Irish Republican News · December 22, 2004
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
US family ‘hostage to political process’

A man linked by British security forces to the ‘raid’ at Castlereagh barracks on St Patrick’s Day 2002 remains in legal limbo almost three years later.

The removal of top secret documents on Britain’s murderous ‘dirty war’ in the North of Ireland.

Those involved in the break-in -- masked men who simply walked in and out of the massive installation -- had top-secret inside information on the base and its operation. Some of those involved had English accents and had formal military training.

Former PSNI chief Ronnie Flanagan originally accepted the raid was an inside job, but later accused the Provisional IRA.

Nationalists believe US citizen Larry Zaitschek was set up in an elaborate plan to deflect blame for the raid.

Zaitschek, an American, worked at the Castlereagh complex for four years prior to the St Patrick’s Day break-in.

Zaitschek has been threatened with arrest if he ever sets foot in the North, but there have been no efforts made to extradite him from the US.

Now he is facing his third Christmas away from his son Pearse, aged 6.

There are no signs that a prosecution is imminent.

Zaitschek’s Belfast-based solicitor, Kevin Winters, recently sought information about the case from the PSNI and the Director of Public Prosecutions in the North.

“I’ve been trying to tie down what they say they have on him, whether they want to question him and what the position is in relation to the extradition request,” Winters said.

“The answers to date have been unhelpful, lacking in detail and consistent with a holding exercise.”

Many nationalists suspect that Zaitschek makes a convenient hook on which allegations of republican malfeasance can be hung, irrespective of the strength of the evidence against him.

“Larry is a hostage to the political process,” Winters said. “He’s being used as part of a wider political agenda.”

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© 2004 Irish Republican News