Hedion - Confirming rumours that have been circulating in the past few days, the office of the Chamberlain has today issued a statement denouncing Saracen as a traitor to the Empire. Until today the Admiral of the 7th Fleet, Saracen has been conducting operations in The Bleak Lands with the declared intention of pacifying the region, but was recalled to the Throne Worlds earlier in the week to report to the Chamberlain. He has now been stripped of all ranks and titles and is being detained at the Chamberlain's pleasure in an undisclosed location.
The activities of the 7th Fleet, known as the Saracens after their charismatic leader, have been the subject of some controversy since they deployed to the Bleaks. While sucessfully clamping down on the activities of pirates, brigands and remnant Sani Sabik cultists, they also drew the attention of the rebel Defiants and subsequent engagements resulted in a bloody stalemate. Reports also still circulate of violent confrontations with local Holders. Adding to this, rumours have been increasing recently that Saracen was operating independently from Naval command, with some speculating that he acted under direct orders from the very highest levels of the Empire.
The statement issued today shows that there was indeed some truth to these rumours, stating very clearly that the 7th Fleet has been operating entirely without authority or oversight since its arrival in The Bleak Lands. It cites incontrovertible evidence that Saracen has been pursuing his own agenda with the aim of securing the entire region as his own personal fiefdom, and perhaps even seceding from the Empire when the time was right.
After denouncing the former Admiral and his staff at considerable length, the statement went on to castigate Naval command for allowing one of its fleets to effectively go rogue for several months without comment. While scattered sources suggest a considerable amount of internal consternation and outrage at this accusation, spokesmen for the Navy remain extremely tight-lipped and refuse to comment. It also critizes the capsuleer community - without singling out any particular organisation - for lending direct and considerable assistance to an enemy of the Empire, although in much softer terms than those levelled at the Navy. Analysts disagree over whether this may be recognition of the fact that many capsuleers may have themselves been deceived by the former admiral, or whether this may simply be a cynical attempt to avoid alienating potential future allies.
Saracen himself has not been seen since boarding a shuttle for Hedion yesterday. The remainder of the 7th Fleet continues to wait on standby in Sahtogas, with reports indicating that tensions are running high in their barracks as they ponder their future.