anjel: (Default)
[personal profile] anjel
Been a while since I made a post like this, but I saw this on [ profile] debunkingwhite and felt compelled to cross post it to my LJ. Warning: this might touch a nerve in military folks who read my friends list:

LaVena Johnson was a 19 year old private in the Army, serving in Iraq, when she was raped, murdered, and her body was burned--by someone from her own military base. Despite overwhelming physical evidence, the Army called her death a suicide and has closed the case. (1)

For three years, LaVena's parents have been fighting for answers. At almost every turn, they've been met with closed doors or lies. They've appealed to Congress, the one body that can hold the military accountable. But, as in other cases where female soldiers have been raped and murdered and the Army has called it suicide, Congress has failed to act.

Will you join Mr. and Mrs. Johnson in calling on Congressman Henry Waxman, Chairman of the House Government Oversight Committee, to mount a real investigation into LaVena Johnson's death and the Army's cover-up? (2) Will you ask your friends and family to do the same?

From the beginning, LaVena's death made no sense as a suicide. She was happy and had been talking with friends and family regularly (3)--nothing indicated she could be suicidal. And when the Johnsons received her body, they noticed signs that she had been beaten. (4) That was when they started asking questions.

After two years of being denied answers and hearing explanations that made no sense, the Johnsons received a CD-ROM from someone on the inside. It contained pictures of the crime scene where LaVena died and an autopsy showing that she had suffered bruises, abrasions, a dislocated shoulder, broken teeth, and some type of sexual assault. Her body was partially burned; she had been doused in a flammable liquid, and someone had set her body on fire. A corrosive chemical had been poured in her genital area, perhaps to cover up evidence of rape. (5)

Still the Army sticks by their story. They refuse to explain the overwhelming physical evidence that LaVena was raped and murdered and continue to claim that she killed herself.

For many Black youth, and working class young people of every race, the military is seen as an option for securing a better future. LaVena came from a deeply supportive family, and while the military wasn't her only option, she was attracted by its promise to help her pay for a college education and the opportunity to travel around the world. She also thought that by joining she could continue her lifelong commitment to serving other people in need. She made a decision to serve in the military, with all its risks, and expected respect and dignity in return.

LaVena's death is part of a disturbing pattern of cases where female soldiers have been raped and killed, and where the military has hidden the truth and labeled the deaths suicides. (6,7) In virtually all cases, Congress has been slow to investigate or hold the military accountable in any way. Unfortunately, most families simply don't have the resources, time, and psychological strength to push back.

We can help the Johnsons, and other families, by holding Congress accountable in the LaVena Johnson case and by demanding it investigate the pattern of cover-ups by the military.

Please take a moment to join those calling on Congressman Waxman to investigate the cover-up of LaVena Johnson's death:

Thanks and Peace,

-- James, Gabriel, Clarissa, Andre, Kai, and the rest of the team
July 28th, 2008

1. "The cover-up of a soldier's death?", March 6, 2007

2. "Is There an Army Cover Up of Rape and Murder of Women Soldiers?", April 28, 2008

3. Ibid.

4. Ibid.

5. "Suicide or Murder? Three Years After the Death of Pfc. LaVena Johnson in Iraq, Her Parents Continue Their Call for a Congressional Investigation," Democracy Now!, June 23, 2008.

6. See reference 2.

7. "2 Years After Soldier's Death, Family's Battle Is With Army," New York Times, March 21, 2006.

Other References:

"Justice for Pfc. LaVena Johnson," DailyKos, June 30, 2008

"Rapists in the Ranks, Los Angeles Times, March 31, 2008

on 2008-07-28 11:58 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Sadly, it was probably somebody high ranking. I've seen how things really work. I get harassed just going to the gas station on Friday and Saturday nights.

on 2008-07-29 12:36 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Wow... that's just disgusting. What in the world gives them the right to cover crap like that up? I hope whoever did it gets their asses handed to them.

on 2008-07-29 12:50 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]

on 2008-07-29 01:29 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Fucking disgusting, but I wouldn't doubt it for a minute. There are some very, very crooked people serving in the military, and Chris sees a lot of it first hand >:/

on 2008-07-29 01:45 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Thank you for pointing this out, Anjel. Signed, absolutely.

on 2008-07-29 01:48 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Ewww, Color of Change... the militant black power site. :]

I remember hearing about this on the news a long time ago. Sad stuff regardless of what the truth is. She's dead and nothing will bring her back.

I always look at stuff like this in a different light. Liberals traditionally push for bigger government yet you see this:

"They've appealed to Congress, the one body that can hold the military accountable. But, as in other cases where female soldiers have been raped and murdered and the Army has called it suicide, Congress has failed to act."

... too often. I believe the people tell government what to do. The people are the drivers. The government is the car. But it just seems that there's this constant push towards a society where the government tells you what to do: where (and what) you are allowed to smoke, what kind of fats you're allowed (no trans fat!), where your money goes, and even what you're allowed to say. Then when the government ignores abuses towards our own citizens, we question how it could possibly happen.

It's funny how left-wing groups like CoC complain about a do-nothing Congress and push black empowerment while promoting ideals which basically contradict everything they intend to stand for. Reagan was right when he said freedom was precious and we should defend it; yet both liberals and "so-called" conservatives these days work so hard at destroying those various freedoms.

Anyways, sorry for waxing philosophical there. I just wonder how we ever got to the point where people try to depend on government when it should be the other way around.

on 2008-07-29 02:21 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
I think all of that is sort of periphary when you look at the real issue of what is at hand. A young black woman of low rank was raped and murdered and the military is covering it up. This goes beyond Liberal and conservative. This is about a great miscarriage of justice that I feel needs to be brought to all our attentions.

on 2008-07-29 05:37 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Of course, I agree with you on that. It's just sucks how much people seem to depend on Congress to do something when it should be the other way around; we shouldn't have to fight to get simple things like an investigation into something like this. I agree that it doesn't matter about liberal/conservative; I'm just trying to say it's like basically most people really don't care about it for one reason or another and it shouldn't be that way. People are too complacent with everything it seems. But hence, the whole spiel on depending on government too much.

We should expect more from people in office. Then again, like I said most people are jaded. :X

on 2008-07-29 05:53 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Yeah I agree, it is really shitty we have to depend on someone in congress to get anything done about this, but if enough people let them know they want to see this issue investigated, hopefully it will.
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