Report: Mysterious gentleman behind Anti-Muhammad movie an ex-meth cook

"Innocence of Muslims," the spectacularly crappy anti-Muslim movie trailer linked to recent violence in Libya, and the death of a US ambassador and others? The guy credited as its filmmaker, "Sam Bacile," has been outed as one Nakoula Basseley Nakoula.

Noah Shachtman at Wired News reports that "Bacile" was one of many pseudonyms used by Nakoula. Others include Matthew Nekola; Ahmed Hamdy; Amal Nada; Daniel K. Caresman; Kritbag Difrat; Sobhi Bushra; Robert Bacily; Nicola Bacily; Thomas J. Tanas; Erwin Salameh; Mark Basseley Youssef; Yousseff M. Basseley; Malid Ahlawi; and my favorite, P.J. Tobacco.

He first told news outlets he was an Israeli Jew; law enforcement authorities have since identified him as a Coptic Christian immigrant with a shady past. He reportedly has a criminal record including at least one narcotics conviction: an LA County District Attorney’s office source says he was arrested by the L.A. Country Sheriff's Department in 1997 and charged with intent to manufacture methamphetamine.

Lots more about him and the other shady dudes linked to the project at the Daily Beast:

Doubts about Bacile’s identity began to surface after the film’s consultant, Steve Klein, told another news organization that “Bacile” was a pseudonym and that he was not Jewish or Israeli. Klein, an insurance agent in Hemet, Calif., said the money used to finance the low-budget flop came from a mixed bag of donors, including Middle Easterners, Jewish people, Christians, and former Muslims.

Klein, who spent the majority of yesterday giving interviews to local television and print reporters, has a dubious background himself. The Southern Poverty Law Center, which wrote about Klein and his affiliation with a California extremist evangelical group called Church at Kaweah that is said to have roots in the militia movement, noted Klein once bragged about leading a “hunter killer” team as a marine in Vietnam.

According to the Law Center article, which appeared in the Intelligence Report in the spring of 2012, Klein stated that California is riddled with Muslim Brotherhood sleeper cells “who are awaiting the trigger date and will begin randomly killing as many of us as they can.”

Klein refers to Islam as a “penis-driven religion.” This is the weirdest story ever. Who the fuck are these guys, and who's really behind this whole thing? Hisham Matar at the New Yorker digs into some possible theories.

As some of our Boing Boing commenters have pointed out, the fact that Nakoula Basseley Nakoula has a history of financial fraud may explain why $5 million was reportedly raised for the feature but the trailer looks so shitty. And, there's some doubt as to whether the full-length feature even exists.

Wacko Koran-burning pastor Terry Jones is linked to the story, too. Gawker has more. And the Smoking Gun has the dox on Bakoula's criminal past. And the New York Times reports that violence has spread to Yemen and Iran.

More: Boing Boing news archive for "Innocence of Muslims."


      1. It seems like some people confuse “freedom of speech” with “freedom of consequences from freedom of speech”.

        You’re free to say whatever you want, but if you get in my face and call my mother a whore, I’ll drop you. Unless you’re Sean Connery, that is.

        1. Bollocks.  You have the right to be as offended as you bloody well like, but not the right to kill or hurt people because of it.

          Only my good manners prevent me from impugning your mother, but I do wonder how well she did in bringing you up

          1. Never said I had the right to drop you if you said shit about my mother, but I would any way.

            I believed its called the “real world”. You can say whatever you want, but it doesn’t protect you from the consequences.

            It’s like people who cross the street without looking for someone running the light, and they get hit by a car. “But I had the right of way!” Yep, but you’re also laid up in the hospital.

            It’s like yelling “fire” in a movie theatre. Go ahead, say it, but there will be repercussions.

          2. Bollocks in return.

            Freedom of speech means this and only this:  The STATE may not restrict the right of individuals to speak, including making it a crime to express certain opinions, or even to present falsehoods as facts.

            Certain limits can reasonable apply (shouting ‘fire’ in a crowded theatre, representing spoiled food as good, representing a pyramid scheme as a sound investment, etc.).  I would personally argue that hate speech laws can be the sort of reasonable limits that can apply without disqualifying a country from having freedom of speech.

            Behaviour of non-state actors is outside the scope of freedom of speech.  Private actors can retaliate for speech, and those retaliations may be legal or illegal.  As long as the state manages to remain impartial in any judgement it is called on to make as to the legality of private retaliations, freedom of speech is upheld.

            In the example nettdata cites, the mother-insulter may be committing slander or something, but that’s a civil matter, so freedom of speech is at least arguably upheld.  The mother’s-honour-defender is committing assault, so when the police show up, he should be the one going down to the jailhouse, not the insulter.  No criminal penalties attach to the insulter.
            Freedom of speech: upheld

            In the example of Genre Slur’s post, again, just as the film-maker is free to make hate propaganda, so others are free to privately hope that the film-maker dies or becomes infertile in a way directly caused by his own stupidity, and to publicly express such hopes.
            Freedom of speech: upheld

            Again, I would argue that even in a place like Canada, where the film-maker might be eligible to two years of federal hospitality, freedom of speech is still a real and healthy thing.

          3. The thing about ‘freedom of speech’ is that it’s not perfect; it’s just the best alternative. And as a result, most governments, even those that we consider enlightened democracies, modify the principle in order to protect the interests of the vulnerable.

        2. If I point a loaded gun at your head, and state crisply and clearly, “I know my constitutional rights, and am about to pull the trigger”, are you allowed to claim self-defense?

