Dec 5, 2010

PayPal cuts service for Wikileaks: a political decision?

Fact: The online payments processor PayPal has cut access for donations to the whistle-blowing website Wikileaks. PayPal said its payment service cannot be used for activities "that encourage, promote, facilitate or instruct others to engage in illegal activity".

VW (View from Wirtland): Wait a minute. Is WikiLeaks conducting illegal activity? A big question. No court has yet decided that Wikileaks' publications are illegal. Normally, every free mass media has the right to publish documents that it receives from its sources. So, it seems there is no crime in what Julian Assange's Wikileaks is doing. By the way, that's the reason Mr. Assange is not being persecuted for WikiLeaks' activity (but for alleged rape). Therefore, PayPal's decision to cut service for WikiLeaks raises many questions and seems to be politically motivated. That would be understandable if PayPal was a US government service, but it's not. Can you imagine your bank closing your bank account only because you publish a sensational article?

Latest Addition:
Wirtland's official shop has approved designs for T-shirts "FREE Julian Assange" All profit will go to Wirtland's charity fund.

Sep 28, 2010

How to sell a square mile of wasteland for 2.6 billion dollars? A micronation proposes new way to raise money to help developing countries

(published originally by Wirtland Institute)

Wirtland, an internet community which considers itself a micronation, invented a new way to generate funds to help small developing countries.

Many small third world countries have scarce resources, almost non-existent economies, and extremely high levels of unemployment. However, even the smallest of them possess territory - and that's what matters in Wirtland’s plan. According to it, all currently unused, barren or abandoned territory, including mountains, wasteland left over after mining, or even adjacent sea, lagoons, coral reef can become a source of immediate income. How?

Wirtland proposes to sell the plots of such territory. Though the current market price of such plots is close so zero, Wirtland knows how to make them attractive to buyers. Here's the catch: first Wirtland proposes to formally acquire this territory, because this web-based micronation aspires to become a real sovereign country, and therefore needs own legitimate land. This is not as fantastic as it sounds – the international law (Montevideo Convention) leaves the door open for formation of new states. To be eligible for international recognition Wirtland needs territory - even a symbolic piece of land, which is not under jurisdiction of any other country. It can be achieved through a contract with a country, which wants to cash in on its unused land resources and agrees to transfer a piece of its territory to Wirtland.

Such an agreement will be the world’s first case of legal formation of a new country from a virtual community. It will be an unparalleled global sensation, and immediately will bring the agreement in the focus of world attention. This is one of reason why Wirtland hopes there is market for its plots. Another reason is citizenship of the world’s newest state and other benefits which come along with passport of Wirtland, which will no longer be just a virtual micronation, but a fully-fledged sovereign state. Yet another reason of high demand in Wirtland property will be its competitive pricing – many times lower than other options for second citizenship on the market today. Of course, no one will physically move to a Pacific island or other remote property. Wirtland will remain a virtual country, so all its citizens will safely remain in their homes, but with legitimate second passports, certificates of land ownership, and full sets of human rights including free travel, or rights to elect and be elected for various positions within the ever-growing global state.

As Wirtland divides the land into tiny plots and offers them for sale, all the profits will go into the budget of the donor country. This is how the developing nation will financially benefit from the deal: its government will receive income from otherwise worthless land. A simple calculation shows that, if Wirtland sells symbolic 1 square meter of land for a symbolic one thousand dollars, just one hectare (100m x 100m) of territory will bring 10 million dollars to the developing nation. And a single square mile may bring in a hefty 2,6 billion addition to the country’s budget!

Wirtland’s gain from the deal is not financial – by acquisition of a formal territory it becomes eligible for international recognition, for the first time in the world history. This is why the size and quality of territory are not important for Wirtland. In fact, Wirtland may sell plots from more than one developing country, strengthening its statehood by stepping into several regions of the world – in case the sufficient demand for Wirtland’s plots and alternative citizenship.

It is known officially that Wirtland started its contacts with potential partner countries with Nauru, a tiny Pacific nation. How the developing countries will react to Wirtland’s proposal is yet to be seen. There are dozens cash-strapped third-world nations in the world today. Even if just one of them takes the virtual micronation seriously, it will be a major sign of the times, showing that virtual life is firmly setting its rules everywhere, and changing profoundly the life of 21 century.

Sep 9, 2010

Who is responsible for "Burn a Koran Day"?

