tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8615866461861065202008-08-09T10:00:54.070-07:00The Pfc. LaVena Johnson PetitionPhilip Barronhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/10734063270306074707noreply@blogger.comBlogger87125tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-861586646186106520.post-25954826534860349772008-08-05T11:57:00.000-07:002008-08-05T20:38:48.278-07:00Status note on Care2 petition for LaVena<p>A quick check of <a href="http://www.thepetitionsite.com/56/justice-for-lavena-johnson" target="_blank">the Justice for LaVena Johnson petition</a> authored by activist Danielle Vyas and hosted at the Care2 petition site - addressed to Congress and the President - shows that it is just 45 signatures shy of its goal of 3000! Excellent work, Danielle! If you haven't stopped by to lend your name to the list, please take a couple of minutes to do so.</p><p><span style="font-weight: bold;">Update:</span> And now we find that the Vyas petition has already bested its goal by fifteen signatures - so far! Many thanks to Danielle for her activism on behalf of LaVena and her family, and for everyone who signed her petition and helped bring attention to it.<br /></p>Philip Barronhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/10734063270306074707noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-861586646186106520.post-12479855278248164742008-08-04T11:26:00.000-07:002008-08-04T11:30:32.247-07:00Truthdig on military sexual assault hearing<p>Activist and retired Army Colonel Ann Wright has been indispensable to the effort to prompt a renewed investigation of the death in Iraq of Pfc. LaVena Johnson. She has also fought to make known the wider issue of murder and sexual assault of women in the armed forces. Col. Wright attended the recent hearings on sexual assault in the military held by the Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, and has written at <em>Truthdig</em> a critical account of the refusal of the Department of Defense to allow a witness to be heard:</p> <blockquote><p><a href="http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20080801_sexual_assault_in_the_military_a_dod_cover_up/" target="_blank"><strong>Sexual Assault in the Military: A DoD Cover-Up?</strong></a></p> <p>There was quite a struggle in Congress this week. The Department of Defense refused to allow the senior civilian in charge of its Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (SAPRO) to testify in Thursday’s hearing on sexual assault in the military. Rep. John Tierney, chair of the House Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, angrily dismissed Principal Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Michael Dominguez from the hearing when Dominguez said that he, the DoD chief of legislative affairs and the chief of public affairs, had ordered Dr. Kaye Whitley, chief of SAPRO, to refuse to honor the subpoena issued by the subcommittee for her appearance. </p> <p>Full committee Chairman Henry Waxman called the DoD’s decision to prevent Whitley from testifying “ridiculous and indicating DoD is covering something up.” It could also place Whitley in contempt of Congress. Rep. Christopher Shays said the DoD’s decision was “foolish.”</p> <p>One of the questions that would have been put to Whitley was why DoD had taken three years to name a 15-person civilian task force to look into allegations of sexual assault of military personnel. The panel was finally named early in 2008 but has yet to meet. She would have also been queried on the SAPRO program’s failure to require key information from the military in order to evaluate the effectiveness of sexual assault prevention and response programs. </p></blockquote> <p>In addition to LaVena Johnson, Col. Wright references the cases of Army Spc. <a href="http://www.counterpunch.org/swanson07082006.html" target="_blank">Suzanne Swift</a>, Army Pfc. <a href="http://www.ssristories.com/show.php?item=1563" target="_blank">Tina Priest</a>, and Marine Lance Cpl. <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Maria_Lauterbach" target="_blank">Maria Lauterbach</a>.</p> <p>Read more of <a href="http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20080801_sexual_assault_in_the_military_a_dod_cover_up/" target="_blank">Col. Wright’s article at <em>Truthdig</em></a>.</p> <p>It should be noted that the chairman of the subcommittee's parent, the House Oversight Committee - Representative Henry Waxman - is the named petitionee of <a href="http://www.colorofchange.org/lavena/" target="_blank">a new public appeal for hearings</a> on the LaVena Johnson case. This petition is authored by the advocacy group ColorofChange.</p>Philip Barronhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/10734063270306074707noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-861586646186106520.post-6470661500905758632008-08-03T19:04:00.000-07:002008-08-03T19:08:22.578-07:00Programming note: New feed for LaVena site<p>A brief programming note: Feed subscribers to the LaVena Johnson website should edit their feed reader settings to use the site's <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/lavena" target="_blank">new Feedburner feed address</a> (http://feeds.feedburner.com/lavena). This address will provide subscribers with access to all blog posts at the LaVena Johnson website, regardless of changes in the website's platform or even its address.</p><p>The website's use of RSS/RSD/Atom feeds will continue for an indeterminate period, but is subject to coming changes at the site. To avoid possible interruptions in service, subscribers are strongly advised to switch to the Feedburner address. Thanks.</p>Philip Barronhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/10734063270306074707noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-861586646186106520.post-27363090206486751542008-08-01T13:22:00.000-07:002008-08-01T15:44:42.778-07:00LaVena PDF handout available<p>Kriss Avery of the <a href="http://www.gateway-greens.org/" target="_blank">Gateway Green Alliance</a> in St. Louis created a one-page handout for use by Dr. John Johnson when he spoke at this year’s NOW National Conference about his daughter LaVena. Kriss has been kind enough to make that document available for anyone who wants to help spread the word about LaVena and the effort to prompt a new investigation of her death in Iraq.</p> <p><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp2.blogger.com/_iDWgG2vPPtQ/SJNxQM0BzVI/AAAAAAAAAJo/U-xCex6KKXg/s1600-h/lavena_brochure.png"><img style="margin: 0pt 10px 10px 0pt; float: left; cursor: pointer;" src="http://bp2.blogger.com/_iDWgG2vPPtQ/SJNxQM0BzVI/AAAAAAAAAJo/U-xCex6KKXg/s400/lavena_brochure.png" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5229648115438570834" border="0" /></a></p><p><br /></p><p><br /></p><p><br /></p><p><br /></p><p><br /></p><p><br /></p><p><br /></p><p><br /></p><p><br /></p><p><br /></p><p><br /></p><p><br /></p><p><br /></p><p><br /></p><p><br /></p> <p>Just <a href="http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?dmzmsmztdsz" target="_blank">click the link</a> to directly download the file.</p><p><span style="font-weight: bold;">Revised:</span> The previous (and free) download account failed for unknown reasons. I've replaced it with a more straightforward method you see above. Many apologies for the earlier snafu!