The Mauritanian (2021) – Transcript

Mohamedou Ould Salahi fights for freedom after being detained and imprisoned without charge by the U.S. Government for years.
The Mauritanian (2021)

Directed by Kevin Macdonald and based on the NY Times best-selling memoir “Guantánamo Diary” by Mohamedou Ould Slahi, this is inspiring the true story of Slahi’s fight for freedom after being detained and imprisoned without charge by the U.S. Government for years. Alone and afraid, Slahi (Tahar Rahim) finds allies in defense attorney Nancy Hollander (Jodie Foster) and her associate Teri Duncan (Shailene Woodley) who battle the U.S. government in a fight for justice that tests their commitment to the law and their client at every turn. Their controversial advocacy, along with evidence uncovered by a formidable military prosecutor, Lt. Colonel Stuart Couch (Benedict Cumberbatch), uncovers shocking truths and ultimately proves that the human spirit cannot be locked up.

* * *

[drums beating in distance]

[singing, whooping, clapping]

[laughing, whooping]

[woman vocalizing]

[singing in Arabic]

[crowd ululating]

[singing continues]

[in Arabic]


[in Arabic]



[fly buzzing]


[car door closes, engine starts]

[horns honking]

Morning, Diego.


[man] …is actually gonna testify live at the hearing, versus, for example, being submitted by deposition testament.


In terms of the briefing schedule, we just annotated it for you.

Copy of the case file?

[man] We propose to exchange exhibit lists by the end of the month.

[clears throat] Are you sitting in?

Are you gonna join the case? We’d be lucky to have you.

Plaintiff’s been all over the news this morning.

Yeah, we expected that.

I mean, he’s not rattled.

The airlines want to make it a PR campaign, but we’ll beat ’em in court.

We’ll see.

[horns honking] [Latin music playing]

You’re too quick. I was hoping to buy you lunch.

Go on. Get in line. I recommend the asada.


So… how’s Bill?

Separated. Oh, sorry.

So was he.

What can I do for you?

Last week, in Paris, a lawyer from Mauritania approached my firm.


Northwest Africa.

The lawyer represents a family over there.

In November 2001, their son was taken for questioning by Mauritanian police.

He disappeared.

For three years, they don’t know if he’s dead, in prison.

They don’t know. No one knows.

And then, a few weeks ago, Der Spiegel writes a story saying that he’s detained in Guantánamo Bay.

They say he’s one of the organizers of 9/11.

Is he? I don’t know.

I haven’t spoken with him.

Guantánamo will not even confirm that he’s there.

I don’t have a security clearance.

The firm won’t take a Gitmo case.

Since when do you care about what the firm thinks?

And you still have your clearance from your NSA suit, no?

Come on. One phone call, to see if he’s there.

Prisoner, what’s his name?

Slahi. S-L-A-H-I.

First name: Mohamedou.

No, no, no. Not “Mohammed.” Mohamedou. Check the logs.

Well, he’s not there or you don’t know whether he’s not there?

All right, I’ll hold.



Oh, yeah. It’s over there.

But it’s your facility, so how do you not know who you’re holding?

“He’s not not there”?

What does that mean?

I mean, he’s not Schrodinger’s cat. He’s either there or he’s not there.

You wanna represent the head recruiter for 9/11?


And no, I’m defending habeas corpus… which Bush and Rumsfeld are dismantling gleefully as we speak.

Nancy, we’d all love a pop at this administration, but there’s more to consider.

People wanna see these guys burn.

Including plenty of prospective clients.

Well, the US government is holding upwards of 700 prisoners in Guantánamo.

And we don’t know who they are. We don’t know what they’re charged with.

Since when did we start locking people up without a trial in this country?

I don’t want you spinning your wheels on this.

David… we agreed that we could pick our own pro bono fights.

No interference.

I like the look of this fight.

[scoffs] I’m only coming to you as a courtesy.

[chuckling] Okay.

What do you need?

Uh, just me for now, and a translator with security clearance.

The prisoner speaks Arabic, French, and German.

[man] Sounds expensive.

Hey, Teri, you speak French, right?

Yeah. But I’m on the Goranson case.


Yeah, it’s got no legs. [man] That’s a bit harsh.

I looked at it. You got the wrong plaintiff.

No jury’s gonna get past that.

[softly] Yeah.

[David] Teri?

Yes, sure.

I mean…

who doesn’t want a free trip to Cuba, right?

[man] We got a little break now. What time is it?

Yeah, we got about 20 minutes. You wanna grab a coffee?

I could take one intravenously. Sure.

[man] Hey, Stu!

Oh! I’ll catch up with y’all in a few.

Sir, I didn’t see your name on the schedule. You giving a talk?

No, just passing through. Hey, you know Whit Cobb over at OGC?

Sure. What gives?

Well, we’re putting something together. Your name came up. You got a minute?


Here we are.

Hey, look who I found. [door closes]

Hey, Whit. How’s it been?

Stuart. Great to see you again after all these years.

And you.

This is Bob. He’s, um, OGA.

Stu and I worked together…

Sit down. [Stuart] Thank you.

Stu and I worked together on that drug case back in…

When was it? Uh, ’96, ’97.

He rolled ’em up one after another.

Lehnert called him his “dog on a chain.”

General Lehnert could get us to low crawl through hell in a gasoline suit.

You been paying much attention to what’s going on down at Gitmo?

A little, yeah.

I have orders to stand up a 9/11 war court for enemy combatants held in Guantánamo under jurisdiction of the president.

You’re familiar with Ex Parte Quirin?

The World War II case with eight Nazi saboteurs that were caught sneaking into the US by U-boat?

Eight Nazis, eight convictions in less than a month.

You forgot the punch line.

Six of them were given the electric chair.

Rough justice. That’s what this administration wants.

We’ve taken a lot of prisoners in Afghanistan, working our way through to Bin Laden and the guys who planned this shit.

There’s a backlog needs clearing.

Bill tells me a good friend of yours was on one of the planes, 9/11.

Bruce Taylor.

He was first officer on Flight 175, the plane that hit the South Tower.

We flew KC-130s at Cherry Point together.

Cathy and my wife, Kim, they worked at the same hospital together, so…

Mohamedou Ould Slahi. The Mauritanian.

Fought with Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan in the ’90s.

Key recruiter for 9/11 in Germany.

He recruited Marwan al-Shehhi, the son of a bitch who flew your friend’s plane into the South Tower.

[Whit] The administration regards this as the first death penalty case.

We want you to lead the prosecution.

When do we start?

[announcement bell chimes]

[woman on PA] Our flight time is three and a half hours to Cuba.

We offer no beverages, no snacks and no facilities aboard this aircraft.

Thank you.

[wind howling]

[man] Welcome to US Naval Base Guantánamo.

This base exists outside of US legal jurisdiction.

If you stray outside the designated areas, you will be removed from the island.

Apart from your client, you’re not to speak to or communicate with the detainees.

You’re not to discuss classified information with your client, even if it pertains to his case.

Illegal disclosures may result in your arrest and immediate removal from the island.

If you wish to grab your client some grub, do so now.

