PFC LaVena Johnson: Dead At 19

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March 9, 2009 by Gsmith

lavena_johnson8 March is International Women’s Day. While I’d love to post something here a bit more inspirational, or at least a little less depressing, I find I can not. A war like the war we’ve all been forced to watch (and finance) for the past several years is something like a heart attack. It takes precedence over all other issues.

Unfortunately there is no shortage of female victims to remember in any article tying women and girls to the brutality which continues to be executed at our expense. This is a perfect example.

The following article is surely going to be found shocking and disturbing to any healthy or normal person. Read on at your own risk.

LaVena Johnson was a lovely girl on her way to a bright future. At 11-years old, she became a dues paying member of PETA – an animal-rights organization. She was a devout Christian who spent her teenage years with a leadership role in her sunday school class. She performed well in her Missouri public high school, making the honor roll several times.

LaVena was the daughter of a working intellectual who had labored from poverty to earn a Ph.D., and a stay-at-home mother who worked only part time during her childhood. While her family was well off, she didn’t accept any handouts from her daddy. Her devotion to the working-class ethic of paying one’s own way led her into the U.S. military, a place where she mistakenly believed she would be making a beneficial contribution to humankind while earning the means to further her own education. Sadly, this was the most tragic mistake of her short life.

Johnson believed the big lie which is told to the children of working people — and their children — all across her country; that the U.S. is a benevolent force for peace and justice throughout the world. After being trained as a radio operator, Johnson was assigned to one of the KBR/Halliburton bases near Balad, Iraq. There she met her tragic and horrible end.

In July of 2005, the body of Private Johnson was returned to her hometown in a closed casket. The official ruling by the Army pathologist was suicide by a single self-inflicted gunshot wound. She was found in a burning tent, and she was blamed in starting the fire.

Dr. and Mrs. Johnson were skeptical of the findings from the start. Their daughter worked in a communications depot and had called home several times in recent memory, each time in good spirits. Her parents insisted upon examining the remains of their little girl and were shocked by the repeated refusals they received. Upon finally viewing the body, they immediately understood why she was returned in a sealed casket.

After nearly three years, inquiries by congressmen, thousands of dollars and hours wasted in pursuing the honest answers they were once denied, Dr. and Mrs. Johnson finally have some information about the death of their little girl.

Private Johnson was attacked, repeatedly strangled and beaten about the face and body. Her teeth had been knocked out, her nose broken and caved in. It is suspected that some unknown person or persons beat her repeatedly with the butt of their rifles until she lost consciousness.

After the initial attack, with their victim subdued, Johnson’s attackers spent some time savagely raping and sexually torturing her. Johnson’s torso was described as “a mass of bruises and bite marks”. When they were finished, her captors inserted lye, bleach, acid and various other substances into Johnson’s vagina and anus to cover up the depressing details of their inhuman assault. Sadly, they were successful in destroying whatever DNA evidence may have been left behind. They then, finally, executed their victim.

After her death, Private Johnson is thought to have been abandoned in the elements for several hours. Blood pooling suggested she had been left sprawled on her side. At some point after her demise, some unknown persons collected her body, dressed it, placed it into her tent face down, and set the structure on fire.

Johnson’s commanding officer immediately launched an investigation. Captain David Woods wrote, in that initial report: “Lavena was clearly happy and seemed in very good health both physically and emotionally.”

Shortly after the investigation started, the case was ordered closed by persons unknown at the division level, and Captain Woods was ordered to quit asking questions. This remains the official version, even in the face of a mountain of evidence.

War is a scenario which destroys the humanity of every participant, for the enrichment of a tiny few at the very pinnacle of the economic pyramid. Perhaps we shouldn’t pretend to be shocked when the people we train as murderers fall on the pretty girl in their midst.

For generations, the wealthy have sacrificed our best and brightest children to line their pockets. Sadly, the ruling class doesn’t just want our sons any longer. It wants our daughters too.

http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2008/04/28/8564

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3 thoughts on “PFC LaVena Johnson: Dead At 19

  1. theradicalmormon says:

    This a horrible story. I can only take solace in believing that those who endure much, also have the greater reward in the next life. And these rapists, torturers and murderers are some of the people out there fighting and killing Iraqis. Little wonder that Iraqis want us out of their country.

  2. Ron Madson says:

    Gregoire:
    Despite it’s ugliness I appreciate your post. I know of two of my clients and one other young man who were in the military but because of serious accidents while awaiting deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan were discharged from the military. I told all three that in my opinion the deep spiritual and emotional wounds from military service can be far greater then any physical injury that prevented them from being part of this nightmare. You know what makes me angry to the core? It is not only these brutal perpetrators but those who sit on our political thrones and even more so those that sit on the chief seats of our churches that continue to pontificate and spew platitudes about fighting for freedom or some other bullshit while those they are entrusted to watch over are sent like lambs to this slaughter….

  3. Lisa says:

    I just arrived for the first time and love this blog. Can’t wait to read more. Thanks for highlighting this day.

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