Tuesday, 26 May 2009

TI's And A Covert No Fly Terrorist List

I made two consecutive bookings at eDreams this week to fly back to Africa, my Home Sweet Home, using a pay as you go credit card. The first booking was made on Saturday for Monday, that got cancelled and moved to Friday, that also got cancelled by eDreams this morning, Tuesday, for no apparent reason really. The Monday booking was cancelled because the credit card payment I used had been rejected, but then only after the web transaction had already been successful. This means funds had already been deducted from my account (I have the statement to show for it), but the merchant to whom the funds had been made payable rejected the transaction at the last minute. As staff at eDreams explained, (sic) "What you have is a retention not an actual charge as we can not accept yoru credit card". Asked why the payment had been rejected eDreams explained there was nothing wrong with my credit card or the payment (it had gone through), but that this was a special case, and as such cases go, for security reasons, eDreams requires that the customer pay by bank transfer. The ticket will only be issued after a successful transaction.

Because a sum I could not replace had already been deducted from my credit card account and put on electronic hold, I was left with no choice but to ASK THE MERCHANT to send my money back so I could use it in a second bank transfer transaction. This meant cancelling the booking made two days before departure given bank transfers take a minimum of three days to complete. I requested eDreams to transfer the booking to Thursday, giving me ample time to do something about this situation. I reasoned because the credit card issue was an electronic issue, the retention could be lifted immediately. I reasoned there would be enough time to transfer the cash from my credit card to some bank account, then to the eDreams bank account, and be airborne before the week was done.

What happened next came as a complete shock.

I am about to arrange a bank transfer when, without informing me, this flight gets cancelled by eDreams without even bothering to tell me about it. I even called customer care this morning about a different issue, and though they had trouble finding my booking, they didn't bother to tell me it had been cancelled. I only found out after being told too many times I had given the wrong booking number (I hadn't), after I clicked on a link to the eDreams page confirming the booking and flight to check whether shifting the flight to Thursday had also changed the booking number. It hadn't. I am sure if I could see it right in front of me as I spoke to the customer care rep, they too could see it.

The implication of this is I would have been trying my level best to see to it that funds get transferred to their account so that I can board the flight on Thursday and in reality my efforts would all have been in vain.

Weird behavior this eDreams behavior, I tell you. I am actually very interested to know just what it was that made eDreams refuse to accept the credit card payment (after processing it). I am also annoyed about what happened here. I know I do not have rights in this England country, as has been proven on several occasions before. The flight booking could have been a response to an emergency situation. Imagine something terrible had happened at home, and I had used my last funds to catch the only flight that would get me there in time, only to be told there was a retention on the credit card payment, not a charge, and I could not access the money to buy a ticket from an alternative company? Flight companies are in it for business, and most of their customers have money, but even a very rich man would raise his eyebrows at the implication of this, ie. pay twice for the same ticket?

I am suspecting what is happening in America regarding the no fly list, including the case of an 8-year-old Kansas boy causing an American national security stir after his name popped up on a no fly list, has also been applied in Europe. I think here too the "We Do Not Want Our Enemies Enjoying The Same Privileges as Ordinary Citizens" mentality has been applied, but surreptitiously and covertly, without media pomp attached, without the making of statements that are as blatant an acknowledgement of a parallel system of justice in effect, the fruition of the Orwellian Terror State, such as the quoted, made by a highly placed official in the American government, the place where all this is perfectly possible.

Does this incident with eDreams indicate I am on that list? What do you think?

