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Old April 6 2013, 12:56 AM   #1
randomfan86
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Section 31 is a positive for the Federation (spoilers from TV & books)

***Spoilers from Shows and Books

I think Section 31 often gets too much crap from fans, even though the overwhelming evidence in both from TV and the books show they have done a lot of good work for the Federation.

First I want to address the question of legitimacy. Section 31 while originating in the United Earth Charter was also incorporated into the Federation Charter. From memory-beta: "The Federation Starfleet Charter later incorporated a similar article which, more specifically, established an independent branch of Starfleet Intelligence that held non-specific discretionary power over non-specific matters". So obviously they have legitimacy under the governing document. It is left very vague on purpose so they could have more room to operate.

Second, I want to address the point of unaccountability. In the charter, they pretty much give a nod to unaccountability "non-specific discretionary power". I think being rogue is a thing. In the name of national security plausible deniability can be a leader's best asset. It allows them not to get their hands dirty but is assured that there is someone doing the dirty work needed to protect the nation's interests. There's probably a chunk of StarFleet Command that knows about 31 but looks the other way due to the fact they understand this. Section 31 also probably has a few members within StarFleet Command.

Third I'll list the positive actions they have undertaken:

In the Enterprise series: Section 31 gives Malcom critical intelligence for the Enterprise to prevent Terra Prime from stopping the formation of United Coalition of Planets. This org would go on to form the Federation.

In DS9: They infect the founders with a virus that will result in death. In any war, decapitating the leadership does significant damage to the organization (see Al-qaeda after the US took out its core leadership...it is dispersed, weak, and unable to project power...and this organization was supposed to be organized in a way where taking out the leadership didn't matter). This is especially true if that leadership is irreplaceable like the founders were. There's some valid argument to the fact that once they were dead, the whole Dominion would collapse since the Vorta and Jem'Hadar had lost their gods and haven't shown the ability to work together without the leadership of the Founders. Regardless, killing the founders would deal a significant blow to the dominion. Yes, it was sad that Oto had to be the carrier, but that's war.

In DS9: They get Koval, the head of the Romulan Tal'Shiar to work for them and get him on the Continuing Committee (basically the board of directors for the Empire). Though it isn't overtly stated, I think this pays off when the Romulanns are dragged into the war. Garek's source is unknown but it isn't a leap to suggest he had sources within the Tal Shiar telling him Vreenak's itinerary. Furthermore, its not a leap also to suggest that with Koval's cooperation the "investigation" into the bombing of Vreenak's ship was a mere formality. It was always going to be laid on The Domionion.

In the books: they aid in bringing to surface the treasonous actions of the Federation President (could have started a war with the Klingons) and permanently dispose of him and his allies.

The one supposed mistake of section 31:
I haven't read Cloak yet but in it they were looking to create a stable Omega molecule when things blew up. I think trying to harness the power of Omega was a good thing. I liken it to the experiements with the atomic bomb. It gave us a source of energy that is much cleaner than coal, and gave us the ultimate weapon that ended the war. Harnassing Omega for energy and as a weapon was a worthwhile endeavor if this is what they were trying to do.

So given all this its obvious to me that Section 31 is a good thing for the Federation. A lot of intellegence agencies' symbol is appropriately the shield (including the CIA). People should remember that ultimately they are there to protect the nation and not give them crap when they sometimes do the dirty but needed work to protect us.

Last edited by randomfan86; April 6 2013 at 01:28 AM.
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Old April 6 2013, 01:29 AM   #2
BillJ
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Re: Section 31 is a positive for the Federation (spoilers from TV & bo

A good thing? Debatable.

A necessary thing? Likely. Unfortunately.
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Old April 6 2013, 01:35 AM   #3
R. Star
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Re: Section 31 is a positive for the Federation (spoilers from TV & bo

The difference between Section 31 and the CIA, is the CIA is ultimately answerable to the government of the US. Section 31 is not answerable in any way to Starfleet or the Federation government. That's the morality of it in a nutshell, lack of accountability.
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Old April 6 2013, 02:06 AM   #4
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Re: Section 31 is a positive for the Federation (spoilers from TV & bo

IMNSHO, Section 31 was probably one of the most idiotic concepts to ever be created for Trek.
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Old April 6 2013, 02:14 AM   #5
randomfan86
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Re: Section 31 is a positive for the Federation (spoilers from TV & bo

R. Star wrote: View Post
The difference between Section 31 and the CIA, is the CIA is ultimately answerable to the government of the US. Section 31 is not answerable in any way to Starfleet or the Federation government. That's the morality of it in a nutshell, lack of accountability.
This can be a positive. It allows the organization to do things that the Federation, with its high ideals would not sanction...while officially being independent of the Federation itself. This includes the virus, summary execution of the treasonous President, as well as getting Koval to there side (violates prime directive of noninterference).

