The Campaign & The Claim… “Stronger together”
With further mainstream media attention expected soon, we should further articulate our message here. So, aiming for clarity:
We are doing 2 things, one of which is deliberately provocative:
1. Campaigning to get the UN committees (COPUOS mainly) to update the old Outer Space Treaty, which turns 50 next year.
2. Claiming “actual possession” of all land on Mars and seeking legal Due Process towards land title registration.
Because these 2 issues don’t at first seem to sit well together, I think the first reaction from anybody would be: “here’s another scamster who is selling planetary land that he has no right to”. Of course we know there are plenty of them. We don’t intend to be one of them.
You see, there is actually a very clear link between the 2 projects:
The Outer Space Treaty (OST) was a beautiful child of its time in 1967. An amazing feat for that cold-war period. It is fantasticaly strong against nuclear weapons getting into space and against sovereign nations appropriating any celestial land. BUT, it is full of holes which make it vulnerable to many challenges and also has not been updated… ever. As time went by it became increasingly obvious that space exploration and development would not just not just be a national governmental affair. Commercial input was needed and indeed was keen to get involved… but without any framework at all within the OST for space commerce, there was no confidence for space-biz investors and fundraisers. Despite the obvious need to add some framework (in law) for space commerce, COPUOS just could not agree anything meaningful for over 40 years (apart from the failed moon agreement, which didn’t address commerce anyway).
The Americans (and we don’t blame them) were the first to crack. It was obvious that all nations were starting to lose faith in the UN and the OST, but the US drew first with their US Space Act ratified by Obama last year. Although it flies in the face of the old OST, this law now allows US commercial ventures to grab an asteroid, mine it, and sell/keep the resources. Now that all that platinum is up for grabs there are at least 3 big US companies raising billions for asteroid mining and Mars missions. The other big space faring countries dont like it and they will really kick off when the first commercial asteroid mission launches in the next 5 years.
So individual nations, fed up with no updates to OST, are now making their own space laws. Of course, this means the OST (and UN itself) is even further devalued. The OST can legitimately be dropped by any signatory nation. It was already looking vulnerable, now it looks to be toast unless it gets updated to accommodate space business, reasserts its strength against weapons and tightens up on all land appropriation. The tragedy is, the OST is actually strong against weapons (its the ONLY law) but will likely be dropped or completely ignored because its bad for business! Then there really will be nothing to stop weaponization of space … something the Chinese Miltary now say is a matter of historical certainty. Nuclear weaponization of space would be a real and nasty threat to all of us.
Just lobbying the UN isn’t going to force their hand. We hoped that coming into the OST’s 50th year we might get COPUOS to seize the spirit of 1967 and agree an update. Unfortunately, as you can see from their emails to me (see https://themartians.org/news) they really do agree with our goals but have little positive energy whatsoever to inject into the matter. Just read the email from the Head of UK delegation to COPUOS ( he’s practicaly saying, “Yes, we agree it would be great to maybe one day get an update to the Space Treaty, but it will be awfully difficult”). Perhaps that’s a little unfair to him as he is dealing with an international committee of 77 members, but I would still like to see a bit of steely ambition.
So if lobbying them isnt going to cut it what would? … That’s when we realised that the only way to get the UN committees to see the weakness in the OST was to openly demonstrate one of the many “loopholes” in an International Court of Law/Arbitration. Embarrass, worry or irritate them into action!
If we could develop a celestial land claim that satisfied current consensus in public International law and could successfully traverse the loopholes in Space law then we could elegantly set up a high profle case for Arbitration before the world’s media in 2017, the OST’s 50th year. That’s what we are aiming to do. Our land claim case is made. We know it is sufficiently well founded in International law to be deserving of Due Process. We are also certain that it cannot be blocked by the OST (or any of the extrapolated interpretations of space law). The Permanent Court of Arbitration (The Hague) stand ready to arbitrate for this claim, pending consent. To publicly show the OST to be in tatters would spell crunch time for COPUOS. Either update the OST and re-establish international respect for both the Treaty and UN… or pathetically fade away.
So that is the reason for the twin processes in our work. The Campaign and The Claim …they link together with poweful synergy. Through demonstrating some of the real weakness in the OST, the legal Mars claim makes Treaty update more likely. Through our pro-peace (and UN Trusteeship) campaign, the Mars land claim also has a higher chance of being successful (because a court/registry can then feel more able to decide the outcome on purely legally correct grounds with reduced concern for consequence either way).
