Authors note: I wrote most of this article in February of 2019, got busy, got bored, forgot about it and recently finished it and updated some things.
“Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture repainted, every statue and street building renamed, every date has been altered. And the process continues, day by day, minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the party is always right…” -George Orwell, 1984
Back in 2019 in February The Mittani, leader of Goonswarm’s Imperium Coalition made the following post on twitter commemorating 10 years since Band of Brothers (BoB) was disbanded from within.
The event has been covered by numerous media outlets from rockpapershotgun to the BBC. And ever since the event, Mittens has never missed an opportunity to discuss it. I made my own reply which actually caused Mittens to block me. Sensitive much?
I challenged his official narrative and got under Mitten’s skin (again.) And as any good Eve player, once you get under someone’s skin, you just have to dig even deeper. For those that are not familiar with Mitten’s narrative, Goons had been at war with Band of Brothers up until the “Haargoth affair” in 2009. Haargoth Agamar was a director within BoB who had grown tired of some of the attitude in his own alliance. The Spymaster Mittani then used Haargoth to disband BoB causing them to collapse and allowing Goons to launch themselves into the dominant position which they found themselves in for years to come. Let’s look at some quotes to really drive home the point.
RPS: Hearing you tell it, it sounds like you guys were the ultimate underdogs. That can’t have been all there was to it.
Mittani: What I feel is an issue here is the inherent hypocrisies in the mores of the Eve community. Many people who are not in Goonswarm – who are our enemies – really do think of themselves as honourable space samurai, when in practice most of the things that happen in null sec are based upon ugly realpolitik. We just don’t feel the need to lie about it. Everybody spies in nullsec.
RPS: I thought that was a given?
Mittani: Some people didn’t use to. We did it because we had to, in order to survive. The fact that everybody does it is one consequence of us winning the Great War and becoming one of the dominant powers in the galaxy.
RPS: So what happened to Band of Brothers?
Mittani: I, uh, disbanded them.
(Did you guys catch that? He, “uh, disbanded them.” He says right there.)
The BBC ran this article describing Mitten: “A player called “The Mittani” is the shadowy spymaster who runs dozens of agents for his corporation – GoonSwarm. He got the call of his career when a disgruntled BoB director contacted him to say that he was thinking of switching sides.”
Again this version echoes the similar narrative of Mitten’s central role in the events. There’s even a comic which places Mittens in the central role of the entire affair. This was made prior to the first World War Bee in 2015.
One can’t help but read the dialogue in an exaggerated poorly acted tone. “I want to talk to…THE MITTANI!”
I won’t torture the point any further as anyone can google dozens of different articles discussing the event. The overarching narrative Mittens presents is that his spymastery landed some killing blow to BoB and a bunch of journalists who hadn’t the slightest clue about Eve ran with the story as a neat novelty. Mittens then used this lie to propel his importance within his own alliance to mythic levels through mediums like his blog “Sins of a Solar Spymaster.” He masterfully knew everything that was going to happen before it happened. He controls the flow of nullsec.
“I’m the fucking Mittani I know what happens in this fucking game.”
After all, he more or less killed BoB. Right…? That is what he has been portraying the events as for years now. Except that in 2016 WWB occurred and along with the Imperum’s hold of the north, this Haargoth/BoB myth began to unravel as former Goon leadership and other high ranking directors began to shed light on what truly transpired.
BoB did not die with Haargoth “pushing the button.” They reformed under KenZoku, and despite Haargoth doing what he did, fought the Goons and their numerous allies for nearly half a year after the event. Haargoth’s effect was essentially nullified. BoB/KenZoku then reformed under IT Alliance and re-established control over their lost territory while at the same time Goons retreated to Syndicate and disbanded due to their own internal disbandment.
Furthermore the legacy flagship corporations of BoB still carry on to this day in NorthernCoalitionDot (not to be confused with old Northern Coalition)
Not only did the Haargoth affair not have the effect Mittens presents to others, he was hardly involved on any meaningful level. In 2016 DARIUS Johnson who had been leader of the Goons during the events in question returned to set the record straight:
“THIS is a complete work of fiction that somehow transposes The Mittani as instrumental in the defeat of BoB rather than a guy who showed up on Skype while others did the work then claimed ultimate credit which lead to appearances at GDC, a comic book, numerous articles and now a space business. All based on false pretenses. The story is still good. Mittani just didn’t really do very much at that time… Mittani did contribute to the effort and did show up in a chatroom to help manage the disbanding and war, but that’s not what his telling of the story has ever been” ~ DJ
DJ further revealed that Mittens simply invented events that did not occur and purposefully wrote other people involved out of history. Like Stalin editing old newspapers and photos the past was altered to suit his needs for the future.
