Pants to Guantánamo: Agent Provocateur and Reprieve make a cheeky statement about detention without charge or trial


Fair Trial My ArseHappy Valentine’s Day? With exquisite timing, lingerie darlings Agent Provocateur unveil their latest product, a pair of Guantánamo orange knickers emblazoned with the message “Fair Trial My Arse.”

Conceived after consultation with Reprieve, the London-based legal charity that represents dozens of Guantánamo detainees, the project arose after the farcical Case of the Contraband Underpants last August, when Clive Stafford Smith and Zachary Katznelson of Reprieve were accused of smuggling underwear into Guantánamo for two of their clients, Mohammed El-Gharani, a Saudi resident and Chadian national, who was just 15 years old when he was picked up in a random raid on a mosque in Pakistan, and British resident Shaker Aamer, a long-term hunger striker, who has been held in solitary confinement at Guantánamo for two and a half years.

In a New Statesman article announcing the launch of the politically provocative pants, Clive Stafford Smith explains more:

“Along with our allies at the lingerie designers Agent Provocateur, we developed a line of intimate apparel in Guantánamo orange, with “Fair Trial My Arse” emblazoned across the derrière … [W]e suspect that Gordon Brown’s popularity will soar after he tries on his Valentine’s Day present from Reprieve: his own pair of Fair Trial My Arse pants, discreetly delivered to No 10 …

“Of course, bad taste aside, Fair Trial My Arse bears a serious message, particularly given this past week’s announcement that the US military plans death-penalty trials in Guantánamo Bay. The main objections to tribunals have been well summarised by Colonel Morris Davis, the former chief military prosecutor. In October, he resigned from his post making three allegations: that the politicians had taken over the process with little concern for fairness, that evidence extracted under duress would be admissible, and that there would still be secret proceedings.

“No matter what the Bush administration spin, this will indeed be a case of Fair Trial My Arse. We hope the slogan will become a rallying cry for the closure of Guantánamo Bay and the secret prisons that proliferate around the world. At the very least, perhaps it will inspire the Prime Minister to help us shame the United States authorities into providing a fair process for Shaker Aamer and Binyam Mohamed [another British resident still held in Guantánamo]. They are, after all, British residents who could tell you from first-hand experience that Guantánamo Bay is, indeed, pants.”

Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK). To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed, and see here for my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, published in March 2009.

6 Responses

  1. The backside speaks the truth | Antony Loewenstein says...

    […] “Fair Trial, My Arse.” […]

  2. … piece 0 plastic - the revolution will be blogged … » Blog Archive » ruff linkage . 200807 says...

    […] Pants to Guantánamo: Agent Provocateur and Reprieve make a cheeky statement about detention without… – “Happy Valentine’s Day? With exquisite timing, lingerie darlings Agent Provocateur unveil their latest product, a pair of Guantánamo orange knickers emblazoned with the message “Fair Trial My Arse.”” i’m in. [via] […]

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    On February 17, the Independent on Sunday ran a feature on Joseph Corre, Agent Provocateur’s co-founder, who turned down an MBE from Tony Blair as a protest against the Iraq war, in which he announced his latest project, Humanade, a “grant-giving and fundraising trust” which has “already started funding legal representation for Guantanamo Bay inmates.” As Corre described it, it is also about “making businesses realise, as many still fail to do, that social responsibility can be good business.”

    The feature continues: “What it is most certainly not, Corre makes abundantly clear, is about giving himself or Agent Provocateur added profile: business needs to know that ‘just by focusing a little bit of money in the right direction you can make things happen, and that’s amazing. I don’t want this charity thing to be about me. I don’t need press. I don’t need to do this fucking interview,’ he says testily. ‘It just might make companies think about themselves a bit, or make people think more carefully about where they spend their money.’”

    Corre also pointed out, ‘Human rights is the issue that businesses shy away from – because usually, at some stage along the chain, some businesses are making a lot of money from human-rights abuse. Then there is this idea that you can’t mix business and politics. And that’s total crap. The two are intrinsically linked. When there was meant to be this march against the Iraq war, there was all this talk from lots of fashion companies who were going to give their shows an anti-war theme, and do their shop windows with it, they all bottled out. I think I was the only bloody one.”

    The full feature is here:

  4. Prog Gold » Blog Archive » The Cheek Of It! says...

    […] A revolution without dancing or pretty underwear is a revolution not worth having, if you ask me; especially when said nice pants cock a snook at the same time. Via Andy Worthington: […]

  5. Lingerie Panties says...

    I’m a bit confused. Mr. Corre claims it’s not about the press, however, Agent Provocateur certainly received plenty of press over these panties, which were made for a cause that is greatly controversial, terrorism. Could they not have found some other means to support their cause?

  6. » Blog Archive » Now THAT’S how you do a charity gig! says...

    […] One of the things Smith spoke about was the case of Guantanamo Bay’s Contraband Underpants.  Which dovetailed neatly with the availibility of the special run of Agent Provocateur prison-orange “Fair Trial My Arse” grundies. […]

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo and We Stand With Shaker. Also, photo-journalist (The State of London), and singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers).
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