</p>Philip Barronhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/10734063270306074707noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-861586646186106520.post-54300233759263533522008-07-31T13:31:00.001-07:002008-07-31T13:31:32.411-07:00LaVena post at Crooks & Liars<p><i>Crooks &amp; Liars</i> returns to the story of PFC LaVena Johnson with <a href="http://www.crooksandliars.com/2008/07/31/pfc-lavena-johnson-was-raped-beaten-set-on-fire-and-worse-army-calls-it-suicide/" mce_href="http://www.crooksandliars.com/2008/07/31/pfc-lavena-johnson-was-raped-beaten-set-on-fire-and-worse-army-calls-it-suicide/" target="_blank">a post by Logan Murphy</a>:</p> <blockquote><p><a href="http://www.crooksandliars.com/2007/03/09/the-death-of-a-soldier/" mce_href="http://www.crooksandliars.com/2007/03/09/the-death-of-a-soldier/">Nicole</a> and I have both written posts about the <a href="http://www.crooksandliars.com/2007/08/24/father-of-gi-who-died-mysteriously-in-iraq-speaks-out-wants-investigation-reopened/" mce_href="http://www.crooksandliars.com/2007/08/24/father-of-gi-who-died-mysteriously-in-iraq-speaks-out-wants-investigation-reopened/">mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of PFC LaVena Johnson</a>, and <a href="http://www.democracynow.org/2008/7/23/suicide_or_murder_three_years_after" mce_href="http://www.democracynow.org/2008/7/23/suicide_or_murder_three_years_after">Democracy Now! had a heartbreaking interview with her family</a> last week. LaVena’s family has worked hard to find the truth about her death and have finally had a breakthrough in the case. Unfortunately, the new details they uncovered are so disturbing that they could potentially make the Pat Tillman and Jessica Lynch stories pale in comparison. The above video from Cenk of <a href="http://www.theyoungturks.com/" mce_href="http://www.theyoungturks.com/">The Young Turks</a> captures my exact feelings about this horrific case. <a href="http://www.stlamerican.com/articles/2008/06/04/news/local_news/localnews03.txt" mce_href="http://www.stlamerican.com/articles/2008/06/04/news/local_news/localnews03.txt">What you’re about to read will sicken and enrage you</a>.</p></blockquote> <p>Murphy references a June 2008 article on LaVena from the <i>St. Louis American </i>(last link in the quote), and mentions <a href="http://nationalsecurity.oversight.house.gov/story.asp?ID=2125" mce_href="http://nationalsecurity.oversight.house.gov/story.asp?ID=2125" target="_blank">today's Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs hearing</a> on sexual assault in the military.</p>Philip Barronhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/10734063270306074707noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-861586646186106520.post-48057390719027830322008-07-30T07:15:00.000-07:002008-07-30T07:17:25.690-07:00Oversight subcommittee hearing on sexual assault in the military<p>The parents of PFC LaVena Johnson believe that their daughter was murdered in Iraq - contrary to Army claims of suicide - and suspect that she may have been victim to a sexual assault. The Army has resisted calls for reinvestigation of the matter; public and Congressional attention are required in order to change military minds. Gina at <em>What About Our Daughters?</em> has alerted readers to <a href="http://whataboutourdaughters.blogspot.com/2008/07/lavena-johnson-update-hearing-on.html" target="_blank">an opportunity to bring LaVena's case to legislators</a> - a public hearing on sexual assault in the military held by a sub- of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform:</p><p></p><blockquote>On Thursday, July 31 at 10:00 am, [the Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs] will hold a hearing entitled, “Oversight Hearing on Sexual Assault in the Military.” The hearing will take place in room 2154 of the Rayburn House Office Building and is open to the public.</blockquote><p></p><p>It should be noted that the chairman of the parent committee - Representative Henry Waxman - is the named petitionee of <a href="http://www.colorofchange.org/lavena/" target="_blank">a new public appeal for hearings</a> on the LaVena Johnson case. This petition is authored by the advocacy group ColorofChange.</p><p>The chair of the subcommittee is Rep. John F. Tierney of the Sixth District of Massachusetts. The names of other subcommittee members, and suggestions on trying to put LaVena on their agenda for the day, may be found at <a href="http://whataboutourdaughters.blogspot.com/2008/07/lavena-johnson-update-hearing-on.html" target="_blank">the <em>What About Our Daughters?</em> post</a>.</p>Philip Barronhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/10734063270306074707noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-861586646186106520.post-84335906359549558012008-07-29T18:07:00.000-07:002008-07-29T18:15:47.038-07:00Feministing, BuzzFlash on LaVena<p>Apologies for coming late to <a href="http://www.feministing.com/archives/009756.html" target="_blank">the July 18 writeup on PFC LaVena Johnson by Ann Friedman of <em>Feministing</em></a>. The post asks readers to spare just a couple of minutes to sign <a href="http://www.thepetitionsite.com/56/justice-for-lavena-johnson" target="_blank">the Danielle Vyas-authored petition</a> to Congress and President Bush, which has (of this writing) 2374 signatures with a goal of 3000. Friedman references posts on LaVena by a number of feminist writers; some of them have been previously noted here, while others are new to me:</p><p></p><blockquote>You may have read about LaVena recently on <a href="http://www.feministing.com/archives/009732.html" target="_blank">Feministing</a>, or from <a href="http://thecurvature.com/2008/07/15/still-no-justice-for-lavena-johnson/" target="_blank">Cara</a>, Megan at <a href="http://jezebel.com/5020732/lavena-johnson-murdered-by-her-colleagues-ignored-by-the-army" target="_blank">Jezebel</a>, Gina at <a href="http://whataboutourdaughters.blogspot.com/2008/07/lavena-johnson-update.html" target="_blank">What About Our Daughters</a>, and Kate at <a href="http://www.salon.com/mwt/broadsheet/2008/06/27/lavena_johnson/index.html" target="_blank">Broadsheet</a>...</blockquote><p></p><p>I am very happy to add Friedman to the growing list of writers whom I owe thanks for support for a renewed investigation of LaVena's death in Iraq.</p><p>Also on that list is Meg White for bringing LaVena's story to the many readers of <em>BuzzFlash</em> in <a href="http://www.buzzflash.com/articles/analysis/337" target="_blank">a news analysis piece posted today</a>. It is a capsule of the Johnson family's trials in pushing the Army to revisit the investigation of their daughter's death, and the possibility that she had been the victim of a sexual assault. Like Friedman's entry at <em>Feministing</em>, White touches on the CommonDreams.org article by retired Army colonel Ann Wright on other suspicious deaths of women in service, and references the recently-launched ColorofChange to Rep. Henry Waxman of the House Oversight and Governmental Affairs Committee. Many thanks to White for this entry.</p>Philip Barronhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/10734063270306074707noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-861586646186106520.post-36692347654624941092008-07-23T12:27:00.000-07:002008-07-29T18:18:52.419-07:00ColorofChange.org launches LaVena petition<p>The online grassroots organization ColorofChange.org, a black advocacy group founded in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, has lent its support to the family of LaVena Johnson. The group has <a href="http://www.colorofchange.org/lavena/" target="_blank">launched a new petition</a> addressed to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and its chairman, Representative Henry Waxman. From <a href="http://www.colorofchange.org/lavena/" target="_blank">the petition page</a>:</p><p></p><blockquote><strong>Justice for LaVena Johnson</strong><br /><em>Tell Congressman Waxman to investigate the Army's cover up of Pfc LaVena Johnson's murder.</em><br />While overwhelming evidence shows that LaVena Johnson was raped and murdered while serving in Iraq, the US Army refuses to acknowledge the crime and bring the perpetrators to justice.<br />Join the Johnson family's call for Congressman Waxman to hold a Congressional hearing that uncovers the truth behind LaVena's tragic death.</blockquote><p></p><p>ColorofChange.org is perhaps most widely known for its advocacy on behalf of the Jena Six - young African-American men facing racial bias and inflated charges of murder in Jena, LA.</p><p>From the organization's "About Us" page:</p><p></p><blockquote>ColorOfChange.org is comprised of Black folks from every economic class, as well as those of every color who seek to help our voices be heard. Our members are united behind a simple, powerful pledge: we will do all we can to make sure <em>all</em> Americans are represented, served, and protected—regardless of race or class.</blockquote><p></p><p>I ask everyone to join the voices represented by <a href="http://www.colorofchange.org/lavena/" target="_blank">the ColorofChange petition to Rep. Waxman</a>, and to share the word with others.