Pikachu vs. Mr. Ash Ketchum (aka Ketchum-San, Satoshi)


Mr. Pikachu


Mr. Ash Ketchum (aka Ketchum-San, Satoshi) and

“Gotta Catch `em All Gymnasium”

My client, Mr. Pikachu, a resident of Mt. Fuji forest and contiguous areas, does herein bring suit for damages against Ash Ketchum, the “Gotta Catch em All” gymnasium doing business in every town, district, and territory.

Mr. Pikachu seeks compensation for personal injuries, loss of business income, and mental suffering caused as a direct result of the actions and/or gross negligence of said individual and company under Title 15 of the Pallet Town Code, Chapter 47, section 2072, subsection (a), Conspiracy to Travel in Interstate Commerce in Aid of Unlawful Activities and to Sponsor a Pokemon in Fighting Venture;  18 P.T.C . § 371 Conspiracy to Travel in Interstate Commerce in Aid of Unlawful Activities and to Sponsor a Pokemon in a Fighting Venture.18 P.T.C. § 373 Wrongful imprisonment in a Pokeball.

Mr. Pikachu states that on ninety-eighty separate occasions he has been forced to fight on behalf of Ash Ketchum (hereinafter, “Defendant”), which did cause him dramatic psychological harm and bodily injury.  A Pokeball is proof of his living conditions during this time is at present in the possession of the Court, marked Exhibit A. The psychological and physical injuries sustained by Mr. Pikachu have permanently restricted his ability to make a living in his profession of forest spirit.  Mr. Pikachu is self-employed and thus not eligible for Workmen’s Compensation.

Mr. Pikachu states that on September 14th he was captured by the Defendant while minding his own business in the forest. The Defendant captured him through the use of a restraining device (Pokeball) similar to torture chambers used in secret CIA prisons documented as human rights abuses by the World Court and many United Nations countries. While confined to the Pokeball he had no freedom of any limb, nor could he breathe or move in any way. He was routinely confined to the Pokeball for days at a time.

Paragraph One of the Report of Attending Physician (Exhibit B), prepared by Dr. Trip, M.D., details the multiple fractures, contusions, and tissue damage suffered by Mr. Pikachu as a result of his time imprisoned in a Pokeball and forced to engage in unlawful Pokemon fighting at the direction of the Defendant. Repair of the injuries requires a full bandage around the head (excluding the ears), a neck brace, and full or partial casts on both legs and his electric tail. In addition, Mr. Pikachu is diagnosed with PTSD causing him sleepless nights and making him unable to work.

Hampered by these injuries, Mr. Pikachu was nevertheless forced to continue fighting for the sole purpose of Mr. Ketchum’s pleasure. Mr. Pikachu states that on occasions too numerous to list in this document the Defendant violently threw him into an arena with another Pokemon in a fight to near death. On several occasions Mr. Pikachu overhead the Defendant talking to (once to Professor Oak) stating he made no money from these fights and his sole purpose was for the learning experience.  

In addition to reducing all Mr. Pikachu’s life to horrific gladiatorial combat with an ever present fear of death, the Defendant’s actions resulted in the following disfigurements to Mr. Pikachu:

  1. Severe singeing of the hair on the head, neck, and body.
  2. Fracture of the left ear at the stem, causing the ear to dangle in the aftershock.
  3. Full or partial combustion of whiskers, producing kinking and frazzling.
  4. Radical shape of the eyes appearing as “X”s while unconscious.

Mr. Pikachu respectfully requests that the Court regard these larger economic implications and assess punitive damages in the amount of thirty million dollars. In addition, Mr. Pikachu seeks actual damages (missed meals, medical expenses, days lost from professional occupation) of one million dollars; general damages (mental suffering, injury to reputation) of twenty million  dollars; and attorney’s fees of eight hundred and fifty thousand dollars.

By awarding Mr. Pikachu the full amount, this Court will censure Defendant, The Gotta Catch `em All Gymnasium, its directors, officers, shareholders, successors, and assigns, in the only language they understand, and reaffirm the right of the individual forest spirit to equal protection under the law.

