CBC economics correspondent Mike Hornbrook somehow got wind of the speculation on blogs that the greenbacks Hezbo’s been handing out in Lebanon might be counterfeit. Not so, says Hornbrook, in a comment left at Snapped Shot:
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.
I trust him, although the fact that people aren’t complaining about the money isn’t exactly airtight evidence. Fake money’s better than none at all, and given the fact that Hezbollah owns the southern half of the country now, I doubt you’d find many people willing to speak up even if the money was bogus.
Noted for the record, though.