Guantánamo Diary Book Summary By Mohamedou Ould Slahi, edited by Larry Siems

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Guantánamo Diary is the pinnacle of detainee stories, giving readers insight into one man's harrowing journey through the horrors of the Guantánamo Bay detention center.

The edited testimony of a former detainee paints an unsettling picture as it follows his experiences with interrogations, incarceration and torture by US forces.

The purposeful poetic verses fill in gaps left by limited logical memory and lay bare exactly what he had to endure while being held in one of history's most infamous prison locations, wearing martyrdom like a badge.

As reality smothers hope and despair abounds, this book is no illusion - it's a story rooted in injustice and brutality that will haunt readers for years to come.

Guantánamo Diary Book

Book Name: Guantánamo Diary (Guantanamo from the Inside)

Author(s): Mohamedou Ould Slahi, edited by Larry Siems

Rating: 4/5

Reading Time: 19 Minutes

Categories: Book Summaries

Author Bio

Mohamedou Ould Slahi is the author of the highly acclaimed book, Guantánamo Diary.

He is a Mauritanian citizen who experienced over a decade of suffering in an American-run Guantánamo Bay detention camp in Cuba.

The story he shares in his book casts light on the senseless injustice that so many of those detained at ‘Gitmo’ must endure due to orders from government and military officials.

Slahi highlights how he was denied basic human rights and was subjected to physical and psychological abuse while held captive at the facility despite no proven accusation being made against him.

He has used this harrowing experience to shed light on the struggles of others still suffering under similar circumstances as well as calling out those responsible for making such harsh imprisonments possible.

Withs Guantanamo Diary, Mohamedou Ould Slahi has brought a unique perspective from beyond prison walls and an inspirational message of hope for all people who have been held unjustly without their voices being heard.

The True Story Of Mohamedou Ould Slahi — How A Guantánamo Bay Prisoner Endured Unspeakable Torture And Continued To Maintain His Innocence

Mohamedou Ould Slahi

Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s story is extraordinary and a telling example of the human cost of the US’s incarceration policy at Guantánamo Bay.

His account (which was heavily redacted by his captors before it became public) begins in 2000 when authorities arrested and interrogated him in Senegal, Jordan, and Cuba.

Despite repeatedly declaring his innocence, he has been held in prison for over a decade without ever being tried.

Slahi’s document reveals much about his experience, including why his torture was sanctioned by the US government, why doctors are used to keep prisoners fit for torture, and why US authorities pretended to be MOS’s family.

Through Slahi’s authoritative voice you can comprehend not only the human cost of this incarceration policy but also one inmate’s harrowing experience living in one of the world’s most notorious prison camps.

The Story Of Mohamedou Ould Slahi: From Education To Guantánamo Bay Via Al-Qaida And The Millennium Plot

Mohamedou Ould Slahi, or MOS for short, is a Mauritanian citizen who has been held without charge in Guantánamo since 2002.

MOS’s journey to the infamous US detention center began many years before his imprisonment however.

Born in 1970 to a traveling camel trader, he moved with his family to the capital of Mauritania where sadly his father passed away shortly thereafter.

He eventually found himself at the University of Duisburg in Germany studying electrical engineering, and became involved with an anti-communist movement in Afghanistan taking an oath of loyalty to al-Qaeda which at that time was supported by Western nations including the US.

He then returned to Germany and claims to have cut all ties with al-Qaeda.

He subsequently applied for and successfully obtained a Canadian visa and relocated to Montreal where he attended a Mosque previously frequented by Ahmed Ressam, an Algerian immigrant and al-Qaeda member.

Importantly, Ressam was found to be part of the Millennium Plot – a plan intended to bomb Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

Following this discovery by authorities, police questioned Montreal immigrants about it resulting in MOS being taken into custody and sent off to Guantánamo Bay.

After Being Interrogated And Accused Of Masterminding The Millennium Plot, He Faced A Long Road To Redemption

The author of Guantanamo Diary had been living away from his home country for 12 years when he decided to return for a visit.

He took a flight to Dakar, Senegal, with plans to drive the remaining distance to Nouakchott, Mauritania along with two of his brothers and some friends.

Things didn’t exactly go as planned – the group was intercepted on their way to the car by special agents who cuffed them up, threw them into a cattle truck and took them into custody.

The following morning they were interrogated by Senegalese and American agents who asked if anyone knew someone going by the name Ressam in connection with the Millennium Plot.

No information was revealed and this led to the author’s transfer into US hands.

He travelled with the American agents all the way to Mauritania where he was further interrogated at Security Police headquarters multiple times throughout one sleepless night.

The Canadian government provided transcripts of prior phone calls which raised suspicions that code words “tea” and “sugar” were being used by the author, but fortunately he was cleared of any wrongdoing on February 19th.

And eventually managed to get home after his tumultuous journey from Canada to Mauritania – only for it not yet be over!

A Victim Of Political Persecution: How The Author’s Entire Life Was Disrupted By American Interrogators

American Interrogators

The author of Guantanamo Diary suffered repeated interrogations in Mauritania before being sent to Jordan.

It all began with a call from Mauritania’s Director General of Security while the author was attending his niece’s wedding.

He was then taken to police headquarters where he was interrogated for two weeks by American investigators.

They were keen to learn why he had made phone calls to certain countries, such as the United Arab Emirates, and what coded meanings his conversations contained – such as when he told his brother to “concentrate on your school”.

