Saturday, 14 February 2015


The British Government, is currently outsourcing the torture of Irish Prisoners (POWs), through the regular use of sectarian thugs in riot squad attire, let loose within Maghaberry prison, to batter prisoners by pretext and proxy. It's purpose, is to criminalize the prisoners, their political status and their political organization, within the working class communities, they come from. It is intended to batter their Cause and their people's aspirations, into submission.

British Sinn Fein who are part of the current ruling junta in Stormont, consistently say, out of the sides of their mouths, that they are ‘working in the background’, on the issue of brutal conditions in Maghaberry. Their ‘Working in the background’ mantra, is as orifice licking in reality, as is their rhetoric, calling on Irish people, to become informers to British Occupation forces. They too, like the fascist Blueshirt government in the south, have a vested electoral interest, in the preservation of the status quo, in the oppression of opposition, with their gombeen, Irish political collaboration, with the British.

The common people of oppressed communities, are on the contrary, taking to the streets, in protest to demand an end to British brutality. Political Prisoners in Occupied Ireland, have been  subjected to a calculated regime of torture, for the last 45 years now, in the latest troubles in Ireland. The truth is, that only massive campaigns of agitation on the streets, as was the case with the 10 hunger strike martyrs, by ordinary Irish people, at home and abroad, will force the British ruling junta, to comply with International Law and standards, on the treatment of POWs.

There is also  a humanitarian aspect to this issue, which needs to be publicized, to appeal to the humanitarian conscience, of both the European and International community, to broaden support. This will definitely increase, the number of people involved in the protest movement. The humanitarian aspect of Maghaberry's brutal conditions, are again a political symptom, of Britain's centuries-old Imperialist role in Ireland. The torturous conditions and covert political internment by remand, emphasise their covert continuous Dirty War, against Irish Republican people.

British Sinn Fein, on the one hand, claim the mantle of the ten martyred Hunger Strikers, for electoral purposes, while with the other hand, are a critical part of the oppressive British regime, that keeps the Orange jackboot, on the necks of the defenceless POWs, battered to the ground. In fact in the latest attacks on the prisoners, they left the imprint of the heel of their boots, on the bloodied heads of prisoners, precisely the same treatment, meted out to Bobby Sands and his hunger strike comrades. The sectarian Orange Order prison service know, they can get away with murder, with a secret Orange Order Chief of Police, all under theTories, as they did with Margaret Thatcher.

The campaign for the Maghaberry POWs, must include a public acceptance, that these prisoners are political prisoners. They are Prisoners of War, a British Dirty War, covertly waged against Irish working class people, under the cover of prejudice and bigotry, using the well-worn terrorist narrative, through all organs, of an Orange Scum State, that extends right into sectarian Maghaberry, with the torture of Irish POWs. A recognition of this critical fact and it's explanation to the public, will lead to a better understanding of why, the British are using Kitsonian tactics and Kitson's dirty tricks, against POWs, using torture, while at the same time, using, the judicial conveyor belt, of secret Diplock courts, for covert internment of political oppostion, all with a nod and a wink, from the collaborationist, politcal beneficiaries of British Sinn Fein. 


There’s a debate in Britain on whether to hold a judicial inquiry into UK involvement in torture. This comes in the light of last week’sSenate committee report on use in the US of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques – that is, torture.
But the debate should not be about mere UK involvement or complicity in torture. It is the UK’s actual use of torture – most notably in Iraq – that needs judicial scrutiny in public.
That is the story, despite the fact that today’s al-Sweady inquiry found the most serious allegations to be unfounded. And it’s the story the Ministry of Defence seek to cover up now with its constant attack on “unscrupulous lawyers” bringing forward cases on an “industrial scale”.
But if the UK unlawfully kills and tortures Iraqis in detention, as has happened, then the law requires that the state must investigate all of these cases, and do so at the time of the incidents – that is, from 2003 onwards.
The senate report summarised the techniques used against 39 detainees: “electricity; lighted cigarettes; freezing temperatures; withholding medical treatment; forced nudity; sexual humiliation; object rape; beatings with enough violence to break bones; prolonged sleep deprivation and interrogation; mock executions; various forms of sensory deprivation to include confinement in coffin boxes; prolonged standing and suspension from ceilings and door frames to increase stress; threats of harm to family members; and waterboarding.”
But the shocking facts about Iraq are that the UK used all of the above techniques and many more.
In September 2011 the 1,400-page Baha Mousa public inquiry reportpainstakingly documented how the UK had trained its forces in unlawful interrogation techniques at the Defence Intelligence and Security Centre in Chicksands. These techniques included the use of hooding, sleep deprivation, dietary deprivation, stress techniques and the use of noise – techniques banned from Northern Ireland – and much worse: forced nudity, disorientation, threats, debility and many others.
The report had 73 recommendations to eradicate such illegality. But the reality of what we did in Iraq is so much worse. Over the past few months my team has registered claims for judicial review with the high court on behalf of more than 700 Iraqi victims, adding to the 200 cases previously dealt with by high court judgments in May and October 2013. By the end of January there will be more than 1,100 cases of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, deaths in custody and other unlawful killings. There are at least a further 30 Baha Mousa-type cases we know about.
The book of stories now available is like a latter-day Lord of the Flies, except it describes the work of a modern democratic European state at work in the cradle of civilisation. It is a shocking read: multiple anal rapes and other serious sexual abuse; the routine abuse of women and children; the detention and abuse of minors; the use of dogs; sexual, religious and cultural humiliation; the use of hardcore pornography; serious threats of all types; mock executions. Casual brutality was meted out to all and sundry: to sheikhs in front of their families; to women and children in their homes; to young men held incommunicado; to children casually dispatched by lethal force.
Essentially, as history shows, it was the British who developed coercive interrogation techniques in its counterinsurgency struggles after the second world war. The CIA learned from us, not the other way round.
Further, given that Britain was going into Iraq with the US, there was a political imperative from the highest level for an interrogation capability. The UK wanted to punch its weight with the US.
Today’s al-Sweady report rightly picks up on some of the important systemic issues in play. Though it concludes that allegations of murder and torture made against British soldiers by Iraqi detainees were deliberate lies, its findings that unlawful interrogation techniques were used reinforce the recommendations from the earlier Baha Mousa report. Importantly it picks up on the role of doctors, and medics and finds them to be in dereliction of their duty.
Many of these new Iraqi victims claim to have been seriously abused and assaulted before they were seen by doctors. If the medics had done their job – that is, reported that abuse to their medical commanding officer – the stories of ill treatment would have ended there. Today’s report recommends changes to attempt to bring the doctors into line with their basic duties. It is a further step in the right direction.
What is needed now is a judicial inquiry into Britain’s use of torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. It must require the Ministry of Defenceto do what it has refused to do for years: namely, tell the truth as to how many Iraqis died in custody, died as a result of lethal force, or were interrogated. That inquiry can usefully deal with issues of UK complicity too.
Its main focus, though, must be to ensure that UK forces abide by the rule of law and never again act as torturers and wanton killers in foreign fields.
 Prof Phil Shiner of Public Interest Lawyers acts in all of the cases referred to above

