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

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

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

Karnia-Ruthenia House sits again

Just weeks into the mandate of a new Imperial Chancellor, Karnia-Ruthenia is pushing forward with the reinvigoration of its legislative lower house.

The House of Representatives last sat on October 18th, when its brief two-month history ended with an act of high treason by the nation’s first chancellor, Thomas de Cumange. The position remained vacant until February 3rd, when Michael de Cessna was appointed.

With Cessna taking office, the government moved quickly to finish the interrupted session and reconvened the House earlier this week. The expectations for the body focused largely on procedural matters, with an open-ended question as to the focus of laws to be considered during the session.

Dom Guilhermo, the Duke of Libertia, seized the opportunity to table a number of procedural proposals including automatic dismissal of representatives who miss three votes in a row, and a two-year term limit, after which each member-state must elect another representative.

Guilhermo also went beyond the procedural and raised ideas for a number of new laws for Karnia-Ruthenia.

Most significantly, he would seek to outlaw dual citizenship, with any citizen losing their status automatically upon joining another micronation. “This is to preserve our cultural value to all individuals [who make-up] our country,” he said.

Other laws would include criminalizing possession or consumption of narcotics, including intoxication by them, the use of psychological terror, and and intellectual property infringement.

For his part, Cessna is supportive of the proposed criminal and immigration reforms, so long as the definition of narcotics is sufficiently detailed. Other representatives have yet to voice their positions on the matters and no vote is scheduled.

Karnia-Ruthenia House sits again

Providential hope for new micronation

A new micronation founded by Violette Clingersmith aims to become the first to meet all four criteria of the Montevideo Convention, and therefore statehood.

The Convention, which first came into effect in 1934, codifies customary international law amongst a small segment of nation-states insofar as it requires a nation-state to demonstrate a permanent population, a defined territory, government, and a capacity to enter into relations with other such states.

Clingersmith argues that every micronation to date has failed to meet the second and fourth criterion. While her suggestion that permanency requires a micronation’s population to both reside and work within its claim territory may be debatable, her assessment of the fourth criterion is more compelling. No nation-state has recognized the legitimacy of any micronation, despite assertions by some that their micronation’s name, or their government or noble title, quoted on a “we received your correspondence” form letter was tacit recognition by the macronational government.

Flag of New Providence

Cue the micronation of New Providence, which Clingersmith asserts will be the first micronation to overcome the barriers to statehood. But how?

The first step will be to claim and control a number of islands in the Southwestern Indian Ocean. The five island groups sought are generally uninhabited except for seasonal research-related populations. They are controlled by a number of current nation-states: Australia, France and South Africa. Clingersmith hopes to assert control over the islands no later than 2040; however, it is unclear how the islands will be converted to sustainable permanent populations given that this has not occurred in hundreds of years.

If obtaining control of the land is a success, a permanent population will be established, supported largely by citizens gleamed from around the world. Clingersmith aims to have 50 to 100 citizens living around the world in wait by the end of this year. Once there are 50 citizens, a constitutional convention will be undertaken to form a government to administer the micronation virtually until the islands can be settled.

Finally, with its functional government and permanently inhabited islands, New Providence’s attention will turn to gaining recognition. “I do believe that once a settlement is established on our claimed territories, some kind of treaty stopping short of recognition will be signed with the French Republic,” asserted Clingersmith. Such a treaty would involve France abandoning its meteorological station on the Kerguelen Islands for fishing rights within New Providence’s exclusive economic zone. While France yielding control of the islands, its station, and agreeing to give up its control of fishing in the area, seems like a fanciful dream today, it is but one potential avenue that New Province will explore on the path to recognition.

Clingersmith is hopeful that her approach of focusing on achieving each criterion, instead of becoming distracted, will succeed. “From my experience, most micronations focus much of their attention towards developing a unique culture, setting up [a futile] economy, and establishing complex bureaucracies and systems of mobility” she said. “[All of these] mitigate their government’s ultimate effectiveness [in achieving the Montevideo Convention].”

That said, she remains realistic, referring to the success of the New Providence project as catching a unicorn.

