A photograph has recently been leaked by a former New York Times staffer to «Gawker» showing the staff of The New York Times mocking the Nepal regicide – the assassination of the King and Queen of Nepal and their top aides – on June 1, 2001. The photo, which was taken sometime after the June 1, 2001 mass murder, shows opinion page editor Andrew Rosenthal mocking the alleged assassin, Crown Prince Dipendra, by wielding a toy M-16 over a group of other reporters who were pretending to be the dead Nepalese royal courtiers.
The reporters dabbed themselves with fake blood and were lying face down on dinner tables. Perhaps if theNew York Times took a fraction of the effort it took to put on such a childish skit the so-called «paper of record» might have realized that there were more than one theory behind the regicide and not the «official» theory promulgated by a new King who had every reason to cover up the truth.
The regicide was blamed on Dipendra, the King Birendra's son. It was claimed that Dipendra shot to death the members of the royal court in a drunken rage over his mother's refusal to sanction his engagement to Devyani Rana, a member of the royal family of the former Indian princely state of Gwalior, before turning an M-16 automatic weapon on himself. If the «official» story was true, someone seems to have replaced the murder weapon. The M-16 found next to Dipendra after his alleged attempted suicide was not the gun used to kill the King and Queen. That weapon was a German-made Heckler and Koch G-36 automatic rifle. Dipendra actually became king for three days while in a coma. His death paved the way for his uncle, Prince Gyanendra, a longtime associate of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Kathmandu station, to succeed to the throne.
The chain-smoking Gyanendra, who was toppled as monarch after Nepal became a republic in 2008, had been a close friend of Henry Kissinger ever since his days as U. S. Secretary of State in the 1970s. The Gerald Ford Presidential Library archives contain a memorandum on a secret meeting held on December 10, 1976, between Ford, then-Prince Gyanendra, and Kissinger. The meeting was held after Ford was defeated for re-election as president and while he was in a lame duck status prior to Jimmy Carter’s inauguration in January 1977. In the months prior to the regicide of 2001, the extremely unpopular Gyanendra entertained at his royal residence in Kathmandu a number of Indian Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), CIA, and Western private military contractor personnel, including employees of Military Professional Resources, Inc. (MPRI), a firm that carried out clandestine operations in Macedonia, Nigeria, and Croatia. The Nepalese Maoist and Marxist-Leninist opposition parties believed that a Nepalese army commando unit trained by U.S. special operations forces executed the royal family and staged Dipendra’s «suicide». The Nepalese unit’s special training was reportedly a pet project of U.S. Pacific Commander in Chief Admiral Dennis Blair, who was later rewarded with the post of Director of National Intelligence.
King Birendra had irritated the Indians and Americans by sending signals that he was prepared, along with establishing friendlier relations with China, arriving at a negotiated settlement with Nepal's Maoist guerrillas. Gyanendra, upon assuming power, reversed Birendra's peacemaking course and suspended the constitution and jailed political opponents. Gyanendra’s decisions, while pleasing to New Delhi and Washington, would ultimately cost the usurper king his throne after the Maoists were victorious in a democratic election for a new Constituent Assembly.
A formerly TOP SECRET CIA National Intelligence Daily, dated December 1, 1983, describes Washington's longtime hostility to King Birendra. Birendra visited Washington during the last week of November 1983 seeking the Reagan administration's support for Nepal to be declared a «zone of peace».
The CIA report states: «The King believes US support for his plan would help strengthen Nepal's neutrality between India and China». The report also states that «India... will take advantage of any political unrest to overwhelm Nepal as it previously had done in Sikkim and Bhutan». Birendra sought US military aid to counter «Indian domination». What Birendra did not realize was that the United States had, in 1975, given the green light to India's RAW to seize control of Sikkim, a principality neighboring Nepal that had its own King, Palden Thondup Namgyal. Moreover, Sikkim's queen was the American- born Hope Cook, who was personally disliked by Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Gandhi wrongfully believed the queen was a «CIA agent». Hope Cook and the Chogyal were also despised by Elisa-Maria Dorji, the Belgian-born wife of Sikkim's pro-Indian chief minister, Lhendup Dorji. Dorji became the Indian-appointed leader of Sikkim after the Chogyal was overthrown after an Indian army invasion in 1975. Dorji presided over the dismantling of the Sikkimese monarchy and the nation’s incorporation into India as a state.
Dorji is still considered to be Sikkim's treasonous version of Norway's pro-Hitler leader Vidkun Quisling. Dorji died at the age of 103 in 2007 in relative obscurity but he is still reviled by many Sikkimese. America's National Security Agency intercepted communications in 1975 that indicated that King Birendra, working with Pakistan and China, tried to exfiltrate the Chogyal from Indian-occupied Sikkim. The Nepalese, Pakistani, and Chinese plan to have the Chogyal declare a government-in-exile in Kathmandu, had the quiet support of Bhutan, the royal family of which had married into Sikkim’s royal family. Birendra's support for the monarchies of his neighbors, Sikkim and Bhutan, and dalliances with China, earned him the acrimony of RAW and the CIA and especially Kissinger, who supported the pro-Indian Gyanendra and hardline Nepalese conservatives against King Birendra’s foreign policy initiatives. Kissinger also did not raise any objections to the Indian annexation of Sikkim. Kissinger, a supporter of fascist and expansionist regimes around the world, not only gave his approval for the Indian annexation of Sikkim but also the Indonesian annexation of East Timor and Morocco’s annexation of Western Sahara. Years of hostility to Birendra by New Delhi and Washington culminated in the 2001 regicide carried out by agents of RAW and the CIA. Had the New York Times bothered to read up on a bit of recent Himalayan history, the newspaper may not have been so quick to mock the mass murder with an immature and unprofessional skit.
The censorship imposed on the domestic Nepalese and foreign media after the regicide ensured that only the official story about Dipendra assassinating his mother and father and other members of the royal court was carried in newspapers and on radio and television. Star News, an Indian satellite channel, was taken off cable in Nepal for two days after it began broadcasting speculation about King Gyanendra and his son, Paras, the new crown prince being behind the murders. Once those reports cased running, Star News broadcasts to Nepal were resumed.
After Gyanendra became king, U.S. ambassador to Nepal James Moriarty worked behind the scenes to ensure the resumption of U.S. military aid to Nepal’s regime. Moriarty and the CIA station in Kathmandu sent overly-alarming reports to Washington that Nepal was on the verge of becoming a «failed state». During the Bush administration, the specter of a «failed state» became a propaganda tool to argue for stepped up military assistance to various regimes.
The New York Times’s mocking of a day in Nepal’s history that ranks in tragedy alongside the recent devastating earthquakes is another indication of the downfall of American journalism.