Friday, 13 February 2015


Ireland has a particularly bloody history, that involves eight centuries of British invasion and occupation, which includes, genocide, holocaust, war crimes and ethnic cleansing. In the interest of fairness, every story has at least two sides, and so it is with Irish history. The problem for the native Irish, is that few are aware of their side, because, to a large extent Britain dominates the English narrative of world media, and usually the victor, gets to write history. The other difficulty with outing the truth, is that the ruling class in both parts of the currently divided island, have a vested interest, in preserving the status quo, which is based on mentored privilege, dishonesty, covert censorship and oppression.

This writer believes, that the truth of Ireland's Cause, taken to a sufficient number of people worldwide, and to the International Criminal Court, can achieve national freedom, without recourse to violence, reserving all armaments, for strictly defensive purposes. However, this will require the same organization, commitment and concerted effort, that traditionally was used in Ireland's armed struggles. Reactionary violence has proven to be self-defeating, time after time in Ireland's history, and the events of limited success, hves been followed, by sell-out, self-serving, native leadership. Irish Republicanism has traditionally been the Cause of the People of No Property, or as James Connolly, one of the principal leaders of the 1916 Rising, who was taken for execution in a wheelchair, said, the Cause of Ireland, is the Cause of Labour, and the Cause of Labour, is the Cause of Ireland. Irish hearts are passionate and discipline, to refrain from reactionary, violence, difficult, but as one of our more intelligent martyrs, Mairead Farrell recently said, before her execution, our head is our best weapon. I believe enlightened leadership in Ireland, needs to release all political prisoners, with an undertaking, to this course of action, rather than violence. Genuine traditional Irish Republicans, are both fair-minded and people of honour, who keep their promises, unlike their political British counterparts, as history has proven. You can come to your own conclusion, if this is the case, in the McGuinness story below. The Truth will set Ireland Free, but we need your help, to get it out there, as it is mostly, censored. Below is a reliable article, borrowed from the Broken Elbow, a blog I recommend, to help you come to your own conclusions

Martin McGuinness & Frank Hegarty

The story of how Martin McGuinness allegedly lured Derry IRA informer Frank Hegarty back from England, promising his mother – on bended knee according to accounts – that he would not be harmed, only for Hegarty to end up on a lonely country road with a bullet in his head has been told here, here, here and here.

Doubtless it will figure again in the course of the Presidential campaign and will be used by his opponents and enemies as evidence of the man’s flawed character and unfitness to represent the people of Ireland in the Phoenix Park.

I am not going to rehearse the story here but I thought it might be useful to place the McGuinness-Hegarty tale in the context of the time it happened, 1986, and the politics of the then IRA leadership. That way it might be possible to understand why it happened.

The story begins in February 1978 when Gerry Adams was arrested and charged with IRA membership just a few days after the awful La Mon tragedy when a botched firebombing of the hotel on the outskirts of east Belfast killed twelve people, all Protestants, who were incinerated to death, and injured thirty more, some horribly.

The move against Adams was done to placate angry Unionist public opinion, understandably, but the charge of IRA membership was impossible to sustain – short of self-incrimination membership charges were never successful. But it did keep Adams off the streets for the best part of a year. He had been released from Long Kesh a year or so earlier and had set about implementing the re-organisation he, Ivor Bell, Brendan Hughes and others had plotted in jail. So placing him in the remand wing of Crumlin Road jail removed a key player at an important moment.

Changes in security policy introduced after the lengthy but ineffective ceasefire of 1974/75, especially the use of Castlereagh interrogation centre, had brought the IRA to its knees and close to defeat. Adams’ re-organisation, principally the introduction of a new Northern Command, was beginning to revive the IRA when La Mon happened.

With his arrest Adams automatically lost the post of Chief of Staff, which he had just taken from Seamus Twomey, and so Martin McGuinness, then Northern Commander, replaced him. The subsequent three or four years were to provide dramatic evidence that the IRA was indeed back in business and while not the force it had been in 1972, it was nonetheless strong enough to sustain the ‘long war’ crafted in Long Kesh. It was during these years that the rank and file trust in the Adams-McGuinness leadership was created, a trust that would prove so valuable when the peace process began.

By the summer of 1982 however the IRA was set on a different path. The hunger strikes of 1981 had created an opportunity for Sinn Fein to enter electoral politics. Owen Carron had replaced Bobby Sands as MP for Fermanagh-South Tyrone, a council seat had been won in Carrickmore, Co. Tyrone but the big test, Sinn Fein standing in a Northern Ireland-wide election, was yet to come. That October it did when the British held elections to a new putative power-sharing Assembly, a body doomed to failure by the result which saw Sinn Fein win ten per cent of the vote and stun the Irish political and media establishment.

Martin McGuinness badly wanted to stand in that poll. He knew he was popular enough in Derry to win a seat and such was the level of post-hunger strike Nationalist anger in the city that he might even give John Hume a scare. The problem was that he was Chief of Staff and others on the Army Council bridled at the thought of their commander holding a seat at Stormont, even on an abstentionist basis.

So McGuinness was obliged to give up the post, handing it to Ivor Bell, one of Gerry Adams’ closest colleagues in the Belfast IRA. Less than a year later however Bell was also arrested and briefly held on charges based on evidence given by Belfast Brigade supergrass Robert ‘Beano’ Lean. Although Lean later retracted, Bell lost the Chief of Staff job which went to Aughnacloy man, Kevin McKenna. (A few years later Bell was forced out of the IRA altogether when his unease at Sinn Fein’s political direction and anger and suspicion at the deprioritisation of the IRA combined to persuade him to launch a tilt at Adams which failed). It is around this time that the Frank Hegarty story really begins.

During his tenure as Chief of Staff, Ivor Bell had dismissed Frank Hegarty from the IRA. A member of the organisation since the early 1970’s, Hegarty had risen to the post of Northern Command Quartermaster (QM) by 1982, a significantly important job. But he was also having an affair with the wife of a soldier in the Ulster Defence Regiment, the mostly Protestant militia created in 1970 to replace the B Specials. Someone in the IRA found out about Hegarty’s dalliance and reported him. Clearly his liaison made him vulnerable to blackmail and since he was now regarded as a potential informer Hegarty had to go.

