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THIS IS THE MOST AWESOME THING I HAVE EVER HEARD! ‘SEALAND’… ABSOLUTELY FUCKING AWESOME!… The Pint-Size Nation off the English Coast

Why have I never been made aware of this? Why am I only just discovering this now? What the holy flying fuck?
(“Well! … doesn’t take a genius as to why the British Government would want to keep this a secret from you!”)
The incredible and absolutely amazing story of Sealand!
Wow! 😀
What Bond film am I thinking of? 😀

The Pint-Size Nation off the English Coast

The absurd and remarkable story of Sealand, a “micronation” on an eerie metal platform, tells us plenty about libertarianism, national sovereignty, and the lawlessness of the ocean.

On Christmas Eve of 1966, Paddy Roy Bates, a retired British army major, drove a small boat with an outboard motor seven miles off the coast of England into the North Sea. He had sneaked out of his house in the middle of the night, inspired with a nutty idea for a perfect gift for his wife, Joan.

Using a grappling hook and rope, he clambered onto an abandoned anti-aircraft platform and declared it conquered. He later named it Sealand and deemed it Joan’s.

His gift was no luxury palace. Built in the early 1940s as one of five forts that defended the Thames, the HMF (His Majesty’s Fort) Roughs Tower was a sparse, windswept hulk. “Roughs,” as the abandoned platform was popularly called, was little more than a wide deck about the size of two tennis courts set atop two hollow, concrete towers, 60 feet above the ocean. But Roy claimed his brutalist outpost with the utmost gravity, as seriously as Cortés or Vasco da Gama.

In its wartime heyday, Roughs had been manned by more than a hundred British seamen and armed with anti-aircraft guns, some of whose barrels stretched longer than 15 feet to take better aim at Nazi bombers. When the defeat of the Germans rendered the station obsolete, it was abandoned by the Royal Navy. Unused and neglected, it fell into disrepair, a forlorn monument to British vigilance.

British authorities, not surprisingly, frowned on Roy’s seizure of their platform and ordered him to abandon it. But Roy was as daring as he was stubborn. He had joined the International Brigades at age 15 to fight on the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War. When he returned, he signed up with the British army, rising quickly through the ranks to become the youngest major in the force at the time. During World War II, he served in North Africa, the Middle East, and Italy. He once suffered serious wounds after a grenade exploded near his face. In a later incident, he was taken prisoner by Greek fascists after his fighter plane crashed, but he managed to escape. He consumed life with two hands.

Initially, Roy used Roughs for a pirate radio station. The BBC, which had a monopoly over the airwaves at the time, played the Beatles, the Kinks, the Rolling Stones, and other pop bands only in the middle of the night, much to the frustration of young audiences. Defiant entrepreneurs such as Roy answered the call by setting up unlicensed stations on ships and other platforms to play the music 24 hours a day from beyond Britain’s borders. After taking over his platform, Roy stocked it with tins of corned beef, rice pudding, flour, and scotch and lived on it, not returning to land sometimes for several months at a time.

After establishing his new radio station on the gunnery platform and formally giving his wife for her birthday, Roy was out for drinks at a bar with her and some friends. “Now you have your very own island,” Roy said to his wife. As was often the case with Roy, no one could tell whether the gift was sincere or tongue-in-cheek.

“It’s just a shame it doesn’t have a few palm trees, a bit of sunshine, and its own flag,” she replied.

A friend took the banter a step further: Why not make the platform its own country? Everyone laughed and moved on to the next round of pints. Everyone except Roy, that is. A few weeks later, he announced the establishment of the new nation of Sealand. The motto of the country over which he reigned was E Mare, Libertas, or “From the sea, freedom.”


The improbable creation story of the world’s tiniest maritime nation was a thumb in the eye of international law.

Constituted as a principality, Sealand had its own passport, coat of arms, and flag—red and black, with a white diagonal stripe. Its currency was the Sealand dollar, bearing Joan’s image. In more recent years, it has launched a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and a YouTube channel.

Though no country formally recognizes Sealand, its sovereignty has been hard to deny. Half a dozen times, the British government and assorted other groups, backed by mercenaries, have tried and failed to take over the platform by force. In virtually every instance, the Bates family scared them off by firing rifles in their direction, tossing gasoline bombs, dropping cinder blocks onto their boats, or pushing their ladders into the sea. Britain once controlled a vast empire over which the sun never set, but it’s been unable to control a rogue micronation barely bigger than the main ballroom in Buckingham Palace.

The reason goes back to the first principles of sovereignty: A country’s ability to enforce its laws extends only as far as its borders. In May 1968, Roy’s son, Michael, fired a .22-caliber pistol at workers servicing a buoy nearby. Michael claimed that they were mere warning shots to remind these workers of Sealand’s territorial sovereignty. No one was hurt in the incident, but the consequences for Britain’s legal system—and Sealand’s geopolitical status—were far-reaching.

The British government soon brought firearms charges against Michael, for illegal possession and discharge. But the court subsequently ruled that his actions happened outside British territory and jurisdiction, making them unpunishable under British law. Emboldened by the ruling, Roy later told a British official that he could order a murder on Sealand if he so chose, because “I am the person responsible for the law in Sealand.”

In its five decades of existence, no more than half a dozen people, guests of the Bates family, have ever lived on this desolate outpost. On the platform’s flattop, the big guns and helicopters from World War II were replaced by a wind-powered generator, which provided flickering electricity to the space heaters in Sealand’s 10 chilly rooms. Each month, a boat ferried supplies—tea, whiskey, chocolate, and old newspapers—to its residents. In recent years, its permanent citizenry has dwindled to one person: a full-time guard named Michael Barrington.

As absurdist and fanciful as Sealand seemed, the British took it seriously. Recently declassified U.K. documents from the late 1960s reveal that Sealand prompted considerable fretting among officers, who feared that another Cuba was being created, this time on England’s doorstep. These officers debated and ultimately rejected naval plans to bomb the installation. In the decades since its establishment, Sealand has been the site of coups and countercoups, hostage crises, a planned floating casino, a digital haven for organized crime, a prospective base for WikiLeaks, and myriad techno-fantasies, none brought successfully to fruition, many powered by libertarian dreams of an ocean-based nation beyond the reach of government regulation, and by the mythmaking creativity of its founding family. I had to go there.


The sea had summoned me in a dozen ways since I had begun my reporting for the book that would become The Outlaw Ocean, which publishes this week, but Sealand was different from the other frontiers I’d reported on. The audacity of the place was stunning, as were its philosophical underpinnings—an exercise in pure libertarianism awkwardly cinched into the arcane manners of maritime law and diplomacy. I was powerfully drawn to the place

It took me several months and many phone calls to persuade the family to give me permission to visit their principality, but finally, three years ago, I traveled to the platform with Roy Bates’s son, Michael, then 64, and his grandson James, then 29.

