Guantanamo Detainees Choose Fifty Shades of Grey Over the Quran


Dirty talk, spanking, and wrist cuffs. That's what prisoners at the controversial detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba are reading about these days. 

When Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) toured Guantanamo's Camp Seven with a congressional delegation last week, military officials let slip that the camp's detainees enjoy the Fifty Shades of Grey series. "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," Moran told the Huffington Post. "I guess there's not much going on, these guys are going nowhere, so what the hell."

In addition to Moran, who favors shutting down the detention camp, the tour included the commander and deputy commander of the base, the head medical officer, and the officer in charge of Camp Seven, as well as Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), and William Lietzau, the Pentagon's chief of detainee policy.

The detainee library, according to Reuters, "included an eclectic mix of books in numerous languages, from religious tomes to Star Trek novelizations, Agatha Christie mysteries, stress reduction workbooks, and the Greek classic The Odyssey.

The detainees are not allowed to browse the library. Instead, the chief librarian, a civilian identified as "Milton" for security reasons, fills plastic bins with about 50 books and takes them to each cell-block every week. If detainees comply with prison rules, they, "may peer at the spines through the slots in their doors and check out two titles at a time, or make specific requests," according to the New York Times

The library, which includes about 18,000 books, most of which are in Arabic, also includes a selection of DVDs, video games, and periodicals. DVDs of Everybody Loves Raymond are also popular among inmates. Milton was debating whether the Friends series was appropriate, as Jennifer Aniston might be considered, "too scantily clad."

According to Milton, books are screened out if they include too much profanity, sex, and violence, or have anti-American or extremist themes. Given that Guantanamo librarians screen reading material for sexual content, and have even blacked out photos of scantily clad women in sports magazine advertisements, it's very curious that the erotic Fifty Shades of Gray series managed to slip through.

The communal pods at Camp Six reportedly have big-screen televisions, microwaves, refrigerators, and 22-hour access to an outdoor recreation yard that's about half the size of an American football field. Detainees are allowed to move freely within their communal blocks, where they can eat, pray, and play video games.

Although the continued existence of the camp is often hotly debated, the development of Guantanamo Bay's facilities into "a more robust prison camp" seems to suggest that it won't shut down anytime soon. According to the Huffington Post, the military has spent millions of dollars on "a state-of-the-art courthouse, housing for lawyers, guards and and other personnel, and improved facilities for the detainees." Earlier this year, the Pentagon requested almost $200 million for upgrades at Guantanamo, including plans to replace the secretive Camp Seven. 

Although Moran said he "doesn't see closing it down as working," he does feel the Obama administration could do more to shutter Guantanamo. "I think the president is on the right page, he's of the right mind, but I don't think he's willing to do what would needed to be done," he told the Huffington Post. "I'm not sure I understand why, because he's not going to be up for reelection, and I do think this would be something that would matter because it certainly mattered to him when he was running."