Through the Looking Glass

An online news source with ties to neocon Richard Perle is subverting the efforts of St. Louisans to clean up West Lake Landfill and Coldwater Creek.

Meet The Press

In its latest act of subversion, a story generated by a bogus African-American news service is being shared on Facebook by those who are trying to get radioactive contamination removed from sites in St. Louis County, Mo.

The most recent story has been posted by longtime anti-nuke activist Helen Caldicott. The story was generated by the Urban News Service (UNS), a subsidiary of the American Media Institute (AMI).  The article is mainly a cobbled-together rehash of other media accounts but it does include a quote from Ed Smith, a spokesman for the Missouri Coalition for the Environment.

One of the main thrusts of the story is that the population of St. Louis County has twice the number of African-Americans than the national average, according to the latest census numbers. The proximity of the radioactive waste sites to Ferguson, the site of racial unrest in 2014  is also a focus of the story. The interpretation of the census statistics, however, is misleading, because more than three quarters of the population in St. Louis county is white.

It is unclear why the race issue is being made a part of the narrative. And it becomes even more murky when details of the AMI are more closely examined.

AMI was founded by neocon Richard Mitimer, former editor of the right-wing Washington Times newspaper,  a publication  long owned by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the founder of the Unification Chuch. Mitimer is currently the national security columnist for Forbes magazine. Mitimer, an avowed libertarian, is not known to be a civil rights activist.

The inclusion in the story of Smith, the Safe Energy Director at  the Missouri Coalition,  gives the appearance that the UNS is environmentally friendly and anti-nuke.  Moreover, the story has been posted by Caldicott, an anti-nuke icon.

But there is reason to question that image.

That’s because Richard Perle is a director of the American Media Institute, according to the non-profit corporation’s latest available tax returns. And the AMI is the parent company of the Urban News Service.

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Perle is noted for being one of the primary architects of the Iraq war. He was also a founding member of the Project for the New American Century  along with Paul Wolfowitz, which carved out the template for American foreign policy during George W. Bush’s administration. Perle resigned from the influential Defense Policy Board, a Defense Department civilian advisory group, in 2003 after it was revealed that he was engaged in war profiteering by Seymour Hersh of the New Yorker.

More germane to the nuclear waste issue, however, is Perle’s longstanding advocacy of nuclear weapons. During the Reagan era, Perle was a proponent of the Strategic Defense Initiative, also known as Star Wars. The refinement of uranium by Mallinckrodt Chemical Works for the first atomic bombs is responsible for the nuclear waste that still plagues St. Louis County.

It is difficult to conceive that Helen Caldicott and Richard Perle have anything in common, particularly when it comes to cleaning up the nuclear waste in St. Louis County. Nonetheless, they share a common interest in promoting the work of the Urban News Service.

We are through the Looking Glass.


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