Maybe making too much of this than it really is, but I cannot help but feel it is appropriate to say it would be a good idea for those who think they are going to need to move away from countries that are getting WAAAAY too fascistic, to others where freedom can still be enjoyed, to do so NOW, before the little freedoms we are clinging on to here in the west, that are making some things possible still, are taken away completely. My situation may be easy to remedy today (I will simply go strait to the Airlines itself tonight, unless the man gets there before me), and in cases where it is really about the application or abuse of the questionable No Fly Ban, it is still possible to talk about it that even mainstream media is forced to air such talk. I doubt this will be the case tomorrow, and I fear there are people out there who have already been closed in and cannot make their way to freedom. The no fly list isn't about punishment as it is an assault on the freedoms guaranteed every citizen of a country. It is, quite simply, fear of the empowering force of freedom, especially of free movement, to fight the power.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Unauthorized Access to my Blogger Account

I run two other websites with hosts that are unlike this one. I have to upload my own files directly to the main site folders for it to work, unlike Blogpsot where site templates are already available and all the site owner has to do is select the one they like, after which they use a dashboard to build the website. I have to design everything from scratch on my computer, and then later upload the files to the server.

My web pages are written in ASP (Active Server Pages), a technology I am comfortable with that uses server-side scripting to dynamically produce web pages that are not affected by the type of browser the web site visitor is using. Apart from merely uploading main site pages, I also write ASP scripts that allow me to monitor the website. For example, rather than leaving the mail posting function to the server alone, I have scripts in place that create log files that show whether forms have been used and also displays what was posted, as well as taking much more details about the visitor than many will be comfortable with, but then for the sake of confidentiality rather than abuse, which is impossible without site integrity. The host provides site statistic surveys, but rather than rely on these alone I have my own scripts that count hits to specific pages, as well as provide more information about visitors, and so on.

With the help of these little bits and pieces, I have long since discovered that the forms on these websites are unreliable because site security has been breached, not directly through the snares I have put in place that have caught no perpetrator in the act, but by allowing me to ascertain the fact even when the forms are working fine (internal posting is possible), meaning there are no errors in the scripts, something else is preventing the delivery of notification emails to me or site visitors. The scripts have also enabled me to discover that the blocking is in effect as long as I have not done the maintenance checks. Mail delivery resumes as soon as it becomes plain I have discovered emails are not being sent, only to come back on again afterwards, and so on.

The timing of this is always off by a few, enabling me to be certain of premeditation. This is obviously a difficult to win, ridiculous cat and mouse chase. Whoever is responsible for hampering the site’s communications knows I already know what they are doing, yet they persist, but I can understand they have no choice but to continue playing the stupid game. Choices are luxuries to such a mentality, after all.

Only until yesterday, I never thought of the possibility posts to the Blogspot could be prone to fall prey to the same folly. I have not posted to this blog for over two months, but have been getting a constant stream of comments to especially older posts. I receive notification of new comments posted to my blog through my email at Google!, and only have to log into Blogspot to moderate the comments, which is what happened yesterday, the only difference this time being that clicking on the link brought up an unusual error at Google mail. The linked page was displayed but without the main content. Where the main content should have been was an error message telling me "an error has occurred and the page cannot be displayed". Subsequent attempts to reach the page were futile, and when I tried to log into Blogspot my PC crashed and had to be rebooted twice. I finally got through to Blogspot and was quite surprised to find that there were no new comments to moderate. I was completely dismayed when I logged into Google mail again and discovered the notification email had disappeared, and was not in the deleted mail folder neither.

This series of events could not have been a coincidence.

Because I can program, I have a very good idea of how the emailing stuff works, no matter what language it is programmed in. The above events are not highly improbable, but impossible, the only explanation for what happened being that my Blog is being moderated by a third party who also has access to my email. The Google mail error message suggests they do not only have the capacity to log into my email, or what is called client side access, but also the capacity to control the backdoor of the system, the server side.

Doesn't come as a surprise. I can only guess at what else "they" are up to on my website. This is not to discourage the reading of articles on this blog or responding to them, but just keep in mind as you go along that though maintenance checks will be a constant reality from now on, the integrity of the articles could be in doubt. Follow the logic, use your mind, and please do not hesitate to inform me if you find something that doesn't look right. Also, if you do not get a response or do not see your post displayed after a few hours, try alternate means of communicating this to me that you will find on this site.