Nothing irks me more than bullies. Liberty, equality, and critical reasoning are all things that I hold in the utmost regard. The press should be free, scientific inquiry should be free, and no one, particularly a social construct, should stand in the way of those inalienable rights. So when the DED threatened to issue death warrants for a group of IKAME explorers for failure to release the body of the intrepid Hilen Tukoss, I was….vexed.
Let’s forget, for a moment, that issuing a death warrant in this case is wantonly inappropriate and completely reprehensible. Let’s forget that this is a matter that should be settled in a court rather than through the unilateral bluster of the DED. Let’s forget about all that and the woeful disregard for the dignity of science and of life that must exist within CONCORD to allow that demand to be issued. Forgetting all that, only then can we, as free-thinking players, entertain considering the DED’s position.
In their claim, the DED attempted to argue their case on the following grounds:
“Given the high profile of this case, and the fact that his case number has been listed as a matter of interstellar security, the responsibility of execution of his legal and civil rights lie with the Director of Operations for the Directive Enforcement Department.”
I find that rationale insufficient, regardless of the apparent legality cited via references to Article 8, Section B of the Yulai Convention…speaking of which, has anyone seen the physical text of the Convention? Does it even exist?…but I digress..
The DED has already, by it’s own admission, been a part of the investigation conducted by the third party organization, IKAME. This is explicitly expressed in page 1, paragraph 4 of their demand letter. Thus, it stands to reason that they already have the analysis they need to move forward with their case. Taking sole custody of the body seems a bit moot. Additionally, if they were truly concerned with preserving the integrity of the evidence and with maintaining an atmosphere of transparency in the midst of public criticism, they wouldn’t move the body any more than necessary and continue to operate under the current agreement with IKAME under which both organizations can conduct their work in parallel. I suspect there is no basis, other than hubris, for them to seize the remains.
Secondly, I find it hard to grasp why the DED is so interested in this one man’s body. At face value, sure…Hilen’s remains are connected to the Drifter phenomenon and after this weekend’s invasion, I might be inclined to agree that the remains should be in DED custody. But when I look at this objectively in light of months of Drifter activity, I find it very hard to reconcile why the DED and CONCORD would be so concerned with Hilen’s body when they weren’t equally concerned with the scores of others killed (and often collected) by the ominous Drifters. If this were an investigation with any real integrity, then the DED would investigate each death with equal fervor and that is clearly not the case. Not to mention, do you really think the Drifters cared about Hilen’s “high profile”?; that they thought of his meager little ship as anything more than a nuisance? Probably not. In fact, they probably did away with him in a manner similar to how they did away with all the others they have killed and/or collected. Thus, from the standpoint of statistics and scientific reasoning, the DED would have more to learn by investigating and collecting as many slain capsuleer and Drifter bodies as possible rather than obsessing over the remains of one man. For that matter, why haven’t they been collecting every Apollo Tyrannos or Artemis Tyrannos body?
Additionally, if CONCORD and the DED were operating competently with all their advanced technology and methods, they should have attempted to mount a defense against the Drifters the moment capsuleers were in danger. They cannot sit idly by until some celebrity is slain before taking action. They should have acted when Circadian Seekers appeared, when the Jove Stations decloaked, when the Drifter battleships appeared…not waited until IKAME embarrassed them by doing their job for them. I would argue that embarassment is actually the motivator here. IKAME is small, unlike other exploration organizations like, say, the Sisters of Eve (which I speculate engage in far more questionable activities from the standpoint of CONCORD), and I feel like the DED knew they could overpower them.
Third, with regards to the explicit foundation of the DED’s argument (i.e. that they have a responsibility to provide for the execution of Hilen’s legal and civil rights because it is a matter of interstellar security and the case is high profile), their rationale is a legal non-sequitur. The fact that a case is high profile or there is a claim of interstellar security has nothing to do with the preservation of an individual’s civil rights, particularly given the text of Article 8 (YC) provided. If they wanted to argue that Hilen’s civil rights are being violated, they should frame that argument accordingly rather than trying to claim some blanket concern related to interstellar security. Furthermore, I doubt the DED is actually concerned about Hilen’s civil rights at all. If that were the case, they would have taken a more active role in preserving the peace when Hilen defected from the Caldari State back in YC 113 rather than leave his welfare up to capsuleers. In fact, given Hilen’s expressed discontent with the five empires, you would think that the best thing the DED could do to preserve his civil rights and last wishes would be to leave him well enough alone and in the hands of the sort of free-thinkers he held in such high regard.
Finally, there is the question of DED and CONCORD authority in the matter at all. CONCORD and the DED are supposedly a neutral diplomatic and law enforcement body established by the five empires to preserve the peace and regulate interstellar commerce. While that inherently grants them considerable authority within empire space, it does not grant them the authority to interfere in matters that happen outside of empire space, including Anoikis. Their authority is derived from that of the empires and since the empires wield no authority outside of their combined holdings, CONCORD cannot assume to hold any authority beyond those boundaries. Thus, it follows that they have no claim in the matter since it happened outside of their jurisdiction. To take this is step further, by issuing a bounty on capsuleers outside of the empires or even by sanctioning bounty hunters to operate outside of the empires, they have effectively laid jurisdictional claim to those independent systems and I’m not sure they have that authority to do so.
All that in mind, I was a staunch supporter of defying the DED’s demands on the grounds that this is a matter for some form of high court, so I was a little disappointed to hear that Lucas Raholan has acquiesced to their request today. But it was his choice to make, not mine. He was the one facing the bounty, not me.
I do, however, worry about the future of the increasingly shaky relationship between DED/CONCORD and capsuleers and wonder if the upheaval created by Drifter invasions and any subsequent destabilizing of the empires and CONCORD isn’t a good thing. Either way, I smell brimstone.