These days, John C. Yoo, the author of the Justice Department torture memos, is traveling around the country and giving talks in order to defend his work for the Bush administration, as The Washington Post reports. At the same time, prisoners at Guantanamo are waiting for news on their situation.
The prisoners were, by and large, sane when they arrived, with only 8 percent showing signs of serious mental illness, according to a report about Guantanamo that was written by Admiral Patrick Walsh, vice chief of Naval Operations. This level was significantly lower than the 45 to 50 percent rate of mental illness among individuals in U.S. prisons. However, many of the prisoners seem to be going insane because of their incarceration, wrote Leonard S. Rubenstein in The Lancet, citing reports from lawyers who have visited the prisoners.
There are psychiatrists and physicians on the island, but they have not necessarily helped the prisoners heal from their physical wounds and psychological crises. Physicians have, in the past, assisted in harsh interrogations including the forced feeding of prisoners in restraint chairs. And despite the outcry over their role, they continue to work closely with the military, even, it seems, against the wishes of the patients on the island.
Obama said he will close down Guantanamo by January 2010, but in the meantime the prisoners are still there, with some trying to starve themselves to death as a protest against the conditions at the prison and others going quietly mad.
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