name and when and where he did so. It was in a pub over a beer. What sparked his remarks is found in UK events of the day. At that time Her Majesty the Queen was about to convey upon her son the title of Prince of Wales in order that he may represent the Principality of Wales. Wales is a principality and Scotland is a co-joined nation with England sharing the same monarchy. The entity in question concerning Roy Bates is a former Royal Navy barge with a superstructure. Ample pictures abound of this vessel being towed to her position over Rough Sands and her hold being flooded so that she sank on to the sandbar with a complete crew of many men. There is also ample evidence to show that the UK Ministry of Defence has always maintained the buoys around Rough Tower (the official H.M. Ordinance Survey map name for the structure today.) Roy Bates has made many claims about starting radio and TV stations, casinos, hotels, etc on or around Rough Tower and not one of them has come to pass (with the exception of his original Radio Essex/BBMS on another former sunken Royal Navy barge-fort which a British court forced him to close down in 1966.) The UK government has prevented every move at flouting UK law. The same goes for Havenco Ltd which began as a British registered company (the evidence may be obtained on line Monday-Friday UK business hours from DTI Companies House.) The mail to Rough Tower is by pick-up at a UK Post Office. There are no unauthorized UK electronic links that exist between Rough Tower and any mainland. But before the entire saga was spelled out on this site, the very name issue should have been addressed and the actual confession of Roy Bates should have been taken into account. MPLX/MH 01:28, 11 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Definition from Wiktionary

I took a look at Wiktionary for its definition of Principality:

Etymology From Latin principalitas, from adjective principalis, principal, + noun of state suffix -itas. principalis is from prin-, prim-, from primus, first, + cip-, from caput, head, + adjective suffix -alis.

Noun principality, plural principalities A region or sovereign nation headed by a prince or princess.

and then I took a look at the definition of Prince:

Etymology From French prince, from Latin princeps, literally "first head", from primus, first, + ceps, head, related to capitus, head

Noun prince, plural princes male ruler or head of a principality son of a prince, king, queen, emperor, or empress, or some other rank like a grand duke

It would seem that this is nothing but an old play upon the Steve Martin skit of "You can be a millionaire and never pay taxes". You say, "Steve, how can I be a millionaire and never pay taxes?" Steve replies, "First get a million dollars. Second ..."

The key is to deal with first things first. In this case the question is: "Where is the king, queen, emperor, or empress, or some other rank like a grand duke who is alleged to have given "Prince Roy" the ability to rule a principality? The answer is that none exists because his authority came from drinking something alcoholic at a pub - according to his own admission told many times to many people and publications.

The bottom line is this: to become a prince you first have to get your title from some royal family line. But there is no royal family line. The Bates family have never shown that they are the heirs to some distant and forgotten throne. If we trace the royal powers back as far as the "Christian world" is concerned, then most of those powers flowed from the Catholic Church or something similar. In other words there is always a line. In this case the line starts and ends in a waiting line to be served at a pub! Those are the facts and they have never been disputed because that is exactly what Roy Bates has said.

The issues concerning local court jurisdictions involving firearms are related to firearms, they are not related to the issue of any royal genealogy.

Finally there is the issue of the Royal Navy barge itself. Because it was a naval vessel and it sank - even if it was intentional - the question is whether a civilian can take possession of a military wreck, when the military still claim it. Proof of the fact that the Ministry of Defence still claim liability for it is in the actual buoys surrounding Rough Tower with "Rough Tower" painted on them! Those buoys even show up in photos taken by fans from Rough Tower!

This is just silly beyond belief.

But because this first issue fails, then the entire saga also fails as nothing but a joke and Wikipedia is involved in a non-issue, which is how the UK and USA view "Sealand". MPLX/MH 23:33, 11 Oct 2004 (UTC)

