Exclusive: Behind the Cyberia Conflict First Hand

With the neutral stance of Micronations.net in terms of permitting any discussion regarding the age-old conflict between the Virtual Commonwealth of Cyberia and the Federal Republic of Cyberia, the Coprieta Standard set forth earlier this month to provide an opportunity for both sides to voice their opinions of many aspects of the conflict. Though this initiative on the part of the Standard has not been without controversy, and rarely anything concerning the Cyberia conflict is.

The Standard approached both sides with the offer to allow them to speak freely in response to neutral interview questions as a way to educate the younger generation of micronationalists as to the intricacies of the near-decade old conflict. Regretfully, two prominent members, and former presidents, of the Virtual Commonwealth of Cyberia, declined the opportunity to participate in the initiative. As a result, the Standard is only able to present you with one side of the conflict – that of the Federal Republic of Cyberia.

The two contacted representatives of the Virtual Commonwealth, Mr. Michael Fors and Mr. Jack Santucci, both gave compelling reasons for their declination of the invitation. Mr. Fors noted that “there [aren’t] two equal sides to this story – the story is that Jacobus has hijacked our history. He has never been a Cyberian citizen, yet he claims to have been … Why should we, [through participating in this interview], give any form of legitimacy to … Jacobus and a bunch of [his papels].” Santucci, having lied deliberately to the Standard initially about his support of the initiative, came clean about the reasons for his refusal to participate. Santucci stated that “there’s no reason to draw attention to Jacobus/Dunkin and let them make their public case for sympathy,” and later continued that this initiative is a “slow, sly attempt [by Liam Sinclair and the Micronations.net staffers – one of which is a Virtual Commonwealth citizen] to push a knife in [the Virtual Commonwealth’s] back.” (Editor’s note: The Standard regrets that its attempt to bring our readers fair and unbiased coverage of this long conflict – which is a reality no matter what wool is pulled over your eyes – by allowing both sides equal opportunity to voice their case upsets certain persons to the point of attempted bullying of an independent and impartial news service).

The Virtual Commonwealth of Cyberia is considered by most micronational governments to be the legitimate incarnation of the Cyberian micronation, which has existed since 1997 (it claims title to being the oldest Internet micronation). The Virtual Commonwealth charges that the Federal Republic, created by one Jacobus B.S. Kahunamea, was created in opposition to the lawful Cyberian government. Conversely, the Federal Republic charges that it is the true legitimate successor of the Cyberian government, and that the Virtual Commonwealth is illegitimate.

The Standard is pleased to offer our readers the opportunity to learn about the Federal Republic’s side of the issue through the following interview answers by Mr. Kahunamea. The Standard continues to extend the offer to the Virtual Commonwealth representatives to participate in this interview.

Please note that ‘VCC’ refers to ‘Virtual Commonwealth of Cyberia’ and ‘FRC’ to ‘Federal Republic of Cyberia’.

1.This interview is essentially meant to be an introduction to the Cyberian conflict for the younger micronationalists in our community. To that end, could you give us a brief history of the formation of the Cyberian machine and describe for us the origins of the conflict, as well as its key historical points?

I’m not sure what you mean by Cyberian machine. One of the main bones of contention between us and the VCC is their claim to be the one and only legitimate Cyberia. We have documented many different “Cyberias”, and we find new ones nearly every month. Mentions of a “People’s Republic of Cyberia” have been found in documents dating to January of 1997, months before Ken Kerns’ founding of the first incarnation of the Virtual Commonwealth. “Cyberia” has been a generic term for on-line, computer-linked communities since the early 1990’s, if not before.

The Virtual Commonwealth has not in itself been a unified community since the First Civil War in October of 1998. The Second Civil War (Dec. 1999-April of 2000 further added to the fractures.

I landed outside of Southaven, Lasteria on December 10, 1999. Minister Phyle had led a coup against the splintered, ineffective VCC government two days before. As the coup was very far left (having heavy support from the United Provinces of East Cyberia), I felt it my duty as King of the Mala’anje to offer our people an alternative to the failed, crony-ridden government in power as well as to the possibility of annexation by the communist lead U.P.E.C..

Rather than take your readers into an involved history of Cyberia, in brief, most of the forces opposed to the hypocritical VCC regime have over the years, continued to coalesce around me and my friends. The monarchical model was misunderstood and unsuccessful in making manifest our vision for Cyberia. On August 10, 2005, I foreswore a crown in order to help build a truly Free Cyberia.

