Elliott C. Back: Internet & Technology

Obama Kills Again: Assassinates American Citizen

Posted in Homeland Security, Law, Politics, President by Elliott Back on September 30th, 2011.

Obama wasn’t content to rest up after his illegal assassination of Osama bin Laden back in May, this time stepping up his game to take out American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki with a predator drone / Hellfire missile in Yemen. The audacity of conducting public assassinations on the territory of sovereign nations aside, the New York Times picks right up on the issue of due process:

The strike appeared to be the first time in the American-led war on terrorism since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that an American citizen had been deliberately killed by American forces, a step that has raised contentious constitutional issues in the United States. It was also the second high-profile killing of an Al Qaeda leader in the past five months under the Obama administration[.]

The White House decision to make Mr. Awlaki a top priority to be hunted down and killed was controversial, given his American citizenship.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which fought unsuccessfully in the American court system to challenge the government’s legal justification for its so-called targeted killings program, which was used to take aim at Mr. Awlaki, condemned that program in reaction to the news of Mr. Awlaki’s death. “As we’ve seen today, this is a program under which American citizens far from any battlefield can be executed by their own government without judicial process, and on the basis of standards and evidence that are kept secret not just from the public but from the courts,” Jameel Jaffer, the A.C.L.U.’s deputy legal director, said in a statement.

For what it’s worth, Foreign Policy’s blog agrees that Anwar was a US citizen due an appropriate trial. The correct course of action would have been extradition from Yemen to the US for trial.

GMail Blocking Chase Emails as Spam

Posted in Google, Spam by Elliott Back on September 23rd, 2011.

For whatever reason, Gmail keeps blocking my account alert emails from Chase. In my spam folder, guess which are really spam, and which are legit?

When I move them to my inbox and/or mark them as spam, I get warned that “Warning: This message may not be from whom it claims to be. Beware of following any links in it or of providing the sender with any personal information.”

How do I get Google to believe that my emails from Chase are real? I keep marking them as not spam, but that doesn’t help! Ridiculous that Gmail is hurting Chase Bank’s ability to conduct business and manage their fraud/risk. I highly suspect that account fraud alerts would get thrown into the same bucket…

Update 1:

The message headers seem to indicate a failure between Cornell and Google’s servers on SPF (Sender Policy Framework):

Delivered-To: XXXX@gmail.com
Received: by with SMTP id k18cs6777ibg;
Sat, 24 Sep 2011 05:13:22 -0700 (PDT)
Received: by with SMTP id ct16mr4101007vdb.423.1316866401115;
Sat, 24 Sep 2011 05:13:21 -0700 (PDT)
Return-Path: <Chase@alerts.chase.com>
Received: from limestone3.mail.cornell.edu (limestone3.mail.cornell.edu. [])
by mx.google.com with ESMTP id bz6si11946296vdc.126.2011.;
Sat, 24 Sep 2011 05:13:21 -0700 (PDT)
Received-SPF: fail (google.com: domain of Chase@alerts.chase.com does not designate as permitted sender) client-ip=;
Authentication-Results: mx.google.com; spf=hardfail (google.com: domain of Chase@alerts.chase.com does not designate as permitted sender) smtp.mail=Chase@alerts.chase.com; dkim=hardfail header.i=@alerts.Chase.com

X-CornellRouted: This message has been Routed already.

Update 2: A helpful Googler/blog reader said this:

It appears to be a problem specifically with Cornell. It’s a known issue when Cornell is forwarding e-mails to GMail. The Cornell IT admins [are fixing] their exchange server. In the meantime you can fix this with either:

- have Chase send info direct to @gmail.com
- create a filter to “never mark as spam” for that address.

My solution is to change my old rules to email directly to gmail rather than forward through Cornell’s servers.

NYPD Shuts Down Wall Street To Thwart Anonymous Protests

Posted in Law, NYC by Elliott Back on September 18th, 2011.

The protests this weekend on Wall Street have led to an NYPD blockade of much of the NYSE immediate area, leaving residents unable to freely walk the streets without having to pass through illegal NYPD checkpoints and show ID and proof of residence, and discouraging NYC tourists from visiting the historic area. The New York Times writes in Wall Street Protest Begins, With Demonstrators Blocked:

[T]he demonstrators found much of their target off limits on Saturday as the city shut down sections of Wall Street near the New York Stock Exchange and Federal Hall well before their arrival. By 10 a.m., metal barricades manned by police officers ringed the blocks of Wall Street between Broadway and William Street to the east. (In a statement, Paul J. Browne, the Police Department’s chief spokesman said, “A protest area was established on Broad Street at Exchange Street, next to the stock exchange, but protesters elected not to use it.”)

The area blocked off by the police is approximately all of Wall Street from Broadway to William:

I am personally a bit irritated at the NYPD for stepping all over the 1st Amendment, which grants protesters the right to peaceful assembly:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The police barricades make it annoying to come and go on Wall Street; having 700-1200 protesters would crowd things as well, so it’s six of one half a dozen of the other. The only thing about the latter scenario is that I would able to go home feeling proud that Americans are standing up for their rights, rather than feeling like that the police state is already upon us and there’s nothing we can do about it.

I spoke to one of the police offers last night and asked him if the police action was constitutional. He asked if wanted “protesters breaking things and wrecking your home.” I said I didn’t, but they had the right to come protest, at which point the officer said it wasn’t worth his time talking to a wiseass. Oh well….

You can follow the progress of the protest on Twitter tags #DayOfRage, #TakeWallStreet and #OccupyWallSt. Gothamist also has a nice gallery of photos, the Daily Mail rag as well.

« Previous PageNext Page »