WikiLeaks gives way to WikiGossip

WikiLeaks gives way to WikiGossip

While Julian Assange lies cooped up in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, his brainchild is leaking documents by the millions, raking up old muck from...

While Julian Assange lies cooped up in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, his brainchild is leaking documents by the millions, raking up old muck from the untidy sprawl of the Indian political landscape in the seventies. To call the so-called leaks sensational is an overstatement by miles, considering the fact that they are declassified public documents in the US and as someone rightly put it, the only things WikiLeaks has done is to organise it sequentially and made it searchable.

So at best these diplomatic dispatches are political gossip and at worst rambling, paranoid musings of American diplomats picked up from journalists and unnamed sources. Not to mention the horrible typos and language bloopers in the reports supposedly written by high-ranking diplomats. Clearly, despite the continued media coverage, the "revelations" about politicians and bureaucrats dead or alive have hardly managed to make any impact, let alone damage.

How does it matter if Sanjay Gandhi wanted to get into aviation business or A.K. Antony was among the very few in the Congress who dared to criticise him? While the former can be treated as minor gossip, the latter is scarcely a surprise considering Antony's clean and upright image is hardly a secret.

However, one has to admit that some of the reports make for interesting reading, even evoking a chuckle or two, and manage to give a historical perspective to the deeply entrenched idea of corruption. Like this one American official, who appears to be amused or possibly horrified at the extent of corruption in India, when he writes in his report: "It is impossible in any single message to give a description of the extent and modalities of corruption in India. Entire books have been written on this subject and there is little doubt but that these only dealt with the tip of the iceberg."

US embassy cables released by WikiLeaks have revealed that late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi offered to share information on nuclear technology with Pakistan. If it is not gossip, what else is this? According to WikiLeaks, Gandhi had written to the then Pakistan Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in 1974, in the wake of India's first nuclear test in Pokharan, offering to share information if proper conditions for trust were created. But he rejected the offer, said the cable. In fact, these two leaders never trusted each other.

As per US cables, revealed by WikiLeaks, former Prime Minister Gandhi was quoted as saying, "I have explained in my letter to Prime Minister Bhutto the peaceful nature and the economic purposes of this experiment and have also stated that India is willing to share her nuclear technology with Pakistan in the same way she is willing to share it with other countries, provided proper conditions for understanding and trust are created. I once again repeat this assurance."

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