Category Archives: Islam

Timeline of Benghazi victim #5: Nakoula Basseley Nakoula

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula is escorted out of his home by Los Angeles County Sheriff's officers in Cerritos, California (Sept 15, 2012)
Okay, I’m the first to admit that Nakoula Basseley Nakoula is a fairly unattractive victim. He has a long history of run-ins with the law, primarily on fraud charges, including bank fraud, check-kiting, and operating businesses under various aliases.

Oh, and of course, he’s still alive, unlike Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods, and Glen Doherty, the four Americans killed during the Benghazi, Libya, attack. But as he sits in jail, denied bail, Nakoula’s a victim of the Obama Administration’s refusal to admit that what happened in Benghazi had nothing to do with Nakoula’s film, Innocence of Muslims, and everything to do with a planned terrorist attack aimed at the United States, specifically on 9/11.

So in order to keep up the administration’s Potemkin façade of riot and death by video (and only video), Nakoula currently remains in jail (since September 27) on charges of violating his probation, including using the Internet without permission from his parole officer.

Before I go into the timeline, there is this bit of legal perspective from Ken from Popehat (h/t Patterico):

Based on 6 years as a federal prosecutor and 12 as a federal defense lawyer, let me say this: minor use of a computer — like uploading a video to YouTube — is not something that I would usually expect to result in arrest and a revocation proceeding; I think a warning would be more likely unless the defendant had already had warnings or the probation officer was a hardass. But if I had a client with a serious fraud conviction, and his fraud involved aliases, and he had the standard term forbidding him from using aliases during supervised release, and his probation officer found out that he was running a business, producing a movie, soliciting money, and interacting with others using an alias, I would absolutely expect him to be arrested immediately, whatever the content of the movie. Seriously. Nakoula pled guilty to using alias to scam money. Now he’s apparently been producing a film under an alias, dealing with the finances of the film under the alias, and (if his “Sam Bacile” persona is to be believed) soliciting financing under an alias. I would expect him to run into a world of hurt for that even if he were producing a “Coexist” video involving kittens.

And Patterico’s comment on that is right on the money:

The problem we have here is that the head of the federal executive has criticized this guy repeatedly. His administration pressured Google to take down his movie; his Cairo embassy called it an “abuse” of free speech; and his State Department apologized for it in a country (Pakistan) where a public official offered money for the filmmaker to be killed.

So even if the line guys are doing their jobs the way they would otherwise, the President has made them look like political hacks. Which is unfortunate on several levels.

So, now to the timeline:

  • July 1-2 – You­Tube user “sam ba­cile” up­loads a 14-minute trail­er for a movie titled Innocence of Muslims, con­sist­ing of video clips that mock the Is­lam­ic proph­et Muhammad. (Los Angeles Times)
  • September 4 – An Arabic-dubbed version of the trailer is uploaded to YouTube.
  • September 8 – The Egyptian religious television channel Al Nas airs the video and condemns it.
  • September 11 – Four Americans, including Chris Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, are killed when militants attack and burn the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. In Egypt, protesters scale the walls of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and tear down an American flag. Emails from the State Department Operations Center linking terrorists (not protestors) to the Libyan attack are sent to a number of government and intelligence agencies (including the White House Situation Room, the office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the FBI) two hours after the attack begins. (CBS News, Sharyl Attkisson)
  • September 12President Barack Obama, in an interview with Steve Kroft of CBS 60 Minutes, says: “You’re right that this is not a situation that was exactly the same as what happened in Egypt, and my suspicion is, is that there are folks involved in this who were looking to target Americans from the start.” This part of the interview is not aired or reported by CBS until posted online on October 19. (Breitbart.com)
  • September 12 – President Obama condemns the film and any violence that has resulted from it. (USA Today)
  • September 12/September 13 – The U.S. government identifies and provides the media with the name of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, a Coptic Christian in southern California who is on probation after his conviction for financial crimes as the key figure behind the anti-Muslim film that ignited mob violence against U.S. embassies across the Mideast. It is not immediately clear whether Nakoula is the target of a criminal investigation or part of a broader investigation into the deaths of the four Americans in Libya. (AP, Stephen Braun) Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies are called to Nakoula’s Cerritos home after reports of a large group of news media gathered outside.
  • September 13 – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemns Nakoula’s film while meeting with Moroccan officials. (TPM)
  • September 13– The U.S. apologizes for free speech in an online statement issued by the U.S. embassy in Cairo:

    The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims — as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. … Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.

