Section 31 after DS9

Discussion in 'Deep Space Nine' started by Tom, Nov 1, 2012.

  1. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    What's the debate about again? How bad they are? Come on if their actions don't demonstrate them to be morally questionable, the writers put a subtle hint in there with the Gestapo uniforms. :p

    Sure, they do whatever they think to advance the Federation. You can argue ideologies all you want, but they seem to be danged effective.
     
  2. LobsterAfternoon

    LobsterAfternoon Commander Red Shirt

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    I think the debate has morphed into if they are actually rogue or not.

    As for having an operative in the Fed President's cabinet - is that any different than the FBI occasionally investigating political corruption in our government?
     
  3. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    1. The DS9 relaunch literature establishes that Section 31 is bigger than Sloan and that there are other agents. This is taken up in other Trek Lit. works as well, the best example being the S31 novel mini-series. Supporting the idea that Section 31 is bigger than one man is also their appearance on ENT.

    2. With Trek Lit., there are hints that Section 31 will eventually get its comeuppance. I believe that's hinted at in the future sections of the ENT novel, "The Good that Men Do". As to the second half of that question, I think that's something you could explore in your fanfic.

    3. Section 31's history is a subjective thing since we really haven't seen any official history besides their involvement in the Klingon augment incident. Trek Lit. made the Omega molecule disaster and the assassination of Gorkon part of a Section 31 plot, but of course that's non canon. So, a lot of their history is mere speculation and ripe for you to fill in the blanks.

    4. Abolishing Section 31 is another decision up to you. I know I've seen one fan fic where have a similar organization (though I think it is concurrent with Section 31). If you feel that Section 31 doesn't fit your fan fiction but you want something along that line, why not get rid of them? The section does have haters in the fanfic community, along with supporters, so I don't think getting rid of them will be meet with a lot of anger. Even fans might be interested to see what you're planning with your new group.

    5. In my own fanfic, I pretty much do what you're asking in this question. I like S31 and have used them quite a bit. So I would say yes to this question. But once again, you've got to do what's best to fit your story or series.
     
  4. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    An official investigation, conducted by a legitimate organization with actual authority and accountability, is light-years away from illegal espionage conducted by criminals, which is what Section 31 was doing.
     
  5. LobsterAfternoon

    LobsterAfternoon Commander Red Shirt

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    Again, what proof do we have that they are doing illegal espionage and that they are criminals? We have no proof that they aren't part of the Federation's legitimate structure, just proof that they operate in the shadows.
     
  6. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    You'd think this fictional organization did something personal to Mr LB by the way he's tearing into em. ;)
     
  7. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    In "Inquisition," Sloan claims that Section 31 was "part of the original Starfleet Charter." He makes no reference to it being part of the current Federation Starfleet Charter.

    In ENT, we hear that Article 14, Section 31 of the United Earth Starfleet Charter establishes that certain rules can be "bent" during times of extraordinary crisis. Nothing about Article 14, Section 31, of the UESF Charter is said to establish a permanent organization with carte blanche to violate all law. Nor is there any indication that the United Earth Starfleet Charter is still in force in the era of the Federation Starfleet.

    Further, "Inquisition" makes it clear that Section 31 does not answer to anyone in the Federation government. This is backed up by "Extreme Measures," which establishes that Section 31 even spied on the Federation President himself.

    So it's obvious that Section 31 is not a government agency. It doesn't answer to the government in any way. Nor is it authorized by the UESF Charter, even if its members like to pretend it is.

    Section 31 is just an organized crime syndicate within the government and military, that's all. It's the equivalent of the Deep State in Turkey or of Mafia agents in the police, not the CIA or FBI.
     
  8. Hartzilla2007

    Hartzilla2007 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Actually I think Cast No Shadow actually walked back on Gorkon beng a Section 31 plot, Part of that being that i believe that while Carthwright was an admiral in the TOS Section 31 book which would be during the 5 year mission, Cast No Shadow has him as a starship captain around TMP.
     
  9. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^
    I didn't know that. I haven't read Cast No Shadow.

    However I don't think the change in rank means that Cartwright or the Section were not involved with Gorkon.
     
  10. Hartzilla2007

    Hartzilla2007 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well Cast No Shadow seems to make the conspiracy a bunch of disgruntled Starfleet and KDF members.
     
  11. LobsterAfternoon

    LobsterAfternoon Commander Red Shirt

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    Regarding the charters: As I said earlier, we don't know that aspect of the charter did not make it into the federation charter. Again, a ton of other aspects of Earth Starfleet were maintained by Federation Starfleet.