(Dusko Despotovic / Sygma / Getty)

The father-son duo picked me up in a skiff in the port town of Harwich shortly before dawn on a frigid windy day in October. The Bates men sat in the middle of the skiff while I sat in the rear as the small craft pounded up and down through the surf. Short and square in build, with a shaved head and a missing front tooth, Michael looked like a retired hockey player. He had a quick laugh and a raucous air. James, on the other hand, was thin and demure. Where James chose his words carefully, his father favored verbal stun grenades: “You can write about us whatever you bloody please!” he said soon after we met. “What do we care?” I suspected he actually cared a lot.

When waves are high, as they were that day, traveling in a 10-foot skiff can feel like riding a galloping horse—but unlike in galloping, the beat shifts often and unpredictably. The hour-long zigzag to Sealand was pure rodeo. My internal organs felt concussed; my legs shook with exhaustion from gripping the oblong seat. In the biting wind, conversation was impossible, so I hung on in silence.

The skiff rocketed across the surf toward a speck on the horizon that grew larger as we approached until I could see the mottled concrete stilts, the wide expanse of the platform above, and the web address painted in bold letters below the helipad in the middle. The famed micronation looked more rugged than regal. As we approached the platform, it became clear that the principality’s best defense was its height. Nearly impregnable from below, it had no mooring post, landing porch, or ladder. We idled our boat near one of the barnacle-coated columns as a crane swung out over the edge, six stories above.

Clad in bright-blue overalls, Michael Barrington, the live-in guard, a graying, round-bellied man in his 60s, lowered a cable with a small wooden seat that looked as if it belonged on a backyard tree swing. I climbed on and was hoisted up—a harrowing ascent in the howling wind. “Welcome,” Barrington yelled above the wind. Swiveling the crane around, he plopped me on deck. The place had a junkyard feel: piles of industrial drums, stacks of plastic crates, balls of tangled wires, mounds of rusty bric-a-brac—all surrounding a whirring wind turbine that seemed ready to pull loose at any minute. As the waves picked up, the whole structure groaned like an old suspension bridge.

Barrington lifted James and Michael, one at a time. Finally, he hoisted the boat itself and left it suspended in the air. “Precautionary,” he said, explaining why he hadn’t left it below in the water.

Michael Bates escorted me from the chaotic deck into the kitchen that served as the Sealandic seat of government. He put on a kettle of tea so we could talk. “Let’s get you through customs,” he deadpanned as he inspected and stamped my passport. I watched his face closely for any sign that it was safe for me to laugh. None came.


I hadn’t quite known what to expect from my visit to Sealand. Before arriving, I had done some reading about the rich and fanciful history of aquatic micronations. At least since Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea was published in 1870, people have dreamed of creating permanent colonies on or under the ocean.

Typically, these projects were inspired by the view that government was a kind of kryptonite that weakened entrepreneurialism. The backers of these micronations—in the first decade of the 21st century, they included quite a few dot-com tycoons—were usually men of means, steeped in Ayn Rand and Thomas Hobbes, and bullish on technology’s potential to solve human problems when unencumbered by government. Conceived as self-sufficient, self-governing, sea-bound communities, these cities were envisioned as part libertarian utopia, part billionaire’s playground. They were often called seasteads, after the homesteads of the American West.

(The Sun)

Many tried and failed. In 1968, a wealthy American libertarian named Werner Stiefel attempted to create a floating micronation called Operation Atlantis in international waters near the Bahamas. He bought a large boat and sent it to his would-be territory. It soon sank in a hurricane. In the early 1970s, a Las Vegas real-estate magnate named Michael Oliver sent barges loaded with sand from Australia to a set of shallow reefs near the island of Tonga in the Pacific Ocean, declaring his creation the Republic of Minerva. Planting a flag and some guards there, Oliver declared his micronation free from “taxation, welfare, subsidies, or any form of economic interventionism.” Within months, Tonga sent troops to the site to enforce its sovereignty, expelling the Minervans.

Some of these projects made sense in theory, but didn’t account for the harsh reality of ocean life. At sea, there is plenty of wind, wave, and solar energy to provide power—but building renewable-energy systems that could survive the weather and the corrosive seawater is difficult and costly. Communication options remain limited: Satellite-based connections were prohibitively expensive, as was laying a fiber-optic cable or relying on point-to-point lasers or microwaves that tethered the offshore installation to land. Traveling to and from seasteads was challenging. Waves and storms could be especially disruptive. “Rogue” waves, which occur when smaller waves meet and combine, can be taller than 110 feet—almost twice the height of Sealand.

Moreover, running a country—even a pint-size one—isn’t free. Who would subsidize basic services, the ones usually provided by the tax-funded government that seasteading libertarians sought to escape? Keeping the lights on and protecting against piracy would be expensive.

In 2008, these visionaries united around a nonprofit organization called the Seasteading Institute. Based in San Francisco, the organization was founded by Patri Friedman, a Google software engineer and grandson of Milton Friedman, the Nobel Prize–winning economist best known for his ideas about the limitations of government. The institute’s primary benefactor was Peter Thiel, a billionaire venture capitalist and co-founder of PayPal who donated more than $1.25 million to the organization and related projects.

Thiel also pledged to invest in a start-up venture called Blueseed. Its purpose was to solve a thorny problem affecting many Silicon Valley companies: how to attract engineers and entrepreneurs who lacked American work permits or visas. Blueseed planned to anchor a floating residential barge in international waters off the coast of Northern California. Never getting beyond the drawing-board phase, Blueseed failed to raise the money necessary to sustain itself.


Over the years, threats to Sealand came not just from governments, but from people Roy’s family thought were friends.

In Sealand’s early years, attacks came from fellow pirate-radio DJs. For example, Ronan O’Rahilly, who ran a pirate radio station called Radio Caroline from a nearby ship, tried to storm Sealand in 1967. Roy used gasoline bombs to repel him and several of his men. Later coup attempts on Sealand came from turncoat investors. As we sipped our tea, Michael recounted two examples.

In 1977, Roy was approached by a consortium of German and Dutch lawyers and diamond merchants, who said they wanted to build a casino on the platform. Invited to Austria in 1978 to discuss the proposition, Roy flew to Salzburg, leaving Sealand in the care of Michael, then in his 20s. Upon his arrival in Austria, Roy was greeted warmly by five men who set up a meeting for later that week. When no one showed at the second meeting, Roy grew suspicious and began phoning fishing captains who worked near Sealand, which had no telephone or radio capabilities of its own. When one of these skippers told Roy that he had seen a large helicopter landing at Sealand, he scrambled back to England to discover that a coup had taken place. At around 11 a.m. on August 10, 1978, Michael heard the thwump-thwump of approaching rotors. Grabbing a World War II–vintage pistol from Sealand’s weapons locker, he darted upstairs to find a helicopter hovering overhead, unable to land because of a 35-foot mast intended to deter just such uninvited guests. The helicopter’s bay doors were open, and a man was leaning out, gesturing that he wanted to set down. Michael aggressively waved him off. But within moments, several men had rappelled down a rope dangling from the helicopter and were standing on the platform.

