The Ghost of Snapped Shot

Or, welcome to my low-maintenance heck.

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The latest on the Funny Money Scandal

Wow! It would seem that our original story is taking off in more directions than we'd ever imagined! For starting with a mere, "Hezbullah has been known for counterfeiting," and seeing the context of the discussion evolve into such a detailed analysis of the photographic evidence is awe-inspiring, to say the least. Once again, this proves to me that investigative journalism isn't dead:—it lives on in cyberspace, even if it's been dead in the mainstream media for a decade.

With that in mind, I'd like to summarize, if I may, the discoveries of some of my fellow bloggers.

We started with the analysis of the "missing" security thread. It would seem that, a bill without a security thread would be most definitely genuine, and our commenter MechEng was quick to spot that a silhouetted picture of a $100 bill didn't appear to contain a security thread. Upon further review, though, we determined that the thread would most likely be in a position that would be obscured by the hand in the photograph, and therefore, it couldn't be conclusively demonstrated via that particular photograph that the bill was counterfeit.

Next, another astute commentator noticed that the seal behind the denomination seemed to shift positions between multiple bills, which seemed to be a sure-fire sign of counterfeiting. Unfortunately, after a few bloggers who are apparently wealthier than myself (People actually carry that much money around?!) examined their personal hoardes, it was discovered that this was a normal feature in the currency. A cursory look at PBS' Secrets of Making Money article confirms this.

Yet another commenter has indicated that bills, when placed in stacks, should show some separation at the edges, as the currency is printed on more of a cloth material, than on thread. This is still under investigation.

So we're left back at square one. What we have successfully shown is a very fine-tuned, cooperative process for investigating possible instances of fraud, the very spirit of investigative journalism that inspired many honorable reporters for generations. This spirit is alive and well, whether or not the media wishes to leverage it against an position which goes against their very beliefs. Regardless of the press, the blogosphere will continue to ask the questions that should have been asked!

My hat remains off to all of the bloggers out there who are greater than myself. As a salute to them, here is a complete list of everyone who is still investigating this story:

Allahpundit and Sticky Notes have done a fantastic job analyzing every aspect of the bills in the photograph: Treasury seals, Signatures of the Treasurer, Crispness and expected age of the bills in question. Sticky Notes is waiting to hear from Yoni the Blogger on whether or not he knows anything about Hezbullah's counterfeiting operations. As am I.

Ace of Spades asks why bills with a previous Treasurer's signature on it would look so new, but notes that some governments are known for stockpiling United States currency.

Riehl World View lists some of the crimes Hezbullah is accused of, noting that counterfeiting is not out of their reach.

UPDATE 23-AUG-2006 21:51 EST: Bad Example has done a thorough debunking of all of the theories floating around so far. Which, of course, is a good thing and a bad thing. Excellent work, and a very brilliant analysis!

UPDATE 24-AUG-2006 14:41 EST: It would appear that the British Broadcasting Corporation has been in touch with someone involved in the "Cash-bollah" scandal. Check out this chat transcript—in which we discover a gentleman, Ahmed Hassan Ahmed (which appears to be a fairly common name in the area, according to Google), who has been assigned the task of handing out money:

Ahmed Hassan Ahmed: Today I was responsible for paying compensation for people whose houses were totally destroyed by Israeli bombing. This money is from Sayed Hassan (Nasrallah) and Hezbollah.

Each family got $10,000 in cash which is for one year's rent and furniture. It was my job to vouch for the people who came and said they lived in Khiyam and I was asked by Hezbollah to do this. Three mukhtars were working flat out at the municipality and there were three others going round with Hezbollah engineers assessing the damage to each house.

In all, we paid about 140 families their compensation. My job is to prevent corruption—and there is another Hezbollah committee to double check whether people are eligible or not.


Nice to know that the World's Greatest Charity is taking such measures to protect its financial counterfeit portfolio. And notice the brief mention of Hezbullah Engineering—soon to dominate the markets formerly conquered by Halliburton, which is bound to further their endearment with the Left!

It is disturbing to read the rest of the transcript, even though it's not directly related to Cash-bollah. These people don't seem interested in recognizing Israel's right to exist in the least, yet the International Media would have us believe that it's Israel that is somehow holding back peace in the area, what with their established army and their democratically-elected government...

It just goes to show how blind the press (and, by supposition, the ENTIRE left!) is to the reality of the situation in the Middle East.

26-AUG-2006 08:45 EST: Myrtus seems to have found some subtle hints dropped by the U.S. Treasury Department's Undersecretary for Terrorism. The Treasury Department seems to be warning banks that accepting money from a Jew-hating terrorist is essentially taking blood money. Not that the Arab world has ever balked at accepting blood money...

A big hat tip to Ali Bubba, who pointed this out, along with a rich collection of other little hints that make it all the more obvious that Hezbullah has their own Monopoly Money press!

UPDATE 12:37 EST: Sticky Notes has uncovered a very detailed web of connections between North Korea, Hezbullah, Iran, and the Irish Republican Army? Interesting, indeed!