Your readers may ask, what is the need? The VCC constitution seems to be a liberal and democratic one.

To that, I reply that there is a great deal of difference between form and practice. A reader from Mars would have found the Constitution of the USSR to be extremely democratic. Hitler ruled (technically) under the Weimar constitution. The VCC’s documents and the verbiage are democratic, but the historic practice is anything but. Their society is ruled by an iron fist in a tattered velvet glove.

The Cyberian Memorial that we maintain lists literally hundreds of former Cyberians, many of them driven out by the machinations of the VCC ruling clique that we have come to call the Oligarchy.

We continue to fight the long fight for the freedom of thought, expression and belief that is commonly lacking among our rivals.

2.One word: papel. For those not familiar with the term, it refers to the use of multiple personalities, each a separate micronationalist, though in reality one in the same person macronationally. How do you think the FRC’s policy of allowing the use of papels has helped or hindered the Cyberian conflict over the years?

We find “papel” to be a pejorative term, intended to create hostile feelings. We prefer the term alter-ego.

The Federal Republic of Cyberia has existed as such since August 10, 2005, and the codification of the use of alter-egos has existed since ratification of the Constitution in March of 2006. Previous incarnations of the various groups opposing the VCC may have included such actors, but I cannot speak for them all.

Alter-egos are intended to flesh out the simulation, allowing positions to be filled rather than “left blank”. Some of these alter-egos have their origins in various characters that have played parts in more than one Cyberia over the years. I cannot go into significant detail about individuals, as that would be a violation of our Constitution.

Past Cyberias (including the VCC) have used alter-egos for less-than-ethical activities, but the FRC has not permitted them to engage in political activity outside of Cyberia.

To attempt to answer your question more directly, they can keep one’s rivals off balance. They can also engage in activities and explore positions that their principal may be reluctant to pursue. They can lessen trust by their presence, but they can also be bridge-builders between people of very different political positions. Like so many of our customs and activities, our rivals tend to oppose them merely because they are ours.

Opposition to our practice is frequently soaked in hypocrisy, as those who most loudly protest our customs are quite likely to have there own alter egos. They are merely secretive about them.

Bottom line, I don’t think the conflict would have developed much differently than it has if there were no alter-egos or ten times the numbers.

One phrase: Multiple Citizens. Many of those who berate us for alter-egos maintain citizenships in multiple nations, some of which are hostile to one another. How can they be trusted?

3.There have been claims on both sides of various efforts to reach terms to co-exist peacefully. Could you enlighten us on these efforts, specific to your Cyberia, over the history of the conflict and why each effort has failed to date (sans Shirekeep, which is the subject of the next question)?

Early in the conflict, both sides demanded unconditional surrender from the other. Early on it became evident (to us, at least) that neither side could decisively defeat the other, based on the medium through which we persist.

I was actually a citizen of the VCC, briefly. I was one of a very few who fought off the Dyrian invasion of the VCC. However citizens of the VCC who did not kowtow to the Oligarchy were doomed to “trials” that would have made Stalin blush. Every post was parsed for some excuse to bring the citizen targeted for elimination to trial before a kangaroo court. The results of such “trials’ were well choreographed in advance.

Throughout the years, we have periodically offered to sit down and discuss peace, but we have always been rebuffed.

4.The most recent peace agreement – the Treaty of Shirekeep – was short-lived. The VCC claims that the FRC violated the treaty through failing to meet its requirements; the FRC claims the same of the VCC. In your view, why exactly did Shirekeep fail and were you disappointed by its failure?

Let me make one thing clear. The Treaty of Shirekeep was between Jacobus as a sovereign and the VCC. The FRC incurred no obligations under Shirekeep. Thus my following comments in this section are personal.

Now, personally, I was very disappointed in the failure of Shirekeep. I was sick of the war. I wanted to lead the RICC (Restored Imperial Commonwealth of Cyberia) into federation with a larger group where my people would be protected from attacks by the VCC and their associates. Shireroth was a logical candidate, as both my nephew and I had connections there. Culturally it made sense as Shireroth was that time the home of Lac Glacei, Cognito and Jaris.

The duplicity of the VCC in general and of Alan Grieve (their negotiator) in particular became evident some after. Should I tell an innocent story, or relate an anecdote of my career in [micronationalism], I would be immediately set upon by a high-ranking member of the VCC, denying that the event ever occurred, that the people involved ever existed, and/or that if such a thing had ever happened, or that if it had how DARE I speak of it.