Some time after that Hegarty was approached by the Force Research Unit (FRU), a British Army agent-running unit with headquarters at Thiepval Barracks, Lisburn and persuaded to rejoin the IRA which he did. How no red flag was raised in the IRA at Hegarty’s return would become one of the divisive issues in the affair, especially as he also managed to inveigle his way back into the Northern Command quartermaster’s department.

The Force Research Unit had ambitious plans for Hegarty telling him, as the IRA learned when they eventually interrogated him, that they wanted him to rise as high as he could, even as high as Quartermaster General (QMG). The FRU would remove his bosses, one by one, to facilitate his ascent.

By the end of 1985 Hegarty had been seconded to work on attachment to the QMG’s department to help shift weapons which were beginning to arrive from Libya. A year or so earlier Libyan Intelligence and the IRA had struck an audacious and ambitious deal. The Libyans would supply hundreds of tons of weaponry and millions of pounds if the IRA pledged to make life for Mrs Thatcher’s government uncomfortable, something the IRA had no difficulty agreeing. It was Libya’s revenge for the expulsion of their diplomats after the shooting of WPC Yvonne Fletcher while the IRA then laid plans for a major military offensive, based on the Vietnamese ‘Tet’ offensive, designed to sicken British public opinion with Northern Ireland and perhaps force the British to take counterproductive security measures such as internment.

Hegarty was part of a squad that moving some 80 AK-47’s smuggled in from Libya in August 1985 to dumps in the north-west. The weapons were stored in two temporary dumps in Roscommon and Sligo when they were discovered. The Garda Special Branch were ultimately responsible for everything that happened afterwards. Eager for a coup against the IRA the Garda insisted on raiding the dumps, ignoring British advice to ‘jark’ the weapons instead, that is bug them so they could be followed to their destination.

Hegarty had been told that the weapons had come from Europe and the presence of some Belgian rifles in the dumps seemed to authenticate that. Nonetheless British & Irish intelligence had come very close to discovering the Libyan arms smuggling venture at a very early point.

Realising that his past expulsion from the IRA would surface when the IRA investigated the arms seizure and that he would then be the prime suspect for betraying the weapons, Hegarty fled to England where MI5 housed him at a secure location. Homesick and missing his family Hegarty contacted them by phone, the Provos found out and at this point Martin McGuinness entered the story. He was enticed back home, naively believing McGuinness’ assurances about his wellbeing, interrogated by the IRA’s Internal Security Unit and then killed.

So why did Martin McGuinness go out of his way to cajole Hegarty back to Derry? It was, after all, a high-risk enterprise. He must have known that Hegarty had no chance of surviving and that he would be killed. He also knew that Hegarty’s family would be angry with him for so blatantly misleading them and that in all likelihood they would make their feelings known publicly and blame him for the killing. His name and reputation would be sullied for ever. He could have sent someone else to lie to the Hegarty family but he knew that Hegarty would accept assurances from no-one with less clout and authority in the IRA than himself. It was, we can then conclude, enormously important for McGuinness not just that Hegarty be brought back to Derry but that McGuinness be known as the man who brought him back. Again the question, why?

The answer might well lie in the intense rivalry and mutual dislike between Martin McGuinness and Kevin McKenna and the vying between them for the Chief of Staff job. According to IRA sources who knew the two men well and observed them in action, a deep loathing characterised the relationship.

For his part McKenna, a very private, publicity-shy figure, deeply resented constant media reports that McGuinness was the real Chief of Staff and more so that, as someone who was one of the more media-friendly Provo leaders, he had done very little to discourage that impression. McGuinness on the other hand, according to former colleagues, harboured ambitions to get his old Chief of Staff job back, especially so when the Libyan deal was struck. If there was an IRA ‘Tet’ offensive, Martin McGuinness wanted to be known as the man who led it. And McKenna stood in his way.

By late 1985, Kevin McKenna had been Chief of Staff for just two years but already there had been some bitter clashes between them at leadership meetings. At one Army Council meeting McGuinness launched such a powerful assault on McKenna’s stewardship of the IRA that it seemed as if the Chief of Staff might be forced to offer his resignation. Only the intervention of ‘Slab’ Murphy to show support for McKenna stopped that happening.

The Garda swoop on the Libyan arms dumps and Hegarty’s flight to England brought a new and deadly intensity to the rivalry. The first question was how on earth Frank Hegarty had got back into the IRA? Since both McGuinness and Hegarty were Derry men who had been in the city’s IRA units together in the 1970’s & knew each other, and since McGuinness was now Northern Commander and Hegarty was attached to Northern Command then surely, McKenna and others asked, McGuinness must have known that he had got back into the IRA?

The question was full of unspoken menace and danger for McGuinness. The IRA knew full well that when British intelligence wanted to infiltrate and advance agents inside their ranks they would sometimes use other agents to smooth their path. If McGuinness had allowed Hegarty back into the IRA knowing his past, then this made McGuinness a suspected British agent. McGuinness denied, according to these IRA sources, knowing anything about Hegarty’s re-instatement and initially said the informer must have been someone else (during his interrogation by the IRA Hegarty claimed that McGuinness had in fact known and approved his return to the ranks. This sparked another blazing row between McGuinness and McKenna but Hegarty’s assertion was unprovable).

One way of clearing his name, or at least going some way to doing so, would be if McGuinness were to play a leading part in luring Hegarty back to Derry and to his death. It wouldn’t settle the matter since the IRA was well aware that British intelligence would have little compunction in sacrificing one, now useless informer to protect another active and more valuable one but it would suffice until some more compelling evidence against McGuinness emerged, if it ever did.

None of this means that McGuinness was an informer. But it does suggest that he was frightened of being labeled one and that if he didn’t act to clear his name, his arch-rival Kevin McKenna would triumph and his IRA career might be so clouded with doubt and suspicion that it would be effectively over. As it was the Frank Hegarty affair killed off any chances that McGuinness would oust McKenna and replace him as Chief of Staff. McKenna would serve as Chief of Staff for another eleven years until he was replaced in 1997 by ‘Slab’ Murphy. He was the Provisional IRA’s longest serving commander. McGuinness survived and has prospered so well that he is now a contender for the Aras.

Postscript: Frank Hegarty’s FRU handler was Ian Hirst, better known as Martin Ingram and the man who outed Freddie Scappaticci, the notorious British agent in the IRA’s Internal Security Unit whose codename was Steaknife. Handlers often get very attached to their agents and there’s no doubt that Ian/Martin was deeply affected by Hegarty’s death. I have often wondered if his understandable anger at McGuinness for coaxing Hegarty to his death led him to make his own, later allegations that McGuinness worked as a double agent for MI6.Intriguing stuff, but will we ever get definitive answers to all these questions?

