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Monday, May 07, 2007

Canada's Secret Spy Coin

According to the US Defense Department, Canada is planting coins containing secret radio transmitters on US Defense contractors travelling in Canada ['Poppy quarter' behind spy coin alert]. The coins are the 2004 commemorative quarters issued to remember those who died in Canada's wars. The coins have a red poppy in the center [In Flanders Fields].

Here's what the Associated Press article says,
WASHINGTON - An odd-looking Canadian quarter with a bright red flower was the culprit behind a false espionage warning from the Defense Department about mysterious coins with radio frequency transmitters, The Associated Press has learned.

The harmless "poppy quarter" was so unfamiliar to suspicious U.S. Army contractors traveling in Canada that they filed confidential espionage accounts about them. The worried contractors described the coins as "filled with something man-made that looked like nano-technology," according to once-classified U.S. government reports and e-mails obtained by the AP.
I can see why the contractors were confused. American coins and paper money are so boring they probably thought every country had boring money.

Actually it's all a ruse to direct the contractors' attention away from the real source of the radio transmitters. They're in Tim Hortons coffee.

[Hat Tip: Mustafa Mond, FCD]


  1. "filled with something man-made"

    Sounds as if they've used WD's explanatory filter.

  2. The "poppy quarter spy coin" should not be confused with the C$1 million gold coin.

  3. Tim Horton's coffee doesn't contain radio transmitters. It contains behavioral changing chemicals, unknown to US intelligence.

  4. Larry,
    Since Tim Horton's is being revisited, I want to ask you about one of my vague recollections from my 1960's vintage biochemistry.

    I seem to recall that one of the B vitamins has properties that allow it to mimic some of the physiological effects of nicotine, most notably the cardio-vascular effect of peripheral vasodilation. Perhaps you could shed some light on this.

    I'm not in any way suggesting that Tim Horton's might be or ever has been megadosing the public on the likes of niacin or riboflavin - indeed, I don't even know what the temperature stability of those compounds are - but, I've now become sufficiently curious about the connection that my mind nebulously tells me is there that I thought I'd toss it out for you or one of your commenters.

    But, if necessity warrants, I will once more pull the old texts and notes off the shelf and dig in. After all, I haven't lugged them around for forty years just for the fun of it.

  5. Caffeine works by inhibiting an enzyme called cAMP phosphodiesterase because caffeine resembles the normal product (cyclic AMP, cAMP).

    There are many signal transduction processes that require cAMP but under normal circumstances the effect is transient because cAMP is broken down quickly by cAMP phosphodiesterase. Caffeine prolongs the stimulatory effect of various hormones by blocking the enzyme.

  6. Your conspiracy theories are a false dichotomy.

    From the Royal Canadian Legion:

    Beginning on October 21, 2004, the new poppy coin will be available from Tim Hortons locations across Canada. Tim Hortons, a distinctive Canadian enterprise, is the Mint’s exclusive distribution partner for the poppy coin. Because coins are produced to meet demand, poppy coins will also be available at financial institutions in the months following the coins unveil.

    "The Mint has created one of the most unique coins in the world that features a special symbol that all Canadians can relate to and be proud of," said Bill Moir, Executive Vice President, Marketing, for Tim Hortons. “Canadians have supported Tim Hortons for 40 years and our Veterans and current members of the Canadian Forces are some of our most loyal customers. So when the Mint approached Tim Hortons, we knew we had to be a part of this commemorative launch.”