History Profile: United Bobbesian Republic

LONENBERG (RIMA) – The United Bobbesian Republic (commonly known as the “UBR”) was an Anglophone Simulationist micronation that was active on the Internet from December 2001 until its demise in March 2003. Its origins dated back to June 1997 according to its most prominent citizen, Christopher Donle, who took effective control of the Republic in 1999 following concerns that the micronation’s government was facing imminent failure.

With its launch into the online micronational community in December 2001, the UBR joined what would become coined as the Micro-Monde Sector, a collection of North American-based, predominantly Internet, micronations that participated in the Micro-Monde Cartography Society founded by Canadian Earl Washburn. It was in this community that the UBR forged its close alliances with first the Republic of Amerada and then later Amerada’s arch-rival, the Union of South Mondesia.

Original Flag of the United Bobbesian Republic (circa. 2001)

Donle, through the alliance with Amerada, became a keen supporter of Amerada President Washburn’s policies and actions, and the UBR was generally seen as a supporter of the Washburn agenda. That was until April 2002, when Donle had become personally frustrated with several questionable actions taken by Washburn, most notably Washburn’s threat of war against the Micronation of Pacary that had expressed a desire to leave the Micro-Monde Cartography Society against Washburn’s wishes. After much chest-thumping between Donle and Washburn, the UBR would make a declaration of war against Amerada1 on April 6, 2002. The conflict was soon resolved, though bitter feelings between the two micronations remained. In September 2002, the UBR launched a smiley bomb attack on the forums of one of Washburn’s papel micronations, the Pups Kingdom (named in honour of his pet dog) in an attempt to overload the forum archive, thereby causing important threads to become unrecoverable by the service provider, Ezboard Incorporated2. The general belligerent tone between the UBR and Amerada would continue until February 2003, when facing its imminent demise, the UBR approached an equally struggling Amerada with a merger proposal, that was eventually rejected3.

Final flag of the United Bobbesian Republic (circa. 2003)

The falling-out between Washburn and Donle understandably pushed the UBR into the South Mondesian camp, where most of those Ameradans who opposed Washburn’s rule also held citizenship. This caused some surprise amongst South Mondesians, as just a month before, in March 2002, the UBR had declared war against South Mondesia at the beckoning of the Amerada-led General Military Alliance of which it was a member. Embarrassed by being forced to declare war against South Mondesia, Donle offered a public apology4 and agreed to a four-month moratorium on sending the UBR to war against South Mondesia. That moratorium proved unnecessary amid improved relations between the two micronations and the UBR became a closely-aligned friend of the Mondesians, resulting in the UBR being given all of South Mondesia’s Micro-Monde territory upon its dissolution in June 2002.

  1. Micronational Free Press: War between Amerada and the UBR Imminent: http://micronationhistory.info/?p=1149 []
  2. Micronational Free Press: UBR launches an attacked on the Pups Kingdom: http://micronationhistory.info/?p=1002 []
  3. Micronational Free Press: United Bobbesian Republic requests territorial status: http://micronationhistory.info/?p=918 []
  4. Micronational Free Press; United Bobessian Republic Apologizes to South Mondesia: http://micronationhistory.info/?p=1229 []

The Amerada Series – Part 4: Bridgewater’s Legislative Reforms

The Amerada Series is a collection of articles concerning the history of the Republic of Amerada, which was an active Anglophone Simulationist Community micronation in the early twenty-first century. Most of these articles were originally published in Liam Sinclair’s Amerada: the Story of a Nation book in 2002/2003. The articles as published by RIMA were subsequently updated and expanded for what was intended to be a more detailed edition of that book in 2007. Additional updates since the original manuscripts were re-written in 2007 have been made in an effort to complete articles that were left incomplete in 2007 upon cessation of the Amerada: the Story of a Nation fourth-edition effort.

The general rule in micronationalism is that it is foolhardy for a micronation to have anything more than a unicameral legislative system at the federal level. This time-proven rule is formed on the basis of population resources in a micronation but sometimes situations are formed where the population resources are taken out of consideration in return for a ‘greater’ purpose. Such a situation developed in the Republic of Amerada during the course of 2002 when that micronation’s political scene was so divided and angry that the government and opposition members, who also served as colonial leaders, were unable to cooperate at the colonial level due to dislike at the federal level.

Soon the opposition was levying charges that the Washburn government was ignoring the rights of the colonies. This charge was based on the government’s restrictions on the opposition which, at least during the Washburn Era, effectively prevented the opposition members from ever achieving any power federally. To counter this, the opposition members, primarily Sinclair, Bridgewater, and Little, called for an upper house to be added to the federal legislature that would provide a forum where the colonial leaders could have some say in the direct of federal administration.

The development of the Amerada Senate would begin in 2001 when the Amerada Association of Governors (AAG) was created and chaired by Bridgewater and Sinclair for the furthering of colonial rights in the confederacy, proposed a bill to the Washburn government which would allow for the creation of a senate. The bill was triggered by the leader of the opposition, Peter Little, voicing on 01 November 2001 that he wanted an upper house in the federal legislature to allow the governors to keep the lower in check. This senate would consist of representatives of each of the thirteen colonies within the confederacy and, in addition to being the upper house of the federal legislature, would confirm judicial appointments.

A major sticking point with President Washburn on the proposed draft legislation was that it did not serve to include the leaders of Amerada’s various territories (which had even less rights than a colony). After much debate between the two camps, it was agreed that external territories had no voting place in the Amerada Senate. The opposition within Amerada to the Washburn government felt it had made a major breakthrough with the acceptance of this legislation; however, it would serve to infuriate the opposition moreso when the government failed to introduce the proposal (Bill 65) to the federal legislature.