</p>Philip Barronhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/10734063270306074707noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-861586646186106520.post-8402577849372449372008-07-23T10:00:00.000-07:002008-07-23T11:18:17.018-07:00LaVena's parents on Democracy Now!<p>John and Linda Johnson, parents of PFC LaVena Lynn Johnson, were <a href="http://www.democracynow.org/2008/7/23/suicide_or_murder_three_years_after" target="_blank">interviewed on <em>Democracy Now!</em></a> by host Amy Goodman. Activist and retired Army colonel Ann Wright was also part of the program.</p><p></p><blockquote>Three years ago, on July 19, 2005, Army Private First Class LaVena Johnson was found dead in Balad, Iraq. Her body was found in a tent belonging to the private military contractor KBR. She had abrasions all over her body, a broken nose, a black eye, burned hands, loose teeth, acid burns on her genitals, and a bullet hole in her head. The Army labeled Johnson’s death a suicide. But her parents never believed that story. They think she was raped and murdered and are now demanding a full congressional investigation into their daughter’s death.</blockquote><p></p>The program is available at <a href="http://www.democracynow.org/2008/7/23/suicide_or_murder_three_years_after" target="_blank">the <em>Democracy Now!</em> site</a> for viewing or listening in a number of formats: Real Video stream, Real Audio stream, MP3 download, and others. A partial transcript is up as well; I expect a full version will be made available later.Philip Barronhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/10734063270306074707noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-861586646186106520.post-29319021289909989682008-07-23T09:02:00.000-07:002008-07-23T09:16:44.719-07:00MySpace write-up on Lavena; credit for connection to ColorofChange<p>Kim Brummell, an Army veteran and member of the North Carolina American Civil Liberties Union, has written about PFC LaVena Johnson in a post titled <a href="http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&amp;friendID=172721577&amp;blogID=413919694" target="_blank">"Deadly Wall of Silence."</a></p><p></p><blockquote>How will cases like this affect women signing up for the service and staying in the military? How will it affect the respect citizens have for our soldiers? How could we trust the military to help secure this nation when we may have cold-blooded murderers in a uniform wearing a U.S. flag? I got nothing but love for the military. The service taught me a lot. On the contrary, an injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere. Where can you run and hide when your allies become your enemies?</blockquote><p></p><p>Thanks much to Kim for her perspective as a former soldier and for her expression of concern for the service, for women in uniform, and for the Johnson family.</p><p>I also want to thank two people who - through separate efforts at the same time - brought the LaVena effort to the attention of ColorofChange.org. Activist Danielle Vyas contacted the advocacy group even as she launched <a href="http://www.thepetitionsite.com/56/justice-for-lavena-johnson" target="_blank">her own Care2-based petition</a> to Congress and the President. Gemina13, a <em>DailyKos</em> blogger, wrote <a href="http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/7/1/0281/88781/582/544532" target="_blank">a diary there about LaVena</a> and also contacted ColorofChange. Their efforts helped to bring about <a href="http://www.colorofchange.org/lavena/" target="_blank"><strong>the ColorofChange-sponsored petition</strong></a> to Representative Henry Waxman and the House Oversight Committee which he chairs. Thanks again, very much, to both Danielle and Gemina13.</p>Philip Barronhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/10734063270306074707noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-861586646186106520.post-37052551146830234192008-07-18T09:06:00.000-07:002008-07-18T09:20:02.636-07:00Support, old and newA couple of posts regarding LaVena Johnson came across my desk yesterday. One of them is a reprised article from early in the effort to prompt a renewed investigation of LaVena's death in Iraq; the other is a new entry commenting on the provisional Oversight Committee report released this week.<br /><br /><a href="http://welcomebacktopottersville.blogspot.com/2008/07/unsung-redux.html" target="_blank">The revisited post</a> by jurassicpork at <em>Welcome Back to Pottersville</em>:<br /><br /><blockquote><em>To die unsung would really bring you down<br />Although wet eyes would never suit you<br />Walk through no archetypal suicide<br />Die young is far too boring these days </em>- “Unsung“, Helmet<br /><br />With the exception of several administration officials both past and present and every other rabid warhawk in PNAC and the American Enterprise and Cato Institutes, I can’t think of a single American who belongs in Iraq.<br /><br />And 19 year-old LaVena L. Johnson certainly had no business being there.</blockquote><br /><br /><a href="http://angryblackbitch.blogspot.com/2008/07/bitch-wouldnt-even-know.html" target="_blank">The new post</a> by Shark-fu at <em>AngryBlackBitch</em>:<br /><br /><blockquote>Like many St. Louisans I was deeply touched by the story of Private First Class LaVena Johnson, who died as a result of a non-combat incident near Balad, Iraq. PFC Johnson, who was from Florissant Missouri, died July 19, 2005 and was the first woman from Missouri to die while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. I will never forget seeing her family interviewed on local television and witnessing their pain and frustration over the lack of information they’d been given concerning their loved one’s death. It was wrenching and emotional…and I was left frustrated that this story had not garnered national media attention like other similar investigations.</blockquote><br />Each of these bloggers - like many others unmentioned here, bloggers or no - has put in a lot of time and effort on behalf of LaVena and her family. All of these efforts are greatly appreciated.Philip Barronhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/10734063270306074707noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-861586646186106520.post-55247673764391159692008-07-18T08:10:00.000-07:002008-07-18T08:12:46.246-07:00Socialist Appeal post on LaVenaJosh Lucker of <em>Socialist Appeal</em> attended <a href="http://www.waveflux.net/archives/at-the-lavena-johnson-event/">the Black &amp; Green Wednesday panel discussion</a> on PFC LaVena Johnson that was held on June 4, and <a href="http://www.socialistappeal.org/content/view/588/86/" target="_blank">has published an article</a> in support of the effort to re-investigate her death in Iraq.<br /><br /><blockquote>On June 6th, a panel discussion was held in St. Louis to discuss the death of LaVena Johnson. She was the first Missouri woman killed in Iraq, just eight days shy of her 20th birthday. Today, three years after her death, questions still surround the circumstances of this tragedy. Her father, Dr. John Johnson, and other family members, have dedicated countless hours researching and traveling the country looking for an answer.</blockquote><br />Lucker's article references the incidence of sexual assault in the military - the family of PFC Johnson believes that sexual assault was an circumstance in her death - as well as other cases of women soldiers who died from “self-inflicted, noncombat injuries” whose deaths demand vigorous investigation.<br /><br />Many thanks to Josh and to <em>Socialist Appeal</em> for their article.Philip Barronhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/10734063270306074707noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-861586646186106520.post-13863306295327999252008-07-16T11:57:00.000-07:002008-07-16T11:58:29.285-07:00LaVena in proposed Oversight Committee reportThe death in Iraq of PFC LaVena Johnson - ruled a suicide by the Army and vigorously disputed by her family - finds a brief mention in <a href="http://oversight.house.gov/story.asp?ID=2084" target="_blank">a proposed report</a> recently released by the House Oversight and Governmental Reform Committee: <em>Misleading Information from the Battlefield: The Tillman and Lynch Episodes</em>. As the title indicates, the main subjects of the report are the death of Corporal Patrick Tillman in Afghanistan and the capture of Private Jessica Lynch in Iraq. LaVena's case is mentioned in Section IX: Other Cases Brought to the Committee's Attention, as is the suspicious death of Specialist Jesse Buryj of Canton, Ohio.