US - State pension plans are getting together to find ways to ensure that their investments do not inadvertently fund terrorist activities against the United States.
The Pennsylvania Department of the Treasury claims that over 20 states have joined the effort to find ways to shield pension fund investments from terrorist links. Pennsylvania State Treasurer Barbara Hafer announced that the states had formed a commission to explore, develop and implement protocols that will aid US President George W Bush in the economic fight against terrorism.
Hafer described the states efforts as an essential step in the fight against terrorism.
If we work collectively in waging the financial war, it could be as effective as the war with bullets and bombs,” she said.
“When you affect the bottom line, you affect real change. We need to make it expensive for terrorist groups to do business - take away their ability to launder money and to intertwine their activities with legitimate enterprises.
According to the Pennsylvania state treasury, the commission expects to fight the war on economic terrorism by developing an action plan to control the flow of wealth that goes to countries or companies that support terrorism and do it in a co-ordinated global fashion.
The treasury insists that a co-ordinated effort is necessary for any action to be effective, and that one entity acting alone will not have a measurable effect on the entity's bottom line.
Additionally, the commission claims that it will explore a number of other options including how technology can aid in this mission and what resources private industry can offer; reviewing any linkage at the transaction level by using teams of specialists; and reviewing foundations that are held by banks, including a closer review of their charters.
Public pension funds can be used as a tool to defend our interests by refusing to link American money to entities that threaten Americans, Hafer added. But remember, the goal is to fight terrorism, not negatively affect economies.
By Geoffrey Ho
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