See the 1990-1991 Court number and date reference above

Under the heading above directed to Wiki contributors I have posted some additional and new information to this page because it documents the court case that worried Ryan Lackey. I also made the comment that Roy Bates has always known about this case. Should anyone wonder how I know this to be a fact, I personally spoke to Roy, Joan and Michael Bates about all of this many times by phone years ago - some of which I recorded. Roy was none too pleased with the USA case and he was very unhappy with his son Michael who had concluded the deal with Allan H. Weiner. The matter originally came before Judge Chachkin because Allan Weiner was seeking a license for a shortwave station in Maine (which he eventually was granted), but because the FCC had previously revoked his earlier licenses due to his land-based "pirate radio" broadcasts which were followed twice by his attempts to broadcast from the sea (the second time claiming the "authority of Sealand"), all of this came before the court for a proper resolution and it was resolved. There is no such country as "Sealand". There is a sunken Royal Navy barge upon which someone painted the word "Sealand", but that is all. MPLX/MH 00:16, 12 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not a courtroom in which conflicting claims concerning controversial historic events can be "proven" nor "disproven". An entity called "Sealand" certainly exists, and the manner in which the British government has dealt with it shows that it has some sort of anomalous status. This is a demonstrable, historic reality, and it is eminently encyclopaedic. This article serves merely to factually and comprehensively document all aspects of that reality in a manner which recognises - in an NPOV manner - that there is disagreement concerning the basis and validity of the claims made by the Bates family. Strong personal opinions held by individual editors may be noted as such within the article, but they do not constitite absolute reality any more than claims to the contrary do.--Gene_poole 00:45, 12 Oct 2004 (UTC)
You claim that "(a)n entity called "Sealand" certainly exists", to which I respond: no, all that exists is a sunken Royal Navy barge with the word "Sealand" painted on it. The sunken Royal Navy barge exists, but that is all. There is no evidence to the contrary. If you are claiming that Wikipedia is not based upon fact, science and documented evidence, but upon novel ideas of fiction, then it is hardly an encyclopedia, is it? At the moment I believe that it is an encyclopedia dealing with the facts, science and documented evidence.
I totally agree with you concerning opinions, but the fact of the matter is that Roy Bates is on public record explaining how and where he got the idea. That is a fact but it is not in the article - which you will notice I have not amended since posting these observations.
Second, since Roy Bates admits that he made up his title the entire issue of a royal family is moot. It does not exist. One cannot just proclaim oneself to be a royal family (unless insane) and then Roy did not do that. He claimed that he had received his royalty as prince of a principality. But he did not say from where. That is not in the article.
Third, Roy should have declared himself monarch, emperor or even dictator, but he claimed to be a prince. He got that idea as he admits, because at the time Prince Charles was about to be made Prince of Wales by his mother the Queen. Charles would then be Prince of the Principality of Wales. That is how this whole thing started in a pub.
No, it doesn't matter whether he calls himself emperor, king, grand duke, duke, or prince. It must be understood that the word "prince" can mean two very different things in the English language. Citing your own quotation above, the first is "male ruler or head of a principality" (German Fürst), and the other is "son of a prince, king, queen, emperor, or empress, or some other rank like a grand duke" (German Prinz). Unfortunately you happened to emphasize the second meaning. Of course Roy is not a prince in that sense, nor has he ever been claimed to be one, even by himself. He does, however, rightfully or not, claim to be a prince in the first sense (male ruler or head of a principality -- German Fürst), just like Rainier III is the Prince of Monaco or Hans-Adam II is the Prince of Liechtenstein, and also the way that Charles is the Prince of Wales, although only nominally. Roy claims to be The Prince of Sealand, which is exactly the same as claiming to be The King of Sealand, only a bit more modest. To get the different meanings sorted out, please visit Prince and Monarch. -- Jao 10:48, Oct 12, 2004 (UTC)
But him claiming he is a prince is a POV. So wikipedia presenting it as a fact is POV that must be removed. - Taxman 12:13, Oct 12, 2004 (UTC)
Fourth, the court case that I have cited is key to why Roy Bates cannot do anything out there on the sunken Royal Navy barge. He talks about the local Chelmsford case which had no English legal juridiction - it was an internal juridictional issue - not a sovereignty issue. But in terms of international law the matter was settled long ago in 1991 in a court in Washington, D.C. That was the information that Roy Bates kept from Ryan Lackey.
So I totally agree with you in terms of opinions but I am citing facts. All that exists is a sunken Royal Navy barge with the word "Sealand" painted on it. Please show me anything to the contrary, because a sunken Royal Navy barge with graffiti painted on it is not a sovereign country. At least not in the world of facts, science and documented evidence. If you are merely writing about dreams and ideas and whatifs, then we are not on the same page. But if you are dealing with facts, with science and documented evidence, then clearly this silly saga should be wrapped up by removing all of the nonsense and reposting the subject a long running joke created in a pub. MPLX/MH 01:12, 12 Oct 2004 (UTC)
It would serve you well to familiarise yourself with the concept of NPOV, given that that is the foundation upon which Wikipedia articles are edited. Your assertions and observations concerning Sealand are valid inclusions in the article so long as they are presented in an NPOV manner, and recognise that there are other equally valid conflicting viewpoints on the subject - which there obviously are, as per numerous cited legal opinions and instances of interaction between Bates' Sealand and other entities. The existence of the article itself is not a matter of dispute, as the subject is clearly noteworthy.--Gene_poole 01:40, 12 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Actually there are no properly cited legal opinions in the article. The fact remains that only Bates and his family and associates consider the entity really a sovereign nation. The part of the NPOV policy that is heavily ignored in the current state of the article is this:
The policy says that we should fairly represent all sides of a dispute, and not make an article state, imply, or insinuate that any one side is correct.
The article clearly carries the NPOV that Sealand does exist, by including the seal, flag, and taxobox acting as if Roy and Joan are sovereigns. The policy also states:
Articles that compare views need not give minority views as much or as detailed a description as more popular views. We should not attempt to represent a dispute as if a view held by only a small minority of people deserved as much attention as a majority view.
Which is also clearly violated by the way the article prominently displays the (by far) minority viewpoint that Sealand is a sovereign nation. - Taxman 02:04, Oct 12, 2004 (UTC)
1. There are several legal opinions cited in the article.
Far from properly. As noted a number of times, they do not have dates, publication, and are not available for review. There is so little information they should be taken out until improved. - Taxman 12:13, Oct 12, 2004 (UTC)
2. The article does not assert or even imply that Sealand is a sovereign nation - notwithstanding the fact that that determining Sealand's status is in no way the purpose of the article in any case. In fact it repeatedly states that it is not, and merely claims to be so. This is factual and NPOV.
Why do you refuse to reallize that the text can say one thing and the sidebar and presentation can say another? The infobox calls them sovereign and shows their flag as if anyone but them believes they are sovereign. - Taxman 12:13, Oct 12, 2004 (UTC)
3. The flag obviously does exist; in fact it is shown flying from Sealand in one of the photographs accompanying the article. It is also documented in Flags of the World, the chief vexillological documentary source.
Have a source for that claim? Is that a book? In any case, again, I never said the flag didn't exist. Only that placing it as if Sealand were sovereign is asserting the POV that they are. Clear violation of the NPOV policy. - Taxman 12:13, Oct 12, 2004 (UTC)
4. The only "minority" view here is the one you hold - namely that somehow, despite clearly and repeatedly describing the precise status of Sealand and describing various opinions concerning that status, the article is in some manner, either non-factual or POV. It is neither. This reality is clear to all but the tiny pedantic minority who continue to contend that Sealand does not exist, when thirty plus years of third party sources, documented artefacts and other sources indicate otherwise.--Gene_poole 03:37, 12 Oct 2004 (UTC)
That is incorrect. It is clearly a minority view that Sealand is sovereign. I don't even think you dispute that. No country recognizes Sealand as sovereign. Therefore it is a heavy POV to include the infobox the way it is because it supports the minority view in much more prominent way than the majority. Direct conflict with the NPOV policy noted above. I never said it doesn't exist. Clearly it does. But don't confuse existing with the POV that it is a sovereign nation. The fact that you keep dragging red herrings in like that is troubling.- Taxman 12:13, Oct 12, 2004 (UTC)
I get your point Gene. You are saying that because something called "Sealand" exists it merits an entry on Wikipedia. Okay, I understand your point of view and I agree with you. However, if what is claimed to exist as "Sealand" is neither a sovereign microstate nor something that does not exist at all, then the question is - the BIG question is: What is it? There is enough documented evidence to show that it is a joke turned hoax turned con trick that has suckered several people and caused them to surrender their money to the Bates family under false pretenses. Therefore the question is, should Wikipedia assist in the perpetuation of a fraud, or should it instead of ignoring it, expose it as a fraud? I am with you for not ignoring it - but I am for exposing it as a fraud. That is not POV because the fraud can be documented and proved. MPLX/MH 05:18, 12 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I part company with you on the "hoax" and "con trick" assertions - these are inherently POV (and probably defamatory to boot) unless you can produce documentary evidence that the Bates' deliberately set out to fleece unwary investors. As far as I'm aware the Bates have never been prosecuted for fraud by anyone. As I've pointed out on your talk page, it is far more likely that anyone "fleeced" by Sealand have been done in by their own stupidity, rather than as the result of any grand conspiracy; Bates is much more likely to be a harmless eccentric who has come to all but believe his own publicity (and is therefore convincing to others) than he is to be a master criminal. --Gene_poole 06:41, 12 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Gene, can't someone clean up this talk page? It is a difficult to correspond on it. In response, yes I can show at least two major frauds involving "Sealand". The first related to the ship "Lichfield I" which was called "Sarah" and the second involved the entire Havenco nonsense. As Ryan Lackey correctly pointed out the problem is getting a venue to sue someone and then it comes round to buyer beware. However, the only people to financially benefit from the hoax are the Bates family. There is ample documented proof to show that it is a hoax and a fraud. However, doing something about it is a major legal headache, especially when they have a lot of unpaid fans posting stuff about their hoax as if it was a real entity. This matter can be easily resolved by simply looking at the issues: 1) This is a sunken Royal Navy boat and not an island; 2) Bates never received any royal powers for him to confer any; 3) The 1990-1991 US court case stands unchallenged by Bates or any one else and it plainly concluded that the nation of "Sealand" did not exist. 4) Rough Sands is part of the United Kingdom. All of the the other issues are plain silly. I am for resolving the entire matter and cleaning up this waste of effort which can only perpetuate a fraud, although now that Ryan Lackey has quit and spilled the beans it may be more difficult for the Bates family to con anyone else at the present time. That bit is POV. The issues are clearly NPOV and anyone is free to address them in a sensible manner.
I completely agree with you and I am familiar with the Wiki concepts of NPOV/POV. What we have here is a mountain out of a molehill. First of all what exists - not in cyberspace but in reality - is a sunken Royal Navy barge with UK Ministry of Defence buoys around it and upon which someone painted the word "Sealand". Second, there is no royal family because Roy Bates himself is on record telling the world how he came up with the idea in a pub after getting inspiration from the news of the day concerning Prince Charles. Third, both the UK and USA decided this matter in court in 1990-1991. Fourth, Ryan Lackey claims that he was deceived by Bates since he was not told about the 1990-1991 court case and so he quit. Fifth, Havenco was registered in Britain as a British company. The mail drop is British. The Royal Navy barge is not an island but a sunken boat. These facts are NPOV because they are what they are and speak for themselves, just as if anyone would let him, Roy Bates would give his POV about how he started this charade over a beer in a pub. Where is hid admission and where is the 1990-1991 court case in the article? But still the basic issue is this: how can a person claim to be a prince if a superior has not made them so? Then how can a sunken boat within UK waters and still claimed by the UK be anything more than a sunken UK boat within UK waters? It treats the subject as being sensible when in reality it is straight out of a Monty Python Silly Walks script. If you would care to address the NPOV aspects of what I have stated I will be happy to respond. MPLX/MH 02:22, 12 Oct 2004 (UTC)