<br /><br /><blockquote>The Committee’s majority staff was also contacted by the family and friends of Private First Class LaVena Johnson, a weapons supply manager from Florissant, Missouri, who died, family members say, in a suspicious non-combat incident near Balad, Iraq, on July 19, 2005. According to news reports, the Army ruled the death a suicide, and a medical examiner concurred with this finding. But Private Johnson’s family believes Army investigators ignored physical evidence inconsistent with a finding of suicide. They also believe that the Army has additional information about the circumstances of Private Johnson’s death that it has not shared with the family.<br /><br />While the names of these soldiers are not as well-known as Pat Tillman and Jessica Lynch, their sacrifices were just as great and their families are just as deserving of the truth.</blockquote><br />It is to be hoped that this acknowledgment will be followed up by further Congressional action, and renewed and transparent investigations.<br /><br />The full text of the proposed report is <a href="http://oversight.house.gov/documents/20080714111050.pdf" target="_blank">available for download</a>.Philip Barronhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/10734063270306074707noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-861586646186106520.post-85461929346382721162008-07-15T09:30:00.000-07:002008-07-15T09:31:15.668-07:00DailyKos diary on LaVenaI learned this weekend that <em>DailyKos</em> blogger Gemina13 posted this June 30 diary: <a href="http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/7/1/0281/88781/582/544532" target="_blank">"Justice for Pfc. LaVena Johnson"</a>:<br /><br /><blockquote>Women soldiers in the Iraqi-Afghanistan theaters have mostly been ignored, save when they can be trotted out for the cameras like Pfc. Jessica Lynch. Used by the armed forces in greater numbers, women soldiers are not only serving in ways their predecessors never got to. One in three women who join the military will be raped or sexually assaulted by men in the military. Of the 94 women who have died in Iraqi or in Operation Iraqi Freedom, 36 died from "non-combat related injuries."<br /><br />One of these was Pfc. LaVena Johnson. [...]<br /><br />Through FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) and Congressional offices, Dr. and Mrs. Johnson, their family, and their friends relentlessly hounded the Department of the Army for answers about LaVena's death. They requested documents, and every piece of evidence led to yet another piece that had to be demanded and claimed. It took two and a half years before the Johnsons were able to see what had happened to their daughter.</blockquote><br />Gemina13 draws on material posted at <a href="http://shakespearessister.blogspot.com/2008/04/congress-must-investigate-crimes.html" target="_blank"><em>Shakesville</em></a> and the LaVena Johnson website, as well as <a href="http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2008/04/28/8564/" target="_blank">the <em>CommonDreams</em> article</a> written by retired Army Col. Ann Wright.<br /><br />I had the opportunity to exchange emails with Gemina13, and would like to thank her again for bringing LaVena's story to the wide <em>DailyKos</em> community.Philip Barronhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/10734063270306074707noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-861586646186106520.post-84864359551800186192008-07-11T08:23:00.000-07:002008-07-11T08:35:12.172-07:00New LaVena petition to Congress and the PresidentAs you will recall, the original LaVena Johnson petition to the Armed Services Committees of the House and the Senate - asking those bodies to compel the Army to reopen the investigation of LaVena's death in Iraq - closed on May 23. I'm currently arranging with an organization for delivery of the petition to the legislators on those committees.<br /><br />For the many people who have recently heard of LaVena's story and are looking for ways to help, activist Danielle Vyas has launched a new and separate petition effort on the Care2 network (also noted by Bruce Combs <a href="http://www.lavenajohnson.com/2008/07/wikipedia-page-for-lavena.html">in comments</a>). <a style="font-weight: bold;" href="http://www.thepetitionsite.com/56/justice-for-lavena-johnson" target="_blank">The Justice for LaVena Johnson petition</a> is addressed to both houses of Congress and President Bush. Danielle's goal is one thousand signatures; after a full day, the count currently stands at 108.<br /><br />I am very grateful to Danielle for sponsoring this new petition. I'll add my own name to the list today. This effort belongs to no single person; the more voices that can be raised in support of the Johnson family, the better.Philip Barronhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/10734063270306074707noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-861586646186106520.post-37561438787280429372008-07-01T09:41:00.000-07:002008-07-01T10:42:13.452-07:00Foundation matters re: LaVena<p>A couple of kind folks asked in correspondence if there was a fund or foundation related to the Johnsons and their fight to reopen the investigation of daughter LaVena’s death in Iraq. LaVena’s father, Dr. John Johnson, informed me yesterday that there are plans in the works for just such an organization. The working title is The LaVena Lynn Johnson Legal Foundation. The purpose will be broader than just LaVena’s case; the foundation will bring attention to other women in the military, women who have been sexually assaulted.</p> <p>Dr. Johnson and some others are working on the bylaws of the organization, on a purpose/mission statement, on projected budgetary matters. Donations will be welcome when things get to that point. It’s early in the process and there will be more news to come. I will certainly post developments on the LaVena website, and perhaps here as well. If you haven’t done so already, you may want to bookmark the LaVena site or (even better) subscribe to <a href="http://www.lavenajohnson.com/feeds/posts/default">the site’s RSS feed</a> so you don’t miss any announcements. Thanks.</p>Philip Barronhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/10734063270306074707noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-861586646186106520.post-33175156769645983692008-07-01T09:33:00.001-07:002008-07-01T09:33:45.837-07:00Wikipedia page for LaVenaIn the wake of <a href="http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/2/story.cfm?c_id=2&amp;objectid=10518131" mce_href="http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/2/story.cfm?c_id=2&amp;objectid=10518131" target="_blank">several</a> <a href="http://www.salon.com/mwt/broadsheet/2008/06/27/lavena_johnson/index.html" mce_href="http://www.salon.com/mwt/broadsheet/2008/06/27/lavena_johnson/index.html" target="_blank">online</a> <a href="http://jezebel.com/5020732/lavena-johnson-murdered-by-her-colleagues-ignored-by-the-army" mce_href="http://jezebel.com/5020732/lavena-johnson-murdered-by-her-colleagues-ignored-by-the-army" target="_blank">articles</a> on the death in Iraq of <a href="http://www.lavenajohnson.com/" mce_href="http://www.lavenajohnson.com/" target="_blank">PFC LaVena Johnson</a> and her family's efforts to prompt a renewed investigation by the Army, Loren from Chicago saw that there was no Wikipedia entry for LaVena and <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LaVena_Johnson" mce_href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LaVena_Johnson" target="_blank">so created one</a>. There are links to several references and also to the official LaVena website. I am very grateful to Loren for this; it had not occurred to me to create a Wikipedia entry. The efforts and ideas of other people are invaluable and can only help bring greater attention to LaVena's story.Philip Barronhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/10734063270306074707noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-861586646186106520.post-49551403305686258082008-06-30T12:08:00.000-07:002008-06-30T13:09:09.864-07:00Welcome, Jezebel readersAn email from a reader at <span style="font-style: italic;">Jezebel</span> alerted me to <a href="http://jezebel.com/5020732/lavena-johnson-murdered-by-her-colleagues-ignored-by-the-army">today's post there on LaVena Johnson</a>.