On September 13, ProPublica.org headlined "How the Gov't Talks About a Drone Program it Won't Acknowledge Exists," saying:
Drones are Washington's weapon of choice. They're used for targeted assassinations. No one anyway is safe. Eye in the sky predator drones spot victims, aim, fire and kill.
Administration officials claim drone warfare works. It does so sans details, often staying anonymous, yet claiming "tacit credit" at the same time.
"A White House spokesman declined to comment to ProPublica on the FOIA suit or on the CIA's drone program." Silence is official policy on what's widely acknowledged.
Vagueness substitutes for specifics. For example, in October 2011, former CIA director/current Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said:
"I have a hell of a lot more weapons available to me in this job than I had at the CIA, although the Predators aren't bad." Did he acknowledge predator drone killings or their use to surveil and gather intelligence?
Months earlier he said Pakistan-based Al Qaeda elements were beaten back in part from "the most aggressive operation the CIA had been involved in in our history." Did he mean by drones or other means?
At the same time, The New York Times reported in May that the CIA considers all military-aged males killed combatants. Targeting them is fair game. Rule of law principles don't apply. Killers and higher-up superiors aren't prosecuted.
In his book titled "The 'Good Soldier' On Trial : A Sociological Study of Misconduct by the US Military Pertaining to Operation Iron Triangle, Iraq," Professor Stjepan Mestrovic discussed violations of US and international law.
He documented "hundreds of instances" of lawless and other "dubious behavior on the part the government."
US brigade commander Col. Michael Steele was one of many examples. He ordered every military-aged Iraqi killed on sight. Doing so also violates the US Army Field Manual (FM) 27-10.
Paragraph 498 says any person, military or civilian, who commits a crime under international law is responsible for it and may be punished.
Paragraph 499 defines a war crime. Paragraph 500 refers to a conspiracy, attempts to commit it, and complicity with respect to international crimes.
Paragraph 509 denies the defense of superior orders in the commission of a crime, and paragraph 510 denies the defense of an "act of state" to absolve them.
These provisions apply to all US military and civilian personnel. They include top commanders, the Secretary of Defense, his subordinates, CIA and other intelligence officials, as well as the president and vice president of the United States.
In other words, no one is exempt on this or other fundamental rule of law principles. Target killings are lawless. Habeas and due process still apply. Exemptions are prohibited.