          1. I can claim whatever defense I like, including something as nutty as “alien mind control as a result of a previous anal probing”. (My reading of your statement was in the voice of Marvin the Martian, if you wondered how that thought came about).

            Whether or not that would be successful as a legal defense depends on a ton of other factors, including jurisdiction, whether or not I felt your threat was a legitimate and life threatening one, the scenario (war zone vs. 7/11), the make up of the jury, etc.

            But call me crazy… I tend to consider anyone pointing a loaded gun at me as fair game, and having no rights, to life or freedom of speech.

        3.  You can’t falsely shout fire in a crowded theater. I would hope that you would actually shout “fire” if the theater was, in fact, on fire.

      2. Supporting freedom of speech is completely consistent with wishing ill on people.  I’d like it if all the neo-Nazis in the world suddenly died of embolisms but until that happens I support their rights to free speech.

  1. I wonder what the conspiracists are thinking right now, where the money came from, what Illuminati sect or what Golden Dawn group is putting this on… all the way to aliens against Mohammed. Seriously, Give up religion and Start being a person.

    1. The money must have come from at least three liquor store robberies judging from the production standards and the quality of the VFX.  I mean, who can afford that much green screen?  They must have had at least a couple of dozen square feet.

      Also, I’m suddenly impressed at the restraint from the Mormons and Scientologists for not taking to the streets after Trey Parker and Matt Stone created a way more provocative and biting parody of those two groups in separate South Park episodes…

      1. I’m guessing North American Scientologists and Christians don’t have to live with the abysmal living conditions and constant political struggles that many African and Middle Eastern Muslims do, which, according to a few brain cells I have, might have more to do with the riots than the insults of a right wing, off-his-meds paranoiac , er, I mean ARTEEST.

        1. Given the abysmal living conditions and constant political struggles they are living with, you’d have thought they would have better things to do with their time than go rioting and murdering over a film they haven’t even seen.

          Perhaps they could start by, y’know, trying to improve their abysmal living conditions and political situation. Not taking to the streets with guns would do wonders for both.

          1. Maybe if the US stopped supporting the dictators that impoverish their countries and arrest and torture anyone who attempts to organize politically they would be able to start improving their abysmal living conditions and political situations.

          2. wysinwig…I would say dictators who have taken power thru non-democratic means bear more of the reponsibility than those who ‘support them”…no?

          3.  @Paul232:disqus By “non-democratic means” you mean the US government first undermining the democratically elected government and then funding and arming a coup? 

        2. I have been batting this thought around the ever growing cavern of my skull as well.  It is almost as if the absence of freedom of speech is what has been the catalyst for this violence.

          I wonder if our freedom of speech, including the option to offend any and all at any time, is what has kept us civil and maintain and defend the right to quality of life all this time.

          I have truly wondered when watching this is, really?  You hate us THAT much?  Or you hate what we have?

    2. They (religions, that is) could apply for corporation status, and all of this trouble would be over, amiright?

  2. Okay, now can these guys be called out for being jackasses and getting 4 people killed or are they still just innocent artists like I saw a number  of people claiming yesterday?

    1.  I’d suggest they can be labeled jackasses and innocent artists at the same time.  In no way, shape, or form, would I suggest that the murderers should receive anything less than 100% culpability for their actions, and not a single fraction of a percent of blame should be left over for the crappy artists that upset them.

      1.  It’s simple artless hate propaganda.  I mean really, are you gonna call this ‘primitive’ or ‘naive’ art or  something…..  I don’t want to get into an esoteric ‘what is art?’ discussion, but I don’t think any of us honestly believe that the motivation here was to create art.

        1. I don’t know what the motivation was, but I think you are right. With that said, if the words of hateful jackasses drives you to violence… you are also a hateful jackass. The people who committed the acts of violence are the criminals, these guys are just idiots.

          1.  @boingboing-e2c5182d1b95fa116e841650b6b426cc:disqus

            The “gasoline” in your analogy is human beings. If you behave like gasoline, then yes, it would be quite absurd not to blame you.

        2. The ugly trolls seem to have brought light to a problem I think most of us are well aware of. Trolling might give their intelligence too much credit. Hopefully cooler heads and better people can put out the flames instead of falling into blind hatred. What is sad is that instead of being able to unite with the rest of man in disgust at this vile speech (legally protected speech), vile individuals were able to further drive Muslim people from accord with the western world.

      2. If they were innocent, they might have had some courage of convictions.  They pretended to be Israeli and American Jews, so that anger would be directed at them, vs. their own people.  Having a hard time viewing that as innocent. 

        1. This is the failure with the victim blaming analogy. The people who perpetrated the film are not the ones who were attacked. Thus agents provocateurs. The victims are the people who were in the embassies.

          1. True, but I’d like to raise the point that much doubt is being cast onto whether the film / those protesting the film are responsible for the consulate killings. 

            The attack was well coordinated between several groups that had growing insurgent/feudal scrimmage tendencies in a place that has nowhere near become stable after revolution of sorts, smack on the anniversary of 9/11.

            It could be the film is being scapegoated in more than one direction.

            People are definitely protesting it and violently, but it also serves well the interests of western and anti-muslim war hawks to attribute the slaying of the ambassador as an unreasonable response to free speech, when it may have very well been a typical response to western presence and influence that happened to have atypical success in execution.