[Teri] Do we know what he likes?

Get the Filet-O-Fish. It’s halal.

[chattering on radio]

[air brakes hissing]

[female guard] Honor bound.

Defending freedom.

[male guard] Open up!


[man] Step up to the line, IDs out.

Leave your bag here.

Glasses off.

Take a notepad and one writing implement in with you.

It’s recommended you wear a hijab when visiting your client.

We’ve had incidents of inmates spitting at female lawyers.

Head count on civilians departing. [man on radio] From Camp Echo.

Step up to the line, IDs out.

[gate unlocks]

[chattering on radio]

[male guard] Any notes you take here are deemed classified.

We’ll collect them after your meeting.

You can retrieve them in a secure facility stateside.

For your own safety, we will be monitoring the meeting.

You listening to us? You’re recording?

No, video only.

In the event the detainee lunges for you, push back away from the table.

We’ll get in there as quick as we can.

[door opens]

[footsteps approaching]

As-salaam alaikum.

Wa-alaikum salaam.

[clears throat]

Bonjour. Enchantée.

Je suis Maître Theresa Duncan et je voudrais…

My lawyers.

You speak English? How did you learn?

Same as you, one word at a time.


I’m Nancy Hollander. This is my associate, Teri Duncan, and we’re from the firm of Freedman, Boyd and Hollander based in New Mexico.

And we wish to represent you.

We brought you some food.

Hope it’s okay. It’s all they have on base.

Mr. Slahi, I understand that it might be hard for you to believe, but we are not here as interrogators.

We are not working for the US government in any way.

Well, I’d like to explain your legal situation.

In June, the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, ruled that prisoners in Guantánamo are entitled to file for habeas corpus petitions.

This means that the government must produce any evidence that they have against you, and then the court decides if that evidence is enough to justify holding you.

And if it isn’t, you’ll be released.

Well, if you agree to let us represent you, we will file a writ of habeas on your behalf.

This is the contract.

How can you defend me if you don’t even know what I’m charged with?

[Teri] Have you been charged? No! No, no.

Three years, they charged me with nothing.

They kidnapped me from my home and put me in a jail in Jordan for five months, then in a military base in Afghanistan, which was like living in a toilet, by the way, and brought me here with a bag on my head and chains around my body.

What do they accuse you of during your interrogations?

I’m interrogated 18 hours, every day, 3 years.

That’s like… go ask Charlie Sheen to name all his girlfriends.


So you get the news here.

Now that I… cooperate… they let me have a TV.

We don’t get news, but we have this show, E Exclamation.

It’s just E! I think the exclamation is silent.

Have they shown you any evidence they have against you?

No. Yes… No.

Well, one time they showed I had taken a call from Bin Laden’s satellite phone.

Did you? Yes, I did. [chuckles]

That was my cousin.

He calls me, I don’t know what phone he is using.

I took a call.

Just the once?

He just called you once from Bin Laden’s phone?

They’re watching everything I say, everything I do.

[Teri] They only have video.

Oh, yeah?

We can’t talk about these things, not here.

Will you write it down?

Your story, how you came here, what happened to you, will you write that down for us?

So my interrogators can read it?

I tried that once already. It didn’t end well.

Well, we need your testimony.

I’ve been writing all my life, and I like that.

But writing here is way much dangerous than talking.

If you choose to let us represent you, then we will have attorney-client privilege.

And that means that anything that you say, anything that you write down, will be protected from the prosecution by law.

They can’t use it against you.

You don’t wanna do that, then don’t sign. You can stay here trouble-free.

[banging on door]

[female guard] One minute.



You do one thing for me.

Call this number.

Ask to speak to my mother.

Tell her… I don’t know, something nice.

[door opens]

[female guard] That’s it.

All right.

Thank you.

See you later, alligators.

Now you have to say… “After a while, crocodile.”

Not for a while, crocodile.

Good enough.

Gather your notes together.

You’ll get them back at the secure facility stateside.

In here.

Who decided to put him in shackles?

Protocol. It’s for your protection, ma’am.

I wanna know whose name I should cite when I contact the National Security desk at The New York Times.

You tell your CO I don’t wanna see my client in shackles ever again.

Are you praying?

No, memorizing his mother’s number.

We’re not gonna call that number.

No, we gotta clear it first.

We don’t know who’s on the other end of that line.

You don’t think it’s his mother?

I don’t know.

But no one just gets a phone call from Bin Laden’s sat phone.

[man] This is our guy.

He got a scholarship to study electrical engineering in Germany in 1988.

Two years later, he traveled to Afghanistan and joined Al-Qaeda.

These are just two of the bad guys we know he associated with.

Mahfouz Ould al-Walid, otherwise known as Abu Hafs, Slahi’s cousin and brother-in-law.

They were close growing up.

In the mid-’90s, Abu Hafs was designated personal poet and spiritual adviser to Bin Laden himself.

Between ’97 and ’99, German intelligence tracked money transfers and phone calls between Slahi and his cousin in Afghanistan.

We can show that Slahi was financing terror.

Ramzi bin al-Shibh, the so-called 20th hijacker.

In ’99, Slahi recruited bin al-Shibh and other members of the Hamburg cell, including Marwan al-Shehhi, pilot of the plane that hit the South Tower, and Ziad Jarrah, who was on United 93.

That’s just two.

There’s about ten other scary names he crossed paths with.

This dude is the Al-Qaeda Forrest Gump.

Everywhere you look, he’s there.

It’s all there in the top sheet.

Now we gotta check through the intel reports and corroborate.

Be exacting, thorough.

We are seeking the death penalty, but if we miss something, this guy goes home.

All right?

Let’s get to it.

[Teri] Please apologize to her.

It’s just taken a while to get the clearance.

[man speaking Arabic on phone]

Madam Slahi would like to know, have you really seen her son?

Yes, we’ve seen him, in Guantánamo prison, Cuba.

[speaking Arabic continues] [knocks, door opens]

[Mohamedou’s mother crying on phone]

Wrap it up. I’ll see you afterwards.

[man] Hello? Are you there?

Yes, hi. Sorry.

[man] How does he look? Is he well? Is he eating?

He looks well.

He wanted us to tell you that he misses you very, very much.

[man speaking Arabic on phone]

[clears throat]

We need to go to Virginia.

I just got a notification from the Privilege team.

Mohamedou’s written to us.


I typed up the rest of that call.

Do you know why Mohamedou wanted us to call her?

Because she’s his mother?

Because every mother believes that her son is innocent.

He wanted us to hear that.

That doesn’t matter because it’s not the case we’re building.

We need to prove that the US government lacks evidence sufficient to detain him.

Anything else is a distraction.

Files are in. We need to get to Virginia.

[siren wailing]

[man] Any material you read here is between you and your client.

But anything you wanna cite in court or remove from the facility has to be cleared by me or another member of the Privilege team.

You have to read it? Yeah, every word.

So try and only bring me the juicy stuff.

But don’t worry, we are walled off from the prosecution.

If we share anything with them, I’m doing prison time.

Trust me, I ain’t cut out for that.

Once we’ve reviewed the material, we designate it either classified or protected.