Michael quickly recognized the thick accent and deep voice of one of the men standing before him: It was a voice he had previously overheard on the phone with his father, making plans to meet in Austria. Showing Michael a forged telegram, the men told him that his father had given them permission to come to Sealand as part of their business negotiations. Michael was skeptical, but figured he had no choice but to host the men. So the group headed inside to talk. When Michael turned his back to pour one of them a whiskey, the men slipped out the door, locked him in the room, and tied a cord around the external handle.

Years later, declassified British records and other documents that came to light after the release of the Panama Papers in 2016 made it clear that the puppeteer who had orchestrated the putsch was likely a German diamond dealer named Alexander Gottfried Achenbach, who had approached the Bates family in the early 1970s with the idea of greatly expanding the principality. His plan involved building a casino, a square lined with trees, a duty-free shop, a bank, a post office, a hotel, a restaurant, and apartments, all of which would be adjacent but attached to the Sealand platform. By 1975, Achenbach had been deputized as Sealand’s “foreign minister,” at which point he moved to the platform to help write its constitution. He filed a petition to renounce his German citizenship, demanding he instead be recognized as a citizen of Sealand. Local authorities in Aachen, Germany, where he made the petition, refused his request.

In his effort to win Sealand official recognition, Achenbach sent the constitution to 150 countries, as well as to the United Nations, with the request that it be ratified. But foreign leaders remained skeptical. A court in Cologne ruled that the platform was not part of the Earth’s surface, that it was lacking in community life, and that its minuscule territory did not constitute a living space that was viable over the long term.

Achenbach grew increasingly impatient about his stalled plans for Sealand, and he blamed the Bates family for a lack of commitment. He soon hatched an idea for speeding things along. He hired the helicopter and sent his lawyer, Gernot Pütz, and two other Dutchmen to take control of the platform. The men held Michael hostage for several days before putting him on a fishing boat headed to the Netherlands, where he was released to his parents.

Roy was furious about the coup and decided to take back his micronation by force. After returning to England, he enlisted John Crewdson, a friend and helicopter pilot who had worked on some of the early James Bond movies, to fly an armed team, including Roy and Michael, to the platform. They arrived just before dawn, approaching from downwind to lessen the noise from their rotors. Sliding down a rope from the helicopter, Michael hit the deck hard, jarring and firing the shotgun strapped to his chest, nearly hitting his father. Startled that the intruders were already opening fire, the German guard on deck immediately surrendered. Sealand’s founders were back in charge.

Roy quickly released all the men except Pütz, whom he charged with treason and locked in Sealand’s brig for two months. “The imprisonment of Pütz is in a way an act of piracy, committed on the high sea but still in front of British territory by British citizens,” officials from the German embassy wrote in a plea for help to the British government. In a separate correspondence, a Dutch foreign-affairs officer offered a suggestion for solving the problem: “Is there any chance of a British patrol vessel ‘passing by’ the Fort and somehow knocking it into the sea?” The British government responded that it lacked jurisdiction to take any action.

West Germany eventually sent a diplomat to Sealand to negotiate Pütz’s release, a move that Michael later described as de facto recognition of Sealand’s sovereignty. Made to prepare coffee and wash toilets while he awaited his fate, Pütz was eventually released from Sealand after paying a fine of 75,000 deutsche marks, or about $37,500, to the Bates family.

The incident got shrouded in further confusion a few years later when, in 1980, Roy went to the Netherlands to file charges against one of the Dutchmen—and was represented by Pütz, his former prisoner. This led some observers to question whether the coup was merely an elaborate charade by Roy and Pütz to gain publicity for Sealand and legal recognition of it as a sovereignty. I asked Michael Bates about this allegation.

“There’s photographic proof,” he said, referring to the raid that took back the fortress. “It was entirely real.”

I waited before asking more questions, hoping and expecting he would offer some further explanation for how Pütz went so quickly from foe to friend. He didn’t.

Michael also dismissed my suggestion that the coup was karmic. “No honor among thieves, right?” I asked. Sealand was born not of thievery but of conquest, he rebutted, which felt to me like a distinction without a difference. “We govern Sealand. It’s not a lawless place.” Michael was emphatic on this point, repeating it often.

But the Bates family remain the unofficial historians of Sealand; years of practice have honed their ability to tell a good tale about it.

Michael told me that he had thought Sealand was done with coups after the Achenbach attempt. But in 1997, the FBI called. The bureau wanted to talk about the murder of the fashion designer Gianni Versace on the front steps of his Miami home. “By this point, we were pretty accustomed to getting bizarre phone calls related to Sealand,” Michael said. Versace’s killer, Andrew Cunanan, had committed suicide on a houseboat he had broken into several days after murdering Versace. But during the investigation, the owner of the boat, a man named Torsten Reineck, had presented forged Sealand passports to authorities. Reineck also allegedly drove around Los Angeles in a Mercedes sedan with Sealand “diplomatic plates.”

Michael told the FBI that Sealand had issued only about 300 “official” passports to people he vetted personally. The FBI, in turn, pointed Michael to a website claiming to be run by Sealand’s “government in exile” that sold passports and boasted of a “diaspora” population around the world. Investigators traced the passports and the website to Spain, where they found evidence that Achenbach had waited patiently to stage another coup, though this time from afar. Michael claimed—unpersuasively, it seemed to me—to know nothing about the numerous fraudulent schemes that peddled Sealand’s name and diplomatic credentials online and in the real world.

Still stranger turns were yet to come. Later that same year, the Civil Guard, Spain’s paramilitary police, arrested a flamenco nightclub owner named Francisco Trujillo for selling diluted gasoline at his Madrid filling station. Identifying himself as Sealand’s “consul” to Spain, Trujillo produced a diplomatic passport and claimed immunity from prosecution. Contacted by police, Spain’s Foreign Ministry said no such country existed. The police then raided three Sealand offices in Madrid and a shop that made Sealand license plates. They found that Trujillo had been describing himself as a colonel of Sealand, having even designed military uniforms for himself and other “officers.”

