Are Gitmo Detainees Really Reading ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’?

A product image photo released by Babeland.
National Journal
Matt Vasilogambros
See more stories about...
Matt Vasilogambros
Aug. 22, 2013, 11:19 a.m.

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.

What We're Following See More »
SUFFOLK POLL
New Survey Shows Clinton Up 9 in Pennsylvania
6 minutes ago
THE LATEST

If a new poll is to be believed, Hillary Clinton has a big lead in the all-important swing state of Pennsylvania. A new Suffolk University survey shows her ahead of Donald Trump, 50%-41%. In a four-way race, she maintains her nine-point lead, 46%-37%. "Pennsylvania has voted Democratic in the past six presidential elections, going back to Bill Clinton’s first win in 1992. Yet it is a rust belt state that could be in play, as indicated by recent general-election polling showing a close race."

Source:
$500 MILLION PROJECT
Obama Library Heading to Jackson Park in Chicago
24 minutes ago
THE DETAILS

"President Barack Obama has chosen Jackson Park, a lakefront park that once hosted the world’s fair on the city’s South Side, for his $500 million presidential library, according to a person familiar with the matter."

Source:
THREE NIGHTS RUNNING
Democrats Beat Republicans in Convention Ratings So Far
46 minutes ago
THE DETAILS

Wednesday was the third night in a row that the Democratic convention enjoyed a ratings win over the Republican convention last week. Which might have prompted a fundraising email from Donald Trump exhorting supporters not to watch. "Unless you want to be lied to, belittled, and attacked for your beliefs, don't watch Hillary's DNC speech tonight," the email read. "Instead, help Donald Trump hold her accountable, call out her lies and fight back against her nasty attacks."

Source:
THE QUESTION
How Many VIPs Were the Secret Service Protecting in Philly Last Night?
2 hours ago
THE ANSWER

Seven, according to an official Secret Service tweet.

Source:
‘MOGUL,’ ‘DAREDEVIL’
Candidates’ Code Names Revealed
2 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

The Clintons will retain their Secret Service "code names from the last time they lived in the White House. Hillary Clinton is EVERGREEN and Bill ClintonEAGLE. Donald Trump is MOGUL, according to reports, and Melania Trump MUSE. The vice presidents get code names, too: Mike Pence is HOOSIER—a little on the nose—and his wife HUMMINGBIRD. Tim Kaine is DAREDEVIL, somewhat ambitiously. His wife's? To be determined."

Source:
×