Tuesday, March 6, 2007

The cover-up of a soldier's death?

Once upon a time lived a young woman from a St. Louis suburb. She was an honor roll student, she played the violin, she donated blood and volunteered for American Heart Association walks. She elected to put off college for a while and joined the Army once out of school. At Fort Campbell, KY, she was assigned as a weapons supply manager to the 129th Corps Support Battalion.

She was LaVena Johnson, private first class, and she died near Balad, Iraq, on July 19, 2005, just eight days shy of her twentieth birthday. She was the first woman soldier from Missouri to die while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.

The tragedy of her story begins there.

An Army representative initially told LaVena's father, Dr. John Johnson, that his daughter died of "died of self-inflicted, noncombat injuries," but initially added that it was not a suicide. The subsequent Army investigation reversed this finding and declared LaVena's death a suicide, a finding refuted by the soldier's family. In an article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Dr. Johnson pointed to indications that his daughter had endured a physical struggle before she died - two loose front teeth, a "busted lip" that had to be reconstructed by the funeral home - suggesting that "someone might have punched her in the mouth."

A promise by the office of Representative William Lacy Clay to look into the matter produced nothing. The military said that the matter was closed.

Little more on LaVena's death was said until St. Louis CBS affiliate KMOV aired a story last night which disclosed troubling details not previously made public - details which belie the Army's assertion that the young Florissant native died by her own hand. The video of the report is available on the KMOV website.

Reporter Matt Sczesny spoke with LaVena's father and examined documents and photos sent by Army investigators. So far from supporting the claim that LaVena died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, the documents provided elements of another scenario altogether:

  • Indications of physical abuse that went unremarked by the autopsy
  • The absence of psychological indicators of suicidal thoughts; indeed, testimony that LaVena was happy and healthy prior to her death
  • Indications, via residue tests, that LaVena may not even have handled the weapon that killed her
  • A blood trail outside the tent where Lavena's body was found
  • Indications that someone attenpted to set LaVena's body on fire

The Army has resisted calls by Dr. Johnson and by KMOV to reopen its investigation.

We have seen in other military deaths, most infamously that of Army Ranger and former professional football player Cpl. Pat Tillman, that the Army has engaged in an insulting game of deny and delay when it comes to uncovering embarrassing facts. Only when public and official attention is brought to bear on the matter - as happened, eventually and with great effort, with the case of Cpl. Tillman - do unpleasant truths come to light.

Astonishing as it seems, it takes that level of outrage to compel the Army to find the truth and tell it, to honor its own soldiers. No such groundswell has yet emerged in the case of LaVena; not enough voices have demanded that someone in the military, anyone, speak for her. At first glance, the contrast between the cases of Pat Tillman and LaVena Johnson seems vast, but at the core the situations are the same. In each case, the death of a young soldier in a dangerous place and time was not explained to the families they left behind, the families that gave them up so that they could serve us. An honest accounting of their passing is all the dead ask of us.

The mother of Pat Tillman put the matter in stark and honest terms:

"This is how they treat a family of a high-profile individual," she said. "How are they treating others?"

In the case of Private First Class Johnson, we know the answer.

98 comments:

Hill said...

I have a much-loved young niece stationed in that FUBAR nightmare of Iraq. I am signing your petition.

Blue Girl, Red State said...

I have a much loved young nephew waiting for the orders that will send him to that FUBAR nightmare of Iraq. I am signing it as well.

Jerzy said...

I will sign this petition but I wish some of the evidence could be more explicit. What are the signs that she was attempted to be set on fire? What is the explanation for the trail of blood outside by the military?

Philip Barron (Waveflux) said...

jerzy:

The trail of blood was not addressed by the military.

I will try to get a more specific description of the indications of fire or burning.

What the Hell is This said...

This is very important to get to the bottom of this in so many levels. Example: How are our solders being treated by their own, How our govnment respects them as people and their families, are we not fighting for justice, if it was self inflected why is that rate rising among solders, if this is a cover up how many more of our solders deaths have been covered up,etc, etc...

scmerrill2003 said...

In reference to the Lavena Johnson - I say - Damn you to hell Bush. You are the absolute worst of the world I'm from and I'm incredibly embarrassed!!! I wish to sign this petition and do anything I can to bring this issue to light. My condolences to her parents and family. I had to tell my 6 children all under the age of 11 years, of their 35yr old Dad's death and of my broken heart. There are no differences between anyone who's suffer the loss of a young person or loved one it their life - we are bound to each other by that experience. The loss of one's hopes and dreams is
purgatory and walking through that heartache is excruciating - life is so precious. Sign me up. scmerrill2003@yahoo.com

Taylor Autumn said...

I've signed the petition and written to my senator, Lindsey Graham. I'm posting a link to this on my blog in hopes that other people will do the same. This is a terrible tragedy, and I hope it doesn't go unpunished.

