Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Arrest in Belfast shows North Korea funds 'peace' movement with counterfeit dollars

An arrest in Northern Ireland may shed light on how militant anti-US protests are financed around the world.

The Belfast arrest of Workers Party chief and former IRA man Sean Garland indicates that North Korea may be funding the international peace movement with high-quality counterfeit US $100 bills.

From a legal point of view, Garland is innocent until proven guilty. But from an intelligence perspective, his activities are clear.

Northern Ireland authorities arrested Garland on a US warrant as he was preparing to deliver a keynote address at his party conference. He and six others were indicted October 7.

The case could expose how small extremist groups with no visible means of support have been able to publish weekly newspapers that contain no real advertisements, run websites, coordinate national and international anti-US protests, and finance their leaders' international travel. The main sources of their funding have been a mystery.

The source of Garland's covert counterfeit funding should prompt US investigators to probe the New York-based Workers World Party (WWP), a semi-overtly pro-North Korea fringe group that organizes and staffs the International ANSWER coalition that coordinates "anti-war" protests in the US.

WWP leaders frequently travel to North Korea where they issue anti-US speeches and write articles datelined Pyongyang for their weekly paper and website. Click here for an example. The WWP is secretive about its source of funds. The Garland case, part of a 16-year investigation, might reveal more.

The indictment alleges that Garland and his co-conspirators attempted to shield North Korea's role in the counterfeiting, to make it appear they obtained the fakes in Russia.

Garland denied earlier, similar allegations by Washington Times reporter Bill Gertz as "gross slanders and lies."

This case is something to watch. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the financing of the most militant of the internationally coordinated anti-US movements has been a mystery. The Garland case, and the actions of the WWP and International ANSWER, should be telling in the coming months.


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