DATELINE 2 DECEMBER 2000 - SIXTH EDITION
By Genie Baskir
RSG Editor and President of MPLX/BBC
The trespassers on Rough Tower have now
tweaked the nose of Barry Maxwell, Director of the DTI Radiocommunications Agency, with their
claims of unlicensed transmissions over amateur radio frequencies using the unregistered "1SL"
callsign. Director Maxwell became the point man for UK Government official statements
concerning Bates' "Sealand" operations on Rough Tower, as a result of ten years of contact
with MPLX/BBC, and concerns arising out of a 1989 DTI Sworn Statement issued for use in courts
of the United States about the registration of a radio ship by Bates.
You can read the latest warning issued under the
direction of Barry Maxwell concerning planned unlicensed amateur radio transmissions from the
United Kingdom's Rough Tower, by using the link in the box to the left of this column.
As this electronic newspaper has previously reported
in these pages, Paul John Lilburne-Byford used a Question and Answer document in
addition to his Information, when he originally presented his case to Chelmsford
Magistrates’ Court on the 6th October, 2000 - before the case was transferred to Southend. In
the wake of the initial Hearing at Southend Magistrates' Court, Michael Bates' reaction was
reported in the Ipswich Evening Star in their edition published on 29th of November 2000.
Therefore the time has come to update this background documentation for our readers, and for
use by the Court during the next Hearing over Rough Tower, which the Bates Family says is the
location of the Principality of Sealand, and which this newspaper will now show has
never existed, and therefore it does not exist today.
ROUGH TOWER IS NOT THE SITE OF A "FREE
Let us reexamine the background to Bates Family claims
in the clear light of the facts, and the law. Let us also examine the new claims that have now
been made by Michael Bates in the Evening Star. Needless to say, Michael is upset with
the ROUGH SANDS GAZETTE: because this newspaper is leading the charge to see that the
long-running Bates Family farce and con-game - is pushed into its final episode and ultimate
The article in the Evening Star on the 29th of November 2000, begins with this
description of the entity on Rough Sands at Rough Tower: "We soldier on for our sovereignty!
That’s the clarion-cry today of the self-styled Suffolk offshore free state of Sealand."
ROUGH SANDS GAZETTE would like to know whether the words quoted above are the actual
words used by the Bates Family spokesperson, or is reference to a "free state" merely
poetic license by the journalist? The reason why we want to know is because Rough Tower on
Rough Sands never had a sovereignty of its own, and as far as the ROUGH SANDS GAZETTE
can tell, Rough Tower on Rough Sands has not been previously described as being the "free
state of Sealand". It has been described as a principality, but not a "free state"
But as this newspaper will now show, Rough Tower is not, and never has been the location of a
SOUTHEND MAGISTRATES' COURT DECISION
SHOCKS THE BATES FAMILY
According to Michael Bates, as reported in the
Evening Star, his family ..."has been shocked to hear a court's decision that
their 'country' is not a principality." Michael Bates also told reporter Richard
Cornwell that "Sealand has been an independent state for more than 30 years and is
recognised by international law, right is on our side."If "right" means "theft",
then that is is certainly true, but there is no international law that is accepted by the United
Nations, nor by any International Court which confirms that the statement by Michael Bates is
true - just the opposite is true. The United Kingdom and the United States have specifically
gone into courts of law and on record, to state that "Sealand" is not a country, a state
or a nation, and that no country has gone on record to their knowledge, to accredit it as a
legally legitimate sovereign entity! No nation could do so: because "Sealand" is not a
land - but the crumbling concrete and rusting steel structure which the United Kingdom built and
set in place as H.M.S. Fort Rough's. Perhaps Michael is confusing his junk pile with the actual
land areas within the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands which are known by the name of 'Sealand'?
Because those land areas are actual parts of this natural planet Earth, and not a man-made
contraption that has been plonked upon a part of that natural land area.
In fact the entire claim and notion of H.M.S. Fort Rough's being a separate county, arises not
from the North Sea mists of more than 30 years ago, as claimed by Michael Bates, but from about
25 years ago in 1975.
HOW ROY BATES ORIGINALLY TOOK ROUGH
TOWER BY FORCE
According to The Sunday Telegraph, Roy Bates
of Essex, father of son Michael, appeared at Rochford Magistrates’ Court in Essex on the 30th
November 1966, where he conducted his own case to answer a summons issued by the Post Office
concerning his operation of Radio Essex from Fort Knock John without a Wireless
Telegraphy licence. Roy Bates had gained control of Fort Knock John in October 1965, by
fighting Radio City staff, who were originally in control of the structure as trespassers
on UK government property.