MORRELL ISRAEL ROBERTS said...

This case touched me so much when it first came to surface, I felt like my own sister had been violated in the most heinous way. I was so in love with KMOV chanel 4 in Saint Louis Mo. when they were the only station to keep us abreast of the new found details surrounding the case, but still no results to what really happened to LaVena... say what you want, but we all know if this were a blonde hair blue eyed girl, facts would have been revealed... Im not trying to play the race card, its just the flat out truth...just Last Night, on CSI they had a show that dealt with cases of missing children not being investigated throughly when they were Black or Hispanic, they get those ideas from real-life situations is all im saying...I will most definitly be signing this petition and I will galvanize as many as I can to do the same...my heart goes out to the Johnson family and all others who have lost love ones in this senseless war...Israel

avw84 said...

I have had the pleasure of meeting Dr. John Johnson and he is such a great person. Meeting him alone tells me that LaVena Johnson had to be an even more wonderful person. I want to send my condolence and my support any way possible and if it’s signing the petition, I will do. My heart goes out to the Johnson family and every family that has lost someone is lousy war. You all are for ever in my prayers, GOD BLESS!

kesha said...
This post has been removed by the author.
kesha said...

My heart goes out to the family of PFC Johnson. I am a SGT and I have been deployed to Iraq before. Being a female doesn't make anything easier but definitely harder. My thoughts and prayers are with her family in their time of need.

Karen said...

I will sign this petition, and I wish for all people to have empathy , empathy in general. Too often I think some people don't care about what should really upset them, until it happens to them. It can happen to all us if we don't stand up for whats right. My sincere sympathy for the Johnson family and friends. Hoping for the best--- Karen

Anni said...

There are no words that can express what I wish to say regarding this tragedy.

melissa said...

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/2/story.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=10518131&pnum=0

Here's more information about the burning and rape.

Philip Barron said...

Melissa, I have a post here about the Tracey Barnett article.

Peter said...

I just read in our news paper today, here in New Zealand, about the tragedy of LaVena. OMG what the hell is wrong with those people???

We in New Zealand don't think to highly of America as it is, without seeing this disgusting piece of news.

The American Government is so quick to condemn other countries when atrocities happen over there, i.e Zimbabwe and Mugabe...but when it happens in their (America) own back yard the government cover it up and say it was suicide!!! PLEASE!!! even this New Zealander can see the blatant lies that the U.S military and Government have told.

Why dont they just come clean and find the sick pervert that did it before he strikes again.

Todd said...

Where do I go to sign the petition. This is terrible.

grace said...

I am absolutely outraged. Just when I thought I couldn’t detest the Bush administration any more than I already did, a story like this surfaces. The level of abhorrence I have towards this illegitimate administration for allowing such incidents to lapse without repercussion is absolutely immeasurable. Of course, the administration itself probably didn’t have a direct hand in covering up the incident; however, no doubt somewhere along the line, someone within a branch of the administration had to have been briefed on the incident or similar occurrences.

It is when I discover stories like this that I feel so helpless, ineffective and defeated in such an important cause; in this case, exposing the truth of what really happened by bringing those involved in both the murder and the cover-up to justice. It is when stories like this come to light that I can say I am truly ashamed to be an American. When our media, administration or ignorant citizens so easily criticize inferior, weaker nations with corrupt leaders while pompously boasting how we are the greatest nation in the world; yes, I am ashamed. I know I am so fortunate to have been born in this country and afforded opportunities as a result of being an American citizen, and for that I am grateful. However, this country has so much necessary introspection and analyzation of its own corruption, and this is a prime example of just one instance. How many countless occurrences like this do you think transpire that remain clandestine and undisclosed? It’s terrifying to even venture a guess. That is why I feel it so important to expose and investigate the incidents like this that do surface, despite all odds against their coming to light.

PLEASE exercise and exhuast your rights by writing to your representatives and senators. It only takes 10 minutes and you can do so easily online below!

to write your own Congress person:
https://forms.house.gov/wyr/welcome.shtml

to write your Senators:
http://senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

Morgan T said...

I heard Lavena's story on Democracy Now. I've signed the petition and will spread the word. When there's such a tragic death the last thing a family should have to do is fight the military for information.

Debbie said...

I just heard the beginning of a Democracy Now interview of the family. I could not listen to much more of this heartbreaking report. My heart goes out to Dr. and Mrs. Johnson and their family. How horrible for a father to have to examine his beautiful young daughter's body post mortem and discover this atrocity. Even more horrifying is the cover up, but to have to fight to prove the obvious is the ultimate insult. I am so sorry. You are in my prayers. God bless you Johnson family and may justice prevail.

Veda said...

I will pray for your family and I pray that God will bring justice for you daughter and expose everyone involved with this unsolved case. I pray that God will continue to bring justice for everyone woman that has suffered this same violent tragedy. God Bless!

