News Release

Crucial Issues from New Orleans

WILLIAM ARKIN
An intelligence analyst, Arkin writes a blog called Early Warning on the WashingtonPost.com website. He has written extensively on the role of the military during emergencies and recent calls for the curtailment of the Posse Comitatus Act as well as responsibility for the lack of proper governmental action in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He said today: “We spend $100 billion a year for a new Department of Homeland Security, and we’re letting it get off the hook.”
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SANGITA NAYAK
Nayak is communications director of the Praxis Project, which is helping coordinate the Katrina Information Network. She said today: “Through our web portal, the Katrina Information Network is featuring experts from the Gulf Coast, especially people from grassroots groups and local communities which need to be heard — particularly about how the rebuilding should be done. We also try to scrutinize disinformation, like the false reports of mass violence at the Superdome.”
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CORRINE CAREY
A researcher for Human Rights Watch, Carey said today: “Of all the nightmares during Hurricane Katrina, this must be one of the worst. Prisoners were abandoned in their cells without food or water for days as floodwaters rose toward the ceiling. … The Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections, which oversaw the evacuation, and the Orleans Sheriff’s Department should account for the 517 inmates who are missing from the list of people evacuated from the jail.”
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DAN BRIGHT
Bright was detained in Orleans Parish Prison the night before Hurricane Katrina struck. He said today: “They just left us. When we realized what was going on, it was too late. … The water was up to our chest. You had guys laying in the water trying to climb to the top of their bunks. You had older guys who didn’t have any medicine who we were trying to help. And the way we got out was we had to kick the cell door for maybe like an hour or two.”
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MAUDE HURD
STEVE BRADBERRY
ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) National President Maude Hurd said today: “Many homeowners with sub-prime loans, who are largely African Americans and low-income people, are getting relief periods of only a month, while homeowners with prime loans are being offered 90 days, six months, even a year when they don’t have to worry about paying.” Bradberry is ACORN’s lead organizer in New Orleans. Conyers is communications coordinator for ACORN.
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167