            The film seems too convenient to me, timewise, when Libyans are suggesting it was a very coordinated effort between disparate groups that share a perceived common foe. 

            In any case, agents provocateurs is the definitive description of the bastards that made the film. They should be killed outright on the basis of the quality AND on their obvious intent to incite violence.

    2. They can be called out as jackasses regardless of others’ reactions to their oeuvre.

      They remain innocent of the deaths –  they didn’t commit them, and didn’t commission them.

      Now, I personally believe that there should be such a thing as hate speech laws in the US – that there should be a crime they’re not innocent of, for making and publishing that film.  But, the first amendment to the US constitution and a few hundred years of legal precedent says that ain’t so…

        1. You do realize this is the same rationale used by those who say she was “asking for it” because of what she was wearing, how she was dancing, etc., right?  Such a suggestion is as repugnant in that context as it is in this one.

          1. No, it isn’t. When the Jyllands-Posten Mohammed cartoons were published, that would be a good analogy for victim-blaming rape victims by saying, “look what she was wearing.” This trailer is, as far as I can tell, intended to be inflammatory, in its creator’s own words. Intent matters. If I shout fire in a crowded theater because I mistakenly believe that there is a fire, that’s different than if I do it out of mischief.

          2. That is bullshit. The word ‘provocation’ has several meanings. The phrase “sexually provocative” is semantically several continents away from the phrase “agent provocateur”, which is what’s being discussed here.

        2. Psycho: The name’s Francis Soyer, but everybody calls me Psycho. Any of you guys call me Francis, and I’ll kill you.

          Leon: Oooooooh.

          Psycho: You just made my list, buddy. And I don’t like nobody touching my stuff. So just keep your meat-hooks off. If I catch any of you guys in my stuff, I’ll kill you. Also, I don’t like nobody touching me. Now, any of you homos touch me, and I’ll kill you.

          Sergeant Hulka: Lighten up, Francis.

        3. That’s what I like about hate speech laws – generic provocation of violent hatred, no specific expectation of any specific crime, but definite widespread shit-disturbery.

          If their guilt attaches to the murders, how would the culpability of the film makers change if they had made exactly the same film no one had taken the bait to the point of murder?  How would it change if it turned out the murders were long planned and the protests were just a convenient cover?  Their actions wouldn’t have changed in the slightest, and yet the difference between their being murderers and non-murderers in the eyes of the law is immense.

          If their guilt attaches to publishing the film itself, then they are equally guilty whether their targets take the bait or not – they are guilty by their own hands.

      1. We have such laws in the UK – I actually appreciate them.  If the Westboro Baptist Church rolled up on English soil and started waving their signs they’d be in a prison cell within minutes. Something I’d appreciate. Everyone should be allowed to have their own views, but when that results in taking a stand in a public place to spread hate, bigotry and in many cases incite violence, exclusion etc. I don’t think that’s a privilege worth protecting. Personally.

        I’ve never been entirely sure why so many Americans are willing to defend the rights of people spreading hate so that they can express non-hateful views.  The two aren’t connected, you do not require one to be afforded the other.

        Caveat: The positive thing about a blanket rule when it comes to free speech is that it’s a little harder for governments to control what people say – there are other aspects to English speech laws that I don’t like, which are a consequence of this principle. But I’d still always stand against hate speech – it’s vile and dangerous, words aren’t just words.

        1. I’ve never been entirely sure why so many Americans are willing to defend the rights of people spreading hate so that they can express non-hateful views.  The two aren’t connected, you do not require one to be afforded the other.

          Because if you’re not willing to protect speech you don’t like then you have no recourse when you make speech that other people don’t like.  For example, a lot of people seem to be just as offended by criticism of the US government or various religions as I am by racist rhetoric; if I want to be able to freely criticize the government or religious groups then it would be dangerous to set a precedent for laws against racist rhetoric.  Similar laws could easily be justified for “protecting religion” or “suppressing sedition.”

          The right to free speech is the fundamental right.  If you don’t have that right then you can’t even talk about what other rights you might be denied.

          And ultimately letting hateful idiots say stupid things just makes it easier to identify and ostracize them.  I can’t help but notice that explicitly fascist and racist groups seem to have a lot less support in the US than they do in many parts of Europe.

          1. I don’t know about that, but I’m no expert. From my perspective, as I say, the two don’t need to be connected – and the view I get from this side of the pond doesn’t support the assertion that racism (or the like) has more/less support in either location (and although Europe is a better comparison than the UK when referring to the US, I can only really speak for the UK), and if it does I’d be surprised if having the right to express it helps to neutralise it. Maybe I’m wrong but without delving into any research this’ll have to remain anecdotal.

            There’s a fundamental difference between opposing a political view and being objectively offensive though. From what I’ve seen it works OK here – I can protest the government to my hearts content (well, you know, until the police get irked, but that’s a different problem entirely), I can even protest publicly on religious grounds – what I can’t do is insight hate. It’s not really about opposing views – it’s how they’re expressed and the likely consequences of them.

            This quote from a law website says it well:

            “When, however, you begin to consider the possible range of expression — including, say, hate speech that incites violence — it becomes apparent that even a tolerant society has to put some limits on freedom of expression. Therefore, much of the law relating to free speech is concerned with trying to strike the right balance between freedom of expression and the use (or abuse) of that freedom in a way that harms society.” –

          2. @NathanHornby:disqus The problem, Nathan, is that not everyone agrees on what constitutes “racism”, “incitement”, “religious intolerance”, “seditious language”, etc.  Contrary to what you say, there is no such thing as “objectively offensive.” What I would interpret as a perfectly legitimate good-faith criticism of the Catholic church would be interpreted by many Catholics as hate speech.  What I would interpret as good-faith investigatory journalism into excesses of government power might be interpreted by others as subversion or treason.

