The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California on March 2, 2001 · Page 327
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The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California · Page 327

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Friday, March 2, 2001
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LOS ANGELES TIMES FRIDAY, MARCH 2. 2001 A5 Germany Opens an Escape Hatch for Neo-Nazis With right-wing crimes soaring, the government offers jobs and protection to youths willing to change their ways. By CAROL J. WILLIAMS TIMES STAFF WRITER BERLIN With right-wing crimes rising 40 last year and nearly half of German youths brooding over the presence of foreigners in their country, authorities have recognized that they need to do more than urge those attracted to neo-Nazi circles to "just say nein." The federal ministers for police and social affairs launched ambitious programs this week to lure disgruntled youths away from the radical right. Included are an "exit" option that provides witness protection for those willing to turn on the ringleaders and jobs for those who simply want out. Right-wing extremism has soared, especially among jobless and jaded young easterners from families that have yet to benefit from Germany'sl990 reunification. The government's political rivals say the new programs are too little too late. But justice officials and social scientists see much merit in the initiatives, arguing that any move against xenophobia, bigotry and anti-Semitism is money and energy well spent Unemployment remains close to 20 in the east, and 46 of teens surveyed in the former Communist states say there are too many foreigners in their midst. More than 40 of youths in western Germany also express resentment toward outsiders. Interior Minister Otto Schily said the exit program is intended to provide an escape from the peer pressure and threats faced by disaffected hangers-on to the neo-Nazi scene. A nationwide hotline is to be established within the next few days to provide information on how to swap a life of crime for a job, impunity even police protection and a new identity if participants are willing to provide evidence against radicals wanted for serious offenses. Schily's efforts are being augmented I H'liHJ- I 7 'Hi flr Associated Press A man waves the flag of the far-right National Democratic Party at a rally in Leipzig. by a wide-ranging program of education and training and support for victims of right-wing violence laid out by the federal minister for family and social affairs, Christine Bergmann. Her ministry and a social development fund of the European Union earmarked an extra $30 million 'When you consider the very Important fact that seven out of 10 on the rightist scene are not very committed to the Ideology, this could be a good method of breaking the power the hard-core radicals have over them.' GEERT MACKENROTH Wee president of the German Federal Assn. of Judges this year for regional programs to encourage tolerance and integration. "The idea is to weaken and destabilize the right-wing scene," Schily said, rejecting claims of some eastern political leaders that his program rewards those who have responded to hardship by breaking the law. One eastern state governor from the opposition Christian Democratic Union, Bernhard Vogel of Thuringia, said the lure of housing, work and welfare for giving up the radical scene could become an inducement to enter it in the first place. Justice officials, however, laud the as sault on the extremism, which has demoralized the upright majority, sapped police resources and cast aspersions on Germany's democratic credentials. "When you consider the very important fact that seven out of 10 on the rightist scene are not very committed to the ideology, this could be a good method of breaking the power the hardcore radicals have over them," said Geert Mackenroth, vice president of the German Federal Assn. of Judges. While some conservative opponents of Social Democratic Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's government doubt the new measures will have much influence, the CDU governors of two major western states, Bavaria and Baden-Wuerttemberg, have praised the actions. In the latter state, an effort to offer neo-Nazis a way out has been tested since last autumn. Eighty-four of the 324 known troublemakers approached so far have signaled interest in escaping the scene, state Police Chief Erwin Hetger reported. Sociologists tend to welcome any effort to thin the ranks of right-wing rabble 54,000 neo-Nazis by official estimate. But some see deeper causes for the social illness that cannot be cured with what they see as the baby steps being taken. "It is a problem that requires billions," contends Hajo Funke, a political science professor at the Free University in Berlin