Karnia-Ruthenia adopts drug control

Stringent drug control provisions recently passed by the Karnia-Ruthenia legislature were proclaimed by the Emperor yesterday, in an effort to protect its citizens from related harm.

The law is the micronation’s first to regulate access to any drug, whether medication or street drug, that might carry the risk of causing social problems if misused. It forms part of a wider harm reduction strategy that also includes the provision of treatment facilities and after-case for addicts, education about the dangers of misuse, and research into preventive measures.

It is now generally illegal for people within Karnia-Ruthenia to use, possess, import, export, produce or supply a drug if it is listed in one of the three schedules to the law, whether directly or as a party to the act. That includes property owners and managers who knowingly allow such activities to take place on the premises.

Exemptions nonetheless exist. A medical professional can prescribe controlled drugs for a lawful purpose. Also, a person who takes a controlled drug away from a user or trafficker is also immune from prosecution for possessing that drug.

For those not lucky enough to fall within one of the exemptions or who obstruct or fail to comply with those tasked with enforcing the controls, their fate is unclear. The law specifies no penalties, leaving that decision to the courts. For those convicted, the punishment will depend on whether the Crown proceeded by summary or indictment, the latter traditionally carrying more severe punishment.

Bringing a person before the courts to face such outcomes was made relatively easy for law enforcement officers. A constable need only to have reasonable grounds to suspect – not believe – that the person is in possession of a controlled drug to lay a charge or to obtain a warrant to enter and search a premises and any person found therein. Warrants remain valid for one month and allow repeated entry and searches, reflecting a low expectation of privacy afforded anyone suspected of being involved in the local drug scene.

Such low standards of proof to arrest, charge or search individuals underline the seriousness with which the Karnia-Ruthenia government takes the issue of drug misuse; however, it’s unclear if it is a serious social problem in the micronation that reasonably supports the approach. During debate in the legislature, Dom Guilhermo, who first proposed the need for drug controls, provided no reason as to why it was a matter that needed attention; he merely raised it as a general idea for a law. During later debate, other legislators merely voiced their belief in one or two sentences that drugs needed to be controlled as, generally, they could be harmful. No data or other evidence was presented as to the nature or extent of any drug problem within Karnia-Ruthenia or to illustrate a need to implement strong enforcement powers.

How enforcement of the act and related punishments ultimately turn out will be a matter for the courts if and when a related charge is laid. Should that day come, Karnia-Ruthenia may find itself setting another first: the first micronation to prosecute a drug offence.

Karnia-Ruthenia adopts drug control

Alt DNS proposed

A new proposal aims to help micronations severe their dependency on macronational top-level domain names by introducing an alternative domain name server system.

NationDNS, a new intermicronational organization created by Jonah Aragon, will develop custom country-code top-level domain names (ccTLD) for participating micronations on the FreeNIC alternative DNS root system.

“Using Austenasia [as an example], they could be granted the ccTLD .aa, which would give them the ability to crate websites such as finance.gov.aa [or] foreignaffairs.gov.aa,” said Aragon in announcing the initiative. Participating micronations might also be permitted to sell their assigned ccTLD as a means of raising revenues, similar to how Tuvalu sold rights to the .tv ccTLD to television companies.

The deployment of each custom ccTLD would require some manual adjustment to each user’s computer settings according to Aragon. “It isn’t a difficult change … it just isn’t default so there’d need to be some end-user educational involved,” he said, hoping to minimize any related concern.

And minimize the concerns he did. Several MicroWiki Community micronations have voiced their interest in participating, including Glastieve, Madrona, and Nordkavn, though no timeline has been announced for the deployment of their related ccTLDs.

Aragon’s effort is the first since the early 2000s, when Cesidio Tallini created alternative TLDs for his “Fifth World Community”. Tallini’s TLDs ultimately saw limited use outside of his micronation’s immediate sphere.

Aragon hopes to avoid that outcome by expanding NationDNS to offer full-service hosting packages that include such benefits as monetization to encourage use of the alternative DNS. Those services are expected to come online as early as May 28th.

 

Alt DNS proposed

Sakasaria supports BOINC

Building on its scientific focus, Sakasaria has announced that it will share its surplus computing power with the Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (BOINC) system.

The announcement, made on April 6th by President John Gordon, indicated the micronation’s contribution will be led by the Sakasarian Institute to Science and Technology (SIST) through its Project Icarus. The Institute forms a central role in the micronation, which possesses a strong national scientific culture.

By installing open-source software on its computers, Sakasaria will allow BOINC to use its processing power to increase network processing capacity in specific scientific studies as chosen by the contributor. When those computers are not being used locally within Sakasaria, it is estimated that 80% of their available power will be diverted to BOINC. When they are in use, the contribution will drop to an estimated 20%.