            Laws limiting free expression are, like all laws, open to a certain amount of interpretation.  If the opinions of the majority were as I describe above then the interpretation that is dominant in society might swing in such a way as to actually prevent me from criticizing the Catholic church or the government without risking jail time.  Do you seriously not see how such a system is open to abuse by tyranny of the majority?

            You keep saying that hate speech and free speech don’t need to be connected, but how can we objectively legislate the difference between good-faith critiques of the Catholic church and hate speech against Catholics?  I don’t think we can, but if you have any ideas I would love to hear them.

            How many seats does the BNP have in parliament, by the way? No seats in the US congress belong to hate groups. (Unless you count the Republicans, hurr hurr.)

          3. Because if you’re not willing to protect speech you don’t like then you have no recourse when you make speech that other people don’t like.

            But we restrict speech all the time. Especially speech regarding sex and sexuality. So what we really do is make it highly illegal to talk about fucking in all but a small number of public arenas while loudly defending the right to be racist, anti-Semitic, sexist, homophobic, etc. So the idea that there’s any kind of free speech protection in the USA is a bit of a right-wing joke.

            And ultimately letting hateful idiots say stupid things just makes it easier to identify and ostracize them.

            That theory didn’t work in Germany. Or the Balkans. Or Rwanda. Or any number of other places. It’s a meme, and an insubstantial and incorrect one at that.

          4. @Antinous_Moderator:disqus We’re apparently not going to agree on this, but I’d like to point out that without free speech protections people like you and me are much more likely to be censored in the US than anti-woman racist blowhards like Rush Limbaugh. You admit as much yourself.

        2. I’ve never been entirely sure why so many Americans are willing to defend the rights of people spreading hate so that they can express non-hateful views.

          Because it’s difficult to write a law that would forbid people from making a film like this one but allow (for example) an exposé on Scientology. It’s a trade off, but it’s the best we could come up with.

          1. See my reply to other comment, probably applicable here too.

            I don’t think it’s as much the best you could come up, as much as it was the first thing that you came up. As I say I think our (UK) laws work quite well in this regard (don’t say that very often!) and attempt to draw that line, rather than ignoring it entirely.

          2. @NathanHornby:disqus : I respectfully disagree. For example, in my opinion the laws in the UK make it far too easy to sue for libel. This is one reason that many activists find it difficult to publicly criticize things like homeopathy.

  3. What, free speech doesn’t cover *crappy*  speech anymore? How on earth are they responsible, even in a “linked” way?

  4. Just as that Danish paper (sorry, forget the name) wasn’t behind the Mohammed cartoon controversy, these guys aren’t “behind this whole thing.” A thoughtless mob sprung from xenophobic ideologies is still just a thoughtless mob, what sets them off is trivial. And when I say “thoughtless,” I truly mean thoughtless. Not spiteful, or vengeful, or misguided… but Among-the-Thugs-hooligan-thoughtless.

    And as for tracing the money… who cares? They raised, what? A grand to make that thing? A middle schooler with access to quarter pound of weed could do that in a couple days. This is the story of a few stupid idiots provoking a lot of stupid idiots to do tragic things.
    And if we’re going to be pointing fingers at anyone, can we discuss Mitten’s behavior over this whole mess? Not trying to be partisan, but this really was a telling moment in his campaign.

    1. “Behind the whole thing” meaning behind the crappy movie that has been linked to the murders, not meaning behind the murders themselves.

    2. I think Mitt’s behavior over this whole mess is EXACTLY why a lot of people want to know where the money came from. Mitt (and the RNC) gambled on accusing the President of sympathizing with the killers of a US Ambassador, and did so after the President had already made it really clear that he was, in no way, “sympathizing” with the attackers. If his gamble had worked, this video’s shitstorm would have, frankly, benefited Mitt quite a bit. But it thankfully failed miserably and he’s getting the hairy eyeball from pretty much everyone.

      1. You’re suggesting that if the political machine behind Romney was trying to fund a flash-point project to hurt Obama’s image, this is what the final product would look like? Really? They may be red, but they at least know how to use a blue screen (I’m sorry…) 

        1. As someone who has been contacted on more than one occasion by right-wing wackjob outfits requesting quotes for VFX work, I can say with authority that you’re wrong; based both on extant work they showed me, and the budgets they were “working” with.

    3. The Libyan attack looks more and more like a carefully planned raid that was planned well before people became aware of this artless trash. 

      “Xenophobic”, interesting choice given the way you describe the people that are upset over this.  I ask you, do you think it’s not possible that these kinds of insults maybe set people off because a whole shitload of other grievances have been  steadily building up to a boiling point? I guess there’s just a ‘natural’ craziness involved? Similar things were said when poor minorities have rioted in the past here in the U.S.

      1. Well, because you asked me… 

        I don’t think it’s unfair to use the word “thoughtless” or “xenophobic.” I’m assuming these are the words that you take issue with, if not, please clarify. 
        1. Xenophobic? Obviously. No inherent value judgement there, but they’re clearly hateful towards outsiders. Do you disagree here? Further, as a youngish white male, I’m drawing comparisons between the Libyan rioters and Among the Thugs; you’re suggesting that’s an artifact of my own xenophobia? Sorry, but try again.