UPDATE 27-AUG-2006 11:51 EST: WE'RE IN THE NEWS!

:)

UPDATE 28-AUG-2006 10:34 EST: IsraelNN has documented the fundraising which supports Hezbullah. It's definitely an interesting read!

UPDATE 31-AUG-2006: The story has been given a rudimentary debugging by a journalist on the ground in Lebanon. Anyone else from the area is absolutely welcome to comment here as well! Nothing's better than a firsthand account, right?

 


Comments:

#1 Alabama Liberation Front 23-Aug-2006
The big score on Tuesday was Dan Riehl's well-written research on the history of Hezbollah's long-standing involvement in counterfeiting. Dan also linked this item about the "Triangular trade" involving "Supernotes." Ace and his commenters had some good discussion, and RightWingNuthouse called attention to a PBS documentary that has some good stuff ...
#2 Sticky Notes 23-Aug-2006
Good News to report. I sent out emails yesterday and last night to some Israeli bloggers and have already heard back from one. Most agreeable with a promise to put something together to day to spread the word that we need one of those crisp $100 bills.
#3 Bad Example 23-Aug-2006
Blogson Mike the Marine of From The Halls To The Shores asked me to check out this burgeoning controversy at Hot Air about possible Hezbollah counterfeiting. I've had 7 years of doing nothing but fondling currency all damn day as...
#4 Sticky Notes 24-Aug-2006
Excellent find and addition today.
#5 Sticky Notes 26-Aug-2006
As discussed, Korea is involved in the production of Supernotes – counterfeit $100 bills. I’m posting some key points and much of the information is not new. But it’s a connect-the-dots thing.

Follow me here…..
#6 Sticky Notes 27-Aug-2006
North Korea now has new agreements with 23 banks in 10 countries, including Vietnam,Mongolia and Russia
#7 M. Simon 30-Aug-2006
This is a track back,

Hizballah Joins the Cash Flow Jihad

http://powerandcontrol.blogspot.com/2006/08/hizballah-joins-cash-flow-jihad.html

The Jerusalem Post reports that the Bush administration is working to squeeze Hizballah's assets in addition to the damage already done by the Israelis.
#8 Mike 31-Aug-2006
With all respect to bloggers who sometimes discover things missed by mainstream media, this story about Hezbollah handing out counterfeit $100 bills is completely insane!
Unlike any of them, I am on the ground in Beirut reporting for CBC News and have checked it out. We could not find a single person complaining about phony money. Furthermore, the very idea shows a profound ignorance of Lebanon and Hezbollah. Lebanon is a major banking center, every bank has counterfeit scanners and other tools for detecting counterfeits. Not just the banks either, every money-changer and supermarket also has a scanner next to the cash register. From personal experience I can tell you they check out $100 USD bills very very carefully, phonies would be detected in an instant. This would bring outraged complaints from people in desperate circumstances that would be a huge embarassment to Hezbollah. No such scandal has emerged because the phony money story is itself phony. The people circulating the story are doing it for their own reasons, but as a journalist I can tell you they are absolutely, totally wrong.
#9 SilverSpear 01-Sep-2006
Guys you still need to know a looot about Hezballah. I am from Lebanon, a Christian and not related to Hezballah in any way. Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah is a man of God according to Shias, and such people are very committed to their religions teachings same as the Jewish community in Israel. Everything in the Middle East is related to religion... You know in the muslim belief that earning interest on your bank funds is a huge sin and must not be taken no matter what. The Shias are more religious than Sunnis, so from where does Hezballah got all this money from??? The primary source is definitely Interest! Well the Shias put their money in banks earning interest, but instead of taking it (they are not allowed to as I explained above), all the funds are given away for Hezballah's resistance which is deemed acceptable in their book and form 'Sweat money' as we say. But there is definitely other sources, of which Counterfeiting is out of the question and I double dare anyone prove otherwise. (you are all joking about Hezballah Counterfeiting money, right? In their religion, this is definitely not feasible...)
#10 Brian+C.+Ledbetter 01-Sep-2006
Thanks for taking the time to write! Check out the updated story (I'll post the link at the end of this article in a second) for details on Mike's debunking of the counterfeiting claims.

As far as the religious restrictions of Islam, I think it's safe to say that you'll find plenty of examples where certain rules are brushed aside when it suits the militants in question. I'm sure counterfeiting would've been one of those situations, under taqqiya, where it'd be all but blessed by the religious leaders if it suits the purposes of their "strike" against the West. Let's not be naive about the capabilities of terrorists, now...

I'd love to continue hearing your commentary from Lebanon! Please be sure to keep reading, so you can keep me honest!

Warmest Regards, and Stay Safe!
Brian
#11 Synthstuff - music, photography and more... 30-Sep-2006
An interesting (pick any from the list below):lack of basic research and/or critical thinkingwishful thinkingoutright bias in reportingfrom Bloomberg: Hezbollah, With $100 Bills, Struggles to Repair Lebanon DamageBy Kambiz ForooharOn an August morning, men in T- shirts and baseball caps...
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