Meet some of the curious characters linked to “Innocence of Muslims” film

At the ADL blog, a rundown of Anti-Muslim Christian Activists linked to the “Innocence of Muslims” film. One of them, anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller associate Joseph Nas­ralla, stars in the YouTube video above.

It's all too murky for me, still, to accept the story at face value. Laura Rozen has been a good source of analysis on Twitter; a blog post from her analyzing the loose threads is here.

Also: Nakoula Basseley Nakoula aka "Sam Bacile" aka was taken into custody today by federal authorities. The issue at hand may be whether the ex-con violated terms of parole by using a computer in the production of the YouTube video. In searing Los Angeles heat, Nakoula exited his home voluntarily, wearing a hat, sunglasses, a towel around his face, and a heavy winter coat. The LA Times reports that he and others associated with "Innocence" are receiving death threats.

The "Courageous Christians United" website today displays a statement distancing itself from Steve Klein, who has been identified as having been involved in the video's production.

Meanwhile, the protests have spread to... Australia.

Here's Boing Boing's archive of posts related to this wacky, still-evolving story.



  1. If I had to guess, I would say that heavy winter coat is covering a bullet-proof vest the authorities gave him to wear…

  2. I fervently hope our government doesn’t trample on the First Amendment rights of Nakoula, Nasralla, et al.  And I wish these gentlemen the best of luck dealing with the other possible consequences of their little stunt.

    1.  I fervently hope our government takes into account these yo-yos caused the death of four American diplomatic personnel, & land on them like a ton of bricks for parole violations, fraud etc.

      1. I hope you realize that while their actions provided other extremists with an excuse to kill American diplomatic personnel, they didn’t “cause” the deaths.

        I agree that they need to experience the full brunt of whatever laws are applicable to their conduct and they need to receive full due process in their court cases, but saying they caused the deaths is like saying that the people who actually murdered the diplomatic personnel are not responsible for their actions.

        A movie, however abhorrent, cannot cause anyone to kill another person. People choose to kill other people.

          1. So before you criticize someone’s beliefs you ought to consider whether or not they are incapable of witholding the urge to murder innocent people who had nothing to do with the situation?

            Sorry, but in the US you are well within your rights to verbally “spit” on other groups that you don’t like. And that’s a right worth keeping.

          2. I’m guessing that you’re a straight, white, male Gentile. Because those at the top of the privilege ladder never seem to understand why hate speech is a problem.

          3.  Antinous:

            Hate speech is speech that is intended to provoke violence against real, living, human beings.

            Making fun of mythological figures – who can be harmed by no one – is not even -close- to “hate speech” in my book.

          4. Antinous:  In the offices of the ACLU a young female Jewish lawyer is making peanuts
            and holding her nose while defending the right of people like skinheads and misogynist clerics to express themselves.    I would rather have provocative speech tolerated (even speech I disagree with) than use your narrow guidelines–because after all, you are a product of your time and you might be wrong (can you grant us that?).   I sickens me that you use race and sex and sexual orientation to dismiss a position on a topic that strives to give us all an equal voice.  Being an atheist and a socialist, I can assure you I’ve heard much hate speech directed at people like me. 

      2. No. No. No.

        The film didn’t cause anything. People being awful people caused the deaths. You cannot punish people for making a movie, ANY movie, (other than the obvious illegal child pr0n). It’s just not right to persecute people for making a movie.

        Where’s the ACLU!?

        1.  Where’s the Southern Poverty Law Center?

          Again, these people are Islamophobic @#$!s, & I will smile at any grief they get.

          1.  Do you think they’re as Islamophobic as the Muslims are Occidentalphobic?  The protest violence and killings are the acts of people who are angry that someone made fun of something.  That kind of stupidity is far more outrageous than any film.

            Muslims in other countries offend my values every day of the year (oppression of women, human rights abuses, etc.) and those offenses are far worse than making fun of some mythical being.  And yet here I am, not storming any embassies or killing anyone.

        2. Sure it is.

          There may be no legal pretext with which to hang them, but there’s no reason we can’t socially ostracize them.

          You want to invite the filmmakers to your next barbecue, go right ahead. They’re already off my Christmas-card list.

      1. If the parole agents had been made aware that he’d violated his parole condition by uploading cat videos to the internet, there’s no universe in which this guy would have been hauled in for questioning in the middle of the night.  This is about what he said, not that he said it.  

        The government doesn’t get to choose. 

    2. One of the several things that’s gone seriously wrong with the US in the last four decades or so is that we’ve lost the connection between rights and responsibilities. Yes, we have the rights of free people: to speak, to hold religious beliefs (except, recently, non-Zionist ones), to assemble, to petition the government for redress of grievances.

      But we also have responsibilities: to make informed decisions (including, especially, in voting), to respect the rights of others, and so on. That’s gone out the window, and America and the world are far poorer because of it.

  3. After 9/11 I was convinced that my country was going to lose its collective mind and start lynching people. But though the bile was intense and focused, it was small, point-sourced. What made 9/11 seems so much like trolling by murder wasn’t so much the air bombings, but the anthrax: targeting congress via mail was genius-it turned the most effective way of free speech into a terrorist threat. I’m more suspicious about the “truth” of the anthrax attacks than I am about the air bombs, don’t think that’s ever going to come out.

    My tin foil hat theory is that the true origin of this film would be the same as the attack on that embassy. But even if that were the case and it became widely known, would it make a difference?