Thursday, 12 February 2015



British Occupied Ireland, entrapment is a common practice, used by British Secret Service agencies, to prosecute their Dirty War and induce people, to be involved in activity, that they would otherwise normally not engage in. For example slipping a drug into their drink, along with planting incriminating evidence on them. This practice, is widely used in Occupied Ireland, to politically intern people for many years, in some instances for the rest of their lives and is also used to turn activists into agents for the British. The practice, combined with secret courts, has been estimated to account, for more than half of the political convictions in Ireland currently, combined with British secret courts, without a jury.

It makes a nonsense of any claim, to a peace process and calls into question, the integrity of British Sinn Fein who appeal on all Irish people, to become informers to British Occupation Forces in Ireland. It compounds the belief, that all parts of the British apparatus in Ireland, is still part of a low intensity, ongoing British Dirty War in Ireland, which includes dirty tricks within all the pillars of the Orange State. In a jurisdiction without a Dirty War, the prosecution, would be required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, the defendant was not entrapped, or the defendant would be required to prove, they were entrapped, as an affirmative defence. 

Sting operations are a regular feature of the British in Ireland. Sometimes entrapment occurs, when the British paramilitary, PSNI/RUC go beyond simply providing an opportunity to a compromised agent or individual to commit an actual attack, often it results in the entrapment, of his associates. A lot of the time, the persistence and frequency of attempts by the PSNI/RUC, by inducement, fraud, deceit, reward, amplifies, the actual existence of implied threats, to give credibility, for major increases in budgets, to justify British taxpayers, massive funding of their Dirty War in Ireland or further the careers, of many sectarian, paramilitary, police, in British Occupied Ireland.

Factors which should be Considered in Cases of Entrapment


Whether the PSNI/RUC officers concerned are secret members of the Orange Order.

Whether the Paramilitary Police acted in bad faith.

Whether the PSNI/RUC had reason to suspect the accused of legal political activities.

Whether the Secret services, were politcally under pressure, to get a result, in areas where attacks were particularly prevalent, where the entrapment took place

Whether reactionary investigatory techniques are used, because of difficulty in detection of Irish political activity, supported by the native population.

The accused circumstances and vulnerability because of endemic state bigotry and prejudice.

The nature of the political offence

Entrapment often occurs, when the various British secret services, cause an attack to be committed, which otherwise would not occur, had it not been for secret service involvement. The lawyers in Occupied Ireland, who were particularly talented, in challenging the admissibility of evidence through entrapment, have already been executed, by British death squads in Ireland.The case below, which is covered in today's Belfast Telegraph, is a current example.

IRA 'plotted terrorist attacks on Northern Ireland's transport infrastructure', court hears
The men allegedly discussed sniper strikes on high-profile targets

A Translink train

Secret recordings of alleged Continuity IRA terror plot meetings revealed plans to attack Northern Ireland's transport infrastructure, the High Court heard today.


Discussions also explored future sniper strikes on high-profile targets, prosecutors said.

Further details of the covert MI5 operation at a house in Newry, Co Down were disclosed as bail was refused to one of the men accused of attending some of the gatherings.

Terence Marks, 54, denies charges of belonging to a proscribed organisation, namely the IRA, and conspiring to cause an explosion likely to endanger life.

The father-of-six's lawyer claimed the recordings were of singing and drink-fuelled bravado.

He also expressed concerns about possible entrapment in the surveillance.

The investigation centres on meetings held by alleged key members of the Continuity IRA's leadership.

The house at Ardcarn Park was raided last November after being bugged for three months.

Twelve men were arrested at that stage, with charges brought against seven of them and the other five released pending reports.

Marks, of Parkhead Crescent in the city, was among a further three men detained the following month.

A total of nine meetings were recorded, with each of the suspects said to have been present on at least one occasion.

According to the prosecution topics discussed included membership of an outlawed organisation, weapons procurement and training, terrorist funding and plans to commit acts of terrorism.

Based on voice analysis Marks is alleged to have been present at three gatherings in September and October.

Among the issues explored at those meetings were: previous operations, using household items for bomb-making, constructing improvised explosive devices and and transporting a small weapon in a loaf of bread.

Opposing bail, prosecution counsel said police are still seeking other suspects.

He contended: "There are clearly very significant steps being taken by this group to prepare for future significant terrorist acts, (including) preparation for sniper attacks on high-profile targets and an attack on the transport infrastructure."

According to the barrister it would involve "a reckless disregard for life if such an attack were to take place".

John Connolly, defending, said Marks strenuously denies any past or present involvement with dissident republican groupings.

Mr Justice Burgess was told the accused is a chronic alcoholic who drinks up to ten cans of beer and as much as a litre of vodka a day.

Mr Connolly stressed that Marks is only alleged to have been present for eight of the 70 hours of surveillance at the house.

He said: "It's clear from the recordings that there's a lot of bravado from individuals, talking about events of the past and gesturing about what to do about the future.

"Within the recordings there's a lot of banter, there's arguments, there's fun, there's light conversation and there's heated debate.

"There's also singing and recounting of some songs."

It was claimed that one of those present can be heard going into "numerous monologues" and inviting others to recall stories.

"There's a concern that there has been a state involvement in almost what is known as entrapment," Mr Connolly said.

He added that the Public Prosecution Service had responded to a request about whether any of those arrested were state agents by saying it was not obliged to answer the question.

Refusing bail, Mr Justice Burgess said he had "grave doubts" any release conditions would be complied with.

The judge also stressed: "These are serious matters impacting on the whole community and in particular various sections, including danger to their lives and serious injury."



