Author Topic: Columbian government to hire psychics  (Read 1466 times)

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Columbian government to hire psychics
« on: September 23, 2006, 04:12:40 am »
By JOSHUA GOODMAN
The Associated Press



Colombia's chief prosecutor, Mario Iguaran, said he hired a psychic last year to help his stressed-out staff deal with a crushing caseload and to improve human relations. He has apologized to the nation for the "unfortunate incident."

BOGOTA, Colombia -- Colombia's chief prosecutor hired a psychic who hypnotized his staff and even performed an exorcism over a voodoo doll in exchange for a government paycheck and use of an armored car.

The ensuing scandal has mesmerized the nation.

The federal prosecutor, Mario Iguaran, says he hired Armando Marti last year to help his stressed-out staff deal with a crushing caseload and to improve human relations.

Marti, a self-described clairvoyant, says he has implicated corrupt workers in illegal wiretaps and bribery during the months he spent roaming the prosecutor's heavily fortified bunker, hypnotizing officials and writing classified reports for Iguaran about staff loyalty.

He says workers confessed to deep secrets and ratted out colleagues as they stared into his eyes. The operation, according to leaked documents published by the newsweekly Semana, was code-named Mission Perseus of Zeus.

The revelation that Marti was granted unfettered access has plunged into scandal one of Colombia's most respected institutions, an independent body responsible for investigating and prosecuting crimes in a nation torn by decades of violent, drug-fueled conflict.

In one incident, recounted by Marti to Semana, he performed a candlelit exorcism to neutralize a voodoo doll found stabbed with needles in the wastebasket of Iguaran's former top assistant.

In a telephone interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday, Marti called the Semana article accurate but sought to dispel the emphasis it placed on black magic.

"My work didn't consist of witchcraft or anything paranormal but scientifically proven techniques to boost morale and release tension among the staff," he said.

The fact that Marti rubbed shoulders with the rich and powerful came as little surprise in Colombia. Posted on his Web site, before overloaded bandwidth took it offline, are photos of him with a bevy of famous former clients, including President Alvaro Uribe.

What scandalized Colombians were revelations that the federal prosecutor's office paid the psychic as much as $1,800 a month and let him carry a pistol and an employee badge and ride around in a government-issued armored vehicle.

"I needed protection, not from outside the [federal prosecutor's] bunker, but from the internal divisions within," Marti told the AP.

Marti said he became a confidante of Iguaran's, one of the country's most trusted politicians, by helping him overcome marital problems. When the Dalai Lama visited Colombia in May, Marti arranged a private, two-hour meeting for the chief prosecutor with the Tibetan spiritual leader.

On Monday, Iguaran delivered a televised apology to the nation for the "unfortunate incident that began as something folksily quaint but that has now ended up affecting the institutional well-being of the federal prosecutor's office."

He said he had ordered his office to terminate its contract with the consulting team to which Marti belongs. He also offered to cooperate with any congressional investigation.

What remains unanswered is who leaked the embarrassing information -- and why.

Iguaran has attributed the leak to "dark forces." His potential enemies include cocaine kingpins trying to prevent extradition to the United States and government officials accused of working on their behalf.
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The greatest trick the devil ever played was convincing the world that he did not exist. - Charles Baudelaire (French and monstrous poet).