Cash-For-Votes Cables Are Authentic: Assange To NDTV

. 3/22/11

In an exclusive interview to NDTV's Prannoy Roy, Julian Assange says that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is wrong to have questioned the authenticity of the WikiLeaks cable that stormed the Indian Parliament last week. However, he also stressed the charges are worth investigating.

A cable in 2008 sent from a US diplomat in Delhi says that the Congress bought MPs ahead of its crucial vote of confidence. The Left had pulled out of the government over the nuclear deal with the US.

Speaking to NDTV, Assange says the PM's statements "seem like a deliberate attempt to mislead the public by suggesting that governments around the world do not accept the material and it is not verified."

The WikiLeaks founder also says, "the cables are authentic but the contents of the cables may or may not be correct. They need to be investigated, interrogated."

Here is an excerpt from that interview.

NDTV: There is of course an alternate point of view that what you revealed in these cables is a set of opinions and assessments made by some American diplomats in the US embassy. And you were just saying that 'my task ends there in revealing these secret cables' but there are other points of view that says that it leaves a lot of collateral damage where opinions and assessments by these officials are taken as facts to embarrass and weaken their states. And people ask you is that a fair thing to do, just leave this out and wash your hands off it?

Assange: Absolutely not....it is not correct to say that all these cables are mere opinions by US diplomats...that is not true. These are official correspondence sent by Ambassadors, sent in their official capacity back to Washington. Their motivations are to improve their career prospects generally. So they want Washington to understand that they are engaged in the country. They are getting good sources of information and they are reporting back. This seems to be the predominant thing. But they report what they say are facts and they also present opinions...it is important to keep these two different. In the cases of these Indian cables which are causing such a furor about bribery...such an interesting case...it is very hard to understand why the US Embassy official would lie about that to Washington. What is more interesting is under what basis was he told that information? That the US Embassy official was shown that cash? Could it have been that it is a US issue? Could it have been to demonstrate how compliant certain parts of Indian Parliament work with US interest? Or it could have been to set up or frame another group? It is hard to see what benefit there would be in framing another group to Washington through that method. It is not clear what benefit it would be. ...Of course what the officials say and how they gain their knowledge too must be investigated and interrogated. But the comment I have been hearing from Prime Minister Singh....these, to me, seem like a deliberate attempt to mislead the public by suggesting that governments around the world do not accept the material and it is not verified ...absolutely false! Hillary Clinton last year December spoke to the Indian government last year, perhaps to Prime Minister Singh or that level to forewarn that this material would be coming out. There is no doubt that these are bonafide reports sent by the American Ambassador back to Washington and these should be seen in that context. That does not mean every fact in them is correct, you have to look at their sources and how they gave this information.

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