US Anti-War Activist Says Ex-Wife Contacted by FBI Over His Russia, Venezuela Trips
06:32 GMT 21.10.2021 (Updated: 06:33 GMT 21.10.2021)
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) coordinator Joe Lombardo told Sputnik that the FBI contacted his former spouse about trips he took to Russia and Venezuela, which he sees as an effort to undermine the activist movement.
"I don’t really know the purpose but I assume it was to intimidate our movement and me and to try to get information that might be used against us," Lombardo said when asked about the FBI contacting his former wife. "Although our activity is not illegal, the government has been more aggressive lately toward people who dissent from their policies."
Lombardo said the trips to Russia and Venezuela were done on behalf of UNAC.
"I've been twice to Russia. One time I was invited to speak at an antiwar conference and the other time I spoke on a panel at the World Festival of Youth and Students that took place in Sochi in 2017. Following that conference, I went to Moscow and spoke at meetings that were organized for me at two universities," he said. "I was in Venezuela with a delegation of antiwar activists in 2019 where we met with President [Nicolas] Maduro and others."
Prior to the FBI contacting his former spouse, Lombardo said he and other activists met with the Venezuelan delegation to the UN General Assembly at the Venezuelan Consulate in New York. The meeting was organized by the Sanctions Kill Coalition.
Lombardo pointed out that the US government has also cracked down on other activist movements, including Black Lives Matter.
"Recently, they put antiwar military veteran Daniel Hale in prison for four years. He was part of the drone program in Afghanistan and let people know that the US drones were killing mostly civilians," Lombardo said. "The government claimed he got that information from classified sources and prosecuted him as they did Chelsea Manning."
Lombardo revealed that with respect to the UNAC, the government went after 23 activists from some of its coalition members several years ago.
"They raided their home, took their computer, phones, photographs, etc. and tried to build a case that their antiwar activity was giving aid to terrorists," he said. "It is possible that the US government is now trying something similar."
Lombardo went on to say that the FBI contact took place after the United States defeat in Afghanistan as the antiwar movement continually opposed and protested the invasion and occupation of that country.
"It also comes at a time that many countries are getting together and successfully opposing their economic sanctions and at a time that China is challenging the US hegemony economically, politically and militarily. I believe this is putting the United States in a more desperate position," he said.
Lombardo emphasized, however, that the FBI actions will not have an effect on his activities.
"I think this shows that the United States is vulnerable to public opinion and that we have been having an effect," he said.