The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Consultant for Anti-Muslim Film Provided Combat Training for Hate Group

By Hatewatch Staff on September 12, 2012 - 2:43 pm, Posted in Anti-Muslim, Christian Right, Extremist Propaganda, Intelligence Report, Militias

Steve Klein, who served as a consultant for the Islam-bashing film that sparked the deadly assault on a U.S. Consulate in Libya, is a longtime religious-right activist who has helped train paramilitary militias at a secretive church in California.

Four American citizens, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, were killed by mobs enraged by the depiction of the prophet Muhammad in the film “Innocence of Muslims”  produced by Sam Bacile, a California real estate developer.

Klein is a Marine veteran who served in the Vietnam War and is based in Hemet, Calif. He believes that his state is riddled with Muslim Brotherhood sleeper cells “who are awaiting the trigger date and will begin randomly killing as many of us as they can,” according to an article in the Spring 2012 issue of the SPLC Intelligence Report.

Over the years, Klein has worked with a variety of far-right groups, including the Church at Kaweah, which the SPLC lists as a hate group. The Church of Kaweah is a secretive cohort of militant Christian fundamentalists in California who are preparing for war and who believe that churches should avoid government regulation and answer only to God. Kaweah has its own militia, headed by David “Dutch” Johnson (aka Dutch Joens), a longtime antigovernment veteran of the militia movement. Johnson looks forward to the battle that will begin when “Dictator Obongo” institutes martial law. He has called Mexicans savages “who can’t run their own government” and recommended sending guns to drug cartels to “decrease the excess population in Mexico so they don’t come north.”

Klein also conducts drills with the Christian Guardians, a San Francisco-based group headed by Andrew Saqib James, an American-born Pakistani Christian who calls Islam “a giant crime syndicate” and hopes his group will become “the most feared militia in the world.” The Church of Kaweah’s website has advertised joint trainings with the Guardians, describing them as a “unique system of learning how to survive the Muslim Brotherhood as we teach the Christian Morality of Biblical Warfare.”

Klein told the UK’s Daily Mail that Bacile is a pseudonym and that he knows little about the filmmaker but that he is committed to the film, “like the rest of us.” Klein said that he did not feel guilty about Stevens’ death. “It’s not our fault, we told the truth,” he said.

Klein claimed that he and Bacile expected the movie would make Muslims mad, and he said that he also warned Bacile that he could be the “next Theo Van Gogh,” a reference to the Dutch filmmaker who was murdered in 2004 by a Muslim extremist angry about a film Van Gogh made that was perceived as insulting to Islam. Bacile’s film promotes the idea that the prophet Muhammad was a philanderer and a fraud who sanctioned rape and child abuse.

  • aadila

    Tottles, who got Bin Laden? I’ll give you a hint. It wasn’t George W. Bush.

  • aadila

    Etha Dossous, that’s absurd.

    Can you name a single major city with significant immigrant populations where we do not observe ethnic groupings? I’ll spare you the trouble. No, you can’t. It has nothing to do with dominating the world, and everything to do with well understood migration factors that cross all ethnic and religious lines.

    In London, there are wards with various ethnicities and religious groups. Hindus, Sikhs, Carribean immigrants all live in concentrated groups. Census data show Muslims do so at slightly higher concentrations, but this is also associated with lower economic status and not simply because of religious preference. In general South Asians live in concentration in London, regardless of economic status, and not just Muslims. It is complete bigotry, frank stupidity really, to claim this is some nefarious scheme for world domination.

    By the same data, white people always tend to live in neighborhoods that are predominately white, avoiding the immigrant wards altogether. So if Muslims shun integration, one can also conclude the same about white people in London. It cuts both ways.

    Why don’t you read up on this issue, and save yourself the embarassment of exposing your ignorance? You obviously don’t understand Apartheid either if you throw that term around so lightly.

  • Tottles

    The film didn’t spark the attack in Libya.

    Even the White House now admits that.

    The attacks were planned weeks ahead of time and were intended to coincide with the anniversary of Sept. 11th.

    Obama’s foreign policies are now a complete disaster.

    Perhaps he should return to Cairo and grovel even more.

    He could one-up Tariq Ramadan by announcing he’s against a moratorium on the lapidation of adulterous women.

  • Reynardine

    More last-minute hammerheads. Farewell to Summer!

  • Aron

    Judging by your invective and your writing ability, I gather your use of the term ‘educated elite,’ you equate intelligence with evil.