In May 2002, the “Senate Act” was finally introduced to the federal legislature but the government had changed its contents since the initial agreement. The Senate’s proposed powers over judicial appointments were axed causing members of the opposition to become irritated. This was because there had been no formal system for the operation of the Amerada Supreme Court, despite its heavy use, and the President arbitrarily appointed whomever he pleased to serve as a judge at trials. Such appointments caused partisan controversy to erupt over several trials in late December 2001.

The major sparking modification to the AAG proposal came because of Washburn changing his mind on the importance of having external territories represented in the Senate. To his credit, Washburn did not blatantly go against his previous agreement with the AAG; instead, he scrapped the Senate as a tool for colonial representation and made it one of political party representation. The entire purpose of the AAG proposal, to create an upper house where the primary political sub-divisions of Amerada had a voice over federal matters, was tossed out the door, enraging both Bridgewater and Sinclair.

Bill 65 went to vote in the federal legislature and the opposition won out – the bill was defeated due to the regular inactivity that plagued the Democratic Liberal Party of Amerada legislature resulting in no majority approval given. The issue of the creation of an upper house became, for a time, silent in Amerada politics.

During the October 2002 prime ministerial election in the Democratic Liberal Party of Amerada caucus (at this time, the prime minister of Amerada was elected as the majority party leader instead of as a separate office), the issue of legislative reform was once again back on the political stage. Candidate Chris Donle proposed in his election platform to create a bicameral legislature similar in operation to the British parliamentary system. This promise was met with scepticism amongst opposition members due to the model system having a powerless upper house. Newcomer to Amerada, and the future winner of the October election, Tristan Calvani, also promised in his platform to create an upper house in the federal legislature.

Nothing immediately came of the election promises as the Amerada political scene was hit by a major event – a presidential election had been called for December 2002. This election was to be held just like the prime ministerial election – as an internal vote in the DLPA, even though the position of president had no parallels to that of prime minister, which was a legislative position. After much arm-twisting and complaining by the opposition parties, Washburn changed the format of the election to an all-parties-allowed method, setting the stage for his eventual deposing and Bridgewater’s rise to power.

With Bridgewater elected as president of Amerada, the opposition’s dreams of an upper house representative of the colonies was about to be realized. On January 03, 2003, President Bridgewater introduced a much-overhauled version of the Senate Act to the federal legislature. Washburn was against the tabled bill, mainly because he preferred his until now unreleased senate plan that was part of his on-going work on the federal constitution.

With the passage of the new legislative act, the federal legislature was dissolved on 06 February 2003, less than a week before Amerada’s second anniversary on the 12th. A House of Common Representatives and a Senate, comprising the Congress of Amerada, replaced it and new elections were held for each chamber. The members of the Senate were chosen by internal elections in each colony, while the House of Common Representatives membership was conducted via national ballots (much as before).

The Senate was not composed of a representative of each colony at any one time. Instead, to make the size of the chamber manageable, the thirteen colonies and two external territories were divided into three groups of five. Every three months there would be a rotation of the membership.

The first sitting of the Amerada Senate would open on 26 February, with the five members of that first three-month rotation representing Tebec, New Columbia, Michswick, Geord & Island, and Naoufaland (formerly Illitoba). The fate of the first sitting was initially in doubt due to a pledge by Washburn to oppose every piece of legislation introduced. The threat, which had some weight to it as Washburn’s newly formed Green Party held two of the five seats on the first rotation, never materialized and the operations of the Amerada Senate, and indeed the entire legislature, soon became stable and mundane.

The newly created bicameral legislature would not last long as, by March 2003, the micronation was facing a major bout of inactivity and lack-of-interest on the part of major players. This inactivity would continue into June of that year until it was decided that major reforms to the micronation were required to ensure its future continuation.

The prominent idea for the legislature was a massive reduction in size of the lower chamber. To achieve this, Bridgewater’s administration took heed of a plan proposed by Sinclair the previous month that would combine the colonies into six provinces, with Massacavut Capital District being left alone. In the end, the capital district was left alone, though it was expanded, and two other provinces gobbled up the remaining colonies.

On 22 July, an amended legislative act was drafted which replaced the Amerada Senate with a House of Provinces, eventually to be put through the Congress after the successful passage of the Provinces Act. The Legislative Act, as finely-detailed as the one which created the Congress just months earlier, reduced the House of Common Representatives to three members, elected every three months, and a House of Provinces consisting of three members elected every four months.

The goal of reducing the size of the legislature, so that the smaller active population remaining in Amerada since the events of March 2003 involving Washburn could manage it effectively, was realized. Unfortunately, the final incarnation of the Amerada legislature would not be able to reverse the bout of inactivity for long and the micronation was no longer operational by the end of the year (though the Bridgewater government continued to process new immigration applications into 2004).

The Amerada Series – Part 3: Trials and Impeachments

The Amerada Series is a collection of articles concerning the history of the Republic of Amerada, which was an active Anglophone Simulationist Community micronation in the early twenty-first century. Most of these articles were originally published in Liam Sinclair’s Amerada: the Story of a Nation book in 2002/2003. The articles as published by RIMA were subsequently updated and expanded for what was intended to be a more detailed edition of that book in 2007. Additional updates since the original manuscripts were re-written in 2007 have been made in an effort to complete articles that were left incomplete in 2007 upon cessation of the Amerada: the Story of a Nation fourth-edition effort.

In the autumn of 2001, the Amerada court system was experiencing a major surge of business as the impeachment trials of William Steeves were underway, as well as the criminal trial against Liam Sinclair on charges of supporting terrorism. Compared to most other micronations, Amerada was unusually active throughout its life in terms of judiciary activity, yet it would not be until late 2002, in the dying days of the Washburn regime, that an impartial and structured system for the Amerada Supreme Court was adopted.

