Nakoula Basseley Nakoula escorted by LA County Sherriff's deputies from his home in Cerritos, CA. Photo: AP/CBS2-KCAL9, LA.
A federal judge today determined that California resident Nakoula Basseley Nakoula (aka Sam Bacile), one of the men behind a crappy, anti-Islamic YouTube video linked to violent protests in the Middle East and the death of a US ambassador, "is a flight risk" and must be jailed. Snip from AP:
Citing a lengthy pattern of deception, U.S. Central District Chief Magistrate Judge Suzanne Segal said Nakoula Basseley Nakoula should be held after officials said he violated his probation from a 2010 check fraud conviction.
‘‘The court has a lack of trust in this defendant at this time,’’ Segal said.
Nakoula had eight probation violations, including lying to his probation officers and using aliases, and he might face new charges that carry a maximum two-year prison term, authorities said.
After his 2010 conviction, Nakoula was sentenced to 21 months in prison and was barred from using computers or the Internet for five years without approval from his probation officer.
The government of Pakistan blocked access to YouTube today, after Google refused to remove the craptacular trailer for "Innocence of Muslims" linked to violent protests around the the Muslim world. Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf ordered the ban to prevent further violence, according to the Pakistani paper Dawn, and YouTube responded with a statement acknowledging restricted access to the content in various countries, "given the very sensitive situations."
"There's no indication that the government is questioning the right of these idiots to make that repellent film. On the other hand, it does make us nervous when the government throws its weight behind any requests for censorship," the American Civil Liberties Union's Ben Wizner said in an interview Friday.— Xeni
Three schools in Texas, North Dakota and Ohio were evacuated today after bomb threats apparently linked to the "Innocence of Muslims" YouTube video freakout prompted officials to issue evacuation orders. More at Associated Press. And here are our archives. — Xeni
This story is so weird. And with every advancement this week, it just gets weirder.
"Fury about a film that insults the Prophet Mohammad tore across the Middle East after weekly prayers on Friday with protesters attacking U.S. embassies and burning American flags as the Pentagon rushed to bolster security at its missions," reports Reuters.
Of course, one could rightly argue that the outrage isn't really about the video—but about the fallout of years of US wars in the region. A trigger, if you will, but not the underlying cause of the conflict.
The broadening of the protests appeared to reflect a pent-up resentment of Western powers in general, and defied pleas for restraint from world leaders including the new Islamist president of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi, whose country was the instigator of the demonstrations that erupted four days earlier on the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
The story got weirder as news organizations traced the identity of the person, or persons, operating behind the apparent pseudonym of "filmmaker Sam Bacile." Noah Shachtman at Danger Room digs into public records and finds that Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the primary guy using the "Bacile" alias, was arrested in 1997 for manufacturing drugs: angel dust and crystal meth. He has also been convicted of financial fraud charges.
Laura Rozen wonders how it is possible that Nakoula was released from prison one month, and was out directing this schlock-hate-film a month later. Was he an informant? If this is a disinfo job, by whom and to what end?
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.
The whole story behind that video and the attacks linked to it is perplexing, and the more that comes to light, the more it feels like a strange disinfo job. But I have no idea by whom, and to what end.
More images here. I don't know who shot them, and am unable to verify that they are what they appear to be as I post.
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."