who is writing a book on the post-reunification rightist upswing. He urges more dramatic action "to address the social despair expressed by so many young people who don't know if they have a future." One Man's Utopia Is Sometimes an Enforcement Official's Fraud By MARK FINEMAN TIMES STAFF WRITER GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands-Lazarus Long calls it the Principality of New Utopia, a tax-free, trouble-free, enlightened and libertarian land that will rise out of the Caribbean on concrete pilings about 115 miles west of here. New Utopia, the Oklahoma resident pledges on his Web site and in interviews, will be "a safe haven from runaway bureaucracy," a city-state of canals that will outdo Venice in beauty, Hong Kong in wealth and the Caymans in bank secrecy and tax freedom. Two years ago, he announced on the Internet a $350-niillion bond offering to finance this brave new world that he and his wife will rule as prince and princess. Long, a 68-year-old self-professed "millionaire several times over," acknowledges that some people think he's nuts and call New Utopia a pipe dream. The VS. Securities and Exchange Commission called his bond offering a fraud. After Long signed a consent decree in 1999 admitting no guilt but promising not to violate securities laws in the future, SEC Commissioner Laura S. Unger cited New Utopia last year as "one of the more notorious" of a raft of "offering frauds" uncovered by federal investigators during the agency's first major sweep of securities on the Internet. It was just one of scores of stock and security offerings over the Web, ranging from the seemingly silly to the sublime, that the SEC has alleged were scams since it created its Office of Internet Enforcement in July 1998. The office, which coordinates a "cyberforce" of 200 lawyers, investigators and accountants throughout the United States, has filed dozens of civil complaints alleging shady promotions on the Web. A review of those cases shows a fondness among promoters for loosely regulated islands, especially in the Caribbeana region favored for centuries by pioneers, pirates and dreamers. Take, for example, the Kingdom of EnenKio and its head of state, Robert F. Moore. Using his Web site and an attorney's office in the Bahamas, the Honolulu-based Moore offered $1 billion in bonds issued by the "kingdom" he claims on five barren atolls in the Pacific Ocean a '"nation" the SEC said exists only in cyberspace. Asserting that the bonds were "backed by gold reserves," which the SEC charged also existed only in the virtual world, Moore said the bonds' proceeds would finance his version of an idyllic state. In October, the SEC filed a complaint against Moore and his "kingdom," alleging fraud. Three weeks later, Moore's Web site, www.enenkio.org, posted this advisory: "The EnenKio government is cooperating with the SEC to ensure that EnenKio bonds are not offered, marketed, transferred or sold to any persons or entities residing or established in the United States, including U.S. citizens wherever they may reside." The hopeful Prince Long fought the SEC harder and longer. Nearly a year passed before he settled, signing the consent decree in late 1999. Harold Degenhardt, who heads the SEC division that sued Long, this week said: "Our case was not about whether this type of country could be created. Our case was simply: This is what you said in your offering papers, and it was wrong and fraudulent" Last week, however, Long said in an interview that his dream lives on. Developers will break water for New Utopia this month, he said, and a condominium complex that will anchor his new nation will be completed by year's end without the sale of a single bond on the Web. "In fact, we never sold any bonds. We had a plan to do it, but we hadn't actually sold a single thing," said Long, who also said he made a fortune in anti-aging hormone therapy in the 1980s as Howard Turney before changing his name to that of his favorite character in a science-fiction novel. The SEC, he asserted, went after New Utopia to generate publicity for its Internet enforcement program. His Web site, www.new-utopia.com, continues to proclaim, "The reality of New Utopia as a viable project ... is so much greater than any fraud could possibly be." Claiming he has commitments for more than 2 million square feet of office, retail and condo space, Long insisted that de-vr topers will cover all building costs. And Kew Utopia will overcome competition from similar tax-free meccas such as the Cayman Islands where banking and taxation laws are designed to shield investors' assets from tax collectors at home-through its "uniqueness," he said. "A lot of people think I'm nuts," he said. "But there are a lot who think I'm not. Anyway, youll see." ' ill r i -.V .1 t " World IN BRIEF Associated Press A Taliban official stands