Spanish police also discovered that Sealand’s “government in exile” had sold thousands of Sealand passports embossed with the Bates seal—two crowned sea creatures. These passports had reportedly appeared all over the globe, from eastern Europe to Africa. Nearly 4,000 were sold in Hong Kong when many residents scrambled to obtain foreign documents before Britain handed the colony over to China in 1997. Among the people whom Spanish police tied to the passports were Moroccan hashish smugglers and Russian arms dealers. Several of these underworld characters had also tried to broker a $50 million deal to send 50 tanks, 10 MiG-23 fighter jets, and other combat aircraft, artillery, and armored vehicles from Russia to Sudan, according to Spanish police. The Los Angeles Times reported that about 80 people were accused of committing fraud, falsifying documents, and pretending to be foreign dignitaries.

I asked Michael whether he thought these transactions were part of a larger scheme to take over Sealand. Maybe so, he said. “Most likely, though,” he added, “they just wanted to make money off it as an idea.”

The negotiations for these attempted arms deals were orchestrated by a business called Sealand Trade Development Authority Limited. Recently the Panama Papers included evidence that this company, set up by the Panama City law firm Mossack Fonseca, was tied to a vast global network of money launderers and other criminals.

The story line was loopy, even absurd: Sealand’s German and Spanish “governments in exile” were fictitious duplicates of a questionable original. I found myself thinking of a line from the Jorge Luis Borges short story “Circular Ruins”: “In the dream of the man who was dreaming, the dreamt man awoke.”


Before visiting this strange place, I’d read thousands of pages of old newspaper and magazine articles and declassified British documents. Though most of what Michael told me corresponded to what I already knew from my research, hearing it directly from the source made the stories seem more credible. Or was he just selling me the same malarkey he’d used to get the British government off his back?

I needed some air and asked Michael whether he could give me a tour. We headed out of the kitchen and down the hall and squeezed down a steep spiral staircase. Each of Sealand’s two legs was a tower, stacked with circular rooms. Each room was 22 feet in diameter. Made of concrete, they were cold and clammy and smelled of diesel and mold. Like inverse lighthouses that extended beneath the waves rather than above, most of the floors were under the waterline, which filled them with a faint gurgling sound. Some of the rooms were lit by a single dangling bulb, providing the mood lighting of a survivalist’s bunker. Barrington, Sealand’s guard, joined us on the tour and said that at night, you could hear the pulsing throb of passing ships.

The north tower housed guest rooms, a brig, and a conference room, which was where Barrington stayed. “I like the cold, actually,” he said when I asked whether the space heater was enough to keep him warm in the winter. As we descended, he paused at a room that had been outfitted as a minimalist ecumenical chapel. An open Bible sat on a table decorated with an ornate cloth. A Koran sat on a shelf alongside works of Socrates and Shakespeare. It was a surreal and claustrophobic nook, like a library on a submarine.

We exited the top of the north tower and crossed the platform to the south tower. Michael began telling me about Sealand’s most recent—and in many ways most audacious—plan: to host a server farm with sensitive data beyond the reach of snooping governments. The informational equivalent of a tax haven, the company, called HavenCo, was founded in 2000 and offered web hosting for gambling, pyramid schemes, porn, subpoena-proof emails, and untraceable bank accounts. It turned away clients tied to spam, child porn, and corporate cybersabotage. “We have our limits,” Michael said. (I refrained from asking him why pyramid schemes were okay if spam was not.) He added that in 2010 he had declined a request from representatives of WikiLeaks for a Sealand passport and refuge for the group’s founder, Julian Assange. “They were releasing more than made me comfortable,” Michael said.

The idea of moving online services offshore is not new. Science-fiction writers have dreamed of data havens for years. Perhaps the most famous was in Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon, published in 1999, in which the sultan of Kinakuta, a fictional, small, oil-rich island between the Philippines and Borneo, invites the novel’s protagonists to convert an island into a communications hub free from copyright law and other restrictions.

This science fiction is on the way to becoming real: Since 2008, Google has been working to build offshore data centers that would use seawater to cool the servers—a green way to cut enormous air-conditioning costs. In 2010, a team of researchers from Harvard and MIT published a paper suggesting that if high-speed stock-trading firms hoped to get an edge, they should consider shortening the distance that the information has to travel by relocating their servers at sea. Though these plans have yet to come to fruition, the scholars presented some of their proposals at a conference hosted by the Seasteading Institute.

HavenCo was the brainchild of two tech entrepreneurs, Sean Hastings and Ryan Lackey. Hastings was a programmer who had moved to the British territory of Anguilla in the eastern Caribbean to work on online gambling projects. They had big plans. To deter intruders, they would protect the servers with at least four heavily armed guards. The rooms housing the machines would be filled with a pure nitrogen atmosphere. The nitrogen would be unbreathable, which meant anyone entering the room would have to wear scuba gear. An elite team of coders and online security specialists would police against hackers. To avoid network connections being disrupted by Britain or other governments that wanted to crack down on HavenCo because of the content it hosted, Sealand would have redundant internet connections to multiple countries and, as a further backup, a satellite tie. Customers’ data would be encrypted at all times so that even HavenCo employees would not know what clients were doing.

Most of the plans failed. “It was a disaster,” Michael said mournfully, pausing in a room to stare at a wall of 10-foot-tall empty shelves where HavenCo’s servers were once stacked. Cooling the server rooms became virtually impossible. Most rooms lacked electrical outlets. Fuel for generators was always in short supply. One of the companies that HavenCo was supposed to partner with to get internet services went bankrupt. The satellite link it relied on in its place had only 128 Kbps of bandwidth, the speed of a slow home-modem connection from the early years of the 21st century. The bit about nitrogen being piped into the server rooms for added security was a marketing ploy and never happened. Cyberattacks on HavenCo’s website crippled its connectivity for days. HavenCo attracted about a dozen clients, mostly online gambling sites, but these clients grew increasingly frustrated by HavenCo’s outages and ineptitude, and soon they took their business elsewhere. By 2003, Lackey had grown disgruntled with his partners and left HavenCo.

Michael cited other problems. “Let’s just say that we also didn’t see eye to eye with the computer guys about what sort of clients we were willing to host,” he said. In particular, the royal family nixed Lackey’s plan to host a site that would illegally rebroadcast DVDs. In Lackey’s view, this type of service was exactly the sort that HavenCo had been built to provide. For all their daring, the Bates family was wary of antagonizing the British and upsetting their delicately balanced claim to sovereignty. I couldn’t tell whether the Bateses’ self-preservationist caution toward the British government was the result of maturation or had been there all along, hidden beneath so much bluster. I did have the sense, though, that their falling-out with Lackey had more to do with personality than with principle (“He was just weird,” Michael kept saying) and that their drawing of the line at knockoff DVDs was pure pretext.