Roy Bates lost his case in court and was fined. He then ordered that the name of his
unlicensed radio station be changed to BBMS pending an appeal. But having run out of
money BBMS closed down on 25th December 1966. On 17th January 1967, his appeal was
heard at Chelmsford Quarter Sessions, and it was rejected: Bates lost.
After losing his appeal, Bates picked a fight with Radio Caroline staff who were also
trespassing on UK government property. That fight lasted into September 1967, in order to
throw Radio Caroline staff off Rough Tower. After his "victory" he then packed up his
equipment at Fort Knock John, and took it to Fort Roughs - but because the Marine & Etc
Broadcasting (Offences) Act had already become law in August, and because of the demise
of the original Radio Caroline twin radio ship stations, Bates did not recommence his
own broadcasts from Rough Tower.
MICHAEL BATES IS WRITING HIS OWN
30 YEAR HISTORY
Unchallenged except by this newspaper, Michael Bates
is reported to have told the Evening Star in their edition dated 29th of November 2000,
that: "Sealand has been an independent state for more than 30 years and is recognised by
international law, right is on our side". Well, Mr. Bates junior seems to have a problem
with his memory. Because Roy Bates did not claim that "Sealand" was an "independent
state", his father claimed that it was a "principality"
Wales is a principality, and Prince Charles is the person who represents the Crown of the
United Kingdom in the Principality of Wales. But Wales, unlike Scotland is not an independent
state. Scotland is a separate country which shares the same Crown as England within the
political sovereign structure of the United Kingdom.
Monaco is a principality - but it is not an independent state - because it is partly
controlled by France, and its Prince rules that principality by permission of France. Should
there come a time when the male line of Monaco dies out in the ruling royal family, then Monaco
is supposed to return within the borders of France itself. The Principality of Monaco, as such
would be no more.
IN 1968 ROY BATES WAS AN ORDINARY
WHO LATER LOST HIS MIND
AND DECIDED THAT HE IS A UK PRINCE OF A UK PRINCIPALITY!
According to a published story about the history of
Roy Bates and Rough Tower which appeared in the Independent on 5th June 2000, it was not
until 1975 when Roy Bates first decided to declare Rough Tower a principality, which he called
Sealand, and this is when he gave himself the title of Prince. That is when passports,
coins and stamps first began to appear. That is when Roy Bates involved himself in the beginning
of the con game, which for a time in 1978, bounced back on Michael Bates when angry investors from
Germany and Holland took possession of Rough Tower and held Michael as hostage - while his parents
were away. It was a spin-off from these original investors who later became involved with the
criminal operations in Spain, which made headlines around the world a few months ago.
To date no member of the Bates Family has produced any documentation to suggest that Roy Bates
has been made "Prince Roy" by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, nor has anyone ever
produced a document to show from what existing sovereignty this so-called "principality"
is supposed to draw its legal authority. A principality is subject to a primary sovereignty, just
as a prince is subject to a king or queen. So from which monarch and from which sovereignty did
Roy Bates gain a legal title for himself as prince, and from where did his make-believe state (of
mind) which he calls the "Principality of Sealand", gain its legal legitimacy? The
answer is that it never happened. Unfortunately certain people like Gary Slapper who are
peddling their own books on British law, have merely revealed themselves to be unqualified to
speak on international law with respect to the Bates' situation.
Indeed, in the muddled mind of Roy Bates, he has deduced and then acknowledged that Rough Tower
was a British creation. After all, its creation on land as a structure built on a barge
which was floated above Rough Sands and then sunk in place as one of His Majesty's W.W.II sea
defence forts, can hardly be a matter for dispute. The story has been well documented in
print and in pictures. So how did Roy Bates convert one of His Majesty's W.W.II sea forts into
his own principality? The answer is that he did not, and neither could he have done so.
Roy Bates further claims - falsely - that the government of the United Kingdom abandoned
H.M.S. Rough's Fort. In his illogical reasoning, Bates claims that the UK extended her sovereignty
to Rough Tower, and that by abandoning Rough Tower, so abandoned her extended sovereignty. Bates
tries to forget that Rough Tower was built on a barge and then sunk in place. Rough Tower is
a man made structure, just like any other warship in His Majesty's W.W.II British Royal Navy. Bates
also tries to forget that the United Kingdom has never abandoned legal responsibility for
Rough Tower - even though the proof is right under his nose - as the RSG will now show its
If the convoluted and absurd reasoning of Roy Bates is followed, then Roy Bates is saying that
he picked up extended UK sovereignty, and that he then created a principality to act as sort of
royal caretaker for the United Kingdom! But this reasoning boxed him into being a part of the
very nation that he did not want to be a part of - so he then asserted by his illogical reasoning,
that he has actually broken away from the United Kingdom in defiance of the United Kingdom, while
deriving his claimed legal authority from the United Kingdom. Not only is this line of reasoning
silly, it is also quite false - because the United Kingdom never abandoned Rough Tower.
