WikiLeaks hoax fools Pakistan media

Leading Pakistani newspapers have retracted bogus WikiLeaks reports that were believed to confirm anti-India conspiracy theories.

Former WikiLeaks worker to launch rival secret-spilling site

Pakistani protesters condemn the arrest in London of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Newspapers in the country have apologized for publishing erroneous reports citing faked WikiLeaks material. ((Khalid Tanveer/Associated Press))

Leading Pakistani newspapers have retracted bogus WikiLeaks reports that were believed to confirm anti-India conspiracy theories.

Admitting it had been fooled by fake U.S. diplomatic cables, the Express Tribune said it "deeply regrets" publishing articles based on the phoney memos. The paper, which partners with the International Herald Tribune in Pakistan, was among several in the country to cite hoax memos allegedly revealed by the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks.

Among the claims in the phoney — and reportedly crude — cables were false reports about a "Bosnia-like genocide" in Indian-administered Kashmir.

U.S. envoys were also said to believe that the Indian military was supporting "Hindu fanatic groups," and that one Indian general, Deepak Kapoor, was "incompetent" and "rather a geek."

The News, a daily newspaper, wrote: "[Kapoor's] war doctrine, suggesting eliminating China and Pakistan in a simultaneous war front, was termed as 'much far from reality.'"

WikiLeaks recently distributed some 250,000 classified U.S. diplomatic cables to select media outlets, revealing embarrassing insights into the affairs of world leaders and, according to opponents, compromising national security.

British newspaper The Guardian, which has access to the full WikiLeaks cables, said a search of its database for the supposed anti-Indian revelations turned up no results.

It is believed that the phoney cables were planted as propaganda by Pakistani intelligence.

Meanwhile, a former WikiLeaks worker said he is planning to launch a rival secret-spilling site that will help anonymous sources deliver sensitive material to the news media.

In an interview with Swedish broadcaster SVT due to be aired on Sunday and obtained in advance by The Associated Press on Friday, former WikiLeaks spokesman Daniel Domscheit-Berg said the Openleaks site will work as an outlet for anonymous sources. He said other ex-WikiLeaks workers will also be part of the project.

Domscheit-Berg criticized WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in the interview, saying a lack of transparency in the group's decision-making eventually led him to quit.

Assange remained in jail in Britain ahead of a Dec. 14 hearing in which he plans to fight extradition to Sweden to face sex crimes allegations.

With files from The Associated Press