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WikiLeaks Cash-For-Votes Exposé Rocks Indian Government 225

Posted by Soulskill
from the never-a-dull-moment dept.
mage7 writes "While the world's attention seems to be focused on the events unfolding in Japan and the Middle-east, Indian headlines are being dominated by the latest WikiLeaks' revelations. The newly leaked cable (dated 17 July 2008) suggests that India's ruling Congress party bribed MPs in order to secure their votes for a controversial nuclear deal between India and the US. Among other details, it describes how a senior Congress aide showed a US embassy official 'chests of cash' allegedly containing about $25 million to pay off MPs ahead of the vote. Another Congress insider told a US official about how the Minister of Commerce and Industry formerly 'could only offer small planes as bribes ... now he can pay for votes with jets.'"
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WikiLeaks Cash-For-Votes Exposé Rocks Indian Government

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    So...at what point do we really think that bribes are NOT the norm. Honestly we can decry this as horrible but it's how things work.

    • "Treason doth never prosper: what's the reason? Why if it prosper, none dare call it treason."
      - Ovid

      I think the same sentiment applies to corruption.

      The fact is that yes, we know that bribery happens often, and in emerging economies like India, it is very prevalent. But that hardly means we should just knowingly nod our heads and shrug our shoulders. As prevalent as corruption is, it should not be tolerated where it is discovered. Indeed, it's prevalence should spur on those seeking to root it out.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Bribes in business is one thing. Bribes involving government and elected officials is a different thing altogether.

    • So...at what point do we really think that bribes are NOT the norm. Honestly we can decry this as horrible but it's how things work.

      That's a strawman. It doesn't matter here if bribes are the norm or not. What matters is: did bribes get paid this time and to whom? Whoever accepted them should be punished.

      Always act on the concrete facts, beliefs about all sorts of other things don't matter.

    • Bribes ARE the way things are done in India. It's to the point now that regulations are so twisted and unmanageable that the only way to get anything done is with bribes. But that doesn't mean it's right. In the US we are supposedly given a vote. But our choice is between people that want to take our money and waste it on government programs that do more harm than good, or people that want to take our money and waste it on tanks and jet fighters when our enemies are 2 guys in a pickup truck and a hunting ri
  • Good Stuff (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hellkyng (1920978) on Friday March 18, 2011 @03:51PM (#35535984)

    Exposing this kind of corruption is what makes WikiLeaks necessary in my mind. Despite the (sometimes valid) criticism of WikiLeaks you don't see anyone else exposing this kind of stuff.

  • Japan's recent disasters have unfortunately drawn away the public eye from the middle east and now this. Almost a shame that way. The public (and the media) only have so big of an attention span. There's just too much going on around the world right now for everything to get the coverage it deserves.

    Makes me wonder if wikileaks had intended to publish this leak some days earlier and postponed it when Japan jumped the charts?

    And then we have that Hollywood Patriot Act [arstechnica.com] that is going to fly completely under the public's radar.

    All quite a shame really...

    • There's just too much going on around the world right now for everything to get the coverage it deserves.

      Not sure if you're being serious...

      You're right, though. Let's see...we have a choice between reporting on corruption in India or showing the umptee-umpth video of a tsunami plowing into cars and houses and pictures of things where they are not supposed to be (cars in trees, buildings in the ocean, etc.)

      Gosh. Decisions, decisions...

  • by Labcoat Samurai (1517479) on Friday March 18, 2011 @03:55PM (#35536038)

    "Nachiketa Kapur denied the report, saying: "I vehemently deny these malicious allegations. There was no cash to point out to."

    "Satish Sharma told a news channel that he did not even have an aide called Nachiketa Kapur."

    Wait, so who did they interview?

  • by LWATCDR (28044) on Friday March 18, 2011 @03:56PM (#35536050) Homepage Journal

    How do we know that these cables where not edited?
    From the BBC
    "Nachiketa Kapur denied the report, saying: "I vehemently deny these malicious allegations. There was no cash to point out to."
    Satish Sharma told a news channel that he did not even have an aide called Nachiketa Kapur.
    "I never had and still don't have a political aide," he said.
    Mr Sharma is described as a "close associate of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi [and] considered to be a very close family friend of [Congress party chief] Sonia Gandhi".
    The cable said that Mr Kapur also claimed that MPs belonging to regional party Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) had been paid 100 million rupees ($2.5m; £1.5m) each to ensure they voted for the "right way".
    RLD leader Ajit Singh has denied the charge and said that he was "opposed to the nuclear deal" and his party MPs "voted against the government".
    These exchanges are alleged to have happened at the time of a controversial deal between India and the US which paved the way for India to massively expand its nuclear power capability."

    It should be easy to find ot if this person had such an aid.
    If you are unwilling to trust the government why are you willing to trust Wikileaks? Just wondering since this leak as far as I can see has no data to support it. And the best way to earn trust would be to release a bunch of leaks unaltered and then when it is worth the risk release an altered one.

