Alleges Mohammed Killed Pearl
NOTE: We are pleased to welcome Gary Fitleberg to
the Kashmir Telegraph family. He joins us as a Contributing
Special Tribute to an American journalist Daniel Pearl – October
10, 1963 to February 21, 2002 – A Real
Daniel Pearl would have turned 40 on Friday, October 10, 2003.
But instead the American was brutally, ruthlessly and tragically
murdered in Pakistan early last year after he was abducted by Al
Qaeda terrorists. The terrorists slit his throat while the
videotaped their execution.
American officials believe that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, once Al
Qaeda’s top operational commander, personally executed Daniel
“We do believe that he was personally responsible for killing
Pearl, a U.S. official stated, confirming a report first published
in Pearl’s newspaper The Wall Street Journal.
The official did not state precisely what information led to the
conclusion that it was Mohammed who took Pearl’s life by cutting
his throat. Nor would the official say whether Mohammed had
confessed to the slaying in a series of interrogations conducted
since March, when he was captured in Rawlpindi.
Other officials said Mohammed, who was being held at an undisclosed
location as a suspected terrorist, might be charged with Pearl’s
murder at a military tribunal. However, they said it was highly
unlikely that he would be tried in an American criminal court
because of the risk of divulging classified sensitive information.
Pearl, the Journal’s South Asia Bureau Chief, vanished in Karachi
on January 23, 2002, while he was researching an article about
Islamic extremism. Some time later, investigators obtained a
videotape that graphically showed his death and execution at the
hands of a person whose face was not visible. Pearl’s body was not
found until May.
An extremist group, which referred to itself as the National
movement for the Restoration of Pakistani Sovereignty, originally
claimed responsibility for the kidnapping and demanded the release
of Al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists who were held in American
In early 2002, Pakistani police identified Sheik Ahmad Omar Saeed,
an Islamic militant with a history of kidnapping foreigners, as a
prime suspect in Pearl’s abduction. In July 2002, a Pakistani
anti-terrorism court sentenced Saeed to death for his role in the
kidnapping. He is appealing that sentence.
Three other Islamic extremists were found guilty of aiding in the
conspiracy to abduct Pearl. Each of them was sentenced to a term of
25 years in prison.
During the court proceedings, there were suggestions that Mohammed
might have had a direct role in Pearl’s death, but some Pakistani
officials have remained unconvinced that he was personally involved
for killing Pearl.”
Referring to the testimony in the Pakistani court, the American
official said the findings about Mohammed were “not entirely
new.” But now, the official said, “The U.S. government has come
to the conclusion that’s the correct, that he was personally
responsible for killing Pearl.”
There has been doubt about the convictions reached by the special
terrorism courts in Pakistan. Past convictions have been overturned
during the appeals process which prosecution cases are examined more
closely. Some officials have identified two other men as having a
direct role in Pearl’s death, including one that helped lead
authorities to Pearl’s body.
But some terror experts have said Mohammed was well positioned to
serve as a coordinator between Al-Qaeda and Pakistani militant
groups, like the one believed to have carried out Pearl’s murder.
Mohammed, who attended college in the U.S., has been widely
suspected by American intelligence and law enforcement authorities
as one of the chief architects of the September 11, 2001 attacks
against America. Previously, he was believed to have clung to the
shadows, giving orders and organizing logistical support and
personnel, but leaving others to carry out his plots.
Mohammed was captured in Pakistan in March 2003 in an arrest that
counterterorism authorities hailed as a capture that demonstrated
how deeply American intelligence had penetrated Osama bin Laden’s
Daniel Pearl, a brave and courageous individual and journalist will
be truly missed and his blessed memory and dedication to the pursuit
of facts and truth is truly inspirational to us all. He lives in our
hearts and in our memories forever!!!