October 1890. "Mississippi cotton gin at Dahomey."
The Guardian reveals how Associated Press cooperated with the Nazis:
The Associated Press news agency entered a formal cooperation with the Hitler regime in the 1930s, supplying American newspapers with material directly produced and selected by the Nazi propaganda ministry, archive material unearthed by a German historian has revealed.
When the Nazi party seized power in Germany in 1933, one of its first objectives was to bring into line not just the national press, but international media too. The Guardian was banned within a year, and by 1935 even bigger British-American agencies such as Keystone and Wide World Photos were forced to close their bureaus after coming under attack for employing Jewish journalists.
Associated Press, which has described itself as the “marine corps of journalism” (“always the first in and the last out”) was the only western news agency able to stay open in Hitler’s Germany, continuing to operate until the US entered the war in 1941. It thus found itself in the presumably profitable situation of being the prime channel for news reports and pictures out of the totalitarian state.
In an article published in academic journal Studies in Contemporary History , historian Harriet Scharnberg shows that AP was only able retain its access by entering into a mutually beneficial two-way cooperation with the Nazi regime.
The New York-based agency ceded control of its output by signing up to the so-called Schriftleitergesetz (editor’s law), promising not to publish any material “calculated to weaken the strength of the Reich abroad or at home”.
This law required AP to hire reporters who also worked for the Nazi party’s propaganda division. One of the four photographers employed by the Associated Press in the 1930s, Franz Roth, was a member of the SS paramilitary unit’s propaganda division, whose photographs were personally chosen by Hitler. AP has removed Roth’s pictures from its website since Scharnberg published her findings, though thumbnails remain viewable due to “software issues”.
As the Guardian article goes on to note, Associated Press opened a bureau in Pyongyang in January 2012, suggesting that the agency's dealings with totalitarian regimes form something of a pattern. As this NK News article from 2014 shows, there are certain inescapable echoes:
Despite trumpeting itself as the “first independent Western news bureau” in North Korea, top executives of the Associated Press (AP) in 2011 agreed to distribute state-produced North Korean propaganda through the AP name, a confidential document and interviews with current and former AP staff indicates.
An internal draft agreement between the AP and North Korea’s state media outlet the Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) dated December 2011, obtained by NK News from sources inside the AP, suggests that – far from being a bastion of the free press – AP’s Pyongyang bureau serves primarily to distribute news approved and censored by the North Korean state.
The document says the AP will “serve the purpose of the coverage and worldwide distribution of policies of the Worker’s Party of Korea and the DPRK government,” that changes to state-produced content would have to be made with “full consultation between the two sides,” that the “KCNA shall nominate” the full time staff the AP would hire for their Pyongyang bureau, and that “the average $12,000 per month” for salaries and office rental fees be paid by a “method requested by (the) KCNA.”
“(The) KCNA shall be responsible for all the procedures inside the DPRK for the opening and operation of Bureau,” the document says, the authenticity of which was confirmed by interviews with 14 current and former AP staff involved in news production from the AP’s Pyongyang bureau.
Despite AP foreign journalists such as Jean Lee, Eric Talmadge, Tim Sullivan and David Guttenfelder giving the bureau a veneer of independence, the agreement does not allow any international AP staff appointed to Pyongyang permanent visas to live and work full-time in the country.
And unpublished interviews between recently released U.S. political prisoners from North Korea and local AP representatives indicate the agency’s cooperation in coached and coerced statements, the ex-prisoners told NK News.
Such government control over AP access to North Korea contextualizes the content produced by the Pyongyang bureau in the nearly three years since its January 2012 opening, raising questions of whether the AP is bringing new information from North Korea to the world or has been effectively absorbed as a willing partner of the North Korean propaganda machine.
Joshua Stanton at One Free Korea has also been highly critical of the AP arrangement - here, for instance.
After recapture by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad:
Boris Johnson among others has expressed his delight at this: Bravo for Assad. Kyle Orton disagrees: We Should Not Celebrate Bashar al-Assad’s Victory over the Islamic State in Palmyra.
In the Guardian letters page, meanwhile, under the heading, After the defeat of Isis in Palmyra, we have this, from one M Riaz Hasan in Pinner:
I agree with Tony Blair’s strong plea that “Isis must be crushed” (Report, 28 March). But before Isis is crushed, I would like to know from Mr Blair: 1) who is responsible for its rise to power in half-a-dozen countries in the Middle East and north Africa; 2) who finances it; 3) where it gets its modern weapons from; 4) where it gets petrol from; 5) who handles its PR work; and 6) why the US is reluctant to take decisive action against it.
Oh I think we know the answer to that.
Michael Totten, with the view from America:
Europe appears to be falling apart.
Last week, an ISIS cell killed dozens of people and wounded hundreds more in twin suicide bombings at the Brussels airport and in the Maalbeek metro station, and the following weekend, a proposed March Against Fear was cancelled due to “security concerns,” which no doubt amped up the city’s anxiety even more.
On Sunday, riot police clashed with a mob of hundreds of angry men wearing black, some with shaved heads, who stormed into the square carrying an anti-ISIS banner and screaming Nazi-like slogans....
There were no violent Nazi-like demonstrations in the United States against Arabs or Muslims, not even on or after September 11, 2001, when ten times as many people were murdered in the most spectacular terrorist attack in world history. But as Tom Wolfe famously put it, the dark night of fascism is forever descending on the United States and landing in Europe.