We, The Hooded Men, and KRW LAW LLP successfully challenged the Irish government in its initial failure to refer the case of The Hooded Men back to the European Court of Human Rights to be examined again and for this time for the Court to declare that the treatment of The Hooded Men amounted to torture.
The Irish government decided not to fight the challenge and has duly made an Application to the ECtHR so that The Hooded Men case of Ireland v UK can be re-opened. This is significant in both legal and political terms as it send a clear message to the UK government from the Irish government that human rights violations in the past have to be accounted for in the present.
It also sends a message to the USA – specifically at Langley and the Pentagon – that the techniques they considered only inhuman and degrading now constitute torture.
In addition to this ECtHR Application, we are also issuing proceedings against the UK government to establish an independent investigation into the torture of The Hooded Men there having been no investigation to date. This action is being taken against the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and the PSNI: the demand is for a statutory investigation into the use of torture by British security forces, including the RUC, during the period of internment and that this investigation must comply with Article 3 of the ECHR in that it must satisfy the jurisprudence of human rights compliant investigation. We argue that the PSNI is not able to conduct such an investigation and that the UK government has an on-going due to discharge its obligations toward The Hooded Men separate to the proceedings before the ECtHR. The fight to expose the wrongs committed against us, continues until truth and justice will out.
Jim McIlmurray, Case Coordinator for The Hooded Men, said: "There is a ‘pressing need’ for those in public office to be held accountable for what these men went through. The evidence that the British government deliberately withheld vital information from the courts is compelling. We have full confidence in our legal team and look forward to our day in court. Justice is not something to be awarded to those who are thought deserving and denied to those who are thought undeserving.”
“A significant amount of time has been spent in consultation with our solicitor, and we are now confident that we have secured a formidable legal team which will represent our interests, and succeed, in overturning the original decision, and finally revealing the truth.”
“In this we are fortunate enough to have instructed leading lawyers from Belfast, Dublin and London. As the consultation with our solicitor is ongoing, we do not seek to make any further comment at this stage”.
Darragh Mackin, of KRW LAW LLP said: “At this stage, the European Court has yet to make its determination on Ireland’s Application. Until such times as the case is communicated to the Respondent Government, the UK, we do not feel it appropriate to make any further comment.”
Jim McIlmurray

IRPWA Activists Assaulted By The PSNI

IRPWA Activists Assaulted By The PSNI
On Tuesday 10th February two IRPWA members, Alan Lundy from Belfast and Kevin Murphy from Tyrone, were travelling in a car in St James’s off the Falls Road.
Without warning, four unmarked cars surrounded the two activists and a number of men in balaclavas pounced from the vehicles with weapons (including automatic rifles) drawn. They proceeded to smash a number of windows in the car with rifle butts and batons, without indicating who they were. At no time during this ordeal did they state why Alan and Kevin were stopped or indicate which draconian legislation was in use, as they proceeded to assault them and trail them from the car. They continued their assault on the ground, cable tying their wrists together with a number of guns in their faces. Threats to kill were also made.
Both IRPWA activists were left on the ground for over an hour after being assaulted and searched, during which time they were verbally abused by the PSNI officers present. The car, which had already had windows smashed, was also further damaged during the prolonged invasion of privacy. As is the norm with Stop and Searches under the repressive legislation employed by the State, nothing was found and both were released without an arrest being made. Despite no evidence of any “wrongdoing” being found, the PSNI seized both men’s phones and other property.
This episode adds credence to the Republican position that the PSNI remains a vital part of the repressive state apparatus that Britain employs in Ireland. They are unreformed and irreformable, rejected by Republican Communities across the Six Counties.
At the same time, it is a reflection of the positive work that the IRPWA is engaged in – ensuring the welfare of Republican Political Prisoners and offering a positive outlet for those willing to campaign on their behalf. Recent weeks have seen an upsurge in public support for Republican Prisoners, due to the brutalisation in Maghaberry. This has been ably demonstrated by continuing IRPWA protest activity across Ireland.
These assaults on two Republican activists are the State’s response. They think that through violence and intimidation they will silence the IRPWA. They will fail. We remain committed to the cause of our Republican Political Prisoners, and take inspiration from them. Like the Prisoners, their comrades on the outside will not be bullied into submission by the State and remain committed to a campaign of Resistance.

A Moral Imperative: Release Aging and Long-

Term Prisoners

Tuesday, 10 February 2015 09:38By Jean TrounstineTruthout | News Analysis

It was only for a moment, but on January 20, 2015, this country's criminal punishment system got a general call for reform in President Obama's state of the union address. With 5 percent of the world's population and 25 percent of the world's incarcerated people, it's about time we heard this from our president. But what we didn't hear was an analysis of exactly what we can do to shrink this massive system.
While Attorney General Eric Holder and many others have urged an end to needless mandatory minimums - a good step toward decarceration - this is not going far enough. Research from a variety of nonprofits like the Sentencing Project and Human Rights Watch have shown that the majority of long-term prisoners, including many who have committed the most violent acts, are actually the best bet to exit prisons and not return to crime.

Who Are Our Long-Term Prisoners?

2014 study by the National Academy of Sciences reported that during the 1990s, the federal government and more than half the states enacted truth-in-sentencing and three strikes laws - all aimed at harsh punishment - both increasing the prison population and the length of sentences these prisoners are serving.

Age 55 is considered borderline geriatric in prison, because life expectancy is reduced for jailed men and women. The ACLU estimates that by 2030, "over one-third of all prisoners in the United States will be over 55.

Nationwide, as of 2012, the Sentencing Project reported that there were 159,520 people serving life sentences; that comes down to one of every nine individuals who were incarcerated in prisons. Nearly half of these men and women (more than 5,000 were female) were African American, and one-sixth were Latino. Ten thousand were sentenced before they turned eighteen, and in 2009, the Sentencing Project estimated that 77 percent of juveniles sentenced to life were youth of color. One in four were sentenced to life with no chance of parole. Therefore, clemency - the granting of relief from all or part of a sentence by a governor, in the case of state sentences, or by the president, for federal time - would be their only avenue to not dying behind bars, aside from an appeal or a new trial.
In 2009, the Sentencing Project estimated that nationally, the average length of time served by this population prior to parole eligibility was 25 years.
Add to this information a 2010 Human Rights Watch report that determined 124,400 prisoners were age 55 or older. Age 55 is considered borderline geriatric in prison, because life expectancy is reduced for jailed men and women, according to the National Commission on Correctional Health Care. The ACLU estimates that by 2030, "over one-third of all prisoners in the United States will be over 55."
As prison reform becomes a clearer goal on the national horizon, advocates are urging that we acknowledge the plight of aging and long-term prisoners and take into consideration the level of "risk" in releasing them.
Why Release?
Glenn Martin, who served six years in prison for armed robbery, became a paralegal, a policy analyst and a fundraiser when he got out, and now headsJustLeadershipUSA, founded on the principle that "the most compelling advocates of change are those who have been directly affected by incarceration." JustLeadership is dedicated to reducing crime and cutting the prison population in half by 2030.
In an interview with Truthout, Martin said that reducing the incarceration numbers is "all about identifying the person who doesn't belong behind bars" and that means those who are the least risk to reoffend. Some researchers believe that proper risk assessment tools can help us determine those few long-termers who are likely to recommit a violent crime. However, journalist Leon Neyfakh, in The Boston Globe, also labeled the value of these tools as a way to assess workable treatment and rehabilitative programs for those who have lived behind bars for years before exiting prison. There is no national agreement on how exactly to use risk assessment.
Glenn Martin said that even the discussion of risk assessment has a downside. "Instead of merely talking about people who do not belong in prison, we should be indicting the system itself," as it provides no clear access to jobs, housing or community support upon release. The discussion also means understanding that violent crime is most often situational. In other words, those convicted of a violent offense against another person were driven by what, Jonathan Simon, professor of law at UC Berkeley, calls "complex combinations of conflicts, propensities and accelerants like drugs and alcohol."
The best argument for release is a "moral argument," said Martin. If they are no longer a risk, why not give these men and women a second chance?

