by ALAN JONES AND MARY FANNING 7 Nov 2016
The Treasury Department declined to perform a mandatory national security check before awarding a 35-year lease at the port to Gulftainer’s GT USA. That the company, linked to the family of Dr. Jafar Dhia Jafar, now controls Port Canaveral’s cargo container terminal operations presents a significant national security risk, observers note.
On October 24, 2016, WikiLeaks released an email, dated August 18, 2012, from the Clinton Foundation to former President Bill Clinton, advising the former President that “new sponsor” The Abraaj Capital Group agreed to support the 2012 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting with a $550,000 donation.
The Abraaj Group is a UAE private equity company co-founded by Hamid Jafar, the Iraqi business partner and brother of Dr. Jafar Dhia Jafar. Hamid Jafar’s son, Badr Jafar, is currently listed as a member of Abraaj’s board of directors.
The same year as the donation revealed in the Wikileaks email, the State Department’s Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) awarded The Abraaj Group with the first of hundreds of millions of dollars in loans and investment management contracts.
Another corporation, Crescent Petroleum, also appears to have financially supported an educational campaign co-chaired by former President Bill Clinton and Dr. Jafar’s nephew Majid Jafar, CEO of Crescent Petroleum. Gulftainer is a subsidiary of Crescent.
Shortly before the signing ceremony for Gulftainer’s new Port Canaveral cargo container terminal, Bill Clinton flew to Dubai to attend one of the educational campaign’s events with Majid Jafar.
The timeline surrounding the Port Canaveral deal, known as “Project Pelican,” suggests the Abraaj dealings are not unrelated.
- March-June 2012: The Jafars attempted to take over Florida’s Port Jacksonville (JAXPORT), which is near Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay. Gulftainer secretly offered $250 million to become a “silent partner” “behind the scenes” with the port. The CEO of JAXPORT turned them down after the Jacksonville Business Journalexposed the plan because Gulftainer “wanted us to turn over the port to them, and we’re not going to do that.”
- 2012: Gulftainer began negotiating “Project Pelican” with Port Canaveral while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State. Port Canaveral CEO John E. Walsh, who was new to the ports industry, told “Florida Today” that the June 23, 2014 deal-signing ceremony was “the culmination of a two-year effort to bring Gulftainer to Brevard County,” Florida. The timeline Walsh revealed confirms that Project Pelican negotiations were underway while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, while the Jafars’ Abraaj Group was donating money to the Clinton Foundation, and The Abraaj Group received OPIC monies through the State Department.
- August-September 2012: Secretary Clinton awarded The Abraaj Group the first of hundreds of millions of dollars in loans and investment management contracts through the State Department’s OPIC.
- September 2012: The Abraaj Group donated between $500,000 and $1 million to the Clinton Foundation according to Romanian hacker Gucifer. Confirmed to be $550,000 by WikiLeaks.
- March 2014: Crescent Group Vice-Chairman Majid Jafar (nephew of Dr. Jafar) met with former President Bill Clinton in Dubai. Majid and Clinton co-chair the Dubai-based Business Backs Education Crescent Petroleum is listed as a “supporting company” on the initiative’s webpage.
- June 23, 2014 – Secret “Project Pelican” deal was publicly announced on the day of the Port Canaveral signing ceremony, with Hamid’s son Badr Jafar in attendance.
Alan Jones is an investigative journalist who broke a series of national security stories at Washington Times Communities.
Mary Fanning is an investigative journalist who covers the Middle East and national security, known for her series “The Betrayal Papers.”