ABC World News (6/24/14) had a story this week about Al-Qaeda linked militants in Syria and Yemen teaming up “to develop a new generation of bombs” including “explosives-laden toothpaste tubes” that “could be smuggled aboard commercial planes.”
One problem with this story: Far from being a “new generation,” the toothpaste tube bomb has been around for almost four decades. In 1976, Cuban exiles reputedly led by Luis Posada Carriles used plastic explosives disguised in a tube of Colgate toothpaste to bring down Cubana Flight 455, killing all 73 people aboard the civilian Cuban airliner.
Luis Posada Carriles in training at Fort Benning, Georgia, 1963.Too
Posada, a longtime CIA asset, escaped after being arrested for the bombing in Venezuela, surfacing in El Salvador, where he helped oversee the Reagan administration’s illegal efforts to overthrow the Nicaraguan government. Since 2005, he’s been living in the United States, whichrefuses to extradite him to either Venezuela or Cuba.
Though it remains the deadliest act of air terrorism in the Western Hemisphere, Cubana Flight 455 is rarely brought up as a precedent for threats against air travelers. Perhaps that’s because corporate media like to maintain thefiction that terrorism is always something done by “them” against “us.”