Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
Most major media outlets this morning quoted from interviews with a Sam Bacile, who is credited as the filmmaker of "The Innocence of Muslims." Bacile identified himself an Israeli Jew who is a California real estate developer.
Jeffrey Goldberg at The Atlantic did some follow-up investigative reporting and suggests this may not be true. Muhammad Film Consultant: 'Sam Bacile' Is Not Israeli, and Not a Real Name:
As part of my search for more information about Sam Bacile, the alleged producer of the now-infamous anti-Muhammad film trailer "The Innocence of Muslims," I just called a man named Steve Klein -- a self-described militant Christian activist in Riverside, California (whose actual business, he said, is in selling "hard-to-place home insurance"), who has been described in multiple media accounts as a consultant to the film.
Klein told me that Bacile, the producer of the film, is not Israeli, and most likely not Jewish, as has been reported, and that the name is, in fact, a pseudonym. He said he did not know "Bacile"'s real name. He said Bacile contacted him because he leads anti-Islam protests outside of mosques and schools, and because, he said, he is a Vietnam veteran and an expert on uncovering al Qaeda cells in California. "After 9/11 I went out to look for terror cells in California and found them, piece of cake. Sam found out about me. The Middle East Christian and Jewish communities trust me."
He said the man who identified himself as Bacile asked him to help make the anti-Muhammad film. When I asked him to describe Bacile, he said: "I don't know that much about him. I met him, I spoke to him for an hour. He's not Israeli, no. I can tell you this for sure, the State of Israel is not involved, Terry Jones (the radical Christian Quran-burning pastor) is not involved. His name is a pseudonym. All these Middle Eastern folks I work with have pseudonyms. I doubt he's Jewish. I would suspect this is a disinformation campaign."
I asked him who he thought Sam Bacile was. He said that there are about 15 people associated with the making of the film, "Nobody is anything but an active American citizen. They're from Syria, Turkey, Pakistan, they're some that are from Egypt. Some are Copts but the vast majority are Evangelical."
What are we to make of Steve Klein's assertions? I'm taking everything about this strange and horrible episod with a grain of salt, though I will say that I haven't seen any proof yet that Sam Bacile is an actual Israeli Jew, or that the name is anything other than a pseudonym.
The plot thickens.
UPDATE: Eric Lach at Talking Points Memo reports Mystery Man Behind The Anti-Muslim Film Blamed For Attacks:
TPM’s attempts to reach Klein were not successful, but in a 2007 interview with a Yahoo! Contributor Network writer, he is described as a former Marine, Vietnam veteran and founder of a group called Courageous Christians United, where he is still listed as secretary. The group claims that it “exists to boldly and respectfully defend traditional Christianity against cults,” and it currently manages websites that refute Islam, Mormonism, and Jehovah’s Witnesses.
* * *
Update: Wednesday afternoon, actors involved in the project began to speak out, saying they were deceived about the nature of the film. CNN obtained a statement purported to be from the entire cast and crew, saying that, “[w]e are 100% not behind this film and were grossly misled about its intent and purpose.”