Monday, September 17, 2012

Filmmaker linked to anti-Islam video meets with probation officer

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula

The California man believed to be the maker of an anti-Islam film that ignited a firestorm in the Muslim world was cooperative when authorities escorted him to a voluntary interview, officials said Saturday.

"It was all choreographed," said Steve Whitmore of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. "He was ready and willing and very cooperative."The overnight meeting 
with a probation officer came a day after federal officials said they were reviewing the probation of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, who was convicted of bank fraud in 2010
 and placed on supervised probation for five years.

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Federal officials consider Nakoula to be the filmmaker behind the anti-Islam 
"Innocence of Muslims."Whitmore told CNN that Nakoula left the local sheriff's 
station after the federal officials were done interviewing him."He is gone and he
 is free," he said of Nakoula, who was bundled up in a coat, hat and white scarf 
as he was escorted from his house. Nakoula decided to cover himself, Whitmore 

Whitmore earlier dismissed reports that Nakoula had been arrested, saying he was 
never in handcuffs or in custody.Karen Redmond, a spokeswoman for the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, said Friday that Nakoula's federal probation was under review.
Redmond didn't provide details of why or when the probation review was initiated, 
or how long the process would take.While on probation, Nakoula can't access 
computers or any device that can access the Internet without approval from his 
probation officer.

Nakoula served one year in federal prison at Lompoc, California, but officials couldn't immediately determine whether Nakoula paid any of the court-ordered restitution of $794,700, according to probation department officials and court records.

Since notice of the film spread through YouTube, Nakoula has been out of public view
 and ensconced with his family in their home in Cerritos, California, where journalists 
have been gathered seeking information about his elusive background. Cerritos is 
about a 20-mile drive southeast of downtown Los Angeles.

The movie, backed by hardcore anti-Islam groups in the United States, is a
 low-budget project that was ignored in the United States when trailers were posted 
on YouTube in July. But after Egyptian television aired certain segments, violent protests erupted in Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia, Morocco, Sudan, Iran, Iraq, Israel and the Palestinian territories.Violent mobs attacked the U.S. Consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi, 
leaving the ambassador and three other American men dead.

The amateurish film portrays the Prophet Mohammed as a womanizer, buffoon,
 ruthless killer and child molester. Islam categorically forbids any depictions of Mohammed, and blasphemy is an incendiary taboo in the Muslim world.The FBI contacted the 
filmmaker this week because of the potential for threats but he is not under 
investigation, a federal law enforcement official told CNN Thursday.

One of the few public reports about Nakoula emerged this week when he called the 
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Wednesday night to report a disturbance, 
said Whitmore. Nakoula wanted local police to protect him.

When news of his movie first broke, the filmmaker identified himself as Sam Bacile 
and told the Wall Street Journal that he was a 52-year-old Israeli-American real estate developer from California. He said Jewish donors had financed his film.But Israel's 
Foreign Ministry said there was no record of a Sam Bacile with Israeli citizenship.

A production staff member who worked on the film in its initial stages told CNN that an entirely different name was filed on the paperwork for the Screen Actors Guild: Abenob Nakoula Bassely. A public records search showed an Abanob B. Nakoula residing at the same address as Nakoula Basseley Nakoula.

He believed the filmmaker was a Coptic Christian and when the two spoke on the 
phone during production, the filmmaker said he was in Alexandria, Egypt, raising money 
for the film.

Staff and crew of film that ridiculed Muslims say they were 'grossly misled'

In Egypt, tension has emerged in recent decades between Muslims and the minority Copts.Another staffer who worked on the film said he knew the producer as Sam Bassil. That's how he signed a personal check to pay staff.

When CNN inquired about Sam Bassil, the U.S. Attorney's Office sent a copy of a 2009 indictment. Those court documents showed the bank fraud conviction for Nakoula 
Basseley Nakoula.

In his interview with the Wall Street Journal, the filmmaker characterized his movie as "a political effort to call attention to the hypocrisies of Islam.""Islam is a cancer," he said. "The movie is a political movie. It's not a religious movie."

Source: CNN.COM

1 comment:

  1. Our Lord! Forgive us our sins and anything we may have done that transgressed our duty: Establish our feet firmly, and help us against those that resist Faith. al-Qur'an 3:147