[imText1]The Operation Bernhard was so named after Bernhard Kruger, the Nazi major who had proposed it.
It was not a military operation such as raiding the enemy’s major base camps. It was an operation which was intended to disturb the enemy country’s society by counterfeiting its money in large quantities. It had been an operation unparalleled in history.
The operation is known to have started In 1942. English and American money was the major target. It is not known exactly how much money was counterfeited and passed, but it has been said that there was so much counterfeit money that it was difficult to burn it, and hence forgeries were buried in water. Later, neighborhood residents were said to have fished bundles of forgeries drifting in the water. In 1945, 130 million pounds were said to be counterfeited. After Berlin had fallen, a truck loaded with 20 million counterfeit pounds was found. Jews in concentration camps were forced to make these forgeries.
This Nazi operation was more or less successful. During wartime, more money is usually minted to supply goods and pay wages, which causes inflation. England experienced much inflation during the second world war. The inflation was just assumed to be caused by the wartime situation, and English authorities did not know that Nazi counterfeited and passed money in large quantities.
They were just bewildered by such huge inflation as compared with the amount they minted. The English government was shocked when the Nazi counterfeited money and printing plates for it were found. At once it changed the design of its bills, but was in trouble until the 1980s due to the Nazi forgery.
The U.S. says forgery is to wage a war
It seems that the U.S. assumes that the North Korean forgery of U.S. dollars is a modern version of the Bernhard Operation. The U.S. has seriously raised the North Korean forgery issue.
On the 16th of this month (U.S. time), the State Department of the U.S. held a conference for diplomats from 40 nations and specialists in money forgery to explain about the North Korean forgery and circulation of counterfeit bills. At the conference, the North Korean mode of forgery and various evidences indicating North Korean involvement were revealed.
It has been known that the U.S. launched a task force in the Sate Department named the North Korean working group three years ago. The group, which is lead by David Asher, the former East Asian Pacific chief adviser, chases North Korean crimes in the world such as money forgery, production and sale of narcotics and illegal weapons.
In a contribution to Nautilus Institute’s website last November, Mr. Asher said that North Korea is a unique nation which commits crimes for its economy and diplomacy, and that it counterfeits not only U.S. dollars but Euros, which is an act of economic war. He also describes North Korea as a Soprano Nation. Soprano is the name of the Maffia leader who was a character in a popular American television serial drama several years ago.
Asher is not the only U.S. official who has raised the North Korean forgery issue. On the 16th of last November, Stuart Levey, who is the deputy secretary in charge of terrorism and financial information in the U.S. Treasury, was invited by Heritage Foundation to gave a speech. He mentioned North Korean forgery and warned that it will result in significant consequences. On the other hand, Vershbow, the U.S. ambassador to South Korea, was invited to give a speech at the conference held by Kwanhun Club on the 7th of this month. At that time, he described the North as a Criminal Regime. As for the counterfeit dollars, he emphasized that since Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Regime, North Korea is the only nation that has committed such crimes.
At the Seoul Summit: Promoting Human Rights in North Korea, Jay Lefkowitz, the special envoy for North Korean human rights, mentioned that the U.S. government has no intention to reverse Vershbow’s position. Henry Hyde, the chairperson of the international relations committee in the U.S. House of Representatives sent a supporting letter to Vershbow. On the 12th of this month, in at the World Affairs Council in Philadelphia, the U.S. president, George Bush, gave a speech which assumed North Korean forgery as an established fact. He said, “The North Korean regime develops nuclear weapons, counterfeits U.S. dollars, and starves its people.”
Enough circumstantial evidence of North Korean forgery is found
Has North Korea really been counterfeiting U.S. dollars?
While the U.S. had an explanatory meeting for North Korean forgery on the 16th, the South Korean government is consistently saying that there is not enough evidence. In fact, it is difficult to come up with decisive evidence regarding money forgery. As for Nazi forgery, only circumstantial evidence had been suggested before those involved with the forgery were put on war crime trials, and printing plates for forgery were found.
The U.S. and forgery specialists say that there is enough circumstantial evidence of North Korean money forgery. A person working for the Interpol also said that he could not say positively, but North Korea had long been suspected as the source of Super Notes.