Protected means you don’t have to come in here to view it.

We will fax it to your office where it can only be accessed by those with proper clearance.

Anything from here ends up in my Sunday papers…

Well, you guys are the lawyers. You know how that goes.

Don’t lose your keys.

It is a pain in the butt to find a locksmith with the proper clearance.

[keypad beeps, door unlocks]

That’s a joke. We got spares.

Don’t forget your codes, and my office is down there when you’re done.

Wait, we didn’t get your name.

Kent. Kent what?

Kent tell you any more than that. [chuckles]

[Nancy] Okay. All right.

Seals look good.

All right, take half.

Where are the case files? Nancy? [sighs]

The government withheld the case files?

Yeah. They’re not gonna give us anything until they absolutely have to.

I already put in for a Freedom of Information request, but until that gets in, just focus on our client’s testimony.

[breathing heavily]

[guard] Heads down, no moving!

Do you fucking have ears?

Get the fuck down! [barks]

Don’t even fucking breathe!


Don’t look at me! You fucking stay!

On your knees!

[breathing heavily]


[chains clanking]

[door buzzes]

[male guard] Seven-sixty, turn around.

[male guard speaking Arabic] Seven-sixty, that’s you.

I said turn around! [male guard speaking Arabic]

Hand on head. [male guard speaking Arabic]

[man singing in Arabic]

[singing continues]

[singing ends]


[female guard] Reservation!


Seven-sixty, give me your hands.

Give me your hands!

Hands now!

[handcuffs rattle]

All right, turn around. Turn! Turn around!

[locking handcuffs]

[men chattering]

[wind howling]

[praying quietly]

[door opens]

[man 1] As-salaam alaikum.

Wa-alaikum salaam.

We’re here to have a conversation.

[translating to Arabic]

We wanna understand your whole story. [soldier translating]

No one’s gonna hurt you. [translating continues]

That shit is not allowed. [translating]

Do you have any questions?


[speaking Arabic]

[translator] Why Cuba? You guys hate Cuba.

Who says we’re in Cuba?


[speaking Arabic]

I saw it at the airport. [Mohamedou, in Arabic]

[translator] Why, is it a secret we’re in Cuba?

Well, not anymore. [chuckles]

The idea is to, you know, disorient you.

We have a base here.

It’s secure. It’s warm. Plus, I get to surf when I’m off duty.

[translating] [scoffs, speaks Arabic]

[translator] It works for everybody. [chuckling]

[man 2] Exactly.

[knocking] [door opens]

It’s 300 degrees in here. I don’t know how you guys wanna drink tea.


[man 2] So, are you married?

[translating] [in Arabic]

[translator] Divorced. Are you?

Yeah, divorced too.

Trust me, brother, I know how that goes.

[man 1] Let’s talk about your family.

Your dad’s job. Any travel? [translating]

[in Arabic]

Constantly, he traveled for work.

He was a camel herder.

He died… when I was nine.

All his life he refused to get in a car.

He felt like it would ruin his natural ability to navigate.

Wait, wait, wait.

He never rode in a car?

Yeah. Whoa, whoa, whoa. Yeah, I’m calling bullshit.

[laughs, speaks Arabic]

You’re right. I’m lying.

He got in a car once to look for a lost calf.

After two seconds, he freaked out and got out.

[man 2] Full on.

My father’s one and only two-seconds ride. You pried it out of me.

[man 1 chuckles]

Can we fast-forward a bit? [translating]

Afghanistan. Afghanistan.

[man 2] How’d you come to train with Al-Qaeda?


[wind howling]

[men singing]

[organ playing]

[Stuart] Cathy.



[clears throat] How are you?


Everything all right? Kim and the boys?

I just didn’t want anyone else to tell you, but I’m prosecuting a Gitmo case.

One of the recruiters from 9/11.

He put those men on my husband’s plane?

Sorry. I didn’t mean to ambush you.

I just didn’t want somebody else telling you.

Cathy, I’m gonna make him pay.

Thank you.

You know, Bruce never liked coming to church much.

He always said he felt closer to God in the cockpit.

Well, if God was on Flight 175, he is sure as shit with you right now.

Yeah. Thank you.

[dogs barking]

[chattering on radio]

Allahu Akbar.

[birds squawking]

Allahu Akbar.

[speaking Arabic]

[male guard] Turn around. Give me your hands. Move.

[in Arabic]

[male guard] Two-four-two, Camp Echo.

[in Arabic] Copy that.

[man, in Arabic]

[in French]

[man, in French]

[in French]

[man, in French]

[in French]

[man, in French] [in French]

[in French]

[Marseille, in French]

[in French]

[Marseille chuckles]

[Marseille, in French]

[in French]

[Marseille, in French]

[in French]

[Marseille scoffs, speaks French]

[man 1] “Yes, I am gonna win this. And I don’t take no for an answer.”

[man 2] And you shouldn’t! And I won!

I won. You should’ve seen his face. Oh, my gosh.

[man 2] I know what you mean. You’re always winning.

[woman] That’s hilarious.

[ringing] [chuckling]

[man 2] We like it that way, don’t we?

Sorry. So, yeah…

Now I know you’re ignoring me.

[coughs] Nancy.

Do you know Jeff and Valerie?

[Valerie] Hi. General counsel for Spirit Dynamics.

Oh, yes. Airplanes and missiles.

We need to talk about that Guantánamo case of ours.

Shall I just pull up a seat?

If you’ll excuse us for a minute.

Please. No. Come on.

All right, I need a favor.

Most people, they say, “Please, may I?” None of this kamikaze bullshit.

But you owe me, all right?

I took over the Slahi case.

I got his family off your back, which, let’s be honest, that’s all you were hoping for.

[sighs] What do you need?

I need to corroborate Slahi’s testimony.

All right? There was a French national that was detained alongside of him.

Guantánamo’s pretending he doesn’t exist.

I don’t know his name, but I have his prison ID, which is 241.

What can I do with only a number?

He’s from Marseille.

Go call DGSE, see if they can track him down.

Hey, it’s one phone call, buddy.

Did you see Slahi found himself a lawyer?


Nancy Hollander.

Some humanitarian crusader down in Albuquerque.

She’s been fighting the government since Vietnam.

That’s a losing battle. [Stuart] Hmm.

Sir? [Stuart] Mm-hmm.

I’m kinda confused.

See, there’s so many contradictions in these reports.

Yeah, well, that’s how it is with raw intel.

You gotta order them by date, put all the pieces together.

See, that’s just it.

JTF interrogators, they left all the dates off.

I could put a call in.

Good luck with that.

CIA won’t help.

They’re still treating Slahi’s intel as active.

Neil Buckland?

[man] Who’s that?

A classmate of mine at Quantico.

It’s his name on the report.

Say, Neil. Yeah.

How’s the rental market here?

I’m thinking of moving Kim, the boys, here for the summer if this case keeps dragging out.

Case? You talking about your Gitmo thing? How’s that going?

Tell you the truth, I’m lost in the sauce a bit.

I mean, whole thing’d move a lot faster if I could get an understanding of how some of these IRs came together.