As we finished one last cup of tea in the kitchen, Michael grinned. He seemed as proud of the convoluted story behind his family’s bizarre creation as he was of Sealand’s resilience. Taking advantage of a gap in international law, Sealand had grown old while other attempts at seasteads never made it far beyond what-if imaginings. The Bates family was certainly daring, but the secret to Sealand’s survival was its limited aspirations. It had no territorial ambitions; it wasn’t seeking to create a grand caliphate. In the view of its powerful neighbors, Sealand was merely a rusty kingdom, easier to ignore than to eradicate.

The Bates family members are masterly mythologizers, and they eagerly cultivated and protected Sealand’s narrative, which in turn reinforced its sovereignty. Sealand was never a utopian haven; it was always more of an island notion than an island nation, or as one observer once put it, “somewhere between an unincorporated family business and a marionette show.” A Hollywood movie about their project was in the works (it was unclear to me how far along it was, and the Bates family kept hush-hush about details). In the meantime, Sealand is largely financed through the principality’s online “shopping mall,” which is run by the Bates family. The mall’s merchandise is priced not in Sealand dollars, but in British pounds sterling. Mugs go for £9.99, about $14; titles of nobility, £29.99, or $40, and up.

When it was time for me to return to shore, the crane lowered me down in the silly wooden seat to the bobbing skiff below in the North Sea. The goofiness of that childish swing, situated as it was at the entrance and exit of this bizarre place, seemed aptly surreal. Back on the boat alongside Sealand’s concrete legs, I looked up at the rusting platform and waved goodbye to Barrington. He stood above, like some lonely Sancho Panza, keeper of the quixotic vision. The wind raking over us, Michael and James started the engine and turned the boat toward the coast. Sealand slowly receded in the distance as father and son retreated to dry land and their warm homes in Essex, where they proudly reigned over their principality from afar.


Ian Urbina, a contributing writer for The Atlantic, was a longtime reporter for The New York Times and is a winner of the Pulitzer Prize. He is the author of the forthcoming book The Outlaw Ocean, from which this article is adapted.

Inside the world’s smallest ‘country’ located just 12 miles off the Essex coast

It has its own royal family, currency and even its own stamps

The Bates family have occupied Sealand since 1967 (Image: Sealand/Instagram)

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Located just a few miles off the Essex coast lies the world’s smallest ‘country’ – the Principality of Sealand.

While not officially a sovereign state in its own right, the offshore platform is recognised as a micronation just 12 miles away from Essex and Suffolk.

Formerly known as HM Fort Roughs, the military fortress was built by the British government in 1943 to defend against possible invasions from Germany but it was decommissioned following the Second World War.

Since 1967, the platform has been occupied and governed by the family of Roy Bates, a pirate radio broadcaster who planned on revitalising his dormant radio station there.

Sealand now has its own royal family, constitution, currency and even stamps – and it’s only 0.004 square kilometers in size.

A history of warfare and debate

HM Fort Roughs was constructed in 1943 (Image: Sealand/Instagram)

During WW2, the British government built several forts in the North Sea to defend against potential German invasion – one of these was HM Fort Roughs.

It sits in the North Sea, slightly north of the estuary region of the River Thames on the east coast of England.

Officially, the fort was built illegally due to it being located within international waters.

It is also based around seven nautical miles from the coast, more than double the then-permitted three-mile range of territorial waters.

Between 150-300 people would occupy the fort during the war but, after the last full-time personnel left in 1956, the fort was abandoned.

Because of the illegal construction in international waters, the fort should have been destroyed. Others located nearby were pulled down, but HM Fort Roughs stayed standing.

From ‘Knock John’ to ‘Sealand’

Roy (left) with his son Michael on Sealand in 1967 (Image: Sealand/Instagram)

In the early 1960s, Roy Bates, a former major in the British army, established a radio station situated offshore on an abandoned ex naval fort called ‘Knock John’.

The plan was to bypass the radio broadcasting restrictions of the time, which allowed little more than content from the BBC.

Roy’s station, Radio Essex, and others like it, were known as ‘pirate’ radio stations and were much loved by the British public as they supplied more informal content that the BBC wouldn’t offer.

Roy fought an unsuccessful legal battle with the UK government, which questioned the legality of his occupation of Knock John. It was ruled that the fort fell under UK law.

That’s when HM Fort Roughs came into play. It was abandoned, identical in construction to the Knock John and, crucially, it lay outside the three-mile limit to which the UK jurisdiction extended.

It’s just 12 miles off the east coast (Image: Sealand/Instagram)

Roy decided to occupy Roughs Tower on Christmas eve 1966, with the intention of revitalising his dormant radio station, but this was until he came up with a different plan.

Instead, he declared the fort as the independent state of ‘Sealand’.

The following year, Roy, accompanied by his wife Joan, son Michael, daughter Penelope – along with several friends and followers – declared the Principality of Sealand.

The family marked the founding of the self-claimed country by raising a new flag, and on Joan’s birthday, gave her the official title of ‘Princess Joan’.

Sealand’s royal family was born.

The family appeared in Chelmsford Crown Court

Roy’s wife, Joan, was named ‘Princess Joan’ in 1967 (Image: Sealand/Instagram)

The British Government soon became aware of what was happening, and sent military to destroy all remaining forts located in international waters.

The Bates family witnessed explosions throughout the surrounding waters that sent the structures hundreds of feet in the air, and they watched as the debris floated past Sealand.

Roy was still a British citizen, meaning a summons was issued under the UK firearms act, and in November 1968 he found himself in the dock of Chelmsford Crown Court.

There was much argument, and laws dating back to the 17th century were called upon, but the judge concluded that the UK courts had no jurisdiction over the matter.

According to Sealand’s official website, this was its first de facto recognition.

The smallest ‘country’ in the world

You can become a member of the Sealand royal family (Image: Sealand/Instagram)

The Principality of Sealand is a micronation – a small entity that claims to be an independent nation or sovereign state but isn’t officially recognised as one by a major government.

Sealand’s national motto is E Mare, Libertas (From the Sea, Freedom), which it claims reflects its enduring struggle for liberty through the years.

The Bates family governs the land as hereditary royal rulers, each member with his, or her, own royal title.

Sealand also has its own constitution, composed of a preamble and seven articles. The occupiers also issued passports to its nationals, created an official currency and even commissioned its own stamps.

And you can be a part of it.