The court system in Amerada prior to the development of the Supreme Court in November 2002 was one which would lend credence to the idea of kangaroo courts. When a court case presented itself, there were no judges on the payroll of the court to hear the case. Instead, for each case arriving before the Supreme Court, the President of Amerada, in these cases Earl Washburn, would arbitrarily appoint a judge to hear the charges and ensuing court battle. The court consisted of a hearing over MSN Messenger in which the judge, defendant & counsel, prosecutor, and President participated.

The majority of trials were by judge, and as the judge was appointed arbitrarily by the President on the day of the trial, charges of biased were common in proceedings of the court. For Liam Sinclair’s trial, Derek McCullough was appointed as presiding judge – this despite the fact that on the colony of Michswick’s website, over which McCullough was governor and webmaster, there was a news story and poll which ran to the effect of “Sinclair is guilty” even before the trial began. Sinclair did not actually attend the trial, claiming it was politically biased, and his solicitor, Nicholas Bridgewater, argued on that issue to no avail and tried to have the judge dismiss the jury chosen by Washburn for the trial. The jury, consisting of two people (as the limit for MSN Messenger conversations was five persons), were members of the Washburn cabinet and found Sinclair guilty as charged, fining him an exorbitant amount of AmBucks (currency).

The source of Sinclair’s comment that the ‘Shadow’ attack of 31 October “looked good on Washburn,” was during his participation as judge of the first Steeves’ impeachment trial on 30 October 2001; the first recorded trial in Amerada’s judicial history. It was not the first time Steeves had found himself before the courts in Amerada. In June of that year, Steeves physically assaulted Washburn, who was newly sworn in as president following Weatherhead’s resignation, on the basis that he did not agree with Washburn’s new plans for the direction of the federal government. By September, all was forgiven, and Steeves rejoined the Democratic Liberal Party of Amerada and was elected Prime Minister by October (having defeated opponent Genevieve Wong).

The trial on 30 October was to hear charges relating to Steeves’ verbal assault on Washburn. Under Washburn’s reasoning, if he were insulted, this also meant that the person was insulting the Republic of Amerada, which was an infringement of the legal code. The judge appointed to hear the matter was Sinclair, who ruled that offending the president of Amerada personally was not the same thing as offending the state of Amerada. Steeves was acquitted of the charges, but not before Washburn managed to anger the presiding judge by attempting to declare the verdict illegal. Washburn, unhappy with the acquittal of Steeves and the verdict, now tried to nullify the decision of the very judge he appointed to hear the trial. Angry at the president attempting to politically control his court, and with the ‘Shadow’ attack of 31 October, Sinclair would make that fateful comment which would see him go from judge to convict in little more than seventy-two hours.

Steeves was not the only person facing threats of impeachment by Washburn at this time. Vice-President of Amerada, Weatherhead, was threatened with charges of dereliction of his duties, but these were eventually dropped and he retained his position.

By December 2001, Steeves was back on trial, facing impeachment in his position as prime minister. The new charges stemmed from Steeves having made colourful comments at the Micro-Nations.org web forums. This brought unwelcome attention to Amerada and he would be charged with insulting the state. On 13 December, Steeves was quickly found guilty of the charges and removed as prime minister. McCullough, who had been interim prime minister in September 2001 before removal for dereliction of his duties, returned to the office as the new prime minister of Amerada.

Two-thousand-and-one was the most active year for the Amerada Supreme Court in terms of criminal and state trials. Early in the year, shortly after the founding of Amerada, Weatherhead had been charged with violating the law which required updating of the national website once a week. Kiril Litvinov, along with Steeves, were both charged with conspiracy to harm prime ministerial candidate Washburn in April. By the end of the year, the micronation had further witnessed two impeachment trials and a criminal trial. It would not be the last trial to grace the chambers of the Supreme Court.

In April 2002, the governor of the North Cerritories, Chris Donle, would find himself in front of the Supreme Court. Donle, who was a dual citizen and president of the United Bobessian Republic, was brought to trial for the Bobessian war declaration against Amerada surrounding recent events with respect to Micro-Monde. Washburn had him charged with treason due to his Ameradian citizenship and Sinclair was again appointed as a judge to hear the case. Donle was found guilty, fined 15,000 AmBucks, and sentenced to 180 days of community service. He was also required to issue an apology for the declaration of war against Amerada. As with time healing all wounds, Donle and Washburn would soon become friends once again and the incident was widely forgot.

On the colonial front in 2002, the Tebec Commons, the legislature of that colony, had passed a law decreeing that Tebec laws took precedence over Amerada federal law (as there were no federal statues to enshrine federal law as supreme). While it was a clear implication that federal law succeeded colonial law, as per the modus operandi of a federation, the technicality was used by Tebec to gain more sovereignty due to very poor relations between the two governments. Washburn threatened to go to the Amerada Supreme Court to block the attempt by the Commons, but the case was never brought forth. Instead, after much argument between Washburn and Sinclair, Tebec was granted external territory status, allowing the controversial Commons law to stand.

Reforming the Supreme Court

On 25 November 2002, the Supreme Court received its first permanent justice, replacing the old system of arbitrary judge appointments. Prime Minister Tristan Calvani swore Sinclair into office as the Chief Justice. Sinclair’s first point of business was to bring in reforms to the system to prevent the biased and arbitrary appointments that had plagued the court throughout its history. This eventually produced a very long and detailed Supreme Court Act in 2003.

With a full-time justice now appointed to the Supreme Court, government and legislative members began coming to the court for judicial interpretations of Amerada law. All laws to date were vaguely authored, as legislative writing was not an area of excellence for the Washburn administration, which presented many questions about their limitations and effectualness. Within two months, the Supreme Court had issued over a dozen decisions ranging from court orders to verdicts and judicial reviews. Issues such as the legality of abortion laws within Amerada were dealt with and charges against Washburn for attempting to overthrow Bridgewater’s presidency on 15 January 2003 were heard.

