Violent protests at US embassies continued today, as four protestors were killed by Yemeni police outside the US embassy in Sanaa, Yemen, a day after attacks in Benghazi, Libya killed ambassador Chris Stevens and three other officials. Once again, the protests were obstensibly incited by an anti-Islamic film called Innocence of Muslims, which looked like it was made by Tommy Wiseau’s retarded brother (Islammy Wiseau, say), and according to initial reports had been produced and directed by a character named Sam Bacile, supposedly an Israeli-American real estate developer from California. It wasn’t long before people starting poking holes in the Bacile story, and now the real guy behind the Bacile persona has been identified by US officials and the AP as Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a 55-year-old Coptic Christian living in Southern California who was apparently employing the time honored strategy of blaming the Jews.
I’ll say this for him, “Nakoula B. Nakoula” is a f*cking awesome name. “B. Nakoula, Honeybun!”
The self-proclaimed director of Innocence of Muslims initially claimed a Jewish and Israeli background. But others involved in the film said his statements were contrived as evidence mounted that the film’s key player was a southern Californian Coptic Christian.
Nakoula, 55, told The Associated Press in an interview outside Los Angeles that he managed logistics for the company that produced the film.
He denied he had directed the film, though he said he knew the self-described filmmaker, Sam Bacile. But the mobile phone number that the AP contacted on Tuesday to reach the filmmaker who identified himself as Bacile traced to the same address near Los Angeles where Nakoula was located. Nakoula told the AP he is a Coptic Christian and supported the concerns of Christian Copts about their treatment by Muslims.
Nakoula denied he had posed as Bacile. Federal court papers filed in a 2010 criminal prosecution against him said Nakoula had used numerous aliases in the past. Among the fake names, the documents said, were Nicola Bacily and Erwin Salameh.
During a conversation outside his home, Nakoula offered his driver’s licence to show his identity but kept his thumb over his middle name, Basseley. Records checks by the AP subsequently found that middle name as well as other connections to the Bacile persona. [HeraldSun]
Ooh, the old thumb-over-the-name trick. Why am I not surprised that the guy behind this movie tried that one? Yeesh. At least four dead in the wake of this low-budget turd created by a simpleton (eight, if you count the Libya attack, which may have only been using the movie as a cover for a pre-planned attack). An independent filmmaker could scarcely dream of such an energetic response. Hopefully now that we know that it was an Egyptian dude and not a Jewish plot, these people will settle down. But given that they’re the type to attack an embassy thousands of miles away because some jackass in LA made a sh*tty movie, I doubt “facts” are paramount among their motives.
Yemeni President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi apologised to his US counterpart Barack Obama and the American people for the acts of a “mob” and ordered a probe.
“Those who are behind (the attack) are a mob that are not aware of the far-reaching plots of Zionist forces, especially those who made a film insulting the Prophet,” said Mr Hadi. [HeraldSun]
I honestly have no idea what the hell that means, but it seems like a bad sign when even the guy condemning the protestors as an angry mob still uses the phrase “far-reaching plots of Zionists.” Give yourself a hand, Nakoula, you are the Troll of the Decade.
Hearing the news, Aaron Sorkin said “Oh right, and I’m the one who gets attacked for creating unrealistic straw men.”
UPDATE: Apparently, Nakoula’s criminal past includes narcotics convictions and bank fraud:
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. [BoingBoing]
Nakoula’s production was shelved for more than two years following his June 2009 arrest by postal inspectors. He pleaded guilty to a felony bank fraud count and was sentenced in June 2010 to 21 months in prison (which he split between three Bureau of Prisons facilities) and five years probatioin. Nakoula was aided by an Arabic translator during court sessions.
A variety of documents filed in the U.S. District Court case were sealed at the request of prosecutors and Nakoula’s lawyer. The sealed records–from the transcript of Nakoula’s change-of-plea hearing to sentencing memoranda–appear to indicate that his plea agreement with the government included some form of cooperation. Nakoula’s indictment alleged that he operated his bank swindle with “one or more co-schemers.” [SmokingGun]
This thing just keeps getting weirder and weirder.