Iceland's Rescue of Chess Genius Bobby Fischer From US and Japanese Prison
The Latest on Iceland's Rescue of Bobby Fischer
Something to celebrate: photo and video file of his joyous welcome in
Articles from Japanese and French Press:
Free At Last, Bobby Fischer Calls His Detention a 'Kidnapping'
His long ordeal in a Japanese prison at an end, the former chess Grand
Master took a few parting shots at Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi,
Japan's ruling party, and U.S. President George W. Bush.
March 24, 2005 By Ryann Connell
NARITA AIRPORT: Bobby Fischer left Japan a free man Thursday after more
than eight months of imprisonment, blasting Prime Minister Junichiro
Koizumi, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and U.S. President George
Bush as he left.
Fischer departed on a Scandinavian Airlines System flight to Reykjavik
via Copenhagen at 1:27 p.m. following his release earlier from the East
Japan Immigration Bureau Detention Center in Ushiku, Ibaraki Prefecture,
where he had been held since August last year. He had been arrested for
visa violations at Narita the previous month.
The 62-year-old Grand Master was allowed to leave as Iceland granted him
citizenship on Tuesday, side-stepping Japan's insistence that he be
deported to the United States.
"This was not an arrest. This was a kidnapping. This was all cooked up
by Bush and Koizumi. They are all war criminals. They should be hung,"
Fischer was dressed in baggy blue jeans, a blue denim shirt that hung
out of his trousers and over his belt and a sweater with gray stripes.
He took infrequent sips from a bottle of water.
Though walking with a slight limp, he appeared weary, somewhat thinner
than he had been last summer and with a decidedly longer gray beard and
hair, Fischer said he was feeling well.
"Yeah, I feel good," he said, adding that he was pleased to finally be
free. He later said: "I'm very happy to be leaving. Japan is a nice
country, but you have a criminal leadership."
Miyoko Watai, Fischer's fiancee who accompanied him on the flight to
Iceland, said she was thrilled.
"I'm delighted," she said.
Fischer checked into his flight and then spent several minutes shopping
for duty-free electronics as the media contingent waited for him to go
through the Departure Gate. Watai said Fischer "really likes
Watai said they already had plans for when they arrived in Iceland. "I'd
say we'd probably go to a hot spring."
As he walked through the Departure gate, Fischer continued to abuse Bush
for invading Iraq and Japan for supporting the U.S. invasion.
Earlier, Fischer arrived to be greeted by a huge media contingent that
swamped the Icelandic Embassy Audi he had been traveling in. He refused
to leave the vehicle until photographers had moved away.
When he finally emerged from the vehicle, he talked to Mizuho Fukushima,
President of the Social Democratic Party, who told him how she had
applied pressure over the past week on Immigration Bureau chief Masaharu
Miura to make sure he allowed Fischer to leave the country if he secured
"Why didn't you help me last July?" Fischer told Fukushima. "I've been
in here for nine months."
Fischer then blasted the ruling LDP.
"The Liberal Democratic Party. That party are criminals. They've
destroyed Japan. They've destroyed Japan in the past tense. The Liberal
Democratic Party is a party of criminals," he said.
The Grand Master then told Fukushima she needed to "do something about
Koizumi. He violated your Constitution by arresting me."
Fischer left the Ushiku detention center where he had been held since
being transferred there on Aug. 10 last year. He was arrested on July 13
at Narita Airport for having a visa invalidated because it was inside a
passport the U.S. told the Japanese government it had revoked.
...Fischer was an American hero and worshipped as one of that country's
most prominent Cold Warrior when he defeated the Soviet Boris Spassky in
Reykjavik on Sept. 1, 1972, to win the world chess championship. The win
made him a national hero in Iceland as well, which prompted Reykjavik to
start formally supporting him from December, when it offered him
Still the only American ever to have reached the undisputed chess
pinnacle, Fischer was stripped of his title in 1975 without ever having
He remained largely out of the limelight until precisely 20 years to the
day that he claimed the title. He emerged for a re-match with Spassky in
Yugoslavia, which he also won, picking up the lion's share of the $5
million purse up for the match.
But Yugoslavia was then under U.S. sanctions. In December 1992, a U.S.
grand jury indicted Fischer for violating an Executive Order. Fischer
had not returned to his homeland by the time the grand jury charged him
and he has remained away from the United States ever since...From 2000,
Fischer began living in Japan with Watai, traveling in and out of the
country on a tourist visa.
Fischer would continue to give radio interviews at intermittent times to
Philippine radio stations, including one immediately after the Sept. 11
2001 terrorist attacks on the U.S., which he praised and blamed on the
U.S. for having "slaughtered" Palestinians for years. Fischer had
expressed anti-Judaic feelings since the early 1960s, and continued to
do so ever since, though most media reports failed to mention them until
after he lauded the terror attacks. Fischer's deceased mother, Regina,
was born Jewish (Fischer disputes this--Hoffman).