[chuckles] No way, Jose.

Seventh floor’s got all that Gitmo intel locked up tight.

Well, your name’s all over some of my case files.

You working down there when Slahi came in?

Slahi? That’s your guy?

Oh, my God, you must be feeling it.

I hear POTUS tracks him in his daily.

You know anything about him recruiting bin al-Shibh?

[sighs] I don’t know. Gitmo was churning out MFRs.

The whole desk pitched in on it, put the reports together.

MFRs? What’s that?

Memorandum for the Record.

You’re working off of summaries.

MFRs are the originals and carry all the details.

You know, who was there, techniques used, detainee transcripts.

Can you get me access to those?

Sure, if I don’t mind violating the Espionage Act.

I mean, come on. What do you need ’em for? You know what they did.

The whole world saw it go down on TV.



Hey, just in. Thank you.

[man 1] Tell me about your relationship with Osama.

[translator speaking Arabic]

[speaking Arabic]

You realize I’ve never met Bin Laden, don’t you?

[man 1] But your cousin called you from Bin Laden’s satellite phone.


[man 1] And just after that phone call, your cousin wired you 5,000 dollars from an Al-Qaeda training camp.


[speaking Arabic]

[translator] My cousin’s father in Mauritania was sick.

And he needed the money for the hospital.

So his son sent me the money, and I paid the hospital.

You got proof?

[translating] [speaking Arabic]

No proof. You brought me here naked.


[speaking Arabic] I don’t know this man.

Well, he knows you.

We captured him in Pakistan.

I interrogated him myself.

He was very, very cooperative.


[speaking Arabic] [translator] Yeah.

[speaking Arabic]

Yeah, I think we met one time.

Nah, well, wrong again, bro.

Ramzi bin al-Shibh says he knows you very well.

[translator] His name is Ramzi?

[man 2] Come on, man.

He was one of the key actors in 9/11, the 20th hijacker.

He says he stayed with you in Germany, that you recruited him and Marwan al-Shehhi, Ziad Jarrah.


[speaking Arabic]

[translator] He’s lying.

Listen, we’ve got sworn testimonies saying that you are the head recruiter for 9/11.

Now, if you can’t sell me on your version of events, I’m gonna have to go with bin al-Shibh’s.


[speaking Arabic]

[translator] He stayed with me only one night.

[speaking Arabic continues]

He was a friend of a friend of a friend from the mosque.

My house was like that. Anyone could come stay.

That’s it. That’s it?

That’s it.

You’re gonna have to do better than that, Mohamedou.

[speaking Arabic]

[bird squawking]

[clicking tongue]

[male guard] Turn around. Give me your hands.

[in French]

[Marseille, in French]

[Marseille, in French]


[Marseille, in French]

[boy, in Arabic]

[sheep bleats]

[in Arabic]

[Mohamedou, in Arabic]

[Mohamedou in Arabic]

[door opens]

[door closes]

That’s a lot of case files. [sighs]

Well, the government’s had a four-year head start on us.

All right.

[whispering] What the fuck?


You guys didn’t come see me today.

What’s the latest from your pen pal?

What, did the printer at the Pentagon have a hissy fit?

What the fuck is this, Kent? It’s all redacted.

Hey, I’m responsible for what goes out.

You got a problem with what comes in, you take it up with the government.

Goddamn it.


[knocks] Stu. Sir.

I’m gonna grab some lunch with Whit Cobb tomorrow.

He’s gonna ask us to set a trial date.

We’re not there yet, sir. We’re still trying to corroborate.

You’ve got boxes of corroboration.

The FBI didn’t have this much evidence on Gotti.

Technically, this ain’t evidence, sir. It’s just hearsay.

Summaries. Slahi said this, that and the other.

But we have no idea when he said it or who he said it to, the res gestae of it all.

If we don’t give the OGC a date, pretty soon they’re gonna give us one.


[Stuart] Well, looks like we’re gonna have to find another way to cut the head off this snake.

[announcer on TV] …by Virginia Tech so far today…

No! What the hell are you doing, running the ball on third and long?

Come on, man! [man] You’re kidding me!

[woman] Neil, I think something’s burning.

I can smell it all the way from the office.

It’s awful! Aw, man.

[sizzling] Shit.

Need a hand?

Go, go. You’re missing the game.

[man] Come on, come on!

Please tell me you didn’t drive all the way down here

for anything other than football and fellowship.

The White House is breathing down my neck to charge Slahi, and I’m still fumbling around for a light switch.

Well, okay. How about I tell you what?

I can swing you an agency liaison for your task force.

They won’t have the horsepower.

What are you asking for?

You’ve been on the inside of these things.

How do I get myself the MFRs, the original notes?

You don’t, Stu. Don’t lean on me, man.

Look, you know that the raw stuff’s only for the intel community, not evidence for trial.

But that’s where this is heading.

If I turn up with 20,000 summaries, unless I have one put-it-in-the-bag piece of evidence,

Slahi’s gonna walk.

And I can’t have that.

You know who General Mandel is? No.

He oversees the JTF interrogations.

He’s the only person who can sign off on the MFRs.

So, I gotta go down to Gitmo?

Yeah. Well, the general’s not coming to you, sport.

[door opens]

Are you serious? How do you know this?

“Lots of sugar. Six tablespoons.” Your mom was very specific.

You guys speak with her?

What did she say? She is good?

Yeah, she’s good.

She wanted me to tell you that your brother, Yahdih…

Yahdih. Yahdih.

[chuckles] He moved back home.

And your niece has a daughter and another little one on the way, and if it’s a boy, they’re gonna name him after you.

Two children already. [speaks Arabic]

Your letters have been coming through.

They were good? You checked the seals?

[Nancy] Nothing’s been tampered with.

You sure? 100%? [Nancy] Yes.

And you need to keep writing, ’cause your letters are invaluable, especially now.

The government won’t show us the evidence they have against you.

Because they have none.

You’ll see, I’ll keep writing.


And, uh, they are…

They are good? My letters?

I mean, you understand everything?

No, they’re great.

You should’ve been a writer.


Next life, God willing.

No, I mean it.

Even the Privilege team enjoys reading them.

What? What?

What’s “Privilege team”? It’s okay.

They’re separate from the prosecution. No, no, no, no, no.

Who is reading? You say to me attorney-client.

I am client, you are attorney.

What the fuck is Privilege team?

It’s an independent body.

They evaluate your letters and determine what needs to remain classified.

But they’re walled off from the government and the prosecution.

If my guards read the letters, I am here.

It’s me they will fuck, not you.

We can’t go forward without the Privilege team.

Now, that’s all there is to it.

You gotta trust me, all right? We haven’t even gotten in the ring yet.

Okay. Good.

Now I need you to sue the government.

What? We have to file a motion to compel to get them to release the evidence that they have against you.

We can’t fight what we don’t know.

I mean what I say. Hmm?

There’s no evidence. I trust you, you trust me.

I am innocent. I am innocent, okay?

What do you need to see to believe this?

It doesn’t matter what we believe. What matters is what we can prove.