  • September 14Karen Redmond, a spokeswoman for the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, says that Nakoula’s federal probation on charges of bank fraud in 2010 is under review, but provides no details of why or when the probation review was initiated, or how long the process would take. (CNN)
  • September 14 – Bodies of the four Americans killed in Libya are returned to the U.S. for burial. At their memorial service at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, Charles Woods, father of fallen Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods, says that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton assures him that they are going to “arrest and prosecute” the man that made the scapegoated YouTube video critical of Islam. (Breitbart.com)
  • September 15 – Nakoula is escorted by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to an overnight “voluntary interview” with a probation officer, after federal officials say they are reviewing his probation. He is interviewed for about half an hour at the station shortly after 12 a.m. in his hometown of Cerritos, California. Nakoula leaves the local sheriff’s station after the federal officials are done interviewing him. (CNN and the New York Daily News)
  • September 17 – Family members of Nakoula leave their their home early Monday morning to join the filmmaker in hiding. Nakoula has not returned to his home since being interviewed by federal probation officers about his role in the creation of the film, which federal authorities claim have ignited ignited violent anti-American protests across the Muslim world. Shortly before 4 a.m., officers from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department escorted members of Nakoula’s family, who had their faces covered, out of the house and into police vehicles so they could rejoin Nakoula at an undisclosed location. It is the understanding of Steve Whitmore, spokesman for the Sheriff’s Department, that they won’t ever return to their Cerritos house, though that decision is “entirely up to the family.” (ABC News)
  • September 20 – The U.S. government airs an advertisement in Pakistan condemning Nakoula’s film and apologizing, once again, for free speech. The ad, which costs around $70,000 and airs on approximately seven different television markets in Pakistan (according to U.S. State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland), is appearing in an attempt to undercut anger against the U.S. The television ad features clips of President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton during press appearances in Washington in which they condemn the video. Their words are subtitled in Urdu. “We absolutely reject its content and message,” said Clinton in the advertisement. A caption on the ad reads: “Paid Content.” Obama and Clinton did not film their statements for the ad, instead clips were taken from statements condemning the film each had made earlier. President Obama’s remarks were recorded in Washington, D.C. on September 12 and those of Secretary Clinton were from September 13 in Morocco. The ad ends with the seal of the American Embassy in Islamabad, the Pakistani capital. In an email, the embassy also sent out a link to video of ordinary Americans condemning the anti-Islam film, which appeared on YouTube. (CBS News and the Jewish Press)
  • September 27 – A hearing on Nakoula’s probation violations results in charges being brought against him and denial of bail. Citing a lengthy pattern of deception, U.S. Central District Chief Magistrate Judge Suzanne Segal says Nakoula should be held as a flight risk after officials say he violated his probation from a 2010 check fraud conviction. Authorities say he has eight probation violations, including lying to his probation officers and using aliases, and he might face new charges that carry a maximum two-year prison term. Nakoula remains behind bars until another hearing where a judge will rule if he broke the terms of his probation. Under his probation, Nakoula is banned from using computers and the Internet without supervision. Some critics have said the probation-violation probe of Nakoula is a sign that the White House is seeking to appease extremists and weakening U.S. speech freedoms. U.S. law-enforcement officials portray the investigation of Nakoula as a routine response to public information about a potential violation. (Wall Street Journal and the Huffington Post)
  • October 10 – Nakoula appears before U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder in Los Angeles. He denies he violated his probation that resulted from a bank fraud conviction in 2010. Snyder schedules an evidentiary hearing for November 9, 2012 (after the presidential election). (Wikipedia)

Nakoula currently remains in jail.

