What we know right now is that the United States ambassador to Lybia, Chris Stevens and three other American diplomats have been murdered in Benghazi. Their killers may, or may not have been members of a crowd of deadly hysterics who were protesting a thirteen minute clip of a movie deemed insulting to Mohammad and Islam that was posted on Youtube. U.S. intelligence agencies and personnel are hinting that the killings were a hit carried out by al-Quaeda operatives using the protest as a cover to gain entrance into the U.S. consulate. Given the date, the anniversary of the despicable terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, one has to suspect that there is some truth to that idea. In fact the timing of the violence seems choreographed to a tee. The offending film has been sitting on Youtube since July and until now no one had noticed it, or cared. Just recently it was translated into Arabic by person, or persons unknown. Yes, it doesn't take much of a leap to think that nefarious minds and hands have been plotting all this for more than just a few days.
The film itself, now being called, "The Innocence of Muslims" was apparently shot in Duarte, California, which is east of Los Angeles. The working title, which was posted during a casting call, was "Desert Warrior." The name Mohammad and the religion of Islam wasn't mentioned anywhere in the original script. The producer has been listed as either Sam Bassiel, or Sam Bacile who was originally identified as an Israeli-American. Insurance salesman, cum anti Islamic fanatic, Steven Klein, who gave "advice" on casting and content, says that Bassiel/Bacile is a pseudonym for some unnamed person behind the production. The AP reports that a Coptic Christian, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula claimed he helped with "logistics" of the actual shooting, ie studio space. Nakoula reportedly has several aliases and at least one outlet says he has been convicted of "financial crimes" in the past.
Actress Cindy Lee Garcia, who appeared in the film, has gone public saying she and the rest of the cast were completely mis led during the shoot. She maintains all the offensive material was dubbed in as the film was being edited. She claims that if she'd known what the real purpose of the film maker was she would have never signed on to the project.
Apparently a full cut of the movie was shown in a one day run at a theater either on Sunset, or Hollywood Blvd with the title "The Innocence of Bin Laden". Klein claims no one was in the audience. The L.A. Times reported that there were ten people there at best. It was the only time that the entire film has been shown, although Pastor Terry Jones tried to show it to his "congregation" in Florida yesterday. Reverend Jones' premier of sorts was thwarted by "technical difficulties," proving once again that CD players are far too complicated for fundamentalist Christians. Jones' main claim to fame is that he is the clown who burned some Korans a while back, initiating rioting in Pakistan.
The clip is still available for viewing on Youtube. It has production values that would make even the world renowned movie hack, Edward D. Wood cringe. The acting is so breathtakingly bad and amateurish that one has to believe Ms. Garcia was not only mis led about the script, but her future in the industry. The prophet is played by some guy who vaguely resembles Matthew McConaughey and who displays the on screen presence of a high school defensive back trying to muddle his way through Hamlet. In several scenes the dubbing is painfully obvious with voices that aren't even close to those of the actors on the screen.
So what happened is that some cryptic person made a hateful and terrible movie which absolutely no one had seen, or would have seen, until someone else decided to whip middle eastern mobs into a frenzy. As we've learned in the past that sort of thing isn't hard to do. In fact in certain locales rioting seems the main form of recreation and entertainment. Screeching rage is the norm and arson a national pastime.
Mitt Romney, proving to be the opportunist, was quick to blame the president for the whole bloody affair while claiming Obama was guilty of apologizing for American values. I'm not sure what values those are considering the content and quality of "The Innocence of Muslims." It is basically a home movie and its only purpose is to demonize the prophet, all of Islam, and provoke a violent response. The dialogue of the film is rather like that whole yelling fire in a crowded auditorium thing that has been ruled not to be free speech.
Unfortunately, as they always seem to do, Muslims took the bait and ran amok, providing idiots like Steven Klein and Terry Jones with more fodder for their hate mills.
NBC interviewed Hrair Dekmejian, a University of Southern California professor and expert on the middle east. He talked about how such films were offensive to Muslims just as a film depicting Jesus Christ in such an unfavorable light would be offensive to devout Christians. What he failed to point out is that while Christians might be incredibly outraged we aren't likely to run out and burn down someones embassy. But hey, cultural differences abound in this diverse world of ours. We shouldn't let a little crude, libelous, stupidity, arson and murder drive us apart.
Yes, given the date and the proximity to the national elections in this country methinks something is rotten in the state of Denmark. This has the feel of more than just disjointed happenstance. Someone was and is playing us right now and they are also playing the rabid crowds in places like Egypt, Lybia, and Yemen.
Before we send in the Seals, before we drop a bomb or two we need to know who is behind it all. It is easy to make broad claims and pronouncements, to level blame. What we need are cool analytical heads and a rapier response, not the traditional American one that calls for the immediate blunt club of scores of Tomahawk missiles.
Mitt Romney and Jim Inhofe can shout all day about a "weak" foreign policy, but they can't explain how any sort of foreign policy, other than one of abject and oppresive terrorism, could have prevented the events of the last couple of days. The old axiom, "Kill 'em all and let God Sort 'em out," doesn't work in the real world. In theory we want others to respect us, not live in fear of us.
In the end a work of hate caused a reaction of hate. Presumably the mysterious film maker and the assassins of Ambassador Stevens are happy with the outcome of this slimy exercise in manipulation. After all, both got exactly what they wanted.
sic vita est.