Providential hope for new micronation

Aärnesen plans Craitish referendum

CHERRY TREES – New Craitish Prime Minister Iņa Aärnesen has set down her party’s plan for her premiership, with the much-anticipated USSO membership referendum planned for parliamentary discussion before the end of the month.

Aärnesen was elected in September in an unprecedented Liberal-Centre Alliance (LCA) majority victory, becoming only the second Prime Minister from the agrarian-minded party. As the nation’s second ever female to hold the position, Aärnesen has gained a plethora of support from the public, sealing all but three of the available 33 county seats through a platform promising citizens a referendum on Craitland’s membership in the USSO.

Craitland became a founding member of the USSO in early 2017 under the administration of Social Democrat Hjaņ Berntsen. While the USSO is a primarily military alliance, Berntsen’s justification for Craitland’s membership was to allow for a means of effectively providing humanitarian aid to civilians during the Hammish Civil War. Since the apparent cessation of conflict in central Keltia, the USSO has focused on establishing trade amongst its members, though recent developments have led to an air of unease.

Antagonistic behaviour from Daocheng has subsequently culminated in Jingdao and Shireroth ending an unofficial armistice; a move which could once again drag a traditionally peaceable Craitland into warfare, while activities in the Florian Republic have seen its USSO membership terminated following considerably increased involvement from Shirekeep.

Mr Sacriches of the LCA, credited as the mastermind of its electoral success.

LCA head of communications, Alexandrian Marc-Antoine Sacriches – whose expertise has been credited with masterminding the party’s successful election campaign – gave an announcement which was seen to praise the Florians’ latest news as inspiration for the future of Craitland, “The Florian people have shown that USSO membership does not equal straight subjugation by the Jingdaoese. We are in control of our own future in this country, and that means all of us. Ms Aärnesen’s vision will give every Crait the right to decide our nation’s path, and together we will choose the best route forward and forget the mistakes other parties have made without our support.”

Popular opinion polling in Craitland suggests that a referendum asking a direct in-or-out question would receive a narrow majority in favour of leaving the organisation, though the format is yet to be confirmed and further influential campaigning is surely expected prior to the day Craits once again make their way to the ballot box.

Aärnesen plans Craitish referendum

Occitania to stifle secession attempt

BABOUGRAD – Caught off-guard by the attempted secession of its state of Sezentrania, the Occitanian government has obtained court action to restore constitutional order; however, its moral authority to quash the secession may be wanting.

A recent addition to the federation, Sezentrania joined Occitania on October 19th, and reportedly consisted of a single citizen, Daniel Lee, the state’s founder, on October 20th. Despite being its founder, the federal government refused to allow Lee to act as the state’s governor, instead designating the federal legislature, the Vergadering, as the state’s administrator.

Within a week, Lee’s desire to be part of the Occitanian state had waned and on October 27th, he unilaterally declared Sezentrania to be an independent state, something that the federal government only learned of when it happened across a wiki page profiling the Free Democratic Republic of Sezentrania.

Occitania’s government has quickly moved to denounce the secession as illegitimate, stating its contention that as Lee was not the governor of the state, he had no mandate to declare independence. “This is a real coup d’état and a real constitutional affront,” the government said through state media, “There can be no question of self-determination because this action is one-sided.” It stressed that it was open to a solution to the dispute over Sezentrania’s status so long as it was compliant with the federal constitution.

With Lee being the only resident of Sezentrania, the argument by the federal government that the secession is not a question of self-determination appears fleeting at best. While it is a fact that Lee did not follow constitutional processes, his decision as the sole resident of the state is, arguably, the practice of self-determination in action.

More questionable is whether the federal government has moral standing to oppose the secession of Sezentrania. On October 27th, Occitania announced its support for the unilateral declaration of independence issued by the Spanish state of Catalonia. Catalonia declared independence, in violation of Spanish law, following the results of an unconstitutional referendum in which a minority of its residents participated. With its own territorial integrity is threatened by similar action, Occitania’s government now underscores the importance of constitutional law and minimizes the right of a local populace to exercise self-determination.

Finding itself in Spain’s position, Occitania has today obtained a court judgment appointing another one of its state governors, Ivanna Minaïeva, as Sezentrania’s prefect, tasked with enforcing the federal constitution and cracking down on the secession movement.

Occitania to stifle secession attempt