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The Alliance of Twelve was an organized crime syndicate, and effectively an international terrorist organization, that ultimately sought world domination through control of national governments and the selling of weapons and intelligence for profit and power.
The organization was founded by Alain Christophe, a former counter-intelligence officer of the CIA, as well as eleven other former agents of various intelligence agencies and wealthy individuals investing in the spy trade after the Cold War. The Alliance kept dozens of field offices around the world, or cells, SD-1 through SD-12. SD-6 was in Los Angeles and the main focus of the CIA's 12-year attempt to destroy the entire organization, which was finally achieved in 2002.
The purview of the Alliance was the black market trading of weapons, military secrets, industrial intelligence, medical technology, computer advances and political agendas. Its clients included governments, corporations, wealthy citizens, families and so on.
The Alliance aimed to eventually reach world domination through its control over organized crime and the trade of intelligence. According to Jack Bristow and Arvin Sloane, the Alliance wished to change the world once it had achieved this, and rid the world of corruption, but had become bloated and corrupted over the years, diverging from their original vision and focusing instead on profit.
According to Sydney Bristow, the Alliance of Twelve was responsible for the carbon proxy disaster in 1992, in which an accidental methyl isocyanate leak at the manufacturer plant in Bangalore, India killed three thousand people and injured another thousand, leaving them disabled. In 1996, a bullet train accidentally switched tracks and derailed near Japan's major city of Kyoto, killing a hundred and fifty people. The Alliance was also responsible for that disaster. In 2001, the Alliance caused a transport plane in Germany to suffer mechanical failures outside Munich, killing twelve people. The disasters were falsely believed to have been accidents. In reality, some were acts of revenge, others were personal favors to those who helped fund the Alliance. Some were distractions so that local resources were occupied and allow SD-4 or SD-7 to infiltrate a building somewhere and retrieve any sensitive data (Q&A).
The Alliance came to an end when Sydney stumbled upon information, with Julian Sark's aid, that led her and Michael Vaughn to believe there is one master server, server 47, which could potentially have all the information the CIA would need to shut down all of the SD cells simultaneously, thus acting as a sort of 'silver bullet' to the cell-like nature of the Alliance. Although the server was located on a Boeing 747 plane that was constantly airborne as a security measure, Sydney was able to pose as an escort for the computer technicians on board during one of its landings and copy all the information from the server. When Jack attempted to go back to SD-6 headquarters to get confirmation that the information was genuine (as the CIA would only have one chance), he was apprehended by the acting head Anthony Geiger, who accused him of being a CIA spy. Knowing she couldn't go back herself, Sydney called her SD-6 partner Marcus Dixon to get the confirmation and tells Dixon the true nature of SD-6. With this information, the CIA was able to successfully raid all the offices of various SD cells around the world; Sydney was a part of the CIA assault team that infiltrated SD-6 headquarters in Los Angeles and rescued her father moments before he would be electrocuted by Geiger (Phase One).
It was then revealed that Arvin Sloane had planned the destruction of the Alliance, having a computer technician bypass the surveillance devices in his neck, and he and Sark had supplied Sydney with the genuine information the CIA needed to dismantle the Alliance - after he had cleared out (apparently) all Rambaldi artifacts to his own location outside of SD-6 (Phase One). However, one artifact escaped Sloane's attention. This artifact, The Horizon, had been sought by Prophet 5 for thirty years and was eventually retrieved (after coercing Sydney) by Irina Derevko, who then betrayed Prophet 5, almost four years after the fall of the Alliance.
The organization is divided into 12 sections, named SD-1 through SD-12. "SD" stands for Section Disparu — literally, "the section which has disappeared" in French (Sydney translates it as "the section that doesn't exist" in Q&A).
The CIA, and thus likely Jack and Sydney, were aware of the locations of seven cells (including SD-4, SD-5, SD-6 and SD-7 and an unnamed cell in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) until Sydney's mission to access server 47. (Phase One)
These organized cells are spreading all over the world; the locations of the SD cells are:
- Berlin, Germany (SD-1) (Phase One)
- Seoul, South Korea (SD-2) (Phase One)
- (SD-3) (Phase One)
- Paris, France (SD-4) (Phase One)
- Tripoli, Libya (SD-5) (Phase One)
- Los Angeles, California (SD-6) (Truth Be Told)
- Beijing, China (SD-7) (Phase One)
- (SD-8) (Phase One)
- London, England (SD-9) (The Prophecy)
- (SD-10) (Phase One)
- (SD-11) (Phase One)
- (SD-12) (Phase One)
The Alliance is led by a board of directors. Some members are from the private sector, but most are former intelligence officers. All of them are wealthy.