09-21-2020  8:30 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

US Judge Blocks Postal Service Changes That Slowed Mail

The Yakima, Washington judge called the changes “a politically motivated attack on the efficiency of the Postal Service” before the November election.

Black and Jewish Community Join to Revive Historic Partnership

United in Spirit Oregon brings together members of the NAACP, Jewish Federation of Greater Portland, others to serve as peacemakers 

Feds Explored Possibly Charging Portland Officials in Unrest

Federal officials were told that Portland police officers were explicitly told not to respond to the federal courthouse

Latest: Report: Downed Power Lines Sparked 13 Oregon Fires

As wildfires continue to burn in Oregon and the west, here are today's updates.

NEWS BRIEFS

Black Leaders Endorse Sarah Iannarone for Portland Mayor

Iannarone seeks to unseat an embattled Mayor Ted Wheeler, who has increasingly high unfavorable approval ratings. ...

Today in History: Senate Confirms Nomination of First Female Justice to Supreme Court

On Sept. 21, 1981, the Senate unanimously confirmed the nomination of Sandra Day O’Connor to become the first female justice on the...

Free Masks and Gloves Now Available for Small Businesses

Businesses with fewer than 50 employees that are headquartered in Oregon with principal operations in Oregon are eligible. ...

Forest Service Explains 'Containment'

US Forest Service, Riverside Fire provides a special update to explain how they achieve wildfire containment. ...

Oregon Receives Approval of Federal Disaster Declaration for Wildfires

Decision will enable federal aid to begin flowing, as unprecedented wildfires ravage state and force evacuation of thousands ...

Wildfire death toll in Oregon increases to nine

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The number of fatalities from Oregon’s recent wildfires has increased to nine people, the state's Office of Emergency Management confirmed Monday.Fires continued to rage across the West Coast Monday. The Pacific Northwest Region of the Forest Service reported Monday...

Man shoots self in groin while flaunting gun in supermarket

LINCOLN CITY, Ore. (AP) — Police say an Oregon man is recovering after he accidentally shot himself while flaunting a handgun at a Lincoln City supermarket. The Oregonian/OregonLive reports the mishap happened Sunday night when Nicholas J. Ellingford brandished his Glock 9mm in the checkout...

AP Top 25 Reality Check: When streaks end, but not really

For the first time since the end of the 2011 season, Ohio State is not ranked in the AP Top 25.The Buckeyes' streak of 132 straight poll appearances is the second-longest active streak in the country, behind Alabama's 198.Of course, in this strange season of COVID-19, Ohio State's streak was...

Potential impact transfers this season aren't limited to QBs

While most of the offseason chatter surrounding college football transfers inevitably focuses on quarterbacks, plenty of notable players at other positions also switched teams and could make major impacts for their new schools this fall.Miami may offer the clearest example of this.Quarterback...

OPINION

SPLC Statement on the Passing of Rev. Robert S. Graetz Jr.

Graetz was the only white clergyman to publicly support the Montgomery Bus Boycott ...

Tell Your Senators: “Let the People Decide”

Just 45 days before Election Day, voters like you should have a say in choosing our next Supreme Court justice ...

Inventor Urges Congress to Pass Laws Upholding Patent Rights

German Supreme Court ruling prevents African American company Enovsys from licensing its widely used technology in Germany ...

The Extraordinary BIPOC Coalition Support Measure 110

Coming together to change the systemic racism of the failed approach to drugs and addiction ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Hamlin, Michael Jordan partner on NASCAR team for Wallace

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Denny Hamlin has joined Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan to form a NASCAR team with Bubba Wallace as the driver, a high-profile pairing of a Black majority team owner and the only Black driver at NASCAR’s top level.The partnership was announced Monday...

China uproots ethnic minority villages in anti-poverty fight

CHENGBEI GAN’EN, China (AP) — Under a portrait of President Xi Jinping, Ashibusha sits in her freshly painted living room cradling her infant daughter beside a chair labeled a “gift from the government.” The mother of three is among 6,600 members of the Yi ethnic...

Chastain snags Ganassi Cup ride in busy NASCAR free agency

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Ross Chastain snagged one of the coveted open Cup seats on Monday in a promotion at Chip Ganassi Racing to drive the No. 42 next season.This year marks a particularly active free agency period with heavy turnover expected among a limited number of rides. The No. 42...