Will said...

I have a young daughter (and her husband) over in Iraq, and this just tore me up b/c I would have been besides myself with grief, anger and sadness. I would have blamed myself for somehow not being there to protect my baby from the coward(s) and fiend(s) who did that to this poor child. How we can sit idly by and pretend that all is well speaks volumes about why we shouldnt be there in the first place. I bet if it was some well placed heel in DC's child they would have not gotten this treatment. Shame on the US Army. Be all that you can be, is nonsense. May God Bless the family of this poor girl. RIP LaVena.

ristojen said...

I am so sorry to hear what has happened to your beautiful daughter, may God bless her soul and bestow peace and send closure to your loss. God Bless you.
RIP LeVena!

anja said...

After having read the story I herby sign the petition too; I don't have any suitable words available to express my anger, misconduction is governing under Bush!!

anja said...

I am signing the petition as well, without having words available to express my anger about the failing so called USA justice system. Shame on you, bush man!

Chris said...

Not at all surprised since they even let convicted felons join now to meet their war quotas. So an investigation might turn up previously convicted felons to be guilty. That's a scary headline for the Pentagon.

Hempjr said...

Please please have the Family contact every Senator with the facts of this case asking for help.
This is outrageous.

keclectic said...

Everyone should have the opportunity for justice when something happens to someone they love. Because Pfc Johnson was serving her country when she died the military should be kept to an even higher standard. The military should not be allowed to cover up abuse that has occurred within their ranks. Pfc Johnson's family deserves to have her story told and her abusers brought to justice. I want to sign your petition. Kai

Liberator_Rev said...

When a country allows criminals to occupy the oval office, how can it be surprised that criminality will flourish down the chain of command?

As a liberal Christian clergyman, I believe in a solid wall of separation between church and state. But so long as 75% of voters who identify themselves as "Christians" are going to decide elections in this country I am going to continue fighting to persuade them to be "Liberals Like Christ", rather than "phoneys like Falwell" (and all the other Right Wing wackos).
In addition to signing this and similar petitions, please help spread the word about my LiberalsLikeChrist.Org/ web site, in order to make such atrocities a thing of the past.

staffent said...

This is an embarrassment. We must act now or everytime something likes this happens it will be overlooked. Women are a minority in the arm forces and the "MEN" are supposed to watch over them and protect them. This happens too often and the Government mut do something about this. Rape is a "COWARD'S" crime and should be punishable by public hanging. If our government won't protect our soldiers then send them "HOME". I will sign every petition availble to make sure this doesn't happen again. This is a shame. A younglady who went to fight for her country and a place we should not be in the first place is killed by her own. A crying shame and black eye to this country.

winobamawin said...

I am so sorry for your loss. My prayers are with you. Let this administration take responsibility for this monstrous war and justice be served. God bless you all.

Amanda said...

I am deeply saddened by this type of news, because it seems that every so often lately, one of our female soldiers is being killed. These beautiful young women went into the military to help serve their country, not get abused or killed. I just pray to God that the killer and animal who did this is brought to real justice. Remember, God knows who did this, and if you escape earthly justice, you will not escape heavenly justice.

Amanda said...

I am deeply saddened by this type of news, because it seems that every so often lately, one of our female soldiers is being killed. These beautiful young women went into the military to help serve their country, not get abused or killed. I just pray to God that the killer and animal who did this is brought to real justice. Remember, God knows who did this, and if you escape earthly justice, you will not escape heavenly justice.

Kecia said...

This is a shame, she was still a child. God bless your family.

dmgates said...

It is an honor to sign this petition. I hope that it will help bring to light the actual events that transpired to bring about Ms. Johnson's death. May God bless the Johnson family and all of our soldiers who serve our country each and every day.

WTP said...

So sorry. I pray that justice will prevail.

jerome said...

I'm a Vietnam era Vet and demand the U.S. Govt. perform a thorough investigation, the Govt is know for cover ups especially when they are trying to protect their integrity.

HellFire said...

I am proud to add my name to this list of patriots. LaVena took an oath to protect us from threats foreign and domestic. I wish we could have protected her from the same.

Why isn't there FIRE in the streets?

k.k. basaa said...

This incident is tragic. My heart goes out to the family and friends of this young sister. IT is obvious that a murder was committed, I signed the petition and hopefully we can hold someone (this institution, the military) accountable.

Have there been any marches for her death? We got out and marched for the JENA 6 to parade on the BET Awards. However, I just heard about this case July 28th through E-mail. And, I have seen little about it. We must place value on the lives and experiences of all people especially the people who give us life like Sis. LaVena and the lady raped earlier year by those dogs in West Virginia.

yours truly monta said...

