Bobby Fischer 'ambushed' by U.S. gov't plot, new lawyer says

Bobby Fischer is the victim of a U.S. government plot inspired by the Bush family and his outspoken comments against them, supporters said in a news conference at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan in Tokyo on Monday.

Mainichi Daily News
Fischer's attorney, Richard Vattuone, speaks in Tokyo on Monday.

Fischer's newly appointed American attorney Richard Vattuone accused the U.S. government of "ambushing" the chess genius to get him arrested by Japanese immigration authorities.

Vattuone added that U.S. authorities had committed gross violations of U.S. law in their handling of the case since Fischer was first detained at Narita Airport on July 13 on alleged immigration law violations prompted by an alleged attempt to travel on a purportedly revoked passport.

John Bosnitch, head of the Committee to Free Bobby Fischer, also blasted Japanese and U.S. authorities over the way the grandmaster has been treated.

Edward McKeon of the U.S. Embassy in Japan, one of the officials Bosnitch and Vattuone specifically targeted in their Monday attack, said he did not have any authority to speak about the Fischer case.

Vattuone, who was given "just two minutes" to meet his client privately before U.S. Embassy officials started a hearing on Friday last week for Fischer's appeal against the revocation of his passport, said the U.S. reaction to the chess champion's case had been among the worst he had experienced in 15 years of practicing law.

"There are some grotesque abuses of governmental power, violations of due process and human rights. And I would say an utter waste of taxpayer's money in prosecuting Bobby Fischer - a chess player," Vattuone said.

Fischer is currently in the East Japan Immigration Bureau Detention Center in Ushiku, Tochigi Prefecture, where he is fighting a deportation order, applying for refugee status with the aid of his Japanese lawyer Masako Suzuki, trying to marry Japanese women's chess champion Miyoko Watai and taking a number of other steps to avoid capture by U.S. authorities, who after ignoring him for almost a dozen years suddenly started tracking him down a few months ago. Fischer has applied for provisional release, the Japanese equivalent of bail, but has been refused and is applying again.

U.S. law enforcers want Fischer because a grand jury indicted him in 1992 for having earlier that year played chess in Yugoslavia, which was then under economic sanctions placed by an Executive Order issued by former U.S. President George H.W. Bush.

Vattuone argued that the Executive Order and the statute making a violation of an Executive Order criminal are "un-Constitutional, vague, ambiguous and eventually we will challenge those."

Vattuone listed a slew of other alleged misdeeds by U.S. government officials in response to Fischer's case, including the imposition of arbitrary time limits, ignoring deadlines they had set and destruction of the chess champion's passport, many of which added up to show that U.S. authorities had pre-judged Fischer's fate. He was also furious that Fischer's continued detention prevented him from having the time needed with his client to fight the case.

"Bobby Fischer is not a robber, he's not a murderer, he's not a traitor, he's not a thief. All he did was play chess," Vattuone said, before condemning the U.S. Embassy for not helping him get out of his cell in the same way U.S. consular officials stepped in last month to ask Indonesian authorities to release U.S. and foreign nationals detained in that country. "Why the disparate treatment? It's because of Bobby Fischer's political opinions. Petty, vindictive bureaucrats are out to get him. In my opinion, they should go after real criminals, terrorists and people who are trying to do real damage to others. They should not fritter away limited resources by trying to create criminals."

Fischer has expressed virulently anti-Jewish opinions and lauded the Sept. 11 terror attacks on the United States, as well as unleashed considerable vitriol against American and Japanese politicians, including President George W Bush and Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.

Bosnitch says the initial Executive Order that made Fischer a fugitive and the rigorous manner it has been pursued in recent months indicates a Bush family "vendetta" against the grandmaster.

"(Bobby Fischer) was, is, and continues to be, a victim of U.S. persecution. The United States has violated numerous of their own rules in this process. Bobby Fischer's rights have also been, as you know, flagrantly violated in the Japanese appeals process of his arrest and handling in the deportation matter. His passport was revoked in a trap," John Bosnitch, head of the Committee to Free Bobby Fischer, said. "This was not a routine matter. We now have the documentation to prove that to you."

Bosnitch provided a U.S. government internal document dated Nov. 18, 2003 which suggested U.S. government authorities moved to revoke his passport as a means of carrying out a "backdoor extradition" considering Fischer cannot be legally handed over to American law enforcers because what he is accused of doing is not recognized as a crime outside of the United States.

Bosnitch and Vattuone promised to exhaust every administrative and legal channel if need be to ensure Fischer's freedom.

(By Ryann Connell, Mainichi Daily News, Oct. 18, 2004)

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