        2. Thoughtless? Yes. Did some nasty scheming folks have some bootleg munitions hanging around that they happily contributed when enormous civil unrest knocked at their door? Probably, but that doesn’t change the fact that the beginning of this whole mess was rioting directed at the EMBASSY (sorry, but italics never seem to get through) over a few morons independent of the American government. I know that I wasn’t climbing the gates at the Norwegian Embassy after Brevik, though I felt my own ideals had been attacked, and frankly, I believe that that is what sets me apart from them. 

        1. Your comments suggest that these people are just simple animals who are predisposed to thoughtlessly being violent without any real motivation.  Privileged Americans say the exact same about poor people in the ghetto.  No surprise there.

          I know that I wasn’t climbing the gates at the Norwegian Embassy after Brevik, though I felt my own ideals had been attacked, and frankly, I believe that that is what sets me apart from them.

          What a bizarre comparison on so many levels and for too many reasons.

          Seriously, there’s probably a reason Western Muslims don’t really riot like this, and it probably has something to do with having something of a decent quality of life that doesn’t involve as much daily violence and humiliation as Muslims deal with outside The West in countries of conflict.

          1. Thanks for putting words in my mouth. Privileged Americans also say the same thing about privileged Brits. Or, at least one did, and even wrote a book about it. You might have even heard me mention it once or twice throughout our discussion. Had you considered what this book was about, you might have discovered why I call them xenophobic and thoughtless: these people aren’t acting like people, they’re acting like mobs, and mobs are distinctly unpeoplelike. 

            And of course I agree that quality of life has everything to do with everything. Competent (and excessive) police force is also a major factor.

            My point is, idiots are making other idiots do idiotic things. These sorts of people are everywhere and this happens a lot. There’s no right wing conspiracy afoot, and Obama isn’t an apologist, and we’ll all probably wake up tomorrow. There are lots of complex reasons that this sort of thing happens, but (to return to my original point) what we should be talking about at this moment is the American response, specifically, Romney’s.

            And, with that, this xenophobe is going to bed.

        2. You have no idea about what goes on in the Middle East every. single. day. since Israel got the upper hand on its neighbours in the 70s thanks to Uncle Sam. People grow up being told every day that Americans are eeeevil oppressors of your Arab brothers. Obviously you believe it — information is strictly controlled, there’s plenty of drama going on any day in Gaza etc, all your friends and neighbours agree, and there is no way for you to get a different point of view — you’re unemployed, of course, so it’s not like you can buy a couple of issues of Foreign Affairs. Even well-educated folks who eventually manage to go abroad for a few years often cannot change their position, because it’s so intrinsic to what has become their mainstream culture, it would be too much of a shock to reassess it. And besides, US foreign policy in the area indeed *has* been consistently shocking in the last 40 years — shockingly bad, of course — so it’s really difficult for people to think it could have actually been enacted in good faith (which it wasn’t, really, but that’s beside the point). 

          What sets you apart from “them” is a lifetime of propaganda and suffering on a scale you’ve never experienced.

      2. And please, please, please don’t compare these people to American minorities fighting for civil rights. You know better.

        1. And please, please, please don’t compare these people to American minorities fighting for civil rights. You know better.

          The riots were spontaneous actions set off by events just like this, not part of any “civil rights” agenda.  *You* know better.

          1. What?

            All those riots were sparked by particular incidents that were the last straw (so to speak) when it came to the anger caused by the *general* poor treatment and living conditions of people.

      3. Honestly, I’d feel overwhelmingly better about the activities of the assorted rioters if it were clearer that they were settling some other score, rather than feeding the trolls on an epic level…

        Attacking US interests in Libya because we were bestest rendition buddies with Ghadaffi or in Yemen because our official policy, from the top of the executive branch on down, is that we can use assassin robots on whoever we damn well like, while certainly inconvenient for US interests, is an honorable enough passtime. Setting things on fire and generally freaking out because you got trolled is as ethically challenged as it is pathetic no matter where in the world you are.

        Merely possessing legitimate grievances isn’t terribly extenuating if you are actually resorting to violence over your illegitimate ones…

      4. Although yet to be proven, your hypothesis sounds compelling to me.

        Release a YouTube clip scapegoating that tired old canard (Jews) and execute a pre-planned attack coordinated with the release of the clip, certain that the incident will escalate.

        I say “compelling” because it’s a typical and often successful tactic in the Middle East, particularly when Israel and Palestine seem to be on the verge of reaching peace.  By “successful tactic” I mean for the shitheads that want to maintain a putrid status quo.

        The thing is, the Israeli military has taken the bait almost every time, and in this instance probably so would have your typical republican president.  But Obama’s in town, and like I told some friends recently, Obama does NOT use the world as a screen to project personal traumas the way Bush and Cheney did.  Imagine something like this with McCain and Palin in power.  Shudder.

        So thank you again USA, for putting the right man in the White House in 2008.

    4. There is no such thing as a thoughtless riot, there are always some crafty instigators behind the scenes (speaking from personal experience with the Bombay riots in the late 80s).

  5. The fact that this guy has a history of fraud, that he supposedly got $5 million to make the film, and that it’s an amateurish (low budget?)  piece of crap, leads me to believe he may have actually pocketed a million or two (unless he paid the actors $100,000 or more each.) Of course, he may have lied about the $5 million price tag too, so who knows.

