Well think again. Times have changed. It can happen here.
At the New York Times, "From Man Who Insulted Muhammad, No Regret":
LOS ANGELES — Fuming for two months in a jail cell here, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula has had plenty of time to reconsider the wisdom of making “Innocence of Muslims,” his crude YouTube movie trailer depicting the Prophet Muhammad as a bloodthirsty, philandering thug.A troubled man. Now a prison scapegoat for this administration's national security clusterf-k.
Does Mr. Nakoula now regret the footage? After all, it fueled deadly protests across the Islamic world and led the unlikely filmmaker to his own arrest for violating his supervised release on a fraud conviction.
Not at all. In his first public comments since his incarceration soon after the video gained international attention in September, Mr. Nakoula told The New York Times that he would go to great lengths to convey what he called “the actual truth” about Muhammad. “I thought, before I wrote this script,” he said, “that I should burn myself in a public square to let the American people and the people of the world know this message that I believe in.”
In explaining his reasons for the film, Mr. Nakoula, 55, a Coptic Christian born in Egypt, cited the 2009 massacre at Fort Hood, Tex., as a prime example of the violence committed “under the sign of Allah.” His anger seemed so intense over the years that even from a federal prison in 2010, he followed the protests against the building of an Islamic center and mosque near ground zero in New York as he continued to work on his movie script.
Until now, only the barest details were known about the making of the film that inspired international outrage. Initial reports made it seem as if the film had been thrown together in about a year.
But a longer, more intricate and somewhat surreal story emerges from interviews with Mr. Nakoula, church and law enforcement officials and more than a dozen people who worked on the movie — those who knew its real subject and those who were tricked into believing it was to be a sword-and-sandal epic called “Desert Warriors.” Together, they paint a picture of a financially desperate man with a penchant for fiction who was looking to give meaning and means to a life in shambles.
RELATED: At the Wall Street Journal, "First Amendment Affront":
In his address to the United Nations earlier this week, President Obama condemned "the crude and disgusting video [that] sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world." Some 48 hours later, police in California arrested the man behind the film "Innocence of Muslims," and a federal judge on Thursday night ordered Nakoula Basseley Nakoula held in jail without bond.Progressives value freedom of speech, but only speech that furthers their agenda of socialist statism and the destruction of Judeo-Christian cultural hegemony.
Mr. Nakoula allegedly used the alias Sam Bacile to produce and post an amateurish clip of the film, which may not exist in full, on YouTube. The government has charged him with eight counts of violating parole. In 2010, he was convicted of bank fraud and served a year of a 21-month sentence. His use of the Internet is restricted.
We're not privy to the specific parole terms to be able to pass judgment on the technical merits of the government's case. A judge will sort it out. But the decision to pursue him in the first place was a discretionary call by the government.
We doubt that every Web surfer on similar probation gets hauled back to prison. Or gets denied bail by a judge who called Mr. Nakoula "a flight risk," though it's hard to imagine he'd want to return to his native Egypt, the scene of the first violent protests on September 11, or go anywhere else. A minister in the Pakistani government has put a $100,000 bounty on his head....
In that same speech on Tuesday, President Obama rightly noted that, "Americans have fought and died around the globe to protect the right of all people to express their views—even views that we disagree with."
The government's actions send a different message. The Obama Administration asked YouTube to yank the video off the site. (YouTube didn't.) And now the filmmaker sits behind bars—whether on legally justifiable grounds is besides the point. The First Amendment also protects speech that causes the White House headaches abroad.
PREVIOUSLY: "The End of Freedom of Expression in the West."