In the latter case, Washburn was found guilty, stripped of his citizenship in Amerada, and banned indefinitely. The incident began when Washburn used his ownership of the national forums to remove Bridgewater’s control powers following a decision by the Supreme Court. That decision allowed a four-to-two vote in favour of a bill in the legislature to constitute a majority vote, thus allowing controversial reform legislation introduced by Bridgewater to pass (the Executive Powers and Reform Act). Having lost his attempt to block the legislation in the legal system, Washburn declared Bridgewater to no longer be the president on the basis that a person who was head-of-state of another micronation could not be the president of Amerada.

Such was the law during Washburn’s administration, and Bridgewater was indeed the King of New Worcestor Kingdom; however, the court ruling on what constituted a majority in the legislature was made retroactive to the beginning of the current sitting of the legislature. This made the controversial Bill 89 on executive powers reform introduced by Bridgewater, and voted on with a four-to-two result prior to the presidential elections in December 2002, valid. The retro-activity effectively meant that under Amerada law, despite Bridgewater being head-of-state of another micronation, he was still able to run for president that December and his win was incontestable in the courts.

The federal legislature, responding to the coup by Washburn, moved to formally repeal the law which blocked foreign heads-of-state from assuming the presidency of Amerada. The law was repealed within the week as a show of defiance to Washburn’s actions. Following private discussions between Washburn and Chief Justice Sinclair, Bridgewater had his control over the national forums restored. On 11 February, just a day before Amerada’s second anniversary, President Bridgewater filed charges against Amerada’s last active founding father for his attempt to overthrow the presidency. Tried in abstention, Washburn was convicted on 11 March 2003 of the crime and would leave Amerada nothing more than a criminal. Several months later, with Amerada coming by hard times in terms of activity, mainly due to Washburn convincing many of the active population to not support the Bridgewater government, Washburn would ironically return to Amerada seeking to regain his citizenship. The legislature would return his citizenship and Washburn returned as a member of the Bridgewater government, in the role of Minister of the Interior.

By August 2003, Sinclair had left Amerada as an active citizen, but not before he had issued several volumes of judicial review decisions on all of Amerada’s federal laws up to his resignation. He would be the first and last Chief Justice to actively run the courts in the area of judicial review, and the Supreme Court would fall silent for the remainder of Amerada’s active life.

The Amerada Series – Part 2: The Experiences of War and Terrorism

The Amerada Series is a collection of articles concerning the history of the Republic of Amerada, which was an active Anglophone Simulationist Community micronation in the early twenty-first century. Most of these articles were originally published in Liam Sinclair’s Amerada: the Story of a Nation book in 2002/2003. The articles as published by RIMA were subsequently updated and expanded for what was intended to be a more detailed edition of that book in 2007. Additional updates since the original manuscripts were re-written in 2007 have been made in an effort to complete articles that were left incomplete in 2007 upon cessation of the Amerada: the Story of a Nation fourth-edition effort.

The development of a national security and defence infrastructure was never a policy that was taken seriously during the development of the Amerada nation. Even during times of upheaval, attack, and invasion such policies were far from the minds of Ameradians. This can largely be attributed to the attitude of the population; they were concerned with far more important political and state issues than with responding to the immaturity of other micronations such as Freenesia and the Union of South Mondesia which decided to indulge themselves in the laughable act of “rec-warring.1

Amerada was not immune from the acts of war and terrorism that often plagued the micronational community in the early part of the twenty-first century. While not lending any major weight to the creation of a national security infrastructure, Amerada was by far not the pacifist micronation its founders wished it to become. Incidents of internal terrorism at the hands of a radical; other micronations attempting to make it the subject of rec-warring caused tumultuous times in the micronation. Eventually the Amerada government was forced to create the office of “Chief of Security” for the micronation, with the holder of that position charged with protecting the national forums from spam and other security threats. Two persons would go on to hold that position, the first being Yuri Andropov.

Andropov was generally seen as a micronational security threat, not for any particular technical abilities, but for his ability to cause trouble wherever he went. The government would regret appointing Andropov to that position, as well as to the position of governor of the colony of Floerta, when he misused his powers to attempt to steal funds from the Second National Bank of Amerada and cede Floerta from the Republic.

Amerada, while not very concerned with military issues, did have some federal military infrastructure, though it largely consisted of one designated base to which an army of “Borg” (from Star Trek: The Next Generation) were stationed. That military force itself underlined the lack of importance Amerada’s federal government placed on the development of a model military force. At the colonial level the story was largely that of no military forces, except in the colonies of Tebec and Califario, and later Oh Scotia.

Colonial Defence – Serious Attempts at Mimicking Military Forces

By and far, the most serious attempt to model a macronational military force was that of Tebec’s governor, Liam Sinclair. An avid military history and studies student, Sinclair would create the largest and most detailed simulation of military structure and force that the Republic would see, known as the Tebec Militia.

That force would be deployed overseas to the United Bobessian Republic to support its defence against threats from the Amerada government (this being when Tebec was an external territory of Amerada in August 2002). It is important to note that a copy of the agreement between the Bobessian and Tebec governments at that time explicitly noted that if hostilities broke out with Amerada, the Tebec Militia units deployed in Bobessian territory would act as peacekeepers and not fight against the Amerada government. While tensions were always high between the Amerada and Tebec governments, Tebec Militia troops would never be deployed against Amerada.

In the Tebec Government’s Defence Plan 2002: A Combat Capable and Effective Tebec Militia document, the case for the development of colonial defence forces was put forward succinctly:

“…the Amerada Government is unwilling in providing defensive services against external threats….Amerada’s defence minister is inactive and … incompetent….Amerada itself has no coherent defence or military plan.”

