01/5/17

Gulftainer Scandal Connects Obama, the Clintons and the Media

By: Roger Aronoff | Accuracy in Media

In a recent column, I challenged the notion that the Obama administration has been scandal free. This has been the assertion, most recently, of Obama senior advisor Valerie Jarrett, in a softball interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria. The media have covered for the multiple scandals that have occurred right under their noses, and this is nothing less than willful blindness. It has applied to the Obama administration, the Clinton Foundation and recent presidential campaign, as well as going back to the Clinton administration. One largely overlooked scandal that ties together the Clintons, Barack Obama and the media’s willful blindness is the Gulftainer scandal.

This clear case of malfeasance comes at the expense of national security and American safety. As we reported in 2015, a United Arab Emirates subsidiary company, Gulftainer USA, was granted a lease “at the vital national security hub of Port Canaveral, Florida.” Now a recent Occasional Paper from the Center for Security Policy (CSP) shows that Gulftainer’s parent company, The Crescent Group, is connected to Iraq’s illicit nuclear program, and may have benefited from associations with the Obamas and Clintons. CSP has done an excellent job connecting these very disturbing dots.

Hamid Jafar is the founder and chairman of the Crescent group of companies, according to the Crescent Petroleum website. However, as Alan Jones and Mary Fanning write for the CSP, Hamid Jafar “is the brother and the business partner of Dr. Jafar Dhia Jafar—the Baghdad-born nuclear physicist who masterminded Saddam Hussein’s nuclear weapons program.”

In other words, the company has links to terror. Jones and Fanning write that David Kay, a “U.N. weapons inspector in Iraq from 1991–1992” who returned to Iraq after 2003, says that Dr. Jafar told him, “You can bomb our buildings. You can destroy our technology. But you cannot take it [nuclear technology] out of our heads. We now have the capability.”

Dr. Jafar is currently CEO of Crescent’s URUK Engineering & Contracting subsidiary, although his brother claimed for years that he had “no business relationship” with Dr. Jafar, according to Jones and Fanning.

These are the business ties of a company in charge of shipping containers out of a port with close proximity to an Air Force base, a submarine base, and NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Yet despite the risks, the mainstream media continue to look the other way on the Gulftainer scandal.

The most recent news article on Gulftainer that I found is from October 2016, and as a local news article it largely discusses the business potential in the port, and notes that Gulftainer USA is “looking at growth opportunities in the northeastern United States and the Oakland, California, area.”

Will this terror-tied shipping company soon be coming to a port near you?

Jones and Fanning also reveal that Obama has ties to this port deal through his college friends.

Abraaj Capital, through The Abraaj Group, is one of Crescent Enterprises’ “private equity holdings,” report Jones and Fanning. “Wahid Hamid, who attended Occidental College in Los Angeles as a wealthy Pakistani foreign student, was one of Barack Obama’s college roommates, and became one of Obama’s lifelong friends, is a Partner at The Abraaj Group,” they write. “Abraaj’s Senior Partner Wahid Hamid of Pakistan, Mohammed Hasan Chandoo of Pakistan, and Vinai Thummalapally of India were all college roommates of Barack Obama, were all 2008 campaign bundlers for Barack Obama (each bringing in $100,000 to $200,000), and all attended Barack Obama and Michelle Robinson’s 1992 wedding.”

Thummalapally attended the 2015 grand opening of Gulftainer’s terminal at Port Canaveral, they write.

The Clintons have also benefited from their relationship with the UAE company and its leaders. Crescent Group executive Majid Jafar, Dr. Jafar’s nephew, co-chairs the “Business Backs Education” campaign with Bill Clinton. “The campaign is funded by the Varkey GEMS Foundation that paid Bill Clinton $5.6 million to serve as ‘Honorary Chairman’ and that helped raise $70 billion in commitments for the Clinton Global Initiative,” write Jones and Fanning. Abraaj Capital held a 25 percent stake in GEMS Education while Bill Clinton received money from that entity, they write.

