BRITONS UNDER GERMAN ADMINISTRATION
Notorious Publisher of Nazi Propaganda takes over administration of 350,000 Britons in Yorkshire
Dateline 14th April 2005
Translation by Edward Spalton from german-foreign-policy.com
INTRODUCTION by Rodney Atkinson. Bertelsmann, both a loyal propagandist for the Nazis in their rampage across Europe in the 1940s and a loyal propagandist for the European Union, the European Constitution and the Euro today. In the 1940s they published propaganda for the German armed services. An introduction to one book reads: “In these personal reports of our fighters in Norway the immortal Viking raid of German destroyers on Narvik is told in exciting pictures. After a reckless stormy journey the mountain troops struggle in self sacrifice against English superiority. The survivors cling on after the death of their Commander Bonte until German ships force the withdrawal of the enemy from Narvik”. Today, as this translation by Edward Spalton from our German friends at german-foreign-policy.com relates,they are taking over the administration of a large part of Britain. Has anyone told anyone about the implications?
GUETERSLOH / EAST RIDING OF YORKSHIRE. Europe’s largest media company, the German firm Bertelsmann AG, is taking over official tasks normally performed by public authority in Great Britain. From July 2005 a Bertelsmann subsidiary will undertake the majority of public administration in a British local authority. The plan is regarded by the German firm as a “pilot project of strategic importance” for its expansion into a multi billion market. Across Europe, Bertelsmann aims to expand within the framework of the so-called “Public/Private Partnership” into areas which are presently under the control of nation states and to carry out activities which are normally reserved to publicly responsible local authorities. Great Britain is also a target of Bertelsmann’s expansion in print media. By a joint venture enterprise with two other German media firms in the construction of new large-scale printing facilities abroad, Bertelsmann is aiming to gain market leadership in European newspaper printing.
From July the German firm Arvato AG, a totally owned subsidiary of Bertelsmann AG, will take over the majority of the administration of the British local authority, the East Riding of Yorkshire, which has around 350,000 inhabitants. About five hundred local authority employees will switch to Bertelsmann. So a German firm will be entrusted with carrying out duties which were previously under the authority of the British state. These include public and statutory duties (such as are carried out by a state, local authority or public corporation) to fulfil requirements under public law. The exercise of these powers of government is normally the preserve of responsible local government officials who have a special duty to the local authority and bear allegiance to the state. In a few months Arvato will become responsible for paying wages and social benefits as well as collecting council tax, fees and charges. It will provide a citizens’ bureau and the Council’s total information technology requirement . (*1)
A STRATEGIC PILOT PROJECT
The German conglomerate sees the takeover of administration in the East Riding as “a pilot project of strategic importance” for expansion into a multi-billion pound market. Arvato AG believes that, in Great Britain alone, the potential market is about 8.7 billion euros (£6 billion) (*2) and has already announced the expansion of its activities in public administration in Great Britain. The Arvato board states that it is already in substantive discussions for the takeover of more local administrations (*3). The firm is also planning entry into the public administration market in other European states. The Bertelsmann Foundation, which holds 57.6% of the shares in Bertelsmann AG and is principally financed out of the profits, has been involved for years in advising local government authorities(*4).According to German law, the Foundation counts as “of public utility” and therefore receives favourable tax treatment. Its articles of association explicitly provide for activities abroad.
