Corpus rumpus 

We'd be remiss here at News Hits if we didn't applaud last week's nationwide effort to support pending federal legislation to restore habeas corpus for detainees in places like Guantanamo and to overturn some provisions of the Military Commissions Act passed by Congress last year. Peace and justice organizations across the country held local demonstrations June 26 while a few thousand people visited Washington, D.C. (Not that you would know it from the scant coverage it received in the mainstream media.)

Tara J. Young, one of the 100 or so people from Michigan who went, thoughtfully wrote to News Hits with an account of the trip. She talked to three men from Oakland County who said they rode to the rally to show their support for habeas corpus rights for detainees and to express their views to their representative, Joe Knollenberg, R-Bloomfield Hills, who supported the Military Commissions Act.

They met with a Knollenberg staffer but came away disappointed.

"The person we saw, I don't want to say he was incompetent, but I don't think our meeting was taken seriously," says Ryan Koerber, of Berkley. "I came all this way to open a dialogue for change with my congressman and left his office with nothing."

What, not even a signed photo? (We have a doctored one somewhere around here with Joe's mug Photoshopped onto a toilet seat if you're interested.)

Also among the Michigan delegation was ACLU Michigan Executive Director Kary Moss, who boarded a bus at midnight Monday with her 16-year-old daughter to ride to the Capitol for a public showing of what she's been discussing in more private meetings with politicians' staff members.

Moss and others have been especially targeting U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow to urge her to "do the right thing" now after voting for the Military Commissions Act last year.

That law basically circumvented a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said detainees had habeas corpus rights, meaning they cannot be held indefinitely without being actually accused of something or without being tried.

It also authorized torture, including waterboarding, which simulates drowning. Michigan's other U.S. senator, Carl Levin, opposed it.

Both are Democrats.

In January, Pennsylvania Republican Arlen Specter introduced a bill that would restore habeas corpus for detainees contrary to the Military Commission Act. It's currently in the Senate Judiciary Committee and has been co-sponsored by 24 senators including Levin and Stabenow.

"This bill restores the Constitution and repairs some of the worst features of the Military Commissions Act," Moss says. "While we're not happy that Sen. Debbie Stabenow voted for the act in the first place, we're pleased she's seen the light."

News Hits is edited by Curt Guyette. Contact him at 313-202-8004 or

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