Protests to President Santucci were shrugged off as the actions of individuals beyond his control. It was amazing that these individuals were members of their government who had subscribed to the Treaty, who on journeying to another nation became outraged individuals. It was evident very quickly that the intent of the VCC from the beginning was to drive me and my friends out of [micronationalism] under any form, and to write a sanitized version of the history of which we were a part.

5.Today, as you answer these questions, what is the main barrier(s) to a successful resolution of the Cyberian conflict? What are the chances of there ever being a true permanent resolution which ushers in an era of peace between the two sides?

It’s very simple. The VCC wants us to (micronationally, at least) die. They want all evidence of the any nation or group that opposed them to be wiped from creation, and they want all of their crimes against [micronationalism] to be erased and forgotten.

We are not foolish enough to believe that we could destroy the VCC. First of all, it would be wrong. They are our brothers, even though they are misguided.

To directly answer your question, the main barrier to peace is that they want us destroyed. The Treaty that we offered (which ended in the cutting off of all contact) simply said that the two Cyberias acknowledged each others right to exist, and their rights to their history and culture.

When they accept this, not only is the main barrier down, but so is the war. We will go our own way, and they can do whatever they like with their Cyberia.

6.The issue of Cyberia is one that has caused a lot of headaches amongst the older population of the community, which has led in part to the ban of discussion relating to the conflict on the community’s hub – Micronations.net. How do you feel this restriction at Micronations.net affects the ability for communication between the two sides and perhaps even resolution? Should both Cyberias be held accountable for the circumstances leading to the ban, or would you pin the responsibility solely on one side?

The MNN ban is classic in the wars of the Cyberias. It usually starts with us making an innocuous comment along the lines of “Hi! We are over here. Come visit.” This is followed by someone from the other side dashing in, and calling our citizen a liar, and our country illegitimate. On occasion one of our people may come upon someone from the other side and make a comment designed to make them look foolish (the truth usually would suffice).

Thus starts a small flame war. Anyone who is courteous to our citizen is accused of being a Jacobist stooge (or worse). We respond. Somewhere along the line, everybody gets banned. This has happened in dozens of different nations.

The MNN situation is somewhat different, as MNN has become a center point of MN discussion. Attempting to ignore the Cyberias situation is as difficult as ignoring an elephant sitting in the middle of a dining room. Eventually, the elephant stands up, and the crockery suffers as a result.

Purple Cyberian, our former Secretary of State, requested that MNN sponsor peace talks. He was quickly rebuffed by MNN management.

I would say that both sides bear some responsibility for the ban, however, this leans more toward the other side as several members of the VCC hold administrative positions at MNN. (Editor’s note: There is, in fact, only one member of the Micronations.net administrative team who is a citizen of the Virtual Commonwealth of Cyberia, and this citizen joined the administrative team years after the implementation of the Cyberia ban in 2004.) Thus MNN has been overwhelmingly pro-VCC. Many micronationalists I know who are neutral or sympathetic to our cause remain silent out of fear, or under peer pressure to appear politically correct.

7.There have been claims from various micronationalists throughout the sector, specifically those experienced with the Cyberian conflict issue, that if not for this conflict, neither Cyberia would have anything to keep an active life. Your thoughts?

This could very well be why our opponents are afraid to make peace. Any nation that cannot exist in a righteous, fair peace should dissolve. We are willing to take the risk. We challenge our rivals to do likewise.

8.As somewhat of a follow-on question to the previous question, how do you feel the wider intermicronational community – specifically other governments – have impacted the Cyberian conflict over its history, whether positively or negatively? Could you point to any specific examples of positive or negative interference?

Most governments have, for several years at least, tried to steer clear of the Cyberia wars. Over history, many nations who have taken a hand in the battle have regretted it.

Let’s face it. Who wants to make friends with someone when immediately afterward your new friend’s drugged-out brother comes over, flops himself in the best chair, drinks all the beer, vomits on the carpet, and insults you and your new friend for hours? This is the kind of a relationship that resulted when we reached out to another nation. Not likely to continue.

6 thoughts on “Exclusive: Behind the Cyberia Conflict First Hand

  1. First of all, Micke Fors, as usual, is full of it. Jacobus was in fact a citizen of the VCC for several months a few years ago. In fact, Alan Grieve wanted to make him sort of an honorary Emperor along the lines of Norton I.

