Col. Ann Wright on military sexual abuse at PDA discussion in Denver

August 26, 2008 by Philip Barron  Email This Post Print This Post

Sharing the city of Denver with the Democratic National Convention this week is a gathering of activists, delegates and elected leaders from across the country, sponsored by The Progressive Democrats of America and The Nation. Progressive Central - the Central Presbyterian Church at 1660 Sherman Street - has already been the site of great conversation about progressive issues, with more scheduled over the coming days. Monday saw PDA panel discussions on “Healthcare NOT Warfare”; that afternoon, the “NOT Warfare” discussion featured Ann Wright - retired United States Army colonel and retired official of the U.S. State Department; and a representative from Iraq Veterans Against the War - talking about the sexual abuse of women soldiers. As regular readers of this site know, Col. Wright has been an invaluable ally of the parents of PFC LaVena Johnson in their fight to have the case of their daughter’s death in Iraq reopened. A video of Col. Wright’s portion of the discussion is available:

Also on the “NOT Warfare” panel were Rep. Lynn Woolsey, Co-chair CPC and PDA Advisory Board member; Norman Solomon, author of Made Love, Got War: Close Encounters with America’s Warfare State; and Kathleen Snyder, Gold Star Mom.

The full schedule of Progressive Central events is available online, and the Progressive Central flyer can be downloaded.

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2 Responses to “Col. Ann Wright on military sexual abuse at PDA discussion in Denver”

  1. Luke Easter on August 29th, 2008 3:02 am

    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, HBR,
    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 skunk to know it stinks.

    Where’s Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, the infamous 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 down right 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 off spring 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 Furor 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.

    Poems By Luke Easter

  2. Luke Easter on March 28th, 2009 5:05 pm

    Domestic Violence

    Domestic Violence is a worldwide crime sadder than sad,
    Woman was created for companionship not a punching bag,
    God never intended for her to be sexually abused and beat,
    Or forced to cheaply sell her body on the corner of any street.

    A man can severely beat his spouse, be arrested, make bail,
    Run over a duck & ducklings in some areas, 6 months in jail,
    Gets her teeth knocked out, black eye, the face looks like crap,
    People want to know what she did to make him act like that.

    Even in the military where females should be more than safe,
    Less likely to be wounded than she is to be savagely raped,
    Not by the enemy who threatens death to muffle her cries,
    But by soldiers wearing the same uniform, on the same side.

    In a court of law a man punches his girlfriend, grabs her neck,
    And the judge jumped over the bench, attempting to protect,
    While cameras were rolling as all this can be easily viewed,
    You can watch it over and over with access to You-Tube.

    Many look like they have been in a championship fight,
    Quickly running to friends or relatives to spend the night,
    Only to be beaten even worse upon returning the next day,
    Now she’s more fearful than ever to try again and run away.

    Then there are those guys, who severely beat on the kids,
    They are scared to death to say the boyfriend or daddy did,
    Knowing full well as soon as they are released and let out,
    It will be so much more than a fist shoved in their mouth.

    It’s not even about money since both the rich and the poor,
    Are prone to try and put a woman’s face through the door,
    Woe be to that female if it’s metal or glass instead of wood,
    Sorry to have to say it but some men are just no damn good.

    Ladies, there are some of you as well who are prone to abuse,
    Guys are not the only one’s walking in this monster’s shoes,
    Although it’s true that females are few and maybe far between,
    Some gals have proven to be just as if not meaner than mean.

    Movies, television and music in my mind are the main three,
    Too many people love to impersonate what they hear & see,
    The problem is, most of what’s played and shown is wrong,
    And that’s the main reason this problem has lasted so long.

    So, monkey see, monkey do, monkey old, monkey new,
    What is the animal that dwells the deepest inside of you?
    Heaven or hell, the yin or the yang, beauty or the beast?
    Which is the 1 that illuminates, which 1 shines the least?

    Poems by Luke Easter