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Everything I know… I share with Israel! :D

“Hey… at least I no longer have to pretend! 😀 I recommend MI6 start doing the same.” 😉

It’s the greatest and most important scientific discovery in human history… and the CIA are sat on it like the fat yank bell ends that they are.
It’s the future of global energy, all $280 trillion of it. An almost inexhaustible, clean, safe and extraordinary energy source, derived solely form the hydrogen atom. It’s the future of anti-gravity propulsion. It’s the future of molecular modelling… drugs, bio technology, genetics… all molecules. It’s the future of understanding the sun, the cosmos… possibly understanding how the universe gave rise to consciousness and became self aware. It’s the identity of dark matter. It’s a new discipline of chemistry… ‘electron orbitalities’. It’s the future of global technologies and industries, the future of the global financial system… creating more millionaires and billionaires than any other time in history. It’s potentials are unlimited.
WELCOME TO THE HYDRINO ECONOMY FUCKOS! 😀 …. Not moving on this one. 🙂
“whomever controls GUTCP, controls the planet”

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Israel’s new space venture will use ultraviolet to explore the universe

The Israeli habit of looking at things from a different perspective this week rolled over into cutting-edge space science
😉

Israel’s new space venture will use ultraviolet to explore the universe

Weizmann Institute’s Ultrasat project, which is due to be launched in 2023, will take a novel approach to searching the cosmos

By Jewish News Reporter August 13, 2019

Credit: Weizmann Institute of Science

Credit: Weizmann Institute of Science

The Israeli habit of looking at things from a different perspective this week rolled over into cutting-edge space science, with the announcement of a new Israeli-made mini-satellite with no less than the universe in its sights.

Ultrasat, which is expected to launch in 2023, sees in ultraviolet (UV) light, and scientists at Israel’s Weizmann Institute said this “unique configuration will help us answer some of the big questions in astrophysics”.

Professor Eli Waxman and others have set Ultrasat the task of gathering data to shed new light on such questions as the formation of neutron stars, the emission of gravitational waves and the behaviour of supermassive black holes.

Weizmann Institute of Science said Ultrasat would “revolutionise our understanding of the hot transient universe” and could capture up to 300 times more detail than the most sensitive UV satellites today.

Weighing as much as a reindeer, the £60 million Ultrasat is a joint project between Israel’s Weizmann, the Israel Space Agency (ISA) and Elbit Systems, with support from the German DESY Research Center of the Helmholtz Association.

The satellite with ultraviolet eyes will also study how stars explode, where the universe’s heavier elements come from, and the properties of stars that may have habitable planets orbiting them.

News of the new satellite venture follows Israel’s collective disappointment in April of this year, after the crash-landing of Moon-bound Beresheet, a privately-funded lunar lander developed by SpaceIL with donations from wealthy philanthropists.

“Ultrasat puts Israel, and Israeli scientists and engineers, at the forefront of a global movement to explore the universe with small, affordable satellites,” said ISA director Avi Blasberger.

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YOU MADE YOUR BED UK… NOW LAY WITH RAPEY JOHN BOLTON! :)

“I think it’s absolutely fucking hilarious! 🙂 Rapey, Neo-Con King, John Bolton is in London… ready to beat to death any Lefty Liberal Brit that opposes him, with a 12 inch rubber dildo!” 😀
“You made this bed Your Majesty’s Government… LAY IN IT!”
I WANT TO SEE THE UK PEOPLE FUCKING SUFFER FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE!
(sick little twisted, depraved, fucking animals that they are)

Anything I can do for Washington and Langley that makes the British ever more pathetic and subservient to Washington… I’m your guy! 😀

John Bolton doesn’t want a trade deal with the UK – he wants to colonise us

Simon Tisdall Trump’s national security adviser wants the UK to be beholden to the US for its daily bread, making the country a timid American outpost

U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton arrives for a meeting with Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid at Downing Street in London, Britain, August 13, 2019. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
‘Bolton, a lifelong neoconservative ideologue, Muslim-baiting thinktanker and erstwhile Fox News commentator, does not give a hormone-filled sausage for a free trade pact, fair or otherwise.’ Photograph: Peter Nicholls/Reuters

John Bolton doesn’t do free trade. He does regime change in countries such as North Korea, Venezuela and Cuba. He does military interventions, notoriously in Afghanistan in 2001, Iraq in 2003 and Libya in 2011. He does punitive sanctions and embargoes. He does spite.

Bolton’s speciality is tearing up multilateral agreements, such as the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris climate accord, which he claims undermine US national sovereignty. For the same reason, he reviles the very idea of the UN, international law and the international criminal court (ICC).

So when Bolton, whose actual job is national security adviser to Donald Trump, came to London this week to meet Boris Johnson and senior ministers, the real focus of his visit, despite the Whitehall briefings, was not on a post-Brexit bilateral trade deal. It was on regime change in the UK. Bolton, a lifelong neoconservative ideologue, Muslim-baiting thinktanker and erstwhile Fox News commentator, does not give a hormone-filled sausage or chlorine-rinsed chicken wing for a free trade pact, fair or otherwise. Midwest wheat and soya exports are not his thing. What Bolton really does care about is exploiting the UK’s recent governmental upheaval, which almost anywhere else would be described as a rightwing coup, to America’s, and Trump’s, advantage. In short, the former colonies are out to colonise the UK.

Supposed American trade concessions will be tied to extraneous US foreign policy objectives

Bolton has three main aims. The first is purely transactional, in keeping with the Trump administration’s arm-twisting style. Although he says the US is content to wait until after Brexit on 31 October before pressing its demands, it’s already pretty clear what they will be. If Johnson wants a quickie sectoral trade deal on, say, the car industry, then Bolton’s price could be the UK’s withdrawal from the hard-won, US-trashed 2015 Iran nuclear agreement and the abandonment of fellow signatories France and Germany. In truth, Johnson and Dominic Raab, his neophyte foreign secretary, are already halfway down this road, having agreed to join a US-led maritime force in the Gulf rather than support a Europe-wide initiative initially proposed by Jeremy Hunt.

This U-turn is rightly seen in Tehran as evidence that the UK is falling in behind the aggressive, failing Trump-Bolton “maximum pressure” campaign. The risk of war with Iran is acute. The costs would be incalculable. But Brexit Britain, it seems, can be bought – a nation of shopkeepers after all, and mercenary to boot.

Other supposed American trade concessions will be similarly tied to extraneous US foreign policy objectives, although there will be a face-saving pretence that this is not so. In the name of helping “our British friends”, the US will seek support in ostracising China’s Huawei telecoms giant and, maybe, backing for its trade war with Beijing. The list of politely framed, slightly menacing American “requests” could go on and on. How about British acquiescence in Israel’s proposed, Trump-backed annexation of West Bank settlements, in defiance of UN resolutions hitherto backed by London? That could be seen as helpful, even necessary, in the UK’s new world of weakness.

Bolton’s enthusiasm for the “incredibly valuable” role that an “independent” UK could play in Nato, a regular target of Trump’s anti-European spleen, suggests an ever-greater degree of subservience. Will the price of market access soon include uncritical support for Trump’s renewed nuclear arms race with Russia and China, now he has scrapped the intermediate nuclear forces (INF) treaty? And whatever you do, chaps, don’t mention the words “climate crisis”. That sends Trump nuts.

