The threat of the spying quarter

In Spain, whenever we got into political discussions, Alan and I would always mention the US. Our friend Jackie used to get annoyed and ask “why do we have to always refer to the United States?” Living in Canada, it’s hard not to know what goes on in the US. It’s like living in a building with thin walls – you can’t help but know when the neighbour has a party. When 9-11 happened, many in the US were quick to point their fingers at Canada and its open immigration policies. Many still believe that the hijackers came into the US from Canada.

Now the latest threat from Canada comes in the form of… Canadian coins!! More specifically, 25-cents coins.

For the past few months US Defense Security Service warned that mysterious coins with radio transmitters had been planted on American army contractors who had been to Canada in 2005 and 2006.

It turns out that the mysterious coins were the special  coin released by the Canadian mint in 2004  commemorating Canada’s war veterans. The quarter has a red poppy in the centre and a protective coating to keep it from smudging. As the Toronto Star pointed out today:

<>One contractor marvelled that the coin didn’t seem to have a power source, but was filled with some sort of “nano-technology.”

Another wondered how those things got into his pockets after he had put his loose change in a secure plastic bag.

“And you wonder why our war effort isn’t going too well,” said John Pike, a security and military analyst at

The Canadian embassy tried to remain diplomatic.

“We knew loose lips sink ships, but loose change … ?” said spokesperson Bernard Etzinger.

The mystery of the Canadian coins with the radio transmitters had haunted cyberspace for four months until it was resolved by the Associated Press yesterday.

Canadian commemorative quarter

Now it’s part of urban legend… No matter what anybody says, there will be people out there believing Canada infiltrated coins into the US with radio transmitters implanted…  Click here for the full article.