Wikileaks Unveils Evidence Of Indian Parliamentary Bribery

from the but-it's-all-useless,-right? dept

While plenty of attention late last week was focused (reasonably) on the goings on in Libya and Japan, there was a Wikileaks story that also was important. As Slashdot notes, a recent Wikileaks cable leak reveals claims of rampant bribery in the Indian parliament, specifically with regards to a controversial nuclear deal with the US. The report, from a State Department official, involves him reporting that he was shown “chests of cash” potentially representing $25 million, which was going to be used to pay off members of Parliament to vote for the deal. Of course, the response has been a whole lot of denial, so it should be interesting to watch what comes next. However, given how often we hear that the Wikileaks documents weren’t any kind of whistleblowing or hadn’t revealed anything major, I’m curious how people can still claim that, given this latest leak.

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Comments on “Wikileaks Unveils Evidence Of Indian Parliamentary Bribery”

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Michael (profile) says:


“given how often we hear that the Wikileaks documents weren’t any kind of whistleblowing or hadn’t revealed anything major, I’m curious how people can still claim that, given this latest leak”

Cash being given to government officials as a payoff for their vote is clearly not any sort of major revelation.

So, this is a non-story again, Mike.

[(do I need a sarc-mark?]

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Argument

Actually, the funny part of all of this is outside of the wikileaks “documents” there isn’t much to go with. I mean, this document “reveals claims of” is the worst sort of third hand information.

India is incredibly corrupt (one of the reasons they don’t have strong copyright laws), so bribery isn’t particularly shocking. But using third hand “claims” as the basis to claim that Wikileaks is great isn’t exactly ringing true.

Paul (profile) says:

Re: Re: Argument

“India is incredibly corrupt (one of the reasons they don’t have strong copyright laws)…”

Okay, I will admit to being mostly ignorant of Indian Copyright law, however I can look up Indian Copyright Law on Wikipedia,, which says:

“Indian copyright law is governed by the Indian Copyright Act, 1957. Copyright Law in the country was governed by the Copyright Act of 1914,which was essentially the extension of the British Copyright Act, 1911 to India,and borrowed extensively from the new Copyright Act of the United Kingdom of 1956. Now Indian Copyright is governed by the Indian Copyright Act,1957[1].
The Indian Copyright Act today is compliant with most international conventions and treaties in the field of copyrights.India is a member of the Berne Convention of 1886 (as modified at Paris in 1971), the Universal Copyright Convention of 1951 and the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement of 1995.
Though India is not a member of the Rome Convention of 1961, WIPO Copyrights Treaty (WCT) and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT),the Copyright Act is compliant with it.[2]”

Honestly, I don’t know how strictly India enforces their copyright laws. But in any event, it does not appear to me to be all that weak. In fact, I would think they need some reform, (i.e. they need to strengthen consumer rights, and back off the corporate copyright welfare), just not as much as most of the west.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Argument

Like many things in India, the existence of a copyright law is only window dressing, “copyright theater” to use the sort of phrase that is commonly used around here. The law may be on the books, but it isn’t applied very often, unless an outside company attempts to take on a major Indian company.

India has some of the highest piracy in areas like medicines.

Much of this is due to a political system of bribes and castes, which means that relatively small numbers of people control much of the wealth and run the country for their own benefits. A trunk of cash in India is about as common as sacred cows.

Since you enjoy wiki, you may want to read that to get a little bit of an understanding of the issues in place.

Qritiqal (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Argument

“piracy in areas like medicines”

So, we have this misnomer for infringement of infinite goods: “piracy”

Now, you’ve taken the incorrect word and applied it back to a scarce good in an even more nonsensical fashion. BRAVO!

How often do pirates come into drug stores to raid and pillage all their medicines? Is that a big problem in India? Perhaps we should pass some strict laws in the U.S. to prevent that kind of behavior before it takes root.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Argument

They have a high level of piracy in medicines. Specifically, they have both completely ignored patents on medical developments, and they also have a horrible problem of counterfeit medicines. These fake pills (pirated medications) are often made up of no active ingredients, or worse substances that might actually harm the patients.

Piracy in medication is a serious issue.

Sorry if you guys are unable to grasp a basic concept.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Argument

Sorry if you guys are unable to grasp a basic concept.