The creation of these defence forces was further legitimized by the Amerada government performance in the attempted annexation of Amerada by the Free Territories of Freenesia, a micronation led by Philip Locke, the perpetrator of the 4/11 terrorist attacks against the United Republic of Tymaria. In that conflict of August 2002, Amerada’s government arbitrarily gave away colonial lands to appease Freenesia, which had no real claim as Amerada was not a participant on the Micronational Cartography Society’s world map project. It was not the first time that Freenesia had attempted to cause destabilization in Amerada – in April of the same year, it “invaded” Amerada soil, attempting to make it a battleground for its ongoing rec-warring with the Republic of Baracão.

This clearly angered the various colonial leaders involved, regardless of political affiliation, and it confirmed what the opposition movement to Washburn’s government had always stated: the federal government did not care about colonial rights, but instead saw the colonies as an extension of its own policies.

The only colonial defence force that responded to the Freenesia claim was the Califario Defence Force, while the Tebec Militia was not deployed due to its government believing the claim to be bogus for two reasons: the Micronational Cartography Society reason mentioned above; and that rec-warring was not a policy that allowed legitimate claiming of sovereign lands. With the passage of the federal pacifistic law, known as Law 35, the colonies became the only governments in Amerada which could raise military forces, and that would trigger renewed development in the Tebec Militia2 and the creation of a military in Oh Scotia.

‘Shadow’ – Amerada’s Home-Grown Terrorist

Amerada was largely a peaceable micronation. Yet, its early setting as a micronation consisting of a population that was centralized in Hillcrest High presented stability problems. Such problems are the bane of teenaged-life and the founding fathers of Amerada, with their seemingly unique – to the population of Hillcrest High – idea to create a micronation were prime targets for the bullies to try to wreck havoc against. The population of Amerada was a diverse pool of Hillcrest High Schoolers, and by no stretch of the imagination did all participants in Amerada take the project as seriously as Washburn or Weatherhead. There was at least one person in the group who would rock the Amerada project by becoming its only home-grown terrorist.

This person would become known as ‘Shadow’ and would be the perpetrator of several attacks against Amerada’s sovereignty on the Internet. The first attack would prove to be the only definitive attack, resulting in ‘Shadow’ taking down the Amerada website and replacing it with a dedication to him. The website was soon back online, but the point had been made that Amerada’s government was subject to internal threat by a person who was able to gain access to the micronation’s most important asset. The attack sparked fierce accusations of who was behind the ‘Shadow’ identity and, as previously mentioned, the list of suspects named practically everyone in the Amerada government except Washburn.

Future attacks by the assailant would be fictitious in nature, with the final attack on 31 October 2001 involving the detonation of “two nuclear weapons” in the Illitoban Desert, near Amerada’s Immigration Centre. That attack occurred during a political unstable period and on the day of the first impeachment trial of Prime Minister William Steeves. Its fictitious nature suggests an attempt by the government to ‘liven up’ the Amerada simulation by throwing a curve in national security at a time when it was already weakened by a useless and inactive government, as well as a vicious opposition movement to the Democratic Liberal Party of Amerada rule. One opposition member, Liam Sinclair, would comment that the 31 October ‘Shadow’ attack “looked good on Washburn,” for which he would later be tried and convicted of supporting terrorism.

The identity of ‘Shadow’ has remained one of the mysteries of Amerada during and after its life. Following the 31 October attack, the list of suspects was reported by the Los Antréal Times-Journal to have been narrowed to Mark Hickman, the then Minister of Defence, and Jonathan Weatherhead, both of whom were upset with the impeachment proceedings against Steeves. According to the publication’s sources, Hickman had evidence that Weatherhead committed the attack, though it was widely believed at the time that both were in fact in collusion despite whichever pulled the trigger.

Was ‘Shadow’ a result of one (or more) member not taking the Amerada project seriously or was it more of a vengeful way to make Washburn, who put so much time and effort into Amerada, suffer? It was clear that there were members of the Amerada government who did not take the project seriously, but instead saw it as a fun way to cause trouble. It is plausible that the initial attack, in June 2001, was indeed an act of nonchalance more than an act of vengeance or cruelty. It was the concerned and upset reaction of Washburn to the initial attack that led the way for ‘Shadow’ to become a crueler opponent of the Amerada project. Those behind the mask of that home-grown terrorist now knew to what level they could cause Washburn anguish and when their friends were threatened, such as was Steeves in October 2001, they would use Shadow to send a clear message to Washburn: we can destroy the very project you hold dear.

Intermicronational Pains – Rec-warring Micronations Attempt to Drag Amerada Down

It was not uncommon for Washburn to threaten war with another micronation on Micro-Monde in order to get his way on the diplomacy stage; even if such threats were empty due to the lack of an Amerada military. It was the belief that Washburn had hacker-friends which worried other micronations, but following the ‘Shadow’ incidents, their worries were alleviated as they saw that any hacker-friends Washburn had were mainly concerned with making his life painful.

Amerada’s history of intermicronational tensions dates back to early 2001 when it was a new micronation on the very active Internet micronational scene. An established micronation, the Aercian Empire, would be the first, and not the last, to criticize the citizenship method employed by Amerada – counting website hits as simulated citizens. These tensions did not spark into a war, but rather went away with time, as both micronations were signatories to the Splendid Union of Micronations Charter, which forbid conflicts between members.

In January 2002, Amerada would find itself on war-footing with the United Republic of Tymaria. Tymaria was the micronational military power of the day, due in large part to the remnants of the Atteran military and Crimson Order incorporated into it, and many considered it foolish for Washburn to ignore a threat of military force from that micronation.

