THE BLOG
12/16/2014 02:11 pm ET Updated Feb 15, 2015

My Country 'Tis of Thee

My country, 'tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims' pride,
From ev'ry mountainside
Let freedom ring!

"In October 2003, the CIA interrogated Arsala Khan, an Afghan national in his mid-fifties who was believed to have assisted Usama bin Laden in his escape through the Tora Bora Mountains in late 2001. After 56 huors of standing sleep deprivation, Arsala Khan was described as barely able to enunciate, and being 'visibly shaken by his hallucinations depicting dogs mauling and killing his sons and family.' According to CIA cables, Arsala Khan 'stated that [the interrogator] was responsible for killing them and feeding them to them."

My native country, thee,
Land of the noble free,
Thy name I love;
I love thy rocks and rills,
Thy woods and templed hills;
My heart with rapture thrills,
Like that above.

"Later that same day, Majid Khan's 'lunch tray,' consisting of hummus, pasta with sauce, nuts, and raisins, was 'pureed' and rectally infused. Additional sessions of rectal feeding and hydration followed. In addition to his hunger strikes, Majid Khan engaged in acts of self-harm that included attempting to cut his wrists on two occasions, an attempt to chew into his arm at the inner elbow, an attempt to cut a vein in the top of his foot, and an attempt to cut into his skin at the elbow joint using a filed toothbrush."*

Let music swell the breeze,
And ring from all the trees
Sweet freedom's song;
Let mortal tongues awake;
Let all that breathe partake;
Let rocks their silence break,
The sound prolong.

"Arsala Khan was subsequently allowed to sleep. Two days later, however, the interrogators returned him to standing sleep deprivation. After subjecting Khan to 21 additional hours of sleep deprivation, interrogators stopped using the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques '[d]ue to lack of information from [Arsala Khan] pinning him directly to recent activity.'"*

Our fathers' God to Thee,
Author of liberty,
To Thee we sing.
Long may our land be bright,
With freedom's holy light,
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God our King.

"After approximately a month of detention and the extensive use of the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques on Arsala Khan, the CIA concluded that the 'detainee Arsala Khan does not appear to be the subject involved in... current plans or activities against U.S. personnel or facilities,' and recommended that he be released to his village with a cash payment. CIA interrogators at DETENTION SITE COBALT instead transferred him to U.S. military custody, where he was held for an additional four years despite the development of significant intelligence indicating that the source who reported that Arsala Khan had aided Usama bin Laden had a vendetta against Arsala Khan's family."*

My country, 'tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing;

*All quotes from The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence's "Study of the Central Intelligence Agency's Detention and Interrogation Program"