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Framleiðsla og útbreiðsla á klámi hefur verið bönnuð í íslenskum hegningarlögum frá árinu 1869. Fyrstu hundrað árin gerðist það þó aðeins einu sinni að stjórnvöld gripu til aðgerða á grundvelli þeirrar lagagreinar. Það var árið 1949, á óróasömum tíma í kalda stríðinu. Þá voru þrír menn ákærðir og dæmdir í Aukarétti Reykjavíkur fyrir dreifingu á klámfengnum ljósmyndum sem sagan sagði að væru teknar í svallveislum á Keflavíkurflugvelli. Hvers konar ljósmyndir voru þetta? Hvaðan komu þær og hvernig komust þær í dreifingu í Reykjavík? Og hvað var það sem knúði klámmyndamálið áfram?
Pornography and the Cold War In the spring of 1949, Icelandic papers reported male youths in Reykjavík to be circulating pornographic photographs, purported to have been taken at Keflavík Airport and to depict Icelandic girls with foreign airport employees. In 1946, an agreement which provided the USA with airport facilities was bitterly contested and there were serious riots in Reykjavík when Iceland became a founding member of NATO in 1949. This period was thus characterised by heated debate on Western military cooperation, with opponents often intimating a wide range of immoral behaviour at the airport, including wild drinking and sexual orgies. In reality, Icelandic society was appalled by the sexual relations that had continued between Icelandic women and foreign troops following the war years. Such relations were seen as threats to Iceland’s independence and culture as well as to its sense of nationality, impelling the authorities to seek to disprove the airport accusations. An investigation of the origins of the pornographic pictures was soon initiated, with results showing that the photos were indeed being passed among young males in the capital, but had stemmed from the USA and been brought to Iceland by Icelandic students of aircraft mechanics. These pictures subsequently became associated with reports of pornographic photography at Keflavík Airport. In the aftermath, three men were convicted of offences against Article 210 of the Icelandic Penal Code, which prohibits the production and distribution of pornography; in fact, this was Iceland’s first legal case on such grounds. Tracking the smut pictures from the West Coast of the USA to Reykjavík and noting the definition of hard-core pornography that was being formulated overseas around the mid-twentieth century, this article tells how the photographs were circulated among young men in the capital city. The photos are shown to intertwine with the Cold War struggle in Icelandic politics and with the sexual nationalism that was surfacing in the fight against military cooperation with the USA. Three years after the pornographic pictures affair, a similar case arose, whereby US troops at Keflavík Airport were accused of giving sexual-arousal drugs to Icelandic girls. While investigations concluded once again that such accusations were unfounded, these two cases spotlight how gossip suggesting illicit relations between Icelandic women and American men at the airport were able to crop up, spread and be exploited in the political debate of the Cold War. Moreover, in contrast to the paucity of records on Icelandic pornography in the early half of the twentieth century, documents from the pornographic picture case provide remarkable revelations of the smut picture distribution that was occurring in the capital around 1950.