The victim impact statement is submitted on behalf of Mr. Pikachu and witnesses including numerous Bulbasaur, Squirtle, and Charmander Pokemon seized from the”Gotta Catch em All” Gymnasium and for those Pokemon which were brutally imprisoned and tortured by Ketchum and his cohorts. The brief includes a description of the systematic abuse and torture which is inherent to the business of Pokemon fighting as well as the collateral effects of Pokemon fighting which criminalizes a noble breed of Pokemon (Pikachus) and tarnishes the reputation of responsible Pikachu owners everywhere.

Analysis of Klingon Diplomatic Negotiation Strategy and Tactics

Executive Summary: The years following the Praxis mining accident have been marked by changes in Klingon diplomatic goals and tactics. There continues to be significant resistance from the ruling elite to the policy and security goals established by the Klingon High Council and Foreign Ministry. With internal stability the primary concern, factors external to the Empire play little role in determining Klingon foreign policy towards the Federation.
Klingon foreign policy over the last decade has proven quite erratic as the 24 Great Houses (tuqmey) of the High Council battle for control of the Empire. The effectiveness of Federation foreign policy initiatives is unknown but probably quite limited in the current environment.
The Klingon Foreign Ministry has rarely held high status in the warrior society of the Klingon Empire. However, recent interstellar events have caused the High Council to place far greater emphasis on foreign policy decisions and management. The Minister for Foreign Affairs now holds a prominent position on the High Council and the Ministry has increased in budget and personnel by 30 percent over the last earth decade.
Recent indicators suggest the Klingon foreign policy apparatus lacks the necessary information to support the foreign policy decision making process. This situation is probably due to the long history of military intelligence as the primary function of the Klingon Empire’s intelligence services supporting the High Command. Current reporting indicates the High Council and the Foreign Ministry are increasingly tasking the Empire’s intelligence services to support diplomatic activities. One such activity became publicly known when the Klingon Signals Intelligence Service hacked into the databases of Federation presidential political parties. Federation investigations determined the High Council authorized this operation.
Foreign Policy Strategy and Tactics
Intimidation and coercion: The Klingon Diplomatic Service has long employed practices of intimidation on personal and institutional levels. Threats of military or other action to the Federation and outside worlds are common in diplomatic negotiations. Klingons consider the “fear” response  be repulsive. While in a heated discussion with the Orangi Alliance the Klingon Ambassador Q’rah threatened a military invasion. The Orangi representative produced a weapon and instantly killed Q’rah; stating “if there was to be an invasion it would have to be done with one less Klingon.” Federation SIGINT reports high praise for the Orangi among members of the Klingon High Council. Reparations were made to the House of Q’rah and subsequent negotiations went smoothly.
Blame Outsiders: Klingon diplomatic strategy traditionally blamed its outside planetary systems and alliances for economic and industrial production failures throughout the Empire. This practice significantly abated in recent years due to the need to rely on external resources since the destruction of Praxis.
Proxy Worlds: The employment of intimidation tactics includes the use of proxy worlds to support Klingon interstellar positions. Even Federation or neutral planetary systems in and near the neutral zone are subject to Klingon threats and harassment. Physical isolation from Federation ‘safe space’ makes these worlds vulnerable regardless of their status. This vulnerability to coercion has fuelled support amongst outer worlds for the Klingon dilithium mining rights and the intergalactic free trade agreement. Those planetary systems in and around the neutral zone that have not capitulated to the Klingons have significantly increased their defense spending.
Factors motivating Klingon Foreign Policy Decisions:
Status quo: The most significant factor in all foreign policy decisions is the need to maintain the power of the Klingon High Council and ruling elite (Great Houses) in society. All decisions and policies serve to maintain this status quo.
Clan Interests:
Externally, the major houses (tuq) of the Klingon Empire engage in consensus decision making on foreign policy and national security matters. However, there are significant power struggles between houses which often manifest themselves in foreign policy (official or otherwise). Internal Negotiations, concessions, manipulations, and corrupt practices often determine the course of High Council decisions on mining, commercial, and interstellar trade operations. The result of this governance system may appear to Federation diplomats as aggressive and even irrational.
The arbitrator and final authority of High Council decisions is the Supreme Chancellor. Intelligence and diplomatic reporting suggests that the Supreme Chancellor often favors Houses of immense wealth and power, particularly those closest to his blood line. However, analysis of the Chancellor’s decisions on political appointments, commercial trade and mining contracts indicates that some effort is made to distribute wealth and political power among the Great Houses. The likely reason for these decisions is to raise the power of as many Houses as possible, thereby building personal loyalty, and lessening the possibility of bureaucratic resistance, subversion, assassinations, or even outright rebellion.
Self Interest and Family Honor: Klingon officers have, on occasion, taken unauthorized military actions if it is within their personal or clan’s interests. These actions are often done using risk analysis incorporating clan interests and the potential for individual officer advancement. It is not uncommon for Klingon warships to attack Federation ships, convoys, or outposts if the act is perceived to be a great benefit to the Empire. Such benefits often include destroying a well known foe, gaining a new advanced technology, killing criminals, and eliminating a perceived threat to the Empire.
Perception of lesser place in the Galaxy: Klingon culture carries with it the concepts of pride and honor. Much of society rests upon these two believe structures. Federation advances in science and technology as well as societal development represent an ongoing challenge to the Klingon belief system and the legitimacy of the Empire. Diplomatic reporting and defector debriefings highlight the concerns of senior High Council officials that the Federation has already advanced well past the Empire. The Praxis mining incident has added to the public perception of the Federation being superior system.
Collapse of the Empire: Several Klingon subjugated planets rebelled against the Empire in the aftermath of the destruction of Praxis and evacuation of the population off Kronos (Qo’noS). In recent years, still more have rejected Klingon military basing rights and renegotiated trade and mining agreements. The Klingon High Council has as a first priority to manage the dramatic geopolitical change that is occurring and prevent total collapse of the Empire. All foreign policy decisions support this objective.
Summary: Klingon foreign policy is employing few new strategy and tactics. The objectives of foreign policy remain the same – maintain the High Council, Great Houses, and the Empire. Foreign policy mechanisms are now stressed due to the intensity of forces internal to the Empire which include clan interests, actions of member planets, and the perception of stability.
Edward of Planet