The following are not opinions, they are not POV, they are well documented and recorded facts:

1. Rough Tower is the name that exists on the official UK Ordinance Survey maps;
2. Rough Tower is the name painted on UK Ministry of Defence buoys marking Rough Tower;
3. Rough Tower is actually two towers joined by a platform above the surface and below the surface the two towers form the superstructure of HMS Roughs, a WWII Royal Navy barge sunk on Rough Sands.
4. Rough Tower is not an island but the superstructure of a former Royal Navy boat.
5. Rough Sands is a part of the UK as established by the fact that the USA and UN all agree that Rough Sands is a part of the UK and there are no international disputes to the contrary.
6. A USA federal court case settled the issue about Rough Tower in 1990-1991 and found that "Sealand" does not exist.
7. Roy Bates has stated that he was in a pub having a drink with his wife Joan when he dreamed up the idea of making her a princess.
8. The occasion that gave rise to the "Sealand" myth was the naming of Prince Charles as the Prince of the Principality of Wales by his mother, the sovereign.
9. No sovereign has ever confered any title of prince on Roy Bates.
10. A principality can only be created by a principal state.
11. The UK being the principal state having jurisdiction has never created a principality on Rough Sands.
12. Military wrecks are not subject to the same laws as ordinary vessels for salvage purposes and HMS Roughs is a military wreck.

