- "The communications backbone of the Republic has become a favored target of the Separatists. Some attacks have been outright destructive, but the insidious attempts to taint our channels with disinformation and viral data is just as dangerous."
- ―Senate Bureau of Intelligence Director Armand Isard
CIS Shadowfeed was a Separatist-sponsored news and propaganda program broadcast throughout the galaxy during the Clone Wars. Most shadowfeeds originated from the communications arrays in Murkhana City.
During the Clone Wars, ease of communications was of vital importance to both the Galactic Republic and the Confederacy of Independent Systems. The HoloNet was the most advanced and widely-used communications grid in existence at the time, and was used by the galactic media. As such, it was seen as a key propaganda tool by both factions; however, the Republic exerted total control over the media after a government seizure of the HoloNet, and stopped the Separatists from using it themselves. For several months after the start of the conflict in the First Battle of Geonosis, 22 BBY, the Republic used it to censor information and broadcast anti-Separatist propaganda.
Approximately nine months after Geonosis, the Separatists were able to gain access to the HoloNet via hyperwave transceivers and nodes spread through the galaxy with the help of expert slicers. Suddenly, the CIS and its leader, Count Dooku, could broadcast its own propaganda, and the public had two sets of "facts" to deal with. Broadcast primarily from Murkhana in the Outer Rim, this new "shadowfeed" was aimed at both Republic and Confederate citizens; it reported only Separatist victories and Republic misdeeds and atrocities. The CIS Shadowfeed helped shatter the Republic invincibility alluded to in the Republic's own propaganda, driving the masses of the Core Worlds into the fear of an impending Separatist victory, while the Republic desperately attempted to assure them they were safe.
Propaganda therefore played a key role in the war. Count Dooku was a highly adept speaker, whose simple, powerful appeals to people's spiritual wants and desires for freedom earned him the nickname "Gentle Hand." The Twi'lek known only as "Ryloth Resa" lured clone troopers to her broadcasts with better musical selections than those of the Grand Army, and made emotional appeals for them to desert and spread stories of Republic mistreatment of clones. The Byblos geneticist Ull Haber targeted the Republic's citizens, claiming that the Kaminoans had suppressed the genes that would allow clone troopers to integrate with mainstream society, and that the Republic had covered up numerous incidents in which clones were maddened by bloodlust and massacred Republic civilians. Haber also claimed that the Jedi Generals had promised the clones settlement on selected Republic "liberty worlds" after the war, which would be ruled as the clones saw fit.
The CIS Shadowfeed presented a vexing problem to the Republic. Attempts were made to shut it down, to no avail. In addition to its propagandizing, the CIS also frequently sabotaged Republic communications, with both munitions and experimental jamming technology. In response, Senate Bureau of Intelligence Director Armand Isard formed a Cryptanalysis Department, headed by Ilko Deminar, tasked with preventing such attacks and shutting down the CIS Shadowfeed.
Aargau and Dooku's address of 22 BBYEdit
- "By reading the spurious reports from Coruscant regarding our withdrawal from such temporary worlds as Raxus Prime and Ord Janon, the Republic would have its citizenry believe we are on the run. Given the graft rampant in the Senate, it comes as no surprise that their biased media agencies are just as corrupt. The forces on our borders and outlying colonial assets are admittedly facing greater numbers, but with our inexhaustible supply of troops and materiel from the Neimoidian coffer-worlds, Techno Union home foundries and mighty guild-worlds, it's only a matter of time before the Republic is overwhelmed."
- ―Dooku's shadowfeed address to the Confederacy
In an early CIS Shadowfeed dispatch (dated 14:2:14 GrS), Separatist propagandists reported on the situation on the Core World Aargau, the headquarters world of the InterGalactic Banking Clan, a Confederate ally. Despite being a tacit supporter of the Confederacy, Aargau was officially neutral in the Clone Wars; thus, the CIS and Banking Clan were greatly angered when the Republic posted military forces to the world. Local planetary law stipulated that it was illegal for noncitizens on Aargau to possess or use arms, yet the Republic refused to pull out, citing the protection of its citizens and the disappearance of an inspection team posted to Aargau to try and link recovered Separatist Hailfire droids to manufacturing plants within the IBC Arcology on Aargau. The shadowfeed report was biased towards Aargau and the Banking Clan, making no reference to the IBC's Separatist links, but frequently mentioning the planet's neutrality in the war, and the Republic's breaking of local law.
The same dispatch included a public address made by Separatist leader Count Dooku, in response to fallacious Republic reports that the Jedi had conquered vital Separatist worlds. After temporary Separatist withdrawals from worlds such as Raxus Prime and Ord Janon, the Republic media had begun disseminating accounts of mass CIS retreats because of Republic pressure. In his speech, Dooku stated that such reports were fault, labeling the Republic media and Senate as corrupt: he went on to boast about the Separatist military charged with protecting their allies' commercial headquarters, and promised the citizens of the Confederacy that before long, the war would be won. Simultaneously, the Republic was telling its own citizenry that the Separatists were on the run and on the brink of defeat, with neither side striving for honesty.
- "The callous lack of value shown by the Republic in this exercise is appalling. Each of those miners represented a hard worker with invested skill levels. The synergistic aggregate of the village total was far beyond the worth of each individual."
