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Missouri Senator plans to introduce new Bill in support of World War II Veterans

Around 60,000 Army and Navy troops were part of Mustard Gas experiment . This experiment sought to prepare US Military to face the mustard gas in the battlefield

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Senator Claire McCaskill speaking at the conference. Image source: Wikimedia commons
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  • To help veterans who participated in mustard gas experiments, Senate of missouri plans to introduce new bill 
  • An investigation revealed only 40 living veterans are currently getting benefits
  • According to McCaskill’s investigation, 90% of applicants claims have been denied by the US Department of Veteran Affairs

Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri is pushing to introduce a new bill which aims help World War II veterans exposed lethal mustard gas.

The US military conducted a classified experiment in which veterans were used and sworn to secrecy about their participation in the experiment.

It is said that around 60,000 Army and Navy troops were part of this experiment. The Mustard Gas experiment sought to prepare US Military to face the gas in the battlefield. Those veterans were sworn to secrecy until 1991.

Many Serious Illnesses like leukemia, skin cancer and chronic breathing problems can be caused by the exposure of mustard gas.

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A person exposed to Mustard gas. Image Source: Wikipedia

This bill will be named after Arla Harrel, a man who is said to be the last surviving Missourian participated in the mustard gas experiment. At the age 89 Harrell lives in a nursing home and his claims for compensation have been repeatedly denied by The U.S department of Veteran Affairs (VA).

McCaskill’s office launched its own investigation and  has found out that only 40 living veterans are currently getting benefits and the rest still have not received any compensation. According to the investigation a couple hundred veterans who took part in the experiment are still alive.

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Arla Harrel Act calls for establishment of a new policy for processing claims of the test subjects of this experiment and to reconsider all previously denied claims.

VA officials told NPR that McCaskill’s report is being reviewed by the agency and that it “greatly appreciates the service and sacrifices of every World War II Veteran, and any veteran who may have been injured in mustard gas testing.”

On Tuesday, McCaskill said that 90 percent of the claims by applicants have been denied by Veteran Affairs. Some even have struggled to get compensation for health issued caused due to the exposure. She said her bill will help the veterans but it is unclear that how many will get benefitted.

-by Bhaskar Raghavendran

Bhaskar is a graduate in Journalism and mass communication and a reporter at NewsGram. Twitter handle: bhaskar_ragha

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Solving a murder in a Nazi bastion, escaping the Stasi

But as there are a couple of Nazis who are not so bad, our hero also shows that anyone with some dignity and honour can keep his mooring amid the direst evil

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Prussian Blue is a must read book which offers different perspective. IANS
Prussian Blue is a must read book which offers different perspective. IANS
  • Prussian Blue is a novel by Philip Kerr
  • It is set in World War II
  • Thr book is an interesting read

Title: Prussian Blue (Bernie Gunther Series); Author: Philip Kerr; Publisher: Quercus

Some men can never outrun their past. It is not that their wrongdoings cannot be forgotten, but rather that their unique abilities which even their enemies, spanning the spectrum from Nazism to Communism, recognise and seek to utilise for their own ends. As with this outspoken, irreverent but capable German ex-policeman.

Bernie Gunther has survived over over two decades of Nazi rule, World War II’s Russian front, Soviet captivity, the Cold War’s lethal attentions — from all its sides — service to Juan Peron and the American mafia in Battista’s Cuba, and now just wants a quiet life.

Not Nazi were bad. youtube.com

But his eccentric fate hasn’t yet finished with him, even in 1956. And in his latest appearance, Gunther learns — yet again — that the pathology of power remains the same, though the name, uniforms and even ideology may change, and today’s oppressed can easily become — and inevitably do — tomorrow’s oppressors.

Fleeing Berlin after a complex intelligence operation where he got even with those kicking him around — with the help of a dangerous figure from his pre-war past — Gunther tries to live obscurely as concierge in a small hotel on the French Riviera. But soon, his unlikely helper — Erich Mielke, the dreaded second-in-command of East Germany’s Stasi — personally appears and threatens him to undertake a mission.

This entails going over to Britain and poisoning — by thallium no less — a covert woman agent, whom Gunther had deftly outsmarted in his previous outing (“The Other Side of Silence”, 2016). And just to keep him on his toes, Mielke has his men arrange a near-fatal hanging for him.

But our hero is not one to give in tamely. While he goes along with Mielke’s assignment knowing the men wished upon him to “help” will eventually be his executioners, he escapes from the train taking them towards the English Channel. The Stasi men are soon on his trail and since their leader is someone who knows Gunther too well — a former pre-war Berlin police colleague who was his aide in investigating a crime in Adolf Hitler’s hilltop Bavarian retreat in 1939 — keeping ahead will not be too simple.

As Gunther flees across France with the French police too on his trail, his mind travels back to April 1939 when another dreaded boss sent him to solve a serious crime in Hitler’s holiday home, just before the Fuhrer visited it for his 50th birthday.

A top engineer overseeing construction and renovations has been shot dead right on the terrace of special tea house planned as a surprise for Hitler and now his close aide Martin Bormann wants the matter to be solved expeditiously without any fuss, so there is no threat to the Fuhrer’s life.

But as Gunther finds out, there is no shortage of suspects given the greed, graft, jealousy, turf fights and more going on between Nazi bigwigs in this Nazi citadel and a mass of resentful local residents, dispossessed of home or property for the Hitler retreat.

Given the high stakes involved, will he be allowed to investigate the case to its logical conclusion and identify the truly guilty or will any scapegoat do?

Flipping between the hazardous 1939 investigation and the nervous 1956 flight, Philip Kerr, in the 12th installment of his most captivating series, brings our wise-cracking, sardonic but resourceful hero back to life in all his tarnished, tired but still irrepressible form.

Also Read: Book Review: ‘Blitzed – Drugs in Nazi Germany’- Straight dope about the Fuehrer and the Nazi war machine

While it is a thriller twice over, the real worth is the uncompromising light it shows totalitarianism in — especially Nazism, which despite its much touted high ideals, could not advance from the ambition, greed and conceit of its principal leaders. Stalinist Communism, with its readiness to employ former Nazis and be as violent, doesn’t come far behind.

Kerr also scores in his vivid but unflattering portraits of top Nazis — from the boorish Bormann to the devious Heydrich and their system of violent loot or just violence. Apart from the insight into workings of Nazism, there is an unforgettable insight into normalisation of terror and casual brutality to gain and keep personal power.

But as there are a couple of Nazis who are not so bad, our hero also shows that anyone with some dignity and honour can keep his mooring amid the direst evil. That is why Bernie Gunther’s exploits are a must read. IANS