A federal judge has ruled that a nonprofit who is having a hard time serving a Kuwaiti sheikh with a lawsuit may do so with a tweet.
St. Francis of Assisi, a California-based nonprofit working with refugees, sued two Middle Eastern banks and a Kuwaiti sheikh in June for the funding of a Christian genocide in Iraq and Syria, Courthouse News reports. The problem was, they were having a hard time serving Sunni cleric Hajjaj al-Ajmi, who is blacklisted by the United States for financing terror, with the paperwork.
According to the lawsuit, al-Ajmi frequently uses Twitter to launch campaigns to obtain funding for ISIS to kill Assyrian Christians. Since Kuwait is not part of the Hague Convention, the nonprofit is unable to serve him through conventional means.
Last Friday, US Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler approved of the organization’s request to serve them through the unconventional method.
“The court grants St. Francis’s request because service via Twitter is reasonably calculated to give notice and is not prohibited by international agreement,” Beeler wrote in her ruling.
“Al-Ajmi has a large following on Twitter,” Beeler continued, “and has used the social-media platform to fundraise large sums of money for terrorist organizations by providing bank-account numbers to make donations.”
The attorney representing St. Francis stated that they believe this is the first time a federal court has authorized a lawsuit to be served in this manner.
“The plaintiff is setting up the mechanism for putting notices on the defendant’s Twitter,” attorney Mogeeb Weiss told Courthouse News. “We will tweet it at them with a link where the summons and complaint can be obtained.”
Despite the approval of the court, the nonprofit still faces one major challenge — with Twitter’s crackdown on terrorism related accounts, al-Ajmi’s previous handles have been banned. They will now have to find the account that he is currently using.
Eagle Valley Elementary School was evacuated after a man in green garb and a black face mask walked inside and claimed to have a bomb on Monday afternoon, he was taken into custody after 5PM local time.
Kimberly Bird, the Assistant to the Superintendent of the Alpine School District, said that the masked man walked into the school and said, “evacuate the kids and no one will get hurt,” around 2 PM.
Shortly before the incident, the El Paso Times and other media outlets reportedly received an email from the man, claiming to be 32-year-old Christopher Craig, stating that he “will call 911 with a threat of an explosive and drive onto my 9yr olds elementary school, Eagle Valley Elementary, with a True Explosive.”
SCHOOL EVACUATION: Man identifies himself as Christopher Craig. arrested once in carbon Co, for driving his car onto a school playground
In the email, he also stated that he “was born into this world under the slave name of Christopher Craig. Currently, I am known as The Radical Islamic Jihadist Muhammad Allah Al-Khidr.”
“My reason for writing Today is because of my pending arrest and hunger strike which begins when I press send on this Discourse of Truth. In 2 hours, call Eagle Mountain PD in Eagle Mountain, UT if you think I am bluffing. Ask them,” he added, before rambling and making what the Times called “racist comments.”
Kyla Moulton, who lives across the street from the school livestreamed the man walking casually around the outside of the school as tanks approached.
Just before 4 PM local time, the woman was told to get away from the window as a bomb robot was deployed.
The city posted an alert on Facebook stating that “to their knowledge” all children are evacuated and safe, which was later confirmed.
“**Alert – Police Incident Eagle Valley Elementary** The Utah County Sheriff’s Office is currently working an incident at Eagle Valley Elementary. To our knowledge, all children have been evacuated and are safe.
Please avoid the area of the school until further notice. We will provide an update when we have new information from the sheriff’s office.”
The man is likely a former Utah State University Eastern basketball coach who is also known as the “Utah jihadist.” Craig was arrested in 2014 for driving his car onto an elementary school playground.
Christopher Craig during his 2014 arrest for driving onto a playground.
Craig has an alarming history of frightening behavior, the Times reports:
“On July 10, 2013, Craig allegedly entered a classroom at Eastern Arizona College and began yelling obscenities after asking an instructor if he was Mormon. On July 23, 2013, police in Steamboat Springs, Colo., encountered Craig while he was driving around filming himself with a white shirt around his head and a bandanna covering his face. The Fort Collins Coloradoan reported police said Craig claimed to be an ‘Islamic jihadist’ and that everyone would know who he was in a couple of weeks. He was not arrested.
On July 26, 2013, Fort Collins police sent a memo to local churches to keep an eye out for a man who had threatened that Mormons and Catholics ‘would be destroyed.’ The man was later identified as Craig, the Coloradoan reported.
Later that year, he was arrested in Price, Utah, on marijuana charges after raising law enforcement concerns because of bizarre behavior, threats and a self-description as an ‘Islamist jihadist.'”
While police have not confirmed that he is their suspect, the man does appear to be wearing the same clothing as in the photos of Craig’s previous arrest.
“Normally he’s a wonderful guy, a really nice man, a husband and father,” Price Police Capt. Bill Barnes said of Craig at the time.
Despite Craig repeatedly saying that he is an Islamic jihadist, authorities stated at the time that he just “has mental problems.”
Suspect in custody in Eagle Mountain. Media return to LDS stake center for updates. L
The FDNY is reporting 29 people were injured after an explosion, which has been called “intentional,” on a busy street in New York City on Saturday evening.
“This was an intentional act,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference Saturday night, while also claiming that there is no known link to terrorism as of yet.
“Tonight New York City experienced a very serious incident,” de Blasio said. However, he said that “there is no evidence at this point of a terror connection.”
