Trump’s Campaign Aide Lobbied for ISI’s Kashmir Propaganda Front
Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s new campaign aide has controversial alliances, to say the least. For more than five years, Manafort has lobbied for a Washington-based group that has been charged with operating as a front for Pakistan’s intelligence sources by the Justice Department, according to court and lobbying records accessed by Yahoo News.
In the 1990s, Manafort’s work as a registered lobbyist for the Kashmiri-American Council was only a small part of his wide-ranging portfolio. Over several decades, he took on several controversial foreign clients, ranging from Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos and Zaire’s brutal dictator Mobutu Sese Seko to an Angolan rebel leader accused by human rights groups of torture.
His role as an adviser to Ukraine’s then Prime Minister, Viktor Yanukovych, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, raised the Bush administration’s hackles – the government was worried he was undermining US foreign policy. His association was such that it distanced 2008 presidential candidate John McCain; the latter nixed plans for Manafort to manage the Republican National Convention.
While Manafort’s work for the Kashmiri group has not received any media attention, it could fuel questions about his years of lobbying for questionable foreign interests. It is interesting that Trump has hired Manafort, given that he has repeatedly decried the influence of Washington lobbyists and denounced the manipulation of US foreign policy by governments.
Manafort’s Kashmiri lobbying contract came under the FBI’s scanner during a lengthy counterterrorism investigation that culminated in 2011 with the arrest of the Kashmiri council’s director, Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai, on charges that he ran the group on behalf of Pakistan’s intelligence service, the ISI, as part of a scheme to secretly influence US policy toward the disputed territory of Kashmir.
The Trump camp, when contacted by Yahoo News’ Chief Investigative Correspondent, Michael Isikoff, declined to comment.
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