|Catholic worker Brian Terrell of Iowa has been sentenced to six months in a federal prison for his witness against the use of drone warfare. What is an appropriate sentence where no crime has been committed? No crime committed, at least, by the defendants. Last month's trial in this courtroom concerning a protest of killer drones flown from Whiteman Air Force Base left no doubt that this is the case. The court's decision is part of a widening disintegration of civil liberties, where speech is tolerated only in designated and remote 'free speech zones' where it cannot be heard by the government, and criminalized in any place where that speech might actually have a chance to be understood. Intended or not, the court's message is a chilling one- that a citizens' constitutional right to assemble to petition the government extends only where they say it does.
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