We have already detailed the conflicts of interest that the Clintons faced while Bill Clinton was earning $16 million from Laureate Education as its Honorary Chancellor. We wrote that Secretary Clinton’s State Department made sure that over $55 million in “American taxpayer dollars flowed out of Hillary Clinton’s State Department to a non-profit run by Laureate CEO Douglas Becker.” Gulftainer is just another example of the potential for corrupt pay for play that has saturated the Clintons’ many dealings.

It turns out that, according to Jones and Fanning, even the man who oversaw the secret negotiations to bring Gulftainer to Port Canaveral is connected to the Clintons. “One of [Port Canaveral CEO John E.] Walsh’s Watersmark business partners is Miguel Lausell, a senior adviser to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign who contributed $1 million to the Clinton Library and is a member of the Clinton Global Initiative,” write Jones and Fanning. “Walsh’s other Watersmark business partners include representatives of the Saudi and UAE royal families and of the UAE government.”

The Gulftainer USA deal was signed in 2014, the same year that the UAE was a first-time donor to the Clinton Foundation.

Gulftainer USA’s presence at Port Canaveral, Florida, remains a threat to the military assets and other national security targets within and near to that port. Yet, “Secretary [Jack] Lew bypassed the mandated Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) ‘National Security Threat Analysis,’ which should have been overseen by Director James R. Clapper,” write Jones and Fanning. “The National Security Threat Analysis is supposed to be ordered by and delivered to the Treasury Secretary, who is also the designated chairperson of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).”

“Did the Clintons’ contacts help to seal the deal?” we asked about this contract in 2015. “Given the Clintons’ scandal-filled history the media might want to at least look into this one.”

Gulftainer was granted its lease without a national security review because it was not purchasing part of the port. Instead, it was leasing it—for 35 years. But it is clear that in this case the Obama administration looked the other way on a potential national security nightmare.

That the media refuse to cover this ongoing Obama and Clinton scandal is a profound dereliction of their journalistic duty to investigate issues of America’s national interest, and an additional blatant attempt to shield President Obama from criticism. The media have an obligation to cover ongoing threats to our national security, no matter who is responsible for them.


Roger Aronoff is the Editor of Accuracy in Media, and a member of the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi. He can be contacted at [email protected]. View the complete archives from Roger Aronoff.

06/12/15

Dubai-based Gulftainer and Its Terrorist Ties

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton


Gulftainer, a Middle East-based company, is opening its first American cargo terminal today at
Port Canaveral. The new terminal is expected to have a $630 million impact on the local economy.
(VIDEO STILL/Gulftainer)

Gulftainer Co. Ltd., an Emirati container terminal operator, opened its first US terminal today in Port Canaveral, Florida. A number of staunch conservatives showed up to protest the opening and with good cause.

The terminal, which has leased land at Port Canaveral for 35 years, marks the first significant containerized cargo operation there and has the potential to expand to other ports. With two gantry cranes and 20 acres of container storage space, Gulftainer estimates that terminal could handle up to 200,000 TEUs—or the equivalent of 200,000 20-foot-long shipping containers—each year.

Gulftainer hopes to capitalize on Central Florida’s growing role as a logistics hub, with inland warehouses, rail access to the Northeast and Midwest and land for infrastructure development. Periodically docked at Port Canaveral are nuclear assets for the US military and NATO, so this is also a national security issue.


PORT CANAVERAL, FL April 22, 1994 A port quarter view of the British nuclear-powered
ballistic missile submarine HMS Vanguard (SSBN-50) arriving in port. NASA’s giant Vehicle Assembly
Building (VAB) at the Kennedy Space Center and various space launch pads can be seen in the distance.
UAE’s Gulftainer is building an intermodal container terminal on the same side of the port as the
U.S. Navy submarine base. (Image credit: U.S. Navy/OS2 John Bourvia/Wikimedia Commons)


Map of Port Canaveral, Florida showing Gulftainer’s area of operations, US Navy Trident
submarine base and Canaveral Air Force Station.

