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Guantánamo DiaryBy Mohamedou Ould Salahi

In a Nutshell

This is the memoir of Mohamedou Ould Slahi, a man detained on dubious grounds by the U.S. government, and later held captive - and subjected to torture and monstrous conditions - in the brutal Guantánamo Bay prison camp.

Favorite quote

Now I knew for sure that anything I wrote would only reach my interrogators, and what happens in GTMO stays in GTMO, absolutely. Even with my chains off, my hands remained shackled to my sides.

Mohamedou Ould Slahi

Introduction

In the year 2000, Mohamedou Ould Slahi was returning home to his native Mauritania from a study abroad when he was detained by the U.S. government on suspicions of involvement in an al-Qaeda-linked plot to bomb Los Angeles International Airport.

Although Slahi was eventually released, just one year later - amid heightened suspicion after the September 11 terror attacks - he was once again swept up by the CIA. This time, he was taken to the Guantánamo Bay prison camp, where he would be held for 14 years - without charges.

For years, Slahi was subjected to constant humiliation and torture, which eventually prompted him to make a false confession. Through Slahi's accounts of his interrogators' ruthless castigations, it becomes clear that his American captors luxuriated in his humiliation, and sought to establish a sense of absolutist cultural superiority. Slahi's account paints a devastating portrait of the post-9/11 American military-intellectual complex, and shows how a mix of fear and xenophobia stoked the fires of a brutal campaign of Islamophobia.

Here are the 3 key insights from this Hack

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    Rising levels of post-9/11 Islamophobia fueled the way prisoners were treated at Guantánamo Bay
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