An uproarious scifi comedy that will have you laughing until your sides ache.

POC: Nicholas Eftimiades. Science Fiction Intelligence Files

Author “Edward of Planet Earth”.

DragonCon 2016 Speaking Schedule


Here is my tentative speaking schedule for DragonCon 2016 in Atlanta, GA. This promises to be a fantastic event. Come join 85k of your closest friends.

Title: How Will It All End?
Description: Media has given a vast array of possible ways civilization may come to an end, and continues to provide new apocalyptic and disaster scenarios with increasing creativity. Our experts and panellists lead a discussion on the most likely – and unlikely – causes for The End.
Time: Fri 05:30 pm Location: Chastain F-H – Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Tedd Roberts, Nick Eftimiades)

Title: Post Parade Cool-Down
Description: Join the skeptical parade group for a cool-down and discussion on skeptical issues.
Time: Sat 11:30 am Location: 204-207 – Hilton (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Margaret Downey, Barbara A. Drescher, John W Loftus, Nick Eftimiades, Angela F. Mattke, Aron Ra)

Title: Writing, Creativity, and Skepticism
Description: A few top authors and artistic creatives, who are also Skeptics, discuss what effect their personal skepticism has on their writings.
Time: Sat 04:00 pm Location: 204-207 – Hilton (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Michael Stackpole, Scott Sigler, Nick Eftimiades, Curt Anderson)

Title: Spotting Illogical Arguments
Description: What do UFO enthusiasts, conspiracy theorists, preachers, and politicians have in common? They all have the ability to manipulate an argument. Their statements are designed to influence, steer, direct, guide, persuade, etc. A description of logical statements and how to spot those which are not.
Time: Sun 11:30 am Location: 204-207 – Hilton (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Nick Eftimiades)

Title: S.T.E.M. Education: Everybody Wants It; No One Wants to Pay For It
Description: S.T.E.M. education has been drastically reduced while budgets on the federal, state & local levels have been cut. NASA’s outreach budget is almost non-existent. How can this vital piece of education be delivered to our younger generation? Some creative & old fashioned methods are presented.
Time: Sun 04:00 pm Location: 212-213 – Hilton (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Dr. Pamela L. Gay, Nick Eftimiades, David J. Hewitt, Sam Ortega)

China Claims Mars with New 9 Million Dash Line


China Announces New Nine Million Dash Line

(Beijing, 22 July 2016) Today China declared its “indisputable sovereignty” over the planet Mars and revealed its nine million dashed line clearly showing China’s sovereignty over the planet. At a press conference, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi made the following quote:

Wang Yi

Foreign Minister Wang Yi

“The planet Mars was first detected by Chinese scholars thousands of years ago; well before the Greeks. This fact is not in dispute. Because this is not documented in the Western word is inconsequential. Mars is also Red, showing it clearly belongs to our beloved Socialist System with Chinese Characteristics. Any attempt to dispute this fact is just another example of foreign hegemonic behavior and attempts to interfere in China’s internal affairs. We urge the United States and other nations to correct their behavior and beg forgiveness from the Chinese people.”