Peter Richards, Gulftainer’s managing director, said he has been trying to bring Gulftainer, which operates container terminals in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Russia, North Africa, Brazil and elsewhere, to the US for about two years. Founded in 1976, Gulftainer is a subsidiary of privately-held conglomerate, Crescent Enterprises, based in the United Arab Emirates. Notice that the countries where this company operates have terrorist ties and/or are hostile to the US. Since Dubai Ports World created a ruckus in 2005 when trying to take control of a number of US ports, Gulftainer has been hesitant to enter the market in the US. But with the Progressive/Marxist atmosphere of the Obama Administration and the blatant colluding with the Muslim Brotherhood here in our government, the time seemed just about right for allowing an Islamic entity to move in and control a major US port, I guess.

Gulftainer is a $100 million investment and simply put, should not be allowed. Since we are in military conflicts across the globe with radical Islamists and countries such as UAE and Qatar are known to have deep terrorist ties, this company should have been thoroughly vetted before allowing them in as an owner of a strategic port. Instead, few have looked into them and they are heralded as an outstanding company.

The promise of new jobs should not overshadow the fact that this company is a security risk. And with nuclear subs docking there, can we afford that kind of gamble? Port leaders expect the new business to create 2,000 jobs with an impact of more than $630 million on the local economy of Port Canaveral.

Perhaps we should listen to those there that are questioning the sanity of allowing a Middle Eastern company to control a port that is of huge significance to the US:

But some opponents, including a California congressman, have raised concerns that the company’s ties to [the] Middle East make it a bad choice to be located near the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and other military installations.

“We’re not bad people as I try to emphasize,” said Peter Richards, Gulftainer’s managing director. “We’re good people here for the good of the community (and) the good of the port. And I think in the next six months, they’re going to see that. We’re going to actually generate Canaveral into a good logistics hub.”

Some bloggers have even claimed Gulftainer helped ship weapons to terrorist groups, but the company said that’s not true.

“The garbage that they put about us being linked to terrorist groups, where do they come off?” Richards said. “I don’t understand how anybody can do that. We’re trusted by 15 governments worldwide. We actually cooperate with your own military. We actually provide the logistics for the American forces in the Middle East.”

Port Canaveral leaders are coming to the defense of the company.

“We’ve selected them because they are good, quality people,” said John Walsh, CEO of Port Canaveral. “They are one of the best terminal operators in the world, and then to have members of our community say things that are inappropriate, racist and profiling. To me, that’s not OK.”

And exactly how do you know they are such ‘good’ people? And is it really racist to question the terrorist ties of a company moving into your community? Sounds like those so-called leaders are telling residents to just shut up and go away – that they should know their place and leave big business to the elites as it should be. I don’t think so. Must of been a lot of silver that crossed the palms of leaders and business icons there in Port Canaveral. They’ve been blinded by the shiny light of corruption.

Gulftainer is adjacent to a US Navy nuclear submarine base and NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. It has allegedly been shipping weapons through the Port of Umm Qasr to two Iranian-backed terrorist militia groups in Iraq, the Badr Brigades and Asaeib Ahl al-Haq (AAH), according to a leak from Iraq General Port Company officials in Basra to Iraqi media.

According to the 1776 Channel, who has done yeoman’s work on this subject, Port Canaveral is home to critical national security operations and infrastructure. A plethora of space and defense installations and programs, many of them highly classified, are situated either inside the port or within the immediate vicinity:

• NASA Kennedy Space Center and Visitor Complex
• Patrick Air Force Base
• Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
• US Navy Trident submarine base (Trident Turning Basin)
• Top secret Air Force space plane
• National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) spy satellites
• Department of Defense/Boeing GPS satellites
• SpaceX resupply missions to the International Space Station
• SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket
• NASA Orion deep space capsule project and test launches
• United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy Rocket
• United Launch Alliance Atlas V Rocket
• Nuclear submarines resupply operations
• Lockheed Martin Fleet Ballistic Missile Eastern Ranger Operations
• Air Force Technical Applications Center (AFTAC) – Seismic, hydroacoustic and satellite monitoring of nuclear treaty signatory nations
• Air Force Space Command/45th Space Wing
• Air Force 920th Rescue Wing (Combat Search and Rescue)
• Craig Technologies Aerospace and Defense Manufacturing Center
• Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS)
• US Coast Guard Station Port Canaveral
• Department of Homeland Security – Customs and Border Protection
• Numerous defense contractors (too many too list)

This deal has actually alarmed the military and is raising the eyebrows of a number of security experts. It was approved by Treasury Secretary Jacob ‘Jack’ Lew, a former senior adviser to President Clinton. Gulftainer’s exclusive arrangement with Port Canaveral was negotiated in secret under the code name ‘Project Pelican.’ Evidently, you have to sign the deal before you can know what is in it there in Port Canaveral. Sound familiar? And when all else fails, pull the race card to shut people up.