<br /><blockquote><br />This is Private First Class LaVena Johnson of Missouri. An honors student who nonetheless didn't quite know what she wanted to do with her life, she <a href="http://www.lavenajohnson.com/2007/03/cover-up-of-soldiers-death.html">enlisted in the Army right out of high school</a> in 2003 and was sent to Iraq, where she died. When the Army returned her mutilated body to her grieving parents as a suicide, her dad, <a href="http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/2/story.cfm?c_id=2&amp;objectid=10518131&amp;pnum=0">Dr. John Johnson said to himself and the Army coroner</a>, "Somebody murdered my daughter and you picked the wrong person to fuck with." Fucking <em>right</em>.</blockquote><br />Megan Carpentier draws on <a href="http://www.salon.com/mwt/broadsheet/2008/06/27/lavena_johnson/index.html?source=refresh">the recent <span style="font-style: italic;">Salon</span> post</a> by Kate Harding, Tracey Barnett's article in <a href="http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/2/story.cfm?c_id=2&amp;objectid=10518131&amp;pnum=0">the <span style="font-style: italic;">New Zealand Herald</span></a>, and the June 3rd story at St. Louis-based <a href="http://www.kmov.com/video/topvideo-index.html?nvid=251397&amp;shu=1">KMOV-TV</a>.<br /><br />The <span style="font-style: italic;">Jezebel</span> reader also alerted me to a change in the membership of the House Armed Services Committee. I've looked at the current listing for both committees and found three legislators who are no longer members - John Ensign for the Senate, James Langevin and Marty Meehan for the House. I'll replace their listings on the contact page with current members Roger Wicker in the Senate and Niki Tsongas and Kendrick Meek in the House. (<span style="font-weight: bold;">Update</span>: Changes made! Also, the pop-up link for Carol Shea-Porter has been fixed. Please let me know if other things need to be corrected.)<br /><br />Many thanks indeed to Carpentier and the <span style="font-style: italic;">Jezebel</span> readership!Philip Barronhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/10734063270306074707noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-861586646186106520.post-63176254694872766572008-06-27T12:44:00.001-07:002008-06-30T13:04:32.895-07:00A reminder...Even though the petition to the Armed Services Committees of the Senate and the House closed on May 24, constituents of the members of the two committees can still lend their voices to the effort to prompt a new investigation of LaVena's death by contacting those legislators directly. Reprised below is contact information for those legislators: links to their contact pages, and pop-up links to their numbers and addresses. If any of the information provided is out of date, please reach me via <a href="http://www.waveflux.net/contact-me/" target="_blank">the contact page</a> on my personal website, and I'll correct it. Thanks.<br /><br /><p><strong><em>Senate Armed Services Committee</em></strong><br /><strong>Democrats</strong><br /><a href="http://levin.senate.gov/contact/index.cfm" target="_blank"><b>Carl Levin</b></a>, Chairman (Michigan | <a href="javascript:my_win()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://mccaskill.senate.gov/contact.cfm" target="_blank"><b>Claire McCaskill </b></a> (Missouri | <a style="font-weight: bold;" href="javascript:my_win2()">numbers &amp; addresses</a>)<br /><a href="http://kennedy.senate.gov/senator/contact.cfm" target="_blank"><b>Edward M. Kennedy</b></a> (Massachusetts | <a href="javascript:my_win8()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://byrd.senate.gov/byrd_email.html" target="_blank"><b>Robert C. Byrd </b></a>(West Virginia | <a href="javascript:my_win13()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://lieberman.senate.gov/contact/" target="_blank"><b>Joseph I. Lieberman</b></a> (Connecticut | <a href="javascript:my_win4()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://reed.senate.gov/contact/index.cfm" target="_blank"><b>Jack Reed </b></a>(Rhode Island | <a href="javascript:my_win11()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://akaka.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Contact.Home" target="_blank"><b>Daniel K. Akaka</b></a> (Hawaii | <a href="javascript:my_win6()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://billnelson.senate.gov/contact/email.cfm" target="_blank"><b>Bill Nelson</b></a> (Florida | <a href="javascript:my_win5()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://www.senate.gov/%7Ebennelson/contact/email.cfm" target="_blank"><b>E. Benjamin Nelson</b></a> (Nebraska | <a href="javascript:my_win9()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://bayh.senate.gov/WebMail1.htm" target="_blank"><b>Evan Bayh</b></a> (Indiana | <a href="javascript:my_win7()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://clinton.senate.gov/contact/webform.cfm?subj=issue" target="_blank"><b>Hillary Rodham Clinton</b></a> (New York | <a href="javascript:my_win10()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://www.senate.gov/%7Epryor/contact/" target="_blank"><b>Mark L. Pryor</b></a> (Arkansas | <a href="javascript:my_win3()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://webb.bluestatedigital.com/page/s/contact" target="_blank"><b>Jim Webb</b></a> (Virginia | <a href="javascript:my_win12()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)</p> <p><strong>Republicans</strong><br /><a href="http://mccain.senate.gov/contact/index.cfm?ID=64" target="_blank"><b>John McCain</b></a>, Ranking Member (Arizona | <a href="javascript:my_win14()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://www.senate.gov/%7Ewarner/contact/contactme.cfm" target="_blank"><b>John W. Warner </b></a>(Virginia | <a href="javascript:my_win25()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://inhofe.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Contact.ContactForm" target="_blank"><b>James M. Inhofe</b></a> (Oklahoma | <a href="javascript:my_win21()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://sessions.senate.gov/email/contact.cfm" target="_blank"><b>Jeff Sessions</b></a> (Alabama | <a href="javascript:my_win15()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://collins.senate.gov/public/continue.cfm?FuseAction=ContactSenatorCollins.Email" target="_blank"><b>Susan M. Collins</b></a> (Maine | <a href="javascript:my_win18()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://wicker.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=ContactMe.EmailSenatorWicker" target="_blank"><b>Roger F. Wicker</b></a> (Mississippi | <a href="javascript:my_win19()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://chambliss.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=ContactUs.ContactForm" target="_blank"><b>Saxby Chambliss</b></a> (Georgia | <a href="javascript:my_win17()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://lgraham.senate.gov/index.cfm?mode=contactform" target="_blank"><b>Lindsey O. Graham</b></a> (South Carolina | <a href="javascript:my_win22()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://dole.senate.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=ContactInformation.ContactForm" target="_blank"><b>Elizabeth Dole</b></a> (North Carolina | <a href="javascript:my_win20()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://www.cornyn.senate.gov/index.asp?f=contact&amp;lid=1#contact" target="_blank"><b>John Cornyn </b></a>(Texas | <a href="javascript:my_win24()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://thune.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Contact.Email" target="_blank"><b>John Thune</b></a> (South Dakota | <a href="javascript:my_win23()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://martinez.