[Marxism] Origins of Provocative Video Are Shrouded

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Sep 12 15:51:25 MDT 2012

NY Times September 12, 2012
Origins of Provocative Video Are Shrouded

CAIRO — The amateurish video at the center of the violence in Libya and 
in Egypt opens with scenes of Egyptian security forces standing idle as 
Muslims pillage and burn the homes of Egyptian Christians. Then it cuts 
to cartoonish scenes depicting the Prophet Muhammad as a child of 
uncertain parentage, a buffoon, a womanizer, a homosexual, a child 
molester and a greedy, bloodthirsty thug.

The trailer was uploaded to YouTube by an individual whose identity was 
in question. Some news organizations carried interviews with someone who 
said he was the filmmaker and identified himself as Sam Bacile, an 
Israeli-American real estate developer in California, but there was no 
immediate confirmation in official records of such a person. In one 
report, he identified himself as 52 and in another, 56.

Yigal Palmor, the spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry, said in a 
telephoned statement: “Nobody knows who he is. He is totally unknown in 
filmmaking circles in Israel. And anything he did — he is not doing it 
for Israel, or with Israel, or through Israel in any way.” Mr. Palmor 
also called the filmmaker “a complete loose cannon and an unspeakable 

It is unclear whether a full movie even exists. Executives at Hollywood 
agencies, including William Morris Endeavor, Creative Artists Agency and 
United Talent Agency, said they had never heard of “Innocence of 
Muslims,” either from a cast, crew or financing standpoint. Hollywood 
unions said they had no involvement or did not respond to queries. 
Casting directors did not recognize actors in the 14-minute YouTube 
video that purports to be a trailer for a longer film.

FilmLA, which coordinates permits for location shoots in Los Angeles 
County, said it had no records for the movie, as did the Orange County 
Film Commission and the California Film Commission. They cautioned, 
however, that they could not say definitively that no related production 
entity applied for a permit.

Still, a film of this sort — with rudimentary props and costumes, 
cartoonish visual effects, poor lighting — would be relatively easy for 
amateurs to make. Digital video cameras can be purchased for $3,000 or 
less, and relatively sophisticated video editing software is widely 
available. Casting can be as simple as posting an ad on Craigslist or 
tacking a flier to a Starbucks bulletin board.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, the man who said he was 
the filmmaker called Islam “a cancer,” and said he had raised $5 million 
from about 100 Jewish donors and had shot a two-hour movie in California 
last year. The Associated Press said he said it took three months in 
2011 and used 59 actors and 45 crew members.

The A.P. reported reaching a consultant on the film, Steve Klein, who 
said he had warned the filmmaker “you’re going to be the next Theo van 
Gogh,” referring to the Dutch filmmaker killed by an Islamic militant in 
2004 after making a film about abuses in Islam.

By Internet video standards, few people had watched it until the violent 
protests. A trailer posted on YouTube had 6,000 views on Tuesday and 
more than 116,000 on Wednesday. An Arabic translation, which has since 
been taken down by YouTube after a copyright claim by an entity called K 
Music Sound Productions, had garnered more than 40,000 views, according 
to the Hollywood film news Web site TheWrap.com. A copy of the Arabic 
version uploaded by the Islamic Observatory Centre in Britain registered 
90,000 views before it was removed on Wednesday.

The video gained international attention after a version dubbed in 
Arabic was publicized in the Egyptian media and when a Florida pastor, 
Terry Jones, began promoting the video along with his own proclamation 
of Sept. 11 as “International Judge Muhammad Day.”

On Wednesday, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs 
of Staff, called Mr. Jones and asked him to consider withdrawing his 
support for the video, a senior administration official told reporters 
in a conference call. Mr. Jones’ response was “non-committal,” the 
administration official said.

The Guardian reported Wednesday that the film clip was also promoted 
last week by Morris Sadek, an Egyptian-American Copt based in California 
who has an anti-Islamic blog. One posted photograph features Mr. Sadek 
and Mr. Jones at a small anti-Islam protest outside the White House in 
June. Mr. Sadek, reached by Reuters, said he thought the film 
highlighted discrimination against Egypt’s Christians and said he was 
sorry that American diplomats had been killed. He said he was interested 
only in the first part of the film, “about persecution of Copts,” 
Reuters reported. Mr. Sadek has told The Associated Press that he plans 
to show the film.

In a statement, Mr. Jones, of Gainesville, Fla., called the film “an 
American production, not designed to attack Muslims but to show the 
destructive ideology of Islam” and said it “further reveals in a 
satirical fashion the life of Muhammad.”

He said the embassy and consulate attacks illustrated that Muslims “have 
no tolerance for anything outside of Muhammad” and called Islam “a total 

Mr. Jones inspired deadly riots in Afghanistan in 2010 and 2011 by first 
threatening to burn copies of the Koran and then burning one in his 
church. He also once reportedly hanged President Obama in effigy.

Reporting was contributed by Brooks Barnes from Los Angeles, Robert 
Mackey and Jeffrey Marcus from New York, Elisabeth Bumiller from 
Washington, and Isabel Kershner from Jerusalem.

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