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Poetic Verses Shed Light on LaVena Johnson's Military Rape and Murder in Iraq
Poems by Luke Easter foreword by Tim King Salem-News.com
The government didn't even bother trying to have a credible story, they covered their friends and ruled her terrible death a suicide; it was impossible.
(CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio) - LaVena Johnson was a bright, beautiful young woman whose father, a doctor, could not believe she was going to join the U.S. Army. He had much bigger plans, and I'm sure she would have very likely fulfilled them after the military, that is if she hadn't been viciously raped and murdered while serving her nation at the air base in Balad, Iraq.
For her parents, I imagine it is little more than one big nightmare, since their extremely well adjusted and highly accomplished child's death in Iraq, was deemed a suicide.
This is one where the military and KBR--the Haliburton company that staffs almost all military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan, didn't even try to fool us. They knew they could simply deem the murder of this teenager as a suicide and get away with it, and they did. The military knows and acknowledges that big problems remain unaddressed in this area, but Lavena's case shows that it is mostly just talk.
LaVena's body was burned, bruised, she had a tooth knocked out; she had been raped, and a chemical had been poured on her pubic area, before she was set on fire. Oh, and there was a gunshot wound, thus the 'suicide' ruling. The investigators certainly didn't imply that LaVena was anything less than a talented young woman right to the end. In fact she was so talented that after her death, she miraculously moved the location of her body from one spot to another, and lit the evidence on fire... amazing.
Not everyone can do that, I'd like to talk to the investigators in this case more about it some day and see if they want to maybe contact the Guiness Book of World Records. Shouldn't they get credit for that amazing investigative discovery, that still allowed them to see her death as a suicide?
Lavena Johnson's Memorial Service.
There is another strong fact at play based on what I know with more than twenty years as a news reporter, and that is that black women just don't commit suicide. It isn't part of the program according to any and all statistics.
I was contacted by Luke Easter with the accompanying poems today, and I immediately knew I wanted to publish them. Being able to do one tiny thing for the legacy of LaVena Johnson, a proud American soldier who was murdered and whose family knows that murder was covered up by people with American insignias on their collars, is an honor.
Looking back to when I was at Balad, covering the war for Salem-News.com, I now more fully understand the cool reception I received from Balad's Public Affairs office when I arrived there in the summer of 2008. I've never been so frustrated, and they really were not going to be of any assistance of any kind. Maybe they were really busy worrying about a reporter on the base snooping into the LaVena Johnson story, and I would have been, but somehow I didn't come into contact with the story until I was long gone from Balad.
The interesting thing is that the person, or people (more likely) responsible for LaVeena's rape and murder are reading this, along with everyone else. So are the 'investigators' who buried the evidence and wrote a summary that could only be described as bad fiction.
Those individuals, and you know who you are, must have one hell of a hard time sleeping at night. The sad part is that at least one of the people who knows, didn't participate in the killing, and therefore really could come forward with the true story.
I am right here always and my email is posted below the two related poems. Write to me and share what needs to be shared about the Lavena Johnson case at Balad, and give us enough to allow these parents to learn what really happened to Lavena, and help bring the perpetrator(s) to justice, so you can once again sleep at night.
Luke Easter in Ohio, who wrote the two poems below, says he emailed then-President Bush & Laura, Barack & Michelle, and Congresswoman Tubbs, after Lavena's death.
He said the correspondence from Washington D.C. was with a person named Marcia Fudge, "who replied she appreciates my concern for the troops as they are doing a good job."
"Ha! She must have just come back from Mars," he suggested.
He also emailed Kucinich & the mayors of Cleveland and Cleveland Heights. Wrote to NOW, NAACP and countless other women's and human rights organizations.
He says a reporter he has known for a very long time showed interest, then subsequently lost interest in the story, and he says that even the young woman's parents are being stonewalled to this day.
This former Marine who served during the Vietnam War period, says his desire to raise awareness about the terrible problems associated with sex abuse in the military, something our own Dr. Leveque has written about several times, is tied to something he will never forget.
"Well, as a transit cop, I do remember arriving on the scene of a rape (after the fact) and the perp was already gone. The 34 year-old victim was lying on the ground crying for her 'mommy' and it just broke my heart. But this, wow! Here's another one."
He even took the time to caution me not to expect much, and I understand.
"Don't be surprised if your efforts get put in the, 'to do list' because it's happened to everyone else so far."
