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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 10-Apr-2014
10-Apr-14 World View -- New terrorist bombing in Pakistan, as Taliban ceasefire expires

Web Log - April, 2014

10-Apr-14 World View -- New terrorist bombing in Pakistan, as Taliban ceasefire expires

'Heartbleed Bug' requires all users to change their passwords

This morning's key headlines from

New terrorist bombing in Pakistan, as Taliban ceasefire expires

Bombed marketplace in Islamabad, Pakistan, on Wednesday (The News)
Bombed marketplace in Islamabad, Pakistan, on Wednesday (The News)

A powerful explosion in a fruit and vegetable market in Islamabad, the capital city of Pakistan, killed at least 24 people and injured hundreds. It's believed that the bomb was stored in a wooden fruit crate and was detonated when the fruit crate was delivered to the market.

A Taliban linked terrorist group, United Baloch Army (UBA) claimed responsibility for the bombing, giving as reasons revenge against government security forces, and demanding a separate state for Balochistan.

However, Pakistan's Interior Ministry is denying that UBA was responsible for the bombing, and is saying that it was the consequence of a disagreement among factions of the Pakistani Taliban (Tehrik-e-Taliban - TTP). Last month, TTP announced a unilateral ceasefire, in order to give peace talks with the government a chance. ( "11-Mar-14 World View -- Terrorist bombings continue in Pakistan despite so-called 'cease-fire'")

That one-month ceasefire expires on April 10, and there is bitter disagreement among the leadership of various TTP groups about whether the ceasefire period should be extended. It's believed that the bombing attack is related to that disagreement. However, a TTP spokesman said that the TTP had nothing to do with the bombing.

Like the Mideast peace talks, the Taliban peace talks are considered something of a joke by observers. TTP originally demanded that three conditions be met before any peace talks can begin: TTP prisoners must be released from jail, the army must be withdrawn from the tribal areas where it has been fighting the Taliban, and the government must agree to impose Sharia law on the entire country. Finally, the TTP agreed to the one-month ceasefire, but it only recently emerged it turned out that this commitment was made because prime minister Nawaz Sharif agreed to release 19 Taliban militants from jail. Sharif secretly kept this process last month, though the secret was revealed last week.

If it weren't so serious, it would be amusing that both the Mideast "peace talks" and the Pakistan "peace talks" were both considered a joke, are both about to expire, and were both based on a promise to release convicted militants from jail. Daily Times (Pakistan) and The News (Pakistan)

John Kerry's 'Poof' speech infuriates the Israelis

As I reported yesterday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry blamed Israel in a Senate hearing for the collapse of the Mideast "peace talks" that he had set up last year in July. I quoted the official transcript on the State Dept. web site, but apparently there was an additional statement that didn't make it onto the web site.

Kerry said that the Mideast "peace talks" collapsed when Israel refused to release the fourth batch of prisoners who had been convicted of terrorist acts prior to the 1994 Oslo accords. And then, according to Kerry, Israel moved ahead with plans to approve 700 West Bank settlements.

"And, poof! That was sort of the moment. We find ourselves where we are."

Kerry was implying that, until that moment, the "peace talks" were on track, or close to being on track, but "poof!", Israel threw it all away.

This particular remark is infuriating Israelis, who point out that the Palestinians had broken a number of commitments, and had refused to commit to continuing the peace talks before applying to 15 United Nations agencies.

At any rate, as I've written many times, the "peace talks" that Kerry set up were never more than a theatrical show, considered a joke in the Mideast, and now Kerry is painting himself as a victim, as if to say, "I worked soooooooooooooo hard to set up these peace talks, but the two of you, especially Israel, just won't listen to me and do what I say." Jerusalem Post and Commentary

Palestinians develop political plans to defeat Israel

There are still military resistance groups among the Palestinians, but Palestinian leaders don't have faith in them because they don't appear to have serious, workable plans to change the status quo with respect to Israel. Instead, Palestinian leaders are pursuing two nonviolent resistance plans to defeat the Israelis:

Leaders of both Fatah and Hamas have praised both movements, but some, include Mahmoud Abbas, oppose the idea of boycotting the state of Israel, because it generates sympathy for Israel.

The total collapse of the peace negotiations, which many people now expect, will boost the anti-wall and BDS resistance movements, and without the distraction of the negotiations, these movements may be a lot more successful. Al-Monitor

'Heartbleed Bug' requires all users to change their passwords

Security experts are warning that a newly discovered security vulnerability exposes almost all web sites to compromise by a hacker. The bug was accidentally put into the popular OpenSSL (Open source Secure Socket Library) software library that's used to encrypt secure conversations between user browsers and web sites. The library is widely used within web servers for e-mail, banking and other web sites, but the bug permits a hacker to steal usernames and passwords of logged on users. The bug has been around since December 2011, but was only recently discovered, and was announced on Monday. Once discovered it was easy to fix, and most major web sites have fixed the bugs by now.

However, the real question is whether any hackers discovered the bug before it was announced and fixed, and have been harvesting usernames and passwords for weeks or months. This is not a far-fetched scenario, since there are teams of hackers in China, Russia and eastern Europe who work full time to discover vulnerabilities like this. For these reason, security experts are strongly recommending that all users change their passwords on all the sites they visit, starting with the most important sites.

The bug was discovered in a specific function in the OpenSSL software called the "heartbeat" function. This function causes your browser to exchange information with a web site every few seconds, in order to verify that the connection still works. The bug is that the server leaves the heartbeat information in unencrypted form in server memory for a brief period of time, and during this period a hacker could download it. For this reason, it's called the "Heartbleed Bug." CNet and

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 10-Apr-14 World View -- New terrorist bombing in Pakistan, as Taliban ceasefire expires thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (10-Apr-2014) Permanent Link
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