2012-13 GUM leadership scandal

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2012-13 GUM leadership scandal
GUMpagelogo.png
Date: 30 December 2012 - 19 January 2013
Events
Resignation of Yaroslav Mar and Bradley of Dullahan
Withdrawal of several nations from the GUM
Crown Prince Jonathan becomes Acting Chair
People
Will Soergel
Yaroslav Mar
Håkon Lindström
Jonathan Caesar
Bradley of Dullahan
Ciprian I

The 2012-13 GUM leadership scandal was a political scandal which took place in the the Grand Unified Micronational (GUM) following the expulsion of Sandus and Juclandia from the organisation on 30 December 2012. Accusations of corruption and underhand motives resulted in Chairman Yaroslav Mar and Vice-Chair Bradley of Dullahan both resigning, leading to a heavy blow to the reputation of the GUM and Supreme Judge Crown Prince - now Emperor - Jonathan becoming Acting Chair on 19 January 2013.

Background

Over 2012, Quentin I and Bradley of Dullahan (leaders of the Kingdom of Wyvern) gained a reputation for constantly discussing Islam and Moroccan immigrants in the Micropolitan and other Skype rooms, with many of their remarks being interpreted as Islamophobic, xenophobic, or even racist. By October, this had led to frequent arguments between the Wyvernian leaders and micronational leaders who interpreted their comments as such, mainly Will Soergel of Sandus, Ciprian I of Juclandia, and James Wilary of Prsanea.

These arguments led to Sandus and Juclandia, both full members of the Grand Unified Micronational, demoting themselves to observership status on 16 December 2012 in protest when Bradley became Vice-Chair of the newly elected Chairman, Yaroslav Mar.

30 December

Security Council

A meeting of the GUM Security Council was called on 30 December, in which the diplomatic conflict between Wyvern and the micronations which criticised the remarks of its leaders was to be discussed. However, Zealandian delegate Haakon Lindstrom, Secretary of the Security Council, focused mainly on the opposition shown by Sandus, which although the most vocal critic of the comments made by Wyvern's leaders was by no means the only one. Marka Mejakhansk, delegate of Nemkhavia, stated that he did not believe the situation threatened "either the GUM or the community, and so" was "not worth discussing", being "a situation of point of view".

Lindstrom initially proposed that the Security Council offer mediation to both Sandus and Wyvern - Mejakhansk stated Lindstrom was "making the issue out to be much larger than it actually is", and Rukoran delegate Tom Turner suggested "an informal warning to both parties" would be "enough".

However, Chairman Mar - delegate of Lostisland - then intervened, making much of Sandus "offending the Vice-Chair" and saying it "must be stopped", noting that their "Observership may be revoked". Upon Mejakhansk asking "what right we [the Security Council] have to" remove "a nation because we disagree with it", Mar stated that "offend[ing] our leadership" was sufficient justification.

Lindstrom motioned that the Security Council propose the expulsion of Sandus to the Quorum. He and Yaroslav voted in favour with Mejakhansk voting against, passing the motion before the other two delegates had a chance to vote despite the protestations of Mejakhansk.

Lindstrom then raised the issue of alleged "racist remarks concerning Australians" made by Juclandia. When asked by Turner and Mejakhansk for examples, Lindstrom was unable to give any other than Ciprian I having allegedly advocated Australia being blasted into space - this was later discovered to have been part of a joke made during an informal discussion. Richard Cunningham, temporary delegate for Würdigeland, said that Ciprian's comment could not be "constituted as racist".

After noting Lindstrom was accusing Juclandia of racism based simply on "flippant remarks", Mejakhansk also noted a "conflict of interest", that is, both Sandus and Juclandia have had diplomatic conflicts with Zealandia in the past. After Lindstrom warned him to "expect a written diplomatic protest" for pointing that out, Mejakhansk declared that the meeting was "descending into farce" and that he would take no further part in it. The Council then agreed to discuss Juclandia at a later date.

Quorum

In the meeting of the Quorum of Delegates later that day, Lindstom accused Sandus and Juclandia of "agressive and unaccatable [sic] behaviour" and said they "must be swiftly dealt with". Despite warnings from Jonathan Caesar (now Augustus) (Supreme Judge and delegate of Austenasia) that such an action was extreme and inappropriate, a motion to expel Sandus passed with the support of Lindstrom, Mar and Bradley, with Mar passing the motion before all delegates had a chance to vote. Lindstrom then also motioned for Juclandia to be expelled after Caesar noted that failing to do so after accusing them of the same things could be seen as hypocrisy. This motion, too, passed by a single vote with the support of the Chair and Vice-Chair.

Later in the Quorum, Caesar issued a formal complaint backed by Renasia and Amager criticising Lindstrom for proposing the expulsion of Sandus and Juclandia and not "first trying to solve the issue at hand through negotiation or mediation, as [the Security Council] is obliged to do."

Aftermath

The Nemkhav Federation resigned from the Security Council in protest soon after the motions were passed, followed by Rukora on 1 January 2013.

Yaroslav Mar attracted further criticism for comments made in an interview with the A1NS on the expulsions. He stated that the "official reason" for the expulsion of Sandus and Juclandia "was for making racist comments and offending the leadership of the GUM", despite this not having been given as a reason at any time during the Quorum. The content of the statement itself was also criticised, with Adam I of Überstadt stating "Sandus is the last micronation [he] would suspect of being racist", and Sebastian Linden, a noted GUM critic, referring to Mar's leadership as "authoritarian".

January

Tribunal

Lindstrom was asked by Mar to author a statement explaining in detail why he felt it necessary to propose the expulsion of Sandus and Juclandia rather than attempt to mediate the argument they were in with Wyvern. An assurance that he would do so was not enough to silence criticism of the move, however, and on 1 January 2013 he proposed a trial be carried out by the GUM Justice Commission to assess whether or not he had committed any wrongdoings. Despite assurances it was not necessary and accusations of "attention seeking" Lindstrom insisted on a trial, and when he could find nobody to press charges he charged himself with corruption.

The Supreme Judge prepared a "Special Tribunal to Investigate the Proposal of the Secretary of the Security Council on 30/12/2012" - Lindstrom appointed Soergel and Ciprian I his prosecution and Bradley of Dullahan and Matthew Burklandssen his defence. Widespread criticism of the trial as farcical lead to Lindstrom withdrawing the charges against himself after his prosection resigned, but not before they had been issued with logs of the Security Council discussing the proposal to expel them as part of the evidence they were to review.

Departures and leaks

On 16 January, Veritum Sandus published logs leaked from the December meeting of the GUM Security Council in which the proceedings to expel Sandus and Juclandia began. The logs contributed to sentiment against Mar and the GUM, and on 18 January, Überstadt and Saint Luke and Amager resigned their provisional and full memberships of the organization, respectively. The delegates of these two states left the GUM Lounge on Skype within moments of each other. Not long afterwards, Renasia also departed the organization.

On 19 January, further logs were released, this time by Zealandia, which indicated that the expulsions were politically motivated and the result of conspiracy between Mar and his vice-chair, Bradley of Dullahan.

Resignation of Mar

Later on 19 January, hours after the Zealandian leak, Yaroslav Mar resigned as Chair of the Grand Unified Micronational, appointing Crown Prince Jonathan of Austenasia as Acting Chair. Mar stated that he had been "used as a tool by a clique which pursued its own aims," but accepted responsibility for what occurred under his leadership. He apologized for "betraying" the Quorum of Delegates and asked to be allowed to continue his work with the GUM Post. Shortly after the publication of Mar's letter of resignation, Haakon Lindstrom released his own letter of apology.