As I previously commented, the background information to this tawdry and poorly produced anti-Islam film was questionable.
I was surprised that the Wall Street Journal took at face value the statements from the supposed producer.
We are meant to believe that he was “an Israeli-American” and the more laughable element that he had “100 Jewish donors”.
To me that didn’t ring true, and the details coming out from America confirmed that.
It is fairly obvious that one aim of this crude project, by anti-Muslim bigots, was to stoke up hatred towards Jews. Why else pretend to be an “an Israeli-American” and talk of “100 Jewish donors”?
ABC has more information:
“The controversial “Innocence of Muslims” was written, produced and directed by a convicted drug manufacturer and scam artist, who has told authorities he actually wrote the script in federal prison and began production two months after his June 2011 release from custody.
Authorities say Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, of Cerritos, California, admitted his role in the film, after seeking help from law enforcement in dealing with death threats he has received since the release of the film. Excerpts from the film led to outrage and violence in the Arab world.
Authorities told ABC News that Nakoula told them he and his son, Abanob Basseley, 21, were responsible for producing the movie which, he reportedly said, cost between $50,000 and $60,000 and was shot in a little over 12 days.
Authorities say he claimed the money for the movie came from his wife’s family in Egypt.”
Rob Eshman made the point, How Nakoula Basseley Nakoula aka ‘Sam Bacile” Libeled Jews.
This is Time’s who is who on that film.
Jeff Goldberg spotted these issues a few days ago.
I can’t disagree with Jeff’s summation:
Update 1: Zachary Novetsky eviscerates the lazy media and its sloppy thinking, concluding:
“Even without asking any of these questions, red flags should have been raised by the filmmaker’s forthcomingness about his donors’ Jewishness. The Jews who do promote anti-Muslim causes—few in number, to be sure—tend to do so much more clandestinely. (For example, it took the Center for American Progress—no stranger to controversy over its coverage of Israeli and Jewish affairs—six months of investigative research to document what it identifies as an “Islamophobia network.”) Gloating about one’s Jewishness after being implicated in tragic events, where people die, is not a hallmark of our people.
These mindless attacks and senseless killings, which have been exacerbated by sloppy and dangerous reporting, should remind us of the responsibilities of journalists. The journalists who uncritically reported that “Sam Bacile” was an Israeli-Jew with “100 Jewish donors” should ask themselves, to quote Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, “What steps can be taken in the future to make sure they are not manipulated by individuals who are looking to smear all Jews.” “
Update 2: Surely, the slowest, most ill prepared journalist could have employed an elementary research tool? Google. To check out the non-existence Sam Bacile, his alias and his racist project? But no, even now across the web many seem to think Sam Bacile is real. Frightening.
Update 3: AP has finally produced a good guide to this terrible film and its consequences:
“Anti-American protests have erupted in the Middle East over a crudely made film mocking the prophet Muhammad, resulting in violent embassy protests around the Middle East, fallout in the U.S. presidential campaign and heightened security at U.S. facilities abroad.
THE FILM: Fourteen-minute clips of the amateurish anti-Islam film “Innocence of Muslims” have been posted on YouTube. The clips depict the prophet Muhammad as a fraud, a womanizer and a madman in an overtly mocking way, showing him having sex and calling for massacres. Muslims find it offensive to depict Muhammad in any fashion, much less in an insulting way. Google Inc., owner of YouTube, has pulled down the video in Egypt, but it is still accessible in the U.S. and other countries. The film supposedly runs two hours. Film industry groups and permit agencies haven’t been able to find records of a project called “Innocence of Muslims,” though a Los Angeles film permit agency did find a record of a movie filmed in Los Angeles last year with the working title “Desert Warriors.” The film apparently had a brief run at the Vine Theater, a faded Hollywood movie house. The YouTube clips are called “Muhammad Movie Trailer” and “The Real Life of Muhammad.” “
Update 4: Popehatsays, Meet Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, Who Might Be “Sam Bacile,” Anti-Muslim Filmmaker.
Update 5: Simple Justice looks at it from an American constitutional angle, Inciting The Crowds.
Update 6: VOA reports:
“The man allegedly behind the private film sparking demonstrations in the Muslim world was escorted from his California home early Saturday by deputies in Los Angeles on the U.S. west coast.
Police say Nakoula Basseley Nakoula left his home voluntarily to be interviewed by federal authorities.
Reuters news agency reports that Nakoula, who has been convicted of bank fraud, is being questioned for possible probation violations stemming from making the controversial film. “
Update 7: “The Innocence of Muslims”: Rights, Responsibilities, and Cultural (and Political) Impositions is an essentially legal contribution:
“Arab governments must endeavour to explain that the movie and like publications are the work of insignificant private instigators; they are not endorsed by Western governments. And instead of talk of “red lines” which legitimise riots, the fringe and absurd nature of this publication should have been emphasised. Innocence of Muslims is nothing but a shonky film placed, like billions of other publications, on the internet. It deserves disdain and irrelevance rather than the prominent notoriety its makers probably sought and have received.
Such measures may only paper over the cracks opened up by simmering anti-Western feelings. But, while many Muslims in the Arab world were offended by this movie, and many do not trust the West for a variety of reasons, only a tiny few endorse rioting and the killing of people in response. That overwhelming sentiment must be harnessed and built upon, preferably before the next incendiary publication comes along. “
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