If someone would kindly address those basic issues we might be able to clean up this absurd page and get rid of both a hoax and an inducement to financial fraud. MPLX/MH 19:46, 12 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I don't believe that the article is at odds with any of the things you state. Sealand is mainly interesting as an idea, because it serves as a sort of bookend or milepost for the "micronation" concept. The article makes it as clear as possible that its status is self-proclaimed. We at Wikipedia are not qualified to decide whether it is part of the UK, a soverign state, neither, or both. Nor is there any need for us to do so. Roughs Tower is there, the Sealand story is a cool one, we present the facts and let the reader decide. uc 20:12, 12 Oct 2004 (UTC)
The story is not "cool" it is a hoax and a fraud. Second, what you are stating is that Wikipedia is a load of rubbish and cannot be relied upon as a source of factual material. If I thought that I would not be here and if you convince me of that I will be gone from here! From what I can see the concept of Wikipedia is good because it is open sourced in the sense that POV stuff is difficult to maintain on Wikipedia without someone coming along who knows the facts and exposing the nonsense - whether it be jet engines or identification of turtles. There are exceptions and this topic seems to be one of them because the facts are not stated in the article. The problem with the article is that "Sealand" as a story exists but "Sealand" as a micronation does not and never has existed. It is a hoax and a fraud and it should be treated as such. If you think otherwise, then please address the points outlined above which are about as clear as I can make them. MPLX/MH 21:03, 12 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I have added the words "claims to be" before the word micronation because in addition to claiming to be a sovereign state it claims to be a micronation even though no nation and no international body of law on the Planet Earth agrees that it is. Just the opposite is true. The United States of America and the United Kingdom have stated on the public record in a court of law which has been reviewed and upheld, that "Sealand" does not exist as either a micronation or as a sovereign state it is just a sunken Royal Navy barge sitting on a sandbar within UK territorial waters. I will not claim that "Sealand" does not exist at all because that issue has already been addressed here and clearly something called "Sealand" exists. But what is clear is that it is neither a micronation nor is it a sovereign state and for that matter neither is it a principality. Now isn't it time that this silly and childish article is totally written to show that it is both a hoax and a fraud? Leaving this page in place and even discussing it as though it was a factual article is making Wikipedia look very stupid. MPLX/MH 02:54, 13 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Are you denying that the "Principality of Sealand" is an example of entities that resemble independent states, but for the most part exist only on paper, on the Internet, or in the minds of their creators (which is our present definition of micronation, taken from that article)? True, we don't see into Roy Bates's mind, but I don't think we have to doubt that therein, if nowhere else, the entity does exist. Perhaps you are confusing micronations with microstates? -- Jao 08:51, Oct 14, 2004 (UTC)
I was not aware of this definition until you called it to my attention and after reading it I see that this definition is also disputed. What a mess. A definition to define a dispute is disputed! However, leaving all of that aside (and I can and will having no interest to go down that alley), what we have here as Gene Poole has correctly pointed out is something that actually does exist. That something is not in the mind of Roy Bates. If it was then I would ignore the entire matter. The question that arises is: What is this something? If we go by all of the claimed definitions we end up with hoax and fraud. For instance: Is it a principality according to the Wikidictionary? No it is not. There is no principal other than a pint of beer in a pub. There is no sovereign chain of authority. Someone mentioned the creation of the Vatican State, but that was created by the Italian government. Is this an island to begin with (man-made or natural)? No, it is a sunken military vessel which has always been claimed by the UK government by witness of the Ministry of Defence buoys. Is there any body of international law that Roy Bates ignores in order to deceive others? Yes, there is. It took place in the USA in 1990-1991 and when Ryan Lackey found out about it he quit the Havenco operation and then he discovered that he had no legal redress because there was no "Sealand" so there was no law and no court. That is why this page needs to be removed to its own already existing page and this page redirected to the Sealand (disambiguation) page. Then the Principality of Sealand page can be rewritten to incorporate all of the facts to show that it was and is a hoax and a fraud. MPLX/MH 15:24, 14 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I am not sure what all the arguing is about. Sealand "claims" to be a nation and "claims" to be a state. Sealand is ruled by a self-proclaimed government. The U.K. has, for whatever reason, decided to not take action to take the island and extend its sovereignty over the barge. The U.K. may not recognize its sovereignty, but it also hasn't taken any action to reclaim sovereignty either. Just because you don't recognize something doesn't mean it doesn't exist. That is like saying Taiwan isn't a de facto indpendent state just because the People's Republic of China refuses to recognize it as such. Whether you agree with the politics of it, Sealand exists, and the reason why this article is interesting is because it does exists even though no country recognizes it. --WisTex 11:29, 22 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Soution Number One

There is already a Principality of Sealand page which for some illogical reason is redirected to this page which looks as if it is/was a disambiguation page. I suggest that the contents of this page are moved to Principality of Sealand page and that this Sealand page is redirected to Sealand (disambiguation) because there is already a Sealand in Wales that is recognized as a part of the United Kingdom and it is also the location of both a famous RAF Sealand and a USAF base. Then there is the are the areas of Holland known and recognized in the English language as Sealand and the hotel in Hong Kong, China known as Sealand, and of course the world famous shipping company known as Sealand. It is therefore logical that the redirect from the existing "Principality of Sealand" should be removed and that a redirect placed on this Sealand page to Sealand (disambiguation). At least that would be a logical and sensible start to clearing up this mess and it can be done with little effort. MPLX/MH 18:36, 13 Oct 2004 (UTC) - this user is avoiding all discussion and simply reverting: why?

