By Pepe Escobar
November 22, 2011
Asia Times Online

Last week, independent journalist Sam Husseini went to a news conference by Prince Turki al-Faisal of Saudi Arabia at Washington’s National Press Club – where Husseini is a member.

Then he did something that is alien to United States corporate media culture. He behaved as an actual journalist and asked a tough, pertinent, no-holds-barred question. Here it is, as relayed by Husseini’s blog:

I want to know what legitimacy your regime has, sir. You come before us, representative of one of the most autocratic, misogynistic regimes on the face of the earth. Human Rights Watch and other reports of torture, detention of activists, you squelched the democratic uprising in Bahrain, you tried to overturn the democratic uprising in Egypt and indeed you continue to oppress your own people. What legitimacy does your regime have – other than billions of dollars and weapons? [1]

Prince Turki, former Saudi intelligence supremo, former pal of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, former Saudi ambassador to the US, reacted by changing the subject. [2]

Were this to happen in the Middle East, Husseini would have been duly kidnapped by Saudi intel, tortured and snuffed out. Ask the remains of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. For much less – saying out loud in an Arab League meeting that King Abdullah was a traitor, because he was encouraging the George W Bush administration to invade Iraq – the House of Saud did everything in its power, for years, to make sure Gaddafi was taken out.

Turki exhibits all the trademark democratic credentials of the House of Saud. He refers to the push for democracy in the Arab world as “Arab Troubles”.

After the Turki shoot

According to Husseini, on the same day of the news conference he received “a letter informing me that I was suspended from the National Press Club ‘due to your conduct at a news conference’. The letter, signed by the executive director of the club, William McCarren, accused me of violating rules prohibiting ‘boisterous and unseemly conduct or language’.”

Link to the rest of the article Exposed: US press ‘freedom’