“Mysterious markings” have been discovered on the underbellies of Southwest Airline planes and has prompted an FBI investigation. The writing, according to many media reports, is believed to be in Arabic or something that looks like Arabic – but apparently anyone that could actually read Arabic and tell us whether it actually is Arabic or not, like actual Arab-Americans, were nowhere to be found.
The markings could say anything from “Shoot here” to “Allahu Akbar,” which just means “God is great,” to “For a good time call …”
Nevertheless, SWA say that they’ve “contacted Federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies, which all concluded that these markings have no affiliation to any known group or activity.” They’ve also concluded that “these markings are considered vandalism, and Southwest is conducting an internal investigation to determine who is responsible.”
Of course, there are no actual photos of these planes with the markings on them. So who the heck knows what’s on them. But many media sources were sure to tell you everything they knew about it which was nothing apparently – just enough to freak everyone out.
A few sources did provide more detailed info, including the Silicon Valley Mercury News which explained how the information about the marking reached the media. SVMN said that SWA’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Mike Van de Ven issued a memo to SWA employees asking for their help capturing this marking madman.
“We are asking your help to stop this and to report those responsible,” the memo read. “If you are aware of anyone involved in marking or tagging our aircraft, please notify our Leader.”
Evidently, one employee felt that the word “leader” meant their leader in local news ABC15 Everything Arizona! After receiving the memo, “a company employee called in a tip to ABC15.”
In a post-9/11, Islamophobic America, if these markings are just vandalism, this is the equivalent of yelling fire in a crowded theater – except in this case, this douche bag (who may not even be Arabic) is yelling “Allahu Akbar!” in a crowded and very panicky ”American theater,” metaphorically speaking.
Let’s hope that SWA is right and that the markings are simply vandalism. But let’s also hope that the FBI takes this vandalism seriously even if taking the FBI seriously may not be so simple sometimes.
Official SWA Statement:
Beginning in February, we began to receive reports of vandalism on our aircraft. These markings appear on the exterior of the aircraft and vary in appearance. Upon discovery, we immediately contacted Federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies, which all concluded that these markings have no affiliation to any known group or activity. These markings are considered vandalism, and Southwest is conducting an internal investigation to determine who is responsible. Southwest takes this behavior very seriously, and we will continue to involve local and Federal law enforcement agencies as needed until the situation is resolved. We want to reassure Customers and Employees that Safety is always our primary consideration, and the safety of our aircraft is in no way impacted by this act of vandalism.
Chris Mainz/Southwest Airlines Communications