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DoDo, I was thinking of the quality of the democracy itself - civil liberties, rule of law, etc., i.e. the consequences of the Bush admin's various abuses for American democracy and US citizens. For the most part Guantanamo has only an indirect effect - it reinforces the lawlessness but the treatment of foreign combatants and terrorists (and the unlucky innocents wrongly suspected of falling into those categories) does not directly impact American civil liberties.

In the case of West Germany what I was thinking of was the Notstandgesetz of 1968 and, especially, the Radikalenerlass of 1972. The latter provided for an investigation by the Verfassungsschutz of the politics of anyone applying for a job in the public sector - particularly Beamte level posts but to a lesser extent also Angestellte and Arbeiter. The practical effect was that if as a callow first year university student you signed up for some radical group you could be banned for life from any employment. Of the two matters you mention I was only thinking of the Rasterfahndung.  Street clashes are not in and of themselves indicative of any anti-democratic action by the authorities.  

It is worth remembering that these measures were initiated before terrorism really began - it was a response to the extra-parliamentary left in general.

by MarekNYC on Wed Dec 21st, 2005 at 02:54:52 AM EST
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