Facebook, Twitter, Inc. (NYSE:TWTR) withheld data that could prove refugee’s innocence in murder case, attorneys say
Omar Ameen is an Iraqi refugee accused of carrying out an ISIS hit in Iraq in 2014 before coming to the United States. His attorneys claim he’s innocent, and was actually 600 miles away at the time of murder — a defense they say would be bolstered by evidence on suspended Facebook and Twitter accounts.
But the tech giants have refused to hand the information over.
A U.S. magistrate judge in Sacramento, California, will decide whether to send Ameen back to Iraq to face trial, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. If he is sent back, Ameen will be the first person in American history to be extradited to Iraq, where he’ll likely be executed, according to the Chronicle.
Ameen is accused by Iraqi investigators of killing a police officer in Rawah, Iraq, on June 22, 2014. At that time, Ameen and his family were trying to secure immigration to the U.S. while living as refugees in Turkey, according to the Chronicle. As part the immigration process, Ameen was required to check into the Turkish refugee office each Thursday — as he did the week of the murder, according to official records, the Chronicle reports.
Ameen’s attorneys, federal public defenders Ben Galloway and Rachelle Barbour, have argued that it would have been nearly impossible for Ameen to travel the over 600-mile journey from Turkey on Thursday — passing through hostile Syria — in time to fatally shoot the officer in Iraq that Sunday.
“We have begged for some type of proof that Omar is actually the terrorist they’re making him out to be,” Barbour told The New Yorker. “It would be incredibly reassuring to me and Ben. We could just go to Omar and say, ‘Hey, man, they got you. Let’s send you back to Iraq.’ But every rock we overturn is actually supportive of his innocence.”
Ameen’s defense also sought to counter social media evidence provided in his extradition packet given to the U.S. government by Iraq. Despite being provided to the government, extradition cases give defense attorney’s extremely limited means to contest such evidence, Barbour told CBS News.
The evidence includes a tweet announcing the officer’s death that links to a Facebook post that appears to show a group of men celebrating. According to Barbour, linking to multiple social media platforms creates digital “layers,” and is a common tactic for ISIS.
Barbour and Galloway were unable to access the posts because the accounts were suspended by Twitter and Facebook, and the companies refused to hand over the posts.
Facebook and Twitter would not provide the defense with any information on the “content” of the tweet, including the date of the tweet, the photo associated directly with it, other tweets or posts by the same accounts and any interaction with the posts. According to Barbour, this information would help them show who the real murderers are, and therefore would be exculpatory for Ameen.
The refusal forced the defense to “get creative” to find any information related to the post, Barbour said. Through open source work, they were able to identify that the men in the photo linked to the Tweet were ISIS members. According to Barbour, they also got in touch with the late officer’s widow, who — with the belief that Ameen is innocent — helped them with their case.
Barbour said they were able to track down the Facebook account and identify it as ISIS, but could not see the post. They then subpoenaed for the post’s content, but were turned down.
“The social media companies are hurting us in two different ways — first, by taking down the ISIS-related posts without giving anyone the ability to get them for legitimate purposes, and second, by refusing to give it to us when we subpoenaed them with a court order,” she said.
The companies cited a decades-old-privacy law called the Stored Communications Act, or SCA, according to the Chronicle. The SCA aims to protect people’s private data, with exemptions for law enforcement during emergencies and investigations. The act does not, however, issue exemptions for defense attorneys.
Ameen’s defense eventually dropped its effort to compel Twitter and Facebook for the posts.
“They have the ability to fight us tooth and nail and not give us anything,” Barbour said. “We had a hearing staring us in the face, and we didn’t have the time to fight them all the way… we had to make a calculated decision.”
With the stringency of the SCA behind them, social media companies have an advantage in such cases, she said.
“Do I think that the content would be really helpful? Yes. Do I think that we could beat Facebook and Twitter in court? Probably not.”
Twitter and Facebook’s response to Ameen’s defense request is typical of Silicon Valley, the Chronicle found. The social media companies routinely deny defense attorneys access to evidence, even when that evidence could overturn wrongful convictions, the paper reported.
“Facebook and Twitter appear to be misusing their immense resources to manipulate the judicial system,” San Francisco Superior Court Judge Charles Crompton wrote in a critique of the companies’ policies last year. “… Facebook and Twitter have made it clear that they are unwilling to alter their behavior, regardless of the harm to others — or the rulings of this court.”
A Facebook company spokesperson told CBS News that “federal law establishes strict limitations on when we may disclose user information, which is why we only do so in response to legal requests that comply with applicable law and our terms of service.”
Twitter did not respond to CBS’ request for comment.
Barbour and Galloway have been given until January 29 to present their final argument against Ameen’s extradition.After that, U.S. Magistrate Judge Edmund F. Brennan will issue a ruling within months, and the final decision will be left up to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Overall, the bias in prices is: Upwards.
Note: this chart shows extraordinary price action to the upside.
By the way, prices are vulnerable to a correction towards 32.84.
The projected upper bound is: 35.25.
The projected lower bound is: 32.99.
The projected closing price is: 34.12.
A black body occurred (because prices closed lower than they opened).
During the past 10 bars, there have been 5 white candles and 5 black candles. During the past 50 bars, there have been 29 white candles and 21 black candles for a net of 8 white candles.
Momentum is a general term used to describe the speed at which prices move over a given time period. Generally, changes in momentum tend to lead to changes in prices. This expert shows the current values of four popular momentum indicators.
One method of interpreting the Stochastic Oscillator is looking for overbought areas (above 80) and oversold areas (below 20). The Stochastic Oscillator is 80.9249. This is an overbought reading. However, a signal is not generated until the Oscillator crosses below 80 The last signal was a sell 6 period(s) ago.
Relative Strength Index (RSI)
The RSI shows overbought (above 70) and oversold (below 30) areas. The current value of the RSI is 66.82. This is not a topping or bottoming area. A buy or sell signal is generated when the RSI moves out of an overbought/oversold area. The last signal was a buy 40 period(s) ago.
Commodity Channel Index (CCI)
The CCI shows overbought (above 100) and oversold (below -100) areas. The current value of the CCI is 116.This is an overbought reading. However, a signal isn’t generated until the indicator crosses below 100. The last signal was a sell 7 period(s) ago.
The Moving Average Convergence/Divergence indicator (MACD) gives signals when it crosses its 9 period signal line. The last signal was a buy 9 period(s) ago.
Rex Takasugi – TD Profile
TWITTER INC closed down -0.070 at 34.020. Volume was 11% below average (neutral) and Bollinger Bands were 49% narrower than normal.
Open High Low Close Volume___
34.270 34.540 33.960 34.020 2,785,517
Short Term: Overbought
Intermediate Term: Bullish
Long Term: Bearish
Moving Averages: 10-period 50-period 200-period
Close: 33.43 31.24 36.62
Volatility: 21 23 51
Volume: 3,370,259 3,022,844 2,969,363
Short-term traders should pay closer attention to buy/sell arrows while intermediate/long-term traders should place greater emphasis on the Bullish or Bearish trend reflected in the lower ribbon.
TWITTER INC is currently 7.1% below its 200-period moving average and is in an upward trend. Volatility is low as compared to the average volatility over the last 10 periods. Our volume indicators reflect moderate flows of volume into TWTR.N (mildly bullish). Our trend forecasting oscillators are currently bullish on TWTR.N and have had this outlook for the last 34 periods.
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