View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Tuesday, 16 December 2008


On 30 November last, the body of an unidentified man was recovered from rocks near Eoropie Beach in northern Lewis. Police have conducted extensive inquiries across the island, speaking to operators of B&Bs, busdrivers and members of the public generally. After the man's identity was established, a family member had to travel north to formally identify the body. He was a man of 48 from Kelso in the Scottish Borders, who had been on a walking trip in Lewis. There are not thought to be suspicious circumstances surrounding his death, and, as per procedure in Scotland, a report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.

RIP Charles Coyle

From the bottom of a shoe

The Iraqi journalist, who allegedly threw a pair of shoes at US president Bush, has been beaten in custody, according to his brother. The man is now in a US military hospital for treatment. Throwing shoes is a sign of supreme contempt in the Arab world, and George W. Bush is most impopular in the Middle East. The invasion of Iraq in 2003 and American support for Israel (to mention but a few) lie at the bottom of that. The reporter is likely to be prosecuted under Iraqi law, possibly for insulting a foreign leader and/or the country's president. News bulletins yesterday showed a number of demonstrations across Iraq supporting the shoe-thrower.

The invasion of Iraq in 2003 was in my mind unnecessary, however unpalatable Saddam Hussein was. He was already hamstrung, unable to move militarily, and patently not in possession of weapons of mass-destruction. It would have been a matter of time before he was removed from power anyway. The American leadership acted in the usual manner, barging in without thought for the consequences or the broader picture. In my opinion, George W. Bush sought to complete the job that his daddy had left unfinished in 1991 after the first Gulf War. There was no plan for what happens next.

Invading an Arab nation was bound to inflame regional tensions and act as a focal point for terrorist groups like Al Qa'eda. It says much for the Iraqi people that they themselves have now started to rise up against foreign insurgents, leading to a gradual improvement in the security situation in the country.

Tuesday 16 December

Nice sunny day today, but with a fresh southwesterly breeze. A major improvement on yesterday's rain and wind. Although the mercury rose to 11C / 52F yesterday, I think I prefer it to be a little colder rather than wet.

If you are using the Internet Explorer browser (any version), you are advised to take precautions. A major security flaw has been uncovered, which renders the computer vulnerable to attack. Other browsers (Firefox, Opera, Safari) are not affected. It is thought possible that through the attack, passwords could be illegally retrieved from the machine. More info on the BBC website, I'll summarise the security advice from Microsoft.
  • Change IE security settings to high (Look under Tools/Internet Options)
  • Switch to a Windows user account with limited rights to change a PC's settings
  • With IE7 or 8 on Vista turn on Protected Mode
  • Ensure your PC is updated
  • Keep anti-virus and anti-spyware software up to date