Pakistani papers retract WikiLeaks story on India

December 10, 2010

karachiLeading Pakistani newspapers have retracted stories that appear to have partly depended on fake WikiLeaks cables to support long-standing Pakistani allegations against India, particularly in causing instability inside Pakistan. The stories also quoted U.S. diplomats as ridculing India and its army.

The News ran a story saying its report was inaccurate and had been picked up from a local news agency.  The report had originated, it said, in websites “known for their close connections with certain intelligence agencies”.

The Express Tribune said that itdeeply regrets publishing this story without due verification and apologises profusely for any inconvenience caused to our valued readers.”

Britain’s Guardian newspaper, which had advance access to the cables, said that, “an extensive search of the WikiLeaks database by the Guardian by date, name and keyword failed to locate any of the incendiary allegations. It suggests this is the first case of WikiLeaks being exploited for propaganda purposes.”

As discussed in yesterday’s post, Pakistan being what it is, suspicion has fallen on its intelligence agencies for planting the story.  If so, it was a fairly spectacular own goal, as it distracted attention from actual WikiLeak cables. These brought into the public domain for the first time a view by British intelligence that India was supporting separatists in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province – a long-standing complaint made by Islamabad and denied by New Delhi.  According to the Guardian, “the real cables do contain allegations of Indian support for Baloch separatists, largely sourced to British intelligence assessments.”

Meanwhile, just to give a flavour of where the WikiLeaks debate is going in Pakistan itself, here is journalist Ahmed Quraishi - who says in this piece that allegations he is a mouthpiece of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency are “a conspiracy theory with no basis”.

Accusing the Guardian and New York Times of selectively publishing cables which served Western interests, he writes, “Just like the Guardian and NYT, the Pakistani media retains the right to manipulate and highlight WikiLeaks documents that serve our interest. This could involve some exaggeration in some parts of the media.”

I also quite liked this line from Quraishi, attributing the kind of perspicacity to the U.S. cables that no one who knows the region would claim, including those who wrote them:  ”The WikiLeaks documents are the truth.”

Comments

Myra,

What kind of a journalist justifies lying as an acceptable practice, as Mr. Quraishi does? He is a disgrace to journalism.

Posted by SilverSw0rd | Report as abusive
 

Interestingly no tweaking of wikileaks has been reported of Indian intelligence agency, the RAW. All distortion in Pakistan seem to point at “certain intelligence agencies.” How many are there in Pakistan? This clearly shows that there is a deliberate attempt inside Pakistan to project India as an enemy at all costs. Everything is manipulated and twisted to keep this projection alive. Even Pakileaks, a derivative from Wikleaks has proved this point. Pakistani media is wise enough to retract the publications. Hope they will be careful next time. Otherwise their reputation and reliability will become questionable.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

Everyone is using wikileaks for propaganda, even the trumped up charges on Julian Assange prove this. They want him to be extradited even where there is no legal options to prosecute him. As with media responsibility, the fact that mainstream media and regular journalists did not make an effort to expose the truth behind Afghan and Iraq wars. Disgruntled US military personnell in collaboration with whistleblowers caused this massive leak. The ensuing Cyber attacks, the debate of freedom of speech show there is a new generation of people seeking truth and trying to keep internet censorship away and promote free speech.

This ‘Pakileaks’ fake ones are similar as US criticisize China for not allowing internet freedom while itself US has barred access to cablegate data.
The bigger question is why do we need whistleblowers like wikileaks to let the truth out? Why can there be no effort to expose the real ugly reasons behind all that is done wrong? What did these fake cables stories in Pakistan do? mislead the people. Ok good enough. What about the US, is the American public not misled into the war in Iraq under false pretense? Everyone is doing its own propaganda war.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive
 

