WikiLeaks has surfaced in the news again with its release of more than half a million U.S. cables, some that date back to the late 1970s. This leak was the follow-up to the recent Julian Assange interview, where he squashed rumors of his demise.
The content of the leaks takes us back in time when Osama bin Laden and the Mujahideen were among our closest allies in the Middle East. From the coup in Grenada and the Herat uprising in Afghanistan to the assassination of British Conservative MP Airey Neave, this leak brings the total published U.S. diplomatic cable collection to 3.3 million documents. A new light shines on how exactly Saddam Hussein grabbed power in Iraq, the 3,000 Iranian students that raided the U.S. embassy in Iran, and even the USSR invasion of Afghanistan. While we still debate about the effectiveness of funding rebels and freedom fighters in foreign countries, these new WikiLeaks releases gave birth to the possibility of a new Clinton Foundation scandal to circulate in the news once again.
Pay-to-play has been one of the keywords of this news cycle and election, and this newest scandal is not unique in that regard. There are WikiLeaks emails that directly tie a business owned and operated by Saddam Hussein’s nuclear mastermind to a 35-year deal awarded for the Port Canaveral. Dr. Jafar Dhia Jafar, who now controls Port Canaveral’s cargo container operations, is the owner-operator of a company called Gulftainer’s GT USA. Dr. Jafar Dhia Jafar’s brother owns a private equity company that made a $550,000 donation to the Clinton Foundation’s Clinton Global Initiative. Within the same year, the State Department’s Overseas Private Investment Corporation decided to award a company called The Abraaj Group with loans and investment management contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
The Abraaj Group is a private equity company co-founded by Hamid Jafar, the brother and business partner to Dr. Jafar Dhia Jafar. It is also the same company that wrote the check to the Clinton Global Initiative. The Treasury Department decided to opt-out of a mandatory national security check before awarding Dr. Jafar Dhia Jafar’s Gulftainer’s GT USA the contract which gives him control of a significant portion of Port Canaveral’s operations, raising red flags of concern to a number of observers at the time.
Dr. Jafar’s nephew, Majid Jafar, is the CEO of an oil company called Crescent Petroleum, of which the previously mentioned Gulftainer’s GT USA is a subsidiary. The WikiLeaks emails from the Clinton Global Initiative refer to this project as “Project Pelican,” and before Gulftainer’s Port Canaveral contract was passed, the Foundation flew Bill Clinton to Dubai to be present for an educational campaign featuring Majid Jafar. Events that preceded “Project Pelican” lend some additional suspicion to the goals and methods behind Dr. Jafar’s businesses.
In early 2012, news of Gulftainer’s GT USA privately offered $250 million in investments to have a silent partner status with the Port Jacksonville. The CEO of Port Jacksonville rejected the offer and exposed their plan and offer to the Jacksonville Business Journal citing concerns that Gulftainer’s GT USA wanted to eventually take control of the entire Port. Concerned observers also noted that the Port Jacksonville is adjacent to the Naval Submarine Base, Kings Bay.
In late 2012, news of Gulftainer’s GT USA started discussions with “Project Pelican” to the Port Canaveral which was during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State. During the ceremony held for the public deal-signing, Port Canaveral CEO John E. Walsh told Florida Today that the 2014 deal was “the culmination of a two-year effort to bring Gulftainer to Brevard Country,” Florida. According to this statement, The Abraaj Group was donating money to the Clinton Foundation and was awarded funds through the State Department. Finally, in September 2012, Secretary Clinton awarded what would be the beginning of hundreds of millions of monies through the State Department. This same month, September 2012, The Abraaj Group donated $550,00 to the Clinton Foundation.
Less than two years later, in March 2014, Bill Clinton would visit Dubai to meet Majid Jafar in person for the education initiative. Only two short months later, we see the deal for Port Canaveral publicly announced via the ceremony and deal-signing. Badr Jafar, one of the directors of The Abraaj Group, was present at this deal-signing.
[Featured Image by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images]