The dire prospect raised by Bolton’s gleeful, hopefully premature Whitehall victory tour is one of the UK’s foreign and security policy outsourced to Washington, subordinated to the Trump-Bolton global agenda, and in hock to rightwing nationalist-populist ideology. Brexiteers promised a return of sovereignty. What’s coming is a sellout – a fire sale at the altar of America First.

Bolton’s second aim is to drive a wedge between the UK and Europe, and then use it as a sort of Afghan war-style forward operating base from which to disrupt, subvert and weaken the EU, whose very existence offends him. Throughout the Brexit negotiations, the official UK position has always been that whatever future EU trading relationship emerged, close cooperation on foreign and security policy would be maintained wherever possible. Yet that sort of continuity doesn’t suit Bolton’s purposes. For him, regime change means root-and-branch destruction of the status quo. If the UK, ever more beholden to the US for its daily bread, can be used to foil Emmanuel Macron’s ideas about integrated European defence, or undermine EU regulations covering digital multinationals, so much the better. Advertisement

On this trajectory, the UK’s new best friends in Europe will not be Angela Merkel or Donald Tusk but Trump’s far-right chums, Hungary’s Viktor Orbán and Italy’s Matteo Salvini.

Freed from EU shackles, the UK, Bolton said, “will be pursuing UK national interests as it sees them”. For UK in that sentence, read US-approved. The UK will not even enjoy the equivalent position of one of the 50 US states, whose rights are protected by the federal constitution. On offer, if and when Johnson caves, is the status of mere satrapy – a tame, timid outpost of the American empire.

For this is the third Bolton aim: to enlist a radically repurposed and realigned UK in pursuit of his singular vision of American global hegemony, of the truly exceptional nation whose power and dominion know no limits and whose enemies quail before its unrivalled might. In Bolton’s imperious worldview, the pre-eminent, muscular and righteous US republic rises above all others, sustained by the ultra-conservative, libertarian, populist-nationalist preconceptions and prejudices that only those with commensurately tiny minds can seriously entertain.

Never mind that the shining city on a hill is now “an ugly pile of rubble”, as the US commentator, Maureen Dowd, sadly noted at the weekend. This is the recycled project for the new American century to which Johnson and his blindly buccaneering Brexiteers, trading time-honoured principles for quick bucks, are about to sign up. It will not make us prosperous or safe. It will make us ashamed.

• Simon Tisdall is a foreign affairs commentator

Of course the US supports a no deal – it makes a minnow out of Britain

Gaby Hinsliff After Trump security adviser John Bolton’s visit it’s clear the price of US backing will be paid both in trade and foreign policy

John Bolton arrives at Downing Street to meet Sajid Javid on 13 August.
John Bolton arrives at Downing Street to meet Sajid Javid on 13 August. Photograph: Frank Augstein/AP

If you thought it was bad enough when Donald Trump held a reluctant Theresa May’s hand, then look away now. For things are about to get sweatier.

The president’s clammy embrace of the British right continued this week with the arrival of his national security adviser John Bolton in London, to declare the most isolationist US regime in living memory would “enthusiastically” support a no-deal Brexit.

A weakened country, desperate for a trade deal and in no position to refuse Donald Trump’s demands not just to lower our stringent standards or hamstring our car industry but on foreign policy too? Step right this way, sir! No wonder Bolton talks of us being at the front of the queue for trade talks, a line every bit as clearly crafted to help Downing Street as President Obama’s suggestion during the 2016 referendum that Brexit would push us to the back of it. And if these presidents can’t both be right, then arguably neither can the two very different British Conservative administrations responsible for ghostwriting their respective lines.

We risk exchanging what leavers are fond of calling diktats from Brussels for diktats from Washington or Beijing

To some leave voters, all this will sound like sour grapes from people who can’t bear to admit that there might be life after Brexit. Many will actively share the Trump administration’s rejection of open borders and its distaste for rules-based international organisations, from the United Nations to Nato to the World Trade Organisation, which require sovereign nations sometimes to compromise or subjugate their own interests to the greater global good.

But as the former foreign secretary Jack Straw pointed out on Radio 4’s Today programme this morning, those organisations exist to check the potentially overwhelming clout of the biggest superpowers, in the interests of medium-sized and small countries who would otherwise be vulnerable. Brexit is rooted in a refusal to accept that Britain is now in the latter category not the former, and that we consequently risk exchanging what leavers are fond of calling diktats from Brussels for diktats from Washington or Beijing. Only this time we may not get a veto.

All trade negotiations naturally involve both sides trying to re-engineer things to their own advantage, of course. But the risks are heightened for small countries negotiating with bigger and more powerful ones – one reason EU countries banded together to do trade deals in the first place – and this time big foreign policy as well as economic principles are at stake.

After his meeting with Boris Johnson, Bolton insisted that touchy issues like the Iran nuclear deal (which the US would like us to follow them in walking away from) or contracts with the Chinese tech firm Huawei (essentially ditto) could be left until “after Brexit”. But it’s naive in the extreme to imagine that they will be left until after trade negotiations have taken place – a process that is likely to take years. There is likely to be early pressure too to ditch practices that inconvenience American companies, such as Philip Hammond’s planned digital-services tax targeting tech giants who pay scandalously little in Britain. And Britain after a no-deal Brexit would be a beggar, not a chooser; a panicky minnow “negotiating” with a shark whose sole stated purpose is making sharks great again.

The real surprise isn’t that the White House actively favours a chaotic divorce between Britain and its European allies, irritatingly sceptical as the latter can be about US power that serves us up on a plate to Washington. It’s that the British government seems so trustingly inclined to go along with it.

• Gaby Hinsliff is a Guardian columnist

John Bolton the warhawk wants a no-deal Brexit and a UK-US trade deal – don’t take the bait

The US national security advisor is a hungry jackal who preys on anyone he perceives to be weaker than the US – which is probably why Donald Trump has sent him over to London this week

You know that old adage about trusting a wolf in sheep’s clothing? Well, the same rule applies when that wolf is dressed up as a 19th century cowboy prospector ready to clear out a village of Native American children to make way for a new, air-polluting railway line. Drop your guard for six seconds, and that wolf will chew you up, spit you out and convince you to nuke Iran – which is why we should all be absolutely terrified of John Bolton and his putrid brand of nationalistic snake oil.

Not familiar with John Bolton or his signature moustache? Consider yourself lucky, because he’s probably the most dangerous man on the planet.

Bolton is Donald Trump’s (fourth) national security advisor, which means he basically just buzzes around the president’s face all day and whispers scary ideas directly into Trump’s ear canal. According to America’s fearless commander in chief, “if it was up to John, we’d be in four wars now”.