From the PJ Tatler

Christian soldiers banned from the Quran in the U.S. Army in Afghanistan

From BlackFive:

Now, unless your military dog tags identify you as of the Muslim faith, you cannot obtain a copy of the Quran from the military chaplain. The exception is if your commander stops fighting the war long enough to write up a memo requesting one for you including the reason why you want a Quran.

And, if you are a Muslim and obtain a Quran, it will be accounted for like any other sensitive item….

Can you order one up from Barnes & Noble?  Sure.  You just can’t get one from the chaplain.

Wow.

Does the chaplain refuse to give the bible to soldiers with Muslim on their dog tags?…

Read it all. Does this help or hurt? Is this for safety reasons or political correctness? Who made this decision: the chaplain, commanders in Afghanistan, the DoD, higher up the command chain?

Apologies and Afghanistan

From Andrew McCarthy at National Review Online:

We have officially lost our minds.

The New York Times reports that President Obama has sent a formal letter of apology to Afghanistan’s ingrate president, Hamid Karzai, for the burning of Korans at a U.S. military base. The only upside of the apology is that it appears (based on the Times account) to be couched as coming personally from our blindly Islamophilic president — “I wish to express my deep regret for the reported incident. . . . I extend to you and the Afghani people my sincere apologies.” It is not couched as an apology from the American people, whose frame of mind will be outrage, not contrition, as the facts become more widely known.

The facts are that the Korans were seized at a jail because jihadists imprisoned there were using them not for prayer but to communicate incendiary messages. The soldiers dispatched to burn refuse from the jail were not the officials who had seized the books, had no idea they were burning Korans, and tried desperately to retrieve the books when the situation was brought to their attention.

Of course, these facts may not become widely known, because no one is supposed to mention the main significance of what has happened here. First, as usual, Muslims — not al-Qaeda terrorists, but ordinary, mainstream Muslims — are rioting and murdering over the burning (indeed, the inadvertent burning) of a book. Yes, it’s the Koran, but it’s a book all the same — and one that, moderate Muslims never tire of telling us, doesn’t really mean everything it says anyhow.

Muslim leaders and their leftist apologists are also forever lecturing the United States about “proportionality” in our war-fighting. Yet when it comes to Muslim proportionality, Americans are supposed to shrug meekly and accept the “you burn books, we kill people” law of the jungle. Disgustingly, the Times would inure us to this moral equivalence by rationalizing that “Afghans are fiercely protective of their Islamic faith.” Well then, I guess that makes it all right, huh?

Then there’s the second not-to-be-uttered truth: Defiling the Koran becomes an issue for Muslims only when it has been done by non-Muslims. Observe that the unintentional burning would not have occurred if these “fiercely protective of their Islamic faith” Afghans had not defiled the Korans in the first place. They were Muslim prisoners who annotated the “holy” pages with what a U.S. military official described as “extremist inscriptions” in covert messages sent back and forth, just as the jihadists held at Gitmo have been known to do (notwithstanding that Muslim prisoners get their Korans courtesy of the American taxpayers they construe the book to justify killing)….

Read it all.

Urgent prayer & action: Final verdict for Pastor Youcef… death

From BCN:

Pastor Youcef and family(Iran)—According to a FOXNews report today, the final verdict has been handed down on Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani’s fate—death.

As Youcef’s supporters all around the world feared, the Iranian trial court has decided that he will be executed on the charges that he left Islam to convert to Christianity.

These charges have stood in spite of the fact that it could not be proven that the 34-year-old father of two had been a Muslim during his adult years, which would prove apostasy. In addition, Youcef himself has always maintained his innocence saying that he was always a Christian as an adult.

He was given the chance to recant his Christian faith, but he refused, and he also refused to say that Muhammad was a prophet.

Jordan Sekulow, executive director of The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), said, “The world needs to stand up and say that a man cannot be put to death because of his faith.

“This one case is not just about one execution. We have been able to expose the system instead of just letting one man disappear, like so many other Christians have in the past.”

According to the report, the final order was given just days after US Congress supported a resolution sponsored by Penn. Rep. Joseph Pitts, which denounced the charges and called for an “immediate release.”…

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani’s family and supporters are asking for urgent prayer by Believers worldwide, on his behalf, and for people to contact their legislators to ask for intervention.