The escalating conflict was a result of the Tymarian state of Interland’s participation in the Micro-Monde3 world map project. Tymaria had recently made it known that it would use the Micronational Cartography Society’s world map project as its official map and requested that Washburn remove Interland from the Micro-Monde map. Opposition tensions in Amerada meant that a high-ranking officer of the Tymarian military was blinded by rage and failed to understand Washburn’s motives. That officer, Marshal Liam Sinclair, who commanded the Tymarian Army and was the Tymarian Defence Forces’ chief expert on Micro-Monde, believed that Washburn was refusing to give up Interland’s participation in Micro-Monde because he did not want to lose participants in his pet cartography project.

Washburn’s reason for not allowing Interland to leave Micro-Monde was sound – you just can’t erase a landmass from a map which is supposed to mimic a real planet. Yet the version of the Interland map used by Micro-Monde was the official map of that micronation and, to protect intellectual property rights, the Interlandic government didn’t want its official map on Micro-Monde when it was no longer intent on being a member of that organization. Washburn wanted to keep the outline of the Interlandic map and just erase the content and replace it with another Micro-Monde micronation on the basis of his “land can’t just disappear” argument.

Sinclair, having witnessed first hand Washburn’s less than colourful record on rights and freedoms in Amerada, saw the refusal as an example of him attempting to prevent Interland from exercising its right of national self-determination. Blinded by rage due to Washburn not allowing Interland4 to leave Micro-Monde, Sinclair advised the Tymarian government that action against Washburn may be the only way to resolve the issue. Washburn, fearing he was losing his effort to keep Interland on the Micro-Monde map, even with the technical arguments, invoked the support of Amerada for his cause.

Yet, Washburn would back down knowing that he could not go against the Tymarian military machine. Interland was removed from the Micro-Monde map and the fictional land, while not removed as per the initial wishes of the Tymarian government, was given to another Micro-Monde micronation. Interland would be the first micronation to leave Micro-Monde, but it would not be the last, and indeed it would not be the only one to have to oppose Washburn’s attempts to save his cartography project from oblivion.

In March 2002, the Union of South Mondesia announced that it would also leave the Micro-Monde world map project in favour of the Micronational Cartography Society’s project. Outraged at this decision to leave his project, Washburn announced that no micronation which was a participant in Micro-Monde could leave the project without his expressed permission. Once again, Washburn dragged Amerada into his personal Micro-Monde conflicts and had its government declare war on South Mondesia. Within a week, Amerada surrendered to South Mondesia as that micronation and its allies chose to ignore Washburn’s claims. The peace treaty between the two micronations stated that Amerada could not declare war against South Mondesia for at least four months – an article which Washburn attempted to delete from the treaty after it was signed (as he had moderator powers over the forum where the signing ceremony was held). He was called on the attempt and Amerada lost further respect intermicronationally due to the childish actions of its leader.

The conflict with South Mondesia also served to upset an ally of Amerada – the United Bobessian Republic. It was pulled into the conflict, which it deemed foolish, and surrendered to South Mondesia before Amerada so as to not have to deal with the issue any longer. In April 2002, the Bobessian Republic would declare war on Amerada as it became agitated with Washburn’s attempts to prevent micronations from leaving the Micro-Monde project, declaring Washburn to be a dictator as “he was never elected president of Amerada”5. Amerada was the victim of a Bobessian spam attack, but in the end both sides grew tired of the conflict and agreed to work together once again. Yet lasting damage to the relationship did occur, and for the duration of the existence of the Bobessian Republic, it was clear that Washburn no longer held respect in that micronation. Less than six months later, in October 2002, the Bobessian Republic would once again declare war on Amerada to assist the Republic of Toaka, a staunch ally of the Bobessians and macronationally-based micronation in Vancouver, Canada. Bobessian President Christopher Donle, launched his election platform at approximately the same time as the declaration of war, calling for the repeal of the Bobessian anti-war acts, passed following the first conflict with Amerada, noting that the current relationship (i.e. war) between the two micronations was “ideal”6.

Also in March 2002, the micronation of Pacary decided to leave the Micro-Monde project as its congress had voted to join the Micronational Cartography Society project instead. In the Amerada Embassy to Pacary, Washburn defiantly stated, “If Pacary leaves Micro-Monde, I’m afraid we will see this as a threat to the Republic of Amerada and therefore cut relations with Pacary….” Once again, Washburn, by virtue of his presidency over the Republic of Amerada drew the micronation and its population into a personal conflict outside the purview of his office.

This threat by Washburn was a critical turning point in Amerada as both his political opponents, and several of his prominent fellow Democratic Liberals, undertook secret discussions in the Union of South Mondesia to facilitate the overthrow of Earl Washburn and the formation of a new Amerada. Those involved in the discussions were Peter Little, Nicholas Bridgewater, Philip Locke, Liam Sinclair, Christopher Donle, Matt McIvor, and Glen Bohach. The discussions included whether or not Amerada should become a monarchy in the post-Washburn era, as well as the structure of a new government. In the end, no overthrow of Washburn occurred as Pacary decided to co-exist on both the Micro-Monde and Micronational Cartography Society maps to appease Washburn. Pacary proved sympathetic to the effects of having a personal project unravel with no possible way to stop the descent.

A micronation leaving Micro-Monde, an intermicronational organization which had two things in common with Amerada – Amerada’s current president was its founder and Amerada was participating in the project – was dragged into four conflicts as a result of Washburn using his position as president to force the Amerada government to commit to an antagonistic approach. If it were up to the actual population of Amerada at the time as to whether it would support Washburn’s side of these Micro-Monde conflicts, Amerada would have perhaps been able to gain respect intermicronationally.

