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Cold, hard spy devices. Or not.
May 7, 2007 5:41 AM   Subscribe

Updatefilter: Apparently a poppy was the cause of espionage accusations. As reported here on the blue, some US contractors were apparently freaked out by a novel Canadian coin which featured a red poppy. The coin was issued by the Royal Canadian Mint, an organization that makes Canadian cash as well as currencies for other countries. The Mint, which is definitely worth a tour if you're in Ottawa, won an award for the coin. The coin was issued to honour Canadian war dead; the poppy is the symbol of the Royal Canadian Legion.
posted by Zinger (46 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Nice nice - but you missed out on our latest coin...

It's a biggie - 100kg, $1,000,000.00
posted by jkaczor at 5:48 AM on May 7, 2007


We also have a quarter with the pink breast cancer ribbon. Just to warn you.
posted by LunaticFringe at 5:49 AM on May 7, 2007 [2 favorites]


UpdateFilter or StupidParanoiaFilter? YOU make the call!
posted by mephron at 5:58 AM on May 7, 2007


I'm sure the 4 month lag in the US determining what coins Canada mints is in no way indicative of intelligence gathering or communication problems.
posted by DU at 5:59 AM on May 7, 2007 [4 favorites]


Just to clarify: I am not accusing Zinger of being Stupid or Paranoid. The idiots who set this off, though, without checking the money of the country they were visiting, though...

What, did they drink too much maple liqueur or something? That entire kerfuffle is pushing the brain damaged people envelope.
posted by mephron at 6:01 AM on May 7, 2007


Is there any where to see a high-resolution shot of this so-called "nano-technology"?
posted by delmoi at 6:18 AM on May 7, 2007


This was resolved back in January, which is why the US retraction is linked at the bottom of the January metafilter post you linked to.
posted by mendel at 6:19 AM on May 7, 2007


Looks like someone at the mint was a fan of 80s alternative band The Alarm.
posted by bondcliff at 6:25 AM on May 7, 2007




Seems odd that the Defence Security Service would issue an espionage warning without taking a look at the coins first.
posted by zeoslap at 6:32 AM on May 7, 2007


It's witches all over again.
posted by caddis at 6:33 AM on May 7, 2007


It bothers me that 'US Military Contactors' are travelling within Canada to begin with. Who knows what other thuggish havoc they can wreak up here.
posted by Flashman at 6:46 AM on May 7, 2007


looked like nano-technology"??

hilarious.
posted by jmccw at 6:49 AM on May 7, 2007 [2 favorites]


This kind of paranoia, to me, is indicative of the level of covert operations that the US is engaging in at the moment.
Sounds like the cold war is back.
posted by jouke at 6:58 AM on May 7, 2007


Isn't it indicative of a nation with little knowledge of the world ourside its borders, even the next nearest? I mean, not to know of poppies as a symbol of remembrance?
posted by A189Nut at 7:02 AM on May 7, 2007 [2 favorites]


Maybe you're right.
posted by jouke at 7:09 AM on May 7, 2007


btw I had never seen coins like this, with enamel centers. But I like them just as much as the enamel small badges of when I was a kid.
posted by jouke at 7:15 AM on May 7, 2007


A189Nut: Doesn't it just show a lack of the world in general? Poppies have been used in the US to represent remembrance. My mom used to get one each memorial day.
posted by drezdn at 7:23 AM on May 7, 2007


Sighing so much it makes my head hurt. drezdn is exactly right. Also, "nano-technology"??
posted by adamgreenfield at 7:42 AM on May 7, 2007


Poppies have been used in the US to represent remembrance. My mom used to get one each memorial day

In Flanders fields the poppies blow...
posted by TedW at 7:45 AM on May 7, 2007


Amongst the mosses, lo and lo
posted by Flashman at 7:49 AM on May 7, 2007


Well, it does look pretty unusual for a coin, I especially under blacklight.
posted by delmoi at 7:51 AM on May 7, 2007


The contractors didn't show the coins to a cashier or two and ask whether they'd seen coins like that before? Take them to a bank? Ask a Canadian friend? Complete fools. With guns, no doubt. Wandering around feeling important in someone else's country.
So! You won't take warning, eh? All the worse for you, then. I'll take care of you now instead of later! Hah! When I gain those ruby slippers, my power will be the greatest in Oz! And now, my beauties! Something with poison in it, I think. With poison in it, but attractive to the eye -- and soothing to the smell! (laughs)

Poppies! Poppies! Poppies!
posted by pracowity at 7:55 AM on May 7, 2007


They probably assumed that the cashiers would be in on it too.
posted by Flashman at 7:58 AM on May 7, 2007


if people really meant to hide "nanotechnology" in a coin, wouldn't they, you know, make an effort to hide it? perhaps by making it a color other than bright red?
posted by wreckingball at 8:16 AM on May 7, 2007


I had never seen coins like this, with enamel centers

It's not enamel. It's the same metal as always, textured and then printed on with a special ink. The poppies can wear off over time.
posted by GuyZero at 8:28 AM on May 7, 2007


The coin, via
posted by niles at 8:36 AM on May 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


It's official, then - my government is insane. You other countries should probably keep that in mind.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:44 AM on May 7, 2007


Ridiculous.