There can be no refuting this, claimed the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs as it pushed back against continued U.S. and Russian exploratory landings on the heavenly body. “The peaceful Chinese people have tolerated foreign incursions on our Martian soil for far too long. Foreign entities should correct their inappropriate behavior.” Minister Yi also noted that along with the U.S.; the Indian Space Research Organization has put a reconnaissance satellite around Mars for military purposes.

U.S. Presidential hopeful and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last week called the Mars sovereignty issue “a leading diplomatic priority.” Chinese Foreign Minister Yi subsequently called her comments “virtually an attack on China” and said U.S. intransigence “can only make matters worse and more difficult to solve.”

“China has indisputable sovereignty of the South Sea and China has sufficient historical and legal backing” to underpin its claims, Geng Yansheng, a Ministry of Defense spokesman, told reporters at a military compound outside Beijing today. It opposes efforts to “internationalize” the issue and will resolve differences through “friendly negotiation,” he said.

The Chinese government considers the entire Planet of Mars and any empty space up to it as its own, dismissing claims from the United States and other countries, and is building an space-going fleet to project power beyond its earthly borders. China told the NASA, the European Space Agency, and RosCosmos, to halt exploration anywhere in China’s sovereign territory which extends from Beijing to and around the Red Planet, according to U.S. government agencies.

Yi said at length that the issue should be discussed when all nations recognize China’s irrefutable claims. “The United States is attempting to coerce nations into blowing out of proportion the Mars sovereignty issue,” the state-run China Daily said in a July 20 editorial. “This is a irresponsible and dangerous move. It will jeopardize the status quo on Earth and in space; one that is built upon peaceful coexistence.”

Historical Series on Intelligence in Warfare: The Battle of Endor


This series of articles examines the multiple facets of espionage and its role in determining the outcomes of the most significant military engagements in recorded history.


The Battle of Endor took place a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. The events leading up to this epic confrontation illustrate the significant impact of intelligence in determining the outcome of space based military conflicts.

The poorly equipped Alliance to Restore the Republic (aka Rebel Alliance) was an insurgent campaign attempting to overthrow the autocratic ruling Galactic Empire. The rebellion effort included numerous star systems over multiple galactic sectors. The two opposing forces executed intelligence functions at strategic, operational, and tactical levels.

The conflict at Endor was the most important engagement of the Galactic Civil War. It precipitated the decline of the Empire with the deaths of Emperor Sheev Palpatine, Darth Vader, and several senior Imperial officers. It also resulted in the destruction of the second and upgraded Death Star, a significant capital investment and warfighting capability for the Empire.

Endor was a catastrophic intelligence failure for the Rebel Alliance at strategic and operational levels. Rebel intelligence had superior basic military and tactical intelligence. Much better proficiency was demonstrated and greater success achieved employing intelligence at tactical levels. The Galactic Empire was able to execute a strategic deception campaign and extraordinary Operations Security (OPSEC).

Strategic Intelligence

The planet of Endor was a gas giant located in the Endor system of the Outer Rim Territories’ Moddell sector. It was orbited by a forested moon of the same name. Plans for the battle began after the Rebels learned that the Empire was building a new Death Star above the forest moon of Endor. The Rebel intelligence believed: 1. that the station was protected by a powerful deflector shield projected from a base on the moon; and 2. the station’s weapons were not yet ready for service. The Rebels also learned from the Emperor’s data-pad, stolen in the Battle of Korriban, that the Emperor was personally supervising the Station’s final stage of construction.

In fact, the status of the Death Star weapons systems, the role of Palpatine in overseeing construction, and the disposition of Imperial forces in the area of operations were a strategic deception campaign. The Emperor himself directed the campaign to provide the Rebels with information on the construction site, the location of the planet-side shield generator, and misinformation on the station’s operational status.