Umair,

From your comments, it seems that you have completely misunderstood what these “wikileaks” are. This isn’t a matter of freedom of speech or about exposed information, which is meant for the public but is hidden from them. Most of it, is classified information about US foreign policy, which is meant for Govt officials & diplomats ONLY and these leaks have indeed put the lives of many at risk. This Asange guy is not some sort of a hero but a criminal & should face consequences, accordingly. If tomorrow, somebody leaked all the inside information about the Pakistani army & ISI, to the world, I don’t think you’ll be terming it as “freedom of speech”.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

Freedom comes with responsibility. One does not walk around naked because of ultimate freedom. There are rules in every system and freedom has to adhere to those rules. Military operations in general are not meant for public consumption. This is true for most nations. Reporters can sometimes make things hard for the soldiers on the field by exercising their freedom. Secret things are part of the game. There is no country free from it. It is a crime in many countries to publish classified information that are meant to protect the citizens of those countries. What Asange has done is publishing classified information without obtaining proper permission from various authorities. He is free to write his opinions. The system will go as far as that. But if he steals sensitive information and publishes them, then he can be termed as a criminal. Only a court of law has the authority to seek classified information as evidence. For example, an international court or a court in Pakistan or India can execute an order to bring classified information from the intelligence agencies involved. But that is done under legal conditions. Even there, no one else other than the judges and lawyers involved in the case get to see the evidence. No one else will get to see it. I think the wikileaks has caused an untimely confusion to everything in an already suffering world. Surely some of the revelations have become scoring points for people on different sides of existing disputes. But their timing is awkward and it has not helped solve any problem.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

Umair: “What about the US, is the American public not misled into the war in Iraq under false pretense? Everyone is doing its own propaganda war.”

US is very much wrong in invading Iraq. GW Bush should be taken to court for misleading the public and causing the deaths of thousands of soldiers and Iraqis. But the actions of the US do not justify others repeating the same mistake. The US is wrong. But it cannot be used to justify another wrong action by any nation.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

KPS
“The US is wrong. But it cannot be used to justify another wrong action by any nation.” If China were to attack India, the India would not respond because one wrong action does not justify another wrong action. Think about it.
Note that Assange is not American citizen, therefore, America can’t prosecute him. Your good friends Brits are holding him for consensual but unprotected sex. This offense has penalty of Kr 5000, and the women in question has runaway to Israel. Assange would be given a new ID and live happily ever after.
I have serious doubts about Wikileak affair, in releasing selected cables. Overall there is nothing earthshaking about it. This is, in my mind is a test of cyber war and the control coming down the pipe.

Posted by Matrixx | Report as abusive
 

By the way Pakistani paper Daily Mail has not retracted the story. They charge the other papers of not giving them credit. According to them The information was purchased from Wikileaks.

Posted by Matrixx | Report as abusive
 

Most countries have interpreted the wikileaks by what’s mentioned in them, while some have tweaked them here and there. But I have not yet come across such blatant distortion of the leaks, which the ISI has attempted, through it’s propaganda machinery. It’s good to see that Pakistan’s moderate media segment has paid little or no attention to this balony & the one’s who did, have wisely retracted it, with apology.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

Matrixx: “If China were to attack India, the India would not respond because one wrong action does not justify another wrong action. Think about it.”

You have misunderstood my statement. It is wrong for India to attack China on false evidence and by misleading Indian public. That is the wrong that GWB committed. If China attacks India, it would not be wrong on the part of India to defend itself. And it would not have been wrong on the part of Iraqis to defend themselves. I am specific about misleading of people by a nation’s leader and engaging in unnecessary wars. If you take Pakistan for example, its people have been misled right from the beginning by its military rulers and India has been wrongly attacked. In the future some Pakistanis might justify their actions by quoting the wrong doing of the Americans. That is the wrong I am pointing here. Hope you get my point.

“Note that Assange is not American citizen, therefore, America can’t prosecute him.”

Osama Bin Laden is not an American citizen either. US has parked a huge army in Afghanistan to get him. All those in Guantanamo bay are not American citizens either. Countries have extradition treaties. Non-citizens can be prosecuted if they committed crimes against a nation.