We do understand the concept. It’s you that is conflating different issues under the word “piracy”. If you talking about counterfeit medicines, then say counterfeit medicines and stop trying to push that all encompassing, emotionally charged word “piracy”. Thanks.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Argument

Ahh, so I shouldn’t call piracy that… I should call it, what, nice people making a living by using other people’s names and reputations to sell a bogus product?

It isn’t just counterfeit medicine, it is a pharma industry that ignored patents from companies outside of India to produce knock offs, some good, some bad, blocking the real companies from the marketplace. At the same time, these knock offs are often repackaged as the “real thing” and sold outside of India.

It’s a whole network of lies, deception, theft, and graft. It’s piracy at it’s finest.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Argument

Ahh, so I shouldn’t call piracy that… I should call it, what, nice people making a living by using other people’s names and reputations to sell a bogus product?

You should call them by their proper terms – patent infringement, copyright infringement and product counterfeiting. Three very different issues.

Trying to combine them under one word is disingenuous at best and could be construed as devious.

Paul (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Argument

The problem here is the lax use of terms. It is a common thing in natural language. I might say I saw that AT&T is going to buy T-Mobile, for example. But in fact it could be that I didn’t “see” this, I heard it on the radio.

In most cases such expressions don’t change the meaning. In fact even blind people will make reference to things they have “seen” in their life, though they cannot see. We understand the idea of “seeing” as being the same as “learning” or “experiencing”.

However, Piracy does not imply or connote the concept counterfeiting. The Content Industry repeatedly attempts to conflate infringement with counterfeiting and theft as doing so provides emotional support for their views. However, there is no intersection between infringement, counterfeiting, and theft.

And to be honest, Piracy has always been associated with theft and not infringement. Infringing on the copyright or trademark will never be prosecuted under laws against piracy, because it isn’t piracy. A counterfeiter will never be prosecuted under laws against piracy, because that isn’t piracy either.

Big Content has been successful in establishing the term “Piracy” to refer to people that download copyrighted material illegally. But I think it is ridiculous to allow Big Content and their supporters to further confuse downloading with counterfeiting.

The English Language and the Law affords you many perfectly reasonable and rightly defined words and terms to describe infringement, counterfeiting, and theft. Do so and make your argument. But even when your error is pointed out to you (and many others on the pro-copyright side) are loath to drop it, and use proper terms, and discuss the issues. Why?

The only reason possible that a misuse of the language could be so important is that doing so avoids addressing the issues, and is important in deceiving the casual voter about the issues.

Chargone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Argument

much as i hate to provide support for a stupid position, there’s a case to be made for ignoring foreign patents being called ‘piracy’.

the term ‘Yankee’ for people from the USA apparantly comes from the dutch for ‘pirate’ from the USA’s early days when it did exactly that.

unless that’s a myth or something.

still, yes, copyright infringement, counterfeitting, trademark violation, violation of patents, and actual piracy (it involves ships, yo.), are all different things and should be labled as such.

Paul (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Argument

It isn’t my fault that you said they don’t have copyright laws, and you meant that they do not enforce their copyright laws. Had you said the latter, I might have spent my couple of minutes looking into THAT issue.

It remains that India has copyright laws, and that various international organizations recognize those laws as being adequate.

I should point out that copyright infringement is quite rampant in the U.S., but I would not say the U.S. does not have any copyright laws, nor would I say the existence of such infringement is an indicator of vast corruption in the U.S.. The U.S. is plenty corrupt, and if anything I’d say the copyright laws written to support Big Content, and attention to enforcing those laws is the proof of that.

harbingerofdoom (profile) says:

Re: Re: Argument

im sorry but no.
india may very well be incredibly corrupt but exactly who would be in a position to bribe them OUT of creating copyright laws and who would be in a damned fine position to bribe them INTO creating super rediculous copyright law that was litterally nothing more than whatever RIAA/MPAA/whateverAA wanted line by line?

the idea as you have it is perhaps the most insanely stupid idea i have heard in a very long time…

Ashwini Sharma (profile) says:

Re: Re: Argument

India is incredibly corrupt (one of the reasons they don’t have strong copyright laws),

^india is incredibly corrupt, yes. but thats not the reason why India dont have strong copyright laws. the dominating reason for why India dont have strong copyright laws is are the same reasons for which america did not have ANY COPYRIGHT LAW PROTECTION for foreign works around 100 years ago.

Old Fool (profile) says:

Standard Indian Politics

Corruption is so rife in India its considered normal.

