The New York Times has reported that billionaire investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal was arrested on Saturday night along with at least 10 other princes, four ministers and ten former ministers.
What the New York Times is not reporting is that this is the same Alwaleed bin Talal who helped Barack Obama get into Harvard Law School. Their relationship came to light in late March 2008 on a local New York City show called Inside City Hall.
When asked about Obama by the show’s host, Dominic Carter, the respected black politico Percy Sutton casually explained that he had been “introduced to [Obama] by a friend.” The friend’s name was Dr. Khalid al-Mansour, and the introduction had taken place about 20 years prior.
According to Sutton, al-Mansour was “raising money” for Obama’s education and had asked him to “please write a letter in support of [Obama] … a young man that has applied to Harvard.” Although Sutton did not specify a date, this would likely have been in 1988 when the twenty-six-year-old Obama was applying to Harvard Law School. Sutton gladly obliged.
Sutton described al-Mansour as “the principal adviser to one of the world’s richest men,” Saudi prince Al-Waleed bin Talal. This was the same bin-Talal whose $10 million offer to help New York rebuild after 9/11 Mayor Rudy Giuliani rebuffed. In September 2001, Giuliani was in no mood to hear out “Israel knew” theories even from a benefactor.
Like his patron, Khalid al-Mansour was no friend of Israel. In one of his typical videotaped rants, “A Little on the History of Jews,” he scolded the world’s Ashkenazi Jews: “God gave you nothing. The children from Poland and Russia were promised nothing. But they are stealing the land the same as the Christians stole the lands from the Indians in America.”
If Obama had been a Republican, someone at the station would have rushed this tape to the networks before you could say “47 percent.” After all, a respected black political figure had just announced that a whack job anti-Semite, backed by an ambitious Saudi billionaire, had been guiding and possibly financing Obama’s career perhaps for the last twenty years.
If this wasn’t news, what was? No matter, the video interview stayed on the shelf for nearly six more months.
When the Sutton interview finally did surface in the conservative media, Ben Smith, then with Politico, reported, “Barack Obama’s campaign is flatly denying a story told by former Manhattan Borough President Percy Sutton.”
The Obama camp denied Obama even knew al Mansour. After some hemming and hawing, al Mansour rejected Sutton’s account as well. “The scenario as it related to me did not happen,” he reportedly told Smith.
Still, there was no denying what Sutton had said or how unambiguously he said it. To make sure the story did not bleed from the right into the mainstream, someone recruited a character named Kevin Wardally, an alleged “spokesman for Sutton’s family.”
In an email Wardally gave Smith all the permission he needed to move on. “The information Mr. Percy Sutton imparted on March 25 in a NY1 News interview regarding his connection to Barack Obama is inaccurate,” wrote Wardally. “As best as our family and the Chairman’s closest friends can tell, Mr. Sutton, now 86 years of age, misspoke in describing certain details and events in that television interview.”
At the time, Sutton was eighty-seven, but no matter. Smith seemed eager to make the story go away. He was satisfied that Wardally’s statement seemed “to put the story to rest for good.”
Not quite. Ken Timmerman, a veteran reporter writing for the conservative web journal Newsmax, kept digging. The Obama camp offered no help. Spokesman Ben LaBolt told Timmerman that Sutton’s tale was pure “fabrication.”
When asked which part was fabricated, LaBolt said “all of it.” Bolt elaborated, “Al Mansour doesn’t know Obama. And Sutton’s spokesman retracted the story. The letter, the ‘payments for loans’ — all of it, not true.”
Timmerman contacted Sutton’s personal assistant Karen Malone and questioned her about Wardally. Malone had never heard of him. After consulting Sutton’s son and daughter, she “confirmed that no one knew Kevin Wardally or had authorized him to speak on behalf of the family.”
Timmerman then questioned Wardally himself, who now claimed a Sutton nephew had retained him. Given his background, Wardally made for an unlikely family spokesman. In 2006, he had been mentioned in a New York Magazine profile as one of New York’s “New New Guard” challenging the old “lions” like Sutton and Charley Rangel.
With Hillary out of the race, no newsroom in America felt compelled to follow up on Timmerman’s research. At the time this story was gelling, in early September 2008, the media were doing most of their digging in Alaskan dumpsters.
Through a series of denials, lies, and slanders about Sutton’s mental health, the Obama camp and its allies in the media did all within their power to make the story disappear. They were remarkably successful. When Sutton died in December 2009—“an enormous loss” said Obama–the story was buried with him.
Here is hoping it can be exhumed.