  1. Rec-warring, as commonly defined, is a practice by which two or more micronations engage in fictional wars via narration. To many micronationalists, the practice is seen as a characteristic of the more immature micronations, as well as degrading to the seriousness of macronational war. []
  2. This renewed development would create two defence plans, including the Defence Plan 2002 as well as formalize the structure of the Militia. It was divided into three battalions, each with unique military units, including the common ones such as infantry, which were based at two military installations – one in San Datoon, and one in Los Antréal. The Tebec Military College was also created, which trained officers from Oh Scotia as well, and the Militia became closely intertwined with the Tebec Government’s economic simulation of the day, with each level of rank given individual pay scales, as well as special pay for deployments and education grants. []
  3. Not to be confused with the Francophone Micronational Sector’s world map project. []
  4. Sinclair’s first micronational participation was with Interland and at the time he was still a fiercely nationalistic Interlandic. []
  5. “Another View on UBR vs. Amerada, The NUT news service (New Macadam), issue #16, 8 April 2002. []
  6. Bobessian Broadcasting Company (BBC-BTN) News for Monday, 16 September 2002. []

The Amerada Series – Part 1: A Beginning

The Amerada Series is a collection of articles concerning the history of the Republic of Amerada, which was an active Anglophone Simulationist Community micronation in the early twenty-first century. Most of these articles were originally published in Liam Sinclair’s Amerada: the Story of a Nation book in 2002/2003. The articles as published by RIMA were subsequently updated and expanded for what was intended to be a more detailed edition of that book in 2007. Additional updates since the original manuscripts were re-written in 2007 have been made in an effort to complete articles that were left incomplete in 2007 upon cessation of the Amerada: the Story of a Nation fourth-edition effort.

The creation of a micronation is perhaps one of the easiest things to do; making it viable completely opposite. Most micronations do not begin as such. Generally as the creators have no prior knowledge of the micronational world. Instead, many micronations are created as ‘clubs’ between friends with a common goal, either to have fun and simulate national politics (especially for the younger crowd who find such things intriguing), or they are created as protests against macronational government policy (these types of micronational creations are generally evident of the older, more macronationally experienced, population).

Amerada began as a high school club between friends in Ottawa, Canada, at a school known as Hillcrest High. The four founding fathers of the Republic of Amerada were Earl Washburn, Jonathan Weatherhead, Kiril Litvinov, and Mark Hickman. Their goal was to create a ‘free paradise country’ designed to link the cultures of the macronations of Canada and the United States of America. Little was it known that within a year of its founding, Amerada’s intriguing methods of linking those two cultures, most of which were devised by Washburn, would have appeal to micronationalists and people who never heard of the concept throughout the world. Amerada would eventually link a population extending from Greece, to New Zealand, to the United Kingdom, not just Canadians and Americans.

Having founded the nation, the four founding fathers now needed to decide which of their group would lead Amerada as its first president. Through a consensus decision, it was decided that Weatherhead would serve as the Republic’s first president. All that remained of the Amerada executive yet to be decided upon was the cabinet, but most importantly, the prime minister. This decision resulted in the birth of the controversial Ameradian electoral system. In an unprecedented two month long election, lasting from 12 Feb to 12 Apr 2001, both Litvinov and Washburn went face to face in a political party driven campaign. Washburn, running for the Democratic Liberal Party of Amerada (DLPA), the political party which would be the most powerful in Amerada’s history, won the election gaining 72.6% of the popular vote, as Litvinov, running under the Democratic Party of Amerada (DPA) banner, was handed a stunning defeat.

Washburn was an apt choice to serve as Prime Minister given his strong devotion to Amerada. While he was one of the four co-founders, Washburn is regarded as the original creator of the Republic given his vast influence in virtually every corner of the nation’s early structure and development. Given his strong knowledge of how Amerada worked, President Weatherhead made Washburn the Minister of the Interior in the Republic’s first government – a position Washburn would hold in many governments that followed.

With the formation of the first government, Amerada’s citizens, all of which were from Ottawa at this point, now had the immense duty of bringing to life various aspects of the national simulation. Given that Amerada was designed to simulate a real country, ministerial portfolios were created in a wide range of issues ranging from national transportation systems, to health care, to the treasury.

One of the defining characteristics of Amerada was created in its infancy – the national population simulation. In order to simulate a real nation, it was decided by the founding fathers, on the advice of Washburn that each website ‘hit’ would represent one simulated citizen of Amerada. Using this method, Amerada could build its national simulation, in terms of population statistics, on the basis of a large and ever growing population, mirroring macronations (nations operating in the offline world and with the recognition of the United Nations). While this system was a great idea for creating dynamic national statistics, it would soon be witnessed that Washburn placed too much importance on this system, getting so infatuated with the simulation that he would quickly come to neglect the real people who made Amerada live and work. In one personal conversation with Washburn, I recall him giving the impression that he felt that the simulated citizens were ‘real’ and deserved full rights as they were the ‘primary population’ of Amerada.

The development of a national currency was one of the first major initiatives in the Republic, with the Minister of Finance, Daniel Trudel, introducing the first denominations of the national currency in April 2001. The currency, known as the Amerada Buck, or AmBuck or AMD for short, was minted in denominations of $10, $100, and $1000 bills; however, the Government rejected the proposed design of the 100 denomination bill.

Trudel himself would become one of the most interesting participants in early Amerada. On 03 May 2001, national media reported that Trudel had survived an “assassination” attempt with national media reporting ‘gun shots’ during a cabinet meeting1. The lack of detail of the attempt in national history lends credence to the fact that the incident may never have occurred, as the conspirator was never named, though he was charged with ‘possessing a gun’ (attempted murder was not illegal in Amerada at this point in time).

Trudel would appear in the national spotlight once again when on 11 June 2001 President Weatherhead resigned in that capacity. Replacing Weatherhead as President was Washburn, who immediately appointed close confidant Derek McCullough as the new prime minister without pursuing an election. Apparently upset at these events, Trudel would leave the DLPA for the DPA, now under the leadership of William Steeves, reportedly to allow for Weatherhead to retain a position in the cabinet as Washburn’s new finance minister.