The most notable aspects of this strategic deception campaign were the Empire’s strong OPSEC and the Rebel Alliance’s poor intelligence analysis. At a minimum, the Empire’s OPSEC successes included the following:

  • Hiding movement of their Imperial Flagship Executor to the Death Star Area of Operations
  • Hiding deployment of other strategic fleet assets such as Darth Vader’s personal fleet, Death Squadron
  • Reinforcing Death Squadron strength to over thirty Star Destroyers
  • The existence of the Death Star at Endor
    Operational status of Death Star’s weapon systems
  • Deployment of the 501st Storm Trooper legion to the Moon of Endor
  • Imperial invasion fleets on the borders of the Calamari sector and Mon Mothma’s homeworld of Chandrila.

Rebel Alliance Intelligence collection assets should have detected at least some of these indicators. If in fact these indicators were detected, Rebel intelligence analysts should have been able to correlate and analyze that data and detect either the Empire’s trap or the threat in Calamari sector. So there was either a major failure in collection, analysis, or both. Whatever the actual lacking, the Rebel Alliances’ failed intelligence almost cost them the war.

The Rebel Alliance made its own attempt at strategic deception by launch an attack on Imperial forces near the planet of Sullust. This strike was intended to lure Imperial ships away from Endor. Emperor Palpatine said to Darth Vader that he was aware of the Rebel fleet movement but considered it inconsequential as his plan was to crush the rebellion at Endor. This statement implies the following about Imperial intelligence capabilities:

  •  The Alliance knew enough about the Empire’s collection capability to know it would detect its fleet movements near Sullust.
  • Imperial forces had sufficient intelligence collection to determine Rebel fleet movements near Sullest (as both Vader and the Emperor were aware of them).
  • The Empire had determined Alliance had plans to attack Endor.

Palpatine found the Rebel’s fleet movements irrelevant because he had devised a strategy to maintain the majority of the fleet close to Endor. There, the fleet would provide security and support for the second Death Star instead of engaging the Rebel Fleet, a strategy not revealed until the commencement of the battle above Endor’s forest moon.

What the Empire gained in Strategic Deception, Intelligence, and OPSEC they lost in counterintelligence and Information Assurance. Although the Imperials successfully led the Rebels into a trap, they were unaware that the Death Star was actually controlled by the bounty hunter droid IG-88A. In the early stages of construction the last IG-88 series droid prepared to launch a revolution. The Artificial Intelligence transferred its consciousness into a duplicate of the Death Star’s computer core. When the Empire installed the core, IG-88A controlled the Death Star. Had the Rebels not destroyed the station, the end result would have been as bad if not worse for the Galactic Empire.

Operational Intelligence

Operating on false intelligence the Alliance planned its two-pronged attack. A commando team, led by General Han Solo would land on the moon in a stolen Imperial shuttle and disabled the base’s deflector shield projector. The Alliance Fleet, led by Admiral Gial Ackbar and aided by Lando Calrissian in the Millennium Falcon, would destroy the battle station.

Prior to the battle, Rebel Alliance Chancellor Mon Motha briefed pilots and ground assault crews on the details of the Endor operation. The Alliance learned that the space station was orbiting the forest moon. Details included technical schematics of the station infrastructure indicating the most probable location of the primary target, the Station’s ‘power grid”. The technical information was limited in that it did not provide exact location requiring the Rebel fighters use sensors to detect the power source.

As part of her presentation Mon Motha noted that the space station data came from Bothan spies and that ”many Bothans died to bring us this information”. It is poor OPSEC for Mon Motha to identify the the specific source of the intelligence reporting as Bothan spies. Doing so jeopardizes Bothan spies currently operating against the Empire. Had the Empire had a recruited asset or technical surveillance in the briefing room they would have known the exact plans and timing of the Rebel attack. In addition, the Empire would have likely begun investigations and counter espionage efforts against Bothans with access to the Empire’s military plans, intentions, and especially capabilities. This would be done in an effort to identify any additional Bothan spies.