Read it all, and pray. Also, for information on how to help, visit the ACLJ’s website: http://aclj.org/

Sharia law in Pennsylvania

From John Hinderaker at PowerLine:

Andy McCarthy’s post on a criminal prosecution in Pennsylvania that was dismissed based on an application of sharia law and a recognition of the special, privileged status of Islam is the most chilling thing I have read in quite a while. This is Andy’s account of the events that led to the prosecution:

The victim, [atheist activist] Ernest Perce, wore a “Zombie Mohammed” costume and pretended to walk among the dead (in the company of an associate who was the “Zombie Pope” — and who, you’ll be shocked to learn, was not assaulted). The assailant, Talag Elbayomy, a Muslim immigrant, physically attacked Perce, attempted to pull his sign off, and, according to police, admitted what he had done right after the incident. The defense argued that Elbayomy believed it was a crime to insult the prophet Mohammed (it is, under sharia law), and that because he was in the company of his children, he had to act to end this provocation and set an example about defending Islam.

As you will see, Judge Martin did not lecture the defendant about free speech or how disputes are resolved in a civilized country. He instead dressed the victim down for failing to appreciate how sensitive Muslims — including the judge himself — are about Islam.

The most remarkable thing about this story is the judge’s soliloquy in which he explains why he dismissed the case. It was recored by the complainant. You can read the whole thing at the link; here are some excerpts:…

And Mr. Thomas [Elbayomi’s defense lawyer] is correct. In many other Muslim speaking countries – excuse me, in many Arabic speaking countries – call it “Muslim” – something like this is definitely against the law there. In their society, in fact, it could be punishable by death, and it frequently is, in their society.

So apparently Perce should consider himself lucky.

Here in our society, we have a constitution that gives us many rights, specifically, First Amendment rights. It’s unfortunate that some people use the First Amendment to deliberately provoke others. I don’t think that’s what our forefathers really intended. I think our forefathers intended that we use the First Amendment so that we can speak our mind, not to piss off other people and other cultures, which is what you did.

I don’t think you’re aware, sir, there’s a big difference between how Americans practice Christianity – uh, I understand you’re an atheist. But, see, Islam is not just a religion, it’s their culture, their culture. It’s their very essence, their very being….

Read it all.

Not a single Christian church left in Afghanistan, says U.S. State Department

From CNSNews.com:

. . . The last public Christian church in Afghanistan was razed in March 2010, according to the State Department’s latest International Religious Freedom Report. The report, which was released last month and covers the period of July 1, 2010 through December 31, 2010, also states that “there were no Christian schools in the country.”

“There is no longer a public Christian church; the courts have not upheld the church’s claim to its 99-year lease, and the landowner destroyed the building in March [2010],” reads the State Department report on religious freedom. “[Private] chapels and churches for the international community of various faiths are located on several military bases, PRTs [Provincial Reconstruction Teams], and at the Italian embassy. Some citizens who converted to Christianity as refugees have returned.”

In recent times, freedom of religion has declined in Afghanistan, according to the State Department.

“The government’s level of respect for religious freedom in law and in practice declined during the reporting period, particularly for Christian groups and individuals,” reads the State Department report. . .

While the new constitution states that Islam is the “religion of the state” and that “no law can be contrary to the beliefs and provisions of the sacred religion of Islam,” it also proclaims that “followers of other religions are free to exercise their faith and perform their religious rites within the limits of the provisions of the law.”

However, “the right to change one’s religion was not respected either in law or in practice,” according to the State Department. . .

Check it out.

Religious freedom: The barometer takes a turn for the worse

From Sandro Magister of WWW.CHIESA:

. . .In summary, one out of four of the countries that in 2006 were already showing severe restrictions on religious freedom have further worsened their standards in the following years.

But if one looks not at the individual countries, but at the number of inhabitants, the results of the [Pew Forum] survey are even more stunning: fully 59 percent of the world’s population today lives with “high” or “very high” levels of restrictions on religious freedom.

