Friday, August 21, 2009

`Reader's Digest''s Hidden History--Part 3

(The following article originally appeared in the October 27, 1993 issue of the now-defunct alternative Lower East Side weekly, Downtown. Between 2007 and  2011 bankruptcy, Reader’s Digest was  owned by Citigroup board member Tim Collins’ Ripplewood Holdings’ private investment/leveraged buy-out firm. See below for parts 1 to 2 of article).

In Mexico, according to Theirs Was The Kingdom by John Heidenry, an “outspoken critic of the Reader’s Digest’s cozy relationship with the CIA was Manuel Buendia,” a muckraking columnist. In his 1983 book, La CIA En Mexico, Buendia charged that the Spanish-language edition of Reader’s Digest in Mexico—Selecciones—frequently published articles by a U.S. writer named Daniel James, who, according to Theirs Was The Kingdom, “has only written what he has been ordered to by the CIA.” Theirs Was The Kingdom author John Heidenry also noted that “Buendia further identified Antonio Rodriguez Villar, director of Selecciones in Mexico City as a CIA agent…” and “Buendia claimed the CIA,`a longtime friend of Selecciones [had] taken over its Latin American editions, through individuals such as Rodriguez Villar.’” Shortly after Buendia’s book La CIA En Mexico, was published, the muckraking columnist was “shot four times in the back at point blank range in a parking-lot” after leaving his office on May 30, 1984, according to Theirs Was The Kingdom.

Unreliable Sources: A Guide To Detecting Bias In News Media by Martin Lee and Norman Solomon also noted that “The CIA cultivated high-level contacts within the most prestigious media in the U.S., including the three TV networks and the newspaper of record” and “more than 20 other American news organizations occasionally shared a bed with the CIA, including Reader’s Digest…” The same book also observed that “It was rather convenient that people like…Eugene Lyons of Reader’s Digest sat on the board of directors of the National Committee for a Free Europe [NCFE], which functioned as a thinly-veiled private-section cover for channeling funds to neo-Nazi √©migr√© groups…” and “other NCFE board members included CIA director Allen Dulles…” (end of part 3)

(Downtown 10/27/93)