Some time after these comments were made, the U.S. decided to track him
down. Though the U.S. Embassy in Bern gave Fischer new passport pages in
November last year, the following month the U.S. Department of State
revoked the passport. In June last year, the U.S. government informed
Japan that Fischer was wanted. Japanese Immigration Bureau arrested him
the following month.
The U.S. has expressed "disappointment" at Iceland for giving Fischer
citizenship -- a step that allowed him to avoid the clutches of U.S. law
A grand jury investigating claims of tax evasion against Fischer is due
to convene in Philadelphia next month and may charge him, in which case
the U.S. is entitled to ask for his extradition from Iceland.
A source close to the Icelandic government said Reykjavik does not
intend to hand over the aging Grand Master for any reason.
Icelandic Passport Helps Fischer Escape Long Arm of U.S. Justice
EDITOR's NOTE: The French newspaper Le Monde labels Fischer "insane"
because he is a fierce critic of the Zionist Occupation Government (ZOG)
in Washington DC.
In the long match between Bobby Fischer and U.S. authorities, the Cold
War chess hero has finally come out on top.
Erich Inciyan | Le Monde | March 24, 2005 (translated from the French)
Bobby Fischer has won. The former world chess champion left, on Thursday
March 24, the Japanese cell where he had been moping for eight months.
Wearing a baseball cap and sporting a white beard, he flew away to
Scandinavia. It meant failure and checkmate for the United States
government, his native land, that sought the extradition of its one-time
The game, which saw lawyers and diplomats clashing over the chessboard,
was hard fought, but the great American master took the ultimate
victory. At 62 years old, he will change nationality. On Tuesday, March
22 the "Brooklyn Kid" became Icelandic, thanks to a special law passed
by the Reykjavik Parliament.
His new passport, issued on the same day, shows him bearded and smiling
with all his teeth showing. Until the end, under pressure from
Washington, Japanese authorities tried to resist this opening form
Scandinavia. The Icelandic Embassy in Tokyo had to show proof of
naturalization. On Thursday, Japan had no choice but to allow the
champion to join his adopted country.
So he returned to Iceland, to the spot of a legendary meeting. In
Reykjavik, in 1972, the genius from Manhattan put an end to a quarter
century of Soviet hegemony. Boris Spassky had been beaten. The "match of
the century," as it was publicized during the height of the Cold war,
had symbolized, in the eyes of Americans, a victory over the "Eastern
Twenty years later, in July 1992, a revenge match had been organized in
Montenegro, in contempt of an international economic embargo against
Belgrade, and its ally Montenegro. Fischer had initially refused to come
to the opening ceremony, which led to a doubling of the prize money
offered to the winner. Then, in front of TV cameras, Fischer spit on a
letter from the American government that asked him to give up the match.
Related Video: Fischer Spits On Letter From U.S. Government In
The American titan beat Boris Spassky and won the $3.35 million in prize
money. But U.S. justice sought his arrest for violating its embargo and,
probably, for tax evasion. Fischer faced a ten years of prison sorrow in
his home country.
Then came his escape and years of clandestine support from amateurs who
love the game of kings. One saw Bobby Fischer passing through Hungary,
then to Asia, in particular the Philippines and Japan. In July 2004, on
his way to Manila for a cigar, he was finally stopped at the
Tokyo-Narita airport for carrying a cancelled American passport.
The deposed hero has lived since his arrest in a center of detention for
foreigners in Ushiku (northeastern Tokyo). He had his ups and downs,
according to his group of Japanese supporters. On January 25, Bobby
Fischer wrote to Iceland's president, asking for Icelandic citizenship.
At the beginning of March, a brawl broke out between Fischer and his
Thursday March 24, Bobby Fischer's last move was unanswerable. Bobby
Fischer has arrived in Iceland, without spending a day in an American
prison. "I would never have left there (the U.S.) alive," said Fischer.
The U.S. State Department declared itself "disappointed." Its spokesman,
Adam Ereli, lamented: "Mr. Fischer flees justice. There is a federal
warrant for his arrest."
His Japanese fiance, Myoko Watai, president of the President Japan Chess
Association, was delighted.
Did Iceland make its decision out of obligation or discretion? For
years, Fischer has become known for uttering insanities. In December
1992 in Belgrade, in front of the press, he reproached "the Jewish
community and in particular the New York Times, controlled by rich
Jews," for plotting against him. The odd Grand Master spoke similar
words on a Philippine radio show, Radio Bombo, just a few hours after
the attacks of September 11, 2001. "This is a marvelous day," he had
said, skidding even further into insanity. Thursday, with his release,
Bobby Fischer labeled George Bush a "war criminal" and castigated Japan
as a country with "criminal leadership," before leaving to Scandinavia.
Three things are sacred to me: first Truth, and then, in its tracks, primordial prayer; Then virtue–nobility of soul which, in God walks on the path of beauty. Frithjof Schuon