Very tricky leaks
The WikiLeaks cables are just a pack of lies. They're laughable, mere idle tittle-tattle. All they do is paint an image of US diplomats working hard and sleuthing around and cultivating reliable sources, while actually they're having a ball. Manas Chakravarty writes.india Updated: Mar 19, 2011 23:05 IST
The WikiLeaks cables are just a pack of lies. They're laughable, mere idle tittle-tattle. All they do is paint an image of US diplomats working hard and sleuthing around and cultivating reliable sources, while actually they're having a ball.
Consider, for instance, some of these other cables reportedly sent by the US embassy, forwarded to me by a chap who said he was a political attaché but who looked a lot like Muammar Gaddafi and you'll realise they can hardly be a trusted source of information, or indeed whether they are from any embassy at all.
Cable no RAJA176000. Xtremely Secret. Hugely confidential:
A high ranking politico told an embassy official at a cocktail party he couldn't understand why US telecom firms are not coming forward to bid for the second generation telecom licences. 'All they have to do is submit the bids to me and deposit some moolah in an account in a Swiss bank, and a licence is assured,' he said. An insider told us the date of the application should be left blank and they would fill it up later so that we get the license on a first-come-first-served basis. We feel there may be a window of opportunity for the American telecom industry here.
Cable No KALMADI007. Classified R&B (Read &Burn):
US contractors should cash in on the opportunities on offer at the Commonwealth Games to be held here in New Delhi. A reliable source told me of hugely inflated bills for almost everything, $150 umbrellas being the most egregious example. We understand that some of the loot is being shared with a London company. How come the Brits are able to cash in while our firms dawdle? If our businessmen are this lazy, it's no wonder we have such a big recession.
Cable No. YEDDY001. KUH (Keep Under Hat):
A well-connected political honcho told an embassy staffer he was keen to see a strategic partnership between US and India in the field of illegal mining. He said mines across the country were being sold to bidders who could provide the most by way of election funding. We feel these mines could be a useful source of raw materials for our industry and hope to see vastly profitable joint ventures.
Cable No. ADARSH002. KUW ( Keep Under Wraps):
This is to inform you about large sea facing flats in a co-operative society in Mumbai's posh Colaba area going for a song. All that is required is a small donation to a political party and the flat will be yours. Please circulate widely to the Indian NRI community in the US, particularly those who work for the CIA.
Cable No 666. Very Hush-Hush:
We have made a list of state-level politicians who are spirited away to five-star locations whenever there is a no-confidence vote in the assembly. These men are eminently amenable to vote for the highest bidder. We must cultivate such people to extend our influence cheaply, now that the dollar is so strong.
Notice the absurd allegations in these so-called documents. What's more, they are riddled with errors. The first cable talks of 'second generation licences' whereas they were actually 2G licences; the second cable talks of $150 umbrellas, but umbrellas were actually priced at $155 each. Illegal mining was not 'across the country' but only in Jharkhand and Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh and no self-respecting NRI will buy a flat in Colaba, it's not all that posh. For all these reasons, the Wikileaks cables deserve to be consigned to the dustbin.
Manas Chakravarty is Consulting Editor, Mint
The views expressed by the author are personal