Bolton’s been trying to bomb Iran for 20 years, openly jokes about the collapse of the UN headquarters and is currently eyeing up three Latin American countries he’s confident are ripe for regime change. The man isn’t interested in diplomacy or international cooperation. John Bolton is a warhawk in every sense of the word. He’s a hungry jackal who preys on anyone he perceives to be weaker than the United States – which is probably why Donald Trump has sent him over to London this week as a “foreign trade envoy”.

1/30Members of the Proud Boys, a fascist group, jeer at anti-Trump protesters outside of the president’s 2020 campaign launch in Orlando, Florida Getty

On Monday, America’s scariest Poirot impersonator sat down with Boris Johnson and assured the new Tory administration that Britain had nothing to fear crashing out of the EU without a deal on Halloween. Why? According to Bolton, America’s standing by to save the British economy with a series of sector-by-sector free trade deals. No strings attached.

Nancy Pelosi and her vow to block anything that would compromise peace in Ireland? Don’t worry about it. World Trade Organisation rules and new tariffs? No big deal. The way Bolton tells it, America’s got Britain’s back and is asking for nothing in return. For the love of god, we’d better hope Number 10 doesn’t trust him.

There are a lot of layers to peel back here, so let’s just cast aside the fact that a warhawk security advisor has been sent over here to promise Britain a series of bilateral trade agreements (because that’s totally normal, right?). Even if America did save BoJo’s skin with a free trade deal and Tesco started selling us chlorinated chicken and pink slime for tea, Donald Trump and his minions don’t give anything for nothing.

This is a transactional administration, and the cost of Trump’s alleged kindness will likely mean pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal, declaring war on Huawei and probably docking a warship or two in the South China Sea – but all of this is hypothetical anyway, because John Bolton doesn’t deliver treaties or trade deals. He burns them.

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If Washington gossip is to believed, it was John Bolton who pushed George W Bush to pull out of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty of 1972 and the Agreed Framework between the US and North Korea. It was John Bolton who piloted America’s exit from the International Criminal Court. It was Bolton who convinced Donald Trump to pull out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty of 1988. It was John Bolton who egged Trump on and got America out of the Iran nuclear deal. The guy hates deals and he hates globalisation.

But that’s just John Bolton, by the way. Let’s not forget the wider Trump administration has also abandoned the UN Human Rights Council, UNESCO, the Paris Agreement, Trans-Pacific Partnership and more. That’s probably why the president gets on so well with his kooky national security advisor. They aren’t interested in free trade or international cooperation, and they don’t give a damn about Britain. All they like is money, looking tough and pretending they’re the smartest guys in the room.

At the end of the day, John Bolton is nothing but a scary deal-breaker who’s been sent by Trump to prey on a weak partner and drown us in rhetoric and empty promises. Please, Britain: don’t take the bait. This guy is dangerous, and a free trade deal with America is not the Get Out of Jail Free card we all want it to be.


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Shrooms! Occult practitioners are using them!

“People have been blatantly hinting at me to use mushrooms since I was a teenager.
(One girl in high school sent me a Valentines card, with a message and a little picture about shrooms!… I think her mum told her to write it? :/)
People at University, Masonic connections… MI5.
People all throughout my life have been screaming at to me to use magic mushrooms! 😀

Some of you people have been using these things for generations… hundreds if not thousands of years. Occult societies, ruling families… ya’ll using magic mushrooms!

You can do some pretty amazing things with these little fungi can’t you! 😀

Consciousness

Psychedelic Mushrooms and Their Magic Properties

Mushrooms are nature’s survival champions, dating back millions of years ago, when they were the size of tall trees, shadowing the ground. Though many confuse them for plants, they are in fact fungi, since they grow from spores in humid environments, on decaying plant material or dirt.


Some mushrooms are used for their meaty texture and flavor on a wide range of culinary recipes, but some are greatly appreciated among many cultures since prehistoric times for their psychotropic properties and for that reason they are called “magic mushrooms”, or simply “shrooms”.

The psychedelic effects are due to the active compound known a psilocybin and have a massive impact on perception of space, time, and reality, causing mild to strong hallucinations and mood changes. These specific mushrooms belong to the Psilocybe genus, many considering this type as the one true magic mushroom, since other species contain weaker psychotropic compounds like baeocystin or norbaeocystin. The psilocybin concentration in one mushroom varies from 0.2 to 0.4%.

This organic psychedelic drug can be found in the wild or can be grown at home with little expenses, thus being the user’s choice of magic mushrooms, detrimental to other synthetic versions of this exact active ingredient, like LSD.

This is why the National Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2003, found that 8% of the adults with ages over 26 years have experimented at least once with magic mushrooms, knowing that the consumption of this psychedelic substance is a millennial ritual practice, performed during many religious and spiritual ceremonies, unlike LSD which has been achieved in laboratory conditions, being basically a chemical product.

Like LSD, a magic mushroom experience is an intense distortion of space, time and reality, due to psilocybin’s effects on the central nervous system.

brain

Many people prefer the milder and shorter trip of mushrooms than that of LSD. It is important to note that the psychedelic effects do not cause the sighting of things that do not exist, like in the case of schizophrenia, but they only distort the perception of the surrounding objects.

An unexperienced user should expect an enhancement in the color tone, deeper nuances, or even complex patterns. While surrounding sounds, visual stimuli, textures and even taste can be distorted, the entire spectrum of feelings and emotions is augmented like never before, up to the point of overwhelming.

Sometimes, taking a portion of mushrooms can make you feel dizzy, nauseous, numb, apathetic, and so forth. In such extreme cases, marijuana is more than recommended, at least for the nausea.

The entire psychedelic experience varies by dosage, type of mushroom and biological response from the user. While two people have taken an identical amount of mushroom, one can have a better or worse experience than the other, strictly depending on the emotional state of the user.

Negative emotions lead to a bad trip, causing paranoia, anxiety, or even a deep state of fear. The best and only cure to such an experience is patience. It will wear off sooner than you might think, only if you have patience and also it is recommended to be accompanied by someone in whom you trust and feel relaxed with.

Under the effects of psilocybin, almost all users have reported the illusion of time speeding up, slowing down or even stopping completely. The state of mind and the feeling of awareness can be so heightened and illuminated that can make a person’s mind to feel interconnected with the Universe, communicate telepathically with a higher spiritual entity, a face of omnipresence.

By the end of the experience don’t be worried about addiction, for this is not the case. Worst case, you may develop some tolerance, which builds up quickly if you take it once every few days. In the end, are they dangerous in any way?

There is no scientific evidence for mushrooms to cause death (except for the poisonous ones, obvious), but strictly speaking about psilocybin, in order to have a lethal effect, it would require a dose hundreds of times greater than normal. Whenever you intend to take a trip, don’t forget to make your homeworks, or else you may end up in a not so happy place. Source