[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
Forgery, bills, and the Four Horsemen (Articles and Comment)
I have received a pile of requests for citations
Here are segments of a few. As I typed them all by hand, errors
are likely to be mine.
My comments follow the articles, so you can stop reading just before them :)
###The San Francisco Examiner
March 7, 1995 - Tuesday
Global Counterfeiting traced to Tehran
For the past five years, so called superbills, crisp $100 Federal
Reserve Notes, so perfectly forged that they might be fresh off
U.S. government printing presses, have been flooding banks and
money markets around the world. The total amount currently in
circulation is believe to be $10 Billion or more.
Currency officials alarmed.
Alarmed Treasury and Federal Reserve Board officials fear the
increasing number of such superbills has shaken international
confidence in America's currency.
From the moment the new superbills surfaced in 1989, it was clear
to the secret service... that these were no ordinary forgeries.
Under microscopic examination, they showed only infinitesimal
differences from legitimate notes. Most significant, the
counterfeits had been printed on presses virtually identical to
those used at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.
Secret service investigators concentrated on those nations that
had acquired the same kind of intagilo presses. Only two
companies sold them on the international market. One was a U.S.
company, none of whose overseas customers was considered suspect.
The second was a Swiss company, De La Rue Giori.
Evidence pointed to Iran
By the end of 1991, investigators had eliminated all but one of
Giori's clients: the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Intelligence agencies uncovered evidence that Iran was not only
mass-producing the notes, but had built a world-wide distribution
network. Key transshipment points had been established in
Lebanon, Syria, Sudan, and North Korea.
Ronald de Valderano of Britain's Research Foundation for the Study
of Terrorism says practically every Iranian-backed terrorist cell
in the world is at least partially supported by the forgeries.
The notes most often are used to buy arms or pay operating
expenses or are sold on the currency black markets for legal cash.
Indeed, when FBI agents searched the residence of suspects
arrested for the bombing of New York's World Trade center, they
found $20,000 of the forgeries.
Critics have for years urged that U.S. currency be better
protected against such onslaughts. Last July, the treasury
finally announced that changed were planned for U.S. currency,
including covert security features.
June 19, 1995 - Monday
'Perfect dollar forgeries flood Middle East; The Israeli and
Iranian governments top the list of suspects behind the faultless
The Lebanese know how to spot a fake. Fake weapons, fake
perfumes, fake diplomatic consuls, fake money. But the latest US
$100 bills are a near perfect forgeries as they have seen, many of
them accepted happily by Beirut's notoriously suspicious money
The bills, dated 1988 but probably forged in Lebanon in the
following two years - the last two years of the civil war - are
still arriving at the Allied Business Bank at the rate of one a
month, often brought in from Cyprus or other Middle East states by
Arab clients unaware that they are forged.
[Laws of most middle eastern countries make perfect forgeries a
"Anyone who makes a 'perfect' dollar bill out here is going to get
strung up if he's caught," another bank official said. "So the
guys who're going to make a perfect note, without any mistakes,
are working for a government who will protect them. So a
government must be involved, the intelligence services,
ministries, the lot."
A senior bank official in Lebanon believed that Iran or Israel
might be responsible. "When you're producing this kind of high-
tech stuff, it's got to have official backing," he said. "If
you're spending this kind of money on a 'perfect' forgery, it's
for big business - for political parties, arms purchases, for
He repeated a rumour believed by several other banking officials
in Lebanon - that the "perfect" dollars might be coming off
counterfeit presses and dollar plates taken into Afghanistan by
the Soviet intelligence service during the Soviet occupation;
Afghanistan is now divided among militias respectively funded by
Saudi Arabia and Iran.
"The security thread is the reason why we are alarmed," the senior
Lebanese bank official said of the new forgeries. "It's not easy
to get the thread in. You put in the thread when you produce the
note - it's not printed on, it's embedded in the paper. And it's
a real security thread.
"We suspect they're being exported to a variety of places: to the
US, to the former Soviet Union...."
Other bank officials suspect Iran... and suggest that Tehran has
used fake currency bills to fund the Hizbollah, Hamas and other
armed groups which are opposed to Israeli occupation.
###The Washington Post
May 05, 1995 - Friday, Final edition
Bogus Bills?; Rumors Persist That Iran Is Counterfeiting U.S.
Currency to Sabotage the Economy.
Thomas. W. Lippman
The allegation that Iran is waging economic warfare against the
United States by printing and distributing millions of dollars in
phony U.S. currency has been circulating on Capitol Hill at least
since 1992, when it was made by a House Republican Task Force on
Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare.
It might even be true or partly true, according to some sources.
There is a problem with counterfeit greenbacks around the world,
these sources said. It's just not clear that Iran is responsible
The question arose again Tuesday when the irrepressible Rep. Dana
Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) asked Assistant Secretary of State Robert
Pelletreau about it in an International Relations Committee
hearing on the Clinton administration's economic boycott of Iran.
