■ In an August 20 interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel, former acting CIA General Counsel John Rizzo defends his role as the legal architect of the US government’s international campaign of detention and torture. In the interview, Rizzo, who worked at the CIA from 1976 to 2009, declares that although the torture programs he approved “seemed harsh, even brutal,” he does not regret his support for their implementation.
■ At one point in the interview, Rizzo refers to an interrogation technique on the initial list provided by the Counter Terrorism Center that was “even more chilling than waterboarding.” He claims it was never used. Asked by the interviewer what the technique was, Rizzo replies: “I’m not allowed to specify it; it is still classified. I had no preparation when the counterterrorism people came to me, and so my first reaction was one of being rather stunned by what was being proposed.” Given the sadistic character of the so-called “enhanced interrogation” methods that have been acknowledged, one can only imagine the gruesome nature of the proposal that was supposedly rejected.
■ Rizzo attempts to foist the blame for the torture and state assassination programs on the American people. When asked about the White House’s post-September 11 decision to authorize the CIA to “do whatever is necessary” to halt the ostensible terrorist threat, Rizzo says “the phrase is a characterization of the atmosphere and the consensus in the country.” This is a lie. All of these programs were instituted secretly, behind the backs of the American public, precisely because those implementing them knew they would be massively opposed. Rizzo’s interview should be taken as a warning to the working class. It reveals the prevalence within the highest echelons of the American state of fascistic elements who would have had no problem serving as functionaries of Hitler’s Gestapo or SS.