After September 11, there are many people who are fearful of flying. As soon as they hear that someone has links to terrorists that are either flying the planes or working on them, it sends off all sorts of red flags.
In Miami, there was a mechanic who was recently accused of sabotaging a plane from American airlines. This mechanic has expressed his hope that Allah will hurt non-Muslims. He also has a number of violent Islamic State videos stored on his phone. Further, new evidence shows that he has a brother in Iraq who may be involved with the extremist group. All of this information came out during a bail hearing.
Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani was at the bail hearing where the US Magistrate Judge shared all of the different revelations from the prosecutors when ordering his pretrial detention. Alani is currently being accused of disabling a critical component for navigation on a Boeing 737 which had 150 people on board.
There are a lot of questions around Alani, the 60-year-old Muslim. He sent a $700 wire transfer to an individual in Iraq where he has a significant amount of extended family. He also traveled to Iraq in March but failed to disclose that information to authorities following his arrest.
According to prosecutors, Alani has made various statements about how he wishes Allah will use divine powers to bring harm to non-Muslims. He also has Islamic State videos that depict mass murders on his phone, which he uses to share with others. As the judge told Alani during the hearing, it appears that he is sympathetic to terrorists, which is very disconcerting.
Alani has worked as an airline mechanic for 30 years with no prior arrest record. He is a naturalized US citizen who was born in Iraq. He is not being charged with a terror-related crime as of yet, though assistant US Atty. Maria Medetitis says that the possible links to Islamic State show that there was a possibility to do harm.
The FBI also recorded a statement from Alani following his arrest that said he wanted to do something “out of my evil side.”
Alani is being charged with sabotaging the airplane from Miami International Airport. The reason he did so, according to authorities, is because of the ongoing labor negotiations – and that is jeopardizing his ability to earn overtime. As a result of his tampering, the aircraft did not take off. No one was hurt. Alani also got his overtime in order to fix the plane.
If convicted of “willfully damaging, destroying, or disabling” an aircraft used for commercial purposes, he could face up to 20 years of prison time.
Alani sabotaged the plane by glowing Styrofoam in the nose of the aircraft, which disabled a gauge that pilots use in order to read airspeed, the pitch of the plane, and other pertinent information. Pilots detected a problem prior to takeoff when an error message showed on the cockpit screen. This is when the plane returned to the gate that had been bound for Nassau, Bahamas.
Coworkers were though ones who identified that it was Alani. He was seen working on the nose of the aircraft for seven minutes even though no repair issue was present. A video made it easy for coworkers to confirm that it was, in fact, Alani.
Unfortunately, there are lawyers who would actually defend Alani and help him to get released. Particularly with his interesting ties to the Islamic State group as well as the talk of his “evil” side, he should be prosecuted to the fullest because no one wants to see a terrorist harm the lives of hundreds.
However, Christian Dunham, Alani’s attorney, is a federal public defender that has said that he doesn’t think that they will be able to prove that Alani intentionally put people in danger because the plane would have still been able to fly. However, that’s not really the point. The whole reason that Alani did what he did was a malicious act. The judge did not grant bail because of his ability to travel abroad frequently. The Federal Aviation Administration also revoked his certificate as an aircraft mechanic. Regardless of whether he goes to jail or not, the judge has already identified his actions as being reckless and unconscionable.
Luckily, there are enough fail-safes in order to warn the pilots that there was a problem going on. Hopefully, other potential acts of terrorism are caught just as quickly as they were at the Miami International Airport.