I will definitely sign your petition. I will say it is a pure shame and very sad that something like this has happen and been let go as if it never happened. i will keep your family in prayer. GOD will see to that who ever the demon was who committed this horrible crime and killing this young woman (and her family mentally), day by day will serve justice. God see's everything when we don't, and he also works in mysterious ways, and it will come out in due time. the government may have made a HUGE mistake, but GOD doesn't make any mistakes... The person/people behind this childs murder will pay for it and they will suffer BIG time!!! just keep praying family, dont stop praying family, a family that prays together, stays together. LaVena may not be here on earth, but her spirit and her soul will live on for eternity in Jesus Name, AMEN Keep your heads up Family. you are not alone and your story is being told, i may be hard but be patient because Jesus is at work harder than we are. your day is coming family, just dont stop praying. in the world we live in today, thats all we can do is pray to Father GOD and leave it in his hands. i repeat its already being taken care of!! FAITH FAITH FAITH

Love you All, Bryon McDougal, MARYLAND

Big Daddy said...

I am a 62 year old retired Coastie (US Coast Guard) I volunteered for service in 1965, at my first duty station I was treated by most as an oddity as there were almost no people of color w/ the exception of Native Americans, I transferred out to go aboardship in Boston, after family day and my fellow shipmates saw the different shades of color in my family I was subjected to beatings on a constant schedule, they came close to killing or sending me overboard on many occaisions, I was transferred to land stations and my (so-called) Race-mixing background followed me there as well, my car was destroyed, painted w/ KKK, windows knocked out and then set afire. Here we are in 2008 and there are understanding and otherwise intelligent White people expressing how much better things are, explain that to this beautiful young childs Mother and Father

Joan said...

What a nightmare for this family! and for all of us!

milly hall said...

My heart aches! May GOD be with Ms Johnson's family and all of the families who has endured such tragedy. For all of their love ones who have put their lives on the line for all of us in the U.S.A. may God help bring out the TRUTH.

milly hall said...
This post has been removed by the author.
Roy said...

This is another bloodstain on the hands of this government and the Army. It led us to a war knowingly based on lies for Iraqi oil, sodomized the strict religious civilian Moslems who were innocent of any crimes at Abbu Ghrab, murdered Pfc. Jesse Buryj and Cpl. Pat Tillman "Under friendly fire", and lied through their teeth to cover it up. Now they rape, murder and desecrate this young black woman by burning her genitalia.
I hope this family gets multiple millions from this corrupt government and Army. It won't bring her back but at least these murdering criminals masquerading as officials, would be held accountable. Roy

OKD said...

Why cant the family obtain a court order and have their daughter's body exhumed for an independant autopsy by a non-military pathologist?

OKD

Berty said...

Wow! My heart is filled with sadness for the Johnson's family. I am disturbed by our so called government & judicial system. The family deserves closure and truth and if signing this petition helps that I am all for it. I pray to God that justice be serve in this case and the many more like it. May LaVena rest in peace.

jaz said...

My heart goes out to the family. This really touched me as I have been contemplating joining. I have heard the horror stories of woman in the battlefield.
How could the Army cover up such a horrible crime? Without the American people there wouldnt be a military.
I am def signing the petition to get the answers that the Johnson family deserves and the justice that is needed

Jim Cox said...

Jim C
As a 3 Tour Vietnam Vet I feel this to be Absurd to this Great Country and a Slap in the Face to the COLORS I so HONORABLY Served! This Must NOT be Allowed to be MERELY "SWEPT UNDER THE RUG"!!!!

yolondamhilll said...

I feel that a full investigation should be conducted and all parties involve with the actual crime as well as the cover up should be held accountable. We are suppose to live in a country where you shouldn't have to worry about the government, but it seems now you have to watch them closer than your worse enemy. We shouldn't expect Bush to do anything at all. Remember, according to him, we are succeeding over in Iraq. So to him, this is of no importance. This is one of the reasons why we have to make a change in the White House in November. I am a sngle mother of two girls, and I try to do my best to protect them in this world that we live in. I don't know what I would do if anything was to happen to them. We have to get behind those lazy bums in Congress and the House as well as those sorry examples of leaders in the White House and demand some action into the death of such a beautiful young woman. May God watch over her soul and her family and bring them peace of mind in their time of need. To the family, you have my prayers. May God bless all of you.

Nessa315 said...

My heart goes out to the family... It is so sad that we have to worry about so many of our young soliders getting injured or killed from the battle but to be killed or injured by one of our own that is an outrage!!!

Toshia said...

My thoughts and prayers go out to the Johnson family. Hopefully they will be able find some peace in Lavena's death. Another example of how twisted this world is.

KenyaSunshine said...

What the hell has gone awry when captives held by the U.S Army who were striped and humiliated are given more justice than our servicemen ? The perpertrators in that case stood trial and were sentenced to jail AND THOSE VICTIMS LIVED. And let's not be so naive that we blame the Army allowing convicts to enlist, female service personnel have been victimized throughout history and it's time WE ALL stand up!!