(When your old friends start calling you out for making things up.)
Mr Rive, someone of some importance to say the least, added, “Honestly it took months to take down BoB, and it had very little to do with The Mittani. It had everything to do with the literally thousands of players, dozens of FC’s, and many separate alliances working together to camp their entire dread fleet into their staging system and pr-. … All this bullshit about Mittens swooping in and killing BoB all by himself is frankly hilarious and stupid… Most of the time, Mittens wasn’t even around, a lot of the time this shit was headed up by PL FC’s making sure the job got done, because we were the only ones with the FC base to do it in our TZ… But honestly, at this point in time, who gives a fuck, if mittens wants to pretend he took down BoB when all he actually did was post some shit on the forums every few days and pretend to tell FC’s what to do, that’s fine. The people who were there knew who did the work and who didn’t, just dont buy his fucking book you choobs.”
Apologists for Mittens have made the argument that these points were brought up by ex-Goons during World War Bee that simply wanted to discredit their former comrade. While certainly a possibility that doesn’t automatically discredit the truthfulness to the statements. Doing some research on old archived eve forums I came upon a 2009 post around the time of these events.
In the 8th post Mittens refers to Tamir Lenk, as a “humble goon scammer that toppled” BoB. Yet somehow in 2011 Mittens said that he himself “uh, disbanded” BoB. It could be possible Mittens was just being humble and simply giving someone else credit. It’s also possible that if you send me ISK I’ll double it and send it back. Joking aside we can see an evolution in the narrative presented. First Mittens simply associated himself with Temir Lenk so he can stand next to him on the same pedestal. But very quickly, he inflated his role to the point where Temir Lenk didn’t even exist anymore or at most was simply an underling doing basic grunt work for “The Spymaster.”
An earlier article by a writer clearly more familiar with Eve paints a picture quite different than what Mittens presented since.
The events align much more closely to what the early 2009 sources showed. Haargoth did not enjoy being in BoB anymore. Tamir Lenk tried to scam Haargoth’s alt. Haargoth revealed himself as being a BoB director. Haargoth, disgruntled BoB director, pushed the button to disband BoB. Mittens was ~somewhere~ in the room when it happened. The end…well except for the part where BoB reformed, Goons disbanded losing all their sov and basically went through the same mess as BoB did.
It’s a beautiful story that Mittens tells unfortunately it is not true. Some may say that even if Mittens lied, it helped draw thousands of players to Eve. I would counter saying that the true version of history is even more appealing: someone in power gave it all up based on principle. Maybe Haargoth’s principles are debatable but the true version of history gives much more agency to the person who actually deserves credit. Mittani jumping in and yelping “Me! Me! Me!” added nothing to it. Furthermore it’s just one of several examples where the Goon leader has had a questionable relationship with the truth. The need to control narrative and context can be a useful technique for a leader; something the Goon’s rivals NCPL have been incapable of doing, but over done can lead to delusion. Don’t get high on your own supply.
The “Casino War” rebranding of what everyone else knows as World War Bee comes to mind. One cannot help but think of an American southerner referring to the American Civil War as “The War of Northern Aggression.” Yeah okay whatever you say. Another example is if you ask any Mittens follower, they will tell you “we won the Halloween War.” Somehow retreating from multiple regions, having your front collapse, and seeing your allies turned to ash leading to N3 establishing a rental Empire from Cobalt Edge to Paragon Soul is winning. https://www.verite.space/maps/coalition/Coal20140924.png
Both subjects deserve their own analysis but they stem from the same kind of delusion and desperate need to control things. Do this long enough and you start having misapprehensions about yourself.
‘We control matter because we control the mind. Reality is inside the skull. You will learn by degrees, Winston. There is nothing that we could not do. Invisibility, levitation — anything. I could float off this floor like a soap bubble if I wish to. I do not wish to, because the Party does not wish it. You must get rid of those nineteenth-century ideas about the laws of Nature. We make the laws of Nature.’ -George Orwell, 1984
Despite my critical tone of the subject seemingly at Mittens’ expense I will admit much credit should be given to him. Not for being a spy master, or playing the diplomacy game well, but rather the lying game. Managing to mislead thousands of people for a decade and riding that fraud to spaceship popularity is much more impressive than even the official Mittens narrative regarding BoB disbanding. One wonders if Mittens himself actually believes his own lie. Some may say a more obvious answer has never existed: he has no choice but to. It’s why he so jealously guards this myth. The incessant repetition and commemorations are all there because if anyone actually stopped long enough to analyze what he’s saying, they’d notice he’s not really saying anything much at all. Please pay no mind attention to the little man behind the curtain. But if you do happen to peak, try not to laugh too hard.