Assassination By Ricin, September 9th, 1978
Ricin has been in the news recently thanks to the poisonous letters sent to the White House and senate officials. Luckily enough, the assailant is in custody and no on was seriously hurt. However, Ricin is incredibly toxic. An amount as small as a pin head can kill an adult human. To make matters more complex, Ricin is a natural substance from the castor seed. As you can guess, the more I Googled, the more interested I became. Yesterday, I happened to learn about a special ops assassination in the 70's that took place in London, and I sent the idea to Evernote to draft for a post.
Below is a selection of information on the notorious Umbrella Case. The victim was Bulgarian writer and dissident Georgia Markov, and the Bulgarian Secret Police (in conjunction with the KGB) had attempted to kill him twice, before they finally got to him with a pneumatic umbrella.
Inside the umbrella was a bullet with holes in it that contained a sugar coated pellet of Ricin. It was shot into Markov's leg as he waited for the bus near Waterloo Bridge, in Central London.
Georgi Ivanov Markov was a Bulgarian dissident writer. Markov originally worked as a novelist and playwright in his native country, then governed by a communist regime under Chairman Todor Zhivkov, until his defection from Bulgaria in 1969. After relocating to the West, he worked as a broadcaster and journalist for the BBC World Service, the US-funded Radio Free Europe, and Germany's Deutsche Welle. Markov used such forums to conduct a campaign of sarcastic criticism against the incumbent Bulgarian regime. As a result of this, it has been speculated that the Bulgarian government may have decided to silence him, and may have asked the KGB for help. He died as a result of an incident on a London street when a micro-engineered pellet containing ricin was fired into his leg via an umbrella wielded by someone associated with the Bulgarian secret police.
Here is how the event went down.
September, 1978 - Markov walked across Waterloo Bridge spanning the River Thames, and waited at a bus stop to take a bus to his job at the BBC. He felt a slight sharp pain, as a bug bite or sting, on the back of his right thigh. He looked behind him and saw a man picking up an umbrella off the ground. The man hurriedly crossed to the other side of the street and got in a taxi which then drove away.
The assassin "Picadilly"
As it turned out Georgi fell ill and died three days later. It was soon discovered that he had been poisoned by a ricin-filled pellet.
At the time there was no antidote for Ricin poisoning, and even today counteractions are only successful if the medicine is taken before poisoning.
"Picadilly" - the killer, still lives and travels freely through the EU...His cover was as an art dealer in Copenhagen, and he received two Bulgarian state medals “for services to security and public order”. His whereabouts are now unknown.
Pneumatic Umbrella -
Bulgarian Secret Police - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Committee_for_State_Security
The Economist -
The Markov Case - http://www.economist.com/node/12056788?story_id=12056788
2012 German Copy Cat Case -
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