Wikileaks – Exposing Imperialism and Its Agents

Kavita Krishnan

The US diplomatic cables leaked by Wikileaks continue to shine the spotlight on an area where murky darkness prevailed before – the precise nature of the intimacies between US imperialism and India’s ruling class and government.
In an interview with the editor of The Hindu, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange said that the leaked cables pertaining to countries across the world proved that “the State Department is an instrument of U.S. industry of all types”, meddling in the internal affairs and policies of countries to serve US corporations and imperialist interests. What Marxists of the 60s alleged was happening in the ‘banana republics’ of Latin America, he said, was not mere political rhetoric, in fact continued to be the routine modus operandi for the US.
Assange has also commented on the Indian PM Manmohan Singh’s attempt, in Parliament, to suggest that the Wikileaks cables are unverified and discredited by most of the world’s Governments. According to Assange, Manmohan’s actions look “like the behavior of guilty men”; “a deliberate attempt to mislead the public by suggesting that governments around the world do not accept the material and it is not verified.”As Assange reminds, “Hillary Clinton last year in December spoke to the Indian government …to forewarn that this material would be coming out. There is no doubt that these are bona fide reports sent by an American Ambassador back to Washington…” The very fact that the US has launched a witch-hunt against Assange and the young US soldier Bradley Manning shows how seriously they take the leaks.
The leaked cables exposed how the Congress and UPA are willing to reshuffle the Cabinet, appoint key Ministers, change foreign policy stances, even buy votes of MPs in a debate in Parliament – to protect US interests in India. At the same time, what is significant is that these leaders are quite aware that such pro-US policies are unacceptable to the people of India, and this is why they seek to hide and camouflage the extent to which the US meddles in Indian affairs. In other words, they are quite aware that they are subverting the democratic will and mandate of the Indian people who elected representatives they are.        
It is not only the Congress and UPA that stands exposed. BJP leaders were revealed as assuring US representatives that their criticism of UPA’s ‘subservience’ to the US and their opposition to the Nuke Deal were mere political posturing and should not be taken seriously. Above all, the BJP’s Hindutva plank has been exposed as pure cynical opportunism rather than based on any conviction. BJP spokesperson Arun Jaitley is quoted in one cable as describing Hindutva as “opportunistic.” Elaborating on this, Jaitley went on: “In India's northeast, for instance, Hindutva plays well because of public anxiety about illegal migration of Muslims from Bangladesh. With the recent improvement of Indo-Pak relations, Hindu nationalism is now less resonant in New Delhi, but that could change with another cross-border terrorist attack, for instance on the Indian Parliament.”  
Exposing the Sangh Parivar’s swadeshi pretensions as fake, Jaitley moots FDI in retail, arguing that “foreign competition should not seriously hurt the mom and pop stores that form a BJP constituency.” Noting that Jaitley was ‘gracious’ throughout the interview in spite of his protests against denial of visa to Modi, the US Embassy representative comments, tongue in cheek that Jaitley “clearly values his personal and commercial connections to the US (several US corporates are legal clients).” The Wikileaks cables expose the BJP’s nationalist posture as a bare-faced lie. In reality the party is as committed as the Congress to making India’s policies subservient to US interests. 
One of the cables also exposes CPI(M)’s West Bengal CM Buddhadeb Bhattacharya as expressing views that contradict his party’s publicly stated positions. Speaking to US Treasury Secretary Paulson, Buddhadeb is quoted as saying that he believed that in times of globalization, "Communist parties are changing" and have recognized that there must be economic liberalization, and that the Communists had to “reform or perish.” Such sentiments from Buddhadeb are of course no secret – he has made similar declarations time and time again to corporate gatherings.
What was shocking was that in the same conversation, Buddhadeb is said to have told Paulson he “wanted Dow Chemical to invest in West Bengal and the state's proposed chemical hub” and “did not understand why Dow should be saddled with Union Carbide's liabilities from the Bhopal accident,” and assured that he would “personally resolve” any hurdles to Dow’s investment. For a CPI(M) Chief Minister to thus breezily bat for the perpetrators of the Bhopal disaster is indeed shameful. Paulson is also said to have a private, ‘one-on-one’ discussion with Buddhadeb on the Nuke Deal; the cable is silent on the content of this conversation. Buddhadeb needs to explain why he felt the need to oblige the US Treasury Secretary with a private, hush-hush conversation on the Nuke Deal?           

In an article, Assange has defended Wikileaks as “the intelligence agency of the people,” that seeks to expand “the scope of freedom by trying to lay 'all the mysteries and secrets of government' before the public.” In India, the leaked cables have blown the lid off the ‘mysteries and secrets’ of the relationships of India’s ruling class to the US.