1. And what about the nature of our land claim? How can we possibly legally sell claims to Mars land when we aren’t the registered owner?(see below 1)
2. Why do we need people to pay a small fee to join us? (see below 2)
1. Well, this is where we differ massively from ALL those novelty celestial deeds purveyors.
Effective Occupation (by nations in International law) is fully equated to Factual Possession (by individuals in Private law). Anybody claiming (with decent honest evidence) to have exclusive and actual possession of land can sell off a part or all of that claim (land claims). Similar to a squatter selling off part or all of his squat (before title registration is awarded). We dont have to be the registered land owner to sell such claims (they are not title deeds). So we are selling off parts of our current claim. These fellow land claimants, for a small fee, join us in our communal land claim, based on our ongoing and exclusive “factual possession” of Mars. They get a certified land claim certificate and we hold limited personal details on our files in order for registration applications (to the UN). This is LEGITIMATE and LEGAL. We dont mislead our members. They know what they are getting (see 2 links on our home page to https://themartians.org/whatdoiget ). We clearly state that these are not DEEDs. Only a recognised land owner or registry can issue deeds. In our eyes, the only body that could form a celestial registry is the UN (although the Permanent Court of Arbitration has come forward as an alternative option). Thus we advise our members that we will take our communal claim repeatedly to the UN in order to push for Due process. Now we have uncovered the “pathway” to Due Process and registration, things are moving a bit faster than we anticipated. 2017 cant come soon enough!
So we are entirely legal and correct to tell prospective members/claimants that in joining us they will get a claim to celestial land that is honestly based on current law and is absolutely the strongest claim to celestial land that has ever been filed to date. That is a fact. We are sure that we will eventually get our Due Process. The chance of us actually getting title registration is a different matter. It must be modest but it is a definate chance (hence you should read our “declaration of intent” which covers all the issues around UN Trusteeship should we actually find ourselves gaining the title!). But if we dont get the land title award, it wont be because of space law. We will cruise through that (we know that some space lawyers are starting to realise that). If we dont get the land it will be because the court can reasonably raise the bar for proof of possession… effectively they will be saying that land on Mars is worth more than geographically equivalent land on Earth, because of strategic value. That could well happen but we will put up a fight.
2. We started off issuing land claims for free but changed to a small fee when we realised that in order to boost our search engine response we needed to advertise through Adwords. With Adwords and hosting and a new small price-structure (the standard rate equates to 1 cent for 10 acres), we see we need to attract 3 land claimants a day to stay afloat. We did have an initial fund (£10k) set aside for legal arbitration but we now know that is hopelessly small. Hence we have tried to court media to help us boost numbers as well as get our campaign message accross. We are now on the right tract. We need to get 15000 members at least to fund the 2 stage Arbitration process.
But again, we absolutely need to differentiate ourselves from those novelty deeds purveyors. Certainly if there are people out there (and there have been millions of them, I gather) who are willing to buy expensive celestial novelty gift certificates, then we would like to tempt them to join us instead!
If those people are buying those “deeds” with the fully informed knowledge that they are a legally irrelevant novelty, then that’s fine. Perhaps their certificates look nicer than ours (although I dont think they do). They are the celestial equivalent of “world’s best dad” certificates. But I dont think that those buyers are being suitably informed before purchase. If you look at those websites (buymars.com , lunarembassy.com , lunarland.com and their UK franchise at moonestates.com ), they do not suggest anything other than fully legal deeds being sold. That’s right, they sell deeds (not legal claims). Their deed certificates have a small stamp on them saying “this is a novelty gift” (which keeps them out of jail). Nowhere prominent on the website (apart from very small print somewhere) do you get told this. Everywhere else its full of self-certifying glorification, talking about legitimate trademarks and copyrights (as if such things confer legitimacy on their business!). The only company that clearly tells you up front that their deeds are just “novelties” is buyplanetmars.com
So we absolutely do not wish to be lumped in with them. Our claims offer is absolutely legal (so no novelty stamp), is about 1000 times cheaper than them ($0.01 versus $149 for the same 10 acres) and actually does provide a real (but modest) chance for celestial land ownership (or possible nominal fee payment in return from UN). The communal claim also provides our fellow land claimants with a truly positive hope that we all together can help secure peace for our future generations through our UN lobbying, and hopefully, a decision day at the PCA (court). We stand by those facts.
A BRAND NEW PROCESS!…
A further fact: through our multiple communications to/from UN, PCA and other contacts, we have finally uncovered the pathway or process by which a clestial land claim may be legally considered for title registration. Before we came on the scene, the “process” didn’t actually exist. Now it has sprung into being!…