November 2007
Depleted Uranium - Poisoned legacy


When a depleted uranium (DU) munition hits a tank, it punctures its armour with ease and vapourizes into a fireball, causing total destruction. Lethal and effective, it's no wonder that DU weapons have been used by US, British and NATO forces in recent conflicts. But has anyone measured the human cost? These weapons are a deadly form of recycling of the waste uranium left over by the nuclear energy and nuclear weapons industries. Stockpiles of DU have crossed the one million tonne mark. Storing it has become a headache - unstable and corrosive, DU eats through its containers. To be made into munitions, DU is converted into a more stable metallic form.

Opponents of this weaponry have argued from the outset that the toxic and radioactive effects of the DU (which has a half life of 4.5 billion years) will harm people long after the rounds have been used. The authorities insist it is safe. Weapons makers who get the waste uranium for free or at throwaway prices are making a mint. Wide-ranging and impartial scientific studies are needed to establish the health and environmental consequences of the use of these weapons. But proposals for them tend to get blocked. This month the NI explores this terrain of denial and neglect.








2 Letters

4 Toxic souvenirs
Will the whole truth about depleted uranium ammunition ever come out? It depends on who's looking, discovers Dinyar Godrej.
Plus 6 DU: From waste to weapon A visual guide.

9 Don't look, don't find
Can Iraqi doctors break through the wall of indifference? Doug Weir reports.

11 'We were expendable'
US Army veteran Herbert Reed's blistering testimony.

14 The Facts

16 Who's the real criminal?
John LaForge squares up to the largest DU munitions manufacturer in the US.

18 Action
Including Building the ban with Belgian activists and DU and the law.


Guilt complex

We feel guilty about what we do (flying, driving a car) and about what we don't do (not making that demo, not recycling enough). Adam Ma'anit traces the roots of these feelings and argues that we need liberation.

24 Currents
US Iraq vets against the war; drugs and guns in Colombia's guerrilla war; Burma's rebels on the line; World Bank and corruption in Armenia.
PLUS: Seriously China permits reincarnation.

27 Making Waves
How Masih Alinejad is paying the price for confronting Iran's leaders.

28 Big Bad World
George W stands firm in the face of Polyp.
PLUS: NI Prize Crossword

29 Worldbeaters
Hillary Clinton, frontrunner in the race for the White House, is a woman. Unfortunately,
that's where the good news ends.

30 Mixed Media
Including a film about the end of oil, music by Robert Wyatt and five-star books from
Naomi Klein and John Berger.

32 Southern Exposure
Facing up to Algeria's riot police, by local photographer Samir Sid.

33 View from Tel Aviv
Palestine's Mandela by Uri Avnery

34 Essay: Kabul lives
A photographic tribute to a city that has plumbed the depths.

36 Country Profile: Cuba





NI Japan




<This month's translation>

- Toxic souvenirs (NI p4-8)

- Don't look, don't find (NI p9)

- The Facts (NI p14-15)

- Building the ban (NI p18-19)

- DU and international law (NI p19)

- Country Profile - Cuba (NI p36)

- Currents
Propaganda by any other name (Zimbabwe) (NI p24)
--- Big Bad World (NI p28)


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