When I wrote about her the first time, it led to an interview on Radio Free Nation and brought more dialog to people about LaVena Johnson's story. Now we have these poetic contributions from Luke Easter who took the time to compose and convey words of meaning, about something so meaningless.
The first is about LaVena Johnson, the second is about KBR employee Jamie Leigh Jones, a rape victim who survived, but saw the same total lack of support from military investigators. Jamie Jones is a hero to me and in the eyes of many people, as she refused to be silent about the crime committed against her. Both women were heroes.
LaVena Johnson (In Memorial) Where Is The Justice?
Just when you think you’ve heard it all,
Another name is slammed into a brick wall,
LaVena Johnson an Army Private First Class,
Is she the first? Certainly this PFC isn’t the last.
Is it any wonder Osama Bin Laden can’t be found?
With a criminal loose in our camp running around,
Destroying evidence, burning bodies, again & again,
Calling themselves soldiers, claiming they are men.
What a shame when the real enemy is on the same side,
Behind the color of camaraderie these cowards hide,
Punched in the face, loose teeth, she was only 5 feet 1,
The Army claims its suicide, that’s all, over and done.
How many before shooting themselves bust their own lip,
Severe enough to the point it needs more than one stitch,
Surprisingly they didn’t say she tried to saw herself in half,
Which lie would be easier to swallow? You do the math.
So, how did that chemical burn get on her private parts?
Oh yeah, maybe a tattoo, some kind of new wave art,
Why would someone waste time getting rid of DNA?
Just maybe without detection they’re free to get away.
Being right handed, she shot herself in the left side of the head,
Moved her body from 1 place to another “after” she was dead,
From the size of the exit wound when the trigger was released,
There was no breath left because she was immediately deceased.
The U.S. Army actually tried lying, hooray for her dad,
He gave that crap the smell test and oh did it smell bad,
7/19/05 her dead body found in a contractor’s tent, KBR,
Broken nose, black eye, shot in the head and body scars.
Military personnel or civilians aren’t we on the same side?
Who is the American Government protecting, why that lie?
Had to be someone with pull to get her alone, you’d think,
I don’t have to be standing next to a skunk to know it stinks.
Where’s is the ACLU, what happened to the mighty NAACP?
She could not have been more violated, do you not agree?
A 19-year-old honor student should be shown more respect,
But, this is how she’s being treated. Hey! What the heck?
Can’t call it racial because all women are treated the same,
Even academies and bases in the states there is this claim,
We are truly near the end of days soon God will work it out,
Vengeance will certainly be more than a punch in the mouth.
The Uniform Code Of Military Justice aka the U.C.M.J.,
But, where is this promise for LaVena, her assailant got away,
Judging by the condition of her remains, she put up a fight,
Now John and Linda Johnson are paving the road to right.
Funny thing though, seems they have a roadblock in Iraq,
It’s from the U.S. Army, who supposedly has their back,
The saying, “with friends like these who needs enemies?”
Guess the Army thinks first the perpetrator said, “please?”
Here's a little something to me that is simply downright scary,
The hole in her head was from a pistol, which she did not carry,
Oh yeah, if you think that's something how does this fact sound?
The fatal bullet that went through her head was never even found.
If there ever was this kind of incompetence in World War II,
Adolph Hitler or his offspring would be telling us what to do,
Oops, I don't mean us because there'd be no Blacks or Jews,
And only if the Fuhrer liked Mexican food maybe a Hispanic or 2.
Whomever, wherever, whatever, an injustice did occur,
We can’t make it right for others without justice for her,
Hey, White House, the most powerful office in the world,
Do you have the gonads to speak out for this Johnson girl?
A petition was signed that is over twelve thousand strong,
The Army closed the case anyway saying nothing’s wrong,
Nothing like U.S. Intelligence, it’s the reason for the attack,
If they hadn’t been storing WMD’s we wouldn’t be in Iraq.
I saw something on the Internet much sadder than sad,
Her mom distraught, shedding tears, clutching her dad,
Soldiers carrying LaVena’s body almost made me mad,
Draped over her lifeless casket was an American flag.
Apparently the stars and stripes blows in two directions,
There is one for neglect, another for promised protection,
As it laid over her body on that particular sun filled day,
Was it 1 of protection or 1 allowing the perp to get away?
