Apparently Guantanamo Bay detainees aren’t the really big fans of the steamy best seller Fifty Shades of Grey they were reported to be a few weeks ago.
After visiting the U.S. military detention center in Cuba, Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., said military officials told him the racy E.L. James book was a favorite among the inmates.
Here’s what Moran told The Huffington Post in July:
Rather than the Quran, the book that is requested most by the [high-value detainees] is Fifty Shades of Grey. They’ve read the entire series in English, but we were willing to translate it. I guess there’s not much going on, these guys are going nowhere, so what the hell.
The military would not confirm this information, saying it does not comment on specific inmate behavior.
However, it seems that Moran’s information may have been inaccurate, at least according to some of the inmates’ lawyers. James Connell, who represents Ammar al-Baluchi, one of the men supposedly behind the Sept. 11 attacks, said a guard gave the book to his client as a joke.
According to the BBC, Baluchi arrived in court this week with a copy of the book, telling his lawyer, “You’ll never guess what I have,” and handed him the novel. Baluchi told Connell that the “fairly worn paperback” had been a gift from a couple of guards. He, however, did not read the book, as he is an “avid” reader of The Economist and Wired magazines.
“He knew that it was some sort of a joke,” Connell told the BBC. “Or some sort of disinformation campaign.”
James Harrington, a lawyer who represents another prisoner, Ramzi Bin al Shibh, also expressed doubts about the Fifty Shades of Grey series.
“I don’t know where it’s coming from,” Harrington told the Associated Press. “It’s something that clearly was planted with this congressman who comes back to Washington and makes a big deal about it, all of which is designed to paint a picture of our clients and the other detainees here which is just not accurate.”
Baluchi, also known as Abd al-Aziz Ali, is the nephew of alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who made news about his reading preferences in recent months. In July, the AP reported Mohammed was a big fan of the Harry Potter books and was also allowed to build a vacuum cleaner, among other details.
In April, New York Times reporter Charlie Savage posted several photos of the books that are available in the prison library.