Within hours of Washburn’s ascension to the presidency, the Republic’s website would be hacked and replaced by a message from a terrorist known only as “Shadow”. The hacking of the Amerada website was the equivalent of the nation having just been through a nuclear attack, and immediately accusations were being thrown against citizens who may have been working with, or actually were, “Shadow”. The Washiawa Post-Citizen produced a long list of suspects involved in the attack, including Kiril Litvinov, William Steeves, Jonathan Weatherhead, Mark Hickman, and Daniel Trudel. It was also reported in the same paper that on the basis that “Trudel knows something, but won’t tell [the government] what it is,” the former finance minister was fired from his current positions, charged with conspiracy, and jailed.

Trudel, by virtue of his imprisonment on a charge with no evidence to support it, became Amerada’s first political prisoner and he would not be the last. This style of justice, in which the Washburn government charged and prosecuted those who did not fully cooperate with its program, would plague the Republic well into 2002 and cause intense political backlash against the DLPA and Washburn (eventually leading to his defeat in the Republic’s first ever presidential election in Dec 2002).

And so with the appointment of Washburn to president, the most vibrant and politically unstable era in Amerada history had come to begin. With Amerada set to expand beyond the confines of Hillcrest High, Washburn would soon find it increasingly difficult to impose his will on members of the nation. Shadow would rear his head in the nation again on several occasions and governments in the Republic would become inactive and moral problems in the national structure, created by Washburn, would be exposed. At the same time, Amerada would lead the Anglophone sector in internal cartography development, vexillological activity, and be one of the few nations to succeed in the development of sub-governments (in this case, colonies and territories).

  1. The Washiawa Post-Citizen reported on 03 May 2001 that at a cabinet meeting during the “lunch” period of that day, ‘gun shots were heard’ and a ‘small skinny man’ (the alleged conspirator) was seen fleeing with a gun. The “gun shots” were used for dramatic effect for the national story of Amerada and did not actually occur in the events at Hillcrest High in Ottawa. []

Profile Brief: Micro-Monde Cartography Society

microMondeThe Micro-Monde Cartography Society, founded by Earl Washburn of Ottawa, Canada, is the only cartographic organisation of the Anglophone Simulationist Community that was not created out of angst towards the Micronational Cartography Society (MCS). Founded as a creative outlet for Washburn’s love of cartography and geography, the Micro-Monde world map was a notable quality of work at the time, despite some strange looking coastlines and its cylindrical shape (used so that distortion would not have to be shown on the map).

The Micro-Monde community was unique onto itself, with key participants rarely participating in ‘Micras’ (MCS) micronations, despite the shared community language. These micronationalists and micronations were close-knit and often shared several citizens, with the Republic of Amerada being the central hub of the community. Even the macronationally-based micronation of Toaka maintained a presence on the Micro-Monde map and active diplomacy with several of its micronations.

Washburn’s vision for the world map, personal ambition, and pride would lead to the downfall of the organisation. When a micronation expressed a desire to leave the organization, Washburn’s ensuing threats caused a loss in credibility for Micro-Monde. On the exit of Washburn from active micronationalism, the Micro-Monde Cartography Society exited as well.

Special Feature: Amerada Year-in-Review

The Republic of Amerada, now in its third year, has had a rather interesting, albeit disappointing, 2003 as it heads into a planned December presidential election, which will see President Bridgewater’s reign end.

With two months of 2003 remaining, it seems that what will happen in Amerada has happened. Though I’ve long since left the spotlight of Amerada public life, in fact, I’ve resigned my citizenship altogether after almost two years of participation in the nation, I have retained my position as the nation’s historian. Indeed it was only back in June of this year when I said in the final edition of my Amerada history book that the nation had died. Yet, in true Amerada fashion, what you expect to happen rarely ever does…or more specifically, it gets delayed for long periods of time.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost 11 months now since Nick Bridgewater took over as President of Amerada from Earl Washburn in the December 2002 presidential election. It was a rather interesting election I must admit, with both sides actively rigging the internet polls – something that under the Amerada elections law of Washburn’s regime wasn’t illegal at all. Earl setup a poll on his Massacavut colony website that would add a vote to his presidential election count whenever someone cast a vote in it, while the opposition candidate, Mr. Bridgewater, had Mr. Dielemen on his side actively influencing the polls. To their credit however, I must say that I don’t recall either Mr. Washburn or Mr. Bridgewater rigging the polls themselves in that election.

With the presidency now his, Bridgewater, with me as his Vice-President, moved to reform the Amerada political system by means of making elections more secure (via the use of email ballots) as well as reforming the presidency and the legislature. In the year of reforms, it was the legislature that really transformed into a more viable organization for the nation. Before the reforms, the legislature was an utterly huge organization full of inactive members. Now reduced in size to just a handful of members, a more realistic number for a nation with less than a dozen active members and a huge government bureaucracy to support, the newly named Congress began to work. In true Amerada fashion, if not micronational fashion, unfortunately, by the time the Congress was elected for its second term of the year, it was all but dead and has pretty much remained that way ever since.

On the topic of major reforms, let’s jump ahead to the summer months when I proposed the creation of provinces in Amerada in order to reduce the size of government into something manageable for the half a dozen or so active citizens left. It took quite sometime, however, by the end of August it appeared that my proposal of several months before, actually became something and Amerada’s thirteen colonies were diced up into “smaller” entities (three provinces to be exact). Unfortunately the idea has so far seemed to fail in its goal to create more activity in the nation since there are only about three citizens still regularly active in Amerada. Perhaps it’s probably time to move on to focusing solely on the federal system…but alas, I digress back to Mr. Washburn.