He continued to proclaim his innocence but was denied access to water, even being struck in the face with a water bottle.

In the end, he was released without being charged but this didn’t last and he faced yet another interrogation when the Director General of Security asked him to return once again.

Here, he was kept away from family and friends for seven days before finally being flown off to Jordan on Mauritanian Independence day, presumably under CIA rendition.

Unearthing The Horrors At The Jordan Detention Center: The Story Of An Unwitting Terror Suspect

In Mohamadou Ould Slahi’s book, Guatanamo Diary, the author recounts his horrific experience in Jordan as he was interrogated by Jordanian officials who were following orders from the US government.

These interrogators were relentless, pushing him up against walls and striking him in the face multiple times.

What’s worse is that these interrogators threatened to torture him if he didn’t confess to his alleged crimes of participating in terrorist attacks.

The author could hear the screams of those being tortured in adjacent rooms and feared for his safety if he refused to cooperate.

Sadly, this story is far too common when it comes to detention camps and human rights violations.

Thankfully, Mohamadou Ould Slahi was eventually freed after four years of imprisonment and returned to Mauritania safely.

Let his story serve as a reminder that no one is truly safe until everyone is.

The Inhumane Conditions Of Gtmo: The Unlawful Interrogation Methods Subjected On Enemy Combatants

In 2002, the author was transferred to Guantánamo Bay.

His condition soon worsened due to the ultra-harsh interrogation methods that were being used at the facility, including extended interrogations lasting up to 20 hours; exposure to isolation and cold temperatures; and forced standing in painful positions – all implemented as part of a Special Interrogation Plan authorized by then US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

The Senate Armed Services Committee reported that a Special Interrogation Plan for the author had even been circulated by military interrogators in January 2003.

Separated from his family with no information on his whereabouts, things only continued to get worse and he endured months without hearing from them – until finally receiving his first real letter 7 months into his captivity.

The Author Of Gtmo Experienced Horrific Torture Despite Never Being Charged With A Crime


The US government agencies at Guantánamo had one thing in common: interrogating and torturing the author of the book, Guantánamo Diary.

He was accused of participating in multiple terrorist activities and hewn subject to brutal mistreatment during his confinement.

The list of offenses the author was held accountable for kept growing; from being part of a raid to bomb LAX, to being present on 9/11 attacks or acting as an al-Qaeda recruiter.

However, none of these accusations were ever formally charged.

Nevertheless, he still suffered extensive and cruel interrogations which the author himself refers to as “the recipe”.

This included practices such as forced standing with his back bent, denial of clean water and sleep deprivation, sexual abuse and threats towards himself and his family such as permanent imprisonment or future “erasure”.

The worst part about it is that these tactics would still continue after four different interrogation teams took over for immediate 24-hour periods!

How Torture Left The Author Falsely Confessing To Crimes He Didn’T Commit

As the author’s interrogation continued, he started to realize that anything he said wouldn’t save him.

He had been taken away on August 25th, 2003, with a hood over his head and shackles attached to his wrists and ankles.

Even if it was all just a ploy to scare him, the author was subjected to countless cruel and torturous treatment–the deprivation of sleep, physical abuse, threats of being taken out of Guantanamo Bay (GTMO)–and it began to take its toll on him.

The guards continued to whisper horrific accusations through the ducts in his cell, further breaking down his sense of security – the author was in a state of disarray, physically weakened by losing weight and psychological trauma from experiencing hallucinations caused by extreme torture.

Doctors were even brought in to “heal” him just enough so he could endure more torture.

Eventually, these tactics paid off; by September 2003 the author admitted guilt for things he hadn’t done as well as implicating others who may have nothing do do with this crime.

And despite his initial resistance and stubbornness under interrogation -he even wrote an admission for something he didn’t even do: participating in an attempt to blow up CN tower–the pain proved too great and thus began his unhappy cycle of admitting any charge put forward no matter how absurd it seemed.

The Unending Struggle For Freedom: The Story Of A Guantanamo Bay Detainee

Guantanamo Bay Detainee

Mohaned Slahi remains a prisoner in Guantanamo Bay to this day despite his cooperation in confessing his crimes and submitting a habeas corpus petition that was heard by Judge James Robertson in 2009.

Despite following the court’s order for his release, the US government appealed and, on November 5 2010, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals sent Slahi’s file back to District Courts for rehearing.

Slahi had been subjected to improved conditions since he agreed to cooperate with interrogators and incriminate others – from receiving dedicated showers and hot meals, being allowed to pray peacefully, access to books ranging from Star Wars to The Catcher in the Rye or having the opportunity to use a laptop to type out his confessions – but these improvements don’t come close to compensating for the freedom that he desires.

His prospects for release in 2020 are uncertain since he depends on US District Judge Royce Lamberth’s decision on whether or not his case should be retried.

Despite attempts at securing it, Mohaned Slahi stills awaits release and due justice after so many years of imprisonment.

Wrap Up

The final summary of Guantánamo Diary is this: the US government is operating in cruel and inhumane ways.

The prisoner MOS, who was detained and interrogated by the US, experienced and witnessed this cruelty firsthand.

This book serves as his written testament and a plea to the American people to question their government’s actions.

It’s an important reminder that we should never forget those who are suffering at the hands of our own country.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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