SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- The desperate search for missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 has widened since its disappearance four days ago. The Boeing 777 was carrying 239 passengers and vanished from radar without any signs of trouble from the cockpit. Authorities said they were ruling nothing out, with speculation ranging from pilot error and technical malfunctions to hijacking and terrorism. On Tuesday, Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble announced at an international press conference that the agency had identified two of the men aboard as Iranian nationals traveling on stolen passports. Although no terror organization has claimed responsibility for the event, senior al Qaeda executives hinted at some involvement but fell short of admitting their group’s hand in the crash because of “an embarrassing track record of aviation safety,” due to “substandard pilot training programs.”
In early 2008, an official at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security sent a report to his superiors detailing the most significant development in aircraft usage since 2001: al Qaeda has been operating a rogue aviation network.
Francis Baldhamer, a former Delta executive who now chairs the aviation division of San Narciso’s Chamber of Commerce, described the growing fleet of al Qaeda aircraft as regularly crisscrossing the Atlantic Ocean. On one end of the air route, he said, are cocaine-producing areas in the Andes controlled by the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. On the other are some of West Africa’s most unstable countries.
Baldhamer said: “For one thing, these aren’t destinations your typical American tourist would be interested in. But these aircraft do hopscotch across South American countries, picking up tons of cocaine. For recreational enthusiasts, mega church pastors or Lohan family members, this beats the hell out of in-flight movies and stale snacks.”
But without the same stringent safety standards imposed on U.S. operators by regulators, there exist few measurable assurances of quality. “Since its inception, al Qaeda has demonstrated the most atrocious safety record in aviation history,” Baldhamer cautioned.
In the fall of 2001, al Qaeda pilots destroyed four planes in a single day, killing everyone on board. If the world’s foremost terror group is discovered to have commandeered Malaysian Flight 370, it will have piled another 239 travelers onto its humiliating body count.
It has been a difficult road for the world’s most infamous terror organization since its height in 2001. In many ways, al Qaeda has suffered from what business analysts describe as growing too big, too fast.
“Beginning as a small, privately held start up -- in some ways, a family owned venture -- the enterprise capitalized on immediate successes rather than planning for the future,” said Walker Hollywell, professor of Theological Economics at San Narciso College.
Employee turnover currently ranges between 90 and 99 percent, according to one al Qaeda cell manager whose own position came to an abrupt end when he was dispatched to cover shift shortages in the field.
“We’ve lost so many great minds,” lamented al Qaeda’s new press chief. “Our founders, our visionaries, they have been terminated and replaced by substandard leadership. The enterprise’s CEO was also the money man. Since his involuntary retirement during a hostile takeover attempt by the United States in Pakistan, we have been struggling.”
Many of the funding sources for the group pulled back after significant shakedowns in management. Al Qaeda has increasingly found itself in financially compromised positions. In July 2012, for example, al Qaeda pursued what critics and admirers alike called its most pathetic plot ever: placing sewing needles in turkey sandwiches on four Delta flights.
“We couldn’t afford badly needed supplies,” the al Qaeda source confessed. “But we had to do something. So we gathered up our petty cash and bought as many travel sewing kits as we could afford. We admit, it was a little embarrassing and not our best effort. Death to the infidels!”
The source also revealed that virtually all funding for al Qaeda training programs was suspended some time ago. He pointed to a recent incident from February in which an instructor in the Baghdad educational facility blew up himself and 21 pupils during what should have been a routine suicide bombing class.
“We can’t afford to hire qualified and experienced teachers for even our most basic courses,” the source continued. “For very costly and intensive terror curriculum, such as flight instruction and certification, we’ve been reduced to using jet simulation video games and old DVDs of the ‘Black Sheep Squadron.‘ Clearly, it’s not working.”
Despite the abominable safety record, business analysts point out that some fundamental al Qaeda perks may remain appealing to frugal travelers: free and unlimited baggage check policies, no restrictions on bringing liquids aboard and the absence of TSA security screenings,
“Well, that would be worth considering,” aviation expert Baldhamer noted, “but only for domestic flights.”
2014. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. See disclaimers.