Of 860 people convicted of homicide and sentenced to life, the study found only five individuals (fewer than 1 percent) returned to prison or jail because of new felonies - and none for a crime that involved taking a life.

By 2012, per the Sentencing Project, 48 states had parole as a mechanism for lifers to get second chances - a way to release those no longer considered a danger to the community. Martin believes this form of releasing prisoners back into the free world can "give you someone in your corner," but that means a parole officer must be trained in treatment and support for his clients, not just in supervision. While parole is not without problems - parole officers can send people back to prison for noncriminal violations such as missing appointments or a failed drug test, and parole is not always used effectively in our states, and is banned in others - it can give people a second chance if there is real reentry support and not just a list of rules to follow.
According to a 2011 Stanford Law School study, California lifers who were eventually released on parole went back to committing serious crimes a "miniscule" amount. Of 860 people convicted of homicide and sentenced to life, the study found only five individuals (fewer than 1 percent) returned to prison or jail because of new felonies - and none for a crime that involved taking a life.
According to a 2009 study by the Michigan-based Citizens Alliance on Prisons and Public Spending (CAPPS), parolees originally convicted of homicide reoffended the least of all groups of ex-prisoners. Of 2,558 homicide parolees in that state, only 2.7 percent were returned to prison for any new crime, and larceny was the most common.

"We are never going to get to the root of the problem unless we get to the heart of the 'punishment paradigm,' and the way we can do that is ask when is punishment enough."

While the results may seem counterintuitive to the public, these studies are not surprising to men and women who have served time. Mujahid Farid, incarcerated for 33 years in New York, saw the parole board nine times before his release. "If the risk is low, let them go," he said in an interview with Truthout. This is the motto of the Release Aging Prisoners Project (RAPP), an organization Farid founded with colleagues in 2013 and currently directs. Many long-term prisoners are also elderly and sick or dying. RAPP has worked with heartbreaking cases - people who've served many years beyond what was a deterrent to crime and beyond any ostensible retributive value of incarceration.

One such person is Mohaman Koti, who at 86 is in a wheelchair, and far from the healthy 40ish-year-old convicted for attempted murder of a police officer. The New York Times stated that the case was so old that the parole board could not find a copy of the transcript from his sentencing. At his sixth parole hearing in 2013, suffering from a slew of medical problems, he heard a loud "No" to parole. As the Village Voice reported, "The board said he had a history of violence, was at risk to commit another crime, and letting him go would create disrespect for the law."

Laura Whitehorn, another RAPP founder who served more than 14 years behind bars and now advocates for aging prisoners, told Truthout that Koti finally earned parole in 2014 after he appealed the state decision. He was released by the state. However, the US government decided to intervene because of a federal parole violation based on old charges: "He was picked up by the Feds and pointlessly re-incarcerated in a federal facility," Whitehorn said. In no way does he present a threat to public safety, so activists like Whitehorn wonder why we are spending resources on keeping the elderly behind bars.
"We are never going to get to the root of the problem unless we get to the heart of the 'punishment paradigm,' and the way we can do that is ask when is punishment enough," said Farid. That means realizing that people age out of crime. As theStanford Law School report clarifies: most acts of violence are committed by people under age 30; the number declines drastically after age 40, and even more so after age 50.
Why Are There Public Misperceptions About Lifers?
The so-called tough-on-crime era brought us public officials who politicized crime, often to their advantage. The Sentencing Project's research indicates that states' reluctance to use parole or clemency mechanisms for lifers coincides with elected officials who fear looking "soft" on crime. The media too, has played into misunderstandings. First, there has been little explanation to the public about parole and how it can aid in reducing prison populations. Secondly, the media publicizes false statements from policy makers such as "life means life." As reported by the Sentencing Project, if the public believes that "life sentences require whole-life imprisonment," then "when a lifer is paroled, they often believe that somehow the system has failed."
An example is former California Gov. Gray Davis, who honed his tough-guy reputation with the pronouncement that those convicted of homicide would only leave prison "in a pine box" and that, "[i]f you take someone else's life, forget it. I see no reason to parole people who have committed an act of murder." He made good on his word: only eight lifers in California were released during his 1999-2003 term - in a state where, in 2003, some 20,000 prisoners were serving life sentences, eligible for parole at some point during their sentence.
Laura Whitehorn pointed out how people rarely consider that there are women serving long sentences. "I was locked up with many women serving enormously inflated sentences on 'girlfriend crimes.' They had been connected to a man who was a drug dealer, and due to the bizarre federal conspiracy laws, some of the women ended up with longer sentences than the men."
The public also has little idea of the cost of keeping people locked up, which varies from state to state. In Massachusetts, for example, according to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, it costs an average of $45,500 to house a prisoner in a state facility; contrast this with $5,000 to supervise her on parole. But if the person is sick or dying, the ACLU says, nationally, it costs more than $68,000 to keep that person behind bars - and that's a conservative figure for Massachusetts, where costs far exceed the national average of $34,000 per prisoner.
What Are We Really Afraid of?
Some policy makers and prisoner advocates worry that the discussion of how to release people from prison is fraught with race and class biases. Attorney General Eric Holder touched on this in a recent speech to a gathering of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers: "By basing sentencing decisions on static factors and immutable characteristics - like the defendant's education level, socioeconomic background, or neighborhood - they may exacerbate unwarranted and unjust disparities that are already far too common in our criminal justice system and in our society.''

Risk assessment is yet another part of a punishment system which many have described as biased - from arrest to filing of charges, conviction, incarceration and to who gets parole. Activists and scholars like Professor Angela Y. Davis have writtenthat we must acknowledge that "criminality and deviance are racialized."
While policy makers claim our parole policies are harsh because they are afraid to release so-called dangerous people onto our streets, Glenn Martin is one who takes exception to the underbelly of the word "dangerous." He said, "What we are really afraid of is men of color - not crime." He added, "People lean on the criminal justice system as a way of keeping those scary people away from them."

