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DHL – Olive underneath a yellow camouflage

This text introduces a proposal for an action related mobilization towards the NATO-festivities in Strasbourg and Baden-Baden in the beginning of April 2009. The idea is to turn into practice the critique on NATO and the new NATO doctrine (with its core “comprehensive approach”) by focusing on the postal service and war logistics company DHL. This 100% subsidiary of the Deutsche Post today shows its true colour, which is best expressed in its new name “Deutsche Heeres Logistic” (German Army Logistics).

This idea sides with the proposals to organize days of action against armament companies and the Commerzbank (as this bank is in the front line of producing acceptance for the German army Bundeswehr in the economic sphere). Like the Commerzbank DHL, post offices and post boxes can be found in nearly every city. These are inviting places for local mobilization activities and more. They provide several possibilities to visibly confront the support work for the military performed by a predominately civil service company with a widespread service area, which heavily depends on its reputation.

Civil-military public private partnership

We are talking about the biggest contract ever in the German transport sector and the most comprehensive project of privatization and transformation of the German army Bundeswehr so far. Within the framework of this Public Private Partnership the Bundeswehr will hand over huge parts of their basic logistics to a private company. Put in concrete terms this is storage and management of Bundeswehr materials (except medical materials, ammunition and fuels) and the global transport of war equipment, soldiers, ammunition, fuels. This means that the Bundes-wehr is looking for a logistics partner to ensure the quick deployment capability of the troops and therefore to become an active warmonger.

Several companies applied for the contract: DHL, the German railway company DB with its transport company Schenker, the service company Arvato of the Bertelsmann group as well as a syndicate consisting of Hellmann Logistics (a company situated in Bremen), the aviation and armament company EADS and the consulting company Accenture. Foreign logistics companies do not have a chance for reasons of national security. The deadline for application ended on September 8th 2008. The decision of the Bundesamt für Wehrtechnik und Beschaffung (subdivision of the Ministry of Defense responsible for procurement and management of military equipment).

DHL is said to have by far the best chances to get the million Euro contract, not at least because of the comprehensive cooperation that already exists with the Bundeswehr and the logistic expertise that the company accumulated in active participation in war at the side of the US armed forces in the war in Iraq since 2003.

Olive freight – nothing new for German postal services Deutsche Post

Already in 2002 the Deutsche Post signed a contract with the Bundeswehr to nationally and internationally transport urgent military documents, as well as military equipment and consumer goods up to 50 kg. In early 2002 the Deutsche Post World Net became the main shareholder of DHL. By the end of 2002 DHL was 100% owned by Deutsche Post World Net. Since 2003 all freight and express goods of the Deutsche Post are transported under the name DHL. DHL is global market leader in international express delivery, long distance transport and international shipping of air and sea freight.

May 2003, immediately after the UN lifted the economic sanctions against Iraq DHL was the first company to offer logistic services there. Main customer in Iraq is the US military. From a pure profiteer of the war in Iraq DHL advanced to the position of a direct assistant of war and occupation. The Deutsche Post AG tries to be discreet about it, playing down the freight to be just letters for US soldiers. This caused discussion on the Deutsche Post AG shareholders meeting in April this year. Critical share-holders accused CEO Frank Appel of veiling the participation of the company in the war in Iraq. Besides forces mail various good are shipped for the US military as well as for companies under their contract. For reasons of the difficult security situation DHL uses armoured vehicles without any marking. Only in a few safe places they deliver in yellow DHL-vehicles. Paul Gillett, a former military, is coordinating the logistics business there. Mercenaries becoming logistics experts – like him most of the “foreign experts” of the DHL team in Iraq come from a military background. Former British soldiers were hired to protect the transports.

Civil-military production of acceptance

As the Bundeswehr right now faces a fairly slack period in recruiting new soldiers and bad press resulting from the killing of three civilians at a Bunderwehr checkpoint in Afghanistan, the Deutsche Post decided to start a PR campaign for the Bundeswehr. To better “the acceptance of the Bundeswehr in public”, they printed 8000 large-format posters, displaying a soldier in the Afghanistan expedition corps who can feel -oh so close to home-, thanks to the forces´ mail service. Udo Eschenbach, “Company Representative Military Affairs Bundeswehr/ NATO” of the Deutsche Post says about the poster: “It is meant to make present the profession of the soldier in society”.

Yellow militarization – far advanced at the airport in Leipzig

By establishing a “technical base” for military wide-bodied transport aircrafts the military extension of the airport Leipzig/Halle reached a new level. The heavily subsidized airport (more than 300 million Euro of taxes went into it) had been declared civil, while the same time it was chosen for shipment of military supplies and reinforcements. Since the Federal Administrative Court declared the military transports at the airport Leipzig/Halle legal a blatant increase of US troop transportation has been observed. Leipzig turned into an important stopover of US military flights to and from Iraq and Afghanistan. The Bundeswehr as well uses the airport as a stopover flying soldiers to their foreign areas of deployment. Following information of the Ministry of Defense it is from here that the two wide-bodied Antonov aircrafts stationed at the airport regularly take off. Freight consists of lorries and helicopters, but also food, drinking water and tents, a spokesperson said. And “of course” weapons, too. The military extension is closely linked to DHL, as they run one out of three global aviation-turnstiles in Leipzig through DHL Hub Leipzig GmbH.

To attack the increasing militarization in the civil seems to be a rewarding “comprehensive approach” for a antimilitarist counter strategy.

This entry was posted on Monday, June 1st, 2009 at 2:11 pm and is filed under Social Control.