“Your good friends Brits are holding him for consensual but unprotected sex. This offense has penalty of Kr 5000, and the women in question has runaway to Israel. Assange would be given a new ID and live happily ever after.”

That’s all right. He will still be a criminal in the American system. What he did is equivalent to publishing all secret Swiss bank accounts to the public or health records from a huge health care database. Such things are criminal acts. Roman Polanski is still being pursued by the US for a child molestation case that happened decades ago.

“I have serious doubts about Wikileak affair, in releasing selected cables. Overall there is nothing earthshaking about it. This is, in my mind is a test of cyber war and the control coming down the pipe.”

Agreed. If freedom is abused, restrictions come in. Once upon a time people could send off their folks at airports all the way up to the departure terminals. As soon as terrorism poked its head in, all that freedom was lost and boarding a plane has become a painful exercise. A few bad apples spread the rot into the entire system and everyone ends up paying for it. Freedom comes with responsibility. Abuse of freedom always leads to controls and limits. Look at what the US banking industry did in 2008. They abused every privilege and now they look like nationalized banks.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

KPS
You should take course Law 101. National laws don’t go beyond legal borders. Now if you consider Wikileak as illegal, you read it and use it for your discussion, then you are accessory to crime. You should also learn the difference between prosecution and persecution.

Few bad apples is an argument to hide from crimes committed in Abu Gharaib. I’m surprised that you mention it. The banking crises of 2008 was systemic fraud on people of America. Now everybody is paying for it. Few bad apples should have no impact on large economy of America.
My friend you are quick at the keyboard but you should give yourself more time to connect the dots.

Posted by Matrixx | Report as abusive
 

KPS
If you want to talk about India, Pakistan, I will take you on when I have extra time.

Posted by Matrixx | Report as abusive
 

funny how curious case of Pakistani version of wikileaks is explained/deflected by some.

Posted by rehmat | Report as abusive
 

KP Singh, Mortal,

For what it is worth, I am one of those who support Julian Assange in his “illegal” exposure of secret documents. Who gets to decide what is secret anyway? We claim to be democracies but want to hide information from our own people. It’s good that Assange has exposed this hypocrisy for all to see, and the concerted hounding that governments have initiated against him only confirms it.

My disappointment with Wikileaks is that so far, it has been merely gossip that has embarrassed a few individuals and governments and has not turned up any critical information that would lead people to demand a change in any country’s policies. In other words, Wikileaks antagonised governments without delivering much value to the average citizen.

Still, like many Australian citizens, I support him. The Australian government shows a distressing willingness to hang its citizens out to dry when the US turns against them. First it was David Hicks, now it’s Julian Assange. They should stop demeaning Australian citizenship and start demanding that other countries (no matter how powerful) follow due process when it comes to dealing with Australian citizens. Only when the government stands up for its citizens will the world respect Australia.

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

@Ganesh

“We claim to be democracies but want to hide information from our own people. It’s good that Assange has exposed this hypocrisy for all to see, and the concerted hounding that governments have initiated against him only confirms it.”

***Right. So where is the line that we draw between closed “communist” system of China and the US democracy.

It is all relative.

Posted by rehmat | Report as abusive
 

@Mattrix
Just a minor point, but people should be aware of . It would seem that USA is the only country in the workd which has more foreigners in Prison than the native americans.

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

@Mattrix
I know what you meant in your comments “Note that Assange is not American citizen, therefore, America ca’nt prosecute him”. Perhaps you need to expand the sentence.

rex minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

“USA is the only country in the workd which has more foreigners in Prison than the native americans.” Posted by pakistan

Do you ever get tired of posting fallacious, fictitous & ridiculous nonsense, man? FYI, the proportion of foreigners in US prisons is app 25%, out of which a vast majority are mexicans who have crossed the border illegally. I know, you are alien to the notion of “fact” but c’mon, cut it already.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

matrixx: “You should take course Law 101. National laws don’t go beyond legal borders.”

