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  • Writer's pictureDonald V. Watkins

Private LaVena Johnson: An Opportunity for Justice

Updated: Sep 6, 2022

By: Donald V. Watkins

Copyrighted and Published on January 6, 2021

Sixteen years after 19-year-old Army Private LaVena Johnson was murdered on a U.S. military base in Balad, Iraq in July 2005, there is finally an opportunity for justice in her case when the Joe Biden/Kamala Harris administration assumes office on January 20, 2021.

Private Johnson, who was black, was murdered by four-star general Kevin P. Byrnes (retired), who is white. Rather than prosecuting Byrnes, the Pentagon decided to kick him out of the Army in August 2005, some 3 months prior to Byrnes’ announced retirement date.

What is more, Army investigators classified Private Johnson’s death as a “suicide” within hours after her death. Yet, the Pentagon maintains a “Top Secret” classified file on Private Johnson’s “suicide” that can only be released to the public with the personal signatures of the Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Private Johnson’s “suicide” was the subject of a private briefing between the Commander of Iraqi Operation and Secretary of Defense with President George W. Bush in August 2005. The Pentagon never gave a reason for classifying Johnson’s suicide as “Top Secret”.

I published a series of exclusive articles, commencing in February 2016, that solved the murder of Private Johnson and unmasked Gen. Byrnes as her murder. These articles are linked here: The Murder of Pfc LaVena Johnson – Part 1, The Murder of Pfc LaVena Johnson – Part 2, The Murder of Pfc LaVena Johnson – Part 3, and Solving the Murder of Army Private LaVena Johnson as well as Epilogue on Army Pfc LaVena Johnson's Murder and The Pentagon Should Do the Right Thing in Private Johnson’s Murder Case. The article that disclosed the secret Pentagon file is linked here: Private Johnson’s Murder Classified as a National Security Matter.

After publication of these articles, every federal law enforcement agency in the U.S. subjected me to a Blitzkrieg of investigations. After the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey refused to indict me on bogus fraud charges, the U. S. Attorney in Birmingham, Alabama volunteered to do so. I was charged, tried and convicted in a pro-prosecution courtroom, and sentenced to prison, where I have been subjected to abuse by staffers and placed in harm’s way as a course of conduct.

The Donald Trump administration had no interest in investigating Private LaVena Johnson’s murder and prosecuting Gen Byrnes. Hopefully, Biden and Harris will. This black life – Private LaVena Johnson – should matter to all Americans. We finally have an opportunity for justice for Private Johnson and her family. Those who aided and abetted the coverup of Private Johnson’s murder should also be prosecuted.

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