    You must make your Republican masters so proud.

  • james

    The attack was pre meditated- FACT! Its amazing how a video that has been out for weeks before the attack on US Embassy all of a sudden insulted the (demonstrators) on 11 anniversary of Previous act of war on the US and its judeo-christian founding on American soil (which property the Embassy compound sits is considered american soil) oh by the way they were just doing what there peaceful redligion allows! I am curious why they were shouting we are all Osama’s; Obama. I wonder if the POTUS and the democrat national conv. speakers repeated refrence how they killed Bin Laden how anything to do with what they were shouting rather than a video that no one has seen. I was under the impression that your people and belief made yall the educated elite? And as a result for blaming a video yall have just thrown fuel on the fire by inviting the peaceful muslims to kill Americans i hope the poor souls taken over yalls partisan BS find there way to heaven and prey they aren’t also sodimized and tortured. Yall should really think about consiquences before yall insight hate. guess yall need real hate to watch you just create it.

  • http://www.mitrabet.com Etha Dossous

    Look, its like this. There are intelligent “Muslims” in the world today who are loving all this anti america, brittain, Israel, France, Spain etc (not many countries left they dont like) because they want islam to dominate the world and its happening. Just look at parts of Great Brittain some areas totally Muslim. Its a self imposed Apartheid.

  • Reynardine

    Erika, a *certain smile* can be attributed neither to that nor coincidence.

  • Kiwiwriter

    Don’t mince words, Weelwall…fill the room with your hatred of Jews!

    Just so we know what idiocy we’re dealing with.

  • Erika

    Some words to live by: “never atribute to conspiracy that which can be explained by incomptence”

  • Reynardine

    Spuddie, do not overlook two possibilities: (a) the one side had foreknowledge of the other, or (b) the same hand guided both.

    Now, who was smirking with Machiavellian delight at the outcome?

  • Reynardine

    Rich, we do not, to my knowledge, have a “Russian” commenting here. We have a commenter who signs himself Ruslan, but who is an American, as evidenced by his handling the language a whole lot better than you. Whatever the source of a comment I would call atypically unfortunate, a scheme for Russian world domination is unlikely to form a part of it.

    Bob, your grammar and diction lead me to suspect that you are either the same person, or closely associated with him. Surely, that lends you both credibility.

  • aadila

    “In the US we are to be held RESPONSIBLE for OUR actions, that does not mean we can riot in the streets nor kill because we are upset.”

    Twenty to 30 million dead and upwards of 200 million wounded and maimed around the world as a result of U.S.-backed military conflicts since 1945 tell a very different story.

    Oh that’s right. You said “in” the U.S.

    I guess “outside” the U.S. we get to kill because we are upset, right Bob? I bet you consider those holding the United States responsible for 30 million deaths to be “terrorists”, eh Bob? They just “hate freedom” so much that it’s not really about 30 million shallow graves, or 200 million limbs blown off.

    Wait, let me guess. Pointing to these things must be “upsetting, biased, and simply wrong” because, hey, they desecrated our flag. I get that. I really do.

  • Bob

    In the US we have freedom of speech, we do NO have freedom from being insulted.
    In the US we are to be held RESPONSIBLE for OUR actions, that does not mean we can riot in the streets nor kill because we are upset.
    In the US, the Government is NOT to establish an offical religion, unlike many other nations.
    Why even the SPLC has the right to say things that are upsetting, biased, and simply wrong!

  • Spuddie

    It turns out the death of the ambassador had nothing to do with allegedly spontaneous protests over what amounts to a sub-Ed Woodian trailer pissing off Muslims. It was an orchestrated hit by the Al Queda franchise in the area looking to make its bones in the region and worm its way into power in the nascent government.

  • Rich

    I thougt the russian response was interesting.(we told you so supporting arab spring naieve etc.) could this be geopolitical?

  • Erika

    aadila, while its extremely shameful, any jury consultant will tell you that psychological research has shown that women are actually the absolute worst group when it comes to blaming the victim in rape cases. And that research has shown that young single women (even ones who routinely wear tight dresses themselves) are actually the absolute worst at blaming a woman who wore a tight dress for being raped (that is why defense counsel actually seek to get as many young women on juries in rape cases as possible and prosecutors seek to get as many men as possible).

    Self blame is apparently a huge contributing factor in women not reporting being raped. Research has shown that rape victims often blame themselves for their attacks.