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=ContactInformation.ContactForm" target="_blank"><b>Mel Martinez</b></a> (Florida | <a href="javascript:my_win16()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)</p><strong><em>House Armed Services Committee</em></strong><br /><strong>Democrats</strong><br /><a href="http://www.house.gov/skelton/zipauth.htm" target="_blank"><b>Ike Skelton</b></a>, Chairman (Missouri | <a href="javascript:my_win26()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://giffords.house.gov/IMA/issue_subscribe.htm" target="_blank"><b>Gabrielle Giffords</b></a> (Arizona | <a href="javascript:my_win27()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://www.house.gov/snyder/contact/index.html" target="_blank"><b>Vic Snyder</b></a> (Arkansas | <a href="javascript:my_win28()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://www.house.gov/susandavis/IMA/contact.html" target="_blank"><b>Susan A. Davis</b></a> (California | <a href="javascript:my_win29()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://www.lorettasanchez.house.gov/forms/contact.html" target="_blank"><b>Loretta Sanchez</b></a> (California | <a href="javascript:my_win30()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://www.house.gov/tauscher/IMA/get_address.htm" target="_blank"><b>Ellen O. Tauscher</b></a> (California | <a href="javascript:my_win31()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://markudall.house.gov/HoR/CO02/Contact+Mark/" target="_blank"><b>Mark Udall</b></a> (Colorado | <a href="javascript:my_win32()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://courtney.house.gov/Contact/" target="_blank"><b>Joe Courtney</b></a> (Connecticut | <a href="javascript:my_win33()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://www.house.gov/writerep/" target="_blank"><b>Kathy Castor</b></a> (Florida | <a href="javascript:my_win34()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://hankjohnson.house.gov/contact.shtml" target="_blank"><b>Hank Johnson</b></a> (Georgia | <a href="javascript:my_win35()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://jimmarshall.house.gov/contact.html" target="_blank"><b>Jim Marshall</b></a> (Georgia | <a href="javascript:my_win36()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://www.house.gov/bordallo/IMA/issue.htm" target="_blank"><b>Madeleine Bordallo</b></a> (Guam | <a href="javascript:my_win37()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://www.house.gov/abercrombie/contact.shtml" target="_blank"><b>Neil Abercrombie</b></a> (Hawai'i | <a href="javascript:my_win38()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://www.house.gov/writerep/" target="_blank"><b>Brad Ellsworth</b></a> (Indiana | <a href="javascript:my_win39()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://loebsack.house.gov/IMA/issue_subscribe.htm" target="_blank"><b>David Loebsack</b></a> (Iowa | <a href="javascript:my_win40()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<a href="http://boyda.house.gov/contact.shtml" target="_blank"><b><br />Nancy Boyda</b></a> (Kansas | <a href="javascript:my_win41()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<a href="http://www.house.gov/cummings/contact.htm" target="_blank"><b><br />Elijah Cummings</b></a> (Maryland | <a href="javascript:my_win42()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<a href="http://tsongas.house.gov/IMA/issue_subscribe.htm" target="_blank"><b><br />Niki Tsongas</b></a> (Massachusetts | <a href="javascript:my_win43()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://www.house.gov/genetaylor/zipauth.htm" target="_blank"><b>Gene Taylor</b></a> (Mississippi | <a href="javascript:my_win44()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://shea-porter.house.gov/?sectionid=84&amp;sectiontree=84" target="_blank"><b>Carol Shea-Porter</b></a> (New Hampshire | <a href="javascript:my_win45()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://www.house.gov/andrews/contact_form_za.shtml" target="_blank"><b>Robert E. Andrews</b></a> (New Jersey | <a href="javascript:my_win46()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://gillibrand.house.gov/IMA/issue_subscribe.htm" target="_blank"><b>Kirsten Gillibrand</b></a> (New York | <a href="javascript:my_win47()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://www.house.gov/mcintyre/IMA/issue.htm" target="_blank"><b>Mike McIntyre</b></a> (North Carolina | <a href="javascript:my_win48()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://www.house.gov/boren/emailsignup.shtml" target="_blank"><b>Dan Boren</b></a> (Oklahoma | <a href="javascript:my_win49()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://www.house.gov/robertbrady/IMA/issue.htm" target="_blank"><b>Robert A. Brady</b></a> (Pennsylvania | <a href="javascript:my_win50()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://patrickmurphy.house.gov/contact.shtml" target="_blank"><b>Patrick Murphy</b></a> (Pennsylvania | <a href="javascript:my_win51()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://sestak.house.gov/IMA/issue_subscribe.htm" target="_blank"><b>Joe Sestak</b></a> (Pennsylvania | <a href="javascript:my_win52()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://kendrickmeek.house.gov/contact1.shtml" target="_blank"><b>Kendrick Meek</b></a> (Florida | <a href="javascript:my_win53()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://www.house.gov/spratt/email_john.shtml" target="_blank"><b>John M. Spratt,</b></a> Jr. (South Carolina | <a href="javascript:my_win54()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://cooper.house.gov/email.htm" target="_blank"><b>Jim Cooper</b></a> (Tennessee | <a href="javascript:my_win55()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://www.house.gov/formortiz/issue.htm" target="_blank"><b>Solomon P. Ortiz</b></a> (Texas | <a href="javascript:my_win56()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://wwwc.house.gov/reyes/voice_your_opinion.asp" target="_blank"><b>Silvestre Reyes</b></a> (Texas | <a href="javascript:my_win57()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://www.house.gov/larsen/contact/email.shtml" target="_blank"><b>Rick Larsen</b></a> (Washington | <a href="javascript:my_win58()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://www.house.gov/adamsmith/IMA/email.shtml" target="_blank"><b>Adam Smith</b></a> (Washington | <a href="javascript:my_win59()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><br /><strong>Republicans</strong><br /><a href="http://www.house.gov/hunter/contact.shtml" target="_blank"><b>Duncan Hunter</b></a>, Ranking Member (California | <a href="javascript:my_win60()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://www.house.gov/writerep/" target="_blank"><b>W. Todd Akin</b></a> (Missouri | <a href="javascript:my_win61()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://www.house.gov/writerep/" target="_blank"><b>Terry Everett</b></a> (Alabama | <a href="javascript:my_win62()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://www.mikerogers.house.gov/Contact.aspx" target="_blank"><b>Mike Rogers</b></a> (Alabama | <a href="javascript:my_win63()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://www.house.gov/franks/contact.shtml" target="_blank"><b>Trent Franks</b></a> (Arizona | <a href="javascript:my_win64()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://calvert.house.gov/email.asp" target="_blank"><b>Ken Calvert </b></a>(California | <a href="javascript:my_win65()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://mckeon.house.gov/lets_talk.html" target="_blank"><b>Buck McKeon</b></a> (California | <a href="javascript:my_win66()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://jeffmiller.house.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=Contact.Home" target="_blank"><b>Jeff Miller</b></a> (Florida | <a href="javascript:my_win67()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://www.house.gov/formgingrey/IMA/issue.htm" target="_blank"><b>Phil Gingrey</b></a> (Georgia | <a href="javascript:my_win68()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://geoffdavis.house.gov/Contact.aspx" target="_blank"><b>Geoff Davis</b></a> (Kentucky | <a href="javascript:my_win69()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://bartlett.house.gov/Email_Roscoe/" target="_blank"><b>Roscoe G. Bartlett</b></a> (Maryland | <a href="javascript:my_win70()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://candicemiller.house.gov/Contact.aspx" target="_blank"><b>Candice S. Miller</b></a> (Michigan | <a href="javascript:my_win71()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://kline.house.