    I wonder how the donors feel now, to know that they helped set in motion a chain of events that led to the deaths of innocents (and that they financed a really crappy film to boot.)

  6. Who cares who made the stupid tasteless film? The problem is religious fanatics who resort to murder and threats of violence in the face of any kind of criticism or mockery. This is the problem. Can you please stop making these vile posts excusing senseless violence and intimidation because some idiot made a stupid film?

    1. Inquiring into why someone might make a piece of hate propaganda seemingly designed to provoke violent fanatics is not the same thing as excusing said fanatical violence.

      If someone comes into my neighborhood trying to escalate a gang war between the Crips and the Bloods then I’m going to be pretty curious as to their identity and motivations even if their actions were protected by the First Amendment.

      1. The Crips and Bloods analogy is a very good one, as it’s very close to what these guys are trying to do. 

        All signs point to these assholes being motivated by extraordinary hate and possibly some sort of apocalyptic desire to start WWIII.   Why else would the “director” have gone around lying to newspapers that he was an Israeli Jew and the film was funded by 100 wealthy Jewish donors?  Maybe some of it is just their ignorant hateful version of a self-protection reflex (“Oh shit, thousands of Muslims want to kill me now–let’s blame the Jews!”).  But I think it’s something much more fanatical/sinister. 

      2. I agree wholeheartedly with your point… but I can’t help feeling unsatisfied.

        I think it’s important to discuss the motivations of the actors; in the long run, the only way we’ll overcome these hateful attitudes is through better understanding. Trying to understand the act is not excusing the act.

        But that’s a long, long process, and in the meantime we have idiot filmmakers prodding angry protesters into violent acts. Shouldn’t we do something in the meantime?

        And yet I’m deeply concerned by hate speech laws, as they endanger legitimate critique of religion. We’re already seeing it in Europe. On the other hand, the old “shouting fire in a crowded theatre” argument makes a good point that Freedom of Speech is always necessarily limited. Certainly this film seems like an extremely poor and unwise use of one’s rights to say anything.

        I’m fairly sure the only real solution is better diplomacy and more of it. No more unilateral military action. Public denouncements–not censorship, but vocal disapproval–of hate speech.

        Fat chance of that happening though.

    2. Who’s excusing anything?

      Sadly, there will probably always be some group of people who will resort to violence in response to idiotic provocations like this one.  We can try to reduce the prevalence and influence of such groups, but we can probably never bring them down to zero.

      But when someone goads the nearest group of violent idiots into retaliation with a crude false-flag operation, accusing anyone who looks closely at the person behind the false flag operation of endorsing the violence they touched off, is worse than dumb, it can be actively harmful.

      Yes, we’re better off if we can catch the people who committed the (apparently well-planned, not at all spontaneous) murders under cover of the spontaneous protest demonstrations.

      But we’re also better off if we can hold to the light the nasty little cockroaches who carried out the false flag op.  That’s also something we can relatively easily achieve – they’re right here under our jurisdiction, making them much easier to investigate.

      1. The continual theme of these posts on BB is “let’s talk about this stupid video that caused this violence and murder and intimidation” when the clear and simple truth is that it’s religious fanatic assholes that cause and continue to cause this violence, murder, and intimidation. To ignore this and transfer the blame to some idiot’s stupid film is to excuse it.

        1. But people are not excusing the violence. Nobody is claiming that the attackers did not act on their own free will. But what kind of discussion would that be?

          “The attackers are evil!”
          “Right! Discussion over then!”

          I mean, come ON. What are we supposed to do about people in a far-away foreign country being violently angry and attacking people in their own country? We’re already spending huge amounts of money invading and hunting terrorists. Hard to say whether it is making any difference, other than making a lot of already angry people angrier.

          What’s your solution?

        2. So just talking about the video and the guy who is allegedly behind it is to “transfer the blame”?  How does that work exactly?

          If you think the articles are “vile” why are you reading them in the first place?

        3. You fail to categorize the filmmaker among the fanatic assholes when you refuse to consider the act of provocation as a part of the whole conflicting situation. Although in this case the filmmaker may just be criminal, a criminal fleecing ideologues never starved to death though, and must still be counted among the assholes.

          No one is ignoring shit. 

          Analysis is not blaming or seeking to establish blame.

          Establishing that an act of provocation is related to violence is not excusing violence. 

          1. I didn’t state or even imply or infer that provocation is justification for anything, therefore cannot be “Wrong” by your measure.

            This is why you aren’t getting any value in discussion, despite your presence you aren’t actually participating.

        4. I don’t think anyone here is transferring blame for the violence to the filmmaker. (Although I haven’t gone through the comments with a fine-tooth comb.)

          This is what we seem to be saying–

          1) The people who committed the violence are assholes for committing violence.

          2) The filmmakers are assholes for making a hateful piece of trash designed to offend. And saying it was made and funded by Jews is the hemorrhoid-cherry on the asshole-sundae.

  7. Whatever it is, it really is art at its purest. Art cannot exist without conflict — visually, audibly, politically. This is a basic Film 101 principle of cinema, a theory of Sergei Eisenstein, exemplified in his “Battleship Potemkin”. And, in the case of Libya, it’s not just the movie, or even the trailer causing a reaction. How many of those Libyan protesters do you think actually saw a movie, or the trailer, or understood it, or have access to an uncensored YouTube? Just having HEARD about the EXISTENCE of the movie seems to have been enough to cause conflict. Now THAT is ART!