THE RED SEA – MARCH 5, 2014 – IDF forces seized an Iranian weapons shipment intended for
terrorists in the Gaza Strip during the early morning hours of March 5, 2014. Israel Navy Commander
Maj. Gen. Ram Rothberg led the operation from aboard the Israeli ship and Chief of the General Staff
Lt. Gen. Benjamin “Benny” Gantz oversaw it from the Israel Navy operations room.
(Image credit: Wikimedia Commons/Flikr/Israel Defense Forces)

Gulftainer USA (GT USA) is a unit of UAE’s privately-held intermodal container terminal operator Gulftainer, which in turn is a unit of Crescent Enterprises, part of the Crescent Group conglomerate. The Jafar family owns both of these and has close ties to former President Bill Clinton. The UN is also tied to Gulftainer and just recently it was strongly suspected that Gulftainer was involved with Iran in shipping rockets to Gaza. The shipment were seized by Israel and the reports are classified, so it cannot be proven (yet) that this is the case. But there is an excellent chance that Gulftainer is involved in smuggling weapons and arms for and to terrorists.


The course of the Iranian weapons shipment. (Image credit: Israel Defense Forces)

It would seem that not only do we have people in the US in the highest levels of government that could not pass a background check to clean toilets… we also have Middle Eastern countries being waived into sensitive ports without so much as the most minor of security checks. That’s like sitting on a ticking time bomb and praying that it won’t blow up like a jihadist in a Palestinian work accident. It’s insane. Port Canaveral might want to consider their hasty decision before a nuclear weapon glides into that port that could be used against the US. Just sayin’.

There are brave folks in Florida standing up to this and protesting. I’d like to close with a few pictures from this morning, courtesy of Andrea Shea King of the Radio Patriot:

05/29/15

Gulftainer shipping weapons to Iranian-backed terrorists in Iraq: Former senior official for coalition embassy in Iraq cites Iraq port authority officials’ leak to Iraqi media

By: Alan Jones
1776 Channel

The cranes at the new port of Um Qasr sit ready to unload humanitarian assistance after being liberated March 22, 2003.  The site was surveyed by members of the United States Agency for International Aid and the 4th Civil Affairs Group March 26. (Image/caption credit: DoD CENTCOM)
The cranes at the new port of Um Qasr sit ready to unload humanitarian assistance after being liberated March 22, 2003. The site was surveyed by members of the United States Agency for International Aid and the 4th Civil Affairs Group March 26. (Image/caption credit: DoD CENTCOM)

(1776 Channel) Gulftainer, the UAE container terminal operator that was recently awarded a 35-year lease at strategically-important Port Canaveral, FL, adjacent to a U.S. Navy nuclear submarine base and NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, has allegedly been shipping weapons through the Port of Umm Qasr to two Iranian-backed terrorist militia groups in Iraq, the Badr Brigades and Asaeib Ahl al-Haq (AAH), according to a leak from Iraq General Port Company officials in Basra to Iraqi media.

“AAH is an Iranian-backed Shiite militant group that split from Moqtada al-Sadr’s Jaish al-Mahdi (JAM) in 2006. Since that time, AAH has conducted thousands of lethal explosively formed penetrator (EFP) attacks against U.S. and Iraqi forces, targeted kidnappings of Westerners, rocket and mortar attacks on the U.S. Embassy, the murder of American soldiers, and the assassination of Iraqi officials”. – Institute of the Study of War

The Iraq General Port Company, part of the Iraq Ministry of Transport, is the embattled nation’s port authority.