Why is the annon. user simply reverting text? How does that help? is logging on from the general area of Buffao, NY.

Micronation or Microstate?

I was asked by Jao the following question:

Are you denying that the "Principality of Sealand" is an example of entities that resemble independent states, but for the most part exist only on paper, on the Internet, or in the minds of their creators (which is our present definition of micronation, taken from that article)? True, we don't see into Roy Bates's mind, but I don't think we have to doubt that therein, if nowhere else, the entity does exist. Perhaps you are confusing micronations with microstates? -- Jao 08:51, Oct 14, 2004 (UTC)

Well the article plainly stated that it was a microstate, but called it a micronation, which is downright confusing, if the entire subject was not confusing to begin with. So I have added that definition to state that it is considered by its creators to be a microstate and not a micronation. How else can this daft article begin by saying that it is a sovereign nation and end up by contradicting itself and stating that it is not? The contradiction appears in the first lines after the words Principality of Sealand. It begs a simple, two-three line explanation of what it is - which does not contradict itself or commonsense. Of course the only problem is with the definition of microstate is that no nation has ever agreed that the Principality of Sealand exists (as Jao correctly stated), anywhere but in the mind of Roy Bates and those of his fan club. MPLX/MH 21:31, 14 Oct 2004 (UTC)


I for one respect Sealand and think of it as a totaly independent principality. David


And do you ahve any other such state topics? David

Latest Gzornenplatz "POV dispute"

The above editor is attempting to delete the following sentence, on the grounds that it is POV:

Although it remains unrecognized, various factors give Sealand one of the strongest claims to statehood among micronations.

I contend that the statement is both factual and NPOV, for the following reasons:

1. Sealand is unrecognised. The first part of the sentence is therefore factually correct.

2. Sealand does have one of the strongest claims to legitimacy as a sovereign state amongst micronations. No other known micronation has anything even approaching the level of Sealand's claims to legitimacy. The second part of the sentence is therefore also factually correct.--Gene_poole 06:06, 26 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Technically, statements of facts can be POV (see Wikipedia:NPOV_dispute) if the choice of facts included imbalances an article. However, he needs to contribute to this discussion to explain his rationale for his removal of said text before doing so as his motives seem certainly unclear at this point. Sarge Baldy 06:44, Oct 26, 2004 (UTC)

I don't dispute the first part, but it is redundant with the previous mention that it is a "micronation" (which implies non-recognition) and the following sentence which begins "Were it ever recognized". The second part is clearly POV, simply because one may well believe that it has no claims to legitimacy (and thus no more than any other micronation). Gzornenplatz 06:47, Oct 26, 2004 (UTC)

It is in no way POV to state that the micronation that has the strongest claim to legitimacy based on established legal principles and historic precedents amongst other micronations (as illustrated within the context of the article) has indeed the strongest claims to legitimacy based on established legal principles and historic precedent amongst micronations. No amount of semantic gymnastics can obscure the simple truth and validity of that statement.--Gene_poole 07:09, 26 Oct 2004 (UTC)
"Strongest claim to legitimacy" according to who? Ambi 07:12, 26 Oct 2004 (UTC)
And that is relevant to this discussion how exactly?--Gene_poole 07:18, 26 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Well, it is a rather bald assertion, Gene. It seems to be your point of view that it has a strong claim and Gzornenplatz's that it has no claim whatsoever. Sarge, understandably, is interpreting "claim" in the common sense of "argument", whereas Gzornenplatz seems to be using it in the sense of a "claim" to a throne. I have to say that in this instance, Gz's reading does seem more apt, because we are talking about an issue of legitimacy (which brings the claims to the throne of Spain that brought about the war of the Spanish Succession etc to mind). I have to say, Sarge, that while you are right that a claim to legitimacy is a different thing from actual legitimacy in the sense you are using, "one of the strongest" does imply a POV (because Gz clearly expresses another POV that all claims are of equal strength because all of these micronations have absolutely no chance of being recognised as legitimate). I think you, Gene, have sidestepped the relevant question from Ambi of whose POV this statement represents.Dr Zen 08:48, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I agree somewhat more with Gene on the matter of legitimacy, as a claim to legitimacy is merely that, a claim, or argument for its legitimacy. There still may be absolutely no legitimacy, but it still makes claims to legitimacy based on what he said above. The article also does not state (as Gene did) that it has the strongest claim to legitimacy, but rather one of the strongest. Sarge Baldy 07:29, Oct 26, 2004 (UTC)
The sentence said that Sealand has the strongest claims, not that it makes the strongest claims, although I don't think even that would be true. Anyone can make wild claims like that, and many other micronations do make such claims. I don't see how this is in any way special. And whether the claims make any sense is pure POV. Most people don't see any legitimacy to it whatsoever according to "established legal principles and historic precedents". Gzornenplatz 07:38, Oct 26, 2004 (UTC)


This is not a discussion about Sealand's "legitimacy" or "official status"; it is a discussion about whether the claims to legitimacy Sealand makes have more of a basis in reality, based on legal and historic precedents, than those of other micronations. The objective answer to this is indisputably affirmative. --Gene_poole 08:34, 26 Oct 2004 (UTC)

AGREED! is a discussion about whether the claims to legitimacy Sealand makes have more of a basis in reality The answer is OF COURSE NOT = IT HAS NO LAND! MPLX/MH 00:11, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)

