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FOCUS, Issue 36, 1 Sep 97

FOCUS is a German news magazine. They have their own web site at http://www.focus.de/.
This article was translated by Cornelius Krasel.

A dubious human rights organization queries German companies about Scientology

The name sounds impressive, the intention is serious. The "Oslo International Peace Committee" is concerned about "human rights" and "social peace and stability" in Germany. At the end of July the "peace committee" wrote letters to several CEOs of German companies. The letters contained questions on how the companies deal with Scientology. The committee wants to know whether the companies refuse to do business with Scientologists or support anti-Scientology measures.

The reason for their query is, according to the human rights activists: "Important U.S. citizens - members of the Church of Scientology - who represent several thousand foreign companies" had contacted the committee because of the "continuing discrimination" of Scientologists. The U.S. citizens wanted to prevent support of this discrimination by economical means. The letter sounds similar to recent Scientology attacks against Germany. This is no surprise: the head of the committee, Dan Viggo Bergtun, is mentioned in an article of the Scientology magazine "Impact" as Norwegian "lifetime member". The Scientology newspaper "Good News" commends Bergun's work as "Honorary PRO" - i.e. honorary public relations officer.

Especially impudent: in the letter Bergtun claims to be "holder of the peace nobel price medal". However, according to the nobel committee, neither he nor his organization have received this honor. When asked by FOCUS, Bergtun declared that, as a former member of the UN peace corps which received the prize in 1988, he had received the medal "honorary". The nobel committee comment: "Bullshit".

The Scientology expert of the senate of Hamburg, Ursula Caberta, views the letter from Oslo as an "infamous strategy" to get at information which then could be used by Scientology against Germany. She suggests to all companies: "Just ignore it."