ENTERTAINMENT

Debunked COVID story prompts differing responses on Fox News

NEW YORK (AP) — Fox News Channel's Steve Doocy apologized on Monday “for any confusion” in reporting a now-debunked story about the mayor of Nashville, Tennessee, supposedly concealing the number of coronavirus cases linked to bars and restaurants in that city because they were...

The 'Pandemmys' were weird and sometimes wonderful

It was Regina King, winning her fourth career Emmy on Sunday, who perhaps summed up the proceedings the most succinctly — and accurately: “This is freaking weird."Why, yes, being handed your Emmy inside your home, by a person you didn't know was coming, with fellow nominees zooming in...

Review: 'Agents of Chaos,' from Russia, but not with love

Let's take a trip back in American history, but not too way back. To a time not that unfamiliar — the last presidential election. Do you remember all the stuff swirling around in 2016?Fancy Bear. Paul Manafort. Julian Assange. Guccifer 2.0. George Papadopoulos. The Steele dossier. The...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Soaring wealth during pandemic highlights rising inequality

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans' household wealth rebounded last quarter to a record high as the stock market...

Born to prevent war, UN at 75 faces a deeply polarized world

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations marked its 75th anniversary Monday with its chief urging leaders...

Former Wisconsin police chief to review Jacob Blake shooting

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin's attorney general announced Monday that he has selected a former Madison...

Navalny says nerve agent was found 'in and on' his body

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny demanded Monday that Russia return the clothes he...

Indian couple run street-side classes for poor students

NEW DELHI (AP) — On a quiet road in India's capital, tucked away on a wide, red-bricked sidewalk, kids set...

Greece: Talks with Turkey on eastern Med could restart soon

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece and Turkey are close to reviving talks on long-standing maritime disputes...

Don't Call the Police for domestic disturbances
McMenamins
Moni Basu CNN

(CNN) -- Some time in the summer, a small theater in Los Angeles screened a movie to which hardly anyone came.

It was a clunky film filled with scenes in a desert and in tents. The characters were cartoonish; the dialogue gauche.



The actors who'd responded to a July 2011 casting call thought they were making an adventure film set 2,000 years ago called "Desert Warrior." That's how Backstage magazine and other acting publications described it.

The American-made movie, it turns out, was hardly an innocent Arabian Desert action flick.

Instead, the movie, backed by hardcore anti-Islam groups in the United States, is a tome on Islam as fraud. In trailers posted on YouTube in July, viewers saw this: scene after scene of the Prophet Mohammed portrayed as a womanizer, buffoon, ruthless killer and child molester.

Islam forbids all depictions of Mohammed, let alone insulting ones.

The Muslim world erupted in rage.

Protesters aired their anti-American anger in Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia, Morocco, Sudan, Iran and in the Palestinian territories. They came after violent mobs attacked the U.S. Consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi leaving the ambassador and three other Americans dead.

But as outrage spread, the film's origins still remained murky. Whose idea was it? Who financed it?

At the heart of the mystery was the filmmaker himself, a man identified in the casting call as Sam Bassiel, on the call sheet as Sam Bassil and reported at first by news outlets as Sam Bacile.

By Thursday, as new details emerged, it was becoming apparent that Bacile was probably not the producer's real name.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, the filmmaker identified himself as Sam Bacile and said he was a 52-year-old Israeli-American real estate developer from California.

But Israel's Foreign Ministry said there was no record of a Sam Bacile with Israeli citizenship.

"This guy is totally anonymous. At this point, no one can confirm he holds Israeli citizenship, and even if he did we are not involved," ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said.

CNN has been unable to contact anyone named Sam Bacile and cannot verify the information reported in the Journal.

A search by CNN of public records related to Bacile came up empty. A search of entertainment records turned up no previous mention of a Sam Bacile, and the directors and writers guilds had no listing for him.

A production staff member who worked on the film in its initial stages told CNN that an entirely different name was filed on the paperwork for the Screen Actors Guild: Abenob Nakoula Bassely.

He believed the filmmaker was a Coptic Christian and when the two spoke on the phone during production, the filmmaker said he was in Alexandria, Egypt, raising money for the film. There has been a long history of animosity between Muslims and the minority Copts in Egypt.