Rohrabacher, who spend much of the recent congressional recess
traveling in Asia, said he heard about the phony money from many
people. "Have you received and credible reports that the Iranians
are counterfeiting American money" he asked.
Pelletreau, a normally unflappable career diplomat, looked
"I know there is an intense investigation and campaign underway,
led by the U.S. Secret Service to uncover all the sources of
counterfeiting of American money abroad," he said. "I just am
personally not in a position to give you the exact details of what
we believe Iranian involvement is in that."
"There are many leaders throughout the world... who believe that
the American currency is being undermined by an intentional act of
economic warfare on the part of the Iranian government... by
counterfeiting billions of dollars' worth of U.S. currency,"
Rohrabacher said. "Am I getting you right that basically you're
not denying that this is going on?"
"I am not denying it," Pelletreau said. The 1992 GOP report said
the fake currency is being printed in the Iranian mint in Tehran,
"using equipment and know-how purchased from the U.S. during the
reign of the Shah," which ended in 1979.... A Wall Street Journal
report at the time said that the phony bills-- whoever was making
them-- were so good they could fool sophisticated currency-
handling equipment at the Federal Reserve.
###Counterfeiting and Money Laundering Deterrence act of 1995
I rise today to introduce the Counterfeiting and Money laundering
Deterrence Act of 1995.
A number of analysts believe the threat to the U.S. currency is
urgent. News reports say that intelligence experts in the U.S. and
Israel are aware of a highly skilled group of counterfeiter
operating out of Lebanon's Bekaa Valley. The counterfeiters,
controlled by Syria and Iran, have turned out as much as $1
billion of the extremely high-quality reproductions of the U.S.
First, the bills requires all existing $100 denomination U.S.
currency to be exchanged within a 6-month period. This would make
drug traffickers who hoard vast amounts of hard currency hard-
pressed to convert their existing cash into the new money. If
they cannot exchange their funds in the specified time frame,
their funds are worthless under the bill.
Second, the bill established two new versions of the $100 bill:
one for use at home and one for use abroad. The only business
that relies on exporting large amounts of hard currency is drug
trafficking. This provision would make money smuggled out of the
United States worthless, turning the tables on drug traffickers
who covertly move money from the streets of this country to
foreign bankers who launder it without reporting illicit
transaction to the Treasury.
A U.S. citizen traveling abroad who wished to bring $100 currency
with him would hardly be inconvenienced by this measure: a quick
stop at a U.S. bank to convert their greenbacks into differently-
colored foreign-use bills would be all that is necessary-- just
like purchasing travelers, checks. The only ones who would be
inconvienced would be drug traffickers who would hate to exchange
their greenbacks for foreign use currency at a U.S. bank because
of currency transaction reporting requirements.
### END ARTICLES
The presence of counterfeit bills, the legislation to defeat them,
and the general sentiment of government in the matter is
disturbing for a few reasons.
1. Focus on Surveillance
The legislation adopted to defeat counterfeiting is linked with
the four horsemen quite closely. The solution, instead of making
the bills difficult to forge like they should have been in the
first place (U.S. bills are currently the easiest to forge of
western nations- and counterfeit bills are long lived as currency
changes are unheard of in the U.S.) is to create a regime where an
additional tier of reporting is required. It seems the first
answer to every "problem" (read: every element which might allow
citizen autonomy) now is to link it to money laundering and
terrorism and drop a blanket solution over it which without fail
includes highlevel reporting or tracking elements. (Anyone seen
this before with the... oh, I dunno, strong encryption issue?)
2. The demonization of cash.
I have written here before on the increasing difficulty with which
one uses cash without suspicion in the United States. It has come
to the point where money, in any amount, won't buy you everything
anymore. Many products and services are available ONLY by credit
or credit card- and by extension, available only to traceable
transactions. Is it any wonder Americans have one of the lowest
ratios of income to debt in the world today? "They" would have
you believe that cash is nothing but a tool for the four horsemen.
I am most disturbed in this context by the way the act is
financed- i.e. by the extinguished obligations from unexchanged
currency. Does this measure sound ominous to anyone but me?
3. The corruption of e-cash to further the above.
If the government is disturbed by the laundering of money enough
to actually print, or even propose printing, two kinds of
currency, how will they respond to untraceable, unaccountable and
infinitely liquid e-cash? I think the answer is in past behavior:
e-cash will be linked to the four horsemen and subjected to
rigorous reporting requirements- systems which are true e-cash
will be banned. At the same time the widespread presence and use
of e-cash will be used to question anyone who uses physical
currency. The death of cash continues as it were. Why would
anyone carry bills anymore when a plastic smartcard (or your
highschool ring) is so much more convenient? You must have
something to hide. No, good citizen units will WANT to use "e-
cash" because they are honest, and know the government means them
no harm and is here to protect them from the four horsemen.
The cash is dead, long live the king.
00B9289C28DC0E55 nemo repente fuit turpissimus - potestas scientiae in usu est
E16D5378B81E1C96 quaere verum ad infinitum, loquitur sub rosa - wichtig!
*New Key Information* - Finger for key revocation and latest key update.