The religion that suffers most from this situation is Christianity. But Muslims are also victims of it. In Nigeria, the social conflict is with Christians, but elsewhere Muslims are subject to legal restrictions and violence, above all on the part of fellow Muslims. In Iraq, for example, there are many more victims from Islamist attacks on mosques than on churches. . .

Check it out.

Vatican Radio: Do not forget Somalia

From an editorial by Fr. Lombardi:

The drought in the Horn of Africa has created a dramatic humanitarian emergency and the Somali people are its main victims. Hunger and thirst are pushing countless people to a desperate search for help, many fleeing to neighbouring countries, to refugee camps, at a rate of almost two thousand people a day. There are reports of exhausting marches on foot under the threat and attacks of predators, and even of children attacked by packs of hyenas.

In July of 1989 Mgr. Salvatore Colombo, Bishop of Mogadishu, was assassinated in front of the door of the cathedral. Since then, the apostolic administrator of the diocese has resided outside of the country. In 2003, the lay volunteer nurse Annalena Tonelli was shot and killed in Somaliland, was then the turn of Sister Leonella Sgorbati, who died – as the Pope recalled January 7, 2007 – “asking forgiveness for her killers.” These are only three names, to say that the Catholic Church is present and suffers with people of Somalia, but by now the countless innocent victims are countless, even among other Christian denominations, because of fundamentalist hate, and among the civilian population because of the armed struggle between political and ethnic factions. For twenty years the country has been without leadership, rampant piracy pervades its coasts is, many aid workers have had to abandon their commitments because of the violence and threats they are subjected to.  . .

Check it out.

BlackFive: Europe’s reaction to the death of bin Laden

From the military blog, BlackFive:

Certainly Europe doesn’t think “death” is justice regardless of how monstrous the deed is. Kill 3,000 people in NY plus Khobar Towers, two African Embassies and the USS Cole? Oh, and those subway deaths in London? Those deeds obviously don’t justify what just happened.

Nope – we should have caught him, tried him (and given him an international platform to spew his hate) and then locked him up? How’s that anymore justice than what happened? We have a mad dog on tape bragging about being the man responsible for all those deaths. We have intel that says he was going to kill more (attacking trains in the US on the 10th anniversary of 9/11). If ever justice was served anywhere, it was served on the night of May 1st in a compound in Pakistan. And no, I’m not uncomfortable in the least about that. Someone needs to remind the Archbishop that “justice” isn’t a process, it’s a result. …

Of course AQ will seek revenge. But as mentioned above, they planned to attack anyway. So should we just sit back and let it happen? Would a few thousand more deaths have soothed your conscience enough to have you condone aggressive and justified action against the murderer? Or would it still have been considered a “primitive” action driven by blood lust? Instead, obviously, we should just roll over and allow these murderers to have their way. Apparently, that’s the European way. …

Check it out.

Egypt revisited

From Barry Rubin at PajamasMedia, a reflection on Egypt:

– Yes, it was obvious back in January that this was a small group [the secular reformers and twenty-something urbanites] that would inevitably be eclipsed, but the mass media and the Obama administration said they would run the country and transform it into a liberal, modern democracy.

– Yes, it was obvious back in January that the [Muslim] Brotherhood was well-organized, strong, determined, and possessing a compelling ideology. Will someone please compile a list of U.S. government, media, and “expert” statements saying the exact opposite? …

Memo to experts, journalists, and government officials:

A revolutionary movement seeks to seize state power as its goal. A strategy is their long-term plan for doing so. Tactics are specific actions designed to fulfill that strategy and to achieve that goal. Violence and terrorism are only a tactic. If needed, other tactics — running for elections, building a base through social welfare services, etc. — can be used within the strategy to fulfill the goal.

Consequently, the use of elections or setting up afterschool activities for kids do not prove that a group isn’t a radical and dangerous organization. And, besides, afterschool activities are good for spotting potential suicide bomber candidates.

Is it too much to ask that highly trained, expensively educated, and well-paid people who make decisions and report or analyze events understand the previous two paragraphs? …