Columbia, Missouri Police Chief: “I Hate the Internet”

Columbia, Missouri Police Chief Ken Burton is apparently frustrated. At another press conference yesterday, a reporter asked the chief what he has learned from the international attention generated by the YouTube video of his department’s SWAT team conducting a drug raid last February.

His reply: “I hate the Internet.”

I’ll bet he does. For two-and-a-half months, Burton and his department were quiet about the raid. That’s likely because, as I wrote yesterday, the raid was really no different from the tens of thousands of similar raids conducted every year, and that are probably conducted by his own department a couple of times per week. Within days of the video hitting the web, Burton was forced to hold several press conferences, and has now laid out several reforms to the way SWAT raids will be conducted in Columbia in the future. I suppose it’s possible those reforms were brewing all along, and the timing of him announcing them after the video went viral was mere coincidence. It seems at least plausible, though, that the dread “Internet” sparked some actual policy changes, here.

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It Didn’t Start with 9/11

“Venice was a kind of quiet Mena (Arkansas),” stated a former drug pilot for The Company. “Jackson Stephens built this huge headquarters next to the airport. And he was in charge. But I do remember seeing Porter Goss around the airport a lot.”

The airport where three of the four terrorist pilots in the 9/11 attack learned to fly was a hub of operations in the 1970’s and early ‘80’s for “The Company,” an international drug smuggling organization headquartered  in Lexington, Kentucky and Mena, Arkansas.

Led by a mysterious Cuban exile, who used the alias “Frank Guzman,” The Company’s contingent at the Venice Airport numbered as many as a dozen pilots and associates. The Company began receiving national attention in the early 1980’s.

“The Company,” whose name  is a commonly-used euphemism for the CIA, was profiled in Sally Denton’s  best-selling book “The Blue-Grass Conspiracy,” which raised pointed questions about the involvement of the CIA with the group.

The 60-year secret history of covert CIA and military operations at the Venice Municipal Airport now coming to light goes well beyond anything previously known to have taken place there.

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If you are unfamiliar with the reference to Mena, Arkansas– go here