serious

It's quiet today.

I see that Bobby Fischer's been picked up in Japan. Given his somewhat erratic behaviour I suspect that he won't be fit to stand trial.

There's also this lovely article about the recent Lewis ritual-abuse scare (all charges now dropped). It seems that the accused were all outsiders who were resented by certain others in the community . . . now there's a surprise.

There's also a nice turn of phrase in Marina Hyde's column - "In my experience the average hen weekend is Lord of the Flies, only with better shoes."

I'm off down to London after work. First thing Monday I'm to be in Leeds, and I'll be back in Edinburgh on Friday.
From what I've seen of hen weekends, I'd dispute the better shoes claim. And indeed say that it's terribly unfair to Lord of the Flies.
When has that ever stopped the Americans, even if 'somewhat erratric' = barking mad in this case.
Can anyone explain what Bobby Fischer was wanted for ? I'm confused. It looks to me like the answer is "playing a game of chess in a sanctioned country". Is that a personal criminal offence ? Don't sanctions only apply to governments under international law, not individuals ?

Am I missing something ?
He played in an official tournament despite a UN resolution barring this. The US has an obligation to uphold UN resolutions, and Fischer is a US citizen. (Of course once should then ask about all the many resolutions against other states which the US has chosen to actively undermine...)

(ISTR a similar uproar in the 80s when a bunch of England cricketers decided to break sanctions to tour South Africa, though I think that was handled as an ECB internal disciplinary matter.)

Anyway, I'm not sure whether him being fit to stand trial is an issue - I'd heard he had already been tried and convicted in absentia.
Ignoring the issue of the US carefully ignoring other resolutions, they'd go to that much effort for an individual sportsman ? I'm aware that similar things have happened to cricketers in the past (and indeed were threatened recently against sportsmen going to Zimbabwe, I think). A disciplinary matter, maybe a fine, maybe a ban on international competition for some period of time.

But to make it a criminal matter, and to arrest someone 12 years later ? Seems a bit, well, over the top. Though I suppose they may well now want to arrest him for failing to turn up in court when sub poena'd and so on, rather than the original offence.

Ignoring the issue of the US carefully ignoring other resolutions, they'd go to that much effort for an individual sportsman ?

Well, I'm guessing that now (or 12 years ago) it's ceased being political and has become part of the machinery. Actions have been filed, decisions have been made, and the civil servants and ground troops are following their orders. We shall see what eventually results.

I think that the one thing this possibly shows is that you can do what the hell you like, but the one thing you can't do is embarass the Federal Government. Bloody foreigners with no money believing they're outside their jurisdiction (yes, I know.)

I'm aware that similar things have happened to cricketers in the past (and indeed were threatened recently against sportsmen going to Zimbabwe, I think)

Now that is, I think, an interestingly different situation from the 80s one. The 80s situation was (IFACR) individual action against internationally agreed sanctions. The Zimbabwe case was one where the team was stuck between bodies saying they should go or face professional/anti-discriminatory sanctions and bodies saying that if they went they would face punishment for supporting a repressive regime. With HMG in the middle refusing to take a stance. Not a nice position to be in.
But to make it a criminal matter, and to arrest someone 12 years later ?

Well I guess very few US citizens publicly directly breach UN resolutions that the US wants to uphold, and subsequently get caught. So this case seems unusual. But in that case I guess its just the way they do things over there.

(As I say, I suspect it's sufficiently part of the machinery that no actual thought has gone into dealing with the recent developments yet.)
Oh, wonderful. :/

Thanks for that, Graeme - I'll past that on to the chair of Pagan Federation Scotland - I think he'll appreciate the heads up.