Update to this story.
Georgia Tech graduate student Saamer Akhshabi was injured in an explosion/fire Tuesday afternoon that burnt over 90% of his body. Police said the fire was possibly due to an incendiery device, that at least one molotov cocktails and bottles of gas and kerosene were found at the grad student’s apartment. The FBI is investigating.
Here is what appears to be Saamer’s twitter account and the four tweets from it:
How do we know that this account is his?
It has tweets prior to today, and is followed and follows what looks like a relative, possibly a brother, as well as Georgia Tech-related twitter accounts including other computer scientists he follows and is followed by. The picture is also the same as on Akhshabi’s Google Scholar account.
The account also follows Hassan Rouhani, the President of Iran and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.
Akhshabi’s tweets seem oddly reminiscent of OFA bot tweets promoting Obamacare.
And that’s no surprise, as he (or his account) seems to have been part of the push in December to get people to sign up. Dozens of people tweeted out those same phrases, in exactly that order. Most of those people who had real backgrounds were “#unite blue”(the Obama progressive cult team on Twitter) or some other group related progressive like OWS.
It’s likely it was part of something like a “Thunderclap” which is basically an organized flooding of social media at the same time with the same message.
Akhshabi actually participated in an Obama “Thunderclap” on Facebook, but on gun control, rather than Obamacare.
“I support common-sense steps to reduce gun violence. #NowIsTheTime to act. Share this if you agree: http://thndr.it/17pq1fL”.
#NowIsTheTime links to the White House, “preventing gun violence” page.
In his Facebook, he confirms that he is from Iran, from Tonekabon which is in the Mazandaran Province of Iran. His relative (brother?) went to the University of Mazandaran. His Facebook also contains other Iranian friends, links and groups. A Fox report based on “unnamed witnesses” erroneously linked him to Turkey, but there is absolutely no evidence of that. Even his first name and last are more likely Iranian.
He actually has belonged to the group, “Multiple entry U.S. Visa for Iranian Students” for over a year.