This morning I told you about the embassy riots in Egypt and attack on the Libyan consulate that killed US ambassador Chris Stevens and three other diplomats, disturbances that were supposedly a result of protests against the anti-Islamic, anti-competent film, Innocence of Muslims. The film was supposedly produced and directed by an Israeli-born, California-residing real estate developer named Sam Bacile. Now it turns out, Bacile might not be a real person.
Innocence of Islam was supposedly written and directed by a man named Sam Bacile, who says he made it on a $5 million budget raised from 100 Israeli donors; Bacile himself claims to be Israeli. The film supposedly screened once in July at an empty Los Angeles theater, and it was not until a trailer, dubbed in Arabic, began circulating online that it caused any sort of wave of anger.
The Hollywood Reporter has learned that there is no Sam Bacile registered to the Directors’ Guild of America [Duh], and there has been doubt cast as to whether the budget was truly that high [double duh].
Additionally, Israeli officials told the Associated Press that they had never heard of a Sam Bacile, and there was no record of him ever being a citizen.
The fact that he’s not in the Director’s Guild would be obvious to anyone who saw the trailer, and unless green screens cost $4.9 million, it probably didn’t cost $5 million either. But the reports I read said he was “Israeli-born,” not necessarily Israeli, and that the money came from Jewish donors, again, not necessarily Israeli. There’s a good, thorough rundown of the discrepancies in the competing Sam Bacile stories here, but here’s the gist:
In a report for The Atlantic, Jeffrey Goldberg spoke to a militant Christian from Riverside, Calif., named Steve Klein, who says he had a consulting role on the film. He cast doubt on Bacile’s story.
“I don’t know that much about him,” Klein said. “I met him, I spoke to him for an hour. He’s not Israeli, no. I can tell you this for sure, the state of Israel is not involved, Terry Jones (the Koran-burning radical Christian 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.”
Klein added that he believed that the people funding the project were not Israeli, but from Syria, Turkey, Pakistan and Egypt. He added that they probably were Coptic Egyptians and Evangelicals.
Further, there is doubt that the film was even the cause of the attacks that claimed the life of Stevens and the three other Americans.
CNN is reporting that an attack such as the one that killed Stevens, with rocket-launched grenades, would have required pre-planning and likely is the work of Al Qaeda in North Africa. That group swore revenge for the June killing of a senior leader of the terror group Abu Yahya al-Libi and has struck in Benghazi before. [THR]
So, it could be that people were actually pissed about this obscure film made by a guy who may or may not be the retarded Ed Wood version of Kaiser Soze, or it could just be that the film was a convenient excuse for a pre-planned attack. That second version would make it less stupid, though a bit more scary.
“According to our sources, the attack was the work of roughly 20 militants, prepared for a military assault; it is rare that an RPG7 is present at a peaceful protest,” Noman Benotman, once a leading member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and now based at the Quilliam Foundation in London told CNN.
“According to our sources, the attack against the consulate had two waves. The first attack led to U.S. officials being evacuated from the consulate by Libyan security forces, only for the second wave to be launched against U.S. officials after they were kept in a secure location.”
That analysis is supported by U.S. sources who say the attack on the consulate is believed to have been pre-planned. The sources say the attackers used the protest as a diversion to launch the attack, although the sources could not say if the attackers instigated the protest or merely took advantage of it. [CNN]
So… maybe the Libya attack was a terrorist attack with a convenient scapegoat, and the Egyptian embassy protest was an organic protest with a dusting of pro-terrorist sentiment? Ouch, okay, now my head hurts. I’m not cut out for all this fact-based blogging. If you need me, I’ll be working up a Photoshop for “Samba Seal,” because it kind of sounds like Sam Bacile if you say it fast. Clever, right?