It's not a discussion about its legitimacy but about whether the claims to legitimacy have a basis in reality? What is the difference? Saying the claims have a basis in reality (which is POV, I certainly don't think they have any) is tantamount to saying it is legitimate. Gzornenplatz 08:40, Oct 26, 2004 (UTC)
I repeat: This is not a discussion about Sealand's "legitimacy" or "official status"; it is a discussion about whether the claims to legitimacy Sealand makes have more of a basis in reality, based on legal and historic precedents, than those of other micronations. The objective answer to this is indisputably affirmative.--Gene_poole 08:53, 26 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I wrote that sentence and was considering taking it out myself. It is POV to state that X has the strongest claim to anything. It is an interpretation of the facts and someone else may interpret it differently or even flat out disagree. Therefore it is a POV. - Taxman 12:12, Oct 26, 2004 (UTC)

1. It is not POV to state that X has the strongest claim to Y when the assertion is demonstrably true. 2. If "different interpretation of the facts" defines POV, then virtually everything every human being has ever said or written constitutes "POV". New earth creationism? Feng shui? Fairies down the back garden? Forget about objectively challenging their validity, because if you disagree that they are anything other than obscurantist idiocy its just your POV! --Gene_poole 12:52, 26 Oct 2004 (UTC)
If you reviewed POV policy, you'd find that isn't quite true. Slanting an issue (even with facts) in a light that reflects your opinion can qualify as a POV. Sarge Baldy 17:02, Oct 26, 2004 (UTC)
I'm familiar with POV policy. This "argument" is fast going a long way off track - which is obviously the outcome intended by the editor who began it. Bear in mind that the disputed sentence states only that Sealand has a more solid basis for claiming legitimacy on traditional grounds than any other micronation. It most certainly does not assert that Sealand has solid grounds for claiming legitimacy, as several here continue to falsely contend.--Gene_poole 23:08, 26 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Unfortunately, NPOV isn't necesarily defined as what can be proven. This doesn't make statements of fact POV, but inferences made from those facts very well can be. The question of Sealand's legitimacy or statehood is hardly a hard scientific question, it is an annoyingly political, sociological, and psychological one. You could argue it to the death in every court of the land and that still wouldn't make either side's position an NPOV one. In such a realm, the fact that there is a notable segment of people (e.g. equally notable to the opposing view) that believe Sealand has no claims to legitimacy or statehood is enough to make the declaration that "X has the strongest Y" a POV one. That of course is the nature of the WP:NPOV dilemma of "writing for the competition". - KeithTyler 18:36, Oct 26, 2004 (UTC)

Suggested rewrite:

Although it remains unrecognized, many consider Sealand to have one of the strongest claims to statehood among micronations, due to various factors and events.

- KeithTyler 18:36, Oct 26, 2004 (UTC)

That sounds better to me, though perhaps change have to make? Sarge Baldy 19:22, Oct 26, 2004 (UTC)
I'd leave out everything after the word micronations. That "various factors and events" underpin the prior assertion is obvious, and in any case the "factors and events" themselves are delineated in detail in the main body of the article itself.--Gene_poole 23:08, 26 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Yeah, I agonized over that, but decided to keep as much of the original sentence as possible. - KeithTyler
On reconsideration I think the following might be a better compromise. The initial statement concerning recognition is rather redundant, following a sentence where Sealand is described as a micronation:Many consider Sealand to have one of the strongest claims to statehood among micronations.--Gene_poole 02:22, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)


The problem with this article is that it begins by assuming something. It assumes that an island land exists that can be declared independent. The fact of the matter is that what is being discussed is a sunken barge whose twin towers poking above the shallow waters are in fact the superstructure of the sunken barge. Second: This barge was a military vessel. Third: This military vessel known either as HMS Rough's or HM Fort Roughs was built in England and towed to the Rough Sands where the hold was flooded so that it sank gently on the bottom with the Royal Navy crew and other staff on board. Pictures of the building and sinking exist. Fourth: In a pub Roy Bates joked about making the sunken barge into a principality to mimic the Principality of Wales with Prince Charles as the Prince of Wales being imitated by Roy Bates. The Queen made her son Prince of Wales of a real land. A sunken barge is not a land of any type. Fifth: By sleight of hand the uninitiated have been hoodwinked into accepting that the word "derelict" means "abandoned". It does not. The Ministry of Defence have never abandoned claim after their predecessor the Ministry of War placed the barge at that location and to this very day the UK taxpayers pay for the identification buoys surrounding "Rough Tower" with those words painted upon them. You can argue all you want to about territory but first you have to find some territory and there is none. Not only that but this matter was decided in a US court of law with UK participation in 1990-1991 and those findings have never been challenged by anyone, let alone the Bates family. This is a joke and a sham dispute about something that does not exist. Find the land then we can find the dispute. MPLX/MH 21:57, 26 Oct 2004 (UTC)

This is not an article about HMS Fort Roughs. This is an article about the entity created by Paddy Roy Bates that is known to millions of people around the world as "Sealand". It would serve you well to understand the very real distinction between the two.--Gene_poole 23:00, 26 Oct 2004 (UTC)


Gene, we already had this discussion and you are claiming that because Roy Bates claimed long enough and loud enough that other people heard and believed him, that the "Principality of Sealand" exists, it therefore exists. That is basis of your entire point of view. You therefore go on to claim that therefore there should be an entry for "Sealand" or "Principality of Sealand". Okay, is there one for the Flat Earth Society? According to your reasoning there should be and on that basis I would agree with you. But in the very first opening and discriptive text it needs to say the following:
  • No such land mass exists and that the subject is founded upon a myth and a hoax.
  • The object in question is a sunken sea barge that is still marked by buoys paid for by the UK taxpayers at the behest of the Ministry of Defence.
  • The sea barge is a sunken HMS Royal Navy barge built on land during World War Two and floated into place with troops on board and then intentionally sunk on Rough Sands sandbar.
  • The "entity created by Paddy Roy Bates that is known to millions of people around the world as Sealand" - is a myth and a hoax and no such land mass on the face of the Planet Earth exists now or has ever existed.
  • This myth and hoax has spawned many frauds and criminal acts.
  • There, is that better? MPLX/MH 23:51, 26 Oct 2004 (UTC)


