Saturday, October 20, 2012
Is Nakoula a Political Prisoner?
Ever since the 1960s, I have scoffed at leftist claims that various people in prison-usually for murder- were political prisoners. The list is long from H Rap Brown to Huey Newton to Leonard Peltier to Abu Mumia Jamal, and so on. However, in the case of Nakoula B. Nakoula, I have to pause.
Nakoula, of course, is the Egyptian Coptic Christian immigrant who produced the now infamous video, "The Innocence of Muslims" that has been used as a pretext for riots, mayhem, and murder across the Muslim world. Recently, he had his probation violated in a federal court in Los Angeles by a judge who labeled him a "danger to society".
And why was his probation revoked? Apparently because he lied to officers about his role in the film, and because he used another name (Sam Bacile), not a bad idea if you are going to mock the wrong people.
Let me be clear; I am not trying to make a case that Nakoula is Joan of Arc here. He has a criminal record, and technically speaking, he did violate the terms of his probation. In addition, I think mocking an entire religion and its prophet is a bad idea and not the way to fight back against Islamic violence and supremacist ideology. This video, now that it has received so much attention, can only worsen the already bad situation of Copts in Egypt.
However, it has now been shown that the video was only used as a pretext by militants and terrorists to commemorate 9-11 in their own fashion. Even worse, our own government, the media, and others in the US have used the video to shift the blame onto ourselves and shield the Obama administration from public condemnation over their sheer negligence in the run-up to September 11. As part of that false narrative, Nakoula first had the media literally camping out on his front lawn, hauled in for questioning by Lee Baca's LA Sheriffs Department and Eric Holder's Justice Department, and finally, was arrested by the feds and thrown in the clink, where he still sits. Is there any doubt that this was nothing more than the latest effort by the Obama administration to appease the Muslim world? What is the next step-deportation to Egypt and a certain death?
The point is this: Now that we know more about the real causes of the latest 9-11, and that this video was only a convenient pretext, is it really in the spirit of the law to keep Nakoula behind bars? Or has he truly become a political prisoner? I am not sure I know the answer, but I think it is certainly worthy of discussion.