Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Pfc. LaVena Johnson: Why You Need to Know Her Story

Pfc. LaVena Johnson: Why You Need to Know Her Story

Mar 9th 2009 7:19AM
by Carmen Dixon

Any American with a television has heard the details of how Pat Tillman was mistakenly killed by U.S. forces in Afghanistan, despite the military's best efforts to obscure that truth. But unless you are an avid blog reader, you may have never heard of Pfc. LaVena Johnson. Johnson, who died in 2005, was as woman soldier who was killed while serving in Iraq, and much of the evidence related to her death indicates that she was brutally murdered.

Those facts were initially concealed from the family by an official declaration that Johnson's death was a suicide. From Jezebel via What About our Daughters in July 2008:

Private LaVena Johnson's nose was broken, teeth were loose, one eye was concave and there were abrasions over her body. The supposed M-16 hole to the head was far too small for the revolver-sized exit wound and was on the wrong side of her skull for a right-handed woman to have pulled the trigger. Her genital area showed evidence of acid, perhaps used to destroy DNA evidence. She had white military gloves glued to her burned hands.

Since then, the Army has continued to insist that the LaVena committed suicide by pointing her rifle with her nondominant hand at the side of her head and set herself on fire, all after she beat herself up and poured acid on her genitals... Oh, and there was a trail of blood leading away from the tent where her body was found.

The blogosphere mobilized and online activists got busy.

From Electronic Village

Momentum is building in our efforts to gain Justice for LaVena Johnson!

The love and persistence of her family in the three years since LaVena was killed has been remarkable. The online activism of Philip Barron of Wave Flux, Shakesville has been equally remarkable. In fact, it was Bro. Barron's LaVena Johnson Petition that created the first call to action as he collected 12,000 signatures to be delivered to the Armed Services Committee.

Original Villager Danielle Vyas created an online petition calling on Congress and the president to reopen her case. She plans to close out her online petition when it reaches 3,000 signatures. Currently, 1,837 signatures have been collected. Have you signed it yet?

Online activism for LaVena Johnson is gaining momentum.

That was in July. The goal of 3,000 signatures was reached and surpassed. To date, the Johnson family continues to press for answers. No formal investigation has been launched into the death of Pfc. LaVena Johnson.

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