Florian Cramer on Thu, 23 Aug 2007 02:28:46 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Guant?namo in Germany

Sassen and Sennett write:

> Thirty years ago Germany had a terrible time with indisputably violent
> militant groups, and that leaden memory hangs over the police. And
> it may well be that "gentrification" is a truly terrifying word. But
> this police action in a liberal democracy seems to fall more into
> Guant?namo mode than genuine counter-espionage.

And further below:

> The liberal state is changing. In the 60s, Germany had the most
> enlightened rules for refugees and asylum seekers in Europe; the US
> passed the most sensible laws on immigration in its history; France
> granted automatic citizenship to all those born on its territory,
> including all Muslims. Today all these countries have, in the name
> of the war on terror, revised their rules - the state of emergency
> prevails. 

While the letter is helpful, it seems to mix up a few issues in German

- The prosecution of Andrej Holm has little or nothing to do with 9/11
  and immigration laws, but consistently follows post-WWII and
  post-1970s German laws and police procedures against political
  extremism and terrorism. These laws have two historical roots, (a)
  anti-communism with the official self-definition of the Federal
  Republic of Germany as a "well-fortified democracy" that does not
  tolerate extremist organizations, (b) the reaction against
  Baader-Meinhof terrorism in the 1970s.

  It always surprised me that liberal intellectuals sympathized with
  German politics after 9/11 without being aware of German
  anti-extremism and anti-terrorism laws effective since the 1950s and
  1970s, many of which limiting civil liberties - above all free speech
  - much more severely than any U.S. law after 9/11. The reason why
  Germany seemed to be less eager to introduce new "homeland security"
  laws since 2001 was solely that the respective laws [including even a
  tamper-proof typeface on car id plates] were already in place.

- The once more-or-less liberal German asylum laws haven't been revised
  after 9/11, but effectively abandoned in 1992. The motivations for
  this were rather ugly. It weren't foreign terrorist attacks on
  Germans, but it was German everyday terrorism against immigrants and
  non-whites which caused the reform.  After a series of racist
  fire bombings and murders in post-reunification Germany, both the
  governing conservative and oppositional social democratic party
  concluded that immigration had grown beyond what the average German
  could stomach, and crimes had to be prevented by fending off potential


(* For this reason, and the cutthroat German lawyer business of Internet
   injunctions, I personally think it was not a wise move to put Nettime 
   on a German server and a domain registered in Germany.)

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