Is there anyway to get one of these lovely coins in the U.S of A without being put on a no fly list?
posted by Skygazer at 9:14 AM on May 7, 2007


Sweet fecking jeebus. People who ask me why I didn't go into the Foreign Service after all will be immediately directed to this story in future... my government is full of morons, and they hire even stupider morons.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 9:36 AM on May 7, 2007


how the fuck can anyone without a microscope say "this looks like nano-technology!" with a straight face? are we sending retards up to canada to do contract work?
posted by quarter waters and a bag of chips at 9:48 AM on May 7, 2007


"U.S. Dept. of Defence" and "intelligence" are oxymorons, as the run up to the Iraq war so richly illustrates.
posted by wsg at 10:14 AM on May 7, 2007


"defense," rather...
posted by wsg at 10:32 AM on May 7, 2007


It's official, then - my government is insane. You other countries should probably keep that in mind.

Absolutely. This crossed the goddamn line.
posted by voltairemodern at 10:36 AM on May 7, 2007


BTW, those coins are made here at the Royal Canadian Mint production facility in Winnipeg, not in Ottawa...
posted by sporb at 12:35 PM on May 7, 2007


"U.S. Dept. of Defence" and "intelligence" are oxymorons, as the run up to the Iraq war so richly illustrates.

"defense," rather...


I spotted a news story here in the US (I'm Canadian) where they called it the "Labor Party". So as far as I'm concered, it's the Department of Defence from here on out.
posted by blacklite at 2:42 PM on May 7, 2007


Why, that dang coin is plainly marked as a "Remember Souvenir" ! What self-respecting military contractor wouldn't recognize that as the semiotic for sinister Oriental nano-technology?

I can only hope that the paranoiac shiteheads responsible for identifying a war memorial quarter as security threat--surely the Rosencrantz and Guildenstern of North American counterespionage--will be the objects of endless ridicule by their peers and contemporaries. It is deeply disturbing that highly-paid adults in the service of the U.S. government took their report at face value.
posted by rdone at 3:46 PM on May 7, 2007


We also have a quarter with the pink breast cancer ribbon. Just to warn you.

And those bumps on the new bills aren't fancy embedded spy gadgets either, they're just pseudo-Braille.
posted by CKmtl at 4:22 PM on May 7, 2007


..bought to you by the same people who found those WMD in Iraq.. feel any safer now?
posted by zog at 4:32 PM on May 7, 2007


Oh, yeah, and can you prove that CSIS isn't using coins for spying? People hold onto coins for minutes, hours, days and even weeks! Why, bugging a coin could be brilliant... or completely and totally worthless!

As much as the paranoia is so typically American, I can't help by think the stupidity of bugging a coin with ultra expensive technology would be so CSIS. This is the spy agency that went to great lengths to buy the same model of car with non-sequential vehicle identification numbers, but ended up getting sequential license plates for the whole fleet.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 5:45 PM on May 7, 2007


Also, "nano-technology"??

its inherency is ubiquitous.
posted by quonsar at 7:05 PM on May 7, 2007


"54°40' or fi — oooh, pretty!"
posted by rob511 at 7:08 PM on May 7, 2007


The link that niles posted reveals that these coins were (initially) only available at Tim Horton's. Your donut shop is conspiring against you!
posted by zamboni at 7:11 PM on May 7, 2007


Faux News reports that the poppy is "Canada's flower of remembrance".
posted by randomstriker at 7:28 PM on May 7, 2007


From the report above:

An odd-looking Canadian coin with a bright red flower...
The odd-looking — but harmless — "poppy coin" was so unfamiliar to suspicious U.S. Army contractors...
The unorthodox quarter....

Allright, we get it, we got weird coins up here, and they are completly harmless...except for the wild twoonie.
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 4:45 AM on May 8, 2007


That's an odd-looking, unorthodox name you've got there.

We've put in a report on it.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:25 AM on May 8, 2007


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