    Re: Spying on the President: This doesn't prove official status one way or another. For all we know, Section 31 isn't under Presidential oversight. In the American government, the Congressional Budget Office is a fully sanctioned government office staffed with civil servants who do not answer the Executive Branch.

    I maintain that we've never seen an definitive proof, in live action Trek, that Section 31 is or is not a part of the government. Judging by the response that Sisko got from Starfleet Command, where they could neither confirm nor deny its existence, there's a lot of ambiguity. Additionally, if it were just another criminal enterprise, why wouldn't Starfleet (Starfleet as a whole, not just our main cast on DS9) or Federation Security try to take them down, as they did with the Maquis?
     
  12. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    But nothing that has been established in any way implies that it's legal for an organization to have carte blanche in violating the law. Not even the novels' reference to the Federation Starfleet Charter establishing an "autonomous investigative agency" with "discretionary power" over "non-specific issues." Nothing at all we have seen in any way establishes legal grounds for Section 31's claim to be above the law, and nothing canonically even establishes legal grounds for Section 31 to exist as a government organization of any kind.

    1. If Section 31 were legally a part of Starfleet, then it would be part of the military and of the executive branch. That means that it would legally answer to the President, not the Council, as DS9's "Homefront" two-parter explicitly established that the President is the commander-in-chief.

    2. The Congressional Budget Office works for Congress, not the President, but that doesn't mean they get to spy on the President. Espionage against the President is patently illegal, and is an absolute indicator that Section 31 is a criminal conspiracy within the government, not a legitimate agency.

    Because the conspiracy includes powerful people in high-level positions within the military and government who stonewall things and keep it from getting to that point, obviously. You might as well ask why the Nixon and Ford Administrations didn't investigate allegations of U.S. assistance in Operation Condor, or why the Kennedy Justice Department didn't investigate allegations of election fraud in the 1960 election.
     
  13. LobsterAfternoon

    LobsterAfternoon Commander Red Shirt

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    Nothing canonically says that 31 is above the law, merely that our heroes don't have the means to file a complaint about Section 31. While we may interpret Bashir's treatment by Sloane to be improper, for all we know, there's some sort of legal justification for it. For a real world example, drone strikes in the Middle East against terrorists. Normally it would be quite illegal for the Defense Department to assassinate American citizens, especially without putting them on trial first. But my country (apologies, I don't know if you're American or not) is doing just that. http://www.rollingstone.com/politic...es-how-america-goes-to-war-in-secret-20120416

    Regarding a lack of canonical legal grounds for 31 to exist: absence of proof isn't proof of absence. We don't know the ins and outs of the Federation's structure and laws. We've gotten to see some of it, mostly through the military lens. That doesn't mean that just because we haven't seen something, it doesn't exist.

    As for Starfleet answering to the executive branch: certainly that seems to usually be the case. But Memory Alpha says that the Fed Council (legislative) occasionally gives Starfleet orders (Star Trek 4 being a good example). No reason Section 31 couldn't be an aspect of Starfleet that falls under non-executive authority.

    As for spying on the President: while spying on him may be illegal, that act alone wouldn't make 31 illegal. Additionally, I don't remember the context under which we found out that 31 had an operative in the Prez's cabinet. Do they make it clear that the operative was indeed spying, or merely that a 31 employee works in the cabinet, perhaps the way defense department officials advise the president?

    Please let me be clear: I'm not saying definitely that 31 is a Fed agency. I think that it was purposefully framed to be wrapped in shadows. It's certainly either a rogue organization or a legit organization with some rogue individuals on its payroll. Debating stuff like this is why I come here. :)
     
  14. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Except the actual dialogue:

    No organization that is accountable to nobody but itself is accountable to the law.

    There was no legal justification for the abduction and torture of a Federation citizen.

    There's no "normally" about it. The assassination of United States citizens is illegal and unconstitutional, period. And putting out a hit on a U.S. citizen -- not executed by due process of law, but putting out a hit on them -- is an act of horrific tyranny.

    I am a proud United States citizen, born and raised in Ohio.

    The burden of proof is on Section 31 to justify its existence. If no proof is produced, then there is no legal right for it to exist.

    The Federation Council occasionally shares authority over Starfleet with the President, yes. So does Congress today -- if Congress were to pass a law making it illegal for the United States Army to enter Iran, for instance, the President would have no authority to order the Army to enter Iran.

    This does not mean that it is legal for Section 31 to spy on the President. To argue otherwise is to demonstrate a poor understanding of the rule of law and the separation of powers.

