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Old March 24th 05, 09:24 PM
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Default Fischer wisely avoids landing at Keflavik, flies to Reykjavik

I was pleased to hear that Fischer wisely avoided flying to the airfield
at Keflavik, where a large US airforce base is sited - he flies instead
to Reykjavik.



Chess Legend Fischer Enjoys New Freedom

Thursday March 24, 2005 8:46 PM

AP Photo XKK104


Associated Press Writer

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) - Chess legend Bobby Fischer, en route to a new
life in Iceland, said Thursday that freedom felt ``great'' after nine
months' detention in Japan, where he had been held for trying to leave
the country using an invalid U.S. passport.

Fischer was released from Japanese custody earlier in the day and
stopped over in Denmark before he was to board a private plane for
Iceland, which has granted him citizenship.

Upon arriving in Reykjavik, Fischer will stay at the Hotel Loftleider -
the same place where he stayed in 1972 when he defeated Russian Boris
Spassky in the Cold War chess showdown that propelled him to
international stardom.

``The same suite is waiting for him,'' Einar Einarsson, chairman of an
Icelandic Bobby Fischer supporters' group preparing a welcome in
Reykjavik, told The Associated Press.

Iceland's Channel 2 television reportedly arranged for a private jet to
fly Fischer to Reykjavik from an airport outside Malmo, Sweden, which is
linked to Copenhagen by a bridge and tunnel. Einarsson said Fischer
wanted to avoid the airport at Keflavik, which is near a U.S. Army base.

Fischer, 62, is wanted by the United States for violating sanctions
imposed on the former Yugoslavia by playing an exhibition match against
Spassky in 1992.

He was detained by Japanese officials in July for using an invalid
passport. Fischer claims his U.S. passport was revoked illegally, and
sued to block a deportation order to the United States.

Iceland's Parliament stepped in this week to break the standoff by
giving Fischer citizenship. Fischer is not in the clear, however,
because Iceland, like Japan, has an extradition treaty with the United

On the flight from Tokyo to Copenhagen, Fischer accused Japanese
officials of ``kidnapping'' him by taking him into custody, calling his
detention ``totally illegal.''

``This was a kidnapping because the charges that the Japanese charged me
with are totally nonsense,'' he told Associated Press Television News.

``My passport was perfectly good,'' he insisted, sipping liqueur in the
first-class cabin.

Asked what it will be like to be free, he replied: ``Great, great.''

Fischer was defiant when he arrived with his fiancee, Miyoko Watai, at
the Tokyo airport after being released. As he walked toward the airport
entrance, he turned, unzipped his pants and acted as if he was going to
urinate on the wall. He called Japan's ruling party ``gangsters.''

Fischer, whose mother was Jewish, also said he was being hounded by the
United States because it is ``Jew-controlled.''

Fischer also took a few shots at President Bush and Japanese Prime
Minister Junichiro Koizumi.

``This was not an arrest. It was a kidnapping cooked up by Bush and
Koizumi,'' he told reporters.

``They are war criminals and should be hung,'' he said in an apparent
criticism of the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

``Koizumi is mentally ill in my opinion,'' he said, calling him a

Iceland's ambassador to Japan, Thordur Oskarsson, said before Fischer's
release that Washington sent a ``message of disappointment'' to his
government over giving Fischer citizenship.

``Despite the message, the decision was put through Parliament on
humanitarian grounds,'' said Oskarsson, who accompanied Fischer on the
flight to Europe.

A federal grand jury in Washington, meanwhile, reportedly is
investigating possible money-laundering charges involving Fischer, and
he may face tax-related charges as well. Fischer was reported to have
received $3.5 million from the competition in the former Yugoslavia, and
boasted then that he didn't intend to pay any income tax on the money.

In Washington on Tuesday, the State Department said it had officially
asked Japan to hand over Fischer.

``Mr. Fischer is a fugitive from justice. There is a federal warrant for
his arrest,'' said deputy spokesman Adam Ereli.

Tokyo initially refused Fischer's request to go to Iceland, saying
Japanese law only allowed his deportation to the country of his origin.
But following Iceland's decision Monday, Japanese Justice Minister
Chieko Nono said officials would consider letting Fischer go there.

Fischer became a chess icon when he dethroned Spassky in Iceland,
claiming the first U.S. world chess championship in more than a century.

He gave up the title a few years later to another Soviet, Anatoly
Karpov, by refusing to defend it. He then fell into obscurity before
resurfacing to play the 1992 exhibition rematch against Spassky.

Fischer won the rematch. But his playing violated U.S. sanctions imposed
to punish then-President Slobodan Milosevic. If convicted, Fischer - who
hasn't been to the United States since then - could face 10 years in
prison and a $250,000 fine.

Though generally a recluse, Fischer has emerged from silence in radio
broadcasts and on his Web page to express anti-Semitic views and rail
against the United States.


banana "The thing I hate about you, Rowntree, is the way you
give Coca-Cola to your scum, and your best teddy-bear to
Oxfam, and expect us to lick your frigid fingers for the
rest of your frigid life." (Mick Travis, 'If...', 1968)
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