What next for Section 31? [SPOILERS]

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by rfmcdpei, Nov 7, 2013.

  1. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    You must be referring to the claim that Churchill let Coventry be bombed to avoid exposing an intelligence asset. That's actually a myth that didn't arise until 1974 and has been discredited. The British government was aware that a raid was being planned, but didn't know the target, and when news came that it had been launched, they assumed the target was London and were taken by surprise when it turned out to be Coventry, because they didn't decode that information in time.

    http://www.winstonchurchill.org/learn/myths/myths/he-let-coventry-burn
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coventry_Blitz#Coventry_and_Ultra

    There's also a myth that FDR knew Pearl Harbor was coming and let it happen to anger Americans enough to get us into the war, but that's never been more than a crackpot conspiracy theory.


    Exactly. I'm amazed how many people confuse Section 31 for a legitimate intelligence agency like Starfleet Intelligence. An intelligence agency has the oversight of its government and the legal authority to act. Section 31 is an unsanctioned, extralegal cabal within Starfleet. It's essentially a criminal organization, a conspiracy in the ranks.
     
  2. ITCH

    ITCH Ensign Red Shirt

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    Sarina may have had a "heightened anxiety attack" but in my opinion that was well into character an according to canon. Those who watched DS9 episode "Statistical Probabilities" would know the kind of radical (although not entirely incorrect) assessments the "Jack Pack" was capable of (and Sarina was part of that group). And in episode “Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges” we see Section 31 is not above bending the rules and frame “innocent” third parties when it serves its cause.

    What Sarina showed with that comment is the typical female forward (and multitasking) thinking she applied through the book in order to help Bashir. While he was concentrating on the single task of finding the cure, she got the genome information, planned the sabotage of not one but two ships, identified secondary getaway routes for Bashir, she was one step ahead to Section 31 saving his ass, all while covering her tracks and fulfilling her duties as a DS9 officer.

    I don't know if she is playing doble or triple agent but when it comes to selecting talented people, S31 is GOOD!
     
  3. ITCH

    ITCH Ensign Red Shirt

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    Thank you for this information. I will take the time to read the cited sources. In the meantime, I’m putting “on hold” the argument about the “possibility” that civilians or even soldiers of the same side were sacrificed for a greater tactical good because I concede there's a fault in my argument: Section 31 is not a government sanctioned like the Tal Shiar, the Obsidian Order, the CIA, the KGB, etc.

    Now, do I think it’s heading to its fall? No.

    1. Section 31 is an extralegal immoral agency with its own agenda but when Starfleet itself needed its help it didn’t hesitate to use it (DS9 “Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges” and J.J. Abrams “Into the darkness”). And based on canon, they have some impressive connections…

    2. Mr. Akimoto says: “Section 31 otoh is a complete rogue agency who at times appears to do stuff that's not entirely consistent with the Federation's national interest”. There’s no question they are doing things that are not consistent with Federation values but doing things that will cause its extermination in the long run would be... illogical since it has a parasitical relationship with it. The Federation may survive without S31 but S31 has no reason to exist without the Federation.

    So, Section 31 has a future? I sure hope so! For the sake of a good interesting plot with lots of posibilities...
     
  4. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    The 2007 ENT novel The Good That Men Do by Michael A. Martin and Andy Mangels established explicitly that by the early 25th Century, Section 31 has been exposed, its members brought to justice, its assets seized by the government, its secrets released to the public, and the organization itself dissolved.

    What makes you think Section 31 is being rational in how it determines what is or is not in the Federation's best interests?
     
  5. Jarvisimo

    Jarvisimo Captain Captain

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    We have no proof that the entirety of the organisation is so exposed: Jake and Nog could just be very naive? Unless it really is just L'Haan and the others from A Time To..., as readers we have no idea how large or small, how cellular an organisation, 31 is. It certainly doesn't seem to be centralised, unless L'Haan is that centre.
     
  6. ITCH

    ITCH Ensign Red Shirt

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    Self-preservation? Self image? Granted, those are not necessarily "rational" but after all they "...are on the same team, they believe in the same principles that every other Federation citizen holds dear..." (Sloan. DS9 : "Inquisition").

    And on second thought, just because something is government sanctioned like the Tal Shiar, Obsidian Order or any real intelligence force today, that doesn’t make their actions "legal" or "moral". If 1/3 of all their cases were to become public (and evidence of them could be retrieve!) I wonder how many would stick in a civilian court of law. Like the case of Alexander Litvinenko or the Gestapo.

    Ironically, I find S31 refreshingly “honest”. They are above the law, they admit it and they act like it. They don’t give you the tiresome “this is for the good of the State or Empire speach and then they shoot you in the head, they just do it”.

    As an organization, they have their mission and vision very clear, they think ahead or at least plan for the future and they move with the changes. As such, they existed for at least 2 centuries, assuming Michael A. Martin and Andy Mangels story gets followed by TPTB (BTW, thanks for the data Sci) so, my money is still on them for at least several decades more in Star Trek 24 century universe.
     
  7. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

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    Do they really?

    The principles which condone attempted genocide--against the Founders in DS9 and against the Tezwans in A Time to ..., apparently achieved against numerous unknown potential threat species as mentioned in Rogue--are not principles held dear by Federation citizens. The Federation didn't follow up the Dominion War by finishing the job that Jem'Hadar had started on the Cardassians, but rather extended an extensive decade-long aid program.

    Having a secret police, interior ministry, or whatever that is responsible to the constitutional government of a polity is essential if that government is to exercise any control over its actions. Having an unaccountable agency present multiple fait accomplis to the government it claims to represent poses a serious threat to the government and the people its rules over.

    Consider the documented attempted genocide by Section 31, the Changeling virus inflicted upon the Founders. The infection was not authorized by the Federation, but it was something that the Federation couldn't deal with even after it found out. How could it tell the Dominion that it had infected the Founders with a lethal virus and not avoid retaliation? The Section 31 gambit had a serious risk of backfiring: if the Dominion had a record of committing genocide even against merely rebellious species, what would it do to civilizations that were responsible for an attempted gencide against the Founders themselves?
     
  8. Ríu ríu chíu

    Ríu ríu chíu Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Section 31 simply does whatever it WANTS. That alone makes it extremely dangerous.
     
  9. ITCH

    ITCH Ensign Red Shirt

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    From what I saw of S31 in DS9 they didn’t strike me as “reckless”. Cold blooded, yes, but they do think things through. As Bashir said to Sloan in episode “Inter Arma…”: “This war isn't over and you're already planning for the next!”. I’m sure S31 had access to the analysis the Jack pack made of the Dominion War in “Statistical Probabilities”. According to that analysis the odds were completely against the Federation and the best option was to surrender in order to survive and fight another day. I have no military training but from what I read and watched on tv and movies, there’s a “tactic” that when you’re up your neck, with nowhere to go, no hope of rescue or reinforcement, and the enemy is not going to spare your life even if you surrender, you may as well attack and hope to take a couple more of enemies lives before you go down. So, S31 went for it.

    And what if the Dominion retaliated? They were already decimating Starfleet and civil populations in both the Gamma and Alfa Quadrants!. What else could they do? Make fun of Starfleet uniforms to hurt some feelings? :confused:

    I agree that If you take S31 to a court of law I’m sure not even OJ Simpson and Zimmerman’s lawyers can set them out (or maybe they can…). The point is: S31 believe they are the “good guys” and their cause is justified. That kind of belief and commitment to a cause is a force to reckon. We saw it in the genocide of the Aztecs and Maya civilizations by the Spanish crown, and the colonization of Africa by Germany, England and France . Heck! Even the Borg didn’t think they were the “bad guys”. They were just bringing order to a chaotic universe.

    And we are not sure how S31 is organized but if it’s anything like the Drug Cartels or Al Qaeda, you haven’t finished writing your press release about capturing “the head” when the replacement is already sipping champagne and celebrating the promotion.

    I gotta tell you, if TPTB ends S31 by capturing their “headquarters” and finding all their secrets lying around in the coffee table I would be VERY disappointed, because that would mean Arthur Andersen made a better job destroying evidence linking them to Enron than a 200+ years extra legal organization!!!
     
  10. ITCH

    ITCH Ensign Red Shirt

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    And now they have a Castellan that favors a permanent alliance with the Federation.

    And just in case Cardassia decide to turn against the Federation, guess who has the location and schematic of every water plant, communication network and industrial replicator the Federation provided or help to build in the last ten years? Assuming they don’t already all come with a nice hidden self destruct app that run in cardassian OP, IOS, and Microsoft.... :)
     
  11. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

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    I'm not sure that you're accurately reading Bashir's statement. For starters, he wasn't giving Sloan and Section 31 a compliment.

    Starfleet, yes, but not the civilian populations.

    I was thinking of the obvious possibility that the Dominion might respond to Section 31's use of biological weapons by retaliating in kind. Why not? They did that to the Teplans after they only rebelled against Dominion rule.

    Yes. That says nothing about how effective Section 31 is. It certainly says nothing of the extent to which Section 31 actions can undermine Federation security, by being willing to take significant risks without actually being accountable to anyone.

    A major theme in the novels is that Section 31 actually isn't competent, and that its efforts frequently go haywire. In Cloak, ill-judged experiments with the Omega molecule end up making much of the Lantaru sector impassable to warp travel. In Abyss, a Section 31 attempt to take over a Jem'Hadar breeding facility for Federation use leads to one of its agents trying to use it to start a Federation-Romulan war. In Rogue, Section 31 attempts to deal directly with the Tal Shi'ar nearly give the Romulans control over a subspace singularity that would literally give them the power to take over the galaxy.

    Going by this evidence alone, Section 31 needs to be destroyed before it undermines the Federation terminally.

    It is worth noting that the mafia in North America, at least, has been substantially weakened from its early 20th century heyday.
     
  12. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

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    Two more points.

    It's worth noting that this best-case scenario would not be possible if the Dominion found out that the Federation attempted genocide against the Dominion. Again, given the Dominion's past deployment of biological weapons against rebellious subjects, matching the Federation's attack in kind would be quite plausible.

    By closing off a less bad possibility, Section 31 risked the survival of the Federation's populations.

    Indeed. Genocide, such as threatened and actually committed by Section 31, is not a Federation value. Even when faced with civilizations like the Cardassian, which have a history of waging aggressive war against the Federation and commit atrocities up to and including medical experimentation on Federation civilians, the Federation chooses instead to rehabilitate these civilizations.

    What reason is there to think that Section 31 actually does represent Federation values?
     
  13. Elias Vaughn

    Elias Vaughn Captain Captain

    The Federation did consider genocide against the Borg, though. Picard only decided against when he actually spoke with Hugh.

    Devil's advocate and all.
     
  14. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

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    (That's fair.)

    The strategy of attempted genocide against the Borg was initially proposed, but it was soon rejected upon more critical examination.

    It was one of the brilliant insights of Destiny to recognize that the drones didn't need killing, they needed liberating. The survival of the Federation and all of its neighbours was achieved through an act of mercy.

    Section 31 would have been incapable of this breakthrough. Likely it would have attempted genocide against the Borg, failed due to its own limited knowledge, and set up the stage for comprehensive Borg retaliation against the Federation.
     
  15. Hartzilla2007

    Hartzilla2007 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Actually General Order 24 lets so Starfleet basically commit genocide. So aparently they aren't entirely opposed to it.
     
  16. DEWLine

    DEWLine Commodore Commodore

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    I wonder if, by Picard's time, that General Order's been disposed of...?
     
  17. Hartzilla2007

    Hartzilla2007 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Then the federation better hope something like the xenmorphs from the alien films, the Flood from Halo, or just plain zombies shows up or they're screwed.
     
  18. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    The novel A Time to Kill establishes that as of 2379, General Order 24 has been abolished and that the Eminiar Amendment to the Federation Charter bans the destruction of a planetary surface.
     
  19. ITCH

    ITCH Ensign Red Shirt

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    I was quoting Bashir to highlight the tactical and forward thinking practices of S31. You may not agree with that statement but Admiral Ross did when SI and S31 got rid of Senator Cretak (even when she was an ally of the Federation) just because she could eventually turn against them. (DS9 Inter Arma...)

     
  20. Hartzilla2007

    Hartzilla2007 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I think they should hang on to it in the possible event they may need something like that.