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Tuesday 17.07.2018 | Name days: Aleksejs, Aleksis

Mystery deepens over US film linked to Benghazi protests

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The anti-Islamic video that inflamed mayhem in Egypt and Libya and triggered a diplomatic crisis is at the centre of a growing mystery over whether it is a real film – or was ever intended to be.

Initial reports about The Innocence of Muslims being a $5m production made by an Israeli-American director named Sam Bacile unravelled on Wednesday as ruins of the US consulate in Benghazi continued to smoulder.

Bacile – originally described as a California-based Jewish real estate developer – appeared to be a fake identity, and Hollywood could find no trace of his supposed feature-length attack on the prophet Muhammad. The blasphemous, 13-minute “trailer” posted online – a ramshackle compilation of scenes which depicted Muhammad as an illegitimate, murderous paedophile – was real, but there was growing doubt that a film existed, The Guardian reported.

The puzzle left the US and Arab world confronting the possibility the crisis was triggered, if not conjured, by a cheap trick.

It comprised clumsily overdubbed and haphazardly-edited scenes. Among the overdubbed words is ‘Mohammed’, suggesting that the footage was taken from a film about something else entirely. The footage also suggests multiple video sources — there are obvious and jarring discrepancies among actors and locations

That analysis appeared to be bolstered when a statement in the name of cast and crew was issued, distancing them from the footage. “We are 100% not behind this film, and were grossly misled about its intent and purpose. We are shocked by the drastic re-writes of the script and lies that were told to all involved. We are deeply saddened by the tragedies that have occurred.” The script was titled Desert Warriors, they said, and contained no mention of Islam.

They said the director, who went by the name Sam Bacile, claimed to be an Israeli real estate tycoon, but later told her he was Egyptian. He had white hair and spoke Arabic as well as English. He was keen that Master George – aka Muhmmad – be depicted in the worst possible light.

Hollywood agencies said they had never heard of the film.

Israeli officials also said they had no record of such a person.

A female suicide bomber killed 12 people in Kabul on Tuesday in the deadliest single attack claimed to avengethe film that has sparked a week of deadly protests across the Muslim world. The attack brings to more than 30 the number of people now killed during the protests.

Security officials said nine foreigners were among those killed.

Hezb-i-Islami, the second largest insurgent group after the Taliban who have been fighting US-led troops and the government for 10 years, claimed the attack.

Meanwhile, Pakistan has blocked access to YouTube, following the video-sharing website’s failure to take down the anti-Islam film. Similar measures have been taken in Afghanistan. Google, which owns YouTube, has also barred access to the film in Egypt, India, Indonesia, Libya and Malaysia.

Ref.110.110.110.2006


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