The Associated Press identifies Sam Bacile as an Israeli filmmaker based in California who made an independently produced and financed anti-Muslim movie that's sort of "Birth of a Nation" meets "Bed Intruder." The YouTube trailer is embedded above, and it unapologetically attacks Islam’s prophet Muhammad. Bacile has no known prior history as a filmmaker.
His D-grade web trailer inspired (or, alternately, was used as cover for) attacks by ultra-conservative Muslims on U.S. missions in Egypt and Libya. J Christopher Stevens, America's ambassador to Libya, and three American members of his staff were killed today in resulting violence.
Speaking by phone Tuesday from an undisclosed location, writer and director Sam Bacile remained defiant, saying Islam is a cancer and that the 56-year-old intended his film to be a provocative political statement condemning the religion. Protesters angered over Bacile’s film opened fire on and burned down the U.S. consulate in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi. Libyan officials said Wednesday that Ambassador Chris Stevens was killed Tuesday night when he and a group of embassy employees went to the consulate to try to evacuate staff as the building came under attack by a mob firing machine guns and rocket propelled grenades.
Bacile is a real estate developer in California who identifies himself as an Israeli Jew. “Islam is a cancer, period,” he told the AP. The video above is a trailer for his two-hour movie, “Innocence of Muslims,” which cost $5 million to produce and was, according to the director, backed by funding from 100 Jewish donors. There's an English version and an Arabic-dubbed version of the trailer here. Bacile reports that the entire film has been shown "once, to a mostly empty theater in Hollywood earlier this year."
Bioethicist Peter Singer has a thought-provoking piece on Wikileaks' Cablegate, in which he discusses The Treaty of Versailles, one of the most notable pieces of secret diplomacy. Since the treaty bore substantial responsibility for several of the conditions that led to World War II, Singer says "it has a fair claim to being the most disastrous peace treaty in human history." He brings up points both pro and con:
Openness is in this respect like pacifism: just as we cannot embrace complete disarmament while others stand ready to use their weapons, so Woodrow Wilson's world of open diplomacy is a noble ideal that cannot be fully realized in the world in which we live.
We could, however, try to get closer to that ideal. If governments did not mislead their citizens so often, there would be less need for secrecy, and if leaders knew that they could not rely on keeping the public in the dark about what they are doing, they would have a powerful incentive to behave better.
The TSA is refusing to apologize to India's ambassador to the USA, who was flagged for an extended public grope because she was wearing a sari.
The Clarion-Ledger writes Ambassador Meera Shankar was in Jackson last weekend as a guest of Mississippi State University.
"While in town, Shankar met with Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant, representatives from the Mississippi Development Authority and members of the Indian community in Jackson, and she spoke to more than 100 people at the Executive Lecture Forum of Jackson," the paper writes.
Shankar apparently was selected for enhanced screening, even though she did not set of the airport's metal detectors. Witnesses tell the Clarion-Ledger security agents told Shankar she was singled out because she was wearing a sari, which the paper notes is as "a traditional Indian robe that is draped across the body..."
The Clarion-Ledger writes "witnesses said Shankar asked for a private screening, but she was led to a clear box where two officers searched her in clear view."
"She is a very strong woman, but you could see in her face that she was humiliated," Tan Tsai, a research associate at MSU's International Security Studies center who witnessed the screening, tells the paper. "The Indian culture is very modest."
It all goes to show you: security theater means never having to say "your sari."