Free at Last! Free at Last! Bobby Fischer is Free at Last!

Wonderful News! Although it has not hit the major newswires yet, it appears that Bobby Fischer is out of jail.
Bobby Fischer with Miss Watai behind him
Bobby Fischer walks through Narita Airport wearing his prison denims while his smiling and dutiful Japanese wife Miss Watai pushes their airport luggage trolley behind him.

The break came when Iceland granted him citizenship two days ago. With this act, Japan no longer had any legal basis to hold him.

However, it may not be over yet. The main international airport in Iceland is located on Keflavik Air Base. A NATO Base under US Control. The insane US Policymakers may be just crazy enough to try to catch Bobby Fischer after he steps off the airplane in Keflavik. I doubt that they will do this but my advice is that caution is called for and why not land the airplane at Reykjavik Airport instead. Reykjavik Airport is only used for domestic flights and most foreigners are not even aware of its existence, but it is fully capable of handling the big aircraft that normally lands at Keflavik.

While not a victory for Bobby Fischer as he had to spend eight months in jail in Japan completely unnecessarily and will probably have to spend the rest of his life as a fugitive, it is a marginal victory for international law and a great defeat for the Bush administration.

It has been clear from the beginning that Bobby Fischer broke no law. The Executive Order that Bobby Fischer allegedly violated by playing a chess match in Yugoslavia for the world chess championship clearly was not applicable for many reasons. The Executive Order prohibited commercial contacts with the Government of Yugoslavia. However, a chess match is not a commercial contact and the sponsor of the chess match was not the government of Yugoslavia but rather was an outspoken opponent of the government. The sponsor of the chess match fled the country soon after the match was over and the bank he owned was closed down and forced into bankruptcy.

The case against Fischer was so weak for many reasons that many in his position would have gone back to fight the case feeling confident of victory in court. However, the Bush administration has a record of holding people in prison for years without giving them a fair hearing of any kind and without even informing them of the charges against them, so Fischer was entirely justified in not leaving his fate in the hands of the US Injustice System.

Another big loser is Japan. The Japanese will forever be held in low regard by the international community for their behavior in this matter. It is clear that Fischer was being prosecuted as a political matter and under international law such a person is entitled to political asylum. The Japanese Ministry of Interior declared that a deported person must be sent back to his country of origin. Is that the law? Does that mean that refugees from the Communist Government of Afghanistan much be sent back to Afghanistan where they face certain execution. Must Chinese be sent back to China, Burmese back to Burma and Vietnamese back to Vietnam?

An opposition leader in Japan has correctly pointed out that by its conduct Japan may have lost its chance to get a seat on the United Nations Security Council. Clearly, a nation that acts as nothing more than an agent for the USA does not deserve a seat on that body.

Another big loser is the Executive Board of the United States Chess Federation. Not only did the USCF do nothing to help Bobby Fischer get out of jail, but it even expelled him from the chess federation in violation of the federation's own rules.

While berating the cowardly Japanese for knuckling under to the demands of the great United States, we must applaud Lilliputan Iceland for having the courage to give Fischer sanctuary in defiance of the demands of its neighbor, the Big Bad USA.

Sam Sloan

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