The Alliance for Global Unity, informally known as The Circle, was an organized Bajoran extremist faction led by Jaro Essa that emerged after the Cardassian withdrawal from the Occupation of Bajor in 2369. The Circle attempted to seize power on Bajor and Deep Space 9 in 2370. However, as this was happening, it became public knowledge that the Cardassians were covertly supplying them with the intent of exploiting the political chaos they caused to reconquer Bajor, discrediting the faction.
The Circle was described as more organized than the Bajoran Provisional Government. Minister Jaro Essa served as the leader of the Circle. In addition to the Bajoran Militia, the Circle had its own armed forces that were used to capture areas of the Bajoran capital city during its attempted coup d'état. The headquarters of the Circle were located underground in the labyrinths of the Perikian Peninsula. The Circle maintained influence over the Vedek Assembly, as Jaro promised Winn Adami that the Assembly would elect her the next kai.
Fifty years of the Cardassian Empire's oppressive rule created a fierce Bajoran desire for independence. After their liberation in 2369, many Bajorans found it insulting when the provisional government invited the Federation to oversee Deep Space 9. Even Kira Nerys, the station's Bajoran liaison officer, believed the Federation had no right to be there. Like others, she had little respect for the Bajoran Provisional Government, but she was willing to abide by its decision. Others, like Kohn-Ma member Tahna Los, were unwilling to wait for change. Shortly after the discovery of the Bajoran wormhole, Tahna attempted to destroy it, believing the Federation, Cardassia, and the rest of the Alpha Quadrant would leave Bajor alone once it was gone. (DS9: "Emissary", "Past Prologue")
Initially, the bulk of the Bajoran people harbored little ill-will for the Federation, but tensions rose when Federation and Bajoran cultures clashed. When Keiko O'Brien opened a school aboard Deep Space 9, most of her students were Bajoran. Her teachings of the wormhole's nature and "wormhole aliens" conflicted with their religious upbringing. According to Bajoran religion, the wormhole was the "Celestial Temple", home of the Prophets. The opportunistic Vedek Winn Adami arrived on Deep Space 9 accusing Keiko of blasphemy, drawing in her political opponent Vedek Bareil Antos, and causing an uproar in the local population. (DS9: "In the Hands of the Prophets")
Jaro Essa, an outwardly gracious minister of the Bajoran Provisional Government, saw an opportunity to seize power and rule unilaterally by capitalizing on civil unrest and the widespread dissatisfaction with the current government. In 2369, he founded the "Alliance for Global Unity" and covertly orchestrated its activities.
"The Circle" became the tool he used to turn the Federation, and the government that supported it, into enemies of the Bajoran people. It offered an alternative, xenophobic vision of "Bajor, for Bajorans". The Circle compared the Federation presence to Cardassia and the recently ended occupation, and insisted all aliens be expelled from the planet and Deep Space 9. Starting with vandalism in remote, unsecured areas of the station, they left their symbols, testing Federation vulnerability. Growing bolder, they left similar graffiti on the door to Commander Benjamin Sisko's quarters and branded the Ferengi barkeep Quark. Concurrently, agents on the planet's surface inflamed anti-alien sentiments. The Circle soon gained significant support, as it was felt that they had better leadership and were more organized than the still-struggling Provisional Government.
Jaro perceived a threat to his rise to power in the popularity of the war hero Li Nalas, recently freed from a labor camp on Cardassia IV. Jaro dealt with it by transferring Major Kira to a surface post, and assigning Li to Deep Space 9. Without Li's unifying influence, riots erupted across the planet. Disgruntled Bajorans angrily demanded a new government that could stand on its own. Armed with weapons purchased from Kressari traders, the Circle clashed with Bajoran Militia forces with increasing frequency. General Krim, the flag officer and a man of some integrity, weighed his options, and eventually allied himself with the Circle. He directed the militia away from areas where the Circle was attacked; the group was therefore allowed to act almost completely unopposed.
Chaos and downfall
Jaro remained popular in the eyes of his fellow Bajorans throughout the ordeal, and he began to openly support reform. With Li Nalas gone, Jaro easily suborned Vedek Winn with the promise she would be the next kai if she claimed the Prophets were on his side.
In preparation for the coup, the Bajoran Militia informed Commander Sisko that he had seven hours to evacuate DS9. Bound by the Prime Directive, Sisko complied but dragged his feet, ensuring his presence, along with several other DS9 personnel, aboard the station when the militia arrived. Krim and his troops boarded the station, and Sisko commenced a short guerrilla campaign.
Dax and Kira arrived on Bajor with recently uncovered evidence regarding the Circle's weapon suppliers in a shipping manifest. Cardassians, finding advantage in the Circle's disruption of Bajoran politics, had surreptitiously supplied the faction through intermediaries with the intention to claim the wormhole and reoccupy the planet once the Federation was expelled. The manifest, with a Cardassian gul's thumb signature, convinced the Chamber of Ministers in time to avert the coup. Jaro, ever the gracious politician, promised to cooperate with the investigation that would almost certainly bring down the Circle.
Aboard Deep Space 9, General Krim gallantly surrendered the station upon the revelation of the Cardassian plot. A Circle fanatic, Colonel Day, attempted to kill Sisko, but Li Nalas took the hit in his place and the hero was killed.
Known members of the Circle
DS9's second season began with Star Trek's first three-episode-long story arc, of which the Alliance for Global Unity was the focal point. Building upon events from the first season, such as the sentiments expressed by Tahna Los in "Past Prologue" and the tensions between Winn and the Federation in "In the Hands of the Prophets", this marked the beginning of a trend that would continue throughout the series.
The revelation of Cardassian involvement in the Circle's plan to overthrow the provisional government appears to have silenced the movement's supporters; in later episodes, Bajor and the Federation are far more cooperative than previously. The fate of members of the Circle, particularly Minister Jaro (who claimed to fully support the investigation of the new evidence) is uncertain.