2cnettie said...

My prayers go out to you and your family.

nrs said...

my thoughts and prayers goes out to the families who have lost love ones 2 these types of tragedies,,brought upon by our crooked government and military..these innocent people were nice enough 2 swear under oath to service and protect our country an this is the thanks they get,there life mysieriously taken..more investigating needs 2 be done..this is so so sad..its very scary cause i have military family members and god knows i wouldnt want nothing 2 happen 2 them as well.."WHO CAN YOU TRUST" YES! I WILL SIGN YOUR PETITION..THIS MESS NEEDS TO STOP!!!!!!ASAP

twaunah said...

It is very sad

Thomas said...

abc123I'm praying that God will release the Spirit of Truth to uncover every lie in this matter.

Tiffany said...

i will definitely sign this petition... may the Lord continue to guide you and your family with strength and courage to find out the truth regarding Pfc. LaVena Johnson.

Philip Barron said...

OKD wrote: Why cant the family obtain a court order and have their daughter's body exhumed for an independant autopsy by a non-military pathologist?

The Johnsons did just that last year; results were "inconclusive." More here.

Laila said...

In signing this petition helps me to know that ...together we can make a difference! It's such an horrific shame to witness how corrupt the American judicial system & government are ...what an awful mess!!!

I pray that God continues to guide the Johnson family and expose and rid! the evils of this world.

Every female considering the armed forces should know about the dangers she may incur upon joining such demonic forces.

The truth will be exposed! EQUAL justice for ALL!

May God be with and bless LaVena Johnson and her family.

Laila Muhammad

CharleneT said...

I WILL GLADLY SIGN YOUR PETITION!! I am so saden by this story! This young lady wanted to serve her country and this is how she is treated. I hope that everyone involved in this cover up get what is coming to them. GOD DON'T LIKE UGLY, SO I KNOW HE WILL TAKE CARE OF WHOEVER DID THIS. The family is in my prayers.

Denise said...

My heart gose out to the Johnson family. As well as others who are serving in the military. I anm signing your petition. And I pray the truth comes out.

Chitowngirl said...

This is totally unacceptable as an American citizen I am truly outraged that the US Army has not given the family of this young woman whose death was not investigated and reported to her family.

Brenda said...

This young girl did not commmit suicide; she was murdered. The facts point to this irrefutable truth. Our military is once again trying to "cover up" one of their bungled investigations. It is my prayer that the truth will be revealed; thereby, leading those around the world and Americans to have greater distrust in the American Government.

Brenda

Pivkdiamonds said...

My heart goes out to the Johnson's family in theri time of need. I hope that they find the SOBs' that did this. It is a crying shame when we go and fight a war over in another country that no longer wants us there. Our soldiers are trying to protect themselves from the Iraqians to only have our own brutalize our own. Is this is what Bush was talking about and the fact that the military is covering up a tradegy like this is low. What other tradegies is America covering up? We have lost so many men and women over in Iraq is the cause of death exactly what they stated or is that another load of bull that they are telling us?

Chitowngirl said...

This is unacceptable why her death has not been investigated nor were her parents notified of the results.
I demand some answers to this method of dealing with the details of this investigation on behalf of young women everywhere serving our country.

patb said...

I pray that GOD will continue to bless, strengthen, and comfort the Johnson family. I hope that the truth will come out and that JUSTICE will be served, so this family can find closure. There is a GOD, and if you serve HIM, nothing is impossible for HIM. With GOD all things are possible and HE will shed some light on what really happened. What is done in darkness, must come out in the light. God is in control.

IndaNooz said...

My deepest condolences to LaVena's family. This is so heartbreaking. Just think, there are probably similar cases the public will never come to know. One big coverup.

Alvah said...

Alvah
I have a young daughter who is not in the Armed Services,but my heart goes out to LaVena's family and I know GOD comforts them and GOD will see that justice arrives,and it won't be too late for it.
I am signing the petition.

Lafaytte Funches said...

SHAME ON AMERICA
The White Washed Rape and Murder of
US Army PFC LaVena Lynn Johnson
July 19, 2005

