Assange on cash-for-votes: Indian politicians respond by attempting to cover-up the issue

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New Delhi:  In an exclusive interview to NDTV's Prannoy Roy, WikiLeaks chief Julian Assange discusses the cables that have stormed through the Indian Parliament after they were released last week.  One cable states that the Congress bought MPs ahead of its vote of confidence in 2008 over the nuclear deal with the US.  The Prime Minister told Parliament last week that there was no reason to believe that the cable was authentic, and that the Indian players mentioned in them have challenged the facts stated within.  Assange says that's a "deliberate attempt" by the PM to "mislead the Indian public." (Watch Full Interview Here)

Here's an excerpt from the interview.

NDTV: The WikiLeaks cables on India have created a storm in Parliament. The response has been for the Opposition to accept it without question and the response of the government has been to live in denial. Two totally different responses. Is this normal behaviour to politicise your material? (Read Full Transcript Here)

Assange: In response to our publishing, the US government has taken certain steps, like to pressure banks to cut financial transactions to us. That is very revealing about the power connections between high finance and the US state department. Similarly, in the response to the cables alleging that that US state Embassy was shown cash boxes for bribing Parliamentarians, we saw something rather disturbing. We saw an immediate rush, not to deny that allegations in these facts were not true...we want to investigate properly to make sure everything is clear.. that we are innocent. Rather what we saw was an attempt to distort the record and fool the public about the nature of the material. First to say, they refused to comment at all, to suggest that the materials are not verified and that no other government accepted it. Absolutely false...that is actually the behaviour of guilty men. Man who is innocent doesn't tend to behave like that. That doesn't mean, people making those statements like Prime Minister Singh and so on are guilty of this particular crime, it suggests something that how Indian Parliamentarians and Indian politicians respond to very serious allegations. They respond through indirection, by lying and attempting to cover up the issue for the public rather than address it fully and frankly. The most serious issue in the cable, I suspect, is yet to be revealed. Just looking at what happened with other countries, that doesn't mean The Hindu is necessarily holding back what it thinks to be most important for Indians to last. In other countries they have dealt with ...you know an issue can catch fire, imagination of the public may not be the one you first think. There is quite a bit of time to get through the material...the material from Pakistan, from China.....it is likely to be interest to the Indian population.


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