SIST will focus the contribution of Project Icarus to four of the nearly three-dozen studies using BOINC: Climate Prediction, SETI@home, MilkyWay@home, and LHC@home.

Climate Prediction bills itself as the world’s largest climate modelling experiment, relying on donated home computer resources to estimate climate change’s impacts on the world. It represents the area of greatest concern for Sakasaria. “We want to bring climate change to the forefront of conversation wherever possible,” Gordon told the Coprieta Standard.

The remainder of the studies are related to physics, astrophysics, astrobiology and astronomy. SETI@home supports the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence program to make contact with intelligent life from other solar systems, MilkyWay@home seeks to create a highly-detailed 3D model of our galaxy, and LHC@home contributes resources to support particle and accelerator physics research with the Large Hadron Collider.

Gordon sees Project Icarus as a natural fit for his micronation. “[The] Sakasarian Federation’s science focus is to gain knowledge on unknown questions and contribute to the scientific community’s findings and new discoveries,” he said in his comments to the Coprieta Standard.

Also included with the announcement was a local study to be undertaken by SIST. It will collect soil samples within Sakasaria to test pH levels, assess agricultural viability and identify in-situ microscopic life. Results from that study are expected to be published in a quarterly journal on September 1st of this year.

 

Sakasaria supports BOINC

Langford leads Mcarthia election

The week-long election for a new First Secretary to lead a reinvigorated Mcarthia has run beyond its official end without a winner declared.

Scheduled to conclude at midnight on April 6th, no official announcement has been made as to the winner of the election, which pit Artemis Langford against Horatio Eden, after a third contender, Pavle Savovic, resigned his Mcarthian citizenship.

Based on the timeline of votes cast in the open ballot process in the House of Councillors, Langford garnered thre votes to Eden’s two prior to the deadline, giving her the win. Post-deadline, two other citizens cast votes for Eden; however, those votes are expected to be disqualified once the official result is announced.

As First Secretary, Langford will have a full slate as Mcarthia works to return to full operation after the recent completion of its extensive constitutional code by Clark. Langford will first need to recommend a number of government and judicial appointments to Clark, among them the Secretaries of State for Commerce, the Exterior, Fiscal Affairs, and the Interior.

It remains unclear when the results will be finalized. If Langford is confirmed as winner, it will be a bittersweet victory after she was disqualified as First Secretary last month due to a lack of quorum in the House of Councillors.

 

Langford leads Mcarthia election

Cinema sweeps Micras

Efforts to simulate a film industry in Caputia have triggered a cultural phenomenon across the Micras community as other micronations adopt the idea.

The creation of detailed fictional stories in support of cultural development has long been a centrepiece of Micras nations; however, until now, the art of cinema had never drawn particular attention during the community’s nearly 20-year history.

That changed with the release of Caputia’s related MicrasWiki article on March 15th, in which the micronation established a wide-ranging simulation that included film festivals and nine films. The titles and plots of the simulated films in some cases invoke events and characters that exist within Micras’ geofictional history. Others are tongue-in-cheek references to real films, such as Goldspectre, a reference to James Bond. One Caputian film, La Fin Absolute du Monde, is even accompanied with a full Wikipedia-esque plot summary.

The effort was quickly replicated, to varying degrees, by other micronations in the following days, including the Florian Republic, Kasterburg, Nova England, and Shireroth.

All of the works provide an insight into the cultural values and focus of each micronation, as well as the degree of seriousness with which they take simulationism. The sole work of Nova England is a film about obnoxious foreigners beseiging the regulars of a local pub, while Shireroth’s extensive library comments on many aspects of that micronation’s two-decades.

There are no plans announced to attempt to script any of the films or transform them into animated films, let alone live-action. For now, they remain a cultural stub in their micronations.

Cinema sweeps Micras

One-on-One: Primo de Aguilar

CS: Thank you for sitting down with us, Primo. It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly 4 years since we last talked! A lot has happened in that time, but perhaps nothing more significant than the end of Alexandria, your long-time micronational home where you were a fixture of political and national life. Would you tell us about how you learned of its fate and your initial reaction to the news?

PdA: My initial reaction was shock, followed by sadness. I suppose since one puts a lot of effort and emotion to a character (at least I do; I suppose I am living vicariously through my characters) I went through a sense of what it feels to be suddenly stateless.

CS: Now, just over six months later, with the shock well settled, are you disappointed with how things worked out in Alexandria? What would you change if you had the time back?

PdA: I like continuity and closure in my narratives. It was sad to see Alexandria go, what with its history and culture and semi-stable postmodern urban constitutional monarchy with a pan-European flavor. There was a point when things were starting to get a little too predictable, though. I liked how the parties and personalities developed. Losing the First Consulship was expected, but I also got the feeling that Primo would have tried another final run (or a last gasp) for the office before finally retiring from public life. He’s had an amazing run from backbencher to First Consul.

