Interpol "Alert" for Nepal Maoists

Revolutionary Worker #1164, August 25, 2002, posted at

On August 12, the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) issued a Red Corner Notice (RCN) against eight top Maoist leaders from Nepal, including Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) Chairman Prachanda (Pushpa Kamal Dahal) and Baburam Bhattarai. This RCN serves as an arrest warrant in all the 179 Interpol member countries.

This move by Interpol, which has its headquarters in Lyon, France, allows the Nepalese government to formally ask neighboring countries to find and arrest Maoist leaders. And Interpol's intervention now puts pressure on the Indian government to hunt down and arrest those on the list. Once the Red Corner Notice is issued, member countries are obliged to deport the "criminals" accused to the country where the case against them is originated.

This is the first time Interpol has listed prominent Maoist leaders in a Red Corner Notice. And police say there are more names of Maoist "terrorists" that Nepal's police want on the RCN list, including military commanders of the People's Liberation Army.

Those listed in the RCN are rarely political "criminals" and the listing of Maoists in the Interpol RCN means that CPN (Maoist) will be treated as a "criminal" not a political group. In fact, there was apparently some initial problem in listing Maoist leaders in an RCN before the Nepalese government declared the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) a "terrorist outfit." But once Nepal was put under a state of emergency and the CPN (Maoist) were officially labeled "terrorists"--Nepal got its request that the Interpol Secretariat put the names of Maoist leaders on an RCN.

U.S Targets People's War

The People's War in Nepal is a genuine war of liberation--that has nothing in common with groups like al Qaida. But the government of Nepal has packaged its plea for foreign aid as a request for assistance in the "global fight against terrorism." And the United States, Britain, and other imperialist powers have all rushed to support the Nepalese regime's murderous "search and destroy" campaign and the "state of emergency." Hundreds of people in Nepal's countryside are being killed, and many more rounded up and jailed. All kinds of constitutional rights have been suspended. Newspapers sympathetic to the Maoists have been raided. Editors of mainstream newspapers have been hauled in for interrogation for simply quoting Maoist leaders, and the government is waging a heavy censorship and disinformation campaign.

The United States led the way in making the fight against Maoists in Nepal part of the "global war on terrorism." U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell went to Nepal in January to meet with the King, Prime Minister and head of the army. President Bush invited Nepal's Prime Minister Deuba to the White House to talk in May and then asked Congress to approve $20 in military and economic aid for Nepal.

Recently, Christina Rocca, Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs, testified to the House International Relations Committee that, "The Maoists [in Nepal] have shown themselves to be a ruthless enemy by their tactics in the field and through terrorist attacks against both government targets and innocent civilians." And, according to the BBC, the U.S. government has given special training on `Resistance Against Maoist Terrorism' to 20 Nepali officials associated with the security bodies and local bodies.

This is another example of how the U.S. declares "terrorism" to be "anything we say it is," and how its "war on terrorism" is being used to attack any force that is counter to U.S. domination in the world.

British Moves Against the People's War in Nepal

Meanwhile, the British government has stepped to the front of the line to build international support against the People's War in Nepal.

In May, after Nepal's Prime Minister Deuba left his meeting with Bush, he flew to London to meet with British Prime Minister Tony Blair--who pledged strong support to Deuba's fight against the Maoists. Britain has boosted its military aid, including training, equipment and logistics, to Nepal from $1 million to $10 million this year. And back in November, Britain provided the RNA with military equipment and vehicles.

Soon after Blair's meeting with Deuba, General Sir Michael Boyee, Chief of Britain's Defense Staff, went to Nepal to meet with the head of the Royal Nepalese Army, General Prajwalla Shamsher JB Rana, King Gyanendra and Prime Minister Deuba. Boyee discussed British military and development assistance to the RNA and was taken on a two-day trek into the countryside. Boyee was accompanied by half a dozen senior British army officials, who made a list of RNA military needs for the British government.

Boyee's visit came only a few days before an international meeting on June 19-20, sponsored by Britain, to discuss ways to help the Nepali government fight the Maoists. Representatives of the UK, USA, India, China, Russia, Japan, France, Germany, Norway, Switzerland, Finland, Denmark, Australia, a Nepalese delegation, and the UNDP, UNDPA, and the World Bank attended the meeting.

British Foreign Office Minister Mike O'Brien, speaking at the conference, declared that Nepal's struggle against Maoist insurgents should be seen as part of the wider war against terrorism. O'Brien admitted there was no evidence to link Nepal's militants to al Qaida or any other "terrorist organization." But he said Britain now saw the problem as part of the wider global war against terrorism and urged other countries to join its efforts to help the Nepali government. O'Brien said, "We cannot allow the terrorists to win. Nepal must not be allowed to become a failed State."

A press release by the British Embassy put out during the meeting noted that the conflict in Nepal poses a threat to regional stability.

Blair Helicopters for Nepal

On August 5, The Guardian reported that British Prime Minister Tony Blair had been accused of sneaking through parliament a decision to give the Royal Nepalese Army two Russian-built military helicopters.

According to The Guardian , "The military expenditure was hidden in a paper 48 hours before parliament went into recess and was slipped through under the `global conflict prevention pool'--a fund backed by the Foreign Office, Department of International Development and Ministry of Defense... The deal had the support of Jack Straw, the foreign secretary; Geoff Hoon, the defense secretary and Paul Boateng, chief secretary to the Treasury. Clare Short, the international development secretary, is thought to have opposed it -- which led to Mr. Blair's intervention to push it through as part of Britain's contribution to the `war against terrorism.' "

The document submitted to the Parliament said the military assistance "will comprise two Mi- 17 support helicopters, explosive ordinance disposal equipment, logistical equipment, communications equipment and equipment in support of the military intelligence support group which the UK are assisting the Royal Nepalese Army in setting up."

Apparently, Britain is planning to buy the Russian Mi-17 support helicopters on the open market.

Members of the British Parliament are given 14 days to raise questions about such a proposal. But Blair snuck the document in right before Parliament recessed - for 11 of the 14 days.

This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
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