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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 9/11/18

Convicted Trumputin Consigliere Paul Manafort Linked to Ohio's Stolen 2004 Election

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Reprinted from freepress.org and Harvey Wasserman

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The infamous Trumputin consigliere Paul Manafort worked with the GOP operatives who stole Ohio's 2004 presidential election at the same time they teamed up to install the Kremlin's chosen mafia don in Ukraine.

Manafort is Donald Trump's former campaign manager. He's been convicted of a wide range of high-profile crimes by a jury evaluating charges brought by Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller.

Manafort also worked in Ukraine following the 2004 popular Orange Revolution with Ohio-based IT specialist Michael Connell and Tennessean Jeff Averbeck to install the Putin-backed Viktor Yanukovych as president of Ukraine. Connell and Averbeck have been deeply implicated as being among the chief architects of the stolen Ohio 2004 vote flip that gave George W. Bush a second term in the White House.

Craig Unger, in his essential book House of Trump, House of Putin, places Manafort in Ukraine in "late 2004." Manafort worked out of a small six-to-eight-person office at 4 Sofievskaya Street in Kiev. Over the next decade, Manafort made 138 trips to Ukraine, according to Unger.

Yanukovych's alleged 2004 "victory" was so riddled with fraud that the US State Department officially condemned it. A popular uprising called the Orange Revolution forced the election results to be reversed.

Connell died under mysterious circumstances in December 2008. But in 2010, Averbeck and Manafort conspired to put the Kremlin-sponsored Yanukovych in office again. Despite widespread charges of election rigging, Yanukovych this time held power ... for a while. He was later overthrown by a US-sponsored coup involving a far-right phalanx that included many outspoken fascists.

In 2004, Averbeck and Connell were key to flipping Ohio's electoral votes -- and thus the presidency -- from John Kerry to the incumbent, George W. Bush. Connell was a long-time Bush family information technology specialist. Based in Akron, he co-founded the New Media Communications and GovTech IT companies. Along with Averback's SmarTech, they were deeply embedded in the Buckeye State's rigged 2004 election process by Bush advisor Karl Rove and Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell.

From 2004 to 2014, Yanukovych's campaign team centered around Manafort, co-owner with Rick Davis of a Washington DC lobbying PR firm, 3EDC. The company advertised on its website that it had five "strategic partners." Connell's New Media Communications was listed as one of them. Another was Averbeck's Airnet Group, the parent company of SmarTech.

Both Averbeck and Connell were far-right anti-abortion fundamentalists. Averbeck co-founded a Christian publishing house.

In 2004, Blackwell gave Connell a no-bid contract to handle the backup vote-count system for the state's 2004 presidential contest. Blackwell simultaneously ran the election and served as co-chair for the Ohio committee to re-elect Bush and Cheney.

Connell subcontracted the job with Averbeck's Smartech. After Ohio's official supercomputers went down on election night, SmarTech compiled the final tally on servers in a basement of a bank building in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Those same servers handled the e-mail accounts for the Republican National Committee and Bush consigliere Karl Rove.

At 11:14 p.m. on election night, as John Kerry led by 4.2 percent, the Ohio vote count flow went mysteriously dark. When it came back up after midnight, Kerry's lead had flipped into a 2.5 percent Bush victory. This virtual statistical impossibility, involving the flip of some 300,000 alleged ballots, gave Bush the 20 electoral votes he needed for re-election.

In January 2005, the Ohio Electoral College delegation was officially challenged in the US Congress, the first such certified challenge in more than a century. Connell was subpoenaed and deposed in the King Lincoln Bronzeville v. Blackwell federal case charging voter discrimination. In December 2008, while facing possible testimony before Congress, Connell died in a mysterious private plane crash near his home in Akron. Foul play is suspected by Connell's family, among many others.

In 2010, Averbeck again conspired with Manafort to help swing Yanukovych into power in Ukraine. Again the "election" was bitterly contested for apparent rigging.

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