Giving Speedo swimshorts to Gitmo prisoners: a "serious transgression"

Brian says: "Lawyers for two Gitmo detainees have been accused of smuggling their clients two pairs of 'Under Armor briefs and a Speedo bathing suit.' The lawyers respond in an open letter worthy of such a laughable accusation... especially considering that they haven't been permitted to actually visit their clients in over a year."
August 12, 2007

Re: Discovery of Contraband Clothing in the Cases of Shaker Aamer, Detainee ISN 239, and Muhammed Hamid al-Qareni, Detainee ISN 269

Dear Mr. Stafford Smith.

Your client, Shaker Aamer, detainee ISN 239, was recently discovered to be wearing Under Armor briefs and a Speedo bathing suit. Neither item was issued to the detainee by JTF-Guantánamo personnel, nor did they enter the camp through regular mail. Coincidentally, Muhammed al-Qareni, detainee ISN 269, who is represented by Mr. Katznelson of Reprieve, was also recently discovered to be wearing Under Armor briefs. As with detainee ISN 239, the briefs were not issued by JTF-Guantánamo personnel, nor did they enter the camp through regular mail.

We are investigating this matter to determine the origins of the above contraband and ensure that parties who may have been involved understand the seriousness of this transgression. As I am sure you understand, we cannot tolerate contraband being surreptitiously brought into the camp. Such activities threaten the safety of the JTF-Guantánamo staff, the detainees, and visiting counsel.

In furtherance of our investigation, we would like to know whether the contraband material, or any portion thereof, was provided by you, or anyone else on your legal team, or anyone associated with Reprieve. We are compelled to ask these questions in light of the coincidence that two detainees represented by counsel associated with Reprieve were found wearing the same contraband underwear.

Thank you as always for your cooperation and assistance,


[Name redacted]
Commander, JAGC, US Navy Staff Judge Advocate



  1. from the letter: “As with detainee ISN 239…”

    way to dehumanize them. they can’t have unauthorized underwear, and they can’t even have their names.

  2. It’s pretty clear to me that Gitmo personnel must’ve given these clothing items to the prisoners. Under Armor is very popular with the US Armed Forces for wearing under uniforms…..and armor.

  3. well you know, obviously its not about the contraband itself but the fact that something was smuggled in. if i were running a prison i’d be worried about that.

    still its pretty ridiculous for them to get their panties in a bunch over some underwear!

  4. The lawyer’s response is priceless — the ability to point out someone’s obvious lack of logical thought and common sense without coming out and saying “you’re an idiot” is a rare and wonderful talent.

    Please keep us posted of any new developments!

  5. The real story here is the impossible circumstances under which attorneys are expected to represent these people. Absurd “security” restrictions, routine loss of paperwork, false accusations against the lawyers, etc. all make it at the least soul crushing for these attorneys to do their jobs. See this first-person account of what it’s like to represent someone at Gitmo:

  6. Both articles are made of stretchy synthetics, so I have to wonder if their utility in hanging/strangling has anything to do with it.

  7. Are the guards giving fancy lingerie to the prisoners out of compassion or cuz they’re fixin’ to romance them?

  8. From the letter it seems they were asking them if they knew anything about it or had any information. Hardly an accusation if you ask me.

  9. As someone who considers themselves a pinko-leftie, and who is very much not American… it’s hard not to just balk and wishfully wait for the US the be slammed into place by common sense, or a global community sick to death of the ongoing military blunder that is the War On Terror.

    Incompetance is one thing, but when it involves such vicious trampling of individuals’ rights… well. I pity US citizens who don’t actually agree with the War, or the rhetorical stance(s) the administration has taken over the past term and a half.

    I’d implore more people to vote in the next federal election… although who knows how many elligible voters ultimately agree with the shit-gurgler America appears to be going down.

    Stop the stupidity, already, and do something useful, something more morally sound with the US’ military might. God help us all.

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