Another staffer who worked on the film said he knew the producer as Sam Bassil. That's how he signed a personal check to pay staff.

The staffer said he was "99% positive" that Sam Bassil was not Jewish. He had quite a few religious pieces in his house, including images of the Madonna.

He was married with two children -- the daughter helped during production and even brought in lunch on a few occasions, the staffer said.

Neither staffer wanted to be identified for security reasons.

In his interview with the Wall Street Journal, the filmmaker characterized his movie, now called "Innocence of Muslims," as "a political effort to call attention to the hypocrisies of Islam."

"Islam is a cancer," he said. "The movie is a political movie. It's not a religious movie."

An actress in the film, who asked not to be identified, told CNN that the original script did not include a Prophet Mohammed character. She said she and other actors complained that their lines had been changed.

She said she spoke Wednesday with the producer.

"He said he wrote the script because he wants the Muslims to quit killing," she said. "I had no idea he was doing all this."

She described the movie's repercussions as a "nightmare," given the outrage and deaths, and she regretted having a role. She said she was angry and hurt by the lies.

The 79 other cast and crew members said they were "grossly misled" about the film's intent.

"The entire cast and crew are extremely upset and feel taken advantage of by the producer," they said in a statement.

They said they were "shocked by the drastic rewrites of the script and lies that were told to all involved. We are deeply saddened by the tragedies that have occurred."

The actress said that the character of Mohammed in the movie was named George when it was shot, and that after production wrapped she returned and read other lines that may have been dubbed into the piece.

A member of the production staff who worked on the film and has a copy of the original script corroborated the woman's account. There was no mention of Mohammed or Islam, the crew member said.

The filmmaker told the Wall Street Journal that he was backed by Jewish donors, who contributed $5 million to make the film. Based on the trailer, however, the cartoonish movie appears to have been produced on a low budget.

Anti-Muslim activist Steve Klein, who said he was a script consultant for the movie, said the filmmaker told him his idea was to make a film that would reveal "facts, evidence and proof" about the Prophet Mohammed to people he perceived as radical Muslims.

Klein said the movie was called "Innocence of Bin Laden."

"Our intent was to reach out to the small minority of very dangerous people in California and try to shock them into understanding how dangerous Islam is," Klein said.

"We knew that it was going to cause some friction, if anybody paid attention to it," he said.

But when Klein went to the screening in the Los Angeles theater, no one was there.

"It was a bust, a wash," he said.

But a while later, the trailers were online. They were segments focusing on the Prophet Mohammed and posted under the title, "Innocence of Mohammed."

The trailers were translated into Egyptian dialects of Arabic, the New York Times reported. Egyptian television aired certain segments.

And the fury erupted.

Klein told CNN Wednesday that Sam Bacile was in hiding.

"He's very depressed, and he's upset," Klein said. "I talked to him this morning, and he said that he was very concerned for what happened to the ambassador."

The Atlantic later quoted Klein as saying that Sam Bacile was a pseudonym. He said he did not know Bacile's real name.

Klein is known in Southern California for his vocal opposition to the construction of a mosque in Temecula, southeast of Los Angeles, in 2010. He heads up Concerned Citizens for the First Amendment, a group that contends Islam is a threat to American freedom.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, says Klein, a former Marine and Vietnam veteran, helped train militant Christian fundamentalists prepare for war.

The movie got even more notice after it was promoted by anti-Islam activists, including Egyptian-born Coptic Christian Morris Sadek and Terry Jones, the Florida pastor whose Quran-burning last year sparked deadly riots in Afghanistan.

Jones said he had been contacted to help distribute the film.

"The film is not intended to insult the Muslim community, but it is intended to reveal truths about Mohammed that are possibly not widely known," Jones said in a statement.

"It is very clear that God did not influence him (Mohammed) in the writings of the Quran," said Jones, who went on to blame Muslims' fear of criticism for the protests, rather than the film.

Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called Jones to ask him to withdraw his support for the film, said Col. David Lapan, Dempsey's spokesman.

"Jones' support of the film risks causing more violence and death," Lapan said.

That fear mounted as anger raged in the Muslim world and especially as Friday, Islam's day of religious observance, fast approached.

CNN's Jennifer Wolfe, Miguel Marquez, Brian Todd, Chelsea Carter and Tom Watkins contributed to this report.

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