Revolution in South Asia

An Internationalist Info Project

Wikileaks Reveals: U.S. Intrigue Against Maoists & Nepal Peace Process

Posted by Alastair on March 15, 2011

US Ambassador James F. Moriarty

“A Maoist victory would energize leftist insurgencies and threaten stability in the region. It thus behooves us to continue to do everything possible to block such an outcome.”

by Alastair Reith

Diplomatic cables released today show that former US Ambassador James F. Moriarty was actively trying to destabilise Nepal’s peace process in order to prevent a Maoist rise to power. It reveals a  bitter man,  utterly convinced that the peace process endorsed by the Maoists in 2006 was a temporary ploy to help them advance their revolutionary agenda… and it shows how determined he was to block that process.

This article looks at just one of the cables released today.

On September 22, 2006, the date of this cable, the monarchy had just been toppled in a massive popular uprising, during which the Maoist revolutionaries and the more mainstream and conservative political parties formed an alliance against the dictatorial King and brought him down together. They did not enter this alliance willingly, but when the King banned those mainstream parties and seized absolute power these conservative politicians were forced to turn to the radical communist movement for help.

A deal was struck – the Maoists and the political parties would fight the King together, and after he fell they would form an Interim Government with equal representation for all parties before holding elections for a Constituent Assembly with a mandate to radically transform Nepal. The Maoists agreed to end their armed struggle, signed Peace Accords in November 2006 and put their army on cease fire, and the conservative parties agreed to open the floodgates and begin the restructuring of Nepali society.

At the time of this cable Nepal was locked in a political stalemate and a political vacuum. The King had been defeated on the streets by his own people, and the Maoists were openly walking the streets of Kathmandu for the first time in over a decade. However, it took almost another year of negotiations before an Interim Government could be formed with Maoist participation. We now know at least part of the story behind why this took as long as it did – US imperialism was interfering in Nepal’s political process to try and prevent the Maoists, the most popular political movement in the country, from being included in a government.

U.S. Fear of a Maoist “Path to Power”

Moriarty begins the secret cable by describing the situation as he sees it. He writes;

“It looks like we’re getting to crunch time here in Nepal… the Maoists appear intent on organizing during the month of October massive public demonstrations designed to pressure the GON into putting the Maoists on the path to power. If the government still refuses to cave, the Maoists, according to a number of pretty good sources, seem ready to move in November to a campaign of urban violence, using the demonstrations as cover.”

As the Maoists entered the peace process (and started open political work in Nepal’s urban areas) some leftist forces internationally claimed that by setting aside the armed struggle they were abandoning the goal of revolution. Now we know that the U.S. officials (at least) saw these events through an opposite lens — and feared that a Maoist “path to power” might emerge from the overthrow of the king, the advances to toward democratic political rights and the political mobilization of the people.

In the five years since these cables were written,  the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)  (UCPN-M) has remained committed to the peace process it initiated and continued to push for radical change and a people’s constitution using peaceful mobilization of the people. To the frustration of everyone,  this process has been locked in a stalemate, where any significant social change and national progress for the people is prevented by the parliamentary parties. And at each point, as the cables note: the Maoists have threatened to move outside the process, to press forward with popular revolutionary demands.

Ambassador Moriarty goes on to analayse the balance of forces;

“The good news is that the Maoists are doing much of this through bluff. They have relatively little popular support, and they have nowhere near the military capability to take on the government’s security services in an open fight.”

This is a somewhat amusing statement to read in retrospect. At the time of the Constituent Assembly elections, the mainstream media and Western governments were all repeating this view over and over again – the Maoists have little popular support, the success of their revolutionary movement has been gained through intimidation and coercion, etc etc. The constant prediction was that the Maoists would come a distant third behind the UML party and the Nepali Congress. As it turns out, these predictions were wrong. The Maoists quickly proved to be the single most popular party in the country  to the shock of all reactionary observers, winning a plurality in the popular elections.

At the same time, there is a significant assessment here of relative military capacity: Part of the reason the Maoists decided to participate in the peace process is their difficulty in taking on the Nepal Army “in an open fight” — and their hope to build political support in new ways for future confrontations.

U.S. Intrigue: “What We Need to Do”

The most important part of the cable is without a doubt a section entitled “What We Need to Do”. In this, Ambassador Moriarty outlines a strategy for the USA to prevent the Maoist revolution from succeeding.

The first step in his counter-revolutionary plan is what he calls “brow-beating”.

Moriarty declares;

“Ultimately, decisions made by Nepalis will determine whether this country goes down the path toward becoming a People’s Republic over the next couple of months. That said, we need to increase the possibility that the leaders here will make the right decisions. I’ve been meeting regularly with the Prime Minister, urging him (so far unsuccessfully) to use the police to enforce law and order and bucking him up to stick to his bottom line of not letting gun-toting Maoists into the government (with greater success so far). We’ve also been pushing the other major parties of the Seven Party alliance to support the Prime Minister on arms management and to push him to use the police against Maoist excesses. I’ve also created a firestorm of controversy by visiting a couple of military bases (as well as a lot of civilians) out West and publicly condemning Maoist violence. Leftist MP’s have called for my expulsion, but at least some of the people here are beginning to debate Maoist intentions.”

Here we have proof that the US ambassador was pushing not only for the Maoists to be excluded from government, but also that he was pushing for the police to be mobilised to crack down on the Maoist movement. Such crude intervention in the internal affairs of Nepal is outrageous — and doubly so because it is clearly for the purpose of suppressing the people and their just demands. Behind the scenes, the U.S. was opposing democratic change in Nepal, and wanting to find political forces that could continue the King’s fascistic repression.