CS: When Alexandria ended, you became a refugee of sorts and landed on the shores of Constancia where you’ve taken a leading role in its government and development. What drew you to that micronation?

PdA: It looked interesting and seemed to have a lot of areas where development could occur.

CS: What areas for development particularly interested you?

PdA: Constancia didn’t have a very detailed history – that was something I wanted to try my hand with, not to mention the fact that just about everything in Constancia could have used further detailing. There were some fascinating questions that could produce far more fascinating answers: why settle in the middle of Eura, for example; what were their cultural influences that remained to the present day, how did previous nation-states influence the evolution of the Free and Associative Kingdom?

CS: I think its safe to say that despite the Alexandria stressor, you and Edgard remain as close as friends as ever. I understand that you’re participating in his latest micronation, Caputia, as the Minister of Reconstruction and Infrastructure, under the moniker of Gerhardt Seydlitz. Would you tell us more about what you hope to accomplish in Caputia?

PdA: Well, there is the part of fixing the administrative and economic structure through legislation, and with the ruined cities, there is something of a sandbox to play with. I view this as a lens of seeing how differing personalities and factions can attempt to come together after a civil war to rebuild and form cohesive policy, it’s having a front seat to seeing how interpersonal dynamics play out into sociopolitical outcomes. Remember that this is a country struggling to pull itself together after a civil war, with all the pressures that brings. Can Seydlitz get things done while in office, or will his youth and relative inexperience be his downfall amidst the fickle attention span of the Parliament and public? We’ll see how that goes.

CS: While Caputia is not the successor state to Alexandria, I can’t help but feel the Alexandrian “vibe” in its structure and operation whenever I visit the forums. Is there a sense of “this is our chance to fix what went wrong in Alexandria” amongst the participants?

PdA: It’s entirely possible; let’s not forget that there is still a substantial in-game Alexandrian diaspora which may be an in-game factor, but I don’t necessarily agree with the premise that Caputia is Alexandria 2.0. There may be similarities, but they have separate histories and influences that lead both nations to separate paths.

CS: Can you provide an example of the differing histories/influences behind Caputia v. Alexandria?

PdA: Alexandria had a very (primarily Western) European flavor – Franco-Belgian-German – with the attendant love for French-style socialism and hard-right nationalism (Alexandria’s had governments of both extremes). Alexandria better exemplifies the Septum Juncta in Uno principle: Individuals identify more as Alexandrian first, and regional or provincial second, with the monarch not just as the head of state, but the continuing personification of the Empire.

Caputia doesn’t have a specific reference, although it could be vaguely similar to Europe. Whether the existing “moderate” administration, or government of national unity will soon split into various ideological parties still remains to be seen. Both countries have had very bloody civil wars, but in Caputia, I see individuals identifying first with their regions or provinces or even cities, and as subjects of Caputia, second. I foresee that the abrupt demise of the crown (death spare the Queen!) without clear issue or a generally-accepted heir would lead to the immediate fragmentation of this latest national experiment. The existing Queen is essentially a compromise candidate, after all, the sole Caputian whom the disparate warring factions hate the least. It’ll probably take a generation to bury the blood-feud enmities, or it may only cause these deep-seated grudges to fester. Only time will tell!

CS: You’re a busy man on the intermicronational stage these days as well in your role as the Secretary-General of the Micras Treaty Organization, which has suffered from spurts of inactivity over the last year. Can you explain for our readers how you see the Organization remaining relevant in the community?

PdA: The General Treaty requires an overhaul, what with most business focused on admittance of members. It also exercises very little power over its members, which essentially makes it a global, somewhat exclusive, debate club and YAMO. An organization is only as strong and as relevant as its members want it to be.

CS: Are there any personal reflections and wisdom on your last four years in micronationalism that you’d like to share with our readers?

PdA: It’s a hobby, it helps pass the time, it enables people to come together to co-create interesting things, whether it be narratives or govsims, or to express personal frustrations with national policies. Some have fantasy sports leagues, this is fantasy statecraft. It is also a good entry-level for those interested in real-world political or governance work, although on a considerably smaller scale.

From a civics perspective, it is a great educator, because ultimately, the fate of the country rests on you, its citizen (or subject). Your participation and contributions, as well as engagement with others, determines and reflects the strength and vibrancy of the nation.

One-on-One: Primo de Aguilar

Fraud allegation levied

The administrators of the Micronations and Royal Houses Facebook group have accused another micronationalist of potentially defrauding the community in order to gain fame and money.