I once read a breakdown of Mrs Gandhi’s received bribes as she gave out government contracts in a newspaper, it wasn’t written as shocking, merely informative.

A policeman friend described the system of bribes allowed by each rank and how much the bribe was to reach that rank, it was like listening to ‘The bribery instruction book’

I’m pretty sure the average Indian’s attitude to this will be… so what?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Standard Indian Politics

Perhaps because campaign donations, properly made, are long recognized as a form of political speech protected under the First Amendment.

My primary concern with documents such as these is that their disclosure may have a chilling effect on candidness and completeness of communications. Is it really a good thing to have a writer deliberately omit information from something in writing out of fear that it might be disclosed outside of the government. Importantly, I am not attempting to justify non-disclosure for all communications, but just raising the question as it pertains to certain classes where being candid and thorough is of the utmost importance so that an accurate and complete representation of a situation is presented.

Anonymous Coward says:

I sometimes think they people they feel will end up in danger from the release of this information is themselves.
Maybe it is time for them to consider that if they are unwilling to let people be aware of what they are doing, maybe that is a good indicator they should not be doing it.

While some activities need to be in secret, a majority of what they are hiding are just attempts to conceal they are as corrupt as those they publicly rail against.

Bruce Ediger (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Statistically, real threats are rare, but ambition and corruption are common. Overwhelmingly, the purpose of censorship is not the protection of national security, but the protection of individual careers. That’s not ideology, but mathematics. Because there are very, very, few true
national secrets, but a huge amounts of information that someone would like to bury for one reason or another.

Seth Finkelstein

Shon Gale (profile) says:

So why are you surprised? The system is based on English Parliamentary crap so no wonder they’re crooked. Also the caste / class system means the class above yours can demand anything they like.
I had an Indian Landlord once that was going through a divorce. His wife was going to get the property I lived in and came banging on the door one morning demanding entrance. So I told her to go suck an egg. She couldn’t stand it, she called the cops and they wouldn’t come. She could not understand how a mere renter could deny her entrance to her own property. I told her welcome to America and go home before I sue her for harassment. Finally the police did come but because she was harassing me. She finally got the message. I can only imagine what the Indian parliament is like. A bunch of whiny overprivileged assholes that expect the rest of the country to bow down because they are a lower caste.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Ummm pumpkin… the fact the US Government is having kittens over these “secret” documents does in fact confirm the validity.
The fact they are trying to connect Manning and Assange in some sort of evil spy thriller, when there is not such a connection adds to the fact, they are real.
They are trying to focus everyone on the evils that might happen from the release of this information, to keep people from actually looking at the information and finding the evil within.
And given the reluctance of the Government to own up to any of the laws they break or see others break to “protect” our interests, this information would never be forthcoming.
The Constitution and the Ideals of the US often seem to take a back seat to kowtowing to big campaign contributors, especially when you can hide actions even the staunchest believers on either side would look at and say WTF?!

Chargone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

generally because teh people on the ‘pirate side’ get fined out of existance for their troubles, or in some cases sent to jail (or in a few extream cases tourtured without ever seeing court)

for things like this, the most that’ll happen is an investigation of what actually happened, followed by a coverup.

it really all comes down to consiquences, i guess.

hmm (profile) says:

I've never understood..

How does the caste system work? since people aren’t genetically seperated into ‘castes’ whats to stop someone just saying “hey I’m from that really cool caste over there…give me a job!”.

As long as a few others are prepared to pretend along with you and back you up when questioned, there is no way whatsoever (other that an ingrained sense of worthlessness) that would make you say your from the lower castes.

Chargone (profile) says:

Re: I've never understood..

i seem to remember a few centuries of selective breeding based on it making it partially a physical distinction. (the higher casts in india look positively european, the lower, not so much) being a factor.

also, i’m pretty sure it doesn’t take a heck of a lot to double check records. and there’s always going to be people who Won’t play along.

Anonymous Coward says:

its economics, family name, location of where you live, job you perform etc… its quite easy for them to figure it out, outsiders, not so much

and piracy is becoming a generic term for all bad/illegal/counterfeit etc… things, deal with it, move on, just like the company that owned the name netbook, was told its a generic used term today, have a nice day, no lawsuit for you

this is a non news story, corruption blah blah bribe money old news

its only here cause you want to use it to support your traitor friends who want to steal info and release it and claim innocence

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