Nakoula’s Arrest and Imprisonment: The Big Chill [UPDATED]

More than a week ago, one of my blogging, legal, ethics idols, Ken at Popehat, took issue with my post stating that the midnight questioning of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula (the alleged producer of “Innocence of Muslims,” the crude anti-Islam film then being blamed by the Obama administration for all the violence that erupted in the Middle East on September 11) would appear both abroad and at home to be in retaliation for his exercise of his free speech rights, and should have been avoided even if it was otherwise justified by his parole violations. Ken wrote:

“…What separates us from the mob is the rule of law. We shouldn’t ignore the rule of law by violating First Amendment principles in what Eugene Volokh correctly points out would be an utterly vain attempt to appease a mob. On the other hand, we shouldn’t hinder the rule of law to avoid the appearance of appeasement, either. That’s still letting the mob dictate our actions and our adherence to our own laws. “We would normally do X, but we mustn’t because it might enrage the mob” is just the flip side of “We would normally do X, but we mustn’t because it might embolden the mob.” Both are a sucker’s game. The mob’s actions are going to be driven by its own culture and by the people manipulating the mob for their own political gain. Jack, and others, seem to be saying that the mob will misunderstand the orderly administration of the law in this instance: but is there really any chance that the mob will ever make an honest attempt to understand, or will care, or that the forces manipulating them will react honestly? Respect the rule of law and fuck ’em if they don’t like it.”

On this blog, commenter tgt was more succinct:

“Jack’s view of law is that if you are enough of a dick, you should be immune from prosecution for any action.” Continue reading

The Detainment Of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula Is A First Amendment Betrayal, Parole Violation Or Not

No, really, this has nothing to do with the President blaming this guy’s film on the attacks on US embassies; it’s just a parole violation thing. Unrelated. Really. Of course, if violent Muslims think we’re cracking down on him because he insulted their prophet, that’s a bonus, right?

Ken at Popehat applies his experience as  federal prosecutor to make this observation (among others) in the Federal questioning—I regard it as political harassment that happens to have a convenient non-political justification—of the hack ” Innocence of Muslims” film-maker Nakoula Basseley Nakoula:

  “I think the situation bears careful watching. Based on 6 years as a federal prosecutor and 12 as a federal defense lawyer, let me say this: minor use of a computer — like uploading a video to YouTube — is not something that I would usually expect to result in arrest and a revocation proceeding; I think a warning would be more likely unless the defendant had already had warnings or the probation officer was a hardass. But if I had a client with a serious fraud conviction, and his fraud involved aliases, and he had the standard term forbidding him from using aliases during supervised release, and his probation officer found out that he was running a business, producing a movie, soliciting money, and interacting with others using an alias, I would absolutely expect him to be arrested immediately, whatever the content of the movie. Seriously. Nakoula pled guilty to using alias to scam money. Now he’s apparently been producing a film under an alias, dealing with the finances of the film under the alias, and (if his “Sam Bacile” persona is to be believed) soliciting financing under an alias. I would expect him to run into a world of hurt for that even if he were producing a “Coexist” video involving kittens.”

Ken ends up where I do on other aspects of this incident, and I yield to his analysis here as far as it goes. But Nakoula Basseley Nakoula did not produce a “Coexist” video involving kittens. He produced a cheesy film that has provoked foreigners to violence, and also to demand that the creator of the film be punished by the U.S. government because of the film’s content; that voices on the left in this country are arguing should be censored (as well as that its maker be arrested); that the Obama Administration itself has tried to censor by persuading Google to ban it, and that Jay Carney is claiming, absurdly, is the sole target of all the Arab unrest. Continue reading

Ethics Quote of the Week: Ken at Popehat

“But the government doesn’t get to pick and choose what social causes are permissible, and any government actor who aspires to that power is a lowlife thug. What’s particularly alarming about Menino’s thuggery is how openly his referencing to licensing “difficulties” reveals how things really work in government: whatever rights you think that you have, practically speaking some bureaucrat can punish you for exercising them on a whim, and there’s very little you can do about it. Menino represents the ethos of government actors who think quite frankly that this is right and just and how it should be — that they, our masters, should be able to dictate what we think and do and say if we want to do business in their fiefdom”

—-Ken, Ethics Alarms 2011 Blogger of the Year, on Boston Mayor Thomas Menino’s public attack on Chick-fil-A, the food outlet whose president openly opposes same sex marriage and contributes to anti-gay marriage organizations.

Banned in Boston

Some things never change, do they? Once my old home town used to ban books and plays that contained ideas and content the powers-that-were disapproved of, and now its mayor actually thinks its his job to decide what political and social views a business owner or any citizen can safely support without facing active government enmity and sanctions. Boston, which was the nation’s first cauldron of free thought and passionate dedication to governments allowing free thought to thrive, quickly came to exemplify the liberal hypocrisy of being so dedicated to freedom that it will punish and censor anyone who doesn’t adopt its virtuous and obviously wise and correct views of the world. Menino’s threatened abuse of power to compel Chick-fil-A’s ownership “think right” is a classic in this category. The mayor told the Boston Herald: Continue reading

Ethics Alarms Lubricant 2: Ken at Popehat on Integrity and Free Speech

Today has been designated “Blog About Brett Kimberlin Day,” and unlike the last declared day of mass web defiance, “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day”, which was really “Everybody Go Out of Their Way To Insult All Muslims Because Some of Them Are Violent Fanatics And Comedy Central Didn’t Have The Guts To Stand Up To Them Day”, I support this one fully. Kimberlin is a violent far Left activist, the founder of the group Velvet Revolution, and a convicted terrorist who, in 1978, set off eight bombs in Speedway, Indiana, earning him the title of “The Speedway Bomber.”

When bloggers like Aaron Worthing and Robert Stacy McCain in Maryland wrote about  Kimberlin’s past, and his current involvement with active progressive groups, he mounted a campaign to silence and harass them, filing law suits and engaging in other tactics far more menacing, if not as expensive. You can read Worthing’s harrowing tale of Kimberlin’s campaign against him here.

The web’s most tireless crusader against free speech suppression by litigation, threats and harassment is, of course, the Ethics Alarms 2012 Blogger of the Year, Ken at Popehat. He has already blogged about Kimberlin, who fits nicely with the other Internet Furies and speech bullies that he has exposed, like Crystal Cox. But his theme this week was broader, and it is one that constantly troubles me. Taking off from blogger Michelle Malkin’s post declaring that there should be solidarity for targeted conservative bloggers, Ken protests that since free expression is the objective, the ideology of the bloggers being bullied shouldn’t matter. He writes: Continue reading