RAPP's Mujahid Farid put it this way: "If we see people as 'the other,' we are less likely to have empathy towards them and respond to their needs, which touches on what we have experienced with the police." Speaking of what happened when Eric Garner recently was killed by a police officer in New York, he said, "How can we choke a man to death 11 times unless we feel that he is 'the other?' "
Radical Solutions Needed
Understanding the reality of those who live behind bars is one of the first steps toward solving the problem of mass incarceration. Increasing the use of executive clemency, which Families Against Mandatory Minimums reported in 2010 has been almost nonexistent for three decades, is crucial; restoring the role of parole for lifers is another important step. But Professor Jonathan Simon, author of several books and many articles on the justice system, offers new ideas that could actually help right the inequities plaguing our punishment system most quickly.
Simon told Truthout that we need a radical new approach to sentencing, "a dramatic reduction in length," because "there is no empirical foundation that lengthy sentences prevent recidivism. They are always justified as 'retributive,' " he said. "When we look around the world, 10 to 15 years is a standard used for homicide. Beyond 10 years, there is no deterrent value." Ten years would still be respectful to the victims of violent crimes, Simon added.
To deal with prisoners already serving long sentences, Simon suggests "an amnesty policy." This policy would apply across the board to prisoners who've served a determined amount of time. Simon advocates that, once that period of time is served, prisoners should be released wholesale. (Upon release, they would be provided with all the best possible help for reentry.)
This approach - "retroactively resentencing without individually considering cases" - is quite different than parole, in that it doesn't depend on risk assessment or on individual records. Simon said this amnesty policy could provide a "legal demarcation that our mass incarceration policies were wrong," and it would "underscore the fact that our justice system is really broken." He realizes that amnesty would take careful planning, but it could work quickly to release substantial numbers of people and shrink the size of the prison system as a whole.

As Simon wrote on October 21, 2014, about his home state of California's prison crisis, "We will need an initiative to roll back sentences on violent crime.  . . . The vast majority of people convicted of an offense against the person . . . are no more likely to commit such an act in the future than those who have not been convicted, but come from the same social circumstances and situation. There are far better ways to spend money on reducing violence than incarcerating aging prisoners who once did something violent. But for now, few even in the anti-mass incarceration community are ready to take on that fight."
It is a moral imperative to do so.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015


As an Irishman, originally from the south of Ireland but with immediate family in the north of Ireland, I welcome the Willie Frazer, 'Love Ulster' march in Dublin and I hope his visit can be peaceful, with celebration. On the 19th of February, the Chinese New Year begins, with wild celebrations and this will be the 'Year of the Goat'. This tradition is strong where I currently live and is a very colourful event annually. I have spent many happy years in the north of Ireland, albeit with its troubles and I care very much about its future, my heart is there. When I lived there, I was invited to Twelfth celebrations in Scarva, which I politely turned down, for security reasons, because it was in a time of some of the worst of the troubles. I would have liked, to have witnessed the event, perhaps some day. Everyone is entitled to celebrate and be a little silly, sometimes.

More than 20 years ago, after I was liberated from alcohol, I got on an airplane for the first time and went to Munich. It was shortly after the Berlin wall came down and the process of uniting East and West Germany started. Munich was inundated by people from the East, with all sorts of social contradictions, coupled by a certain caution in Munich, which I found to be introverted, couple with ghosts from its history, still there, particularly the the Second World War. I later had a relationship with a woman from Bavaria, in a town called Aschau, resulting in the birth of a beautiful baby daughter. However Munich at that time, felt cold for me, in more senses than one. So I caught the night train to Amsterdam, which passes through the beautiful City of Cologne, which I later found, to be a very friendly place. However, I recall clearly to this very day, the change in the atmosphere, the liberating moment, we crossed into the Netherland's, formerly known as Holland, where the train finally stopped in Amsterdam. Right from the off, it was a magical place for me, at that time. The West was putting its best foot forward in Europe, at that particular time, to entice the East over to its side. I met a soulmate, called Tinka in Amsterdam, who really demonstrated, all of the inner beauty and unique, eccentric qualities of A'dam.

She started with Vondel Park, where John Lennon and Yoko, had their famous mass Love-In, as part of their global, 'Give Peace a Chance' crusade. She took me first, to the to the  Sculpture of Tolerance, in the heart of Vondel Park and explained its significance. Bearing in mind, that this place was the home of William of Orange, which affected so many Irish lives considerably, I found the contradictions of Amsterdam tolerance, at that time, with my life experience, in the six counties of the north, an overwhelming paradox. Amsterdam's unique, relaxed, carefree, atmosphere, was also unique within the Netherlands, because the rest of the country, had a quite, reserved, Calvinist tradition, but A'dam was also a melting pot of many international cultures. Foe me it was simply magical and I had wonderful times there. I tentatively, checked out the Coffee houses there and partook sparingly, on a few occasions, which was a different story in redlight District, because of my own personality. I eventually had a relationship, with a very traditional Dutch woman, who came with me, when I returned to Ireland after more than five years there. 

Eventually we split, because she wanted to have a baby, and I felt I already had more than my fair share, while, at the same time, she deserved someone younger and more responsible. So I have very fond memories of Amsterdam, and I feel a little sad, that it has moved politically to the right, with the general shift in European politics. There is much I learned in Amsterdam, and I feel, there is much Ireland can learn, from the enlightened Dutch way with minorities and for those incarcerated, currently in both parts of Ireland, particularly political prisoners. David Forde and your counterpart, please take note and consider a trip. The International Criminal Court is also based there in the Hague.

So with that experience, in the modern, former home of William of Orange, I welcome William and his tradition of 'Riding the Goat', to the City of Dublin, with all its contradictions of history. Other than letting loose a couple of hundred goats, to welcome William and keep him company, I hope Dublin is as tolerantly civilized and colourfully warm to 'Love Ulster', as Amsterdam was to me. Fáilte go mBaile Átha Cliath! – Welcome to Dublin! Céad míle fáilte romhat, Liam.

brionOcleirigh, Irish Blog.

Belfast Telegraph

Love Ulster rally in Dublin will go ahead, says Willie Frazer

Meeting: Willie Frazer

10 FEBRUARY 2015
Loyalist Willie Frazer has said that a Love Ulster march will go ahead in Dublin "in the next couple of weeks" after he met with senior members of the Irish police.

The high-level meeting took place at Balbriggan Garda station yesterday morning, with Chief Superintendent Pat Leahy of Store Street Garda station and Detective Chief Superintendent John Gilligan of the force's Liaison and Protection section in attendance.

Mr Frazer said after the talks that Garda chiefs were "more than happy" to facilitate the march.

The last Love Ulster march in Dublin in 2006 was marred by major rioting in the heart of the city.

