May 12, 2003
The man whom British authorities referred to as "Stakeknife," and who worked for them as a high-level double agent within the IRA, was moved to a safe-house in England this weekend on reports that two newspapers were intending to publish his name in their Sunday editions.
Alfredo "Freddy" Scappaticci, a Belfast man in his 50's, denies allegations.
In the IRA, Mr. Stakeknife was its officer in charge of stopping infiltrators. His job was to check recruits, and track veterans, to keep the organization free of British agents.
The IRA, the Irish Republican Army, is a clandestine organization. It is illegal in both the Republic of Ireland and in Northern Ireland, which is politically British. The IRA was greatly influential in the Irish war of independence in 1916-1922. Its goal, in simple terms, was and is the end of British rule on the island. The IRA has committed atrocities in pursuit of its aims.
The greatest number of killings by the IRA in recent history were between the late 60's and the end of the century, during times known as "The Troubles" when sectarians on both sides and various political hues carried out paramilitary and guerilla violence, and neighborhoods rioted over religious and political differences. Generally speaking, Catholics were republican and Protestants were loyalists loyal to the crown, so to speak; British, and wanted to stay that way.
Stakeknife murdered 40 people in the process of his work in the IRA. These were suspected informers, enemies within the IRA. Agents of the British, as himself. Murdered them, to protect his cover. Presumably with the clearance of the British government.