An Afro-American female solider was raped and brutally murdered in Iraq over three years ago and not one peep, not one line, not one word out of local or national news media. We ask ourselves “Why”? The answer is in the gender and color of the victim. The plain truth is that this case has not and does not receive the national attention it deserves because the victim was a female African-American soldier and there are no network rating points to be gained by broadcasting the murder of a black woman. Had this atrocity been perpetrated on a blond-haired, blue eyed "Misty", it would have been the lead story for months on all of the networks. The FBI, the DEA, NSA, the CIA, Military Investigators, any one and every one with a badge and gun would have been stumbling all over each other trying to solve the crime. A white girl, Natalie Holloway, disappears in Aruba and the US government sends the FBI and US military equipment and advisors to a foreign nation to investigate. Pat Tillman, a white soldier's death was covered up and his white parents received help from the "White" House and Congress. In Iraq, two female soldiers, one white and one black, were captured then freed; the white female soldier was trumpeted all over the press and media as some kind of a heroine; the black female soldier was totally ignored. Then, to the dismay and red faces of all, it was determined that the white soldier's story was a lie and only then did they shut down their coverage.
Why has the government, the military and the media refused to pursue the truth to uncover the murderer’s of LaVena Lynn Johnson, a woman who stepped up to the plate and put herself in the line of fire for her country? I am sure LaVena Lynn Johnson did not imagine that her own rape and murder would be her reward for fighting for her country; I am sure this soldier never imagined that her life would be snuffed out by her own countrymen and the crime swept under a dingy rug in a dusty and dirty foreign nation..
Stories such as LaVena Lynn Johnson’s do not get misplaced or lost in newsrooms, they get suppressed on purpose. Why has this story been absent from CNN, FOX and MSNBC? Larry King interviewed Pat Tilly’s parents; why no interview with LaVena Johnson’s parents? No Katie Couric, no Barbara Walters, no Bill O’Reilly, No Greta Van Sustren, not even a teary-eyed honorable mention from the “sincerely sympathetic” Diane Sawyer and the rest of “The View”. Why are there no hour long specials on this woman's murder and cover-up; why doesn't Wolf Blitzer see this as a story for his Situation Room; why is this not in Anderson Coopers 360 Degree circle? Where are the howls of outrage and demands for justice from all the women's groups? Where are Hillary and the rest of the women’s congressional delegates? Where is Nancy Disgrace when she is really needed???? The silence on this story is deafening, overwhelming and very revealing. This travesty of justice fits the American pattern that places value on white women and no value on black women; value on white lives but no loss if a black life is stolen. This story again proves that the heart and soul of this nation is “white” with racism.
In this sad and sordid tale there is enough shame to go around: Shame on this President, as Commander-In-Chief the buck stops at his desk; he is no doubt aware of this saga and again he fails the test of leadership because he has not ordered a full-scale investigation of the murder of a USA Soldier and the ensuing cover-up. Shame on Congress that has the power to ask questions, exert pressure and force answers but sits on its hands doing nothing. Shame on the Black Congressional Caucus for their refusal to stand behind and assist the family of this soldier. Shame on the US Army for allowing the murder of one of their own to go unanswered. Shame on the media for their crass, self-serving and unforgivable refusal to give this story the priority it deserves. Finally, shame on America for betraying a black female soldier who volunteered to serve, who went to serve, and who ultimately died at the hands of those whose very freedom she was protecting. Rest In Peace, LaVena Lynn Johnson.

Lafayette Funches, Pastor
GRACE AND TRUTH EBC
3302 W 115th Street - Inglewood CA 90303
310-679-3400

pATTLOVE said...

I AM SADDEN AND APPAULLED AT THIS HORRIBLE INJUSTICE AGAINST LIFE, BUT I AM NOT SURPRIZED...AS WE GET CLOSER TO THE END OF DAYS THE ACTS OF THE DEVIL WILL BE MORE VIOLENT AND VICIOUS...WE MUST FIGHT INJUSTICES AGAINST WOMEN AND CHILDREN AT ANY COST, HOLDING ALL ACOUNTABLE...SHAME ON YOU CONGRESS. WHERE IS YOUR LOYALTY TO YOUR PEOPLE!!! WHERE IS YOUR LOVE OF LIFE AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS? WHERE IS YOUR HONOR!

ONLYtheENDisPROMISED said...

As a fellow serviceman and veteran of Iraq, I can personally speak on the atrocities that frighten you goin in or being in a war zone, on top of all the thoughts of home and family to be betrayed by allies is the last thing you can expect, my condolences to the family of this beloved soldier, I pay my respects by signing this petition.

janice said...

No justice in the system is a historical affair

April Green said...

GOD BLESS YOU ALL! DO NOT GIVE UP THE FIGHT FOR JUSTICE FOR YOUR BABY GIRL!!!!

Must Have Hope said...

But for this email, I who live in NY, would not know about this atrocity. I signed because I believe the military hides what they don't want you to know and glorify everything else. My blessings go out to the Johnson family for their strength and their tenacity to get to the truth.

virgie said...

I thank God for Color of Change organization. If it wasn't for them I would not have known of this terrible tragedy. I pray that the Johnson family find peace through this storm. God knows all and will make sure that the person or persons responsible for this enhumane act be punished to the fullest extent.

bsalgado said...

It is not uncommon in the military for rape murder and suicide. And you wouldnt see any of the type on the news i was in 4th id and with in one month over 1/2 a dozen people were killed with rumour of suicide and rapein my company alone. I am sorry to all the families involved in these situations and i will sign anything to help to stop these things from going on. But the government is who we must go through for justice and they are the ones responcible it is a hard battle to fight good luck!

bsalgado said...

