The details surrounding the Innocence of Muslims film – which some are now saying doesn’t even exist as a completed work – continue to get increasingly strange as the days go by.
We now know that the man going by “Sam Bacile,” who is actually Egyptian immigrant and gas station owner Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, has been convicted of fraud and associated with a whopping 14 different aliases.
There are truly more questions than answers when it comes to Nakoula, Innocence of Muslims, and this entire fiasco which has now sparked protests around the world and led to the deaths of five Americans in Libya.
Now Danger Room is reporting that court records show that Nakoula and co-defendant Khaled Yameen Abraham were charged with possessing the chemical precursors to phencyclidine (better known simply as PCP or angel dust) with the intent to manufacture the illegal drug.
According to Danger Room, Nakoula appeared before the Los Angeles County Superior Courthouse in Downey, California on April 15, 1997 and according to The Smoking Gun, he remained in prison until September of 2010.
These run-ins with the law are far from isolated incidents, as you will see below.
According to unnamed officials cited by ABC News, Nakoula wrote the script for the film while in prison, although the details surrounding this are shaky, especially since there is now significant evidence pointing to the possibility that the actual film never even existed.
“There is no known copy of the full movie, only the YouTube trailer, and no record of a movie called Innocence of Muslims being made in California,” notes The Week.
However, a man who allegedly worked on the film named Steve Klein told The New York Times that a full version was screened over the summer and The Associated Press reportedly spoke to someone who says that the film ran for at least a day at the Vine Theatre in Hollywood, California.
It gets even more complicated when we realize that Klein told Bloomberg Businessweek he “saw zero — nada, none, no people — go inside,” and he “got there about a half hour before the movie started and stayed a half hour after it started.”
The details are muddled, to say the least, with little evidence showing that Innocence of Muslims was actually ever filmed except a permit for a movie called Desert Warriors and a casting call for the film produced by a man going by the name Sam Bassiel.
However, the actors who were involved in filming Desert Warriors said that it had nothing to do with Islam and, according to one actress named Cindy Lee Garcia contacted by Gawker, the character of Mohammed was actually called “Master George” in the script.
A statement, supposedly penned by 80 members of the film’s cast and crew, said, “We are 100 percent not behind this film and were grossly misled about its intent and purpose. We are shocked by the drastic rewrites of the script and lies that were told to all involved.”
Nakoula’s details are even more complex than those surrounding the film which may or may not actually exist as such.
In August of 1991, Nakoula was convicted on two counts of selling watered-down gasoline, according to Danger Room.
Nakoula and Abraham were both charged with the PCP manufacturing-related offenses, although only Abraham was actually convicted. Both Nakoula and Abraham were briefly charged with conspiracy as well, according to Danger Room.
The details surrounding the PCP case are quite strange indeed seeing as Abraham was convicted on the PCP charge a mere three months later while the case against Nakoula was dismissed almost five years later for reasons which are completely unknown.
However, according to The Daily Beast, Nakoula and Abraham were also arrested on March 27, 1997 for trying to produce methamphetamine.
Nakoula was reportedly arrested with a whopping $45,000 in hundreds and twenties in a paper bag on the passenger seat while Abraham’s house in Lake Elsinore had 30 boxes of one of methamphetamine’s main ingredients, pseudoephedrine.
This report is yet to be independently verified and Danger Room noted that they also have not been able to confirm the account but it wouldn’t be all too surprising to learn someone involved with the production of PCP would also be attempting to make methamphetamine as well.
To make matters even worse, more U.S. military and intelligence assets are being deployed in and around Libya and there are no sign of the protests dying down in the immediate future. All we can do is hope that people realize just how fishy this film is and that directing rage at U.S. embassies around the globe simply makes no sense at this point.
UPDATE: Brandon Turbeville alerted me to a an article from ABC News which indicates that one of the Americans killed in Libya was actually “working with the State Department on an intelligence mission to round up dangerous weapons in the war-torn nation.” One must wonder if this is at all related to thereports of tens of thousands of surface-to-air missiles going missing in Libya last year.
UPDATE 2: The British Daily Mail is now reporting that Nakoula is “a federal informant who avoided spending longer in jail by telling investigators about an elaborate bank fraud scheme he was involved in.” According to The Smoking Gun, “In return for Nakoula’s cooperation, prosecutors provided [Judge Christina] Snyder with a letter noting that his substantial assistance to authorities warranted a sentence reduction.”