Documents Show Paul Manafort Used 'Black Ops' To Help Pro-Kremlin Leader

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Paul Manafort orchestrated a campaign of sabotage and disinformation to help Ukraine’s pro-Kremlin leader.

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort employed "black ops", "placed" articles in the Wall Street Journal, and offered anonymous briefings against Hillary Clinton as part of his multimillion-dollar lobbying effort supporting former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, according to The Guardian.

The strategies included:

• Proposing to rewrite Wikipedia entries to smear a key opponent of the then Ukrainian president.

• Setting up a fake “thinktank” in Vienna to disseminate viewpoints supporting Yanukovych.

• A social media blitz “aimed at targeted audiences in Europe and the US”.

• Briefing journalists from the rightwing website Breitbart to attack Clinton, when she was US secretary of state.

Manafort’s Ukraine strategy anticipates later efforts by the Kremlin and its troll factory to use Twitter and Facebook to discredit Clinton and to help Trump win the 2016 US election. The material seen by the Guardian dates from 2011 to 2013.

Manafort, who was indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller on multiple counts including money laundering, worked with numerous people on the effort -- including Alan Friedman, a former Wall Street Journal and Financial Times reporter.

Also involved were Rick Gates, Manafort’s then deputy, and Konstantin Kilimnik, another senior Manafort associate who the FBI believes has links to Russian military intelligence.