beside a statue at Afghanistan's national museum in Kabul, repository for thousands of Buddhist antiquities. Despite Outcry, Taliban Begins Destroying Statues .' Afghanistan: Ancient treasures are targeted in effort to purge idolatrous images. Global pleas are ignored. From Associated Press KABUL, Afghanistan Defying 1 an international outcry, Taliban soldiers on Thursday began de-' stroying all statues in Afghanistaneven targeting two soaring, ancient statues of Buddha carved into the face of a mountain. The ruling Islamic militia said they sought to purge the nation of idolatrous images, but their closest ally, Pakistan, said the action could be a backlash against Afghanistan's international isolation, including U.N. sanctions. Pakistani Interior Minister Moin-uddin Haider said that the Taliban's order "may have been an act of defiance brought on by the isolation they feel." As troops fanned out with everything from rocket launchers to tanks, cultural leaders worldwide expressed horror. The head of UNESCO asked other Islamic nations to pressure . . the Taliban to stop, while the director of the Metropolitan Museum in New York pleaded with Afghan of- ficials to give or sell the artifacts to foreign museums. "In Afghanistan, they are de-, stroying statues that the entire world considers to be masterpieces," UNESCO DirectorJeneral Koichiro Matsuura said. "This iconoclastic determination shocks me." "All officials, including the Ministry of Vice and Virtue, have been given the go-ahead to destroy the statues," Taliban Information Minister Qadratullah Jamal said. "The destruction work will be done by any means available to them." It was impossible to confirm what had been destroyed so far particularly whether they had begun demolishing the two huge Buddha statues carved into a cliff in Bamian. One of the statues is 175 feet high and dates to the 5th century; the other is 120 feet tall and dates to the 3rd century. The road to Bamian was blocked by snow Thursday. There are soldiers in Bamian, but journalists have not been allowed to go there. The Taliban also refused to let reporters inside the Kabul museum, repository for thousands of Buddhist antiquities. The Taliban's supreme leader. Mullah Mohammed Omar, ordered the destruction Monday, saving such images were contrary to Islam 'These idols have been gods of the infidels, who worshiped them, and these are respected even now and perhaps may be turned into gods again," his edict said. VIETNAM Russia Signs Deal on; Strategic Relations : Russian President Vladimir V. Putin and Vietnamese President Tran Due Luong signed a deal expanding strategic ties, a move that reunites Hanoi with its onetime communist benefactor and gives, Moscow its strongest ally in South-, east Asia. Putin's visit to Hanoi, the first by; a Russian or Soviet leader despite 501 years of diplomatic ties, has been! lauded by Vietnamese officials but has seen muted public interest The two also signed agreements on expanding economic and trade; ties, particularly in oil and gas, and increasing military cooperation and science and technology exchanges. GERMANY i Diplomatic Ties With N.Korea Established Germany formally established diplomatic ties with North Korea, marking another step in the isolated Stalinist nation's efforts to open to the outside world. A German Foreign Ministry spokesman said the countries signed a document in Berlin after talks that began Monday. The official said the establishment of ties; will help North Korea further inte-; grate into the international com-; munity. North Korea established relations with the Netherlands in January, after a flurry of negotiations that set up ties last year with Britain, Canada, Italy and Australia. BRITAIN Drug Residue Found at Bard's Home Several 17th century clay pipes found on the site of WiUiam Shakespeare's home may have been used to smoke marijuana, scientists said. The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-on-Avon in England allowed South African researchers in Pretoria to analyze 24 pipe fragments. Eight of the fragments showed evidence of marijuana, and two also showed evidence of cocaine, the scientists said. From Times Wire Reports starts tomorrow savings of 20 -75 Now is the time IjtJ to say buy buy. yf Our once a year clearance sale. Jj Find huge savings "a on selected china, crystal, silver, linens, fine jewelry, estate 'L jewelry & watches. if2p Rolex excluded J(A v 1 I Cultured Pearl Necklace $Q095 Value 150.00 18" Strand of 7x7.5 mm cultured pearls with 14 kt gold filigree clasp. Limited to stock on hand No phone orders. our annual clearance sale Hrrx n rm7 I Saturday, march 3 Sunday, march 1 1 GEARYS OF BEVERLY HILLS 351 NO. BEVERLY DRIVE BEVERLY HILLS 310-273-4741 M0N SAT. 10-6 THURS 10-8 SUN. 12-5 FREE PARKING NEXT 00OR

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