Wikileaks to move to Sealand?

As an fan of geopolitical anomalies, I was excited to see this Mashable item suggesting that WikiLeaks might move its servers to the Principality of Sealand, the 6,000 square foot former British military installation in the North Sea that since 1968 has been "ruled" as a sovereign nation by the highly entertaining Prince Roy Bates and his family. Unfortunately, the Fox News story the item is based on seems purely speculative. And a Sealand URL still wouldn't protect any of WikiLeaks' operators from prosecution.

But, as Mashable notes, this isn't the first time Sealand has been discussed as a possible data haven: 

Sealand did house the data hosting company HavenCo between 2000 and 2008, before operations ceased for unknown reasons. In 2008, according to Security and the Net, the file-sharing site PirateBay campaigned for donations to purchase Sealand and live in a “copyright-free nation.”

In other news, Sealand is currently "in talks" about forming a national rugby team. It must be a pain to get the ball back if it goes out of bounds. 


Syria spins out of control

As the U.N. Security Council meets today to discuss how to halt Syria's descent into civil war, the available statistics show a country more violent than ever -- and increasingly defined by armed conflict.

In mid-November, I charted the rising bloodshed in Syria and found that the country was on pace for its deadliest month yet. Since then, the United Nations has admitted that it can no longer keep track of the country's death. However, the Violations Documenting Center in Syria (VDC), which is affiliated with local activist groups, has continued to keep track of the body count -- and the picture isn't pretty.

The past three months have easily been Syria's bloodiest, resulting in 3,029 deaths. By way of comparison, roughly 3,100 people were killed during the first six months of the revolt -- meaning that violence in the country has doubled since then. And it's only getting worse: 829 Syrians were killed in November, 1,049 were killed in December, and 1,151 were killed in January.

The statistics also bear out the view that the revolt increasingly resembles a guerilla war. According to the VDC's statistics, 312 soldiers were killed in January -- 27 percent of the total death toll, the highest proportion during the entire conflict. By contrast, in December, military members only accounted for 18 percent of the deaths. It is unclear whether the VDC counts the deaths of defected Syrian soldiers as civilian or military, so the actual percentage of combatants killed in Syria could be even higher.

This February also marks the 30th anniversary of the Hama Massacre, when President Hafez al-Assad initiated a brutal crackdown in the western Syrian city in order to put down a rebellion. Since then, Syrians, historians and policymakers have wondered how a regime could be allowed to virtually destroy a city while the international community sat and watched.

The low-end casualty estimates for Hama stand at around 7,000 people. According to the VDC, a total of 7,054 Syrians have been killed in the past year. Three decades later, it seems, we have our answer.