If Assange had committed an act while staying within US borders, what you say is correct. If he sits outside and steals classified information about the US and publishes it, the US can act against that. This is assuming the US has a law that prohibits publishing sensitive information that it regards as an issue of national safety. Using your Law 101 logic, the US should never have come looking for Bin Laden. He is not a US citizen. Whatever he did, happened on US soil, while he was not present in the US. The US does not even have concrete proof that he was behind 9/11. But US bombed Afghanistan, deposed the Taliban regime, set up military camps inside the place and has been hunting for Bin Laden. If your law 101 is correct, this will not be happening. The fact that it is happening is because your law 101 is incorrect.

“Now if you consider Wikileak as illegal, you read it and use it for your discussion, then you are accessory to crime. You should also learn the difference between prosecution and persecution.”

That looks like a law in a country named Matrixx. It is like accusing a rape victim for adultery. Once information is thrown into public domain, any one can use it. There is no law that says public domain information is sensitive government property and that you will be targeted for using it. It is not copy righted information either. And now where does persecution come in?

“Few bad apples is an argument to hide from crimes committed in Abu Gharaib. I’m surprised that you mention it.”

Do you agree with my point that travel has become miserable due to some bad apples or not? If not, then you are siding with terrorists who targeted innocent public and made life worse for them. If you support those terrorists for making things worse, then you lose the right to accuse others of the same. What is there to be surprised?

“The banking crises of 2008 was systemic fraud on people of America. Now everybody is paying for it. Few bad apples should have no impact on large economy of America.”

No. A few bad apples had a lot of financial clout than the average American. And what they did had a huge impact on US and world economy. Unbridled capitalism can resemble gambling and in gambling sometimes people take huge risks and end up losing everything. And what they did had a huge impact on the US economy, which means you are wrong.

“My friend you are quick at the keyboard but you should give yourself more time to connect the dots.”

I did connect the dots and it shows me that you have no idea what you are talking about. You are simply twisting logic to suit your views, much like your beloved ISI.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

Ganesh: “Wikileaks antagonised governments without delivering much value to the average citizen.”

What was the purpose of leaking sensitive information? It has not achieved anything. People are more interested in what Paris Hilton’ panty color is than in Wikileaks, to be honest.

Pakileaks are more interesting because it is based on creative imagination and can turn a bunch of blind and emotional people to commit frenzied acts against fellow humans.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

Just saw the news that a couple of brothers have blown up a place in Sweden. Hope this does not trace back to the land of milk and honey.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

Ganesh,

The biggest problem with wikileaks, is that it also contains some ultra-sensitive information like names & locations of informants & agents in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq etc. and also about locations & movements of soldiers & officials in many countries. Since wikileaks does not filter out any of this highly classified info, they can be accessed by terrorists and/or adversaries as well. IMO, It’s absolutely irresponsible & immoral to endanger the lives of people, for your own benefit & that’s exactly what Assange is doing under the false pretext of “freedom of speech”. At the end of the day, he’s nothing more than a glorified hacker (which BTW was his earlier profession).
Besides, the leaks have done nothing but create misunderstandings, sour relations & leave a bad taste in the mouths of many. For instance, what good has this news about “denuclearization of Pakistan” done, except create more anti-americanism in Pakistan & give fodder to the fundamentalits, to spew venom & spin more conspiracy theories.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

KPS
“Do you agree with my point that travel has become miserable due to some bad apples or not? If not, then you are siding with terrorists who targeted innocent public and made life worse for them. If you support those terrorists for making things worse, then you lose the right to accuse others of the same. What is there to be surprised?”
So if I don’t agree with you you, you classify me as a terrorist. This is a good one George Bush is really proud of you.
It is not my job to teach you Law 101 or logic 100. Those things can be learnt but there is no cure for sickness in mind.