    1. This, and the fact that he’s the only “like” on the “U MAD BRO” comment… ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the native douchebag in his natural habitat.

  8. Is it actually a point of controversy that any of the Abrahamic monotheisms are, y’know, a bit of a theological sausage fest? For a member of one of them to call out members of another on that point shows a tedious, if fairly normal, utter failure of introspection; but they are hardly the only ones to have reached that conclusion…

  9. Has no one here read James Elroy’s fictionalized history of the US political system? This has all the hallmarks of “dirty tricks” American politics. There will be no easy way to trace it back to some SuperPac but it sure looks like it to me. Trying to create a sticky situation for the president and failed to think about collateral damage. It happens. I’m not a conspiracist. Another thing that might lead you to see it this way is being old enough to remember Nixon’s re-election.

    1.  I suppose they were hoping hostages would be taken so that the Mittster can save them when he is elected. Similar to what Regan did with Iran after Carter.

    2. I tried to read.  That James Ellroy series.  Because I loved his. LA quartet, but.  There’s something about the sentence structure.  He uses now.  That just gets to. Me.

  10. The elusive perp has been reported to still be on probation after serving time for fraud.  Part of the probation is not being allowed to use internet.   If these reports are true,  nail the sucker for probation violations.   I’m sure he’ll have fun in prison as he is stated to now be asking for police protection and fears for his life.  

    If reported info is true…. arrest the guy.  

  11. So this incredibly powerful and wealthy foreign state comes along and invades your country and other nearby countries a lot like yours, destroys vast amounts of infrastructure leading to widespread poverty, kills 10s of thousands of your sons, brothers and husbands in the military, kills even more civilians directly or indirectly, then treats the casualties as acceptable losses…

    Then some people from that country paint you as the bad guys and basically tell you that you’re evil and deserved it. It ain’t right, but I can see why they’re lashing out at an enemy they can’t possibly beat.


      -STEP 2) MAKE FLOP WITH CRAPPY SCRIPT (Spending only $10K on Muslim centered “Springtime for Hitler” script)

      – STEP 3) PLAN TO PAY BACK INVESTORS WITH BOX OFFICE TAKE (mostly empty hollywood theater = ExCeLlEnT)

      – STEP 4) PRAY YOUR WORK NEVER GETS ANY SORT OF CRITICAL ACCLAIM OR NOTICE.  (They have to hate springtime for Hitler/ Mohammed in Germany,  that’s the goal, if it gets POPULAR then you are sunk)

      – STEP 5) AVOID JAIL (not happening)…  

      – Step 6) Rent the original film and see Mel Brooks do it way better.  If Caught,  blame some Jew (Israeli Jewish real-estate developer, Mel Brooks… take your pick)

        – Step 7) PROPHET

  13. I find it bizarre that they pick this film to riot over. A garbage film that no American would’ve seen or heard of if there wasn’t a riot over it. How did they even find out about it?

  14. What a lot of hogwash people talk about art. Perfect freedom of expression is not the sole relevant issue.

    Art is communication. That only thing that trailer communicates is deliberate provocation to Muslims. It’s trolling, nothing more. The guy who made it is a malign coward who hides behind multiple false identities and solicits investments under false pretenses. He intended it to provoke violence. He sent it out into the world knowing that he wouldn’t be in the path of that violence. 

    This is a diplomatic disaster for the United States. Fifty years from now, there’ll still be people out there who are pissed at us because they think we’re responsible for that video. 

    People have died because of this stupid POS trailer. It’s not just the ambassador and the embassy personnel our media keep talking about. A bunch of Libyans got killed defending the Consulate in Benghazi. Four people have died in the rioting in Yemen.  

    Yesterday Libyans were out on the street holding signs that denounced the attacks, saying they were not representative, and offering us condolences on our dead. They also denounced insults to their religion and their prophet, but that’s not surprising in the wake of a film deliberately engineered to offend their feelings.

    What they were all denouncing was terrorism. I don’t think it would be all that much of a stretch for us to agree with them that deliberate provocation leading to terrorism is a bad thing. It may be a legally protected thing in our country, but it’s still a bad thing.

  15. A Daily Kos diarist has additional theory on who is really responsible…

    “…Nakoula was in federal detention in the period when the movie was planned, he was  released from detention only in June 22, 2011. Far more likely, Joseph Nassralla Abdelmasih, owner of Media for Christ, and a right-wing media star during the NYC anti-mosque rallies is responsible.”

    1. Probably a good idea to archive the links in those articles – I’m amazed they are still up, since it’s a pretty convincing trail leading to his long etablished work with people like Pamela “Atlas Shrugs” Geller.

  16. P.J. Tobacco.

    You can only seriously pull that off if you can do (or have) a really good Southern accent.  I mean really good.

    -of course in areas of the South were we still grow tobacco it’s just called baccer.  (I supposes that’s a proper spelling, I’ve never seen anyone write it, just say it.)

  17. The more we hear of this the more layers emerge.  Its a lousy production which supposedly cost $5M.  It inspired some planned coordinated attacks on U.S. consulates on September 11th.  Here’s a grand unified conspiracy theory.  The same people who organized the attacks also produced the film.  Pure speculation of course.

  18. My .02.  I think the law of the land speaks very clearly on this, that the right to free speech trumps just about all.

    The Supreme Court has in this country found in favor of Nazis who wished to march through a heavily Jewish section of town.

    Even thoough you may wish it did not, the Bill of Rights provides protection to scumbags, too.

