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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Lavena Johnson Update: Hearing on Thursday at 10:00 AM Rm 2154 Rayburn Building

Here is another opportunity for you to get answers from the United States Army in the Lavena Johnson case:

On Thursday, July 31 at 10:00 am, the Subcommittee 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. Oversight Committee Website

This is a subcommittee of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The full committee is chaired by Congressman Waxman. The hearing will be webcast.

Here is a list of the subcommittee members:

John F. Tierney, Chairman
Carolyn B. Maloney
Stephen F. Lynch
Brian Higgins
John A. Yarmuth
Bruce L. Braley
Betty McCollum
Jim Cooper
Chris Van Hollen
Paul W. Hodes
Peter Welch
Christopher Shays, Ranking Member
Dan Burton
John M. McHugh
Todd Russell Platts
John J. Duncan
Michael Turner
Kenny Marchant
Lynn A. Westmoreland
Patrick T. McHenry
Virginia Foxx

Although this is a subcommittee hearing, members of the full committee wil be able to attend. CBC members on the committee are Clay, Watson, and Cummings. But don't limit your inquiry to Black members. You don't care who asks the questions. Republican, Democrat, whatever! You just want answers.

My source said that he could not determine whether Lavena Johnson's case would be discussed specifically, but the members of the committee have the ability to ask questions. Here is your opportunity to tell them what questions you want asked. Due to the lateness of the notice a call or FAX was recommended as every member of Congress is not amenable to the digital age ( it is what it is)

For all of you who are upset burn a few anytime minutes or get on efax and tell your elected representatives what you want to know from the Army about Lavena Johnson and others like her.

This is separate from the organized campaign that some other large online advocacy groups are working on rolling out. When they tell me more, I will let y'all know, but I know some of you who are in DC may want to attend. In particular you might want to ask them about the allegations in this article,Tracey Barnett: Women GIs in fear of the enemy in their army. Including the allegation that three servicewomen died of dehydration because they didn't want to drink water. If they drank water, they would have to go to the latrine where they feared they would be sexually assaulted by fellow soldiers. CRAZY!

For those not famiar with the Lavena Johnson story, here is some background from Jezebel

When LaVena's father finally brought himself to look at his daughter's corpse in 2005, sent home from Iraq with a report that she'd committed suicide by shooting herself in the left side of her head with an M-16 — which, by the way, is not a handgun but a relatively long rifle, he thought there was something wrong.
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 non-dominant hand at the side of her head and set herself on fire, all after she beat herself up and poured acid on her genitals (since their was no apparent investigation into whatever happened there). Oh, and there was a trail of blood leading away from the tent where her body was found.
Her father has been trying for nearly 3 years to get someone — including Congress — to investigate the death of his daughter.
Comment AFTER you have called.