Beware this incident is not about colors, Black or White,
Remember it’s a statement in the arena of wrong vs. right,
I wonder if her recruiter bothered to make LaVena aware,
The same injustice suffered here is also allowed over there.
And here’s a timeless saying, which is entering my mind,
There’s even a movie with the title, “Behind Enemy Lines,”
Now that the light is shining on a lie that 3 years rang true,
Who will step in & accomplish what the enemy refused to do?
For every ranking Army official who signed off on this case,
Nothing less than a court martial is what each 1 should face,
Upon their conviction exactly where should they have to go?
What about life in a cell behind barb wire fences at Gitmo.
And we also have to keep open the options of another factor,
Lye was used to destroy DNA it could have been a contractor,
Civilian worker, military personnel or whatever the case may be,
They are still under the jurisdiction of the United States Military.
BTW, this isn’t the end of this kind of story, not in the least,
The sad tale of a 21-year-old from Texas, PFC Tina Priest,
After her “suicide” another soldier through his own neglect,
Guilty! Being in the quarters of a member of the opposite sex.
Like priests who joined the church to freely molest little boys,
Sexual predators join the armed forces for their perverted joys,
The biggest question still remains will something ever be done?
Winning the internal war protecting our daughters from our sons.
Update! From March 15,2009 here is some very disturbing news,
This is from a Pentagon Report and it’s disturbingly so very true,
There’s an 8% jump from sexual assaults reported last year 2008,
Rising to 26% in war zones while 89% of the culprits get to skate.
Yes, because only 11% of reported cases will ever make it to a trial,
How many are actually convicted? The DOD doesn’t know (smile,)
So, exactly what are these women doing after shedding their tears?
Sadly, they are looking at the other side & at their own through fear.
LaVena, 7/19/2009 is the 4-year anniversary of your death,
And the case is still unsolved? Well, don't hold your breath,
Michael Jackson dies, everybody who is anybody shows,
Savagely beaten, raped, murdered and still nobody knows?
Oops! I’m very sorry, I meant to say that “they” are aware,
In actuality the problem is that “they” obviously don’t care,
Those who stood up for justice with Jena 6 where are “they?”
Hey! Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson what do you have to say?
Or any so-called Black Leader for that matter, what’s going on?
Television, radio, Internet, news media, your voice is so strong,
Even PETA when it came to Michael Vick, they raised holy hell,
But the true story of LaVena Johnson, no one has the guts to tell?
LaVena Lynn Johnson your homicide's over 48 months old,
Almost from day one the Army says your case is closed,
Claiming you alone pulled the trigger, oh how very bold,
I wonder, just maybe, is Fort Knox filled with fool’s gold?
During this time lots of turmoil from an incident in Cambridge, Mass.,
A White cop, Black Harvard professor, was it racial or is about class?
Many are so upset check this out, some are finding it hard to sleep,
And the injustice to you dear sister? That’s right not a single peep.
There were no lives lost, no blood shed, only pride & feelings hurt,
While LaVena Lynn quietly lies impervious under six feet of dirt,
There was even intervention by The President Of The United States,
Our innocent young soldier, how much longer will you have to wait?
The question is, what course are either of these fellows going to pursue?
Legal action with negative results, like your parents have tried for you?
I wonder what non-life threatening issues will make the headlines next?
Oh yeah! The Taco Bell dog died and it’s big news, but you they forget.
“The Silent Truth” can be found at www.Midtownfilms.com,
Director Joan Brooker-Marks with LaVena's dad and mom,
A documentary as finally the truth will be made known to all,
Seeking to bring you justice, a few have answered the call.
12/20/09 Maj. Gen. Anthony Cucolo III has made pregnancy a punishable offense,
For women serving under his command in Iraq, now that sure makes a lot of sense,
LaVena, raped, beaten, murdered, set on fire, no search for an assailant of the crime,
Yet, if found in a motherly way not the baby's father but in jail the mother will do time.
Ha! There is a public cry of “outrage” and this crap is squashed before it really begins,
Yet, in something a trillion times more serious there is still no justice for LaVena Lynn,
Exactly what will move the public, the President, Congress, the Senate or the House?
I bet we would have a full scale investigation if anyone dared to kidnap Mickey Mouse.
Had this been the daughter of a bigwig campaign contributor or someone from the DOD,
It’s a sure bet no matter how long the search, no one would find the corpse of the guilty party,
No! Wait a minute, that can’t be true because their kids only serve stateside or in Hawaii,
However, if those committing these crimes are related, then it is no wonder they are free.
