Gitmo Media: Detainee Diary – Part III

Gitmo Media is a new three-part podcast series that examines how we experience and understand the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base and its complex history. Produced by Annenberg PhD candidate Muira McCammon and Center for Media at Risk 2018-2019 postdoctoral fellow Daniel Grinberg the series considers how media forms have shaped the perspectives of visitors, personnel and detainees at the site and how they have used media to enhance public knowledge of this exceptional and often overlooked space.

“Detainee Diary,” the third and final episode in the series, features an interview with Mohamedou Slahi, who was detained at Guantanamo Bay from 2002 until his release fourteen years later. Slahi documented daily life as a Gitmo detainee in the memoir Guantanamo Diary.


“All the Right Things” by Son Lux (intro)
“Carnival” by Nick Cave & Warren Ellis”
“Freibad” by Hauschka
“Two Fish and an Elephant” by Khruangbin (outtro) 


Mohamedou Ould Slahi was born in a small town in Mauritania in 1970. He won a scholarship to attend college in Germany and worked there for several years as an engineer. He returned to Mauritania in 2000. The following year, at the behest of the United States, he was detained by Mauritanian authorities and rendered to a prison in Jordan; later he was rendered again, first to Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan, and finally, on August 5, 2002, to the U.S. prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, where he was subjected to severe torture. In 2010, a federal judge ordered him immediately released, but the government appealed that decision. He was cleared and released on October 16, 2016, and repatriated to his native country of Mauritania. No charges were filed against him during or after this ordeal.Find him on Twitter @MohamedouOuld

Muira McCammon is a doctoral candidate at the Annenberg School for Communication where she studies the media, the military and the relationship between the two. Prior to beginning the doctoral program and under the auspices of the Beinecke Scholarship, McCammon received an M.A. in Translation Studies/Comparative Literature from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she wrote her thesis on the Guantánamo Bay Detainee Library. Additionally, she holds a B.A. in French/Francophone Studies and a B.A. in Political Science/International Relations from Carleton College. A former investigative reporter and podcast critic, McCammon’s writings have appeared in Playboy, Atlas Obscura, Slate, The Massachusetts Review, How We Get to Next, Waypoint by VICE, Paste Magazine, and a number of other publications. She has previously held fellowships at the Sitka Fellows Program, the Harvard Law Library Innovation Lab, and the Turkish Fulbright Commission. She is also a proud 2017 recipient of a Rhizome microgrant.  

Daniel Grinberg is the 2018-2019 the Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Media at Risk at University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication. In August 2018, he received his PhD from the Department of Film and Media Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Previously, he received a M.A. in Communication and Culture at Indiana University and a B.A. in English Literature and Foreign Affairs at the University of Virginia. In between, he also taught English at a high school in France and embarked on an ongoing quest to watch every film in the Criterion Collection. Currently, he is at work on his first book, Partial Disclosures: Documentary Media and the Freedom of Information Act, which examines how documentary media and FOIA disclosures mediate public knowledge of covert security and surveillance practices. He has also written on topics such as terror watchlists, predictive security algorithms, and the militainment network of the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. His research interests include government media and censorship, war and security media, surveillance, documentary media, media activism, and digital technologies in both U.S. and global contexts. He is also the co-editor of the forthcoming “Queer Surveillance” issue of Surveillance & Society and the “Surveillance States” issue of Media Fields Journal; the co-organizer of the University of California Humanities Research Institute “War, Security, and Digital Media” Graduate Working Group; and the co-organizer of the Power Dynamics: 2016 Media and the Environment Conference and Ruins: 2017 Media Fields Conference.

This episode was produced by Muira McCammon and Daniel Grinberg and edited by Aaron Shapiro.


We’d love to hear from you, especially if you have stories about this podcast, our Center and anything in between. Feel free to write a note or record a voice memo on your smartphone and email it to; you can also find us on Twitter and Facebook at @ASCMediaRisk. Though we’re a small operation, we’re always open to pitches and new stories. Additionally if you would like a transcript of this episode, please contact Joanna Birkner.