Is Snowden at Spy or a Hero?

South Orange, NJ
Saturday, July 06, 2013
By Alan Caruba

Interesting to see how Edward Snowden, former employee of a National Security Agency contractor, has dropped off the front pages; how quickly he has become “old news”.

The leaders of the European Union are shocked to learn that the U.S. spies on them. Since their own spy agencies routinely share information with the intelligence agencies of our government, it did not come as a big a surprise to them.

The real surprise is how much spying our government does on American citizens.

Even in the days when the Continental Congress sent representatives to France to negotiate deals to acquire arms and secure its support for our Revolution the British spied on them, opening their mail, and such. George Washington won the Revolution in large part to an excellent network of his own spies. Spying is as old as mankind.

Though he embarrassed the President and the National Security Agency, Edward Snowden is not likely to be granted asylum in Russia. The odds are that Snowden has been a witting or unwitting agent of what used to be called the KGB and now goes by the name of the Federal Security Services, FSB. It is responsible for internal security and counter-intelligence.

It should come as no surprise, however, that two Communist nations, Venezuela and Nicaragua, have offered Snowden asylum.

The old KGB was closely involved with another American who went to Russia. He was Lee Harvey Oswald who history records as returning to the U.S. and later assassinating President Kennedy. The highest ranking Soviet bloc intelligence official to defect to the West, Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa, has written “Disinformation”, revealing the long history of deception perfected under Lenin, Stalin, and others among the parade of KGB agents that served as its prime minister in the wake of Stalin’s death.

In 2007, Pecepa’s book, “Programmed to Kill: Lee Harvey Oswald, the Soviet KGB, and the Kennedy Assassination” in which he revealed that Oswald had been recruited for ideological reasons when he was a U.S. Marine stationed in Japan. “When he insisted on defecting to the Soviet paradise, the KGB kept him there for three years and then persuaded him to return to the United States temporarily, in order to assassinate President Kennedy, who had badly humiliated Oswald’s idol, Khrushchev. before the whole world.” Khrushchev changed his mind, but Oswald was determined to go ahead.

Everything old is new again!

A Daniel Greenfield commentary posted on New Media notes that “Foreign intelligence agencies look for people with security clearances who go through a lot of money in short periods of time, who simmer with grudges and grievances, who are rootless and dissatisfied. These descriptions adequately cover Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning, two men who should never have been given any kind of clearance whatsoever on personality alone.”

FSB Logo

It is pure speculation, but there is reason to believe that Snowden was recruited “for ideological reasons” and given the assignment to secure access to the NSA secrets. His escape to Hong Kong and then onto Russia smacks of some real planning. I don’t know who is funding WikiLeaks, but it would not surprise me to learn that it was the FSB. What an easy way to dupe people like Bradley Manning into providing information the FSB might otherwise not be able to secure. If anyone deserves the firing squad, it is Manning.

On July 1st Snowden said “In the end the Obama administration is not afraid of whistleblowers like me, Bradley Manning or Thomas Drake. We are stateless, imprisoned, or powerless. No, the Obama administration is afraid of you. It is afraid of an informed, angry public demanding the constitutional government it was promised—and it should be.”

Former Soviet KGB officials are now the Russian Federation government, starting with Putin and including every other member of his executive team. The process of disinformation continues; reaching back to the days of the czars.

As Pacepa notes, “In a 2008 Rasmussen poll, only 53% of Americans preferred capitalism to socialism, with another 27% unsure, and 20% strongly opting for socialism.”

That was also the year a totally unknown Illinois Senator leaped from virtual anonomy to capture the presidency. Despite strong connections with radical leftists, his charm and the “slobbering love affair” that ensued from the news media put him in the Oval Office and have kept him there. Along with the White House, the FSB agents stationed here routinely leak or spin stories to these dupes.

Pacepa points out that Obama has engineered the extraordinary takeover of “the U.S. banking sector, home mortgages, school loans, automakers, and most of the healthcare industry.” If the President has not long been and continues to be a FSB agent of influence, then he is surely the greatest of what Lenin used to call his “useful idiots.”

Under the Communist premiers from Lenin to Putin, disinformation has had two goals; to undermine faith in the Judeo-Christian religions, especially the spread of anti-Semitism, and to advance communism/socialism worldwide.

Old journalists like myself will tell you that there is no such thing as a coincidence. This is particularly true on the world stage. There are always unseen hands seeking to set events in motion or to control and correct the outcome of unforeseen events. I have always been wary of conspiracy theories, but that does not mean that conspiracies do not exist.

As for Snowden, Douglas J. Hagmann, a private investigator with strong ties inside the U.S. government among people who are deeply concerned of actions taken by the Obama administration, recently wrote: “Edward Snowden made a conscious decision to expose a massive, draconian system of spying on American citizens that he believed is violating the rights of every American. He could not reconcile his responsibilities under the executive order in which he was working with his knowledge as an American citizen himself.”

