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#5343: Aristide's "illness" in the news: Reply to Chamberlain #5335 (fwd)
PLEASE POST ANONYMOUSLY
> Could Mr Anonymous tell us, then, when and where exactly this "tidbit"
First of all, this information was known in Haiti a _long_ time
before the coups and before it was announced abroad. I know. I
was there and I learned it long, long before Aristide's election
and mentioned not understanding why had never (at that point)
mentioned by the press, in correspondence to family/friends - but
I, unfortunately, never anticipated making (dated) copies.
To answer Chamberlain: I do not carry a dossier on media and
Aristide, of course, and I did not anticipate, at the time,
having to account for what I observed and heard, so I cannot give
you sources that offer "courtroom proof" of a mental disorder. A
quick internet search, however, offers references to Aristide's
psychological profile in the media. While current internet
references do not offer _proof_ (only opinion) of Aristide's
mental stability or lack of it, they do confirm that questions
about Aristide's mental health has long been in the media, and
that it was not only Garrison who claimed Aristide to be
Assuming my very quick, brief search findings are correct:
As far as when it first leaked abroad, Noam Chomsky (1994)
accused the American Ambassador Alvin Adams and his helpers of
leaking the "tales" shortly after the 1991 coups.
The United States' Foreign Intelligence Committee held six closed
hearings and briefings exclusively on Haiti and discussed the
evolving Haitian situation during several additional closed
hearings in a 13-month period beginning September 1993. Members
focused on the controversy surrounding, among other things, the
CIA's psychological profile (mental illness) of President Jean-
I don't have the date at hand, but CIA Director James Woolsey and
the CIA's chief Latin American analyst, Brian Latell, went before
Congress to brief lawmakers on the crisis brewing over Aristide's
scheduled return to Haiti, they repeatedly asserted that the
president had been hospitalized for psychiatric treatment in
Montreal during the early 1980s, members of Congress said.
It was also reported that they repeated information from a
classified CIA profile of Aristide that was compiled by an agency
psychiatrist during the Bush administration, shortly after
Aristide's ouster by the military in September 1991. The profile
portrayed the populist priest as clinically manic-depressive,
prone to violence and generally unreliable, lawmakers said.
Rep. Robert Torricelli, D-N.J., a member of the House
Intelligence Committee, said that even if the hospitalization
allegation is false -- and Torricelli said he remained
unconvinced -- he said the CIA's overall determination on
Aristisde remains fair.
Hospital records later "disappeared", as do so many other
controversial documents, and the CIA was accused of fabricating a
"tale". Some democratic lawmakers charged that the CIA briefing
was based largely on unconfirmed reports from Aristide's enemies,
including senior military officers, in Haiti
and the Vatican.
Sen. Jesse Helms, a conservative North Carolina Republican
familiar with the CIA profile of Aristide, ignited the debate on
Capitol Hill by calling the priest a " psychopath" who would
execute his political enemies and return to his past criticism of
U.S. policies. (Yeah, I know, many consider Helms to be extreme,
but this is still evidence of Aristide's mental stability being
With regards to mention by the press - examples:
I am told that TIME ran an article in Nov. 1987 making mention of
this. I haven't checked it.
In 1996, Cosmos Club (with 51 Pulitzer and 29 Nobel prizes, and
42 Presidential Medals of Freedom)'s Cosmos Journal noted: CIA's
Brian Latelle reported to the US Senate in 1993, and described
Aristide as mentally unbalanced, on lithium, and having been
confined to a Canadian mental institution in the 1980's. Cosmos
Journal added that CIA Director James Woolsey strongly defended
the agency's assessment of Aristide.
Christopher Marquis also wrote about this (in defense of
Aristide) in the Miami Herald.
Time Magazine featured an article on Haiti/Aristide that
mentioned Aristide's psychological disorders.
Larry King Live aired an interview (about Haiti/Aristide & his
mental stability) with CIA Director James Woolsey and the CIA's
chief Latin American analyst, Brian Latell.
> Vol. 10, No. 01
> January 10, 1994 More on the United Nations
> More on People
> The Real Bertrand Aristide
> by William F. Jasper
> And how about the claims that he is mentally unbalanced?
> "He has been described as a psychopath, and that is true,
> he really is one," Fr. Edward told THE NEW AMERICAN.
When there is time to sort through old, but more affirmative
files on another computer, and if/when the files are found, they
will be posted. In the meantime, to engage in an exchange of
opinion (vs. proof one way or the other) would prove futile.
However, without proof one way _or_ the other, to rule anything
out could prove unwise on anyone's part. The same as one may
claim that no proof exists to confirm the truth of this "tale",
one may also claim that no proof exists to prove that it is
false. There is, however, plenty of media mention of Aristide's
mental health status having been in question. Though extremely
brilliant, educated and talented, Aristide has - you have to
admit - shown a Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde idea of leadership that
overtly encouraged (e.g., the famous necklacing speech) violent
ideas of civil justice that are certainly just as intolerable as
is the unfair distribution of wealth/opportunity.