Black Activist Group Claims Media Not Reporting True Conditions in New Orleans

By Melanie Arter | July 7, 2008 | 8:22pm EDT

(Editor's note: Fixes reference to Cuban dictator Fidel Castro's offer.)

( - A black activist group which spearheaded a search and rescue mission in New Orleans for victims of Hurricane Katrina said the media has not been accurately reporting the conditions in the region.

The New Black Panther Party and its attorney Malik Zulu Shabazz sent buses and relief supplies to the areas so over 500 people could be rescued.

The group said despite what is being reported about how much aid is being sent to the area, the number of people rescued and reports that angry black residents are retaliating justifying the need for a "shoot to kill order," Shabazz spoke to an Army personnel who told a different story.

"Wholesale police brutality is being waged against the victims of this natural disaster," Shabazz said in a statement. He claimed police sniper units are provoking attacks by blacks to substantiate their reasons for firing on "groups of black males randomly and indiscriminately."

The federal government is refusing to let people leave "as if they were hostages or slaves," Shabazz said. "This is more of a racist occupation of subjugation rather than a relief effort."

The group said that while rescuing those displaced by the storm, they encountered many obstacles seven days after the hurricane hit, including bodies laying on benches, roadsides, and in the water, while children and the elderly are without food.

The New Black Panther Party accused the government - local, state and federal - of using race as a factor in the recovery efforts. The group said government officials knew "since the 1980s that the levies would fail if a scale four or five hurricane was to hit" the Gulf coast.

The group pointed to a 2005 request for $17 million in flood control funds, which was rejected by the government "because they believed it was not an adequate use of funds."

Also, the New Black Panther Party said state officials knew "that if a hurricane of this magnitude was to reach the New Orleans area which is 67 percent Black residents, that over 100,000 people would not be able to evacuate due to socio-economic status."

The group pointed to remarks made by former First Lady Barbara Bush on MSNBC's "Countdown With Keith Oberman," quoting her as saying "the conditions in the Dome are sufficient enough for those people since they were underprivileged anyway."

"This very statement reflects the mentality of the systemic structure of white supremacy which determines its function as it relates to its non-white citizens," the group said, criticizing the United States for not responding to Cuban dictator Fidel Castro's offer to send 1,586 doctors carrying 27 pounds each of medicine to the U.S. "because they see him as an adversary," the group said.

The ew Black Panther Party said the system is designed "to keep non-white people in state of subjugation on all levels and they are viewed as expendable in order to protect the interest of the system."

The group then compared the condition of the black community in New Orleans to its condition in the rest of the nation, saying "other areas affected by this natural disaster exist as a microcosm of the condition of black people all over the world."

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