You’re like my interrogators, just like them.

We know that you’re innocent.

We do.

But we have to prove that,

and we can’t do that unless we see the allegations against you.

That’s all we’re asking for.

Who do you want to sue?

You say, “Government.”

What does it mean?

There’ll be three names on the lawsuit: The United States of America, Donald Rumsfeld, and George W. Bush.

[laughing] Sure. Sure.

Why not?

You know, all he wanted was to hear that we believed he was innocent.

Why wouldn’t you just say it?

Think I miscalculated on the tea.

I’m not gonna last three and a half hours.

You want anything? No.

[woman on TV] …this afternoon, which will make the case here that the Republicans are the stronger party of the two

when it comes to issues of national security.

Iraq, the number one issue when it comes to voters, so President Bush, of course, will be addressing this and essentially using it to make the case that it was the right thing to do to remove Saddam Hussein.

[Stuart] Nancy Hollander?

I’m Stuart Couch,

lead counsel for the government on your client’s case.

All right.

I just got here.

Seeing the camp tomorrow.

Can I get you a drink?


I wouldn’t wanna post out here, but the R&R doesn’t look so bad.

I know.

One day, this’ll all be a tourist attraction.


I’m not kidding.

And the cruise ships from the Keys will come and dock, and crowds will wander around the cells with their daiquiris, trying to wrap their heads around what the hell happened here.

What do you think is happening here?

I don’t know yet.

But they built this place out of the reach of the courts for a reason.

The world’s second largest minefield to the north and shark-infested waters to the south.

There’s two reasons.

And what’s the reason that you’re sitting on the case files?

I’m not. We submitted for discovery months ago.

I received 20,000 pages of redacted materials, so…

You should file a motion to compel. I’m going to.

I won’t stand in your way. [chuckles] You won’t stand in my way.

You cranks all think that we’re trying to set up some kind of lawless garrison state.

We’re drinking beers in a prison gift shop.

What the hell else would you call it?

Military’s founded on law and order.

They won’t let you out of boot camp unless you can square a four-inch fold on a bedsheet.

The law says you get open-file discovery, and I want you to have discovery.

That way when I beat ya, your client will have nothing to hide behind.

You sound very sure of that outcome.

You haven’t seen what I’ve seen.

Let me ask you, I understand everyone has a right to a defense… but doesn’t it bother you at all, working for someone like this?

I’m not just defending him, I’m defending the rule of law.

How very Ignatian of you.


I didn’t know they studied the Jesuits in the Marine law school.

We like to fully consider a problem before we blow it up.


My turn. Let me ask you: what if you’re wrong?

We’re not.

What if you are?

You built this place,

and you abandoned all of your principles, all of your laws, and you’re wrong?

We need to change the conversation.

[Teri] What?

Make this case about Mohamedou, we’re gonna lose.

We need a new strategy.

[male guard] Sir.

[man] Colonel, welcome to Camp India.

Your man, Slahi, was on this block for a while.

What do they like to read?

[man] All types of stuff.

If it’s on there, it’s a detainee request.

Bet they love this religious fiction.

They go nuts for that stuff, sir. Look.

We like to mess with them, tear out the last chapter.

Not me, sir, some of the other guys.

Got an empty bed on this block, if you want to take a peek.


[door buzzes]

Whoo! Freezing. What temp you keep it at?

[man] AC only go down to about 52.

[heavy metal music plays, faint]

There are two types of music I can’t abide.

One is heavy metal, and the other is country.

In a pinch, I’ll suck it up for country.

Colonel coming through.

[Stuart] General, I noticed you keep the temp low, and there are restraints in the walls and the floor.

What is that, sleep deprivation?

It’s one of the tools in the box.

Colonel Seidel told me you were a naval aviator?

You went through New Brunswick? The SERE school they run up there.

I did.

I take it you didn’t enjoy it.

What’s not to enjoy?

Three nights in the hole with a bucket to piss in, and they pump in chainsaws and crying babies through the speakers 24 hours a day.

End of training, things get pretty loopy.

You confess to shooting Kennedy?

No, sir, I did not.

A couple of sleepless nights, that’s all.

We pull from the same playbook.

You and every other green Marine made it out all right.

They will too.

Sir, the defense is gonna play every card that they can.

If they’ve got grounds to claim duress, it’s better I know about it now.

Did the colonel tell you why I wanted to see you?

He did. I told him to save you the trip.

He said you wouldn’t take no for an answer, but I’m afraid that’s the answer I have.

I’m enormously proud of what goes on inside JTF, but my hands are tied.

I am not at liberty to share MFRs.

Sir, if it is a clearance issue, I am TS/SCI.

It’s an agency issue.

But I was told specifically by the agency that you’re the man to see.

That sounds like something a spook would say, doesn’t it?

So, how was your trip?

Not what I expected.

[male guard] Seven-sixty! Reservation.

Seven-sixty, reservation. Hurry the fuck up.

[Mohamedou] “Seven-sixty, reservation. Hurry the fuck up.”

Knock it off. You’re not a parrot.

Not a motherfucker parrot.

Come on, man. Get it together. Let’s go. Stand up.

Turn around. [handcuffs rattle]

Turn around.

[Mohamedou] First, you tell me your name.

You know me one year, I don’t know your name.

I’m not allowed to do that. Turn around.

[whispering] “Turn around.”

You’re a good soldier, like G.I. Joe.


Don’t lie. Shut up. Shut up.


[male guard] Give me your hands. Move.

[in French]

[Marseille, in French]

What you doing, motherfucker?

[Marseille, in French]

[in French]

[man on TV, indistinct] [woman speaks Arabic]

Voller! Goal!

[in Arabic]


[breathes heavily]

[in Arabic]

[man speaking German on TV]

[in Arabic]

So you just decided to become a fucking terrorist?

[speaking Arabic] No, no terrorist.

I speak English, maybe…

I go Afghanistan, help Muslim against the communists.

Americans fighting with us. Same side.

Same side.

[man] Who recruited you to Al-Qaeda?

Same side. No one, me. You no listen. Same side.

I trained with Al-Qaeda for a few months in 1990 and ’92.

[man] Bullshit. [Mohamedou] Then I left. That’s it.

So why did you delete all the contacts in your cell phone, then?

When you were arrested, your phone was wiped.

How many time I say?

Me no want trouble for friend because of phone call.

You are so sharp.

Yeah. You got an answer for everything.

That must be why they gave you that little scholarship, huh?

[wind howling, wire clanking]

[Mohamedou, in French]

[Marseille, in French]

[Marseille, in French]

[Marseille] Oui.

[male guard] Let’s go.

[dog barks] Move.

[Mohamedou] Hey!

[male guard] Stop dragging. Come on.

[Marseille] See you later, alligator.

Can I get you a water? I’m fine. Thanks.

[chattering] [phone ringing]

Hey, Nancy.

Miss Hollander. Nancy.

Frank. Go ahead, have a seat.

[Frank] Before we begin, I should warn you, it’s not gonna be a puff piece.

Where shall we start?

Well, people have called you a terrorist lawyer.

How do you respond to that?

