As everybody knows, a short video purporting to be the trailer for a film that was apparently never made, and which hardly anyone noticed for months, was publicly blamed by President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, UN Ambassador Susan Rice, and White House spokesman Jay Carney, for an outbreak of anti-US riots in Islamic countries, and for the murder of Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans in Benghazi, Libya, on the eleventh anniversary of 9/11.
The filmlet – puzzlingly titled “Innocence of Muslims” – mocks the Prophet Muhammad. The Prophet Muhammad is a mythical construct (even if based on one or more obscure historical figures of the 7th century), made by his inventors in accordance with their own ideals as an intolerant mass-murdering lecher. And that’s how the filmlet depicts him.
For making it, a small-time hoodlum named Nakoula Basseley Nakoula has been put in prison. Ostensibly his criminal offense is breaking terms of parole in trivial harmless ways such as going on the internet, but in fact he is a political prisoner who used his Constitutionally granted freedom of speech to say something the regime that now rules the United States of America does not like.
(For more about the video, Nakoula, the riots and how the video was used to stoke them up, see our posts: Muslim evil rising, September 13, 2012; Islam explodes, and Obama lit the fuse, September 14, 2012; The pretext giver, September 15, 2012; To make a mocking movie, September 23, 2012; Muslims made the anti-Muhammad video?, September 26, 2012.)
This is from PowerLine by John Hinderaker:
Liberal support for free speech has been waning for a long time, and at present it seems to be just about extinct. The latest evidence is a story in today’s New York Times about Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the man who made the video that was falsely blamed for the Benghazi attack, and has languished in jail for the last two months as a result. One might think that the Times would regard jailing a man for exercising his First Amendment rights as an outrage requiring daily denunciations, but no – the tone of the article, by Serge Kovaleski and Brooks Barnes, suggests that Nakoula deserved what he got.
Start with the article’s title: “From Man Who Insulted Muhammad, No Regret.” The Times finds it remarkable that Nakoula isn’t penitent:
“Fuming for two months in a jail cell here, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula has had plenty of time to reconsider the wisdom of making ‘Innocence of Muslims,’ his crude YouTube movie trailer depicting the Prophet Muhammad as a bloodthirsty, philandering thug.”
So is America now a country where we imprison people so they can rethink the wisdom of making a video with the wrong political point of view? Apparently the Times thinks so; there is strong evidence that Barack Obama does, too.
“Does Mr. Nakoula now regret the footage? After all, it fueled deadly protests across the Islamic world and led the unlikely filmmaker to his own arrest for violating his supervised release on a fraud conviction. Not at all. In his first public comments since his incarceration soon after the video gained international attention in September, Mr. Nakoula told The New York Times that he would go to great lengths to convey what he called ‘the actual truth’ about Muhammad.”
Which raises an interesting point. I have never seen anyone comment on the historical accuracy of Nakoula’s film (assuming that anyone has actually seen it) or the YouTube trailer. Muhammad was, in fact, a “bloodthirsty, philandering thug.” You could say worse things about him than that without straying from the truth. But this question is not one that the Times, or any other media outlet I am aware of, has seen fit to explore.
The Times tries to keep alive the fiction that Nakoula’s video might have had something to do with the Benghazi attack:
“There is a dispute about how important the video was in provoking the terrorist assault on the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed the United States ambassador and three other Americans.”
Actually, I don’t think there is any dispute at all. To my knowledge, there is zero evidence that the Ansar al-Sharia terrorists who carried out the attack knew or cared about Nakoula’s video.
The main point of the Times article – the only point, really – is to establish that Nakoula is disreputable and untrustworthy. But this is an odd perspective to take on what appears to be an extraordinary violation of the First Amendment – jailing a man for political speech regarded as inconvenient by the Obama administration. …
The Obama administration doesn’t even pretend that Nakoula was imprisoned for any reason other than as punishment for his impermissible speech. Recall Charles Woods [father of Tyrone Woods, one of the Americans murdered in Benghazi] recounting how Hillary Clinton approached him at his son’s memorial and said, “We’re going to have that person arrested and prosecuted that did the video.” And it is blindingly obvious that tossing a probationer in the slammer for using an alias and accessing the internet, notwithstanding that those actions violated the terms of his probation, is not standard practice.
The writer asks –
In the view of the New York Times, is the First Amendment reserved for the honest and the respectable?
And comments –
That certainly wasn’t the Left’s position when Communists were availing themselves of the bourgeois right of free speech.
Now, it seems, it may be reserved for those who submit to Obama and Islam.
In fact, the New York Times and American “liberals” in general have been against freedom as such for a long time now. Collectivists calling themselves liberal – in the manner described by George Orwell as Newspeak – is like Communist tyrannies commonly calling themselves People’s Democratic Republics. Or the main party of the Left in America calling itself the Democratic Party.
11/29/12. The real name of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula may have finally emerged. Fox News reports:
An Egyptian court convicted in absentia Wednesday seven Egyptian Coptic Christians and a Florida-based American pastor, sentencing them to death on charges linked to an anti-Islam film that had sparked riots in parts of the Muslim world [ie had been used to spark riots]. … The man behind the film, Mark Basseley Youssef, is among those convicted. He was sentenced in a California court earlier this month to a year in federal prison for probation violations in an unrelated matter. Youssef, 55, admitted that he had used several false names in violation of his probation order and obtained a driver’s license under a false name. He was on probation for a bank fraud case.