New Delhi: The head of whistleblower website WikiLeaks Monday accused Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of deliberately misleading the public by claiming that leaked US diplomatic cables allegedly pointing to payoffs to MPs during a 2008 parliamentary trust vote were not authentic."The comments I have been hearing from Prime Minister Singh these, to me, seem to be a deliberate attempt to mislead the public by suggesting that governments around the world do not accept the material," Wikileaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange told to a news channel in an interview.
As per the WikiLeaks cables published in The Hindu, a US diplomat was told that Rs.50-60 crore was kept aside by the Congress party to get some opposition members of the Lok Sabha on board before the trust vote in July 2008 during the first tenure of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.
The prime minister said in parliament that the government could not "confirm the veracity, contents or even the existence of such communications", and added that many persons mentioned in the cables have "stoutly denied the veracity of the contents".
Assange asserted that there "is no doubt, whatsoever, that the cables are authentic", which was the reason why the US government has been very upset over the leak of the diplomatic cables.
He said that there was "no doubt that these are bonafide reports sent by the American ambassador (in India) back to Washington and these should be seen in that context".
That does not mean every fact in them are correct, you have to look at their sources and how they have this information," added Assange.
He said that the defence argument was "actually the behaviour of guilty men".
"A man who is innocent doesn`t tend to behave like that. That doesn`t mean people making those statements, like Prime Minister Singh and so on, are guilty of this particular crime. It suggests something that how Indian parliamentarianss and politicians respond to very serious allegations. They respond through indirection and attempting to cover up the issue for the public rather than address it fully and frankly," Assange asserted.
He felt that if the cable on bribery was incorrect, the US envoy in India "has a lot to answer" for sending cables to Washington "about senior politicians and the behaviour of Indian parliaments, which is cast in very negative light".
"Either he has committed a grave error that would damage Indian and American relations and should resign on that matter; or the report was correct and he was reporting correctly and he had checked his fact before reporting back to Washington," Assange said.
He suspected that the "most serious issue in the cable, I suspect, is yet to be revealed". "There is quite a bit of time to go through the material: the material from Pakistan, China. It is likely to be of interest to the Indian population," he said.
There are about 6,000 cables from the US embassy in India.
"What we are looking at more carefully are the cables from Pakistan and those are something that are yet to be published. We are working to have those published," he said.