Well, when I defended someone charged with rape, nobody called me a rapist.

When I defended someone charged with murder, nobody dug around my backyard.

But when someone’s accused of terrorism, people like you seem to think that that’s different.

It’s not.

When I stand by my client and I insist that he gets a fair hearing, I’m not just defending him. I’m defending you and me.

The constitution doesn’t have an asterisk at the end that says, “Terms and conditions apply.”

See the Journal today, sir?


Can’t believe she sat down for this.

It’s a demolition job.

No, what it is, is a paradigm shift.

Yesterday we were prosecuting a 9/11 terror suspect, and now we’re debating the merits of habeas.

Where’s Arjun?

[Arjun] That is unacceptable. No, I don’t wanna talk to you.

[man] I’ve told you five times. Your pass has been revoked.

[Arjun] Call her again. Hey. What’s going on?

Sir, he’s not cleared to enter the building.

They pulled my pass.

Just give us a moment. Sir, I have to insist that…

Just a minute.

Who’s “they”? I don’t know.

Someone revoked my clearance, and I have orders to return to Lejeune.

What’d you do? Nothing.

I sent out the information requests you asked for.

Who to?

FBI, Langley, Interpol, anybody who touched the MFRs.

Sir. I’m gonna have to ask you to leave.

You can’t be here. Yeah, I’m going. I’m going.


[man on phone] So, I talked to everyone, DGSE, DRM, Diplomatie.

Nobody knows about your guy from Marseille.

Well, maybe he’s not a French national.

What about Moroccan, Algerian, Tunisian?

No, I thought about that.

SIS says all their nationals in Guantánamo are accounted for.

There is no record of 241.

Where did he go?

Nancy, maybe he doesn’t go anywhere.

Maybe he doesn’t exist?


[dog barking]

Can I ask you something?

My friend, his number is 241.

I don’t see him for a long time. You know where he is?

I can’t talk to you about other detainees, Mo.

What happened to him?

Steve, please. He has a wife and children.

241 was found dead in his cell last month.


Dead from what?


Sorry, bro. I know you were close.

[in Arabic]

[Mohamedou, prisoner]


[crowd chanting] USA! Remember 9/11!

Remember 9/11! USA! USA!

Remember 9/11.

Lawyer scum.

Remember 9/11. [groans]

[crowd] USA! Remember 9/11!

You okay?

I’ll be fine.

Sure? Yeah.

[man] The government does not object to the defense’s right to disclosure.

But clearing classified evidence is an extremely time-consuming process.

We simply need more time, Your Honor.

Thank you, Mr. Patton. Miss Hollander?

If the government has uniquely complicated issues clearing classified evidence, those are issues of its own making, Your Honor.

Mr. Slahi has been spirited across borders, he has been interrogated, he has been held against his will for six years without a single charge being laid against him.

Now, the Supreme Court said it will not tolerate further delay when it ordered these habeas cases to proceed.

The government’s had plenty of time, Your Honor.

I’m inclined to agree with Miss Hollander.

The government has ten days to file, or it will find itself back in my courtroom.

[lights buzzing]

[Kent] Well, you asked for it.

Happy reading.


He fucking confessed.

To what?

To everything.

To financing 9/11, to recruiting the hijackers.

He fucking wrote a spreadsheet on the inner workings of Al-Qaeda.

Why didn’t he tell us that he confessed?

It’s not the first time in history that a client’s lied to his lawyers.

Look at this. Look at all of this. Look at this one.

He admits to acquiring explosives to blow up LAX.

The millennium plot?

What’s your point?

He’s guilty! He’s fucking guilty!

Maybe he is.

And he still has a right to counsel.

I’m not saying that he doesn’t.

I’m saying that he helped to kill 3,000 civilians, and we’re doing everything we can to get him out.

Yeah, we’re doing our job.

I did bake sales for his legal fund. That’s not a part of my job.

My dad told me I’m not welcome home for Thanksgiving this year.

That’s not a part of my job.

Get out.


You want turkey and pumpkin pie with Mom and Dad and Uncle Joe?

Go on, get out. Go home.

You can’t win a case if you don’t believe your own shit.

I’m not trying to leave, I’m just… Stop fucking wasting my time.

Get out.

[man] It’s our goodbye party.

Who’s going home, me or you?

Military intelligence thinks we’re wasting our time, so they’re gonna take over, see if they can’t get you to cooperate.

I cooperate. I tell you everything.

Not according to Ramzi bin al-Shibh.

Last chance, Mohamedou.

A hundred times I tell you.

He stayed in my house one night.

I don’t know him, never knew him.

Next time I hear about him, he’s telling you guys crazy lies about me.

Yeah, well, you’re tired of saying it, we’re tired of hearing it.

Military wants a crack at you.

You should know… once MI takes over, your sessions won’t be as friendly.

What, no tea? No cake?


Good luck, Mo.

All I can tell ya… be truthful.

[door opens]

[male guard] Give me your left arm.


[Mohamedou] What are you doing?

No. No. No. No!

Where are you taking me?

[door closes]

Where’s Teri?

Moved on. What?

Teri was fun.

Now I’m stuck with only you.

She doesn’t want to be a lawyer no more?

She moved on from your case.

[electricity crackles]

So, we won the motion to compel,

and the government’s released all the evidence that they have against you.


That’s what we wanted, right?

All the evidence, including your confessions.

Why didn’t you tell us?

They’re nothing. Like fantasy…

None of that happened. You signed them.

They made me.

They “made” you, as in they coerced you?

What do you think? I don’t know.

You tell me. They coerced you? Shh.

You gotta tell me what happened, Mohamedou.

You’re asking me to set fire to this place but I’m still sitting in it.

Well, then write it down. All right?

That’s what the pages are for. Write it down.

You need to tell me the truth.

You need to tell me what happened to you, or I can’t defend you.

Do you understand that? I don’t need to tell you nothing!

Whatever I say, it doesn’t matter.

This fucking island, I’m dying here!

Outside, my family, my brother, their lives go on.

Teri’s life goes on.

But me, here, I’m like a statue.

And you will leave too, and your life will go on.

My life?

What the hell do you know about my life?

This is it. This is my life.

I spend my time in places like this helping people like you.

That’s what I do.

So don’t question my commitment to your case.

The case.

The case, the case.

You’re not committed to me.

A person!

You think I’m guilty.

Say it.

I mean, you believe I did all these things, so… [chuckling] why the fuck are you here?

Explain to me, really.

You gave up your life to sit with such an evil guy like me?

Explain to me.

Everybody has the right to counsel.

You need to tell me the truth.

You need to write it down.

If you can do that, then I’ll be back.

And if not…

I’ll find you another lawyer.

I’m ready.

[door opens] [electricity crackles]

[“Christmas Island” plays]

Merry Christmas, Theo.

Merry Christmas, Nancy.

[song continues]


[woman] Hi, Stu.

Hey, Hannah. I didn’t know you guys were coming.

Nearly didn’t. The I-83 was closed all the way north of Baltimore.

I’m so glad you made it in one piece.

Well, Neil was driving like he was back at flight school, the way he was hitting those country roads.