    It is really sad that Jack Santucci has become so paranoid that he characterized this effort to present a balanced, objective picture of the Cyberian controversy as an attempt by MNN staffers to “stab the VCC in the back.” But I guess that’s all one can expect from a nation that ignores its own Constitution to ban unwanted foreigners from its forums with no pretense of due process of law.

    Peter S. Hickey
    Free Republic of Rocentia

  2. The next time you plan to quote me, Sinclair, tell me I’m on record.

    And if you’re going to quote people without telling them they’re on record, provide at the same time everything you say to stimulate the responses you get.

  3. Entire chat transcript between Jack and I:

    >>>>>I am considering a special article run in the Coprieta Standard where I allow both Cyberias to answer some questions to clarify the contrasting world-views on both sides of the long-running conflict.
    >>>>>The questions would be the same ones asked to both nations (for the record, I am approaching yourself – as President Graham isn’t very regularly active – and Jacobus). I feel that this would be an opportunity for both sides to restate their individual cases to the younger generation of micronationalists without having to violate Micronations.net rules.
    >>>>>If you’re interested in participating in this opportunity, then I look forward to your reply.

    >>>>You also should invite Alan Grieve, President Graham, and former President Fors. Let Dunkin and Jacobus formulate a collective answer for their side.
    >>>>It is definitely a good idea. My memory is incomplete, however, and I don’t think I could do the story justice. I spent 5 years telling it – telling it for everyone else – and I’m tired. And frankly I’m disappointed that I have to tell it again, that Micras isn’t willing to help tell it for me, like it was two years ago. I just don’t see how FRC has any legitimate case here. They’re an aggregation bin for isolated coup attempts whose histories have been revised to somehow fit into one continuous narrative. They’re staffed with paper dolls. They lie about their list. And they change their message frequently.
    >>>>Yeah… clearly I’m not the person for this… very burned out. But you should invite the President, Grieve and Graham


    >>>Thanks, I’ll approach them on the issue if I ever hear back from the FRC. They probably won’t participate considering it’s me who’s making the request. Nonetheless, I’ll let the VCC state its side with a notation that the FRC declined an invitation to answer the same questions.

    >>How big an issue is Jacobus these days anyway? That is, is there really a need to make noise about it at all? I don’t have any sense that he’s been a problem, save for a few inflammatory posts he made to our forums a few weeks ago. Is there much discussion MNN? I don’t visit there much – largely because I don’t want to see people appeasing him with attention.

    >I’ve been deleting on average two posts a week from them contravening the MNN ban on Cyberia. As such posts disappear, the population might be wondering why which is partial motivation for this endeavour. The primary motivation being that it is fully legitimate issue in micronational news/history. I don’t see it as making noise about it since both sides were invited to answer the same generic questions.

    There’s no reason to draw attention to Jacobus/Dunkin and let them make their public case for sympathy.

    Then again, I’m not surprised. The general policy at MNN has switched from a hard line to an even hand.

    I’m sorry I asked the question. It just gets me angry. Back to quietly running the elections of a real micronation…

    Quite the turn in opinion for a person who thought this was “definitely” a good idea. This isn’t MNN policy – if it were, I wouldn’t even be bothering to undertake this endeavour as MNN policy is to ignore both sides equally and delete or close any thread/post which we feel may contravene our policy on Cyberia. All of the senior management have had it up to the neck with both sides in the conflict essentially.

    The Coprieta Standard is a private news publication separate of the Micronations.net sphere of influence and its subsidiaries. I’m approaching both sides because, whether you like it or not, there are two sides in this never-ending conflict. The Coprieta Standard is a news service so it has full ability and rights to cover both sides of any conflict – it’s not a government which would require it to pick sides or be blissfully ignorant. I’ve offered the VCC a chance to go head on with Jacobus in a moderated environment which would have allowed you guys to get an effective message out to the younger micronationalists. Just because you guys have declined to take advantage of this opportunity, doesn’t bother me.

    After all, any undue attention that the FRC receives from its willingness to answer the interview questions is directly the fault of the VCC for not offering counterpoints to rebut any FRC claims or propaganda. I’ll include the reasons why the VCC haven’t participated in the article as per journalistic integrity practice of course; but, any sympathy that the FRC gains through independent impartial news media efforts such as this is a result of the VCC’s ignorance towards educating the younger generation about the legitimate Cyberian history in this conflict.