Yaroslav Mar and Christian of Emden-Holstein allege that Anastasia von Elphberg, engaged in deceitful conduct, which included a history of making unverifiable claims, the use of sockpuppets, and the creation of a fictional non-governmental organization (NGO) to defraud sponsors of MicroCon.

Their allegations, outlined herein, have not been proven in a court of law.

The use of unverifiable claims and sockpuppets are rooted in the simulationist culture and history of Elphberg’s micronation, Ruritania, where she also played the character, Georg von Strofzia, who acted as foreign minister until his “death” last year.

Such use of multiple characters by one “flesh and blood” participant in a simulationist micronation is not unusual, nor is the development of a backstory for each character that may quote fictional events and achievements. Such practice became widely adopted by the Micras community in the late 2000s as the wider micronational population dwindled, making micronations less dynamic. Where used, the practice primarily supports local cultural and historical simulation to better mimic the workings of a real country. When the practice is not disclosed upfront, it has been interpreted as an indicator of deception by micronationalists, both present and past, including  simulationists.

While the accusers acknowledged Ruritania’s simulationist roots and the acceptable or tolerable use, to a degree, of fictional achievements and sockpuppetry, they suggested that Strofzia’s sockpuppet status was purposefully withheld by Elphberg over the course of years. That caused members of the micronational community to believe that Strofzia was a real person.

Months before last year’s MicroCon conference, a physical meeting of micronationalists, which Strofzia was expected by some to attend, Elphberg informed the community that he died. That Strofzia was not widely known as a sockpuppet led to an outpouring of condolences from micronationalists, it was alleged. “[She had] the audacity to receive condolences for the faked death of a person who never existed,” read the accusers’ statement, suggesting that it was an indicator of her deceitful nature.

One micronationalist, with the screen name”Hrm Richard”, suggested that the accusers were one of only a few individuals who didn’t know that Strofzia was a sockpuppet. “I am unaware of anyone … that did not know Georg was, effectively the name for an email address. … [His death] was preceded by weeks of discussions about how [Ruritania] would no longer be using the pseudonym for whomever was responding to emails that month,” he said, suggesting that Strofzia’s sockpuppet status was common fact within Ruritania’s circle of micronations.

28276953_755557667983366_5856035559633775340_n
Elphberg’s announcement of the OMAP (supplied).

Leading up to MicroCon, in which she acted as organizer and host, Elphberg participated in the founding of the Organization of Micronations and Alternative Politics (OMAP), which she described as a YAMO meant to add believability to sponsorship letters for the event. The seriousness with which OMAP was to be taken was unclear as the use of “YAMO” generally indicates a tongue-in-cheek reference to the organization being useless; however, the accusers allege that it was to be considered an NGO, a much more serious international organization, especially in non-simulationist realms.

The creation of OMAP, the accusers allege, was “for the sake of defrauding potential sponsors of MicroCon.” Elphberg’s stated intent to use OMAP to add believability to the letters to convince sponsors to fund MicroCon is a central pillar of the allegation. That said, there is no evidence that Elphberg, in fact, crafted or sent any such sponsorship letters, with or without the OMAP name, or ever asked for money by invoking the name.

Christian acknowledged that there was no evidence of a successful fraud perpetrated by Elphberg; however, for him, the implication of her OMAP announcement was clear. “What I see in the language of her post and her past behaviour of faking citizens and their fictional deaths is disturbing behaviour which makes use feel obliged to protect the members of this group before they communicate with her or her representatives,” he said. He suggested that the letters, if sent, would have attempted to raise money for MicroCon would have reflected poorly on the wider micronational community when the sponsor learned that OMAP was not a real NGO.

Mars agreed. “We don’t claim [that] she did defraud sponsors. She did however tell the participants to present themselves as members of a fictional organization which in our opinion accounts for an attempt at doing so.”

The allegations were supported by Donald Garcia-Dwyer. “To create an organization where you’ll collect additional funds in order to be ‘believable’ is pretty fraudulent,” he said.

Their interpretation of Elphberg’s actions was, however, not supported by all.

“I am not entirely clear I understand what the problem is,” said Will Sörgel, who throughout the discussion maintained his belief that the allegation was unsupported. “You have not clarified who these sponsors are, if she [was] successful, and if she did in fact gain sponsors.”

For “Hrm Richard”, both accusers lacked standing. “I don’t recall either of you being at MicroCon but as someone who attended I assure – “fraudsters” don’t spend a great deal of their own money so others don’t have to,” he charged. “[Elphberg used] her own money to reduce or eliminate fees for the attendees.”

While a serious discussion regarding the accuracy of the allegations ensued, that discussion at times was marked by tongue-in-cheek and direct insults directed between the participants. The resulting strained personal relationships may end up being the biggest fallout of the allegations, which themselves appear unlikely to ever be tested in a court of law.

Fraud allegation levied