[laughs] Where is Neil? [Hannah] He’s around here somewhere.

I’ll go and find him. You look great, by the way.

[Kim laughs] He doesn’t even say that to me.

Oh, I do. [Hannah laughs]

How’s it going, Stu? [exhales]

Glad I ran into you.

Been a fruitless endeavor trying to get through to your office.

Well, what can I say? It’s been busy.

Well, I went down to Gitmo… just like you said, and I didn’t like what I saw.

The general’s just about the same closed door as you.

Come on, man. It’s a party. Enjoy yourself.

Why are you jerking me around?

Look, I know it was your people who took Arjun off the task force.

You know, I’ve never been part of a conspiracy, but I’m starting to think that this is what it must feel like to be on the outside of one.

I’m sorry, what exactly are you accusing me of?

Hell, I don’t even know because no one is telling me anything.

Without those MFRs, my case is a bust.

You’re overthinking this, sport.

Either wear the jersey or get off the field.

My charge is to get Slahi the needle.

No one else is gonna walk in there, not you, not POTUS.

That’s on me.

And if I’m wrong, when it comes to my reckoning, I’m the one that’ll have to answer for it.

And who’s gonna answer for Bruce?

You’re gonna bring his name into this? No.

You don’t know what we know.

United flight 175, based on evidence gathered from the wreckage, the first thing those terrorists did was slash up a flight attendant to elicit the copilot, Bruce, to open the cockpit door and come to her rescue.

And then they slit his throat with a box cutter and let him bleed to death on the flight deck as the plane hit the tower.

Now, someone has to answer for that.

Someone… not just anyone.

Happy fucking holiday.

You killed them, Mohamedou.

What does it feel like to have the blood of 3,000 innocent lives all over your hands?

[man on TV] Welcome back to E! News.

You know, the buzz surrounding the new 90210 isn’t just about the cobbler at the Peach Pit.

[woman on TV] Very true. There has been a skinny scandal brewing for a while, and now one of the show’s stars is speaking out about her body…


This is not my cell. Hey! This is not my cell!

[male guard] Well, it is now.

It’s too cold! Hey!

Where’s my Quran?

Where are my things?

Hey, listen to me!

[softly] Hey.


It’s cold.

[cell phone ringing]


[clears throat]

The week that Slahi was handed over to military intelligence, we received sign-off from Donald Rumsfeld authorizing the use of special measures.

And you just went along with it?

Yes, I did.

We were trying to prevent a second 9/11.

That’s Bob. He works here. He can take you to read the MFRs.

Thank you.


I’ll be right out here, sir.

[door locks]

[breathing heavily]

[heavy metal playing on speakers]

We’re gonna break you, scumbag.


What are you doing down there, buddy? Get up!

[Mohamedou] It hurts. [female guard] Get the fuck up!

[whimpers, chokes]

[female guard] I know you want me.

[Mohamedou muttering]

[female guard] Are you praying?

I want you to fuck me. Do you hear me?

Fucking look at me!

I know you want me.

I know you want me. You’re gonna fuck me.


I know you want me.

[heavy metal playing on speakers] Oh, yeah!

Two thousand eighty-one.

Two thousand eighty-two.

Mohamedou. [Mohamedou] Two thousand eighty-three.

[in Arabic]

[female guard] Get up! [groans]

[Mohamedou] Two thousand eighty-five…

[woman singing in Arabic]

[whimpers] [heavy metal continues]

[man] Since you refused to cooperate, the US government is authorized to arrest your mother… and bring her into this facility.

I mean, you can save her.

But you need to decide.

Do you wanna be a defendant or a witness?

I can’t be a witness.

I can’t be a witness.

[door buzzes]

[buzzing continues]

Were you expecting someone?

I don’t know.

Maybe it’s your friend.

Go answer it.

[quietly] Yeah. Go on.

[Ramzi] Mohamedou?

[in Arabic]

That’s it? That’s what happened?

[Ramzi in Arabic]

There has been confusion.

[in Arabic]

That’s not true. That’s not true.


Hey, Mohamedou. Have some cake.

I’m not hungry.

Eat when I tell you to.

One. Eat when I tell you to. Two. Eat when I tell you to.

Three. Eat when I tell you to.

You eat when I say you eat! You shit when I say you shit!

You understand me?

Do not fucking sit down on me, asshole!


[Mohamedou, in Arabic]

[Arabic continues]


Four thousand one hundred holes. Four thousand one hundred holes.

Four thousand one hundred holes. Four thousand one hundred holes.

[female guard] Don’t you wanna go home?

You know, if you talk, I can help you get outta here.

How many days… I have been… special project?

No, not days.

You’ve been here months.

We need this to stop.

You need to tell us what you know.


Wait, what are you doing?

You’re gone, motherfucker!

What are you doing? This is my session! What the fuck are you doing?

[man] Get him outta here!

[female guard] Stop it!

[coughs, gasps]

[breathing heavily]

Your mother has been detained, Mohamedou.

You see this letter?

This is from the Department of Defense.

Her transfer to Guantánamo has been approved.

I gotta tell you… I have concerns about her safety in this all-male environment.

[whimpers] This is your last chance.

[speaking Arabic]

[in Arabic]

[door opens]


You tell… Captain Collins…

I would like to confess.

[cheering on TV]

Hey. You okay?

How soon can you clear these pages?

Is that Mo?

What’s the news from Cuba?

Look, these pages, they put my client in a really vulnerable position.

So they need to be handled with sensitivity.

I much prefer these civilized conversations.

I’m very happy with your cooperation, Mohamedou.

But I think you’ve only provided 85% of what you know.

I’m sure you’ll provide us with the rest.

Yes. Yes, of course.


I can sleep?

Yeah, you can sleep now.

[banging on door]

[door locks]


[priest] The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

[all] And also with you.

[priest] Will you persevere in resisting evil and whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord?

[all] I will with God’s help. I will with God’s help.

[priest] Will you do everything in your power to seek justice on Earth and treat every human being with inherent human dignity?

[all] I will with God’s help.

[Stuart] Sir.

Is this an inside-in-the-warm issue or a standing-out-in-the-cold issue?

We can’t prosecute Slahi. We don’t have the evidence.

You have multiple signed confessions. What more could you need?

It was given under duress.

Fruit from the poisonous tree.

He spent 70 days in special projects, tortured.

Not a single word he said is admissible.

No, that’s what they’re trained to say.

AQ laid it all out in the Manchester Protocols.

The second you’re detained, claim torture.

This didn’t come from AQ, sir. This is coming from our side.

Now, I read the MFRs.

This guy, Captain Collins, some Navy reservist, he ran the program.

Sleep deprivation, waterboarding, stress positions, flat-out assault.

He specifically threatened to have Slahi’s mother shipped to Gitmo to have her raped by other detainees.

And it is all documented.

It’s systemic, OSD-approved. Donald Rumsfeld signed the top sheet.

What’s been done here is reprehensible!

I don’t wanna hear another word about detainee treatment.

Your job is to bring charges.

Let a judge decide what’s admissible.

Sir, I refuse to prosecute this case.