Roy Bates took it by force from Radio Caroline staff who had previously occupied it by
trespassing on Crown property then known as the former H.M.S. Fort Rough's.
THE WILSON CABINET PAPERS DEAL WITH
NOT A PRINCE OF A PRINCIPALITY
It should be remembered that Rough Tower is about
7 miles from Felixtowe, Suffolk, and about 8 miles from Harwich, Essex. In September 1967,
the UK Ministry of Defence maintained a number of buoys around Rough Tower, under a paid
contract with Trinity House. There is no dispute as to these facts, because they are recorded
in Cabinet Papers of the time, which are now in the possession of both ROUGH SANDS
the Southend Magistrates' Court, as well as a number of journalists to whom we have sent copies.
In the "Misc 163(68) 1st Meeting" of the Cabinet Minutes "of a Meeting held in
Conference Room 'D'. Cabinet Office, SWI, on Tuesday, 5th November 1968 at 3:00 p.m.",
with Chairman Lawrence-Wilson presiding, were Hooton from the Treasury Solicitor; Hart and
Trevelyan from the Home Office; Nursaw from the Law Officers' Department; Ellis-Roos and
Marshall from the Ministry of Defence; Story from the Post Office; Banfield from Customs
and Excise; Rawlings Smith from Trinity House with Standish as Secretary. The subject of the
meeting was Roughs Tower, which is the former H.M.S. Fort Rough's, located at Rough Tower on
"The Chairman recalled that, in the previous June (1967), officials of the Departments
concerned with Roughs Tower (sic) had been about to report to the Prime Minister (Harold Wilson)
about the problem of its unauthorized occupation by Mr. Roy Bates, when criminal proceedings had
been opened and it had been agreed that the report should be withheld until the outcome of
the prosecution was known."
In September 1967 Roy Bates had seized Rough Tower from Radio Caroline trespassers.
Although Ministry of Defence personnel were not occupying Rough Tower itself, the Ministry
of Defence had never at any time dropped either their claim to the structure, nor their
liability for it in case of accident. UK taxpayers were and still are (in this year 2000),
paying for the warning buoys surrounding Rough Tower. The buoys belong to the Ministry of
Defence and other UK entities, and are maintained by arrangement with Trinity House. Roy
Bates does not own nor maintain these insurance buoys.
WHY ROY AND MICHAEL BATES ARE
In May of 1968, an irresponsible Roy Bates was accused
of possessing a .22 pistol without a Firearms' Certificate, and his son Michael, then 16, was
charged with possessing a pistol with intent to endanger life. Both men had attacked Trinity House
officials performing their life-saving work of buoy maintenance. The Trinity House men complained
that they had come under fire when attempting to maintain the Ministry of Defence buoys marking Rough
Tower. At that time Rough Tower was outside of the United Kingdom three miles territorial limit.
Essex Police caught Roy Bates when he came on shore, and his case was set for Hearing on 21st October
1968 before Judge Chapman at Essex Assizes in Chelmsford.
The case against Roy Bates was dismissed by the judge, on the grounds that the court did not
have jurisdiction to hear a matter that took place outside of UK territorial limits. This is
in contrast to the action taken on the Information presented by Paul John Lilburne-Byford
this month in Southend. That is when a judge at the Magistrates' Court held that Rough Tower is
now within its jurisdiction. Once again the issue is the illegal use and possession of firearms!
The Cabinet of 1968 reviewed the outcome of the earlier case with these words: "On 21st
October (1968), Mr. Bates had been discharged from Essex Assizes on the grounds that the
court had no jurisdiction over Roughs Tower (sic) and could not deal with the alleged offences
under the Firearms Act. The purpose of the present meeting was to establish what new problems
were raised by the court's decision; what old problems remained unsolved; whether officials
maintained their earlier opinion that the situation over Roughs Tower (sic) must be accepted; and
whether the final report to the Prime Minister should be made at Ministerial or official
The Harold Wilson Cabinet of 1968 discussed Roy Bates as a somewhat crackpot UK citizen, who was
trespassing on UK Crown property, and not as many would like us to believe today. as prince of a
principality: "Mr. Bates' continued occupation of the Tower was undesirable, because of
the shooting incident and the possibility of further violence, and also because of the small
but continuing threat that the Tower could be used for some illegal activity not at present
foreseen. Nevertheless, he was doing no actual harm, so far as was known, and the Ministry of
Defence had no need of the Fort themselves. There was no pressing reasons for evicting Mr.