    From what limited understanding of psychology i have, its apparently a defense mechanicsm to the threat of rape. the human psychology here is apparently very complex and totally beyond my comprehension.

    Not that it makes the statement any less stupid and offensive.

  • Reynardine

    Weelwal, I will caution you also.

    Netenyahu is not Israel, and Israeli and Jew are not coterminous words. I don’t doubt Netenyahu is pigheadedly stirring up war between the U.S. and Iran, but WW III is the lasty thing even he wants. Israel is about big enough to fit in Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties, and one thermonuke would be the end of it. Meanwhile, quite a few Israelis are horrified by his policies, and so are most American Jews

  • Weelwall

    Sanford,

    Why everybody is so dumb and did not see the Israeli connection.

    Look at the perfect timing to make war between the US & One Billion Muslims.

    They R working very hard on WW Three!

  • thesneakyemu

    @Reynardine- The goals of all extremist leaders is control. It’s why Hitler demonized and murdered Jews, Gypsies, and Homosexuals. It’s why McCarthy hunted supposed communists in our midst. Every leader using any type of extremist rhetoric ultimately seeks control. Both sides in this drama feed off the other.

  • CoralSea

    aadila — this is true. What is unfortunate is that many of them probably believe that they ARE diverse.

    There was a flap here in Illinois a few years ago about a large cross that had been erected some years ago near the interchange of two Interstates. The cross, which had been erected by a private group on private property was in a state of disrepair, and various folks approached the state of Illinois for funds to fix it.

    As you can imagine, there was opposition to the expenditure of state money on a religious image on private property. What I found interesting was the claim by one of the clergymen leading the charge for funding that, in fact, the cross had the backing of ALL religions, so since everyone wanted it fixed, because it was important to everyone, the state should provide funding.

    His example of “all” of the religions who were involved in the restoration effort? Baptists, Southern Baptists, Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians, and even (gasp) some Catholics.

    I don’t think that this gentleman was being flip, he simply defined his world as composed entirely of Christians. I have a feeling that a lot of GOP members have a similar outlook.

    But we need to remind ourselves that it is easy to fall into this trap, as evidenced by some of the less than enlightened comments made at the DNC about “rednecks.” Not all rednecks are bigots or Republicans.

  • aadila

    Coral,

    Remember these are the same people who claim the Tea Party is ethnically diverse and, after searching far and wide, touted one or two black speakers among the sea of white faces to prove it.

  • CoralSea

    aadila — if they thought such a statement would resonate with women, then they are even dumber than anyone thought.

  • aadila

    Erika, I have no doubt that they actually thought the analogy would somehow resonate with women voters who by and large, don’t support Republicans for exactly this kind of statement.

  • Reynardine

    Stanford, please see the remarks addressed to Ruslan. He has merited restraint from each of us many times over. You have yet to earn it. Think about that.

  • Stanford

    Yes, I also understand that the producer of this hateful film is a full fledged member of MOSSAD and that this film was funded as a ‘FALSE FLAG’ operation to get the US to support the terrorist Zio-Nazi regime of Netanyahu to launch an attack against Iran…. Why would they do that?????

    Love one another….. Let ALL EVIL be destroyed, including EVIL that perpetrates FALSE FLAG attacks upon others.

    Peace and love…

  • Reynardine

    Ruslan, I should like you to think about the implications of what you have just said. Had anyone with a lesser reputation implied the same thing, they might have been asked if they had awakened in a besotted and soiled condition beside an equally besotted and soiled brach. I do not think this of you, but a cup of coffee and two Ibuprofen might be helpful.

  • Reynardine

    Thesneakyemu: the film was planned and timed in advance. The attack was planned and timed in advance. Suppose the source of planning and timing was the same? Cui bono?

    And now, it is time for me to take a little stroll by the black waterside.

  • Erika

    aadila, do those idiots even realize that in the view of their followers they just admitted that they think that Jones is responsible?

  • CoralSea

    aadila — Oh, dear — thank you for making my day! Woman wearing a tight dress — really? Well, definitely a twofer — bash women and bash anyone who isn’t foaming at the mouth against Islam.

    I have been buried in finishing a report and haven’t looked at the recent news coverage. My Wall Street Journal is still in the driveway — must retrieve it and see what the wing-nuts say.

    Hey — wait a minute! Wasn’t Romney all up in arms, saying this was all Obama’s fault for the message the Embassy in Cairo issued about how the film didn’t reflect the views of America? Well, golly gee! If Obama’s statements “embolden” the evil doers, don’t statements by the Right and the Christian Crazy do so, as well? Perhaps we are to cut the Right and the Christian Crazies some slack, though, because when they speak, they don’t really know what they are saying on account of being stupid (snark).