As a Christian, as a lawyer…

What makes you think you’re any better than the rest of us?

I don’t think I’m better than anybody else! That is the point!

Now, we all took an oath to support and defend the Constitution.

At the very least, we are miles away from that.

You’re a traitor.


[engine starts]

[door closes]

So, I…

I reviewed your correspondence, and I think there are strong grounds for making the government’s evidence against you inadmissible.

And you’re still my lawyer?

Very much so.

I’d like you to consider releasing your letters.

To a newspaper?

Maybe a book.

People need to read your story for themselves.

And it’ll put pressure on the government to give us a court date.

I’m ready for that.

[prayer chant playing]

Would you like me to step outside?

No, keep going.

You don’t wanna pray?

Are you religious now? [chuckles]

Why do you care?

I don’t.

I care about you.

What do you want me to sign, Nancy? Who am I suing today? God?

No one today.

Then why are you here?

No reason in particular.

I just didn’t want you to be alone.

Sir. [woman 1] Sir.

[woman 2] Traitor.

[woman 3] Sir.

[pop playing on speakers]

Thanks for schlepping all the way out here.

No problem.

I’m not really that much of a welcome presence anywhere inside of the Beltway, so…

Can I get one of them?

I wanted to thank you. You did the right thing.

Yeah, well, my Christmas list just got a little shorter.

That’s for sure.

Can’t be any shorter than mine.

Well, God pays for what He orders. One way or another, He’ll make it work.

[waiter] Here you go, sir.

You really believe that?

I do.

You know, I think I figured out why they built the camp down there.

And we were both wrong.

It’s not the detainees they were trying to keep out of the courts.

It’s the jailers.

My client, he’s not a suspect. He’s a witness.

Did you ever open up factual return box 32?

It’s just labeled “Translations,” but look inside.

I think you might like what you see.

Box 32. Okay.

When’s the court date?

Couple of weeks.

Judge Robertson. He’s a tough judge.

Sure is.

Convince him, you’ve convinced me.

I mean, don’t get me wrong.

If there’s any untainted evidence that Slahi’s guilty, I’ll stick the needle in his arm myself.

I’d expect nothing less.



Come in.

[door closes]

He passed the polygraph, twice.

Hard to beat the lie detector even once.

Won’t stand up in court, but, yeah, it’s nice to know.

Box 32. We missed it.

Who’s that?

That’s Marseille.

His real name is Ahmed Jabar. The IRC helped me find his wife, Samia.



Wait. Where are you going?

Come on in. Close the door. We got a lot of work to do.


[man] Nancy Hollander and Theresa Duncan with the ACLU represent the petitioner.

Joseph Folio and Robert Patton represent the respondent.

Good morning, everybody.

Good morning to Guantánamo.

We’ve had some preliminary discussion of the procedures we’ll follow today.

Does the petitioner have any questions?

What? He’s asking me?

I am the petitioner?

[male guard] Yeah, it’s you.

[Mohamedou] Yes.

What’s he saying? I can’t hear him. Can you open that line a little wider?

Why can’t they hear me? It all works here.

Can you hear me?

Yep, we’re getting that now. Yeah.

You can hear me now?

[Nancy] We can all hear you, Mohamedou.

Are you certain, Nancy?

Yes. Don’t worry. Everyone can hear you.

Is the detainee gonna testify? He understands he doesn’t have to, yes?

[Nancy] Yes, Your Honor. He wishes to testify.

He knows that he is fighting for his life, and he has nothing to hide.

[man] Mr. Slahi, would you please raise your right hand and repeat after me?

“I…” I…

[man] State your name.

State your name.

[man] Say your name.

Mohamedou Ould Slahi.

“I solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”

I solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

[judge] Go ahead, detainee.

Thank you, Your Honor.

[clears throat]

Where I’m from, we know not to trust the police.

We know the law is corrupt, and we know the government using fear to control us.

And when I moved to Germany as a teenager, for the first time I experienced living where people do not fear the police… where they believe the law protects them.

For me and for so many people in the world, America is like this.

Even in Mauritania, we have watched Law and Order and Ally McBeal.

And when I first arrive at Guantánamo… I’m happy because I trusted in American justice.

Never… Never did I believe I would be eight years a prisoner without trial, and that the United States of America would use fear and terror to control me.

All my time here, I have been told, “You are guilty.

You are guilty.”

Not for something that I have done or that has been proved… but because of suspicions and associations.

If you have a problem with the United States of America, you will have that problem forever.

My captors cannot forgive me for something that I have never done.

But I am trying to forgive.

I want to forgive… because that is what Allah, my God, wants.

For this reason, I do not hold a grudge against those who abused me, you know.

In Arabic, the word for “free” and the word for “forgiveness” is the same word.

This is how, even here, I can be free.

For eight years, I have been dreaming of being in a courtroom… and now that I’m here, really… [chuckles] I am scared to death.


But I hope I can find peace.

Because… I believe this court is guided by law… not fear.

So… whatever you decide, Your Honor… I can accept it.

May God forgive us, and may God be with us.

They heard me?

[male guard] Mail for 760.

Oh, shit.


I won.

[male guard 1] What?

[male guard 2] What?

I won my case. [chuckles]

Look, it’s written here. I’m going home!

Good, man. [chuckles]

Yeah, man.


Going home! Freedom!

[male guard] Seven-sixty, are you ready?

[handcuffs rattling]

Turn around.

Here we go.

[door buzzes]

See you later, alligator.


[Mohamedou] I just had something made for them locally… to engrave their names in Arabic.

Something very symbolic, but something that doesn’t wear away, just like our friendship wouldn’t wear away.

Thank you, Mohamedou.

[man chanting] Teri, Teri, Teri, Teri.

Can you make yourself… Well, I want…

[Mohamedou] This is my Buch.

“Das Guantánamo-tagebuch.”

This is French.

This is Turkish.

[sounding out words]

I don’t know what language this, but I would say this is Swedish.

This is Danish.

This is Italian.

They really did a very good job in hiding a lot.

Look at here.


Bob Dylan song.

[“The Man in Me” playing on speakers]


♪ The man in me will do… ♪

[Dylan] ♪ The man in me will do… ♪

♪ Nearly any task… ♪

♪ Nearly any task… ♪

♪ As for compensation ♪

♪ There’s little he would ask ♪


♪ Take a woman like you ♪

♪ To get through To the man in me ♪

♪ Storm clouds are… ♪

♪ …raging all around my door ♪

That’s exactly like me.

♪ I think to myself… ♪

♪ I cannot take it anymore ♪


♪ Take a woman like your kind ♪


♪ To find the man in me ♪

♪ What a wonderful feeling ♪

♪ Just to know… ♪

[Dylan] ♪ Just to know That you are near ♪

♪ Sets my heart a-reeling ♪

♪ From my toes up to my ears ♪

♪ The man in me Will hide sometimes ♪

♪ To keep from bein’ seen ♪

♪ But that’s just because He doesn’t want ♪

♪ To turn into some machine ♪

♪ Take a woman like you ♪

♪ To get through To the man in me ♪


[song fades]


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