Arvato AG is one of the most important components of Bertelsmann AG ‘s world-wide activities. After the RTL Group, it is the most important subsidiary in turnover and profitability of the conglomerate.. In 2004 Arvato increased its turnover and profits before tax and dividends to 3.756 billion euros and 310 million euros respectively.(*5) The firm controls enterprises from printing works to call centres and is increasingly targeting service provision in finance, logistics and out-sourcing. Through a joint venture with the large German printers Gruner & Jahr and Axel Springer, Arvato plans to become the market leader in European newspaper printing this year. This cooperative venture, to be vetted by the the EU Commission at the end of May, would control about 25% of the market.(*6) . Within the framework of a world-wide print media offensive (“Growth and Innovation”), Bertelsmann is building a 110 million euro plant in Treviglio in Italy and a 170 million Euro printing works in Great Britain (Liverpool).(*7) . Here Arvato is attacking the British firm Polestar. A print order from News Corporation (Rupert Murdoch) with an estimated value of 1 billion euros over ten years will not go to Polestar but to its German competitor (*8)
“HITLER’S BEST SUPPLIER”
The economic rise of Arvato’s owner, Bertelsmann, was based on close involvement with Nazism. From 1933 Bertelsmann produced Nazi propaganda. The firm grew quickly, becoming the largest producer of books for the Nazi Wehrmacht, printing over 19 million copies. Bertelsmann could be called “Hitler’s best supplier”. A TV report on the publisher stated that its literature ” imparted strongly anti semitic, racist, militarist content and National Socialist propaganda”. Bertelsmann was from 1933 “an outstanding representative of those who produced such literature” .
Through the production of popular Nazi literature Bertelsmann experienced a “profit explosion”. The historian Norbert Frei attested to Bertelsmann’s “affinity in World-View” (Weltanschauung) and “high readiness to adapt to the economic calculus”. The former Managing Director, Heinrich Mohn, supported the SS financially from 1921 as a “subscribing patron member”. He gave around 15,000 Reichsmarks. For some few years the firm strove to work up its acquaintance with the Nazi leadership and gain attention.. This must be seen in connection with its attempts then to expand into the American market, where Bertelsmann attracted unfavourable reports in the US media. A press report of 2000(*9) commented “Bertelsmann’s expansion in the USA, which presently accounts for one third of its turnover, compels the firm to acknowledge unpleasant facts from the past”.
Bertelsmann expects strong growth in all areas of activity during 2005. Group turnover rose by 17 billion Euros during 2004 and the year’s surplus rose by more than 1 billion Euros. For the current year the firm has announced several takeovers for which some 1.5 billion Euros are allocated. It is also said that Bertelsmann plans to buy several TV stations in southern and eastern Europe. (10)
(*1) How Bill helped Bertelsmann: The Guardian 18.03.2005 . Wachstumsinitiative GAIN laeuft bei Bertelsmann auf Hochtouren; Finanznachrichten.de 17.03.2005. Arvato will’s besser machen – Outsourcing der Verwaltung; n-tv online 23.02.2005
(*2) Bertelsmann: Telefon statt Television; Die Tageszeitung 18.03.2005
(*3) OWL-Firma treibt UK Knoellchen ein; die Tageszeitung 24.02.2005
(*4) s.dazu Berliner Wirtschaftshegemonie und Divide et impera sowie Umsturz, neue Folge
(*5) Bertelsmann AG: Konzernentwicklung & – strategie- Bilanzpressekonferenz 17.03.2005
(*6) Arvato wieter auf Wachstumskurs; Financial Times Deutschland 22.03.2005
(*7) Wachstumsinitiative GAIN laeuft bei Bertelsmann auf Hochtouren. Finanzrichten.de 17.03.2005
(*8) Arvato AG; Umsatz, operatives Ergebnis und Mitarbeiterzahl erneut gesteigert; Pressemitteilung 22.03.2005. Bertelsmann aergert Middelhoff; Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 23.03.05
(*9) Frankfurter Rundschau 08.10.2002; TV-Bericht Monitor 20.05.1999 Neues von der Front – Bertelsmann laesst seine Rolle in der Nazizeit klaeren. Die Zeit 4/2000. Unabhaengige Historische Kommission zur Erforschung der Geschichte des Hauses Bertelsmann im dritten Reich: Die Vergangenheit des Verlags C. Bertelsmann in Guettersloh 7.Oktober 2002
(*10) Bertelsmann prueft Einstieg ins Mobilfunkgeschaeft; Sueddeutsche Zeitung 18.03.2005 . Bertelsmann: Telefon statt Television: die tageszeitung 18.03..2005 . arvato-AG: Umsatz, operatives Ergebnis und Mitarbeiterzahl erneut gesteigert. Pressemitteilung 22.03.2005