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=ContactInformation.ContactForm&amp;To=mn02hwyr@housemail.house.gov&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;CFID=26456005&amp;CFTOKEN=86929971" target="_blank"><b>John Kline</b></a> (Minnesota | <a href="javascript:my_win72()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://www.house.gov/lobiondo/IMA/issue.htm" target="_blank"><b>Frank A. LoBiondo</b></a> (New Jersey | <a href="javascript:my_win75()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://www.house.gov/saxton/contact.htm" target="_blank"><b>Jim Saxton</b></a> (New Jersey | <a href="javascript:my_win76()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://mchugh.house.gov/zipauth.htm" target="_blank"><b>John M. McHugh</b></a> (New York | <a href="javascript:my_win77()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://hayes.house.gov/ContactCongHayes.asp" target="_blank"><b>Robin Hayes</b></a> (North Carolina | <a href="javascript:my_win73()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://jones.house.gov/contact_form_email.cfm" target="_blank"><b>Walter B. Jones</b></a> (North Carolina | <a href="javascript:my_win74()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://www.house.gov/miketurner/IMA/contact.shtml" target="_blank"><b>Michael R. Turner </b></a>(Ohio | <a href="javascript:my_win78()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://www.house.gov/cole/contact.htm" target="_blank"><b>Tom Cole </b></a>(Oklahoma | <a href="javascript:my_win79()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://www.house.gov/formwilson/IMA/issue.htm" target="_blank"><b>Joe Wilson</b></a> (South Carolina | <a href="javascript:my_win80()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://conaway.house.gov/ima/contact.asp" target="_blank"><b>K. Michael Conaway</b></a> (Texas | <a href="javascript:my_win81()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://www.house.gov/thornberry/contact_info.htm" target="_blank"><b>Mac Thornberry </b></a>(Texas | <a href="javascript:my_win82()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://www.house.gov/robbishop/contact/" target="_blank"><b>Rob Bishop</b></a> (Utah | <a href="javascript:my_win83()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://joanndavis.house.gov/HoR/VA01/Contact+Information/Contact+Jo+Ann.htm" target="_blank"><b>Jo Ann Davis</b></a> (Virginia | <a href="javascript:my_win84()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://www.house.gov/formdrake/IMA/issue_subscribe.htm" target="_blank"><b>Thelma D. Drake</b></a> (Virginia | <a href="javascript:my_win86()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://www.house.gov/forbes/zipauth.htm" target="_blank"><b>J. Randy Forbes</b></a> (Virginia | <a href="javascript:my_win85()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)<br /><a href="http://mcmorris.house.gov/IMA/issue_subscribe.htm" target="_blank"><b>Cathy McMorris Rodgers</b></a> (Washington | <a href="javascript:my_win87()"><span style="font-weight: bold;">numbers &amp; addresses</span></a>)Philip Barronhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/10734063270306074707noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-861586646186106520.post-90034397542211399172008-06-27T11:54:00.000-07:002008-06-27T11:55:58.812-07:00Salon Broadsheet post on LaVena<p>Writer Kate Harding - founder of <a href="http://kateharding.net/" mce_href="http://kateharding.net/" target="_blank"><i>Shapely Prose</i></a>, contributor to <a href="http://shakespearessister.blogspot.com/" mce_href="http://shakespearessister.blogspot.com/" target="_blank"><i>Shakesville</i></a> and <i><a href="http://www.fatshionista.com/cms/" mce_href="http://www.fatshionista.com/cms/" target="_blank">Fatshionista</a> </i>- posts today on <i>Salon</i>'s Broadsheet on the tragedy surrounding <a href="http://www.salon.com/mwt/broadsheet/2008/06/27/lavena_johnson/index.html" mce_href="http://www.salon.com/mwt/broadsheet/2008/06/27/lavena_johnson/index.html" target="_blank">the death in Iraq of PFC LaVena Johnson</a>.</p> <blockquote><p>Salon has published <a href="http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2007/03/07/women_in_military/" mce_href="http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2007/03/07/women_in_military/">quite</a> a <a href="http://www.salon.com/mwt/broadsheet/2008/05/27/female_ptsd/index.html" mce_href="http://www.salon.com/mwt/broadsheet/2008/05/27/female_ptsd/index.html">bit</a> about how American women in the military sometimes face more danger from their fellow soldiers than from their enemies, but the stories never seem to stop. And all too often, they go largely ignored by the media, as with the case of Pfc. LaVena Johnson.</p> <p>In July 2005, 19-year-old Johnson became the first female soldier from Missouri to die in Iraq. She was found with a broken nose, black eye and loose teeth, acid burns on her genitals, presumably to eliminate DNA evidence of rape, a trail of blood leading away from her tent and a bullet hole in her head. Unbelievably, that's not the most horrifying part of the story. Here's what is: Army investigators ruled her death a suicide.</p></blockquote> <p>Harding draws parallels between LaVena's little-heard story and the widely-known similar tragedy of Cpl. Pat Tillman's death in Afghanistan. The post also draws upon <a href="http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/2/story.cfm?c_id=2&amp;objectid=10518131" mce_href="http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/2/story.cfm?c_id=2&amp;objectid=10518131" target="_blank">Tracey Barnett's story on LaVena</a> which appeared this week in the <i>New Zealand Herald</i>.</p> <p>I can't thank Kate enough for bringing news of LaVena Johnson to the readership of <i>Salon</i>. Every article, every blog post, every mention of the Johnson family's effort to prompt a new investigation of their daughter's death brings us that much closer to some kind of justice.</p>Philip Barronhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/10734063270306074707noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-861586646186106520.post-7998907343051389892008-06-25T08:42:00.000-07:002008-06-25T08:50:55.796-07:00New Zealand Herald column on LaVena<p>The <em>New Zealand Herald</em> has published <a href="http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/2/story.cfm?c_id=2&amp;objectid=10518131" target="_blank">an article on LaVena Johnson</a>, written by contributing columnist Tracey Barnett who interviewed LaVena’s parents, John and Linda:</p> <p>“I’m telling you there is no pain like it - there is no pain like it in this world. My daughter, the way they took her and what they did to her - it’s inhuman. I did not believe my daughter was placed among a group of predators. They treated her like an animal … ” Linda Johnson said, then added quietly: “And she was fighting for this country.”</p> <p>The article looks beyond the particulars of LaVena’s death in Iraq to the wider issue of sexual assault in the military.</p> <blockquote><p>This is no single aberrant case. John Johnson has discovered far more stories that have matched his daughter’s than he ever wanted to know. Ten other families of “suicide” female soldiers have contacted him. The common thread among them - rape.</p> <p>Meet today’s US military - sign up for the armed services and become almost one in three women who are raped or sexually assaulted by their own colleagues, according to Department of Defence statistics. Not exactly the kind of recruitment slogan that fills empty boots.</p></blockquote> <p>Barnett’s article is also posted at <a href="http://www.traceybarnett.co.nz/" target="_blank">her own weblog</a> - currently in the Recent category, and after this week to be categorized under Politics. Many thanks to the columnist for bringing LaVena’s story to the headers of the <em>Herald</em>.</p> <p><strong>Note:</strong> The promised video from <a href="http://www.lavenajohnson.com/2008/06/at-lavena-johnson-event.html">the Black &amp; Green panel discussion</a> on Lavena will appear…soon! Having some issues processing it, but I’ll resolve those as quickly as possible.