    Not that I’m surprised there’s no VCC participation as (1) you’re all mostly burned out from the FRC (and Hickey’s constant bantering) and (2) if not for the Cyberia conflict, well, I’m one of those who agree that without the conflict there’d be neither Cyberia left aruond today. It just gets me angry when people who willingly decide not to rebut claims of their enemy decide to blame the impartial medium instead of themselves for giving their enemy the chance to gain sympathy. Liam >There’s no reason to draw attention to Jacobus/Dunkin and let them make their public case for sympathy.

    There are only two sides to this conflict because you and some at MNN have decided to recognize the claims of Jacobus. As far as anyone knows, he was never even a citizen except for a brief period when he was already parading the present identity.

    The basic point is that, with the proper recognition from people like you, any person could be any micronation’s Jacobus.

    And I wholeheartedly disagree that JAcobus has kept Cyberia alive. Like Peter Hickey, he has been poisonous for our experience. Jacobus may be able to rally the base, but he’s also driven off newcomers. Cyberia prospered before Jacobus, it prospers when he’s quiet, and it’s improving markedly today (because Fors terminated the forum amnesty and removed him from Cyberian public live).

    You’re just being mean. That’s the basic point. And while I haven’t had any contact with my compatriots, it certainly does sound like they’re not interested in your newspaper effort to stir the pot.

    This is a slow, sly attempt to push a knife in Cyberia’s back – to get back at it for “annoying” you. And THAT explains your – and MNN’s – reversal on the Jacobus problem.

    May your own pursuits only find their own Jacobuses…

    >Quite the turn in opinion for a person who thought this was “definitely” a good idea.

    And with respect to this point, I lied the first time. It’s an opportunistic, rabble-rousing idea. I just wanted to make sure you approached everyone else.

    [several days later on date of publication]

    The next time you plan to publish what I speak frankly to you, tell me I’m on record.

    The next time, have enough courtesy to not deliberately deceive. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to be honest the first time around. Your reason for lying – i.e. wanting to make me ask others – is as bogus as pigs flying.

  4. If the VCC has been poisoned, it was by its own hand. Specifically, the poison is the VCC’s obstinate refusal to tolerate criticism of any form, whether it be the internal criticism of the old PFP or the ongoing criticism by Jacobus.

    Jack sounds like nothing so much as an old Cold Warrior in the USA attacking the old Soviet Union. I guess Jack is still channeling Ronald Reagan, despite his alleged adoption of progressive principles. This of course explains why he is willing to support the VCC government’s policy of deporting people without affording them the due process of law guaranteed by the Cyberian Constitution.

    Neil Spall stated it succinctly on the VCC Soapbox Forum: the VCC dropped the ball on this interview and the FRC scored a touchdown as a result. Too bad for the junta.

    Peter S. Hickey
    Free Republic of Rocentia

  5. Liam notes:
    “There is, in fact, only one member of the Micronations.net administrative team who is a citizen of the Virtual Commonwealth of Cyberia,….”

    Mr. Gray (graius) joined the VCC recently. Jack Santucci is listed as administrator of an MNN forum that has something to do with blogs.

    We assumed from this that Jack has official standing at MNN.

    The humorous situation that arises from this (and from application of policies) is that we in the FRC were convinced that MNN was packed with VCC supporters.

    It now seems that prominent Vccers are convinced that MNN and others is “out to get them”.

    Paranoia has been a characteristic of many Cyberian societies. The FRC
    will work toward muting that national trait in our nation.

    It would be a help if when a nation is involved with conflict involving MNN policy if members of nations directly involved in the conflict recused themselves from exercising admin. power over such.

    All in all I am pleasantly surprised by this experience, and FRC policies will be affected, I believe in a positve direction.

  6. Mr. Santucci was the founder of Microblog and he has moderator powers over that forum for that reason. Micronations.net hosts a forum for Microblog, independent of its Yahoo Group. The MNN News feed is independent of Microblog and some how got mixed into that forum over the course of history.

    Santucci is by no way part of the Micronations.net administrative team. He’s merely the moderator of a forum which we provide to a private organization which he happens to have founded. The Micronations.net administrative team consists of:

    The three micronational co-owners: Iain de Vembria, Liam Sinclair, and Lachlan Powers (representing the shareholders: Inscriptvs, Sinclair Publication, and MZM Media Group, respectively).

    Other administrators “hired” on by the co-owners are: Ardashir Khan, Benjamin Gray, and Sander Dielemen.

    Any other person listed as a moderator on the board is associated with a private organization that we provide hosting support to and not Micronations.net.

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