Bates, certainly none that would justify the use of force or the passage of special legislation.
1975: THE YEAR OF FANTASY
In 1975 Roy Bates decided to create the fantasy
world which he called the Principality of Sealand. That is when he stood in for Her
Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and awarded himself the royal title of prince, and made his wife
a princess! Soon there were coins and stamps and passports and even a wedding in the name of
"Sealand", and the cardboard principality of Roy Bates began to take shape.
Roy Bates then wafted a business developement corporation out of thin air to give implied
financial meaning to his day dream - to allow him to go in search of investors. He had two
choices: one way was to find suckers that he could personally con into buying into his myth,
and the other choice was to find ruthless business people who could understand and develop a
scam operation. Unfortunately for Roy Bates, as so often happens, the crooks soon fell out
with each other.
In 1978 Roy and Michael Bates became embroiled with their former German and Dutch partners,
and the UK decided to sit back and watch these crooks fight it out amongst themselves in the
international waters of the North Sea - while fighting over illegal possession of Crown property.
In the end everything went quiet at Rough Tower with no UK taxpayer’s money being spent to
end the illegal occupation. The buoys remained in place and Trinity House went about their business
as before. Then in 1987 Roy and Michael Bates became further embroiled in a series of radio
and television broadcasting ventures.
BACK TO OFFSHORE
The illegal occupation of former H.M.S. Rough's Fort
had begun during the dying days of the great offshore broadcasting boom of the mid 1960s.
Bates returned to his roots. He announced plans to licence a Florida group and others, to
start radio and television broadcasting from Rough Tower, using the pretext that he was a
prince of a principality, when in reality he was not a prince and there was no principality.
At about the same time a scam had been started by Allan H. Weiner of Maine to create a radio ship
broadcasting venture off Long Island, New York. Weiner had previously visited the Ross Revenge
in the North Sea - which was the home of the reborn Radio Caroline - which itself had
been born of fraud and criminal prosecution in Philadelphia. Weiner knew both the investor
later convicted in the Radio Caroline fraud, and a disc jockey from Florida who he had
met on board the Ross Revenge.
Weiner succeeded in conning this dj and his father and other investors into launching a ship
station called Radio Newyork International. In 1987 Weiner was arrested on the high seas
and his radio ship was silenced. Weiner then came back to the UK and met with Michael Bates to
reregister the radio ship in the bogus Principality of Sealand, nothwithstanding the
fact that Weiner did not have legal title and Lloyd's Shipping Registry revealed a legal
owner under a different name in the Republic of Panama.
The trade-off for Weiner was that Michael Bates would register a radio broadcasting company
using a London address to sell time on the station, and to promote the myth of "Sealand" in
the United States. The project was almost still born. Again officials from the United States
Government came out to the ship, and told the acting captain that he either turned off the
transmitter then and there - or the radio ship would be boarded - again. The station went
silent and Weiner became involved in a number of long running court cases in which the USA
was the plaintiff.
Meanwhile, the Bates' dream of licensing other Americans to start Sealand Television
and radio stations had also gone down the drain. The Wilson Cabinet had adopted a policy of
reacting to Bates as the need may arise. When Bates began to promote his offshore radio and
television stations licensing scheme from international waters, the UK Privy Council ended
all such talk by merely extending UK territorial waters from three miles to twelve miles:
thereby dragging Rough Tower within the borders of the United Kingdom.
INTERNATIONAL WATERS AND NATIONAL LANDS
Michael Bates shot himself in his foot, once again,
when he also told the Evening Star that: "We accept British territorial waters
go round our territorial waters, but that does not make us a part of the UK. If Britain imposed
itself on us in that way it would infringe basic human rights. How many other countries around
the world could just take over other smaller lands simply by extending their waters from three
miles to 12 miles? You cannot take arbitary action like that - it is a ridiculous suggestion."
Michael Bates must be protesting with tongue in cheek, because the crumbling concrete and rusting
steel of H.M.S. Rough's Fort is not a land, but is now a rusting and crumbling junk pile that was
at one time dumped into the North Sea.
This same Michael Bates who speaks of human rights, is the same Michael Bates who was involved
in the attempted taking of human life, and thereby the taking of all human rights, when
he fired at the men who were attempting to maintain the buoys marking Rough Tower. The location
of those buoys makes a mockery of the notion that Bates has his own international waters.
Furthermore, Harwich Haven Authority, under licence from the UK Government, have for several
years been dredging on one side of Rough Tower, and dumping sludge on the other side of Rough
Tower, as a part of their work to improve the width and the depth of the sea channel to the
Port of Felixtowe.
Continued at the top of the next column: