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> Helena's crew: war criminals?
War criminals?
Is the Helena's crew guilty of war crimes?
Yes: legally and morally [ 5 ] ** [20.00%]
Yes: Legally [ 4 ] ** [16.00%]
Yes: Morally [ 0 ] ** [0.00%]
No: Legally and Morally [ 7 ] ** [28.00%]
No: Legally [ 2 ] ** [8.00%]
No: Morally [ 2 ] ** [8.00%]
I have no idea and prefer to sit on the fence. [ 5 ] ** [20.00%]
Total Votes: 25
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FaxModem1
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post Dec 16 2009, 05:38 PM
Post #1
Just watching 2.02, and I have to say, after the Omega explosion, the 24th century equivalent of setting off a nuclear bomb, I have to wonder. Are these people war criminals? After what they did, their chances of redemption seem pretty small in my eyes. Of course, we could see an act of plot like the whale probe from Star Trek IV, but compared to just grand theft and sabotage from STIII, the Helena crew are looking at being in New Zealand for the rest of their lives, or on the lam.

Please feel free to disagree, but please let me know why.

So, are they war criminals?
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TheWriter
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post Dec 16 2009, 06:02 PM
Post #2
To me, it's more like mutiny, not unlike when Kirk and his crew stole the Enterprise NCC-1701 and took it on what became its final mission. War crimes? No.
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FaxModem1
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post Dec 16 2009, 06:08 PM
Post #3
QUOTE (TheWriter @ Dec 17 2009, 03:02 AM) *
To me, it's more like mutiny, not unlike when Kirk and his crew stole the Enterprise NCC-1701 and took it on what became its final mission. War crimes? No.


The problem is, Kirk and crew didn't set off the Trek equivalent of a thermonuclear warhead. I really don't see how that can be compared to the bloodless stealing of the Enterprise or sabotage of the Excelsior.
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post Dec 16 2009, 06:16 PM
Post #4
How can you be guilty of warcrimes when you're not fighting a war?

You could argue that they're terrorists, but that's about it.
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FaxModem1
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post Dec 16 2009, 06:34 PM
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QUOTE (Captain Hunter @ Dec 17 2009, 02:16 AM) *
How can you be guilty of warcrimes when you're not fighting a war?

You could argue that they're terrorists, but that's about it.


Well, then it comes down to the nitty gritty of Federation or Interstellar law, and if war crimes can be committed when not in a war. Hence the argument of whether or not soldiers in conflicts that were not designated wars were guilty or not of war crimes.

Now, since you brought it up, would you say they were terrorists? If not, what would you say they are? Legally, morally, and any other variation?
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rick20625
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post Dec 16 2009, 07:02 PM
Post #6

I'd say, right now, they are renegades who through their actions, have allowed a terrible thing to happen. They didn't plan it, they didn't anticipate it, but they all knew the danger of the Omega molecules, and still chose to play with it.

And they've also been set up for the other action near Risa.

So are they war criminals? No.
Are they criminals? Technically yes. And they're definitely mutineers (some more than others).
Are they morally criminal? Not exactly, but, they are all trained and knew the danger of messing with Omega. So yes, I guess so.


But now the most important question: Can they redeem themselves? Wholly, or partially? And if it is possible, how might they do so?

Rick

P.S. Your poll is pretty poorly worded and difficult to understand your intent for each vote. Maybe you could clarify it.

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post Dec 17 2009, 06:06 AM
Post #7
Ok... I can see where it would be going...

However war crimes are usually when someone wages war on someone or something...

To the best of my knowledge only Lefler died...

No other beings were killed... only traffic disrupted...
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post Dec 17 2009, 10:20 AM
Post #8
Well, war crimes have a particular definition. So on that, I say absolutely not.

Are they guilty of a crime in a legal or moral sense?

Legally, certainly. Disobeying the orders of a superior, assault on Federation officers, assault on Federation property, violation of the Omega Directive...yeah, they could spend some time in New Zealand or some colony mining bororite.

Morally? Not for me. They were trying to save their comrades in arms when Starfleet wouldn't lift a finger. I'm not a fan of "ends justifying the means"...but sometimes...they do at the end of the day. We're just not at the end of that day yet....
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rick20625
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post Dec 17 2009, 06:59 PM
Post #9
QUOTE (DHillMSP @ Dec 17 2009, 01:20 PM) *
We're just not at the end of that day yet....



Exactly. I will be really interesting to see how Rob & crew wrap this one up in the big Season 3 mashup of all the storylines... it's gonna be exciting.

Rick
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post Dec 18 2009, 11:39 AM
Post #10
I say that they have broken the law, war crimes is not the correct term though. as to their moral position, when does the point come where ends do justify the means? so far only Lefler (sorry if I have misspelled it) has died, but how many more will die because of their actions? rendering warp travel impossible is a not to be taken lightly. They knowingly disobeyed their superiors, broke the Omega directive, stole and fired upon federation ships. The point comes when one must also ask, would the crew of the Odyssey have wanted to see their friends become criminals on their behalf?

as to what will happen in the end, I think that Faisal (once again I'm bad with names) will lose the rank of captain, even if they were somehow able to make everything right this would be proper. not even Kirk escaped demotion.
The only way that they won't be tried as terrorists that I can see would be if they found a way to fix subspace, AND bring some remarkable now discovery to light (such as a stable Omega molecule).

Just my thoughts on the matter.
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post Dec 18 2009, 01:44 PM
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Actually, they can duck being tried as terrorists/war criminals by successfully proving 31's involvement. (How they do this escapes me.) The terrorism charges would stem from use of omega in an inhabited sector and the threat of further use. On the other hand, if you put the worst spin possible on it, they're still on the hook for massive destruction, manslaughter (Lefler), assault (on Hell's Gate), theft (Caelano's device), and possession of banned materials (omega and the thaleron device).

Proving 31's involvement might be a good strategy for getting off, if it makes the Federation *cough*Vindenpawl*cough* desperate to make these events disappear as quickly and quietly as possible. (Trial? What trial?) But again, I'm not sure what they could offer as proof, unless they just happen to trip over 31's fake Helena. Or the Helena crew rescue Heta'an and she's so grateful that she sings like a bird.

--Chris
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post Dec 19 2009, 02:35 AM
Post #12
As I sat knitting, I thought about this question and some things came to mind that may bear some light or just confirm what others have said. Since I have had relatives serve in the Army and Marine Corps, I have come to the understanding that the Helena crew did go rogue when they disobeyed a direct order from a superior officer. Now in the military, that is a very serious charge since hierarchy is respected and highly followed. However, the motive behind Helena is one that the Marines are taught from day one in boot: no one gets left behind. In this case, Odyessy is the one stranded and Helena is on a mission in order to not leave Odyessy behind.

In terms of being war criminals, for that to apply, the Federation would have to be under a declared war. Since ther has been nothing but an invasion, and that has been suppressed, there is no instance of being at war. So if there is a need to define Helena as war criminals, this doesn't apply. As to being criminal, yes since they technically disobeyed a direct order from a superior officer and that could also be grounds for conduct unbecoming which in the end results in dishonorable discharge. So technically, legally, Helena is a criminal but morally, based upon the assumption of no one gets left behind, they are not. In the military it is taught that you watch the back of the man next to you and he watches yours.

Like I said these are just musings but it is my opinion that the definition of war criminal does not apply here but Helena technically is a criminal given the reasons stated above.


As to terrorism, remember the definition of a terrorist is to incite fear. As far as we have seen, the general populace of the Federation has little to none involvement about Helena's actions. All this relates mainly to the military function. The charge could be added if it can be proven that was the motive. As Chris pointed out though, if Section 31's involvement can be proven, then this makes the charge void to a less serious charge.
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MarkP
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post Dec 19 2009, 08:01 AM
Post #13
Have I mentioned yet that I'm a lawyer...?

The law is a technical field, and demands verbal precision. "War crimes," as Nick and David and others have pointed out, is entirely beside the point, as there is no war here.

What crimes are they guilty of? For starters, you can go back to the list of charges the Federation President read out against Kirk in STIV. For starters.

There is the theft of the thaleron device from Caeleno, but that device is itself was stolen by Caeleno's people from a destroyed Romulan ship. Stealing it back from Caeleno would have gotten Faisal and company medals -- if they had returned the device to Starfleet or the Romulan Guard after they acquired it.

Legal definitions of "terrorism" are evolving in our society, but what's lacking here is any evidence of intent to use Omega as a weapon, making the charge dubious.

Crystalwearer mentioned manslaughter in connection with the death of Robin Lefler. That's a fair point, but it could be even worse. In some (not all) jurisdictions in the USA -- but not in England -- Lefler's death would constitute first-degree murder and would be punishable by death. We don't know how the Federation legal code works, of course, but Starfleet's own code of justice might well be stricter than the civilian one, and a murder charge can't be ruled out. (Yes, I know, they don't have the death penalty.)

It's hard to say how serious setting off an accidental Omega explosion and making warp drive inoperative is, as it's hard to conceive of a contemporary analog. The best that comes to mind is an oil spill, something like the Exxon Valdez incident -- if the oil slick were permanent, and permanently made navigation through the region of the slick impossible. And if the Exxon Valdez hadn't been authorized to carry oil in the first place. Safe to say, that would likely elicit a substantial penalty.

As Rick notes, though, the interesting question is, can Faisal and company do something to redeem themselves? Clearly, they can.

The Trek universe is a wonderful place, with technical marvels like warp drive, transporters, and replicators. It has fascinating alien cultures, and a wide-open frontier to romp in. These are what jump out at you when you first watch the show. But none of these are unique to Trek. What makes Trek singular is the visionary human society of the 24th century, where our descendants live in a more perfect society, one more just, more moral, and more ethical than our own. Star Trek has maintained the mystique of its society for 40+ years without ever giving more than vague hints about how it works. But....

Clearly, Starfleet officers disobey orders, violate regulations, even break the law, over and over again, and get away with it. As long as they do it for a higher purpose. We have the concept of necessity in our own American legal system, as a defense against a criminal charge, but if you consider the Trek canon, there's a strong implication that Starfleet officers are not only permitted but expected to break the rules in service of a higher goal. That's the whole point of Kirk's commendation for his solution to the Kobayashi Maru test, isn't it? From first-season TOS ("The Menagerie," "Balance of Terror," and "Conscience of the King" come to mind) to late 24th century (Insurrection, Voyager's "Endgame") we have many, many canon examples of Starfleet officers willing to break the rules for a higher purpose with the implicit, at least, approval of Starfleet. Consider "The Menagerie," for instance, where much is made of the fact that taking a starship to Talos IV is a capital crime, but by the end of the episode, Starfleet waives the penalties without hesitation. The DS9 episode "In the Pale Moonlight" explicitly explores the outer limits of a Starfleet officer's discretion in this regard. (Hint: If a disgraced former member of the Obsidian Order is on the same page with you, it's a sign you should think about this carefully.)

So there's ample canon precedent for the Helena crew to get away with it.

Since I write for HMD, I want to make it clear that I have absolutely no inside knowledge of what's coming next in Odyssey or Helena Chronicles (or Federation One or Grissom, for that matter) and what follows is pure speculation. Some of the considerations that go into whether a person is a criminal or a hero are more political than legal in nature, particularly in our own time, but likely even in the Federation. If you stick your neck out that far, you'd better be right. Good intentions alone are probably not enough. The most likely route to redemption for Helena's crew is to expose and/or right a greater injustice than anything they themselves have done in pursuing that goal. I've already posted repeatedly that I, personally, do not find any of Starfleet's explanations for why Odyssey and her crew are either (a) gone, or (b) beyond hope of recovery even remotely convincing (and by the way, Admiral Rand, which one is it?) So there may be a cover-up here. Section 31 has its own illicit Omega project going, which is at least as big a scandal as anything Helena has done. So there's definitely room for Helena's crew to vindicate themselves.

I have an even more paranoid theory for what's going on, but I haven't posted it on the HF forum. (It is on the Intrepid forum, if you really, really want to know, and, Nick, I am going to finish that story. I promise.)
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post Dec 21 2009, 01:18 AM
Post #14
QUOTE (MarkP @ Dec 19 2009, 09:01 AM) *
Crystalwearer mentioned manslaughter in connection with the death of Robin Lefler. That's a fair point, but it could be even worse. In some (not all) jurisdictions in the USA -- but not in England -- Lefler's death would constitute first-degree murder and would be punishable by death. We don't know how the Federation legal code works, of course, but Starfleet's own code of justice might well be stricter than the civilian one, and a murder charge can't be ruled out. (Yes, I know, they don't have the death penalty.)


I would contend that Lefler's death could just as easily be ruled as death by misfortune - and that it be considered a suicide through said misfortune. I say this because she was directly involved in the assembly of the gear resulting in her death, she was the one who actually turned it on, and she was the one who persisted in operating the device despite the well-known dangers, and the high probability of a failure resulting in catastrophe.

-Jonathan
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post Dec 21 2009, 02:20 AM
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QUOTE (FaxModem1 @ Dec 17 2009, 02:34 AM) *
Now, since you brought it up, would you say they were terrorists? If not, what would you say they are? Legally, morally, and any other variation?

Nope, I don't think they're terrorists, but it seems obvious that someone is setting them up to look like terrorists (Risa for instance).

They are certainly guilty of disobeying orders, and whatever has grown out of that initial decision. Whether they can legally justify what they've done since then is the question.
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post Dec 21 2009, 06:52 AM
Post #16
QUOTE (capell @ Dec 21 2009, 04:18 AM) *
I would contend that Lefler's death could just as easily be ruled as death by misfortune - and that it be considered a suicide through said misfortune. I say this because she was directly involved in the assembly of the gear resulting in her death, she was the one who actually turned it on, and she was the one who persisted in operating the device despite the well-known dangers, and the high probability of a failure resulting in catastrophe.

-Jonathan


True, but Faisal outranked her and was ultimately in charge of the operation. That would be a stronger defense if Lefler had somehow actually been working alone, but she designed that equipment with Dao and Aster and by the time she got around to turning it on, the whole crew knew what she was doing. I agree that Lefler was a willing participant, but it can still be a crime to blow up your accomplices.

It's going to come down to what spin the Federation want to put on these events. Lefler's death can be anything from a tragic accident that occurred as part of a misguided but good-intentioned effort to save fellow officers and friends to a felony murder (thanks Mark!) committed as part of reckless, selfish experiments with a substance that everyone involved knew was too dangerous to use.

--Chris

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post Dec 23 2009, 01:05 AM
Post #17
QUOTE (crystalwearer @ Dec 21 2009, 09:52 AM) *
Lefler's death can be anything from a tragic accident that occurred as part of a misguided but good-intentioned effort to save fellow officers and friends to a felony murder (thanks Mark!) committed as part of reckless, selfish experiments with a substance that everyone involved knew was too dangerous to use.


Which begs the question of why the Odyssey was equipped to utilize it as a power source...if I understand the continued search for it in the series correctly.
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