Every now and then I check for updates but the same old stuff is there,
Elected officials with the power to right the wrong simply do not care,
Payoffs, ripoffs are obvious yet there’s some who still love you honey,
And rest assured on “Judgment Day” they can’t bribe God with money.
What is the most important topic in the military? Hehehe! “Don’t ask, don’t tell,”
I wonder if the same topic of discussion will be conversed in the depths of hell?
Imagine that, the rights of homosexuals given priority over Afghanistan & Iraq,
Plus the lack of concern about you & others treacherously stabbed in the back.
by Luke Easter
Jamie Leigh Jones Protected By Whom? The USA?
Not a thing on television, no book to read, chillin comfy at home?
Google & ponder the case of KBR employee Jamie Leigh Jones,
Left alive it’s another unbelievable story, heartbreaking & intense,
Doctors took photos, a rape kit, however security lost the evidence.
Offered a drink by co-workers, a couple of sips, out like a light,
Repeatedly penetrated back and front, unable to put up a fight,
Bam! Headache! She awakened with blood all over her thighs,
A victim screaming out for justice & no one answered her cries.
Called her father, who called his congressman, everyone appalled,
More calls, inquiries, like PFC Johnson; her case too has stalled,
There’s a term for negative situations like this; it’s the X-factor,
Not only the Army to blame but what about the KBR Contractor?
Her fellow Americans felt Jamie Leigh was just prey on the menu,
Safe under the guise of government protection at their Iraqi venue,
Alien or resident, civilian or military, rape & murder is still a crime,
Death penalty, life without parole, yet the victims are doing the time.
Hiding something doesn’t make it go away but exposing it will,
Why all the Department Of Defense & Halliburton cover-up still?
Could these rape and murder claims be really false or just maybe?
Is the connection too strong to former Vice President Dick Cheney?
After all he was the head of the company before being picked as VP,
His old conglomerate makes billions in government deals overseas,
Especially due to the invasion of what is now good old war-torn Iraq,
What’s more important, making money or unmasking sexual attacks?
Obviously they have already made their choice... it is real easy to see,
To hell with mental and physical abuse let’s make even more money,
Rape, murder, cover-up, whatever we need to remember the bottom line,
This is pure and simple about greed, it will continue until the end of time.
It’s like wow; this is not Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, New York or LA,
Had this violation occurred in the U.S. these cowards would be put away,
Felony this and felony that without leniency facing a very serious charge,
However, it was done under military rule so they’re free and living large.
Do you wonder how many more yet sadly probably all are too ashamed,
Let down by company promises, while made to feel like they’re to blame,
Hello! It’s life and death not an American versus Iraqi soccer league game,
All is fair in love and war but not when sharing the same Haliburton name.
by Luke Easter
 Dec-18-2008: Army Should Reopen Investigation Into Death of Pfc Lavena Johnson (VIDEO)Tim King Salem-News.com
 Dec-04-2009: DOD Task Force On Sexual Assault Submits Findings, Recommendations - Salem-News.com
 Oct-16-2008: Dr. Phil Leveque Salem-News.com - Military Rape: S O P (Standard Operating Procedure) NOT OUR BOYS!
 Jan-10-2009: Tim King Joins Radio Free Nation Tonight to Discuss LaVena Johnson Case - Salem-News.com
 Oct-21-2009: US Republicans Side With Halliburton/KBR Against Gang-Raped Woman - Special to Salem-News.com from Middle East Online
There is an endless amount of information that anyone can read about these tragic horror stories about rape and murder in the military, here are more related links to help in your educational journey:
Website dedicated to LaVena Johnson, Pfc U.S. Army: LavenaJohnson.com
Documents and photos suggest foul play in death of Private Johnson - By Sandra Jordan Of the St. Louis American
Democratic Underground: Not only Tillman, but LaVena Lynn Johnson's death is questionable
Luke Easter is a writer who cares greatly about the plight of Americans who have no voice and no choice in their ultimate fate. He was a Sergeant E-5 in the United States Marine Corps from 1970-74, and he also has a background working in law enforcement. He says his passion in life is definetely writing poetry and lyrics, and we are very proud to feature Luke's work here on Salem-News.com
Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines. Tim holds numerous awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), first place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Serving the community in very real terms, Salem-News.com is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website. You can send Tim an email at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org
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