I recommend you read Pacepa’s book with its astonishing revelations based on decades within the inner circles of the Rumanian and Russian secret services. At the end of his book, he says, “Let us reject the Marxist redistribution of wealth which has transformed so many once-noble countries into lands looking like giant trailer camps hit by a hurricane…” warning against “the disinformation, the glasnost, that has been used so destructively over the years to squash freedom and bankrupt countries.”

Maybe Snowden is a hero? There are such people, you know. Or a dupe? That’s possible, too.  One thing is sure, more and more Americans are coming to fear the current administration..

Alan Caruba
The National Anxiety Center
South Orange, NJ

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Star Trek Armada on Windows 7 (32 and 64 bit)

(If you don’t care about my life and just want the technical information, skip to the fourth paragraph. I don’t mind!) 

It’s been almost 12 years since Star Trek: Armada came out. It was relased just two weeks after Windows 2000, so naturally it was developed and tested for Windows 98/ME. I was 13 years old at the time and played the game up and down like crazy. Maybe it’s mostly nostalgia, but to me it’s still one of the most fun RTS space games ever. I never liked the sequel, Star Trek: Armada II very much. It came out almost exactly 10 years ago and was based on the same graphics engine, but significantly changed the navigation mechanics of the game, that just felt much too fiddly to me.

Over the last couple of years, I’ve tried time and again to get the game running on my more modern systems. I tried everything from emulators to varying compatibility settings. At one point, I even built a machine from old parts and installed Windows 98 on it – but time and again I failed, the blame lying with graphics drivers and/or DirectX being too old or too new, or just not working together. I even got myself another original release version from England after I had somehow lost the one I’d been using (which I paid for with what happened to be the only cheque I ever sent in the mail for anything).

Now, finally, I got my beloved Star Trek: Armada working on my gaming laptop! Despite the negative effects this might have on my work and social life, I am more than happy ;-) I am writing this post to collect the information I gathered and to help others play the game on their modern machines as well.

(Technical information starts here.)

My gaming laptop is running Windows 7 Service Pack 1 64 bit. Everything described here should work the same on 32 bit. It has 3 GB of memory installed. Although there are some reports of trouble running ST:Armada with more than 2 GB of memory, I am not seeing those problems. For a proposed solution, see here.

The laptop has an NVIDIA GeForce 9500M GS graphics adapter. Many reports (like this one) say that ATI cards are not causing any trouble, whereas NVIDIA cards have lots of problems. This seems to have changed only recently. I can confirm that NVIDIA’s driver software version 180 did not work with ST:Armada, whereas with 281, it works!

When installing the game on Windows 7, no special action is needed. Just run the installer as you normally would. Unless you game version already includes the patch to version 1.2 (like mine does), you must patch the game (you can get the installer here). There is also an unofficial ‘version 1.3’ patch from the Star Trek Armada II: Fleet Operations team developing the eponymous fan-driven mod. You can get the installer here. It promises to fix some bugs on newer systems and introduces additional screen resolutions. I am running this version with great success.

When the game is installed and patched, you need to make some settings. Set the compatibility level for Armada.exe to Windows XP (SP2) (for detailed instructions, see here). Also, the game must be run with Administrator privileges (don’t ask me why).

In-game, I had to enable the “Use alternate font” options for the fonts to look decent. More importantly, you should not try to Ctrl-Tab out of the game, as you will probably not be able to enter the game again, thus losing any unsaved progress.

This is how I got Star Trek: Armada running! The decisive change over the previous years definitely lies in NVIDIA’s new drivers.

Additional option: If new NVIDIA drivers are not an option for you, there is a tool called 3D-Analyze. It can emulate some graphics functions that are missing from many recent drivers, and thus enable older games to run (albeit with slower software emulation of said functions). For a description of how 3D-Analyze can help with ST:Armadasee here. The tool’s official homepage seems to be this one. When I tried it, it didn’t help me run the game, but I managed to at least get it running as intended by a) ensuring write access to the Armada game data directory (which 3d-Analyze writes data to) and b) setting the compatibility for 3D-Analyze to Windows XP (SP2).

Additional resources for help and hints: One of the single most informative forum threads on the topic is this one on (which I have linked above a couple of times). It is, however, not very active anymore. But fret not! There is an active community of players working to get ST:Armada back into action on modern systems, and even in online gameplay! Their forums community is called Star Trek Armada 2011. The forum requires registration, but it is worth it. There is even a dedicated subforum for installing and running the game in Windows 7. As a starting point, see this post for installation and configuring instructions (many of which I have already covered above).

Gimmicks: You can find the official manual to ST:Aramda on the game’s page at TrekCore. They also have cheats, strategy guides, historical information and a lot of other neat stuff revolving around the game.

So, with all this information, I hope you are well eqiupped to enjoy Star Trek: Armada like we did more than a decade ago (yeah, you heard me—more than a decade ago! :-) )

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