Nakoula Basseley Nakoula Is Not A Political Prisoner

My favorite Nakoula arrest meme: Funny, but wrong.

My favorite Nakoula arrest meme: Funny, but wrong.

The Congressional hearings regarding what increasingly appears to be intentional dissembling by the Obama Administration to minimize the political fallout from the Benghazi terrorist attack have, predictably, sparked renewed attention to the fate of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the creator of the anti-Islamist Youtube video that Hillary, the President, and Susan Rice pretended was the reason an ambassador and others ended up dead.

Nakoula is in prison, and his arrest for violating the terms of his probation was certainly well-timed for Obama Administration spin  purposes; purportedly (and if true, outrageously) Hillary Clinton told the family of one of the slain Americans that the filmmaker responsible for the video would be punished. This is only hearsay, but I am inclined to believe it: it is pure Clinton, masterful deceit. Nakoula couldn’t be punished for the video, of course, because of that darn old First Amendment. But Hillary may have known that he was headed for punishment and prison for something else, so it was a perfect ploy to make the victims’ families and any offended Muslims think this was why he was going to jail. Me, I think that oh-so-clever ploy is a betrayal of American integrity and values, but that depends on what the meaning of is is.

The Right, however, is sure that Nakoula was arrested for the video, one way or the other. Rich Lowry, editor of the National Review, has come right out and said that he’s a political prisoner. 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

Integrity Check For Obama Supporters: Calling the Federal Harassmant of the Idiotic, Bigoted, Irresponsible, Anti-Muslim Film Maker What It Is

That is, intolerable.

What’s wrong with this picture?

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a.k.a. “Sam Bacile,” was interviewed by Federal parole officials at the police station in  Cerritos, California, where Nakoula lives. Supposedly they investigating whether Nakoula has violated the terms of his five-year probation for various financial crimes, which could  cause a judge to send him back to prison.

  • What has he done to justify such an investigation? Why, he made a film insulting to Islam, which is being cited by the White House as the provocation for the protests and attacks at American embassies in Islamic nations! Yes, he also may in fact be in violation of his parole, which included prohibitions on using computers and aliases. If anyone really believes this is the reason the Feds are swooping down on him now, in the wake of the Obama Administration explicitly using his film as its scapegoat for the embassy protests and attacks, I need to talk with them about this Nigerian prince I know.
  • Is making a film insulting to Islam a violation of his parole by any stretch of the imagination? No. It is a protected act for any American citizen, and no matter what crimes he may have been convicted of in the past, completely irrelevant to them.
  • So why is he being questioned now? Three reasons: 1) To indicate to Islamic nations that the U.S. government is “doing something” to the miscreant who dared to make an offensive film (trailer, actually) 2) To intimidate him and other citizens who intend to exercise their right of free speech that Big Brother is watching, and if you displease him, or cause embarrassment to his misguided foreign policy, you will be sorry and 3) To prove a genuine violation of his parole , so he can be jailed in close proximity to his supposedly protected exercise of free speech, which the foreign critics demanding punishment for the maker of the film will take as official sanction for insulting Islam, which, in truth, it will be.*

Movie Critique Ethics: Jay Carney’s Embarrassing Lie

There was a different arm up Ron Zeigler’s back, but the system, and the results, were the same.

Once again, allow me to express sympathy for Jay Carney who, like all official White House spokesmen (R.I.P., Ron Zeigler—who once offered me a job, by the way…but I digress) regularly lies his head off, sometimes for good reasons, usually just because his bosses want it that way. Still, the lies come out of his mouth, so he is accountable.

Yesterday, Carney came out with this jaw-dropper regarding the multiple protests being directed at U.S. embassies in the Middle East, as well as the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Libya that left four dead, including our ambassador:

“This is a fairly volatile situation, and it is in response not to United States policy, obviously not to the administration, not to the American people. It is in response to a video, a film, that we have judged to be reprehensible and disgusting — that in no way justifies any violent reaction to it…But this is not a case of protests directed at the United States writ large or at U.S. policy, but it is in response to video that is offensive to Muslims.”

I know that the fact that President Obama’s signature charm offensive with the Arab world has been an abject failure is a bitter pill, but it would be both admirable and encouraging to see the President accepting that he was naive and learning from the experience, rather than knowing that he is prompting his spokesman to insist, against all logic and evidence, that, no, really, they still love us—they just shot a rocket at our embassy because they didn’t like a movie trailer. Continue reading