The explosion came from a dumpster around 8:30 PM at 135 23rd St. between Sixth and Seventh avenues. A second device was also found at West 27th Street between Sixth and Seventh avenue — just four blocks away. At 11:45 it was reported by Fox News that the second device was a pressure cooker with wires and a cell phone attached, reminding the nation of the Boston bombing.
BREAKING PHOTO! Here is the second device found by a NYSP Sgt. At 27 street and 7 Ave. investigation is ongoing pic.twitter.com/x7o9Rr30I3
“State officials are coordinating our response with federal and New York City authorities, and full state resources have been made available for this investigation,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said. “We are closely monitoring the situation and urge New Yorkers to, as always, remain calm and vigilant.”
“The president has been apprised of the explosion in New York City, the cause of which remains under investigation. The president will be updated as additional information becomes available,” the White House press pool reported around 10:30 PM.
Officials have announced that the city of Paris has lost over $850 million in tourism revenue since the coordinated attacks by Daesh that left 130 people dead last November.
Last Fall’s attacks were carried out by eight suicide bombers and gunmen who waged war on bars, restaurants and the Bataclan theatre where the band the Eagles of Death Metal were performing. France has continued to suffer at the hand of extremists including an attack in Nice which claimed the lives of 84 people. In July, another attack left a priest dead at a church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, Normandy.
“It’s time to realise that the tourism sector is going through an industrial disaster. This is no longer the time for communication campaigns but to set up a relief plan,” Frederic Valletoux, the head of the Paris region tourist board said in a statement on Tuesday.
Valletoux also cited protests and floods as contributing factors, but the continuing attacks by extremists appear to be at the forefront of the slump.
In the statement, Valletoux explained that the first half of the year saw the sharpest decline in visitors since 2010. Tourism from Japan, Russia and Italy saw the biggest drop, with their numbers falling by 46%, 35% and 28%, respectively. Visitors from America and China have also shown a decline.
“Hotels are already laying off staff though they’re not saying it. This industry is on its knees and it needs relief measures now. Hoteliers need the weapons to fight back,” Georges Panayotis, head of hotel research firm MKG group, told Reuters.
According to a report from the committee, attendance at the Grand Palais has fallen by over 40% and the Notre Dame cathedral, the Arc de Triomphe and Versailles all lost an average of 20% of their usual tourist numbers.
“The Nice attack derailed our hopes of a recovery. It’s a dramatic situation and there will be job cuts in the sector if things do not get better by the end of the year,” Christian Navet, head of the UMIH-Paris-Ile-de-France hotel federation told Reuters.
The tourism industry provides approximately 7% of the nation’s GDP, with roughly 500,000 working in the industry.
Researchers have found nearly 76,000 Arabic-Language Twitter accounts that support ISIS — roughly 30,000 more than previous estimates.
The study conducted by the RAND Corporation examined Twitter’s network from July 2014 through April 2015 and determined that one in six accounts on Arabic Twitter last year were in support of the terror organization. They also found that supporters of ISIS are far exceeding the amount of tweets posted by their opponents.
ISIS supporters on Twitter tweeted roughly 60 times per day on average — 50% more than those who oppose them.
“While ISIS supporters are outnumbered, it is clear that they are more active than ISIS opponents, as they produce 150 percent of opponents’ number of tweets a day. These results suggest that ISIS supporters are more energized than their opponent counterparts,” the report stated.
The study also determined that the terror organization is more effective at propagating their message than their opponents.
“However, more than this, lexical analysis of the ISIS Supporters metacommunity demonstrates that ISIS supporters more actively adhere to good social media strategy by actively encouraging fellow supporters to ‘spread,’ ‘disseminate,’ and ‘link’ messages to expand their reach and impact,” the report continued.
A previous study by the Brookings Institute estimated that there were approximately 46,000 Twitter accounts used by ISIS supporters, in both English and Arabic.
RAND researchers found over 471,000 accounts spreading information from ISIS however.
ISIS has long used social media, very effectively, to reach potential sympathizers in other nations.
Earlier this month, a lawsuit filed by an American woman whose husband was killed by ISIS against Twitter for “providing material support” was thrown out by a US District judge in San Francisco.
The plaintiff in the case, Tamara Fields, claimed that her husband was killed while working as a contractor in Jordan due to extremist propaganda that was specificially disseminated on Twitter.
In November 2015, Lloyd ‘Carl’ Fields, Jr. and James Damon Creach were shot and killed while working as United States government contractors at a law enforcement training center in Amman, Jordan. The shooter was a Jordanian police officer who had been studying at the center,” the lawsuit stated. “In subsequent statements, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (‘ISIS’) claimed responsibility for the attack, describing the gunman as a ‘lone wolf.”
Fields claimed that Twitter was in violation of the Anti-Terrorism Act by failing to crack down on accounts created by the extremists, though she did not indicate specific tweets linked to her husband’s death.
“Plaintiffs, the wife of Fields and the wife and children of Creach, seek to hold defendant Twitter, Inc. (‘Twitter’) liable under 18 U.S.C. §2333(a), part of the Anti-Terrorism Act (‘ATA’), on the theory that Twitter provided material support to ISIS by allowing ISIS to sign up for and use Twitter accounts, and that this material support was a proximate cause of the November 2015 shooting,” according to the complaint.
Twitter argued that they are protected from liability as a publisher of content by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, and the judge agreed.
“Nowhere in their opposition brief or [First Amended Complaint] do plaintiffs explain how Twitter’s mere provision of Twitter accounts to ISIS … proximately caused the November 2015 shooting,” the judge stated.