    I am just wondering if it is wise to take something that is so easy to forge as the truth without verification.

    • talking of editing, what the hell happened to Slashdot?, I cant get a flat view back, all I get is the first line of comments - what happened? all of a sudden the most erudite conversation I know of on the net got reduced to a one line tweet.

      • Oh its ok, my apologies for posting to myself, I was wrong, turns out that that point and click Microsoft windows slider gadget lets you see as much as you want. Brilliant. The trouble with Wiki leaks is that it is context free, no editors, no journalism. Ok fine it leaks stuff but to be honest unless you live in Iran or Libya its pointless reading any of their releases until you can see what investigative journalists have done with the information. By the way, well done to Mr Obama for getting the world to

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Because Wikileaks has been right every single time so far.

      Furthermore, objective reasoning would realize that these are merely leaked cables, and that the cables could be wrong.

      And also because odds are anything that's going to make the American Empire freak out THIS much is probably true.

    • by fava (513118)

      It would not be the first time that an "aide" to a powerful figure made "arrangements" on their bosses behalf and then the "aide" and the bribe was never seen again.

    • by Lloyd_Bryant (73136) on Friday March 18, 2011 @04:21PM (#35536382)

      It should be easy to find ot if this person had such an aid.

      Well, they *obviously* found someone named "Nachiketa Kapur", whose response was "There was no cash to point out to". Note that it wasn't "I don't work for Mr Sharma", or "I have no connection to that political party", or anything else that might indicate that he was *not* in fact Mr Sharma's aide.

      What we'll probably discover is that Mr. Kapur is officially employed by someone other than Mr Sharma, in some position that on paper has nothing to do with politics. But Kapur's response indicates that he is involved in that party, and has some association with Sharma.

      If you are unwilling to trust the government why are you willing to trust Wikileaks? Just wondering since this leak as far as I can see has no data to support it. And the best way to earn trust would be to release a bunch of leaks unaltered and then when it is worth the risk release an altered one.

      Because governments routinely lie, while Wikileaks has yet to be caught in *any* sort of fabrication? Your theory of them building their reputation via real information so they can then fabricate some false info suffers from one major problem - what does Wikileaks get from risking that hard earned reputation? Is causing a scandal in India really worth risking the whole Wikileaks project?

    • by shaitand (626655)

      Wikileaks is releasing the cables and guaranteeing they are actual cables. They are not guaranteeing that the information contained within the cables is real. It is certainly possible that bogus cables are intentionally sent by diplomats for the express purpose of counter-intelligence in case anyone is listening.

      • by _Sprocket_ (42527)

        Wikileaks is releasing the cables and guaranteeing they are actual cables. They are not guaranteeing that the information contained within the cables is real. It is certainly possible that bogus cables are intentionally sent by diplomats for the express purpose of counter-intelligence in case anyone is listening.

        Or that the cables contain faulty analysis of information.

    • Ambassador David C. Mulford — the man who sent many of the secret U.S. embassy cables accessed by The Hindu through WikiLeaks — put to rest any doubts on the veracity of their contents on Friday, stating that “certainly the reports from the U.S. embassy [in New Delhi] in general are accurate reports.”

      http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article1551181.ece [thehindu.com]

      If WikiLeaks faked a single cable, especially one as easily checked as you say this one is, they would eventually be found out. That would give anyone looking to dismiss the rest of the cables just the excuse they need.

    • by Rakishi (759894)

      If you are unwilling to trust the government why are you willing to trust Wikileaks?

      Because wikileaks has no strong incentive to lie and a massive incentive to not lie?

      Wikileaks doesn't gain much from the cables, some reputation but they have so many cable and their reputation is already very high. The cost of a fake cable, which would instantly be discovered, would sink all of that and likely get some of them put in jail (due to a lack of a public opinion shield from annoyed governments).

      Governments on the other hand, or rather the politicians and bureaucrats that make them up, have very

  • I don't buy that. The money came from somebody who stood to earn a lot more than $25 million on this deal. If we knew who that was, we'd know who was calling the tune. If we knew whose hands the money passed through, any Americans on that list would be subject to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. That might even include administration officials who were acting in a private capacity for their friends.

  • by ChipMonk (711367) on Friday March 18, 2011 @04:24PM (#35536426) Journal
    Well, that's my first thought, anyway. But then I remember that William Jefferson (D-Louisiana, formerly) was bought with $400K, with $90K of that being cold, hard cash.... literally, it was found in his freezer by the FBI. I guess the MP's in India know what their going rate is.
  • Assisting India with nuclear technology is counter to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty and the deal should never have been made. No wonder it is corrupt.
  • This just further proves: Julian Assange is a traitor to America!

    • by dclozier (1002772)
      It's worse than that - he's not even a US citizen! ;)
      • It's worse than that - he's not even a US citizen! ;)

        Surely that's the worst crime of all--after all, who *doesn't* want to be a US citizen? ;-P

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