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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Guantánamo Officials Accused of Inventing ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Rumor

After a Congressional delegation was given a tour of the Guantánamo Bay prison recently, one member of the group recounted an anecdote.

“Rather than the Koran, the book that is requested most” by the detainees is “Fifty Shades of Grey,” Representative Jim Moran, Democrat of Virginia, told The Huffington Post in July. “They’ve read the entire series in English, but we were willing to translate it,” he said of the erotic novels. “I guess there’s not much going on, these guys are going nowhere, so what the hell.”

A spokeswoman for Representative Moran, who advocates closing Guantánamo, confirmed the account to Reuters, though the prison itself declined to comment.

The story â€" which had some of the world’s most avowed Islamic extremists reading a novel described as “mommy porn” for its popularity among middle-aged women, in an environment where reading material is strictly controlled â€" seemed too good to be true.

Largely, it seems, it may have been, according to a report by The Associated Press. A lawyer for one of the men said that prison guards had given his client, Ammar al-Baluchi, a nephew of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, a contraband copy of the book only after Representative Moran’s comments appeared. It might have been a joke, said the lawyer, James Connell, or an attempt to discredit his client.

Another lawyer, James Harrington, who represents Ramzi bin al-Shibh, accused of participating in the Sept. 11 plot, said his client had not read the book. “I don’t know where it’s coming from,” he said. “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.”