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Just Another Week in Guantanamo

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Another week, another slew of bad news for Guantanamo -- and the Military Commissions Act that legalized it.

The most recent trouble began last Sunday, when the New Yorker published its chilling piece on the treatment of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, currently Guantanamo's most famous detainee. It seems that after the "enhanced interrogation techniques" we used on him, Mr. Mohammed has now confessed to so many crimes that the intelligence he provided has lost all credibility. (In fairness to the military though, who could have known that sensory deprivation or waterboarding might compel someone to lie?)

On Tuesday, meanwhile, came word that Britain wanted its detainees back. Tony Blair may have had confidence in Guantanamo's justice, but apparently Gordon Brown isn't so sure. He seems to be under the delusion that British residents deserve to be tried in British courts.

Yet lest we draw the wrong inference about that, on Wednesday came word came that we'd been missing a crucial piece of the story. Apparently Brown's request wasn't a frank display of distrust; on the contrary, he was doing the Bush administration a favor. After all, Bush and crew, we were reminded, have been asking countries to take their detainees back for some time, as part of the larger plan to close Guantanamo for good. Britain, like Albania before it, was simply being a good ally. (If only the rest of the "coalition of the willing" could be so accommodating: as Fox News lamented on Wednesday, once a prisoner is taken to Guantanamo, it seems nobody wants to take them back. Call it the legal equivalent of coodies.)

Yet the big stories came yesterday. First there was the AP headline that says it all: "Tunisian sent home from Guantanamo says he was beaten by US soldiers." However, it's a measure of just how bad things have gotten that that wasn't even the only -- or most credible -- torture story of the day. Turns out one of the detainees sent back to Britain has put together a "torture dossier." Released yesterday, the document not only reveals new allegations of sexual abuse, but also corroborates previous reports that the detainee was in fact "blinded in one eye after a soldier plunged his finger into it."

So what's the silver lining to all this?

Fortunately, when Congress returns from their recess, one of the things they'll be looking at is a bill to amend the MCA that would make Guantanamo obsolete. Odds are it'll go through, and America's commitment to habeas corpus will be restored.

But for that to happen, we need to continue pressuring Congress. So please take a moment out of your weekend, and sign the petition to repeal the MCA today.

--Chris Meserole is co-founder of RepealtheMCA.org.