Rush Limborg wrote:
About Article 14, Section 31.
Can we assume, then, that Article 14 in general concerns the Intellegence branch?
Hmm...also, Sloan said something about the original
Starfleet charter. I wonder if the later drafts...had only 30
sections...in Article 14....
In "Inquisition," Sloan said that Section 31 was part of the original Starfleet Charter, implying the existence of multiple Starfleet Charters.
Sure enough, ENT came along and established that there are two
Starfleets: The United Earth Starfleet of ENT's era, and the Federation Starfleet of the TOS/TNG eras. In other words, Section 31 is citing as its legal justification for its existence a charter that is no longer in effect, that could no more be in effect for the Federation Starfleet than the British Royal Navy Charter could be in effect for the United States Navy.
Further, Article 14, Section 31 of the United Earth Starfleet Charter was only ever established to allow "certain rules" to be bent during times of extraordinary crisis. That's a far, far cry from the establishment of an organization that is given permanent carte blanche to do whatever it wants, whenever it wants, however it wants, and be answerable to no one.
I think it's pretty clear that Section 31 has no legal justification for its own existence, and that the justifications it has cited as as full of shit as the so-called legal reasonings produced by the Bush Administration to justify torturing enemy combatants.