The police are hated in Nepali society – systematically corrupt, routinely violent, they stand accused of torture, rape and assassination. In a country where the state completely neglected the people in the rural areas, the local police station was often the only state presence in the area – no hospitals, no schools, just corrupt thugs protecting the landlords and money lenders. During the People’s War of the 1990s one of the first actions taken during a peasant uprising was to attack and destroy the local police station, and by the early 2000s the police had been entirely driven out of huge swathes of the Nepali countryside. To call for them to move against ‘Maoist excesses’ is a call for a continuation of the government’s wartime brutalities.

Continuing in this aggressive theme, Ambassador Moriarty goes on to urge the US government to prepare another massive arms shipment to Nepal. During the period of the People’s War, the US and other Western nations donated weapons to the Royal Nepal Army, even as stories of its brutality leaked out. It shows how the U.S. quickly came to see the Nepal Army as their most reliable instrument and ally in suppressing the revolutionary movement.

Moriarty writes;

“We need to be prepared for the possibility of a Maoist return to violence in November. The key will be to condemn as quickly as possible Maoist violence, while shipping as quickly as possible some 4,500 more weapons that we have in storage for the Nepali Army. Those weapons would have an immediate tactical impact but more importantly would shore up a government that will be under tremendous pressure to capitulate.”

If a violent and repressive force is willing to obey orders, the U.S. is prepared to give them all the guns they need to crush any attempts by their own people to rise up.

The Maoists are not just agrarian reformers

A particularly fascinating section of the cable is one the ambassador entitles “the Diplomatic Game”, in which he details the different approaches taken by the various foreign powers;

“The diplomacy here is getting complicated. The Europeans are all over the map with respect to recent developments. The Danes and Norwegians (who have some clout here because of their aid programs) are convinced that lasting peace is just about ready to break out and push the GON [Government of Nepal] to be as accommodating as possible. The Brits, in contrast, seem convinced that the Maoists will soon be coming into power and are trying to convince themselves that that might not be so bad. The Chinese seem primarily interested in pushing Tibet issues with the weak, frequently ineffectual GON. The local World Bank rep is so fed up with the corruption in the system that he has become a frequent lunch pal of the Maoist supremo. I’m trying to push back here on some of this, but it would help if the Department could have a serious, high-level discussion with the Brits on Nepal. We might also want to look at a demarche to the Europeans and others (reminding them that the Maoists are not just agrarian reformers and seem to want power rather than peace).”

There appear to have been serious divisions between the Americans and their European counterparts both in terms of their analysis of the situation and their proposals on how to deal with it, and it is interesting to note how much more accurate the predictions of the British and the Scandinavians were compared to those of Moriarty and the Americans.

This paragraph clearly reveals that even as the Maoists were engaging with European governments, even as a genuine peace process was beginning to take shape, the American Embassy was doing everything in its power to sabotage the process and find the ways to crush the Maoists and their popular base — even at the cost of reigniting the civil war.

If Nepal’s peace process does fail and some form of conflict or popular revolt does take place in the future, the fault will not lie with the Maoists. They have demonstrated great patience and compromise  within this peace process, making great sacrifices – and what we now know is that from the very beginning the USA was trying to derail this.

Hypocrisy lies heaped upon hypocrisy.

The Role of India

This cable, along with the others released today, also sheds light on the role of India in Nepal. Nepal has long been a defacto colony of India, with its politicians, its economy, its military and countless other aspects of its society under near-total Indian domination. A major demand of the Maoist movement is to change this unequal relationship and forge a new one based on equality, Nepali sovereignty and self-determination. The Maoists have long accused India of interfering in Nepal’s political process, and specifically attempting to undermine and sabotage the Maoists. It’s an open secret, but one with very little evidence… until now.

Our site will analyse the other cables soon, which deal in much greater detail with India’s role in stalling the peace process.

For now, we have this excerpt from Moriarty’s cable, in which he reveals the Indian ambassador’s role in preventing the timely formation of an Interim Government and in pushing for a return to police violence;

“From my perspective, we need to do more to keep the Indians in lock-step with us. I coordinate closely with my Indian counterpart here and in private he pushes the exact same message I do: that the police need to enforce law and order and that the GON should not let armed Maoists into an interim government.”

Ambassador Moriarty finishes his cable with a warning. It is, ironically, a statement that this site and the people involved in it fully support and endorse! As popular rebellions and communist insurgencies explode out of an ocean of discontent in South Asia, it is quite understandable that the ruling elites across the world feel concerned and nervous about what a communist revolution in Nepal would lead to. This was weighing on Moriarty’s mind in 2006 as it still surely weighs on the mind of his successor. He declares;

“A Maoist victory would energize leftist insurgencies and threaten stability in the region. It thus behooves us to continue to do everything possible to block such an outcome.”

A Maoist victory would do all of this an more.

In a period of capitalist economic crisis, with falling living standards, rising prices, imperialist war and restriction of civil liberties a reality across the globe, a liberated Nepal entering a process of radical social transformation would be a beacon of hope in the darkness. And in 2011, as the people take to the streets across Africa and the Middle East, all of a sudden the word ‘revolution’ does not seem outdated and idealistic, but modern, concrete, immediate and real. A Maoist victory in Nepal will send shockwaves across the entire globe, and ‘threaten stability’ for the ruling elite in more than just South Asia. However hard the US Embassy tries, it can do nothing to change that.

The full text of this cable is available here.

2 Responses to “Wikileaks Reveals: U.S. Intrigue Against Maoists & Nepal Peace Process”

  1. […] Alastair wrote the following piece for the Revolution in South Asia Info Project. […]

  2. Rochelle Carothers said

    We better understand now the absolute crushing treatment of Bradley Manning. USGOHOME needs to be plastered on walls globally.

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