Illustration: Peter Hoey

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the conspiracy: The Secret Service claims that North Korea is churning out “supernotes” or “superdollars”—amazingly high-quality counterfeit $100 bills. Authorities have discovered an estimated $50 million worth of the phony Benjamins in the past two decades and think at least $22 million more are out there. But the presses needed to mimic the real bills’ anticounterfeit technologies cost around $50 million—not a great investment, even for Kim Jong Il. Next suspect? The Central Intelligence Agency, of course.

the conspiracy theorist: German journalist Klaus W. Bender, author of a book on banknote printing. He speculates that the cia prints the bills at a secret plant outside D.C.

meanwhile, back on earth: Doesn’t the cia get all the money it needs? But then, paying off Ahmed Chalabi with fake $100s would be brilliant.

Kookiness Rating: Tin Hat SmallTin Hat SmallTin Hat Small (1=maybe they’re on to something, 5=break out the tinfoil hat!)

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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