photo by Vincent Eirene

photo by Vincent Eirene

Vincent Eirene, renowned Pittsburgh activist and operator for nearly five years of Blast Furnace Radio, and Geoff Kelly, editor of Pittsburgh’s alt-weekly Pulp, toured Iraq the week of March 14th . The two Pittsburghers, along with a handful of journalists, authors, college professors, and videographers from across the nation, were part of a delegation sponsored by the Global Exchange in San Francisco, in cooperation with International Occupation Watch Center, an alternative media and human rights coalition with offices in Baghdad. During that week a series of hotel bombings rocked the city. Kelly and Eirene talked with TNP reporter Matt Novak about the complex religious, social, and political identities of the Iraqi people, and why the U.S. has lost their good will. This is part II of a two-part series.

Many reports verify that U.S. forces are targeting hospitals as potential asylums for terrorists. What is the health care situation like?
GK: One of the doctors we spoke to said things are much, much worse than before the war. Children die all the time. They don’t have the right medicine. In a city where there was nearly no violent crime, they now have 5-10 gun deaths a day. The auto accidents have increased. Their syringes, you should see them, [they’re makeshift], they’re like toys! Nobody should be using them. And of course, people are getting diarrhea from the water, and dying.

Half the time, you can’t even get to the hospital, because roads are blocked, and many people don’t even have a car. After 10 p.m., it’s not safe to be out on the street anyway.

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WRCT / Ebony Spectrum and blast furnace radio
Interview with scott crow, the co-founder of common ground relief
Contributor: vincent / blast furnace radio
License: Non-commmercial Sampling Plus

[mp3 audio: available here.]

Democracy Now! (MP4)

for other audio and video formats, click: here.

Questions I received from a Milwaukee student:


testimony from a Hibakusha:

three days later on August 9th, 1945 at precisely 11:02 in the morning – a second Bomb was exploded over the city of Nagasaki. The Japanese called it pikadon (flash-boom). There was a blinding flash of light brighter than the sun, followed by a tremendous shock wave and a searing blast of heat. Huge poisonous mushroom clouds ascended into the sky and a deadly radioactive black rain fell. Those at the center of the blasts were incinerated, leaving only their shadows behind.

testimony by a U.S. soldier:

In Fallujah I saw the burnt bodies of women and children … The Thite Phosphorus explodes and forms a cloud who’s in 150 meters is dead. A whole city was siezed and razed to the earth using this kind of bombing.

Today is the 64th anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki. After a 18 year hiatus nuclear triggers are being made, this time at the birth place of the nuclear era: Los Alamos, New Mexico. One of the cries of the victims after the atomic bomb was a cry for a little water. Likewise the people of Iraq have been deprived of clean water since the first Iraq war in 1991, the water treatment centers destroyed over and over again.

Today we come here to the CMU’s Software Engineering Institute not just as a symbolic gesture to a deaf society but to act as a non-violent counter presence to CMU’s military contracting that includes both conventional and nuclear weapons.

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Johnny Carson – Guest George Carlin – video powered by Metacafe

to order a copy of Vincent’s book, The Day The Empire Fell, visit the Barbary Shore website at:


from the introduction:

Vincent Scotti Eirene is a consummate storyteller. In this book he offers poetic vignettes about his family and his lifelong journey into nonviolent peacemaking. Along the way he takes us across the country, from Pittsburgh to Chicago, Colorado, Oregon, Idaho, California, Nevada, the White House, New Orleans, Atlanta, and even beyond, to Fallujah and Baghdad. We meet an assortment of colorful characters, people like Grandma Molly, Phillip Berrigan, Hungry Bear, Uncle Joe, Black Panther Malik Rahim, Martin Sheen, judges, lawyers, activists and others. Stitched together, the stories serve as a striking miniature of our age. They form a snapshot of a time in American history, flashes of what Jack Kerouac did for an earlier era with his book On the Road.

People on LSD are not gonna fight your wars, middle class, middle-aged whiskey drinking generals. And they’re not going to join your corporations…

A panel of Democrats in the House of Representatives heard presentations last week from a group of veterans who say they witnessed and participated in widespread misconduct during their time in Iraq.

[Real Audio Format / Streaming Video]

KWAME HOLMAN: As the House debate continued last week over funding the Iraq war, leading anti-war Democrats convened nearby to hear from a group of veterans who say they witnessed and participated in widespread misconduct during their time in Iraq.

The stories came from a dozen or so former Marines and soldiers who left Iraq at least two years ago. They include accounts of unwarranted killings of Iraqi civilians and mistreatment of detainees that were met with indifference or encouragement by commanding officers.

Two of the men said the weight of such experiences led them to suicide attempts.

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Remembering Tom Lewis: Activist, Artist

* By Scott Schaeffer-Duffy

On April 4, 2008, the 40^th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., Thomas Patrick Lewis died of natural causes at his home Austin Street home in Worcester, Massachusetts. His commitment to justice and peace flowed out of his love and art and began with civil rights, continued with opposition to the Vietnam War, the nuclear arms race, and the current US War in Iraq. He was arrested many times for nonviolent civil disobedience, serving more than 4 years of his life in jail for his acts of conscience, including a multi-year sentence for his part in the burning of draft files in Catonsville, Maryland in 1968.

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