The fine counterfeit U.S. 100 dollar bill, which is referred to as the Super Note or Super Dollar because it is virtually no different from the genuine one, has been found since 1990. Its quality has been consistently upgraded. North Korea has something to do with every occasion of finding it, either directly or indirectly. Many North Korean diplomats especially have been caught carrying it. Moreover, it is reasonable to assume that individuals are unable to make such quality forgeries because they lack financial support and manpower.
There are some opinions opposing the U.S. reaction to North Korean forgery. Why is it that the U.S. is raising the North Korean forgery issue at this moment? Some have proposed an analysis that hard-liners who want the change of the North Korean regime are having more influence because there is not much progress in resolving the North Korean nuclear weapon issue.
“Will you tolerate others’ counterfeiting your country’s money?”
There can be three reasons why the U.S. is seriously raising the North Korean forgery issue.
First, no one will be able to tolerate others’ forgery of his country’s money.
South Korean authorities have expressed concern to the U.S. through diplomatic routes regarding the U.S. reaction to North Korean forgery. The U.S. has been said to have responded by asking if the South would be able to tolerate others’ forgery of its money. Christopher R. Hill, the assistant secretary of EAP who is known to be relatively moderate, said exactly the same thing during a recent interview with a news medium.
In 1996, the U.S. changed the design of its hundred dollar bill after 68 years of use, which signified the Super Note’s huge impact. Questions regarding the effect of old bills rushed from all over the world. The U.S. has been desperate to develop techniques to block the forgery of dollars and circulation of the forgeries.
In international societies, counterfeiting other country’s money is no different from waging a war against the country. Moreover, it can be regarded as an intention to break the world economy to counterfeit U.S. dollars because U.S. dollars are key currency. Once some decisive evidence of North Korean dollar forgery is found, no one could blame the U.S. even if it should wage a war against the North.
Second, North Korean money forgery is consistent, its technique of forgery is getting more delicate and fine, and the quantity of forgeries is being increased.
It has been said that North Korea started forgery in the early 1970’s. At that time, North Korean forgery was regarded as a childish strategy against the U.S. during the cold war period without economic purposes. The technique was poor and the quantity was disregardable. Communist countries at that time used rubles for their trade, and thus it was not economically useful for North Korea to counterfeit U.S. dollars.
In the late 80’s when most Communist regimes fell, North Korean dollar forgery started to have economic purposes. At this moment, Super Notes began to be found in large quantities.
In accordance of the serial numbers, there are several versions of the Super Note such as Super K, and Super X. Once a new technique to detect the last version was developed, a new version emerged. That’s why the U.S. claims that this kind of forgery is impossible for individuals because it requires so much financial support and organizational power. North Korean forgery has caused skepticism about international and South Korean economic aid to the North.
Some ask why the U.S. raises the North Korean forgery issue while the six party talks are in progress, but the U.S. has been following North Korean forgery for the past 10 years, and it is just time to disclose the results. It is especially a temporary report of a 3 or 4 year investigation on sponsors’ funds for terrorists after 9.11.
North Korea with financial difficulty calls on a negotiation
Thirdly, it seems that the U.S. is trying to use the forgery issue as a whip working in favor of it during the 6 party talks.
It must be naive to assume that the U.S. raises the North Korean forgery issue simply for economic reasons. It is more natural to assume that raising the issue is multi-purposed. One purpose can be for pressuring the North.
The U.S. authorities think that the pressure has been considerably effective. According to a news source, North Korea secretly has called for a negotiation with the U.S. since the U.S. made it impossible for the North to launder money through Bako Delta Asia by requesting China to pull strings.
Macao is where North Korea earns the most money by committing various crimes. After Macao was blocked against the North, it has had much trouble. Recently, Chokwang Trade Company, the biggest trading company of North Korea, withdrew form Macao.
One interesting thing is that North Korea has not declared the breakdown of the 6 party talks despite the American pressure. The South Korean government says that this is because of its policy of reconciliation with the North, but the U.S. authorities imply that it’s because of the whip.
Once the medium through which the North contacts the U.S. is blocked, no money can flow into it. That’s why North Korea has no choice but to take part in the 6 party talks. After all, North Korea is destined to follow our intention.
An official in charge of negotiating with the North for the U.S. State Department said that it is certain that the U.S. is firmly resolved to cure the bad habits of North Korea at this time.