The Empire might have even taken action against the entire Bothan population. Imperial military leaders have taken extreme retaliatory measures against entire population groups. In addition, measures against population groups suspected of espionage are common in history. On the planet Earth (Milky Way, Galactic Sector ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha) during the Second Punic War the Romans learned that the City of Carthage was debriefing traveling merchants to gather intelligence. They responded by slaughtering thousands of Carthaginian traders, merchants, and sailors over a few days. Similarly, at the start of a major conflict, a country called the United States imprisoned a racially different segment of its citizens for fear they would be used by their country of heritage for espionage or sabotage.

Tactical Intelligence

Neither the Empire nor Alliance appeared to have any knowledge of the indigenous occupants (Ewoks) of the forest moon. Local area knowledge is a critical component of Preparation of the Battle Space. This proved to be a tactical advantage for the Rebels and a critical failure for the Empire. After allying with the Rebels, the Ewoks provided safe “tree” houses, food, and combat support to the Rebel assault team. Most importantly, they provided critical tactical intelligence identifying a secret entrance to the shield generator facility.

The Alliance Fleet exited from hyperspace and moved to attack the apparently un-shielded Death Star. General Lando Calrissian noted  that the ship’s sensors were not detecting the shield or its residue left after deactivation. This fact meant that the Empire was jamming the Alliance attack force. This information provided by the ship’s sensors has three intelligence implications:

  • The shield was still active.
  • The Empire knew Alliance sensor frequencies as jamming is only possible if the Empire had knowledge of the frequencies. (Alternatively, the Empire could have been jamming on all frequencies but this is unlikely given the impact on their own communications and General Calrissian’s reaction upon discovery)
  • The Empire expected the alliance attack.

During the space battle Admiral Ackbar ordered a concentrated assault on the Imperial flagship Executor. Several fighter squadrons began to target the Executor’s main sensors. Indicating the Rebel Alliance had basic military intelligence on Imperial ship identification and capabilities. The targeted assault on the Executor’s sensors, turbo lasers, and Command Bridge led to disabling the ship. Caught in the Death Star’s gravity well the Executor was destroyed and the Station severely damaged.

In the course of the battle, the Alliance engaged the battle cruiser Pride of Tarlandia, a communications ship that was jamming (hampering) Rebel communications, and providing communications support to the Death Squadron. Alliance tactical sensor arrays (Signals Intelligence, i.e. SIGINT) detected the emanations and destroyed the ship’s communications and jamming capabilities.

Throughout the battle, similar targeting of Imperial ships’ sensors, shields, and weapon systems indicate the Alliance had comprehensive intelligence on military capabilities.

The Rebel fighters, led Wedge Antilles and General Calrissian penetrated into the Station’s superstructure and attacked the Death Star’s main reactor chamber. Antilles destroyed the reactor core’s power regulator while Calrissian targeted the core itself. Death Star personnel had situational awareness of these actions and responded by flooding the area with electronic interference to hinder the Rebel’s progress and directing Advanced Tie Interceptors to eliminate the Rebel threat. Ultimately, both acts proved unsuccessful.


The Galactic Empire showed outstanding use of Strategic intelligence, deception, and OPSEC; but poor counterintelligence and Information Assurance. In contrast, the Rebel Alliance shows poor OPSEC but strong basic military intelligence and tactical intelligence (situational awareness) in the local battle space.


  1. Star Wars: Episode III The Return of the Jedi
  2. http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Battle_of_Endor
  3. Science Fiction & Fantasy Stack Exchange (Why was the Death Star’s shield generator on Endor?)
  4. Science Fiction & Fantasy Stack Exchange Why didn’t the Rebels jump to hyperspace to escape at the Battle of Endor?
  5. Endor Planet Wookipeedia http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Endor_%28planet%29
  6. Bothans Star Wars Wookipeedia http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Bothan
  7. The New Essential Chronology
  8. Star Wars: The Essential Atlas

*NOTE: This analysis does not include applications of The Force which were unverifiable at time of publication. However, it should be noted both sides claimed extensive knowledge and insights as a result of its use.

Historical Series in Intelligence Warfare: Battle of Yavin



The Battle of Yavin took place a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.  The events leading up to this epic confrontation illustrate the significant impact of intelligence in determining the outcome of space based military conflicts.

The poorly equipped Alliance to Restore the Republic (aka Rebel Alliance) was an insurgent campaign attempting to overthrow the autocratic ruling Galactic Empire.  The rebellion effort included numerous star systems over multiple galactic sectors.  The two opposing forces executed intelligence functions at strategic, operational, and tactical levels.  Much better proficiency was demonstrated and greater success achieved employing intelligence at tactical levels.

