The young Sunni militants who rioted outside Sydney’s US Consulate were tricked into doing exactly what the makers of ‘Innocence of Muslims’ wanted them to do.
Who are the makers of this movie? Who are their associates? And what did they intend as the outcome?
“Sam Basile” always sounded like a joke name. Just for a start, it rhymes with imbecile. When reached by phone by Associated Press (AP), after the Libyan events, Basile claimed to be an Israeli American, and to have raised $5 million from a hundred Jewish donors to make the film. The aim was “to help his native land by exposing Islam’s flaws to the world”.
We now know that “Sam Basile” is a cover identity for the four individuals who actually made the film: Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, Steve Klein, Morris Sadek, and Joseph Nasralla Abdelmasih.
It’s most likely that the AP reporter actually spoke to Nakoula.
Of Egyptian Coptic background, Nakoula appears to be just a crook. In 2009 he was busted in California for the third time and it was no small matter. He stole nearly $800,000 from six financial institutions by using stolen Social Security numbers and identities. What’s odd is that California has a “three strikes”policy that can send people to prison for life for much less than that. Nakoula was sentenced to 21 months, but amazingly he got out after a year. That stinks of the man cutting a deal with somebody very influential. Not only that, having walked, he immediately went into the movie business (a field in which he had no previous experience) and was able to raise the money for “Innocence”.
But simple crooks very seldom act out of high-flown political motives. We may speculate that Nakoula, contacted by AP, and very scared by the implications of the backlash against the film, blurted out what he knew to be the origins of the film’s funding. Perhaps.
At all events, the next person to be contacted was Klein, a right-wing Christian who claims to have led a Marine “hunter-killer” team in Vietnam. Klein is a classic fundamentalist Protestant loony who pickets abortion clinics, mosques and Mormon temples, hates Catholics, and has ties to the militia movement. Not so long ago, such people used to be rabidly anti-Jewish but these days they’re all fanatical supporters of Israel. A good deal of political effort went into that.
When AP asked Klein who made the film he said it was an Israeli Jew. But reached later by Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic magazine he changed his story. Asked who Basile was, he replied, “I don’t know that much about him. … He’s not Israeli, no. I can tell you this for sure, the State of Israel is not involved, Terry Jones [the radical Koran-burning pastor] is not involved. His name is a pseudonym. All these Middle Eastern folks I work with have pseudonyms. I doubt he’s Jewish. I would suspect this is a disinformation campaign.” Note the very specific denial about the “State of Israel”, which sounds awfully like he was coached.
Klein also told the press he “inspired Basile” to make the film and after the attacks in Libya said, “We went into this knowing this was probably going to happen.” Indeed. Klein, of course, knew very well that Basile didn’t exist at all.
Morris Sadek is an American Egyptian Copt who seems to have been the publicist for the movie and the link man with the Koran-burning pastor, Terry Jones.
Joseph Nasralla Abdelmasih, also an Egyptian Copt, is head of Media for Christ, the film’s producers. They’re a non-denominational evangelical outfit that produces a satellite TV show hosted by Steve Klein called “Wake Up America.” The three Copts have been disavowed by the official Coptic Church.
And what links all these men (and the alleged director, “Alan Roberts”, formerly a pornographer), is that they all fall within the ideological orbit of the fanatical anti-Muslim hate groups run by Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer.
To visit Geller’s ‘Atlas Shrugs’ website is a real education. Geller is a promoter of the extreme individualist views of Ayn Rand, the nutty prophet of egotistical individualism. She’s the executive director of the American Freedom Defence Initiative and a promoter of the Tea Party movement. At the very top of the right-hand column of her website you can click to donate to “Pro-Israel ads”. Next down is an ad saying “Support Israel, Defeat Jihad”. Next there’s an ad for her book “Stop the Islamization of America – a practical guide to the resistance” and another for “The Obama Administration’s war on America” (with Robert Spencer) and yet another for Stop Islamisation of Europe (SION, get it?). And on it goes, down the page.
Put all this together and ‘Innocence of Muslims’reeks of a Mossad operation, organised through a bunch of dupes and eager allies. The aim was to provoke the sort of violent global response that subsequently happened. Whether or not that had the effect intended – deepening prejudice against Muslims generally, and preparing the way for an Israeli nuclear strike against Iran – is another question.
• More Nick Possum at brushtail.com.au