    I found an entry for the Flat Earth Society and one for Flat Earth! Clearly there needs to be disamgiguation pages for myth, fraud and hoax with "Sealand" linked to them and all of these topics need to be written from a sane POV (how can you be NPOV about insanity?) The topics need to show that myths can also mean fantasy, something that does not really exist. There needs to be a link to the word fraud and another to the word hoax and another to the words criminal acts. MPLX/MH 00:03, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)

    I'm frankly beginning to tire of your obsessional POV on this subject. Sealand and Flat Earth are notable and encyclopaedic, whether you like it or not. If you don't like it you can nominate them for VfD and see how far you get. You obviously have an axe to grind concerning Roy Bates, so I suggest you interpolate your opinions on that subject into the article. If they are supported by actual evidence and are presented in an NPOV manner then they are likely to be accepted. If not they are likely to be edited out by those with a more objective attitude. I would also strongly advise you to cease publishing statements that might be considered defamatory. --Gene_poole 00:53, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)
    Gene, I have discussed this matter with you separately and I agree with you that the Flat Earth Society and Principality of Sealand both exist as newspaper and magazine articles. On that we are agreed. However, there is no geographical location on this planet that is a part of this planet like Tasmania that you can point to and say "That is the Principality of Sealand, because it does not exist, plain and simple. That is also a hard fact of reality. When the newspaper and magazine articles mention Principality of Sealand they mean that same sunken Royal Navy barge that is sitting on Rough Sands with the superstructure of the barge itself that is known as Rough Tower and the barge that is known either as HMS Roughs or HM Fort Roughs.
    Now as to fraud and criminal acts, they are well documented, so I hardly think that your idea of defamation (which exists as a religious but not legal concept) is anything that I have to worry about unless you think that the nutty people on Rough Tower really do have a lot in common with the Flat Earth Society and then I only have to worry if I share the same nutty religious beliefs which I don't. As for the law, the law says that the Principality of Sealand does not exist.
    I get the feeling that you boxed yourself in with your own argument and now you are looking for a way out. I agreed with you that a nutty concept exists and that is the point that you were making and I agreed with you. But since there is no natural geographical spot on this planet called the Principality of Sealand, I suggest that we return to reality and get off this silly discussion. MPLX/MH 01:44, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)
    I'm simply tired of repeating myself. Sealand exists. You're the only one here claiming that it doesn't. I'd also seek better legal advice if you believe defamation is "not a legal concept". --Gene_poole 02:12, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)
    If I were this day to declare the Principality of Woodhall as an independent state, it would momentarily begin to exist -- as a fantasy country. If I were this day also to declare myself a citizen of the Principality of Woodhall, this fantasy country would turn into a micronation, albeit a very small one. No coherent definition of micronation can have it otherwise. Since the Bates have done both these things, it's obvious that there is a micronation that is called the Principality of Sealand. Now, that doesn't mean it should be included here. The Principality of Woodhall certainly shouldn't -- but only because it's not notable enough, not because it doesn't exist (had I declared it). The Principality of Sealand should be included -- as such -- if it is deemed important enough in any way (which I think discussions here have proved that it is). I really don't see what "natural geographical spots" have to do with it. The micronation Sealand exists independently of any "geographical spots" it might be connected with. For its status as a sovereign state, well then it would need a territory (at least by all definitions of statehood I have seen, including the Montevideo Convention). But this article is not about Sealand the sovereign state. It's about Sealand the micronation (which exists and is notable), and about its claims to statehood (which are very relevant to such an article). There's a vast difference. -- Jao 08:09, Oct 27, 2004 (UTC)
    MPLX You need to calm down a bit. There are facts that relate to Sealand and can be verified objectively. Calling it insanity and other irrational things does not help wikipedia. We simply need to get this article to discuss the facts only and not support one POV or the other. While currently the article supports the POV that sealand is sovereign in a number of ways, the solution is not to remove the article, because as I said, facts regarding it do exist. The facts you have noted MPLX, are in the article, that it is a sunken barge. Enough said. In fact though, why doesn't everyone settle down and just work to get to the facts, and stop pushing so hard to get their POV in this article? - Taxman 14:37, Oct 27, 2004 (UTC)
    I am in agreement with Gene Pool that "Sealand" exists if I accept the idea that the "Flat Earth Society" exists. Okay, Wiki accepts the entry for the Flat Earth Society so I agree with the entry for "Sealand" on that basis. Both are without foundation in fact, both are a fantasy. As for "defamation" of "Sealand", that is plain silly and I know this from first hand experience. First it has no standing in law. Second, since it has no standing in law and one person cannot be a micronation (or in this absurd reasoning, can it?), then there is no way on Earth to defame hot air which has been used to spawn criminal acts.
    Now I am more in agreement with the reasoning of Jao in that communities can exist without land. The only trouble is there is no community and there is no land as far as "Sealand" is concerned.
    Now to the comments by Taxman. 1. We have now established the fact that "Sealand" does not have a geographical location of real estate on this Planet. 2. We have established that it is a boat, sunken in this case. 3. We are talking about something that has created a lot of hot air and misleading information just like the Flat Earth Society. I maintain that we are discussing something that is on the same level as the Flat Earth Society. Therefore by holding Gene to the issue I believe we are close to resolving this entire matter. MPLX/MH 14:49, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)

    Defamation of "Sealand"

    Thank you Gene for the link. I have not only taken a look at the link but made a note of its contents because I believe that you have answered the entire remaining issue. The question has been raised: "What is the legal definition of defamation?"