    Such nasty, nasty business!

    BTW — I think I will use the term “Christian Crazy” to speak of groups like Jones and the Westboro Baptist Church, and the like. I know that not all Christians — and not all Right-leaning Christians — adhere to these nutty ideas and I certainly don’t want to imply that they do.

  • thesneakyemu

    @ CoralSea- What I find to be the most disturbing part of this whole episode is the how open the film’s creators are about wanting to spread discontent and violence in the Muslim World. However, the leaders of LIbya and Egypt have shown wonderful support of the United States as the protests continue.
    As I stated on the other thread, the attack which cost Ambassador Stevens and three others to lose there lives seems to have been planned long before the film was released, it also seems apparent the protests gave the attackers an excellent opportunity to strike. Disgusting.

  • CoralSea

    Linnea — I am not holding my breath, either. I suppose it was a gratuitous comment on my part, smacking of sanctimony. Still, considering the “straight lines” the Values Voter Summit crowd draws between various “immoral acts” and “the decay of society” or even hurricanes and earthquakes, I couldn’t resist. Sorry for the total silliness.

  • CoralSea

    Dan — I agree about protecting the first amendment; however, as I’m sure you know, the notion of “protected speech” doesn’t include the right to yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater when there isn’t one (simply to cause a panic).

    Distributing this film wasn’t simply an irresponsible act, it was done to inflame passions and incite violence. If you consider the people involved and their efforts to discredit Islam, that was its intent. They wanted to upset Muslims — and they wanted to be able to point out to Christians how violent and evil Muslims are by pointing to the actions of a few zealots (of course, they are Christian zealots who are, I’m afraid, also likely to embrace violence, as the post above this one amply demonstrates).

    So while we may not wish to rein in free speech, speech can have consequences — which is the whole point of making statements. When people knowingly and intentionally make inflammatory statements (or release inflammatory films) into places where the people have a history of responding violently, then it follows that violence was their intent. They may not be legally responsible, but they are definitely morally responsible.

    As to speaking out against religion — I definitely understand the desire when one is bombarded with a lot of rot from various groups. I am a practitioner of Wicca and a grew up in a crazy, fundamentalist Christian home with very crazy fundamentalist Christian family members. Thus, I am very sensitive (possibly over-sensitive) to their pronouncements, which I view as damaging to humanity as a whole in many ways.

    However, religion can also be a force for good and comfort for many people, and so I do not personally desire to attack it in its totality. The bat-shit crazy stuff, such as condemning LGBT people, trying to interfer in a woman’s reproductive rights, meddling with our educational system by changing history or insisting that creationism be taught along with evolution — I will speak out against that because the damage it does goes far beyond those who believe it and into society as a whole.

  • aadila

    Coral you may already have seen the right is claiming blaming Terry Jones is like blaming a woman who gets raped for wearing a tight dress.

    Leave it to the Republicans to say things demeaning to women at the same time as they are saying things demeaning to Muslims.

  • Linnea

    CoralSea,

    Re: your last paragraph… I’m not holding my breath!

  • Kiwiwriter

    This whole incident in Libya is extremely infuriating.

    First we have the vicious anti-Islamic propaganda film, designed to do nothing but inflame viewers…

    And then we have the spectacle of viewers inflamed and committing horrific misdeeds.

    The worst thing about these religious wars is that it’s basically an argument over “Who has the best imaginary friend.”

  • Blaidd

    Ok I watched this film that caused such an upwar. The film makes Ed D. Woods look like an Academy Award winner. One can tell it was made to piss some people off. It is, so, low budget and made on a sound stage, the editing was horrible not only did it insult the “Profit” it also made refrences that he was gay and had 20+ wives. I mean, what an oxymoran. The film made claims that the belief was a convert or die, but wait, if you don’t convert then you have to pay an extorcian (sp?). Some one is trying to piss people off and cause trouple. If the zelots who stormed our Consulats actully saw the film, I beleive that they would laugh. It was 10 minutes of my life I will never get back.

  • Reynardine

    So Bacile is not an Israeli, maybe not a Jew, probably not Bacile, and maybe not a person. Who is he a cardboard cutout for? And why did the provocation appear so conveniently timed (they thought) for the Romney campaign? Follow the money.

