September 13, 2002
3:49 PM   Subscribe

This week in 1978, the most bizarre and hideous of murders was committed. Georgi Markov, a Bulgarian dissident was jabbed in the thigh with a deadly umbrella. The umbrella inserted ricin into him, killing him on September 11th, 1978. To this day, his killer has not been punished.

Question to ponder: Does the US CIA have their own 'deadly umbrellas'?
posted by RobbieFal (38 comments total)
 
No. The question to ponder is why people like you take a crime committed by a Leninist, totalitarian government and twist it into an attack on a progressive democracy. Hatred for your own culture and society is the answer I keep coming back to, but I’m willing to entertain other explanations.
posted by mojohand at 4:07 PM on September 13, 2002


Now.. just because I asked if the US had some deadly umbrellas means that I hate my culture?

My culture doesn't involve deadly umbrellas.

My culture does involve freedom of speech.

I certainly haven't posted that I wish for men that I disagree with to die.

My question was posed out of curiosity. The only huge drawbacks to the "Umbrella of Death" are that you have to be able to get close to the guy to jab it into him. But, you'd think the US CIA has some tools around to kill people quickly.

You have to admit that the Umbrella was a pretty covert way to kill somebody. It took them months to figure out how he died and the killer has not been arrested.
posted by RobbieFal at 4:19 PM on September 13, 2002


No. The question is why some people are zenophobic and can't stand it when other people question authority. That and exploding cigars.
posted by michaelonfs at 4:24 PM on September 13, 2002


See, and here I was thinking the question was, "How long will it take for this thread to turn into a battle over patriotism?" Congratulations, mojohand, you exceeded my most wildly cynical expectations.
posted by hippugeek at 4:26 PM on September 13, 2002


Anyone else assasinated on a Septeber 11?
posted by ParisParamus at 4:28 PM on September 13, 2002


RobbieFal: Does the US CIA have their own 'deadly umbrellas'?

I sure hope so. Otherwise all that nice tax money I've been sending them will have been wasted.
posted by Hieronymous Coward at 4:29 PM on September 13, 2002


ParisParamus: Anyone else assasinated on a Septeber 11?

Salvador Allende, IIRC.
posted by Hieronymous Coward at 4:30 PM on September 13, 2002


Does the US CIA have their own 'deadly umbrellas'?

What's next - vibrating brooms?
posted by thatweirdguy2 at 4:32 PM on September 13, 2002


Wow, Mojohand, you remind me of that bumper sticker the old farts put on their Buicks in the sixties: "America, Love It Or Leave It."

Do I think the CIA ops have their own "umbrellas"? Yes.
DoI have any evidence to prove this? No

We (and movie directors and novelists) can only speculate.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:35 PM on September 13, 2002


Mary Poppins worked for the CIA.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:40 PM on September 13, 2002


Does the US CIA have their own 'deadly umbrellas'?

Yes. And they come in the form of their daughters. When you date them and you're as far left as me, the arguments are like an acidic salve on your stomach.
posted by crasspastor at 4:43 PM on September 13, 2002


Mary Poppins worked for the CIA.

The Penguin, too.
posted by hilker at 4:51 PM on September 13, 2002


I don't know about you, but I fear a poisoned Clippy.
posted by thebigpoop at 5:23 PM on September 13, 2002


I was just thinking about the "umbrella murder" story when I saw an ad for that horrible looking Antonio Banderas / Lucy Liu movie "Ballistic : Ecks vs Sever" where they talk about injecting someone with a pellet/device as an assassination attempt.
posted by Grum at 5:34 PM on September 13, 2002


**singing to tune of Zep's "Livin' Lovin' Maid"**

...with a poison um-ber-ell-a and a bit of ricin...

(killin' people, for the government)

...shove it in your thigh then you're gonna die

(killin' people, for the government)


**wild ass guitar solo**
posted by jonmc at 5:41 PM on September 13, 2002


Implicit in the original post was the moral equivalence between the government behind Markov’s murder and the that of the United States. This is nonsense.

I then speculated on motivations without evidence. That was nonsense. Sorry.

Someone pointing out you’ve written nonsense is not censorship. Both ways.
posted by mojohand at 6:00 PM on September 13, 2002


The opposite of moral equivalence is hypocrisy. If it's wrong when someone else does it, it's wrong when I do it.
posted by Nicolae Carpathia at 6:30 PM on September 13, 2002


Funny you should ask...
posted by buz46 at 6:38 PM on September 13, 2002


Oops, I meant to post this link... My bad.
posted by buz46 at 6:43 PM on September 13, 2002


Regardless of my feelings towards the assassination itself, i always thought that this was one of the neatest ways to kill someone.

It's just so... Bond.
posted by quin at 6:54 PM on September 13, 2002


Regardless of my feelings towards the assassination...

