The Guardian is reporting that Paul Manafort help organise “black ops” to try to influence the outcome of elections in Ukraine in favor of the Putin backed ex-President. The timing of this is significant.
The project was designed to boost the reputation of Ukraine’s then leader, Viktor Yanukovych. It was part of a multimillion-dollar lobbying effort carried out by Manafort on behalf of Yanukovych’s embattled government, emails and documents reveal.
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 anticipated 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.
If this report is accurate, it would point to a much longer term conspiracy against Hillary Clinton so perhaps the infliction of Trump was “collateral damage”.