Monday, March 19, 2007

California state employees' pensions are funding terrorists

Beyond the fact that their pensions will eventually bankrupt the state, the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) system invests in companies that do business with terrorists. Double trouble...

The California Public Employees' Retirement System, the largest U.S. pension fund, and the state teachers' fund would have to unload shares in companies including BNP Paribas of France, Siemens AG of Germany and Eni SpA of Italy.

``Who's funding terrorism? It sure as hell shouldn't be our public employees,'' said Joel Anderson, a Republican assemblyman from El Cajon who introduced the measure. ``When you're looking at the war on terrorists, this is one of the best weapons we have -- just defunding them.'' Anderson estimated his legislation would affect $24 billion worth of investments.

[...] Calpers and the California State Teachers' Retirement System control $388 billion in investments. The legislation would affect overseas-based companies, since U.S. businesses are already mostly barred from trading with the countries on the State Department list: Iran, Sudan, Cuba, North Korea and Syria.

Some might say these companies can't be that bad, can they?

BNP Paribas has current investments in Iran valued over $2 billion including directly lending cash to the Iranian government (and they still can't seem to pay back the Russians for their nuclear technology). And on top of that BNP was probed by British intelligence for its involvement in the Iraq Oil for Food scandal.

Siemens AG is a leading telecommunications company that has done billions on dollars of work in Iran on their cell phone and fixed line networks. They also did business with Saddam's regime in Iraq selling him devices called lithotripters. These devices were designed for medical purposes but their electric switches can be used as nuclear detonators (think that will come up in the Plame hearings?).

Eni SpA, an energy company, currently has $4 billion in investments in Iran with stakes in Iran's oil fields of up to 60%. They continue to help Iran develop their extnesive oil reserves.

There are some 400 companies that do business with nations that sponsor terrorism. The Center for Security Policy has a list of the 12 worst offenders. Siemens AG is #1 on that list; BNP Paribas is #4 and Eni SpA is # 6. Other companies you may have heard of that are on their Dirty Dozen list are Alcatel SA, Statoil ASA, Stolt Nielsen, Technip Coflexip, Hyundai, Total SA, Lundin Petroleum, Oil & Natural Gas Corp. Ltd., and PetroChina.

Considering all this CalPERS and CalSTRS representatives currently have no position other than to say that they don't invest directly in Iran. That's brilliant.

I'm still in shock that Saddam was sold technology that could easily be used as triggers for a nuclear weapon...

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