  • Concerned Citizen

    testing wondering where my post went, well if it gets posted please correct the word rabbit dog…I meant to put rabid dog.

    :)

  • Concerned Citizen

    When you have a bunch of village idiots pushing hate agenda it is not a good thing for the white American population. These idiots are making enemies of those who are our friends and allies. And creating new enemies where there were none.

    It would serve our country greatly to outlaw public displays and websites that openly promote hate and racial divide in this country. It’s as though ignorance got a real jolt and awaken a horrible culture of hate in America.

    Imagine you have one rabbit dog that bites someone and next you have a large group of idiots yelling all dogs are rabbit and they are all out to get out. This is nothing more than ignorance turned into criminal/hate insanity

  • Dan Zabetakis

    “As I wrote on the other thread, I wonder if any of the fine members of the Religious Right who espouse anti-Islamic sentiments and is attending the Values Voter Summit will bother to admit that Terry Jones and the others involved with this film bear some responsibility for the lives lost and the tumult of the embassy attacks, not to mention heaping yet more bad feelings on Muslims in regard to their views of the West.”

    The problem is that I don’t accept that the makers of this film are responsible, even in part. The responsibility for the violence lies with those who carried it out.

    The film may be full of lies, or full of inflammatory rhetoric, but the right to criticize religion is absolute. As an atheist I consider it essential as I criticize religion frequently. The problem is not those who engage in free speech, but those who react violently.

    It would be a great shame upon ourselves and our society if we allowed “the mob” to dictate acceptable and unacceptable words. How could we be sure it would not be you or me that is silenced next?

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    I guess toppling that more-or-less secular government with a group of racist, theocratic terrorists wasn’t such a bright idea after all. Film or no film, this was bound to happen sooner or later. I’m just surprised to see that it was sooner.

    If Assad’s regime in Syria should fall, get ready for terrorist attacks against the US from those “freedom fighters” as well. The US didn’t learn from Afghanistan, and it won’t learn from Libya.

  • CoralSea

    M. Bright –

    I’m surprised at the “Sam” in Sam Bacile. I would think that, since the guy was working with the Terry Jones looney, it should have been “M. Bacile,” as in imbecile.

    And yes, it is always appalling how people can put this sort of thing into motion and not care or have any feelings of guilt or remorse. But then, sociopaths don’t have those feelings (which is why the rest of us avoid them). Doesn’t say much for the people and groups he works with, does it?

  • CoralSea

    Folks, mark my words, we are all going to be feeling the sting of these various militia groups, including, or possibly, especially, the “Christian” ones. (I put “Christian” in quotes because I think they are as far from the old-style, golden-rule type Christians that many of us grew up with as the Manson Family — and potentially as lethal.)

    Do look into information on the New Apostolic Reformation and Nukes for Jesus on the talk2action.org website, which you can access on this page. These folks are bent on a holy war, and if you are not “their” kind of Christian, then good luck getting a fair shake from them if they ever attain any real power.

    I know we have a second amendment and freedom of association, but does law enforcement have any leverage against groups like these militias?

    As I wrote on the other thread, I wonder if any of the fine members of the Religious Right who espouse anti-Islamic sentiments and is attending the Values Voter Summit will bother to admit that Terry Jones and the others involved with this film bear some responsibility for the lives lost and the tumult of the embassy attacks, not to mention heaping yet more bad feelings on Muslims in regard to their views of the West.

  • CoralSea

    Gindy53 — gee, they weren’t directly shot or anything? Then I guess it’s okay.

    Oh — wait. They died of smoke inhalation from fires in the building from the attack — I’d say that they died BECAUSE of the attack. And smoke inhalation is a bad, bad way to die. I hope that you aren’t implying that it was their fault they lost their way, because an awful lot of people who die in fires “lose their ways” and their lives when rooms and hallways fill with smoke.

    This is very, very sad.

  • M. Bright

    Now it turns out that this producer, “Sam Bacile” probably does not exist.

    And this Klein fellow, this paranoid sociopath, doesn’t seem to be bothered by the deaths of four American Embassy personnel in the least.

  • Gindy53

    Stevens and the other people were not “killed” by a mob, they died of smoke inhalation due to the fires in the building. They were not shot, dismembered, stabbed, tortured, or blown up with a bomb. They got separated from the other folks on the way to the roof and died from smoke.

  • Reynardine

    Over at Politicus USA, we were wondering whodunnit. Thank you for this exposition.