</p>Philip Barronhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/10734063270306074707noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-861586646186106520.post-58558999450809603372008-06-06T09:04:00.000-07:002008-06-06T09:06:16.893-07:00At the LaVena Johnson event<p>I attended <a href="http://www.gateway-greens.org/2008/08-jun4.htm" target="_blank">Wednesday's panel discussion on LaVena Johnson</a> at Legacy Books &amp; Cafe - the Black &amp; Green Wednesday event sponsored by the Gateway Greens Alliance and the Universal African Peoples Organization - but readers would doubtless be better served by video on the event. That content is on the way; I hope to get the raw footage in a couple of days, and will format a portion to share online. Until then, some brief notes:</p> <p>Forty-odd people attended, with the diversity you would expect from an intersection of the Greens and the pan-African USOP. There were also members of Veterans for Peace in attendance, including good-guy Chuc Smith who has been so helpful and diligent in his efforts on behalf of LaVena's family.</p> <p>Michael McPherson, Gulf War I vet and Executive Director of Veterans for Peace, led off the discussion with remarks on the larger issue of sexual harassment and assault in the military. He drew upon sobering statistics from such sources as <a href="http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2007/03/07/women_in_military/index.html" target="_blank">"The Private War of Women Soldiers,"</a> the Helen Benedict article published in <i>Salon</i> in March 2007. He stressed that the military does not exist in a vacuum - that the pathologies of the larger society are mirrored in military life. McPherson - an African-American - also spent some time talking about the problematic ways in men (and Black men in particular) approach violence, power, and relationships with women.</p> <p>Redditt Hudson, Racial Justice Manager for the ACLU Eastern Division and former police officer, spoke from a personal standpoint. While his organization has not involved itself in the LaVena Johnson matter, Hudson found himself moved to assist LaVena's father, Dr. John Johnson. He struggled at times when describing having viewed the photographs of LaVena's body taken by the Army in its initial investigation, but his emotions lent a force to his words. His demands that legislators take action on behalf of the Johnson family were echoed by everyone in attendance.</p> <p>Dr. Johnson spoke in conclusion, describing for the audience some of the difficulties he has encountered in trying to bring LaVena's story to official attention, and also describing welcome and vital assistance from such people as activist and retired Army Colonel Ann Wright. It was Col. Wright who helped open doors in Congress for the Johnsons when they recently traveled to Washington, including direct access to Rep. Ike Skelton, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.</p> <p>The session concluded with some statements and questions from people in attendance. VFP announced that <a href="http://www.veteransforpeace.org/index.php" target="_blank">the home page of their website</a> would provide contact information for Rep. Skelton and his assistant, Kyle Wilkins, and implored everyone to contact them to request official action on LaVena's case.</p> <p>Brief personal note: It was at once both heartening and humbling to see firsthand the way in which people have been moved by LaVena Johnson. The petition to the two Armed Services Committees is a part of the effort, but only one part. There are other people and other forces at work here. Realizing that puts you in your place a little bit. It's also a comfort.</p> <p>Apologies for the day's delay in putting this post together. I hope to provide some video from the event soon. Many, many thanks to moderator Lionel Nixon of the African Newsletter, to the Gateway Greens and the Universal African Peoples Organization, and to the good folks at Legacy Books &amp; Cafe. As always, thanks for your attention, and your own efforts.</p>Philip Barronhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/10734063270306074707noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-861586646186106520.post-42152007657997158672008-06-04T12:28:00.000-07:002008-06-04T13:46:55.088-07:00KMOV revisits LaVena Johnson story<p>St. Louis CBS affiliate KMOV-TV ran <a href="http://www.kmov.com/video/topvideo-index.html?nvid=251397" target="_blank">a story last night</a> on the case of PFC LaVena Johnson. Reported by Matt Sczesny, the story features new comments by LaVena's father, Dr. John Johnson, as he spoke at a press conference yesterday. Also mentioned is a response from a staffer for the House Armed Services Committee.</p> <p>This is a good time to <a href="http://www.lavenajohnson.com/2008/06/black-green-wednesday-lavena-johnson.html" target="_blank">mention once more</a> that the Gateway Greens Alliance and the Universal African Peoples Organization are sponsoring <a href="http://www.gateway-greens.org/2008/08-jun4.htm" target="_blank">a panel discussion on LaVena Johnson</a> tonight at 7 pm at <a href="http://local.yahoo.com/details?id=17687151" target="_blank">Legacy Books &amp; Cafe</a>, 5249 Delmar (near Union) in St. Louis. Those panelists:</p> <ul><li>Lionel Nixon, African Newsworld newspaper [moderator]</li><li>Dr. John Johnson, father of LaVena Johnson</li><li>Redditt Hudson, American Civil Liberties Union</li><li>Michael McPhearson, Veterans For Peace</li></ul> <p>I'll be in attendance, and will write it up on the blog tomorrow. If there's accompanying video, that content might take a little longer to post.</p><p><span style="font-weight: bold;">Also:</span> The aforementioned press conference was reported in <a href="http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/stlouiscitycounty/story/96D0BCBF14A84C6D8625745E0010BD63?OpenDocument">a story by Elizabethe Holland</a> for the <span style="font-style: italic;">St. Louis Post-Dispatch</span>.</p>Philip Barronhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/10734063270306074707noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-861586646186106520.post-90343011732989030012008-06-01T06:46:00.000-07:002008-06-01T06:57:15.031-07:00Black & Green Wednesday: LaVena Johnson<a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp2.blogger.com/_iDWgG2vPPtQ/SEKqf8Y7YcI/AAAAAAAAAJg/VldRfsVApMo/s1600-h/lavena_gga520.png"><img style="margin: 0px auto 10px; display: block; text-align: center; cursor: pointer;" src="http://bp2.blogger.com/_iDWgG2vPPtQ/SEKqf8Y7YcI/AAAAAAAAAJg/VldRfsVApMo/s400/lavena_gga520.png" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5206911584957063618" border="0" /></a><br />The Gateway Greens Alliance and the Universal African Peoples Organization sponsor a panel discussion on <a href="http://www.gateway-greens.org/2008/08-jun4.htm" target="_blank">the matter of PFC LaVena Johnson</a>. The event, free and open to the public, takes place on Wednesday, June 4, at 7 pm at <a href="http://local.yahoo.com/details?id=17687151" target="_blank">Legacy Books &amp; Cafe</a>, 5249 Delmar (near Union) in St. Louis. <p>The panelists include:</p> <ul><li>Lionel Nixon, African Newsworld newspaper [moderator]</li><li>Dr. John Johnson, father of LaVena Johnson</li><li>Redditt Hudson, American Civil Liberties Union</li><li>Michael McPhearson, Veterans For Peace</li></ul><br />More information is available at <a href="http://www.gateway-greens.org/2008/08-jun4.htm" target="_blank">the Gateway Greens Alliance website</a>.Philip Barronhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/10734063270306074707noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-861586646186106520.post-280892086792007982008-05-24T06:28:00.000-07:002008-05-24T06:34:53.472-07:00Petition closed; other work continuesAs announced <a href="http://www.lavenajohnson.com/2008/05/end-draws-near-for-signatures.html">four days ago</a>, the name-gathering phase of the LaVena Johnson petition effort has concluded. Attention here now turns to preparing the document for delivery to the Armed Services Committees of the Senate and the House of Representatives. Please visit this site again - or subscribe to <a href="http://www.lavenajohnson.com/feeds/posts/default">this website's RSS feed</a> - for further developments, and thanks!Philip Barronhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/10734063270306074707noreply@blogger.com