A Middle Eastern oil tycoon named Muhammad wanted to make sure Americans never become energy independent, thus ensuring a steady stream of U.S. funds to enrich himself at your expense. To that end, Muhammad decided to use $9 million of his family dynasty’s wealth to fund an anti-fracking propaganda film that would convince the American people that the modern energy extraction technology was bad for the environment. Top Hollywood bigwigs were more than willing to take the money, produce the deception, and keep quiet about it all — until they got busted.
In reality, “Muhammad” was no Mideast oil magnate. Rather, he was an actor working a sting operation with undercover journalist James O’Keefe and his infamous Project Veritas, which has exposed numerous scandals using undercover tactics — with ACORN, perhaps, being the most explosive so far. In the latest sting, the group recorded heavyweight Hollywood actors and producers agreeing to dupe and defraud the American people by demonizing fracking and covering up the funding source.
“This latest investigation shows the dark side of Hollywood’s environmental movement,” explained James O’Keefe, who has attracted the ire of Big Government proponents exposed in a wide array of sting operations in recent years. “Hollywood is willing to take and conceal money from Middle Eastern oil interests in order to advance their cause of destroying American energy independence.” Project Veritas’ “Expose: Hollywood’s War on US Energy” premiered in Cannes, France, last week.
Among the Hollywood characters exposed in the sting were actor Ed Begley, Jr., an “environmentalist” who serves as governor of the Academy Awards board, and Academy Award-nominated actress Mariel Hemingway. Also busted agreeing to accept and conceal oil money to fund the propaganda were “Green Planet Productions” producers Josh and Rebecca Tickell. The prominent husband and wife have produced multiple “environmental” films, including one in 2008 dubbed Fuel that won a major award and was shown at the White House for the Obama administration.
“If Washington D.C. continues fracking, America will be energy efficient and then they won't need our oil anymore,” the actor posing as Muhammad tells the Hollywood “environmentalists” in the Project Veritas recording. Another actor who participated in the operation, posing as an ad executive, goes on to say: “Our motivation or my motive is, my client is, we're — we want to — I'm trying to help his bottom line, you know…. That doesn’t go farther than this table.”
That is good enough for the Hollywood types, who met with the undercover operatives at the ritzy Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles. All of the “punked” celebrities can be heard on tape vowing to keep the funding hidden. “Washington and Hollywood are a lot alike; illusions, special effects, smoke and mirrors,” explains Begley, the actor and influential Hollywood insider.
Separately, during a phone call, the producers volunteer even more embarrassing quotes to the Project Veritas actors. The phony “ad executive” tells them clearly: “My client's interest is to end American energy independence; your interest is to end fracking. And you guys understand that?” Josh Tickell responds: “Correct. Yes, super clear.”
“We're confident that we can keep this zip-locked,” continues Tickell. “You know, tight. Tight. Air-tight forever. If we don't protect who is kind of funding this thing … if we have to disclose that or that becomes a necessary part of it, the whole enterprise will not work.” His wife, Rebecca, then chimes in: “Because if people think the film is funded by Middle Eastern oil it will, it will not have that credibility.” Then Josh adds: “It's money, so in that sense we have no moral issue.”
After realizing they had been “punked,” the duo responded online, indicating that they still intend to seek funding for the anti-fracking film. The Tickells also suggest O’Keefe is somehow working as an attack dog for conspiratorial-sounding “powerful pro-fracking interests,” though they offer no evidence to substantiate the allegation. “It seems they think this movie — and the successful movement it aims to document — might be the most dangerous thing the fracking industry has ever seen,” the Tickells claimed.
Between expressing outrage, the celebrity producers and environmentalists also tried to brush off the scandal. “We thought to ourselves, oh the irony! We'll use the funding from an oil company to make a film that promotes green energy,” they wrote. “Folks like you and me send about a billion dollars a day over there just by gassing up our cars. We figured what better use of our money than to make a film to change that whole screwed up system.”
The latest Project Veritas operation comes after a 2011 sting in which the group posed as Muslim Brotherhood-linked operatives seeking to donate millions to the taxpayer-funded National Public Radio. After being exposed, the CEO resigned, and NPR’s already battered image suffered further. O’Keefe has also sparked other scandals, including exposing ObamaCare operatives in Texas agreeing to commit crimes to help Democrat politicians.
The Hollywood sting also follows another controversy surrounding an earlier anti-fracking propaganda film known as Promised Land. Despite being created by Hollywood bigwig Matt Damon, the movie stirred a firestorm of criticism and ridicule after it was revealed that funding had come from a wealthy Arab dictatorship profiting from selling oil.
Due to fracking, America is on its way to weaning itself off foreign energy supplies. While some environmentalists claim it is dangerous, experts and even government scientists have said that is not the case.
Alex Newman is a correspondent for The New American, covering economics, education, politics, and more. He can be reached at
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