UMM QASR PORT, IRAQ, Iraq General Port Company administrative offices.
UMM QASR PORT, IRAQ, Iraq General Port Company administrative offices.

A former senior official with a coalition embassy in Iraq has confirmed to 1776 Channel that the report, which was published in Arabic by electronic newspaper Al-aalem Al-jadeed on February 10, 2015, charges that Gulftainer is moving weapons to terrorist groups the Badr Brigades and Asaeib Ahl al-Haq (AAH).

Al-aalem Al-jadeed describes itself as an “electronic newspaper free from influence of partisan and sectarian and owners.”

Gulftainer’s 35-year lease with Port Canaveral was negotiated in secret and then approved by the Obama Administration, without a national security review, despite Port Canaveral’s strategic location and it’s extreme proximity to some of the U.S. government’s most sensitive space and defense installations.

SEE RELATED STORY: America’s strategic infrastructure compromised: Did Clinton pay-to-play arrangement hand over port container operations inside national security nexus to wealthy foreign associates?

Gulftainer operates the Iraq Container Terminal inside Iraq’s deep-water Umm Qasr Port, located on the Persian Gulf near Kuwait.

The Badr Brigades and Asaeib Ahl al-Haq (AAH) are backed by Iran’s extremist Islamic regime.

Both Shiite militant groups are listed as terrorist organizations by the UAE government, according to the report.

Privately-owned Gulftainer and its corporate parent the Crescent Group are based in the UAE.

Hadi Al-Ameri leads the Badr Organization, a Shiite political faction in Iraq associated with the Badr Brigades. Al-Ameri is the former Iraq Transport Minister, and likely has deep connections with port officials and shipping companies.

Gulftainer’s shadowy deal with Port Canaveral

As reported earlier by 1776 Channel, Gulftainer’s new GT USA division plans to begin operations next month in Port Canaveral, FL near sensitive U.S. national security installations including a U.S. Navy submarine base and NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

Map of Port Canaveral, Florida showing  Gulftainer's area of operations, US Navy Trident submarine base and Canaveral Air Force Station.
Map of Port Canaveral, Florida showing Gulftainer’s area of operations, US Navy Trident submarine base and Canaveral Air Force Station.
Map showing the proximity of Port Canaveral, Florida to the US Navy Trident submarine base, USAF Canaveral Air Force Station and NASA Kennedy Space Center (Image credit: NASA)
Map showing the proximity of Port Canaveral, Florida to the US Navy Trident submarine base, USAF Canaveral Air Force Station and NASA Kennedy Space Center (Image credit: NASA)

Gulftainer’s 35-year lease at Port Canaveral, secretly negotiated by Canaveral officials under code name ‘Project Pelican’, was approved without a national security review by Treasury Secretary Jacob ‘Jack’ Lew, a long-time associate of former President Bill Clinton.

It is unclear if Treasury Secretary Lew, the Department of Commerce or other officials within the Obama administration accessed any intelligence reports indicating that Gulftainer was possibly involved in trafficking weapons to Iranian-backed terrorist militias in Iraq. U.S. officials decided that Gulftainer should not be subjected to a national security review before commencing operations at Port Canaveral.

Gulftainer previously attempted to secure a lease at the Port of Jacksonville (JAXPORT), close to Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay and Naval Air Station Jacksonville, but was abruptly rebuffed by Port of Jacksonville officials.

Bill Clinton met last summer with Malik Jafar, a member of the family that owns Gulftainer and who is also a top executive at Crescent, the parent company of Gulftainer.

Although the official business of the meeting between former President Clinton and Jafar concerned the Business Backs Education Foundation, the two men met during the same time period in which Gulftainer and Port Canaveral officials were secretly negotiating Project Pelican. 1776 Channel reported on that meeting and the possibility that Clinton engaged Gulftainer in a pay-to-play arrangement to secure Department of Treasury approval for the deal.

Screenshot of story about Iraq's Port of Basra published by al-aalem.com.
Screenshot of story about Iraq’s Port Umm Qasr published by Iraqi media outlet Al-aalem Al-jadeed.