Strategic Intelligence

Prior to the Yavin campaign the Rebel Alliance “Striking from a hidden base” won its first major military battle against the Empire.  During that battle rebel spies managed to steal the death star plans.  (Opening Credits, Star Wars: A New Hope).  These two data points: Striking from a Hidden Base, and during the battle rebel spies stole the death star plans, provide keen insight into Rebel Alliance and Galactic Empire’s relative intelligence and Operations Security (OPSEC) capabilities.

The Rebel Alliance struck from a hidden base.  This fact means that the Empire did not have required intelligence to identify the location of those Rebel military forces.  This lack of military intelligence can be attributed to poor collection/analysis on the part of the Empire, good OPSEC or strategic deception on the part of the Rebel Alliance, or some combination of these factors.  Whichever the case, it does not appear that the Empire’s intelligence effort was capable enough to penetrate Rebel denial and deception operations to determine enemy unit location, size, plans or intentions.

Spies stole the Death Star technical plans during the Rebel Alliance attack.  The initial credits and several references during the course of the film “Star Wars A New Hope” credit the theft to spies, not soldiers.  The fact that spies acted under cover of an attack suggests that they knew what they were looking for or at least where to find important information within the Empires computer system.  They also knew how to get access to that system to retrieve the plans.  This fact implies that spies were in place prior to the attack in position(s) with sufficient cover and access to obtain the Death Star data.  The Rebel Alliance therefore, had the Living Being Intelligence (LIVBINT – Note this can not be Human Intelligence because no humans are involved) capability to penetrate the Galactic Empire.  In contrast, the Empire did not have the security or counter intelligence capabilities in place to detect or otherwise thwart the Rebel LIVBINT collection effort.

Operational Intelligence

Darth Vader leads a Star Destroyer in an attack against the CR90 corvette Tantive IV.  This ship is carrying Princess Leia Organa of the Royal House of Alderaan.  Darth Vader demands to know where as the plans for the Empire’s Death Star while choking the ship’s captain, Captain Antilles.  He states that the Tantive IV intercepted a transmission which containing the Death Star plans.  Moments later, Vader also states “several rebel transmissions were beamed aboard this ship from rebel spies…”.  The evidence suggests that the Galactic Empire has the Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) capability to know that several transmissions were transmitted and intercepted by a specific ship.  Further, the Empire knows the content of these transmissions.  This appears to be a fairly robust SIGINT capability.

While still on the Tantive IV, an officer informs Lord Vader that the plans are not in the ship’s main computer.  Assuming the Empire’s personnel were reasonably competent, this knowledge implies the Empire has the forensic intelligence capability to search the ship’s main computer system for files that could be hidden or erased.  Vader then directs the commander to “tear this ship apart until you find those plans and bring the passengers to me. I want them alive”. The Empire will continue the search by ‘tearing the ship apart’, meaning to extensively search the ship.  The fact that Vader demands to the see crew members implies that they will be interrogated for intelligence information.  Further evidence to support this contention comes moments later when Vader instructs an officer to send a distress signal and then to inform the Imperial Senate that all aboard were killed.  Keeping rebel forces alive while reporting then dead implies they are being kept alive for a reason.

Also on board the ship Vader also states “I have traced the rebel spies to her (meaning Princess Leia) and now she is my only link to their secret base.”  The location of the secret Rebel base emerges as a new – and more important — Intelligence Objective in addition to the Death Star plans.  The Empire’s intelligence collection apparatus is pretty limited if this is the only source of that information.  Is there no tracking of food, weapons suppliers, fuel, etc.?  Are there no LIVBINT penetrations of the Rebel Forces, supporting governments, or their supply chain?

Conversely, is the Rebellion’s intelligence apparatus and Operations Security (OPSEC) so good that they operate with relative impunity?  It would appear so. The ability to maintain a hidden base as well as the theft of the Death Star plans would appear to indicate strong intelligence and OPSEC capabilities.  Yet, there are still some gaps in the Rebels strategic intelligence as they are unaware that the Empire posses a significant SIGINT capability able to intercept transmissions to Princess Leia’s ship.