The unaccountability and independence is a clever backdoor in the Federation Charter.
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Old April 6 2013, 02:18 AM   #6
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Re: Section 31 is a positive for the Federation (spoilers from TV & bo

Sorry, that's a copout. Either you have the high ideals and accept the consequences of them or you don't and you're willing to get your hands dirty. Creating Section 31 to do your dirty work like genocide and executing elected officials while claiming morality and high ideals is hypocritical.
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Old April 6 2013, 02:32 AM   #7
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Re: Section 31 is a positive for the Federation (spoilers from TV & bo

R. Star wrote: View Post
Sorry, that's a copout. Either you have the high ideals and accept the consequences of them or you don't and you're willing to get your hands dirty. Creating Section 31 to do your dirty work like genocide and executing elected officials while claiming morality and high ideals is hypocritical.
In the Trekverse, both the Obsedion Order and the Tal Shiar were shown to be de facto rogue organizations without accountability as well. The CIA for a period of time in the last century had a lot of rogue activities as well. The CIA was never held to account for those activities. Within the CIA itself, there is a culture of nonaccountability (its the opposite...one of the guys who destroyed the torture tapes is getting promoted and a whistleblower on torture is going to jail). The Federation just doesn't bother with the pretense, so in a way, they are less hypocritical. Don't hate on them.

Last edited by randomfan86; April 6 2013 at 03:46 AM.
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Old April 6 2013, 03:17 AM   #8
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Re: Section 31 is a positive for the Federation (spoilers from TV & bo

There's a huge moral difference between your intelligence branch performing a rogue operation without your knowledge or consent and sanctioning them to do whatever the hell they want as you turn a blind eye.
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Old April 6 2013, 03:28 AM   #9
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Re: Section 31 is a positive for the Federation (spoilers from TV & bo

R. Star wrote: View Post
There's a huge moral difference between your intelligence branch performing a rogue operation without your knowledge or consent and sanctioning them to do whatever the hell they want as you turn a blind eye.
If you never hold them to account afterwards and they keep doing them (and even reward the breakdown of accountability), then there's no functional difference. The only difference is pretense.

Last edited by randomfan86; April 6 2013 at 05:50 AM.
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Old April 6 2013, 03:40 AM   #10
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Re: Section 31 is a positive for the Federation (spoilers from TV & bo

BillJ wrote: View Post
A good thing? Debatable.

A necessary thing? Likely. Unfortunately.
True.
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Old April 6 2013, 04:08 AM   #11
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Re: Section 31 is a positive for the Federation (spoilers from TV & bo

nightwind1 wrote: View Post
IMNSHO, Section 31 was probably one of the most idiotic concepts to ever be created for Trek.


agreed


a fundamentally silly concept(they're super-secret, so secret that they're off the books and no one knows of their existence. Think of modern technology NOW-how would an organization like that carry out its work undetected?), and moreover they're fundamentally unnecessary.

There's nothing Section 31 did that Starfleet Intelligence couldn't have done.
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Old April 6 2013, 06:29 AM   #12
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Re: Section 31 is a positive for the Federation (spoilers from TV & bo

R. Star wrote: View Post
The difference between Section 31 and the CIA, is the CIA is ultimately answerable to the government of the US. Section 31 is not answerable in any way to Starfleet or the Federation government. That's the morality of it in a nutshell, lack of accountability.
Is S31 unaccountable?
Apparently, S31 agents want to make sure you know how unaccountable they are at the very first contact they make.

They doth protest too much.

R. Star wrote: View Post
The difference between Section 31 and the CIA, is the CIA is ultimately answerable to the government of the US.
Really?
Theory and practice are two entirely different things.

randomfan86 wrote: View Post
R. Star wrote: View Post
There's a huge moral difference between your intelligence branch performing a rogue operation without your knowledge or consent and sanctioning them to do whatever the hell they want as you turn a blind eye.
If you never hold them to account afterwards and they keep doing them (and even reward the breakdown of accountability), then there's no functional difference. The only difference is pretense.
That is correct.
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Old April 6 2013, 05:55 PM   #13
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Re: Section 31 is a positive for the Federation (spoilers from TV & bo

sonak wrote: View Post
There's nothing Section 31 did that Starfleet Intelligence couldn't have done.
Then why didn't Starfleet Intelligence do it first?


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Old April 6 2013, 06:16 PM   #14
Hartzilla2007
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Re: Section 31 is a positive for the Federation (spoilers from TV & bo

Wait he's using the books to defend Section 31, the same books that show how they are considerably incompetent and as such probably a major threat to the federation due to their bungling almost screwing them over?
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Old April 6 2013, 06:17 PM   #15
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Re: Section 31 is a positive for the Federation (spoilers from TV & bo

T'Girl wrote: View Post
sonak wrote: View Post
There's nothing Section 31 did that Starfleet Intelligence couldn't have done.
Then why didn't Starfleet Intelligence do it first?
becuase a lot of what they did was idiotic and/or an extreme over reaction.
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