Year of the Goat

The Goat comes 8th in the Chinese zodiac. The 12 zodiac animals are: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig.

According to Chinese astrology, each year (starting from Chinese New Year) is associated with an animal sign, occurring in a 12-year cycle. For example 2015 is a year of the Goat.
Lucky Colors: brown, red, purple
Lucky Numbers: 2, 7
Lucky Flowers: carnation, primrose
Year of Birth: 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015, 2027

2015 — A Year of the Goat

Chinese New Year 2015 will begin the latest Year of the Goat. Decorations will reflect this and Goat sign people will take special care about what they do

Goats, 2015 is an important year for you according to zodiac theory. It is your Ben Ming Nian. See How to Bring Yourself Good Luck in Your Ben Ming Nian.

Choose your date of birth and find out about your Chinese zodiac sign.

The Goat's Personality: Calm, Gentle...

People born in a year of the Goat are generally believed to be gentle mild-mannered, shy, stable, sympathetic, amicable, and brimming with a strong sense of kindheartedness and justice.

They have very delicate thoughts, strong creativity, and perseverance, and acquire professional skills well. Although they look gentle on the surface, they are tough on the inside, always insisting on their own opinions in their minds. They have strong inner resilience and excellent defensive instincts.

Though they prefer to be in groups, they do not want to be the center of attention. They are reserved and quiet, most likely because they like spending much time in their thoughts. Goats like to spend money on fashionable things that give them a first class appearance. Although goats enjoy spending money on the finer things in life, they are not snobbish.
Good Health for "Goats"

People born in a year of the Goat are very serene and calm. Therefore they tend to havefewer health problems.

If goat people are in mental and emotional good spirits, this should have a positive effect on their physical health. Eating fresh and organic produce, and eliminating red meat from their diet when possible, is an effective way to keep healthy. They should get out among nature and commune with the great outdoors. Fresh air, trees, and sunshine will all do wonders for their health. Goat people should have a regular schedule for meals and keep their sleep and waking times consistent.
The Best Jobs or Career for Goats

People born in the year of the goat prefer to work in a team. Their best work partners are Horses. They are not crazy about status and power. Unless asked, they won't ever volunteer for anything and act as leaders. Good career choices for goats are pediatrician, actor, daycare teacher, interior designer, florist, hair stylist, musician, editor, illustrator, and art history teacher.

Read more on What Zodiac Sign Is Your Best Work Partner.
How to Build Relationships with "Goat People"

Generally speaking, Goats are private. Therefore it may take time and effort to get to know those who are born in a year of the Goat. Goats seldom share their personal lives. This is the reason why most Goats have few intimate friends. Once they become friends, their friendship is peaceful and fulfilling. They work hard for those they love.
The Luckiest Things for "Goats"

According to Chinese astrology, each animal zodiac has its own lucky numbers, lucky days, lucky colors, lucky flowers, and a best direction. Here are the Goat's:
Lucky numbers: 2, 7, or numbers containing 2 and 7 (like 27 and 72)
Lucky days: the 7th and 30th of any month according to the Chinese lunar calendar
Lucky colors: brown, red, and purple
Lucky flowers: carnations and primroses
Lucky direction: north
Things that Should be Avoided by Goats

These things are believed to be unlucky for Goat people.
Unlucky colors: green, blue, and black. Goat people should avoid wearing these colors.
Unlucky numbers: 6 and 8
Unlucky direction: southwest
Worst lunar months: third, sixth, and tenth. Avoid these months if you have some important business to do or want to plan an event.
Is Goat Year 2015 a Lucky Year for "Goats"?

2015 is a benmingnian (本命年 /bnn-ming-nyen/ 'origin life year' or zodiac year corresponding to one's birth year) for people born in a year of the Goat. In Chinese culture, a year of one's birth sign is unlucky.

Love and relationships: Married Goats will get along well with their spouses and will enhance their relationships through daily quarrels.

Single Goats will find their lifelong love under the guidance of elders, however they should show more care for their partners in order to avoid family disputes.

Beware of Financial Loss

The propensity for good fortune will not be very good for those born in a year of the Goat, and they will easily become involved in financial difficulties. Therefore, they should adopt conservative strategies when dealing with investments. They should try their best to increase their income, decrease their expenditure, and live within their means. Lottery fans should restrain themselves from gambling too much in order to avoid big losses.
How to Make Your Career Path Smoother in 2015?

People born in a year of the Goat generally have a smooth career, and will readily get help from wealthy beneficiaries. They usually be able to avoid adverse situations. Many opportunities for promotion, cooperation, and investment await them. However, they should deal with problems concerning their partners properly to avoid acrimony.
How Can Goats Have Good Health in 2015?

In 2015 Goats will tend to have good health, although they will suffer from slight illnesses occasionally, such as headaches. They should prepare some medicine before traveling very far, especially at a turn of the seasons. They should watch their diets, get sufficient rest, and do more exercise in order to boost their body's resistance against diseases.

Love Compatibility: Is She/He Compatible with You?

Best with: Rabbit, Horse or Pig

Worst with: Ox, Dragon, Snake or Dog

Take our online love Compatibility test
Is it a Good Year to Give Birth to a Baby?

There is a popular Chinese folk saying 'Only one out of ten people born in a year of the Goat finds happiness' (十羊九不全), which means most babies born in a year of the Goat are destined for failed marriages, unhappy families, and bad luck. Most Chinese people also believe that babies born in a Goat year will grow up to be followers rather than leaders.

Therefore many Chinese couples take steps to avoid having children in a year of the Goat. Many young Chinese couples have been trying desperately to conceive, racing against time to have a baby in the 2014 year of the Horse, which is considered far luckier than a Goat year.

Although this is an outdated superstition which seems silly, it has a real effect on Chinese society.
What Type of "Goat" Are You: Wood, Fire, Earth, Gold, or Water?

In Chinese element theory, each zodiac sign is associated with one of five elements: gold (metal), wood, water, fire, or earth, which means that e.g. a Wood Goat comes in a 60-year cycle.

It is theorized that a person's characteristics are decided by their birth year's zodiac animal sign and element. So there are five types of Goats, each with different characteristics:
Type of GoatYear of BirthCharacteristics
Wood Goat 1955, 2015 Amicable, gentle, and compassionate.
Fire Goat 1907, 1967 Amicable, frank, and honest, always making everything clean and tidy.
Earth Goat 1919, 1979 Righteous, honest, straightforward, and will never harm their friends.
Gold Goat 1931, 1991 Ambitious and kind-hearted with a strong sense of responsibility in work; sometimes too stubborn.
Water Goat 1943, 2003 Always ready to help others, and they can sacrifice their own interests for others