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Anti-Islam Video Consultant Sued San Clemente in 2007

The city ran afoul of a Southern California propagandist and reported militiaman in 2007 when police tried to stop him putting flyers on cars. He later helped with a film that has sparked massive protests in the Middle East.

A Southern California man who reportedly acted as a consultant for an anti-Islam film that sparked massive protests in the Middle East once sued San Clemente after police stopped him from placing anti-immigration flyers on unoccupied cars.

Steve Klein—who reportedly belongs to the radical right-wing Church at Kaweah, just south of Sequoia National Park—worked on the film, according to the Los Angeles Times. A 13-minute trailer for the film, The Innocence of Muslims, is posted on YouTube.

The film caused huge protests in Egypt, but reports are conflicted on whether it ignited the conflagration that led to the death of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other U.S. citizens in an attack on the consulate there.

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In June 2007, Klein was in downtown San Clemente passing out anti-immigration flyers to pedestrians. But Orange County sheriff's deputies stopped him when he tried to put some of the leaflets under the windshield wipers of unoccupied cars, according to U.S. appellate court documents.

Deputies cited a city anti-littering law that banned anyone from papering parked cars on city streets.

When Klein and his "cohorts" sued the city, a U.S. district judge issued an injunction against him. However, in August 2008, an appellate court ruled that Klein was allowed to keep putting flyers on parked cars in the city.

Judge Marsha S. Berzon, who wrote the opinion, said preventing litter wasn't enough justification to curtail Klein's free speech rights. She cited various legal precedents and readers may examine her opinion in the PDF file attached to this article.

Klein (an insurance man in Hemet, according to the Times) has been involved in radical right-wing propaganda for more than four decades, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups all over the country.

In 1977, Klein founded Courageous Christians United—a church that protests abortion clinics, Mormon temples and mosques, SPLC reported in spring of this year.

Klein also reportedly has ties to the Minuteman movement, a quasi-militia that actively patrols the border and denounces illegal immigration.

"In addition to working with... the Church at Kaweah’s militia, Klein 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,' " SPLC reported. 

Adam Townsend September 13, 2012 at 01:18 PM
The story at large continues to develop: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5ifWYKzUPaqJJsJ5aj-58K0JCL1Fg?docId=91c9d18979f24144ba8ea358237f046f
James Schumaker September 13, 2012 at 04:31 PM
There is increasing evidence that the attack on our Consulate in Benghazi, which resulted in the death of Ambassador Stevens and three other Foreign Service personnel, would have gone ahead on 9/11 regardless of whether or not Klein's idiotic "film" had appeared on YouTube. This is because al-Qaeda's second in command, Abu Yahya al-Libi, was killed in a drone strike in Pakistan last June, and the organization's current leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, had recently called on al-Qaeda members to avenge his death. Al-Libi, as his last name implies, was from Libya. This is just one of many theories at the moment,. Even if it turns out to be the reason for the attack, however, Klein still has a lot to answer for, with demonstrations against the film spreading across the Middle East. President Obama has ordered that all flags be flown at half-staff until sunset on Sunday to honor our fallen diplomats.
Adam Townsend September 13, 2012 at 07:24 PM
You're right; I just heard reports on NPR that the attack in Libya was likely planned ahead of time. It makes sense: what random mob just happens to have rocket-propelled grenades laying around? We'll have to see how this story develops.

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