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War And Peace: Sound Effect, Episode 68

This week, stories of war, peace and the spaces in between.


This show originally aired on April 30, 2016.

This week on Sound Effect we present stories of war and peace.

Ground Zero

Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor has what may be the highest concentration of nuclear warheads at a single site in the world, according to the Federation of American Scientists. And in neighboring Poulsbo, activists under the banner of “Ground Zero” don’t want you to forget it. Tom Rodgers is committed to direct action against the base, and guesses he’s been arrested four times in the process. But his background is unusual for an anti-nuclear crusader: He used to be a naval officer himself, at one point deployed on a nuclear-armed sub. He talks about his long journey to activism with Gabriel Spitzer.

Translating The Enemy

There are many different kinds of military service, but Vanessa Davids says they don’t all get equal recognition. She served in Iraq as an Arabic translator, at times translating gruesome details of intercepted voice and video recordings. The work gave her a dark perspective on the human condition, and by the time she finished her deployment she had bottled up a lot of stress and trauma. And yet, she found that as a woman and as a vet serving mainly behind the lines, her service was often overlooked. Hear her describe what it’s like to emerge from some horrific experiences, and yet have no one to talk to about it.

Hitler’s Nukes

Imagine for a moment how World War II might have played out differently, if Hitler had access to nuclear weapons. The Nazis did in fact have a nuclear program, which hinged on the availability of a crucial ingredient called heavy water. This stuff was made in a remote factory in Norway, which Seattle author Neal Bascomb calls a “Winter Fortress,” in his book by that name. Bascomb tells us how a team of hardy Norwegian commandos faced nearly impossible odds to sneak into the facility, place a series of bombs, and blow up Hitler’s atomic dreams.

Roll On, Columbia

“Dust Bowl Troubadour” Woodie Guthrie is one of the great creators of protest music in American history. His pro-peace and anti-Fascist songs set the stage for generations of antiwar music. We learn about Guthrie’s Northwest chapter from a new book by KEXP DJ Greg Vandy. It details how Guthrie wrote a song per day for weeks, trumpeting the Grand Coulee dam and the flowering of Central Washington.

From Doctor To Hostage To Refugee

In Iraq, Dr. Faried Alani helped put back together patients who had endured horrors. As an orthopedic surgeon, he had to put some distance between himself and the violence that landed so many people in his operating room: He had to think like “a mechanic,” in order be effective. That changed after he himself got caught up in the violence, when he was beaten, abducted and held for ransom by militants. Now Alani has resettled with his family in the Seattle area, where he savors moments of peace he never had access to in his war-torn homeland. He shared his story with Gabriel Spitzer. 

Sound Effect is your weekly tour of ideas, inspired by the place we live. The show is hosted by KNKX's Gabriel Spitzer.


Kevin began his career at KNKX in 2003, where his first responsibility was to eradicate the KNKX Jazz Library from all Smooth Jazz CD’s. Since then there is not much at KNKX he hasn’t done. Kevin has worked as a full time jazz host, news host, and has hosted, at least once, almost every single program on KNKX. Kevin currently produces 88.5's weekly show Sound Effect. Kevin has conducted or produced hundreds of interviews, has won local and national awards for newscasts and commentary, and helped make the KNKX Grocery Tote famous.