Notes From My Purple State: Kansas Says No to Divestment
by Jesse Zerger Nathan‚ Feb. 15‚ 2007
Sudan and Kansas might not have much in common at first glance, but only an ignoramus would deny the connections between this purple state and that bloody one in today’s globally interconnected economy. Officially, the State of Kansas makes mutual fund investments through the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System (KPERS). KPERS, in turn, manages and administers retirement plans for state and local employees. Glenn Deck, executive director of KPERS, says that while Kansas does not have any direct holdings in Sudan or any Sudanese businesses, “it does hold securities of companies that have business connections to Sudan,” to the tune of about $43.5 million, according to the Lawrence Journal-World.. This is why activists have asked Kansas lawmakers to divest the state’s assets from Sudan, thereby joining a blossoming movement to use economic tools against a genocidal regime. But so far, the GOP-controlled Kansas Senate and House of Representatives have offered a polite, but firm, “No.”
The violence in Sudan is, by now, almost a cliché in its horror and scope—as is the apathetic Western reaction. Everyone knows what’s happening—200,000 dead and 2.5 million homeless since 2003—and no one is sure what to do, or who should do it. Aside from a few rhetorical flourishes, the West, and especially President Bush, has been largely passive in response to the steady, gruesome reports from Darfur and the surrounding region.
Still, outcry is growing. And one strand of activism is a burgeoning conglomeration of grassroots organizers, business leaders, and Christian activists who’ve combined forces to call for divestment from Sudan and companies doing business in the country.
Read the rest here.
And on that note, why does this not surprise us?
Accused Terrorist Is Big GOP Donor
Published on Monday, February 19, 2007.
Source: ABC’s – The Blotter
The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) won’t say what it plans to do with thousands of dollars in campaign donations it received from an accused terror financier.
Abdul Tawala Ibn Ali Alishtari gave $15,250 to the NRCC since 2002, according to FEC records published on the Web site opensecrets.org.
On Friday, Alishtari pled not guilty to funding terrorism and other crimes, including financial fraud.
The NRCC is the main political group dedicated to helping the Republican party win seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. Reached Monday morning for comment, an NRCC spokeswoman declined to discuss the matter on the record.
The indictment against Alishtari unsealed in Manhattan federal court Friday charges him with providing material support to terrorists by transferring $152,000 between banks to allegedly be used to purchase night-vision goggles and other equipment needed for a terrorist training camp.
Alishtari, aka Michael Mixon, was paid for his efforts to collect and transfer the funds, which included $25,000 sent from a bank in New York to a bank in Montreal, Canada, the indictment alleges.