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According to a criminal complaint affidavit filed in federal court, Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani admitted during an interview Thursday that he tampered with a navigation system on the plane so that he could collect overtime work.

The plane, with 150 people on board, was scheduled to fly from Miami to Nassau in the Bahamas on July 17. As the pilots powered up the plane at Miami International Airport, they saw an error message for a system that tracks speed, nose direction and other critical flight information and aborted the takeoff.

When mechanics examined the plane, they found a piece of foam glued inside a navigation system part called an air data module. Video from an American Airlines surveillance camera captured a person who drove up to the plane, got out and spent seven minutes working around the compartment containing the navigation system, according to the affidavit.

The person was later identified by co-workers as Alani, in part by his distinctive limp, the affidavit said.

When he was interviewed Thursday, “Alani stated that his intention was not to cause harm to the aircraft or its passengers,” according to the affidavit by Jose A. Ruiz, a federal air marshal who serves on an FBI terrorism task force.

Alani explained that stalled contract negotiations between American Airlines and the mechanics’ unions were hurting him financially, and he tampered with the plane “to cause a delay or have the flight cancelled in anticipation of obtaining overtime work,” Ruiz wrote.

American has accused mechanics of an illegal work slowdown that has led to hundreds of canceled flights in recent months. The airline successfully sued two unions that represent the workers. This week, both sides announced that they will resume negotiations Sept. 16 in Washington, with help from a federal mediator. The mechanics’ unions have been trying to secure a new contract for more than three years.

In a statement, American Airlines said it cooperated fully with the investigation “and we are taking this matter very seriously.” The Fort Worth, Texas-based airline said the plane was taken out of service after the July incident and repaired and inspected before it was allowed to fly again.

Alani was charged with willfully damaging or disabling an aircraft. He is expected to appear in federal court in Miami on Friday.



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MIAMI - An American Airlines mechanic accused of disabling a navigation system on a flight scheduled to take off from Miami International Airport appeared in federal court Wednesday morning, at which time he was denied bond.

According to federal prosecutors, Islamic State group propaganda video showing graphic murders was discovered on Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani's cellphone.

A co-worker also told government officials that Alani had once said his brother was a member of ISIS and that he traveled to Iraq in March to visit him.

Alani's roommate, however, told authorities the trip was not to visit his brother, but had been because his brother had been kidnapped, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said photos on his phone from his trip to Baghdad and Mosul show him smiling and posing with relatives and said he did not appear to be in distress in any of the images.

Alani was born in Iraq but is a U.S. citizen.

According to prosecutors, authorities discovered a November 2018 article that had been sent to him about one of the Boeing 737 Max 8 crashes. The article described the plane having issues with its ADM system.

Authorities said at least one of the ISIS propaganda videos was downloaded on Alani's phone and sent to another person with a message that called for Allah to "use all your might and power against the Kafir," or non-believer.

The judge said the evidence presented to her suggests that Alani may be at least sympathetic to terrorists, although his attorney said Alani is not on any terror watch lists.
According to the affidavit, Alani claimed he tampered with the plane to cause a delay or have the flight canceled so he could obtain overtime work.

Prosecutors said he worked four hours of overtime that day.

"What you did was at minimum highly reckless. It was unconscionable," a federal judge told Alani in court Wednesday.

According to prosecutors, Alani said he tampered with the plane "out of my evil side," and admitted that he would not have allowed himself or his relatives to fly on a plane with a sabotaged ADM.

There were 150 people on the American Airlines plane when the flight was aborted.

If convicted, Alani could face up to 20 years in federal prison, his attorney said.

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"Statements Alani made about wishing Allah would use “divine powers” to harm non-Muslims."

“Out of my evil side, I wanted to do something,”

Prosecutors also presented evidence that Alani has a brother in Iraq who may be involved with the Islamic State extremist group as well as statements Alani made about wishing Allah would use “divine powers” to harm non-Muslims. Alani had videos on his cellphone depicting Islamic State mass murders he shared with others, according to prosecutors.

“You may be very sympathetic to terrorists,” Judge McAliley told Alani at the hearing. “That’s very disconcerting.”

Alani is a naturalized U.S. citizen from Iraq who has worked as an airline mechanic for 30 years, with no prior criminal record. He’s not charged with a terror-related crime, but Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria Medetis said the potential links to the Islamic State give rise to the possibility that his actions had a darker purpose beyond what he insisted was a labor issue.

Alani told agents after his arrest earlier this month that, “Out of my evil side, I wanted to do something,” Medetis said, adding that the statement was recorded by the FBI.


I never understood the need for people to hurt others, because they won't submit to their invisible sky-daddy.
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