    1. No, because the “reality” manufactured by the half-dozen corporatist media sources in the US (that wield excessive influence elsewhere as well) would shout it down with hasbara made from whole cloth, as usual.

  4.  Despite these guys being assholes of fairly high-order railroading them over trumped-up and inflated charges is still bullshit. This is not a case of Al Capone being too powerful to take down through direct legal means and drawing attention for conducting a violent criminal empire; this is a case of some not-so-powerful douchebags exercising their right to free expression.

    Even a shitty racist dickbag message has a right to be put out there. These people are no more to blame for the reaction than any previous excuse-of-the-week certain agents will use or have used to facilitate their desire to act out violence. There is a whole order of difference between people who believe and repeat shitty words and people who hear shitty words as an excuse to get people to murder or blow themselves up, etc.

    1. Except this is about him violating his parole. You know what you shouldn’t do when you violate your parole? Attract attention to yourself by starting a riot.

      1.  I just don’t see this person’s parole violation as being anything but a burn offering. For one thing this “film” was hardly a solo effort, but this one person violated his parole. “Here ya go, justice served. One person under the bus! Now will you leave us alone?”

        Meanwhile Amanda Bynes is still driving cars and about a million zillion other paroles got violated this week, some of them a lot worse than using a computer.

        And this is in service of the demands of the kind of people who respond to YouTube trolling videos by shooting rockets at people completely uninvolved in the offending video because their passport may have the same stamp.

          1.  I don’t know if that was supposed to be glib, but it was.

            We, as a society, don’t make people “do the time” unless they are pariahs in some way not usually connected to their crime, like failing to be wealthy or Caucasian. This is unequal application of justice, and it’s wrong.

    2. These people are no more to blame for the reaction than any previous excuse-of-the-week certain agents will use or have used to facilitate their desire to act out violence.

      What part of agents provocateurs are you unclear on?

      1.  I guess the semantic difference between an undercover cop encouraging illegal behavior as a direct agent of the government and some assholes trying to stir up shit with some financial backing from what appear to be assholes of the private-citizen stripe are on either side of where I see a difference.

        And when the law bows to mob justice, even if that mob may actually be just, by trying to nitpick someone then I see that kind of mob power can be justified later of for use against something else a lot of people are pissed about but maybe next time I won’t be in political agreement with that mob.

        Revenge is usually understandable, but it shouldn’t be enforced by the justice system.

      2. Not entirely sure what you’re getting at, but if I’m following you correctly I don’t think that analogy holds true in this case… These filmakers appear to just be racist, incompetent rubes. The provocateurs here are more likely the clerics/religious authority figures who used this tripe to unleash this senseless violence. For what gain I can’t comprehend. I guess just to stir up discord in their fragile political climate in order to shore up support against liberal reforms?

      3. When the Saudis behead someone for being gay, and gay Americans do not storm their embassy in retaliation, does this mean the Saudi actions are less provocative?

        1. No, it means there’s no intentional campaign to stoke resentment among American gays for profit or political power.

        2. No.  It means that Americans are de-politicized.  That the Saudis have never actually bombed the Castro or overthrown Barney Frank.  That our capacity for dealing with protest is somewhat more effective than that of Libya, which is poor, devastated and in reconstruction.

    1. Better yet, let’s make him out as a “Christian meth cook with ties to Israeli military intelligence”, and see how many non sequiturs we can find in that description.

  5. Let them hide behind the shield of “Freedom of Speech” but hold them liable for their actions.  As Americans we enjoy the freedom to say and do as we please (for the most part), but it is torts that will keep them from dragging these rights into the gutter.  Anyone negatively impacted by this “movie” should file suit against him, them, and any media outlet that has promoted the trash.

    1. Bullshit.  That, to a large degree, is how they do it in England, and it just allows rich people to suppress the free speech rights of anyone who doesn’t have money for a long court battle. 

    2. Oh dear. Define “negatively impacted.” 

      You mean the people whose feelings were hurt? 

      I’m a little more concerned for the people that got bullets shot into them than the ones whose magical deity was offended.

      In my country you can make a movie with Jesus, Krishna, Thomas Jefferson and the Buddha having a good old fashioned circle jerk. Muhammed can watch. No one has to die.

      1. How about hiring people on false pretenses? This isn’t what the actors signed on for. The guy is a criminal. It’s pretty obvious when you look at the footage that he stole part of the 5 million dollars budget.

        1. That part is really creepy. It’s like hiring someone to do a straight acting job and then putting their scenes into a porn film.

        2.  Yes, if that’s what happened that is uncool.  However, it is a red herring.  In looking at what happened in Libya we are still talking about the equivalent of a grade school kid running up to the playground monitor to complain that someone made fun of him.  Except in this case we’re dealing with atavistic people who kill the playground monitor because their feelings were hurt.

          And in the end this silly film business is all just pretext anyway for people to do what they wanted to do in the first place.

  6. Set paranoia bit to ON:

    What if “Sam Bacile” is an Islamist agent who deliberately made an allegedly anti-Muslim movie while doing something otherwise arrestworthy for the purpose of convincing Muslims in general that rioting is an effective means of getting people they don’t like jailed?

  7. Specifics of this case and these particular jerkwads aside, I’m mildly surprised that “not using a computer” can still be imposed as a condition of parole in this day and age. You might as well forbid a parolee from using telephones or electricity.

  8. Seriously, in the Islamic world Muslims enjoy the privilege of being the overwhelming majority and having most of the political power so this White Christian Male Privilege bullshit doesn’t apply. If Muslims were being killed due to this video then I would be up in arms about hate speech. 

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