Other indications of the Galactic Empire’s intelligence capabilities (and limitations) are seen on the planet of Tatoonie.  First, Obi Wan Kenobi and Luke (son of Darth Vader) live on this planet and are never detected by the Empire.  They are two primary threats to the Empire and still they are not detected.  Both have been there for several years so obviously, the Empire lacks a pervasive intelligence collection capability.  Didn’t anyone in the local stormtrooper detachment ever debrief the local merchants, Jawas or interrogate the Sand People for tactical intelligence to provide situational awareness?  Obi Wan seems to know Mos Eisley’s reputation “wretched hive of scum and villainy” as well as what bars to go to for the best trader pilots.  This knowledge indicates he is not a stranger to the area so it’s hard to imagine he would not, at some point, be known to people in the area.

The Mos Eisley Space Port is on Tatoonie.  There, Stormtroopers are searching for two droids indicating the Empire is conducting a systematic search to recover the stolen Death Star plans.  A local spy discovers the droids and tracks them, Obi Wan and Luke from the bar area.  The spy (he, she, it?) reports that information via a portable communications device.  Moments later Stormtroopers arrive on the scene and the spy directs them to docking bay 94 and Hans Solo’s ship.  The fact that a spy is in place in Mos Eisley and relays tactical information to immediate response forces indicates the Empire has some ‘on the ground’ LIVBINT collection capabilities.  This is particularly interesting and would tend to indicate the Empire’s uneven performance levels of intelligence capabilities in remote areas.

The rescue of Princess Leia on board the Death Star provides additional insight into the Empire’s intelligence apparatus.  The droid R2D2 is immediately able to plug in and access the Death Star’s computer system.  There appear to be no security protocols such as user identification and authentication.  R2D2 accesses information reports and controls some of the ship’s functions such as the garbage mashers.  There also appears to be very little ‘need to know’ doctrine incorporated into this military capability.  In only one case — the detention level – is R2D2 denied information as it is restricted.

Tactical Operations

The final applications of intelligence capabilities of the Galactic Empire and the Rebel Alliance are seen in the actual battle of Yavin.  The Rebel forces have exploited the Death Star plans to determine a course of action.

The Empire identifies the Rebel base on Yavin IV, a moon of the planet Yavin.  This is accomplished by installing a tracking device on Hans Solo’s ship, the Millennium Falcon.  This is evidence that the Empire has some intelligence tagging, tracking, and locating capability.  Princess Leia is aware of this fact and yet goes to the Rebel secret base anyway.  Given the rebel’s normally good OPSEC this appears to be a poor course of action.

After arriving in the Yavin system, the Empire forces calculate the exact moment that the Death Star will clear the planet and be within firing range of the moon.  Similarly, the Rebels know the exact same information even as their fighters and bombers are just being launched.  They must, therefore, have some technical collection capabilities within the planetary system to provide space situational awareness.

As the two military forces engage both sides report the strength of the opposing forces.  In addition, multiple references are made to the locations of enemy forces. The Rebel command base notifies its forces that it has identified new signals entering into the area and that Tie Fighters are inbound.  This action supports the contention that the Rebellion maintains a capable tactical SIGINT intercept capability.  In addition, during the course of the battle operating forces (or Command it is unclear) report the numbers of gun turrets on the Death Star surface (20) and in the trench (10).

The Galactic Empire also provides tactical intelligence to its operating forces.  During the engagement, they note the number and type of attacking forces as well as their relative locations.  It is, in fact this information that compels Darth Vader to command two pilots to accompany him to attack a group of rebel fighters.  Lastly, an officer speaks to Governor and Death Star commander Grand Moff Takin noting they have analyzed the Rebel’s attack strategy and that there is a threat.  This analysis implies the Empire has collected, collated, and analyzed multi-source information in an on-going battle and has assessed it against the ship’s vulnerabilities.  This is outstanding intelligence work given the combat circumstances.  It suggests a professional, well trained, and disciplined work force.


The Galactic Empire had several failures in intelligence at the strategic level.  Effectiveness of LIVBINT appears inconsistent across different operating environments.  In contrast, the Rebel Alliance shows greater proficiency in strategic intelligence.  Both sides appear to have equal capabilities in intelligence collection and exploitation in tactical applications.  Traveling to Yavin IV while knowingly being tracked degraded Rebel OPSEC and could have led to the destruction of the Rebel Alliance.

Source: Star Wars: A New Hope