Monday, May 07, 2007

Canadian Spy Coins

The aerial spraying of prozac may become a necessity in the USA as paranoia continues to rise to a fever pitch. Last week's hysteria was caused by a ticking Winnie the Pooh. (Bomb of Little Brain?) Now it's been confirmed that American defense contractors traveling in Canada (hmm) reported an odd-looking coin that they thought was some kind of spying device:

"The harmless "poppy quarter" was so unfamiliar to suspicious U.S. army contractors travelling 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.

The silver-coloured 25-cent piece features the red image of a poppy, Canada's flower of remembrance, inlaid over a maple leaf. The unorthodox quarter is identical to the coins pictured and described as suspicious in the contractors' accounts.

The supposed nano-technology on the coin actually was a protective coating the Royal Canadian Mint applied to prevent the poppy's red colour from rubbing off. The mint produced nearly 30 million such quarters in 2004 commemorating Canada's 117,000 war dead."...

One guy was so paranoid that he was sure two of the coins had been slipped into his pocket on the sly by evil bastards unknown, because he absolutely knew for certain that all his coinage was in a separate plastic bag:

"One contractor believed someone had placed two of the quarters in an outer coat pocket after the contractor had emptied the pocket hours earlier. "Coat pockets were empty that morning and I was keeping all of my coins in a plastic bag in my inner coat pocket," the contractor wrote."

CSIS eventually got involved and was able to settle the out-of-control paranoia somewhat. Of course, rather than admit they were wrong (and stupid) and move on, the DoD said:

"The Defense Department subsequently acknowledged it could never substantiate the espionage warning, but until now it has never disclosed the details behind the embarrassing episode."

Is that the Republican way or what? Don't admit a mistake, just say "well, we can't prove it, but...". Like Saddam: No WMD? No, "we can't prove he has no WMD".

Anyway, if they were genuinely freaked out by the coins, instead of firing off reports to the Defense Department and wasting everyone's time on bullshit, why not just go to a bank and check them out? Events like this, amusing as they may be, aren't encouraging; if everyone's heads are so far up their asses worrying about spy coins and exploding teddy bears, I wonder if they'd even see a real threat coming.