I hope these don't involve a horrible marksman firing a defective weapon from a sixth floor window with his view obscured by a tree. That scenario makes the "Umbrella Gun" seem downright plausible.
posted by buz46 at 7:06 PM on September 13, 2002


As Peter Clothier wrote so well, in a letter to the editor in the NYT, remarking on Bush's W's Op-Ed piece:

"The problem with Presiden Bush's homily is its bland assumption that everything American is morally and politically above question, and that this country, in its wisdom, is entitled to instruct others in the rightness of its ways."

Will we ever get off our moral high horse and look at what role our actions in the world may have in creating some of the "terrorist" problems in this world.?
posted by lometogo at 7:12 PM on September 13, 2002


Just piping up on a related book... I stumbled across "A spy's London" earlier this year. Though it's sold as a walking tour of London sites related to MI6, CIA, KBG, and espionage agents, it reads like a well-researched true history of assassinations, code-breaking, and double-crosses.

Throughout WWII and the Cold War, Markov and other spies like the Cambridge ring had a surprisingly large effect on the way history has stacked up. Wish they taught some of this in history classes...
posted by whatzit at 7:57 PM on September 13, 2002


I assume the CIA probably did do research into asassination methods, develop weapons, etc. These cold warriors were very Realpolitik-oriented, and they would have wanted to be ready if the decision tree pointed to killing someone in the street to defend the West.

[puts on tinfoil hat] You don't really believe the the $600 the government pays for a toilet seat goes to the toilet seat cartel, do you? It goes to fund poison umbrellas and Area 51 and other 'black budget' items. [/removes tinfoil hat]
posted by crunchburger at 8:01 PM on September 13, 2002


OH MY GOD I HATE AMERICA
posted by xmutex at 8:03 PM on September 13, 2002


"In 1961, the Kennedy administration ordered the CIA to remove Iraqi dictator Abdul Karim Qassem from power, but he was overthrown in a coup before a poison-soaked handkerchief prepared by the CIA could arrive."

Terrorism Answers: Assassination.
posted by crazyhorse at 8:45 PM on September 13, 2002


That little pellet has become more famous than the man it killed. I've seen it's picture several times but never heard the full story, thanks for the link. Of course the CIA has such devices. I'm sorry, it is impossible to justify our using them rather than the "enemy".
posted by rotifer at 8:56 PM on September 13, 2002


You don't really believe the the $600 the government pays for a toilet seat goes to the toilet seat cartel, do you?

Yes...the poison toilet seat cartel.
What an awful way to GO!
posted by buz46 at 9:14 PM on September 13, 2002


Regardless of my feelings towards the assassination itself, i always thought that this was one of the neatest ways to kill someone.

It's just so... Bond.


I just realized that you were not responding to my post, but rather referring to the original assassination of this thread. Sorry. :(
posted by buz46 at 9:48 PM on September 13, 2002


Why do I, if we went back in time, envision half of you cheering Markov's assasination as a 'shill of the capitalistic West'?

Can I borrow that hat, crunchburger?
posted by evanizer at 9:53 PM on September 13, 2002


are they sure it was ricin that killed him?... if the umbrella was opened inside it might have been bad luck!
posted by the aloha at 10:11 PM on September 13, 2002


The British developed exploding shirt tails during WWII.
posted by Nicolae Carpathia at 11:55 PM on September 13, 2002


Mary Poppins worked for the CIA.

Hagrid was rejected.
posted by fredosan at 7:05 AM on September 14, 2002


'OH MY GOD I HATE AMERICA'
then leave.
here, hold my cat for a moment, i will be right back.....
posted by clavdivs at 7:58 AM on September 14, 2002


Question to ponder: Does the US CIA have their own 'deadly umbrellas'?
Yes, and they've been installed worldwide. They're called McDonalds, KFC, Burger King, etc. Slower, but deadly none the less.
posted by Mack Twain at 10:36 AM on September 14, 2002


So... starting a McDonald's franchise is morally equivalent to killing someone wih a poison umbrella? Wow! That's that special MetaFilter logic kickin' in.

Though given the food poisoning I had this week, I'm inclined to agree about the KFC part.
posted by evanizer at 11:21 AM on September 14, 2002


whats odd is that i too have had... irregularities. but this is because the mother-in-law is in town.
(oh, we'll make this whole ham and eat on it for a week)
prussic acid is a neato sov toxin. blow fish toxin the company "does not have anymore in quantity" is the best. It was reported that enough existed too kill 100,000 people.
what interested me in this al-quadia manual for the militarily challenged was the process of concentrating nicotine for the use of poison. just plain weird.
posted by clavdivs at 12:19 PM on September 14, 2002


As if anyone cares any more, but poor old Mr Markov is buried in the same churchyard as my grandparents - some random out of the way place in darkest Dorset.
posted by jonathanbell at 4:56 PM on September 14, 2002


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