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Ricin As An Assassination Weapon Essay

1334 words - 5 pages

Ricin is a chemical substance that was used in killing targeted individuals during the Cold War. The chemical was first developed in the United States and United Kingdom, but it was widely used in other countries like Bulgaria. The substance can kill individuals exposed to it through ingestion, inhalation and injections. Among the victims of ricin assassination includes Georgi Markov who was one of the rebels of the former communist regime. Ricin was also used as a weapon that targeted government officials. Several letters containing ricin were addressed to government officials in an attempt to kill them through ricin inhalation. Ricin kills those exposed to it by damaging their internal organs. Its elements kill cells by hindering various functions such as proper protein formation.

Ricin as an Assassination Weapon
Ricin assassination was a notorious strategy used in killing people during the Cold War. It is a poisonous substance which contains two elements. The two toxic elements act by killing body cells. When introduced into the human body, the first element enters the body cells. It creates a passage for the second toxic element which affects cells by hindering them from producing proteins. The inhibition of proteins causes the death of cells. Unlike other poisons, ricin reacts very slowly. People die several days after being exposed to the substance. Georgi Markov was one of the rebels in Bulgaria during the Cold War, and he became of victim of ricin poisoning.
History of Ricin Assassination
Since the year 1918, some people have used ricin as a weapon. The development of ricin to form weapons first occurred in the United States and United Kingdom. However, the weapon was never used in these countries until recent years. In the year 1980, Iraq tried to use the toxic substance as a weapon. In the year 1978, the substance was used in killing Goergi Markov. In order to inject someone with ricin, various strategies can be used. Among the common strategies was the use of the umbrella-based weapon. Markov saw a man with an umbrella that hit him with a pellet filled with ricin at the bus station. Markov died three days after being struck by the umbrella. After various tests initiated and completed in laboratories, doctors realized Markov had been poisoned (Justo, 2013). His symptoms were the same as ricin poisoning. Doctors confirmed the toxicity of ricin after a test was carried out on a pig using the same amount ricin injected in Markov. The effects of the chemical on the pig were the same as those experienced by Markov (Justo, 2013). Several days after the death of Markov, ricin once again became the killing device for Vladimir Kostov, who’s another Bulgarian exile. The use of this poison in the two incidences was suspected to have been ordered by the secret service of the communist states. The weapon cannot be used effectively in assassinating people immediately as it is meant to cause a slow death by making people ill. Due to the...

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