- ―Official Separatist statement, made by Shu Mai, on the events at Bassadro, via the shadowfeed
The CIS Shadowfeed dealt a serious blow to the Republic in the aftermath of the Battle of Bassadro, nine months after the start of the Clone Wars. Bassadro was a world rich in resources, and was captured by the CIS early in the war; in response, the Republic sent a task force led by Jedi Master Empatojayos Brand to retake the planet. In a twelve-day battle, the Republic forced Separatist troops, led by Skakoan Major Domb Treetor, to seek shelter in dormant volcano ranges. Rather than engaging the opposition directly, Master Brand opted to fire concussion missiles at overhanging obsidian rock formations, filling the air with millions of glassy shards. Many Separatist assets and troops were destroyed, and a local mining village, Agao-Nir, was also hit by the shrapnel. Over four hundred unaffiliated, native miners were killed. Brand only ceased the onslaught after the surrender of Major Treetor, who signed a treaty with the Jedi Master handing Bassadro and its mineral wealth back to the Republic.
Losing Bassadro was a blow for the CIS, but the shadowfeed was quickly able to put a spin on the story and use Brand's callous actions to its advantage. Based on unverified transmissions to the CIS by the captured Treetor, the CIS shadowfeed reported on the miners' deaths, claiming that Treetor surrendered purely to save any more innocent lives, in a dispatch dated 14:3:10 GrS. Commerce Guild Presidente Shu Mai also made an official Confederate statement via the shadowfeed, condemning the Republic's actions. Meanwhile, the Republic media either omitted mention of the miners' deaths or twisted the truth to their benefit, starting the most well known duel between the two factions' propaganda. The Republic intensified its attempts to shut down the troublesome shadowfeed.
In the same dispatch, the Separatists also reported of the newly minted CIS credit, and the work being done by the InterGalactic Banking Clan to bolster its value, which, according to IBC Communications officer Lo Vapeet, was at fifty percent of the value of a Republic credit in the Mid Rim. Meanwhile, on Coruscant, the Commission for the Protection of the Republic was formed as a result of the shadowfeed. The actions of the Confederacy's propagandists had turned some Republic citizens fanatically loyal, and COMPOR's rallies and marches were just one way they rebelled against the CIS and championed the Republic's cause.
Tambor and AndoEdit
- "Not surprisingly, this story has yet to be reported in the government-dominated mainstream Republic media."
- ―14:4:12 GrS CIS Shadowfeed report, referring to Wat Tambor's rescue
Just over one month later on 14:4:12 GrS, the Confederacy distributed another shadowfeed dispatch, detailing the rescue of Techno Union Foreman Wat Tambor, as well as a breach of local law by the Republic on the planet Ando—two events not publicized in the Republic media.
Tambor's rescue was used as a morale booster to the worlds of the Confederacy, highlighting the inefficiencies of the Republic and the bravery and cunning of the Separatists. Tambor, leader of the Separatist-allied Techno Union and the CIS Supervising Combat Engineer, had been incarcerated by the Republic on Metalorn and transported to a detainment center on remote Delrian. However, the center's favored security firm was owned by the Commerce Guild, which allowed the Confederacy access to detailed specifics of the facility's layout and security. Tambor, kept under constant guard by eight clone troopers, was permitted a visit by two Skakoan legal deputies, accompanied by Nuri, a shapeshifting Clawdite bounty hunter. The two Skakoans then decompressed their pressure cells, causing an explosion that took the lives of the clone troopers—as well as their own. Nuri then used classified Techno Union technology to bypass the facility's defenses and flee with Tambor. The shadowfeed report lauded the Skakoans' heroics and the Techno Union's technology, and noted the story's absence in Republic media.
Murkhana and conclusionEdit
After the Separatists were forced onto the defensive with the start of the Outer Rim Sieges, Republic forces began to close in on the Shadowfeed's origin world of Murkhana. Separatist propaganda largely went silent after the Republic took the planet in the Battle of Murkhana, but some propagandists, like "Ryloth Resa," remained unaccounted for and their true identities were never discovered.
- Republic HoloNet News Core Edition 14:2:12 (First mentioned) (Indirect mention only)
- CIS Shadowfeed Dispatch 14:2:14 Edition (First appearance)
- CIS Shadowfeed Dispatch 14:3:10 Edition
- CIS Shadowfeed Dispatch 14:4:12 Edition
- CIS Shadowfeed Dispatch 14:7:01 Edition
- CIS Shadowfeed Dispatch 14:9:08 Edition
- CIS Shadowfeed Dispatch 14:9:15 Edition
- CIS Shadowfeed Dispatch 14:10:05 Edition
- CIS Shadowfeed Year's Start Fete Day Edition
- CIS Shadowfeed Dispatch 15:01:15 Edition
- CIS Shadowfeed Dispatch 15:2:29 Edition
- Republic HoloNet News Core Edition 15:3:02 (Indirect mention only)
- CIS Shadowfeed Dispatch 15:3:21 Edition
- Labyrinth of Evil (Indirect mention only)
- Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith novelization (Mentioned only)
- Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader (Mentioned only)
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 The New Essential Chronology
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader
- ↑ Labyrinth of Evil
- ↑ CIS Shadowfeed Dispatch 15:01:15 Edition
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Republic HoloNet News Core Edition 14:2:12
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 CIS Shadowfeed Dispatch 14:2:14 Edition
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith novelization
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2
- ↑ Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith Incredible Cross-Sections
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 CIS Shadowfeed Dispatch 14:3:10 Edition
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 CIS Shadowfeed Dispatch 14:4:12 Edition