It is not uncommon in the military for rape murder and suicide. And you wouldnt see any of the type on the news i was in 4th id and with in one month over 1/2 a dozen people were killed with rumour of suicide and rapein my company alone. I am sorry to all the families involved in these situations and i will sign anything to help to stop these things from going on. But the government is who we must go through for justice and they are the ones responcible it is a hard battle to fight good luck!

J. Pride said...

UNBELIEVABLE!
As if it is not difficult enough just living as a woman of color, this princess was de-humanized in such a manner and the army did not have her back.

Should we encourage young men and women interested in joining the military to boycott the army? I sent my letter to congress, but if nothing is done about this, we may as well brace ourselves for an increase in military violence and a decrease in army enrollment.

If she was a relative of a congress member, celebrity, or known politician, we would probably not have to be sending letters requesting action, would we?

LFunches said...

I am thinking the best way to get some action is to hit the army where it hurts, in thier recruting efforts. I thionks we should print thousands of pictures of leVena and put her story on the back of the pictures. Then we stake out every army recruting office and hand one of the flyers to every woman who thinks about joining the army. The US Army is hurting for volunteers and this would really hit them hard. If we coorddinate it on a national level the press will not be able to ignore it.

K. said...

I extend my condolences to the Johnson Family in the loss of their daughter. It is my hope that all of our men and women will come home from this fight alive. It is my hope that all grieving families will receive the "necessary care and concern" they deserve. We all have endured the political rhetoric however, it is the grieving families who need us to assist them in getting the closure they need. You have my support.

Timothy said...

Under the circumstances mentioned in the information which is available to me, it seems clear and without doubt that an investigation into the cause of Lavana Johnson's death should take place immediately. Should the investigation prove that Ms Johnson was murdered, as qualified statement has indicated, the person or those people responsible should be brought to justice and punished in keeping with right and due American legal process. That members of the American military could be involved in distorting or in otherwise interfering with actual fact relating to Ms Johnson's death should be carefully considered during the investigation and if proven to be the case, any member of the military found guilty of this should be punished severely for their participation. For the record, such suspicion as this casts a dark and threatening shadow over all those who are representing our nation in Iraq. If we cannot trust our own military for accurate information concerning what is taking place abroad, we should be troubled both from a parental point of view and from the point of view of our own vulnerability at home to the prospect and the eventuality of high ranking members of our military and their forces turning against us with much more than just the distortion of truth...

beirutvet83 said...

My prayers are with you this is the worst kind of trgedy I can imagine. The people invlved should be prosicuted to the fullest extent of the law. This administration sends our men, women and children of to a unprovoked war and then has the odascith to cover up such an horrific act of violence. Could this be becase the all volunteer military now accepts people with criminal backgrounds of all types. Once again Bush and his band of losers have disgraced our country and the proud tradition of military service!

naomi said...

To LaVena's loved ones: I am so sorry for your loss. I sincerely hope your daughter's case gets justice. Justice for her will be justice for all of us. May her death be the start of opening our nation's eyes to this unacceptable war and the failed state of our army/government.

Candygirl63 said...

I am signing the petition! My young daughter is a military veteran. She has recently reenlisted to further serve her country in the reserves. I really feel for the family, friends, and community of this young woman. I saw the beautiful flyers that were made for this cause and would like to help by printing and distributing them. I will be supporting this case until conclusion. Thanks for creating this website. Too many of us would never know about this if it had not been for this website. Thank you.

joi said...

I am absolutely speechless...
I am inspired to do something that resonates...
I will give it thought, and start by signing the petition.
LaVena's dad is right...they picked the wrong one to fuck with.
Her death will not be in vain.
May the Creator's power be with all who are affected by this savagery.

thattley said...

My heartfelt condolences go out to the Johnson family. My thoughts and prayers are with you. I pray that God will continue to give you the strength and peace that you need. I feel very saddened and hurt by this. Not surprised at all! Outraged yes! I feel that this is total disrespect towards this beautiful woman who willingly went to serve her country and what reward did she get.... injustice. This is truly disgusting. I gladly sign this petition and I will urge others to do the same. My sister served in the military and I couldn't imagine being in this family's position. The Johnson family deserves answers and justice. We have to all come together to insure that they get what is due to them. LaVena deserves better than this. Please add me to your petition. Blessings and love to the Johnson Family
Tina Hattley

Compassion said...

Just FYI...the petition is now in Austin Texas via email and thousands of people are signing it everyday. I just forwarded it to about 50 others. Also a local radio station here in Austin, KAZI 88.7 FM has a morning show called "The Breakfast Club" with Tommy Wyatt owner of the Villager Newspaper and Akwasi Evans owner of Nokoa the Observer local newspaper and they talked about LaVena's story extensively and have featured her story in their newspapers.