Posted by Matrixx | Report as abusive
 

Matrixx: “So if I don’t agree with you you, you classify me as a terrorist. This is a good one George Bush is really proud of you.”

Why? You can call my discussion on leaked information as a crime. But I cannot call you a terrorist sympathizer based on your words? What law is that?

Let me quote your own words here: “Now if you consider Wikileak as illegal, you read it and use it for your discussion, then you are accessory to crime.”

I simply used your own logic. That’s all. You claim here that using Wikileak information for discussions can be considered as being an accessory to crime. And my reply was along the same lines. If you do not agree that terrorists have made travel miserable, then you sympathize with them. I did not classify you as a terrorist if you read my words carefully. So you are twisting my words. Is that part of law 101 too?

“It is not my job to teach you Law 101 or logic 100. Those things can be learnt but there is no cure for sickness in mind.”

I am not itching to learn law 101 from you either. As far sickness of mind, you probably should look at the people around you in Pakistan. It is sick minds that think India is the enemy. It is sick minds that create dubious distortion of wikileak information to create unnecessary tension. May be you should go work with them to clear their minds. We are doing ok here. Thanks.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

KPS
I know I was harsh on you in previous post. Let me point out what I meant.
Take my comment on “a few bad apples”. The phrase was initially used in context of Abu Gharaib torture cases. The point of this was that it is not systematic and a policy. My position is that any infraction of civil or military law must be prosecuted.
If a country fails to prosecute torture fully, then it becomes subject to action under international Law.
You take “a few bad apples” concept to financial markets and terror cases. Let’s take each one at a time.
Financial fraud is mostly domestic issue but the government did not let some of those large financial institutions fail using the concept of “too big to fail” and the cost was passed on to tax payers. The question again is, was it an individual or system failure? In my mind the solution to “too big to fail” is breakup of large financial institution.
Now let the case of Terror. If terror is based on individuals it should should be prosecuted as a criminal act. On the other hand if terror is coming from organization, those organization should be eliminated.

You can see that “a few bad apples” and “too big to fail” are political tools. It has not legal content. As far as Assange is concerned, the first step is to file a legal charge sheet and let the due process begin.First thing the court will take on is the question of jurisdiction. If US court don’t have jurisdiction over Gitmo, it would be difficult to go on.
Now you want to use terror as a tool against anybody who is critical of you but my friend you are no Dick Chenny.

Posted by Matrixx | Report as abusive
 

KPS
I hope you don’t work for USG, they have already warned employees to not read Wikileaks. I’m wondering what law they are thinking of using.
According to you all Pakistanis are mentally sick, then you are in big trouble.
Is it not right of a country to determine who is friend or enemy?

Posted by Matrixx | Report as abusive
 

To the law 101 expert,

Here is something for you to chew on. The Pentagon is going to prosecute Assange on a 1917 US law. Go read it for yourself:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40633129/ns/ us_news-wikileaks_in_security/

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

Matrixx,

Everything else you said is fine with me, except,

“According to you all Pakistanis are mentally sick, then you are in big trouble.
Is it not right of a country to determine who is friend or enemy?”

We have been in big trouble for a long time. This is not new. I did not know countries suddenly choose to become enemies. That is very childish. Countries always strive to be friendly or stay away from each other. Enmity can be created and sustained by false propaganda, misperception, apprehension, paranoia and sheer contempt. In the case of Pakistan, all these have been used by those in power to sustain unnecessary enmity towards India. Even the recent Pakileaks have been driven with that motive – whatever can help widen the gap between India and Pakistan and can build more mistrust has been tried by vested groups holding on to indirect power. That is unfortunate.

India has not chosen to be an enemy of Pakistan or China. We’d like to co-exist. At least that has been the case for the past two decades. If we simply co-existed, we could focus more on progress. Everything else will take care of itself. In fact that is what India has done internally – co-exist and work on progress, A lot of differences have begun to disappear.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

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