UAE Port Agreement: More Clinton Pay for Play?
Accuracy in Media often asks whether the news media would have covered a story the same way under President George W. Bush as it does under President Barack Obama.
The lease provided to Gulftainer USA, a subsidiary of a United Arab Emirates (UAE) conglomerate called Crescent Enterprises, at the vital national security hub of Port Canaveral, Florida, once again confirms the media double standard.
Is this more Clinton shenanigans and conflict of interest? What was Obama’s role, and why are the media ignoring this story?
While in 2006 a multiple port purchase with links to a government with ties to terrorists incited controversy and outrage among the media and in Washington, a UAE terminal lease — port agreement — starting this month has been met with a virtual media blackout.
“In 2006, that concern was over port security and was centered on President George W. Bush approving a deal with Dubai Ports World to operate shipping operations in six major American cities,” writes columnist Ellen Ratner for WorldNetDaily. “The media and the political establishment went ballistic over the revelation.”
Hillary Clinton, then a Democratic senator from New York, was one of the leaders of the successful effort to ultimately block the Dubai Ports World from happening.
“Nine years later, however, a similar announcement is being met with relative silence.”
Ratner points out that Port Canaveral is home to, among other things, a “U.S. Air Force base, a submarine base and NASA’s Kennedy Space center,” making it a national security target.
Yet, as Jerome Corsi wrote for WND, “Secretary of Treasury Jack Lew, a former White House chief of staff under President Bill Clinton, approved the Gulftainer deal without seeking the formal approval of the interagency Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, CFIUS.”
“U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, who played a key role fundraising for Barack Obama’s 2008 successful presidential run, appears to have signed off on the Gulftainer deal with Port Canaveral,” reports Corsi.
The Wall Street Journal did report on Gulftainer’s terminal opening on June 12. However, the very short article reads more like a press release, merely repeating the statements of the company’s managing director without including alternative perspectives.
Yet even managing director Peter Richards acknowledges the 2006 parallel. “He said the company had been apprehensive about entering the U.S. market since the controversy surrounding a…deal to give management contracts for terminals at six major U.S. ports, including Miami, to Dubai Ports World, a state-owned enterprise that is, like Gulftainer, based in the United Arab Emirates,” reports Robbie Whelan for the Journal. “The deal was ultimately scuttled after public outcry and politically charged debate among policy makers in Washington.”
But that’s where The Wall Street Journal’s superficial attempt at reporting ends.
Majid Jafar, the brother of the head of Crescent, is Co-Chair of a program called Business Backs Education launched with Bill Clinton in March 2014. The Gulftainer deal was negotiated under the codename “Project Pelican” for a year until signed in June 2014.
The UAE was also a first-time donor to the Clinton Foundation in 2014, and gave between $1 million and $5 million, according to The Washington Post’s searchable database.
Did the Clintons’ contacts help to seal the deal? Ratner calls the speculation at least “out there,” despite being a “large stretch.” Given the Clintons’ scandal-filled history the media might want to at least look into this one. It actually isn’t much of a “stretch,” but rather just more evidence of the type of pay for play that characterizes much Clinton activity.
“A quick Google search reveals that conservative blogs have suggested the company may have shipped weapons through its ports to terror groups in Iraq and may have help helped Iran ship weapons to Gaza,” reports Ratner. This was “acknowledged by Florida Today,” she writes, and has “prompted protests at the site of Gulftainer’s terminals.”
The mainstream media’s decision to look the other way on more Obama administration malfeasance, and possible backroom deals, should incite outrage equal to, if not greater, than the Dubai Port Worlds incident. “Whether or not Gulftainer is cause for alarm is beyond my judgment, but there is nevertheless a stunning level of hypocrisy in Washington, D.C., over the issue,” commented Ratner, who is definitely not a conservative.
There is more than political hypocrisy here. This is part of the concerted mainstream media attempt to preserve President Obama’s legacy at all cost by not pursuing stories, by not investigating angles, and by not reporting any news that might possibly damage the Obama administration or presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Roger Aronoff is the Editor of Accuracy in Media, and a member of the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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