God bless your efforts!

Mrs. Clinton

God bless your efforts!

Captain Hook said...

I'm a musician from LA, I heard the Johnson family story on Democracy Now 2 weeks ago, and I am very moved by her story. I've written & recorded a song about her story, titled "Why LaVena" which I offer freely to help the family get justice, and help protect other sisters in arms.

As a side note, I'm also originally from St, Louis, and my father, a WWII vet is buried at Jefferson Barracks, the same cemetery as LaVena.

I've put the song & lyrics online for the family, and interested persons here:
http://www.artyouhear.com/lavena/

Also feel free to publish the link, or send it to anyone you think would be encouraged by it.

Thank you for the good work you are doing.
-Paul Gunby

CTM said...

CTM
The word suicide in far too many instances for African-Americans has become synonymous with non-investigation. I pray for justice for Pfc. LaVena Johnson, and reassure her family that "no weapon former against her shall prosper."

bird21 said...

Bird21 said
I am so very sorry to hear of this terrible tragedy. My prayers are with your family. I do hope that your family get some closure.

newyorker said...

It seems very sad that if this young lady was willing to fight for our country and to help free the Iraqi people, then the least this country could do for her is to seek justice for her and her family. Possibly, since they are up and running now, the Iraqi government could independently look into this for the family. Maybe someone that reads this could forward this to someone in the Iraqi government, and give the Johnson family closure in their daughters horrible death. May God Bless you all

dhumph67 said...

I am so sorry to hear this and my heart is truly sadden that our country would not tell the truth. I pray that the lord will make them disclose the truth and absolutely the truth. To help the healing process for the family. May God continue to bless you...

Laila said...

newyorker, I'd like to respond to your reply. It is NOT up to the "Iraqi" gov't nor is it the Iraqi's responsibility to "check into" this -US matter. The Iraq's have enough problems dealing with the hell that we have bestowed upon them than to try and resolve OUR matters. This is up to the US gov't to bring about justice for the Johnson family ...none other !!!

Get it right!

Big Daddy said...

Laila w/ regards to your comments to (newyorker) I'd like to respond to your comments: You stated "The Iraq's have enough problems dealing with the hell that we have bestowed upon them than to try and resolve OUR matters" "The Hell that we bestowed upon them" Do you mean the Hell of saving them from Saddam and his Bloodthirsty Sons and thier Rape Rooms?, Do you mean the Billions we are spending to build a strong physical plant & Government for people who have been vuirtually destroyed by thier own dictators? Do you mean the food/ Medicine/ and American Blood that we have lost, Bush was wrong to do what he did, w/ the exception of freeing the Iraqui people of Saddam & his followers, Bush Cheney & his entire cabinet in my opinion are War Criminals for carrying this War on w/ no end in sight, but I feel strongly that your comments were very out of place and mean, I don't know what will happen in Iraq, I can tell you that I believe a majority of Americans were not in on the decisions made by our so-called leaders, but comments such as yours do nothing more than take interest away from the Military cover up that we are trying to deal w/ in the case of LaVena Johnson, you can take your politics to www.politico.com & appologise to the Johnson family if it's in you !

Philip Barron said...

Commenters:

Arguments over culpability for or the ultimate value of the war are, frankly, off-topic here.

It's not a effective use of my time to play referee in comments; I'll just ask everyone to please keep the purpose and the tone of this website in mind when making comments. Remarks that are off-topic or anything that is personally out of bounds will be moderated with whatever tools the platform provides.

In the near future, a forum may be attached to this weblog that will allow for a wider debate, if that's what interests you. Until then...

Laila said...

As a seeker of Justice, I have signed this petition seeking Justice for this young lady’s soul and her family. I apologize for taking this personal but, I know that this could EASILY be any of my family members (I am also a mother), friends or my self, for that matter. I am completely angered by the rise of injustice that’s being done to our families and communities. I am one to try and stand for everything, in hopes as to NOT obtain deaf ears (b/c of so many injustices).

I have taken a vow to get the word out about LeVena Johnson’s murder and this petition to as MANY people that I possibly can. In honoring this vow, I have copied articles from The Color of Change along with this website’s petition in hopes to have this petition signed by thousands (prayerfully) hundreds of thousands; so that LeVena (and family) may have COMPLETE justice. Being a student, most of my work will be done around campuses ...and for the elderly or less fortunate (without access to computers) I will began a hand written Petition for LeVena and forward it to The Color of Change or this website once ‘complete’… If it’s ok to do so (???) I believe and seek equal justice for ALL!!!

To LeVena’s family: …Again, you and your daughter remain in my Prayers. May God bless you and heal your hearts. Keeping the eye on the sparrow.

Peace.

Big Daddy said...

My Point exactly