    The answer is very interesting in the context of "Sealand" because it also addresses the problems encountered with the false ship registration claims and Ryan Lackey's problems which caused him to quit Havenco (and both the ship issue the Havenco legal issues are related - see Ryan Lackey's own web site.)

    The elements that must be proved to establish defamation are: (1) A publication to one other than the person defamed; (2) of a false statement of fact; (3) which is understood as being of and concerning the plaintiff; and (4) which is understood in such a way as to tend to harm the reputation of plaintiff.

    (1) "Sealand" is not a person but the name of activities taking place on a boat which had a voyage and which was sunk. (2) Claiming that a sunken Royal Navy boat can be taken over by private individuals and declared a sovereign country is in itself a false statement of fact. It denies reality and it is false on its face. (3) The would-be "plaintiff" is a sunken boat, which means that this would be an In Rem ("the thing") case. Since the ownership of the boat would be at issue there would be competing claims as to who represented the "plaintiff": The UK government who built and paid for it and have marked it by their taxpayer buoys, or the Bates family who are mere squatters on someone else's property. (4) Since the "plaintiff" would be disputed the only people to have harmed the real owner (UK) would be the "defendant", namely the Roy, Joan and Michael Bates and hangers on.

    Gene, I believe you have just resolved this entire article as being a fantasy of nonsense spawning criminal acts. MPLX/MH 16:04, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)

    You are obviously incapable of maintaining any sort of objectivity on this subject, and you appear to have completely failed to understand the nature of defamation as a legal concept, so I'll keep my comments brief: You are defaming members of the Bates family by publishing unsubstantiated allegations of criminal activity by them, in writing, in a public forum. I strongly recommend that you stop doing so.--Gene_poole 21:56, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)
    I read your reply Gene and you obviously have no response to what I have written. I suggest that you stick to the facts which include the reality that the Bates family and their friends became squatters on British government property. That is a fact. Address the facts Gene and stay off the personal attack. Since the Bates family and their hangers on are the squatters this subject is intertwined with their actions. By the way, for your information the Cabinet of Prime Minister Harold Wilson called Roy Bates a nut. The Treasury Solicitor for HM Treasury told me personally that the "Sealand" myth is drivel. His expression. If you want proof I will produce proof. Now address the facts. Point number one: "Sealand" is a sunken barge and it has no territory. That is a fact. Point number two if the UK government says that Bates is a nut and I agree with them, so be it! MPLX/MH 04:17, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)

    Forked discussion

    This article page was created specifically for an article about the "Principality of Sealand". However, at this time there is no entry on the Principality of Sealand page other than a redirect to a page named Sealand. That page contains partial disambiguation and the article about the "Principality of Sealand". However there now exists a more complete Sealand (disambiguation) page. In order to straighten this mess out the article presently on the Sealand page should be removed here and the redirect link on the Principality of Sealand page should be removed and a redirect inserted on Sealand page to the Sealand (disambiguation) page. MPLX/MH 15:41, 14 Oct 2004 (UTC)

    Definitions added

    Turning the clock back to where a claim was first made about the status of Rough Tower it becomes obvious that the initial claim was based upon a basic untruth. According to the Wired magazine for July, 2000, Michael Bates claimed that his father's lawyer had found a loophole in international law called "dereliction of sovereignty" and that the Bates family "took over the sovereignty that the British government had derelicted." However, Rough Tower was not an island and it was never sovereign territory. Rough Tower was what remained of the former HMS Roughs which had been sunk on Rough Sands. The word dereliction has been used as a substitute for the word abandonment, but the two words have different meanings. The UK had never abandoned claims to ownership of Rough Tower, because its taxpayers paid for the buoys to be placed around it with the words "Rough Tower" painted on them. Rough Tower itself may have been left idle and may not have been in the best shape, but not caring for something is not the same as throwing something away. More than this a ship or vessel is registered with a sovereign country, it cannot register itself with itself. It was this basic point that the US Administrative Court heard and ruled upon in 1990 and reaffirmed on appeal in 1991. By sticking to the facts in evidence and using only the claims made by the Bates family, it becomes obvious that the story of turning a sunken ship into a sovereign nation is without foundation in fact, in reality or in law. I intend to add more NPOV factual documentation from reliable sources to establish this matter beyond question of doubt. MPLX/MH 18:24, 18 Oct 2004 (UTC)

    Total Revision

    In view of the current discussion and the invitation at the top of this page to edit it further, I have now done so and created new content. MPLX/MH 02:59, 7 Nov 2004 (UTC)

    What you should know about this article

    This article is documenting on ongoing investigation. As of November 9, 2004 I have managed to discover how and why "Sealand" exists. It does not exist as a country but as a former Royal Navy vessel that squatters first occupied back in 1967. According to Crown Estate this boat is sitting on their land at Rough Sands. The person contributing to this article is now awaiting information as to why the squatters have not been evicted to date. As soon as this information is received it will be added to the article. The problem began back in 1968 when Justice Chapman made the mistake of assuming that Rough Tower is not a ship, because according to a transcript that is what he said. Had he known that it was a ship a different branch of law would have been applied and this saga would not have continued to the present day. The British Government claim that Rough Tower is chattel occupying Crown land. Had Justice Chapman known that it was a boat then Admiralty law would have been applied. MPLX/MH 01:13, 10 Nov 2004 (UTC)