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2003 Year of The People: The People POWER; We show our rivals we're simply the best newspaper in Ulster.

IN 2003 The People beat the rest again in a report that rocked the IRA and British establishment - the unmasking of double agent Stakeknife.

The story, which would win the award for Scoop of the Year, lifted the lid on the double dealing spy who was allowed to get away with murder.

But Belfast man Freddie Scappaticci would spend the rest of the year denying he was the man in question - until he was later grilled by the IRA about his double-dealing.

We told how the builder of Italian extraction had risen through the ranks of the IRA as a young man.

He went on to become the number two in the Provos' infamous Internal Security Unit, or Nutting Squad as it became known.

From there, Freddie was to interrogate all those accused of informing to the security services.

The irony was that all along, he was the British government's jewel in thecrown in the murky intelligence underworld.

What make Scappaticci's role so controversial was, as The People revealed, his role in a number of murders.

But he was given a by-ball by his masters in London because he was so valuable in the fight against republican terrorism.

More obstacles than enough were put in the way of this newspaper as it fought to bring you the truth, and we're still fighting as hard as we can to continue our work.

For the story isn't over.

Scappaticci's conversations with the IRA are ongoing as he vigourously denies the allegations against him.

And he has pledged to sue this newspaper for printing the story which he says hasn't a shred of truth to it.

He doesn't deny being an IRA member in the past, but has said that he never assisted the security forces.

CAPTION(S):

OUT IN THE OPEN: We unmasked Freddie Scappaticci as the top British agent inside the IRA known as Stakeknife. Our story won Scoop of the Year
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Dec 28, 2003
Words:321
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