    And before anybody else says fire in a crowded theatre, consider that Mr. Holmes’ opinion in the matter–which had actually sought to restrict the ability of socialists to distribute material that was critical of the draft–was later overturned. 

    Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969)

     limited the scope of banned speech to that which would be directed to and likely to incite imminent lawless action (e.g. a riot). The test in Brandenburg is the current High Court jurisprudence on the ability of government to proscribe speech after that fact.

    But, and even disregarding the complicating fact that any riot incited was not even on land protected by US law,  imminent lawless action DOES NOT seem to apply here

    later decisions have fashioned the principle that the constitutional guarantees of free speech and free press do not permit a State to forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force or of law violation except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.

    For example, the State of New York defines incitement to riot as

    A person is guilty of inciting to riot when one urges ten or more persons to engage in tumultuous and violent conduct of a kind likely to create public alarm.

    I haven’t seen the film–I don’t know if one exists at this point–but nothing I’ve read indicates that the film advocated the use of force or of law violation.

    IANAL, IANAL, IANAL,  but it appears to me that riot due to someone’s feelings being hurt is just not covered by the standards subsequent to Brandenburg

    1. I think the law of the land speaks very clearly on this

      But “the law of the land” is the law of this particular land and not international law nor even necessarily justified by some unswerving moral principles. It seems a peculiarly US notion to present what we’re used to as universal principles which the rest of the world must necessarily accept.

      1. While the law of the land–constitutional jurisprudence–is not unswerving, as it evolves over time, nay, it for the most part improves as we saw from Holmes’ opinion to Brandenburg’s–I would argue that it is in fact “moral principles,” the best we can come up with at any one time.  And I say all this with the hope that Citizens United will be overturned.

        It is true that American–Western–notions of free speech are alien in many parts of the world.  But I’m not teaching that controversy.  The rest of the world can catch up on its own time.

        1. European and Canadian notions of free speech aren’t as absolute as ours. The U.S. isn’t normal even by a lot of Western standards.

          “Catch up”

          har har…. the U.S., currently lagging so many other first world Western country’s in so many measures of success should be the gold standard……

          1. Certain European and Canadian monarchist histories provide the reason for the differences.  And consider the Scandinavian countries, whose freedoms in this regard rival those enjoyed by Americans.  You can say “not normal” to spin, I can say “more advanced.”  More freedom is better, I believe.  You may not.

            But more emphaticallly . . . Specific shortcomings of the United States do not invalidate specific successes.  And you know this, I’m sure.

          2. Your notions of “freedom” in this case, means the freedom of extremists to foment violence, hatred and discrimination.  So much for the ‘freedoms’ of those that suffer the fallout from that.  So much for the ‘freedom’ of citizens to be free from extreme discrimination. 

            You confuse “freedom” with the ability of extremists to deliberately incite hatred and violence with impunity.  The “freedom” of those with power at expense of the freedom of the vulnerable.

            To say more “advanced” you’d have to be able to prove that this absolutism has had some kind of easily shown, and tangible benefit to our society, which of course you can’t do…..unless you of course measure “advancement” by the astronomical number of hate groups in this country….imprisonment of citizens only rivaled by China…Guantanamo…3rd world level wealth inequality…

      2. Hey, the rest of the world can pass all the blasphemy laws they like, and I as a US citizen have no grounds to reject that.

        Similarly, they can butt out of free speech issues here in the US.

  19. The guy credited as its filmmaker, “Sam Bacile,” has been outed as one Nakoula Basseley Nakoula.

    Actually, I read his full name is Nakoula Basseley Nakoula Basseley Nakoula Basseley Nakoula Basseley Nakoula Basseley Nakoula.

  20. These attacks had very little to do with the video.  Somebody is whipping people into a frenzy right now.  I was listening to “To the point” on the radio, and they had a good interview about this.  Currently in Benghazi, armed gangs basically are the law.  Young men with anti-aircraft guns mounted on their vehicles and armed with AKs and RPGs give some semblance of order, but they can also get out of hand.  It was also pointed out that very few people in the protests actually saw the video.  If it wasn’t this video, the extremists would find something else to further their agenda. 

  21. Personally I think he IS an Israeli and the media is just covering up the surprising flood of information that let that leak out.

  22. The Internet has done much to spread the American gold standard of free speech around the world, but societies coming out of dictatorships have a tough time grasping the concept.
    The Crazy Coptic Christians in California have stated it was their intention to promote violence, which has given cover for al Qaida-like operations against our people, which presents a problem.
    Past efforts to restrict free speech here — like sedition laws — have a sordid history and I don’t think most people want to go back there. Despite popular support, all efforts to ban flag burning have been defeated, and that’s good.
    I’m no lawyer, but I would hope that the families of those killed in Libya might bring a civil action against anyone even remotely involved in the production of the film to at least clean them out financially. Your average U.S. jury would go for it and it might deter future abuses of the First Amendment.

    1. The Internet has done much to spread the American gold standard of free speech around the world, but societies coming out of dictatorships have a tough time grasping the concept.

      How patronizing.

        1. This attitude is called White Man’s Burden. It displays pusillanimity rather than the opposite.

  23. Suppose there were a movie expressing much the same sentiments as “Innocence of Muslims”, but with well-crafted dialogue, at least B-movie caliber acting, and reasonably high production values.

    Would that be defensible as free speech, or not??

  24. For anyone who wants to know the truth about Mohammad and islam,
    here is an old movie based on historical books

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