We can only imagine the violent convulsions that will wrack the continent if something on the scale of 9/11 ever happens on that side of the ocean. And it’s more likely to happen over there in the short and medium term than it is over here. Europe is already under much greater attack than the United States, and it has a far larger problem with Islamic radicalization....
Americans won’t likely ever forget how the supposedly “sophisticated” European opinion-makers said America’s chickens were coming home to roost when Al Qaeda destroyed the World Trade Center, and how we—for one brain-dead reason or another—had it coming.
I wonder what Europeans think of that attitude now.
Palestinian columnist Muwaffaq Matar identifies the real force behind the latest ISIS attacks:
"The statement of French President [Francois] Hollande – that terrorism struck Belgium but hit the heart of Europe [as a whole] – is perfectly true. However, the day will come, [perhaps] in a quarter of a century, when a French president will declare [the true identity of] those who struck the heart of Europe using the weapons and the tools of ISIS. Following a thorough examination of the situation and the unfolding of events, one definitely realizes that there are no coincidences and that the terror attacks in the capital of Europe were not just a reaction to the arrest of the mastermind behind the Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam. They came at precisely the right moment for the real element that decided to target the heart of Europe while hiding behind the slogan of ISIS.
"I do not want to point fingers, but why is it that ISIS's crimes and massacres in France and Brussels coincided with Europe's first attempt to liberate itself from Israel's blackmail and from the [guilt] complex over the persecution of the Jews in Europe? [Why did they coincide] with the European parliaments supporting the Palestinians' right [to a state], for the first time? Was it not France that conceived the idea of an international conference that would lead to ending the conflict and the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories? [France] was also the one that threatened to recognize a Palestinian state if Israel refused to turn towards peace with the Palestinians, [peace] that would guarantee their rights as recognized by the UN. [And] was it not the European Union, headquartered in Brussels, that decided to mark the products of the Israeli settlements, thereby [adversely] affecting Israel's economy?...
Well, you get the idea. Predictable enough.
Less predictable (though on reflection maybe not) is Labour Party member Bob Campbell, with exactly the same message.
Sarah Peace - Has it become racist to condemn FGM? After the intimidation of Maryam Namazie at Goldsmiths by the Islamic Society last December, the feminist and LGBT societies at Goldsmiths rushed in to show their solidarity....with the Islamists:
They had deemed Namazie a ‘notorious Islamophobe’, for referring to the veil as ‘bin bags’. During the lecture, Namazie backed up her statement and reinforced the importance of continued opposition against traditions such as FGM which are an affront to women’s rights.
When probed on the matter, a representative of the Goldsmiths LGBT society responded that as a white person, she “cannot condemn FGM because of my colonial past.” Is this putative desire to carry the burdens of the past squarely on one’s shoulders echoed among feminists? Germaine Greer once argued that attempts to outlaw FGM amounted to ‘an attack on cultural identity’, stating: “one man’s beautification is another man’s mutilation.” Greer was widely condemned, almost unanimously. Nearly 20 years on, some fields of study in academia including critical race and gender theory are reawakening the same argument albeit from a postcolonial perspective – the difference now being that a generation of ethnic minority students have themselves, bought into this defeating narrative. The stance becomes reactionary, and any cause that contravenes the ugly history of colonialism becomes appealing, regardless of the implications.
This pattern of taking an apologetic stance is increasingly expressed on the far-reaching left, reinforcing the idea that concerns of gender based violence become a separate issue to feminism if the perpetrator is brown or black. The issue is deemed as ‘their own problem’, inherent to their culture, which should be left to them.
While this response may at first be dismissed as the uninformed opinion of a fringe student minority, to what extent do they represent the politics within modern feminism? And how does this type of politics play out in the wider world? What is dangerous about this standpoint is how it fails minorities such as children, women and non-hetrosexuals within those minority communities.
FGM, like veiling is not a practice confined to far off lands. FGM continues to be practiced illegally on British born girls, with a case reported in the UK approximately every 2 hours. If FGM is carried out on a white child in Britain, it will be regarded as criminal – so why does this position shift when a Somali child is violated?
According to the neutral stance prescribed on my course, I am not to celebrate Nigeria officially banning FGM in 2015, because it is actually reverting to the colonial standard, which deemed the practice as barbaric. Nigeria also banned the veil for girls at public schools throughout Lagos state, with a judge ascribing the policy to “values of plurality and the respect for the rights of others who have subscribed to a non-faith based educational system.” This is an immense achievement, and a testament to the growing secular pushback throughout countries that have been so wedded to religion. To write this off as ‘an internalized racist form of colonialism that continues the western patriarchal imposition’ is a disservice to the progress being made in the advancement of women’s rights and freedoms on the continent.
Girls participating in a Koranic ceremony in Saly, Senegal:
[Photo: Sebastian Gil Miranda]
In Senegal, thousands of children are exploited by their teachers in the name of Koranic education. Called talibes, the Arabic word for students, some 50,000 boys are forced into child labor, according to Human Rights Watch. Photographer Sebastian Gil Miranda spent two months last year traveling around the country to document the conditions of these youths. “Families do not have money to pay for the religious education of their children,” Miranda said, “so for them it is logical that the child himself be the one to finance their own education.” Housed in deplorable conditions in daaras, or schools, teachers demand talibes deliver daily begging quotas or be beaten, starved, or left out in the street.
Talibes previously, featuring photographer Mario Cruz's prize-winning photo essay.