Vol. XXVIII, Issue 5
The Portland Alliance
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June 2008




Letters to the Editor

Is the Alliance endorsing the ‘cult’ Falun Gong?
Dear Editor,
Suprised to see that endorsement of the Falun Gong on the front page (or anywhere else in the paper). I know it’s a favorite China whipping boy on the far right, but I think my take that it’s a reactionary cult is a consensus on the left.
—Mike Munk

From the Editor: Michael Munk addresses my article that ran in the May issue of the Alliance titled Road to Olympics paved by slave labor. The piece brings attention to the persecution of anti-Chinese government dissidents with a focus on spiritual gr regard to Falun Gong as a cult, I refer to the following checklist of “Typical Cult Techniques” versus “Falun Gong’s Record.”
Q: Exerts tremendous pressure on people to join?
A: No.
Q: Fosters an us-versus them approach to life?
A: Yes.
Q: Believers remove themselves from society?
A: No.
Q: Uses jargon that outsiders don’t understand?
A: Yes.
Q: Believers required to donate large sums of money?
A: No.
Q: Led by charismatic master?
A: Yes.

Let’s say for the record that Falun Gong exhibits a 50:50 ratio. Cult or no cult, and perhaps more importantly, the 2008 Beijing Olympic games and Olympic Torch Relay are trumpeted as “a journey of harmony, bringing the message of peace to people of different nationalities, cultures and creeds.” My article was neither an endorsement nor indictment of Falun Gong. My purpose in writing the article was to send the message that the crimes of humanity committed by the Chinese government against the people of China cannot co-exist with a “journey of harmony and peace.”
I apologize for not writing my article in a way that enables you to grasp this.

—Marlena Gangi
Editor, The Portland Alliance

DA ignores call for hearing
Dear Editor,
This is in response to District Attorney Mike Schrunk’s seemingly unresponsive message to an open letter from Portland Copwatch regarding the beating of an inmate by a corrections officer.
The DA’s reply is further evidence that his office is unwilling to proseucte officers for on-duty use of force, focusing only on lying, cheating, stealing or sexual misconduct.
The fact that an experienced DA, who knows that polygraphs are generally not admissible in court, used the inmate’s refusal to take a polygraph as a reason to decline the case is disturbing. It is equally disturbing that he dismisses the corrections officer’s statements about the inmate taking a plea to get away from him, and his obvious glee in causing injuries, but notes that officer Thompson said the inmate started the fight — which he takes as gospel truth.
In the context of the recent hearings held about Multnomah County’s plans for handling police shootings, this decision signals more of the same. At the first of those “SB 111” hearings, Portland Copwatch noted that in other communities they have called for independent prosecutors when police are accused of violent crimes. It may be worth examining this idea in Portland.
We await the outcome of the internal affairs and DPSST investigations into this incident.

—Dan Handelman
Portland Copwatch


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Last Updated: June 12, 2008