    That act alone isn't being evaluated. It is being evaluated in the context of everything else about them being illegal or lacking legal justification.

    "Extreme Measures" established that a member of the Cabinet -- meaning, a Federation Secretary heading an executive department, not a mere adviser -- was an operative of Section 31 whose job it was to spy on President Jaresh-Inyo and his administration.
     
  15. LobsterAfternoon

    LobsterAfternoon Commander Red Shirt

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    Some good points, thanks for pulling up the Bashir/Sloane dialogue, I didn't remember that off the top of my head.

    You may be right that 31 and/or Sloane are completely rogue. I'd be curious if Moore/Behr/any of the writers ever addressed the issue in chats/interviews/etc,
     
  16. Tuvok

    Tuvok Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    :devil:

    Oh the fall of Section 31 will be brutal and showy. Those involved in the fall will pat themselves on the back and consider the paragons of virtue for removing this stain on the perfect Utopia that is the Federation.

    Meanwhile ..in the shadows. Section 32 will already be in play already "assiting" in the public fall of Section 31. Already doing what ever must be done for the common good. Walking in the dark places where the Federation refuses to step. And behind them...the ground work for Section 33 will be seeded in the next generation of Starfleet and already Section 34 will be on the drawing board.
     
  17. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Actually it doesn't, Starfleet gets it's orders and instuctions from the Council. While the President did on one occasion refer to himself as "commander in chief," the power clearly rests with the Council.
     
  18. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    A lot of people seem to be saying in this thread that because Section 31 is not 'constrained by morals or accountability' that it is inherently more effective. It's far more likely that it ended up being, for those of you who've played Mass Effect, Cerberus. An organization led by a man who substitutes his own political feelings for the 'Best interest' of the Federation. Yeah, it's very effective at achieving its goals, but those goals are all about the organization's best interests, not the best interests of the constituents they supposedly exist to protect.

    That is not to say that the Federation was not really negligent in its intelligence gathering leading up to the Borg and Dominion threats. It was naive and complacent, but that doesn't justify circumventing a perfectly stable, open and merit-based command structure through a violent, surreptitious coup because you disagree with its decisions.

    Do you honestly believe that Section 31 has actually contributed to the safety of the Federation? Or is it far more likely they've simply grabbed power for themselves under the justification of the safety of the Federation?
     
  19. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^Well, recall how in "Extreme Measures," Sloan implies that there is no "central" leadership per se for Section 31--that there are cells run by members of a "select few"--Sloan being one of them. (This is referred to in the VOY Section 31 novel wherein Sloan is referred to with the title of "Director". Other "Directors" in the novels would be L'Haan, Cole, and Zeitsev.)

    In a fanfic of mine (which you can find on this site, "Our Sacred Honor") I depict The Bureau as made up of Divisions, each run by a Director, who periodicaly meet together to discuss the Bureau's response to a current crisis. Thus, there IS a kind of "internal" check-and-balance system. But again--that is my interperetation of the facts we've been given.
     
  20. bullethead

    bullethead Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I don't think Cerberus is a good comparison for a few reasons. 1) Section 31 did not have a leader who was compromised by enemy technology. 2) Aside from the anti-Founder bioweapon, Section 31 in canon did not show a propensity for absurd schemes and generally went about things in a fairly competent manner, while most Cerberus cells wound up getting killed due to their incompetence. 3) The only political action they took, manipulating things so their agent was on the Continuing Committee, was accomplished without killing anyone (that we know of), which automatically puts them ahead of Cerberus, which can only accomplish similar results through assassination. 4) Section 31 doesn't seem to have the kind of mindset or organization that Cerberus does, forgoing any kind of military/scientific infrastructure and instead utilizing highly trained individual operatives and small scale operations.

    Also, when it comes to interstellar politics, things that are in the best interests of the organization (peace with the Romulans, a diminished Dominion threat) tend to be in the best interests of the people as well.

    Section 31 never did that. The closest thing to what you described was when Admiral Leyton staged that coup in season 4 and the only Section 31 involvement in that was giving Odo the anti-Changeling virus.

    Yes, because they haven't done anything but position a Federation sympathizer in a place of influence and gave the Federation leverage to force a Dominion surrender (and in the worst case scenario-had Bashir never cured the virus, neutralized their fascist, xenophobic, and genocidal overlords). They had clear goals and used fairly simple means of accomplishing those goals, which makes me more inclined to think that they're sincere about just doing things for the sake of the Federation.