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Government The Military Technology

WikiLeaks Cash-For-Votes Exposé Rocks Indian Government 225

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 on Friday March 18, 2011 @04:50PM (#35535978)

    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.

  • Good Stuff (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hellkyng ( 1920978 ) on Friday March 18, 2011 @04:51PM (#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.

  • by FooAtWFU ( 699187 ) on Friday March 18, 2011 @04:54PM (#35536024) Homepage

    It's a lot more effective to decry it as horrible (and do something about it) when you have concrete examples of people who have been bribing each other.

    Is Assange finished with his "I hate America and want to bring down their evil, corrupt regime" business for the time being, then? Because I approve of this sort of leak; it does a lot more good in the world than the dubious Afghanistan-related stuff.

  • by vadim_t ( 324782 ) on Friday March 18, 2011 @05:02PM (#35536118) Homepage

    I really hope you're trolling because it's that much of an insane statement.

    But supposing are you serious: Let's say bribes are legal. How would that work exactly? Should laws come with a price attached? Pay $1M, and we forget that murder?

    Yeah, that'd make for an interesting world.

  • Re:Good Stuff (Score:1, Insightful)

    by C_amiga_fan ( 1960858 ) on Friday March 18, 2011 @05:04PM (#35536156)

    >>>Wikileaks should deal with its legal troubles and pass off...to someone who is still trustworthy.

    What the HELL are you talking about? Wikileaks hasn't done anything wrong to be labeled "untrustworthy". It sounds like you've been buying into the Corrupt US Government's propaganda.

    Aside -

    I wonder if the Indian government will not try to copy the US, and arrest Assange as a "traitor"? (shrug) Well whatever.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 18, 2011 @05:05PM (#35536170)

    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 Microlith ( 54737 ) on Friday March 18, 2011 @05:08PM (#35536206)

    Wikileaks may be using it to distract from its crimes.

    What crimes might those be?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 18, 2011 @05:12PM (#35536268)

    in practice the rich win.

    when 400 people in this country have more assets than 150,000,000 .... something is seriously messed up

  • by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Friday March 18, 2011 @05:12PM (#35536270)

    He doesn't require your approval. I realize that it's hard to believe, but perhaps the fact that many tens of thousands are dead because of the Bush administrations decision to go to war, without cause, is of interest because hundreds of thousands died for no good reason and that the period after the invasion was arguable worse than most of Hussein's period in power.

    But, no, this is clearly evidence of a vendetta by Assange against the US government rather than a combination of a lack of resources and a compelling international interest in the information.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 18, 2011 @05:13PM (#35536276)

    Children, this is what is known as the "never read the documents but has crazy political views" commenter. It's an odd species, certainly less numerous than the "didn't RTFA commenter."

  • by Lloyd_Bryant ( 73136 ) on Friday March 18, 2011 @05:21PM (#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 Anonymous Coward on Friday March 18, 2011 @05:30PM (#35536494)

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

  • by flyingsquid ( 813711 ) on Friday March 18, 2011 @05:51PM (#35536788)
    Yeah, nice white collar bribe leaks. No more of that anti warm/fuzzy US Afghanistan death squads and evidence of wiping out entire villages to artificially increase insurgent death counts.

    [Citation needed]

    If you're against U.S. military efforts in Afghanistan, fine. It's a pretty awful war. But there are plenty of incidents to point to without making things up. Try reading the newspaper regularly, or just do a quick search on Google news. Just a couple of days ago, an airstrike killed two children, and nine children were killed a couple of weeks ago, prompting outrage by Karzai (url:http://www.voanews.com/english/news/asia/NATO-to-Probe-New-Afghan-Civilian-Casualties-118084799.html). There are plenty of other well-publicized cases: an AC-130 gunship that took out a wedding party and killed 40 people (url:http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/06/world/asia/06afghan.html); a sociopathic officer who was directing his men to murder Afghan civilians; he and his men were arrested and are facing charges (url:http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/05/world/asia/05gibbs.html).

    You're not under any obligation to support the war or the U.S. But in an age where you can get accurate facts to support your arguments in 10 seconds with a quick search of Google News, Wikipedia, or WikiLeaks, there's no excuse for running around and making stuff up. It's the information age, so there's no excuse for not having your information straight.

  • by mosb1000 ( 710161 ) <mosb1000@mac.com> on Friday March 18, 2011 @06:23PM (#35537126)

    The problem is that keeping it hidden is necessary to perpetuate it. If this kind of thing were done openly people would be like "woah, wait a minute, what are we signing up for?" Today we are baffled that the "system" doesn't work. We wonder why it doesn't work, or what improvements can be made to it. We think maybe if we elect different leaders they will do a better job. Maybe if our party had more power they'd fix things. Maybe if more people voted the quality of the votes would be better and the quality of the candidates would be better.

    Rules like this exist for the people that break them. It's illegal to accept bribes so that some people can go on doing it and others won't realize it's happening. You swear an oath so that you can lie and people won't think you're lying. We have a system where it's illegal to pay for political influence so that people won't realize we have a system where political influence it bought and sold.

    In reality, the system works exactly as intended, but people don't realize what is intended by it. I think it would be better if they did.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 18, 2011 @06:44PM (#35537342)

    “Patriotism ... is a superstition artificially created and maintained through a network of lies and falsehoods; a superstition that robs man of his self-respect and dignity, and increases his arrogance and conceit.” - Emma Goldman

  • by tnk1 ( 899206 ) on Friday March 18, 2011 @06:44PM (#35537344)

    First off, I think the grandparent was talking about vendettas sarcastically. He doesn't think there is one. I don't really think there is one either, but I can't prove it either way.

    That said, I do feel strongly that people should understand that just because you are releasing the truth doesn't mean that you aren't engaging in a vendetta. The facts can be measured out and released in such a manner and in just such a way as to cause purposeful discomfort to people.

    If you knew someone that you hated was cheating on their wife, but you waited until just the right moment for maximum damage before you told the wife about it, you might well be engaging in a vendetta. While such a truth is always going to cause some discomfort, there are certainly better times than others to release it. Or you don't have to release it at all....

    As for whether or not it being the truth makes the intent irrelevant, consider some things that are true about you that you wouldn't want released. Or more likely, things you wouldn't want released without the right context. Or maybe, facts strung together in just the right way to make it look like something it is not.

    To speak to the content itself, these prospective facts are very damaging. These facts are newsworthy, or perhaps it might be more accurate to say that with the proper context pieced together, they provide the basis for solid news. In any event, I can see why Wikileaks would publish them, considering that generally they are not in the business of actual journalism. They tend to be more like raw data providers with some, but not much in the way of editing or analysis.

    On the other hand, consider that India has been known to have corruption issues. It may well be that both sides of the aisle were receiving bribes, but we only have the one side of the conversation. That doesn't make bribery right or good, but it may turn what looks to be an outrageous one-sided deal into what was actually a sale to the highest bidder. In other words, a one sided release of data can turn into an unspoken lie that the *other* side is completely innocent and working in good faith, when their only real "virtue" is not having enough money to win.

    In the end, there is simply no weapon more devastating than the truth, delivered in just the right way.

  • by quarterbuck ( 1268694 ) on Friday March 18, 2011 @06:56PM (#35537444)
    It's cheaper than that and perfectly legal in some countries. CIA paid [voanews.com] only about 1.4 million for 2 murders and a homicide.
    I accept that there is a slight difference here, in that the payment went directly to the kin and not to judges/politicians. But yes, the answer is Pay $1M, and we forget that murder is true in some parts of the world

"An open mind has but one disadvantage: it collects dirt." -- a saying at RPI