Sunday, January 27, 2008

Alaska House State Affairs Committee Reviews HB 287 on Feb. 2nd

Please let your voice be heard this week. The House State Affairs Committee will review HB 287 Saturday, Feb. 2nd. The legislation must pass this committee and then go on to the Finance Committee before it can be voted on on the House floor. Let the State Affairs Committee members know that we Alaskans do not want our state funds invested in companies that help the Government of Sudan continue its genocidal campaign against the long-suffering people of Darfur.

House State Affairs Committee Members:
Chair - Rep. Bob Lynn (465-4931)
Rep. Lynn is sponsoring the legislation, so be sure to commend him for his great work and let him know we support his efforts!
Vice-Chair Rep. Bob Roses (465-4939)
Member Rep. John Coghill (465-3719)
Member Rep. Kyle Johansen (465-3424)
Member Rep. Craig Johnson (465-4993)
Member Rep. Andrea Doll (465-3744)
Member Rep. Max Gruenberg (465-4940)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

DARFUR NOW Showing Highlights the Real Beauty of Alaska

I've lived in Alaska for over 10 years now, and I am still frequently amazed by Alaskans. Most outsiders would probably suspect that the indomitable spirit or the athletic prowess of the average Alaskan would render me awestruck from time to time. Both certainly have. But, more often than not, it has been the earnest compassion and easy generosity of the people in this state that has blown me away -- like on Monday night.

We sponsored two showings of DARFUR NOW at the BearTooth that night. After the showings, we had a table set up for people to write their legislators to ask them to support Sudan divestment legislation (HB 287 and SB 227), which will be heard soon in the State House and State Senate. People crowded our table after each showing. They waited patiently to ask questions, filled out postcards, and one man even offered to go over there and fight the Janjaweed. Many, and I mean, MANY thanked us for pushing for divestment and for giving Alaskans an opportunity to take a stand for the people of Darfur. I have never been more proud to be a member of this beautiful state -- to be one of the people of this state.

Thank you all for your compassion for the people of Darfur and for your generosity with your time and voice in support of them.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

AK Divestment Legislation Uses Targeted Divestment Model. What is that?

Targeted divestment calls for the expedited engagement of companies that are directly or indirectly helping the Sudanese government perpetuate genocide. Only if a company refuses to change its behavior in response to shareholder engagement does the targeted divestment model call for divestment from that company. Since the ultimate intent of Sudan divestment is to protect the victims of genocide, it is important to tailor divestment to have maximal impact on the government of Sudan's behavior and minimal harm to innocent Sudanese (and to the financial health of institutional portfolios). Divestment should therefore be targeted to those companies that have a business relationship with the government or a government-created project, impart minimal benefit to the country's underprivileged, and have expressed no significant corporate governance policy regarding the Darfur genocide (so-called targeted divestment). Such targeted divestment implicitly excludes companies involved in agriculture, the production and distribution of consumer goods, or the provision of goods and services intended to relieve human suffering or to promote health, religious and spiritual activities, or education.

When an institution divests from these types of companies (so-called "worst offenders") demand for offending companies' stocks falls and share prices decline. Share price is further reduced by the presence of additional Sudan divestment campaigns, many of which are already in progress. To protect the value of shareholder investments, offending company executives would convey to the Sudanese government that perpetuation of genocide in Darfur is making the country an undesirable place to do business. As a result, either government behavior would change (in order to keep businesses in Sudan) or offending companies would leave Sudan, thereby withdrawing money that had been used to purchase military equipment for the genocide. Withdrawal of business investments from Sudan would simultaneously create an economic penalty for genocide and reduce Khartoum's ability to fund the campaign.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Senator Hollis French Will Sponsor Sudan Divestment Legislation in Alaska Senate

Sudan divestment legislation will be introduced in both houses during the next session of the Alaska State Legislature, which begins on January 15th. Representatives Bob Lynn and Les Gara will co-sponsor the legislation in the House, and Senator Hollis French will champion the legislation in the Senate.

It is very important that each of these gentlemen, as well as each of our own state legislators know that Alaskans support this legislation. Please call/write/email and let them all know you want them to vote in favor of Sudan Divestment Legislation.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Sinopec Out of the Running for AGIA Contract

Sinopec and three of the four other bidders for the AGIA contract did not pass the initial phase of the AGIA review. Thus, Sinopec is out of the running for the AGIA contract. Although this is great news in that Alaskans will not be asked to support or work with Sinopec, Save Darfur Anchorage is disappointed that Governor Palin did not seize the opportunity to reject Sinopec on the grounds of their complicity in the Darfur genocide. We feel she missed a great opportunity to take a public stand against the Darfur genocide and the essential role foreign direct investment in Sudan by companies including Sinopec play in financing it.

Our governor could have stood before local, national, and international media and acknowledged the genocide and the business practices that enable its continuation, while also sending a message to the people of Darfur and the rest of the world that Alaskans know what's happening in Sudan, care what's happening in Sudan, and will act to help bring an end to the genocide wherever possible. Instead, Sinopec's bid came and went, and an opportunity to stand together as a state against the genocide and in support of the Darfur people came and went.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

President Bush Signs Sudan Accountability and Divestment Act into Law

Great News! On December 31st, President Bush signed the Sudan Accountability and Divestment Act (SADA) into law. The SADA protects states' rights to divest from holdings in companies doing business with Sudan and prohibits Sinopec from receiving federal contracts for the duration of the genocide. To read more, click here.