Fact: A Baptist church in USA plans to burn copies of the Koran on the anniversary of 9/11. Pastor Terry Jones, who leads the congregation in the city of Gainesville, Florida, said burning copies of the book was a way of standing up to terrorism. The move has gained worldwide attention and criticism despite the fact that the church has a congregation of just 50 members.

VW (View from Wirtland): Worldwide attention... that's the keyword. Burning books is absurd and useless action by definition. Burning books considered saint by millions is absurd and dangerous. But it's not a crime, so who would care about a backyard bonfire, unless you read about it in every newspaper? "It is media attention that makes this action symbolic. If it was not for the massive coverage, the action's effect would be zero", - commented Chancellor of Wirtland. So, who is to bear responsibility - a tiny group of 50 from Gainesville, or global news services who make a global sensation out of a local folly?

Sep 3, 2010

German bank to fire Mr. Sarrazin for controversial comments

Fact: Bundesbank (German central bank) has called on the country's president to dismiss Thilo Sarrazin - one of its board members - over comments he made about immigration and Jews. The call for dismissal is an unprecedented move by the Bundesbank.

Mr Sarrazin has criticised German Muslims, suggested the existence of a Jewish gene, and warned of ethnic Germans being outnumbered by migrants. President Christian Wulff said he was concerned Germany's image could be damaged by Sarrazin's remarks. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Mr Sarrazin's remarks were "completely unacceptable" and urged the Bundesbank to act.

VW (View from Wirtland): This situation in a democratic country such as Germany raises many questions. What exactly is the reason to dismiss Mr. Sarrazin from his bank? Has he committed a crime, is he under trial? No. It appears he is being fired for his personal views. A little bit surprising, for one of world's most advanced democracies. How exactly "Germany's image can be damaged" by his remarks? Please clarify, Mr. President Wulff. Sarrazin is not a public politician, or a government executive, who represents German state or any political party.

What is so "unacceptable" in a private person's opinion, Ms. Chancellor Merkel? An assumption about a "Jewish gene" may sound illiterate to biologists, but Mr. Sarrazin is not a scientist. One does not need to be a biologist to see that nations do share common features - call them genetic or not. Many Irish are red-haired, many Dutch are tall. Quite a lot of Jewish people share common features, too. Is that a reason to use unprecedented government pressure to fire a private person, breaking all basic rules of a democratic state?

Aug 21, 2010

Wikileaks' Leader Not Guilty

Fact: Sweden has canceled an arrest warrant for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on accusations of molestation. Last month, WikiLeaks published more than 75,000 secret US military documents on the war in Afghanistan. Mr Assange has said that Wikileaks is intending to release a further 15,000 documents in the coming weeks.

VW (View from Wirtland): WikiLeaks! Surely a freedom-loving internet project. Wirtland's attitude can only be friendly, and we see a potential ally in it. The Swedes have demonstrated they are unbiased and independent.

Aug 20, 2010

Israel and the Palestinians resume direct talks

Fact: Israel and the Palestinians have agreed to resume direct negotiations for the first time in 20 months. Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas have been invited to Washington on 2 September to start the talks.

VW (View from Wirtland):  Wirtland's solution to Israeli-Palestinian conflict is subnational Anti-War Party (GAP), which will be out of government's control - both in Israel and Palestine. Anti-War Party would consolidate citizens of both countries within a single body, which would effectively influence the decision-makers on both sides.

Arms-dealing suspect Bout to be extradited to US

Suspected international arms dealer in cheerful mood
Fact: A Thai appeals court ruled Friday that suspected international arms dealer Viktor Bout, a Russia national, can be extradited to the United States. Bout has been indicted by U.S. federal authorities on a series of charges, including counts of illegally purchasing U.S. cargo planes to ferry weapons to warring parties and regimes in Africa and the Middle East. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov described the Thai appeals court's ruling as an "unlawful, political decision".

VW (View from Wirtland): Cheerful as he appears on the photo, Mr. Bout presents a good case of a person who is not eligible for Wirtland citizenship, despite the fact that his guilt is not proved. Bout is alleged to have brokered weapons deals in Afghanistan, Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Sudan, and to have armed the forces of the Liberian dictator Charles Taylor and Libya's Muammar Qaddafi. The 2005 movie Lord of War, starring Nicolas Cage, is loosely based on the Russian's life. Good luck, Mr. Lavrov, in defending your citizen!