Many thanks to the hard work of The Pearl Project at Georgetown University.
The 32 journalism students dug into the details of the brutal killing of Daniel Pearl nine years ago. Thanks to their efforts we now have hard evidence of what happened to Pearl from the time he was kidnapped until his execution at the hands of the same guy who was the mastermind behind the 9/11 attack on the United States.
Read the full report: The Truth Left Behind
The team worked since 2007 to put the report together. Here is a summary from the project’s website:
- Doubts regarding 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s (KSM) confession during “waterboarding” were eased when FBI agents and CIA officials used a technique called vein-matching to compare the hand of the killer in the murder video with a photo of Mohammed’s hand.
- The report includes exclusive details from KSM’s interview in Guantanamo with FBI agents. KSM told FBI agents that he got a call to take over the kidnapping operation from al-Qaeda operative Saif el-Adel. KSM said he personally slit Pearl’s throat and severed his head to make certain he’d get the death penalty and to exploit the murder for “propaganda.” Some U.S. and Pakistani officials believe KSM may have been assisted by two of his nephews, Musaad Aruchi, whose whereabouts aren’t publicly known, and Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, KSM’s trusted aide, who is incarcerated in Guantanamo Bay.
- After 9/11, KSM designated his young nephew, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, to be the facilitator for “shoe bomber” Richard Reid. When he was kidnapped, Pearl was chasing a story that a cleric, Sheik Mubarak Ali Shah Gilani, was the facilitator. He wasn’t. Reid was an Al Qaeda operative.
- Almost half of those implicated in Pearl’s abduction-murder — 14 men with some alleged involvement — are thought to remain free. The list includes guards, drivers, and fixers tied to the conspiracy.
- In their haste to close the case, Pakistani authorities knowingly used perjured testimony to pin the actual act of murder on Omar Sheikh, the mastermind of the operation, and his three co-conspirators. While the four were involved in the kidnapping plan and certainly were culpable, they were not present when Pearl was murdered. Others, who were present and actually assisted in the beheading, were not charged.
- Omar Sheikh, who orchestrated the kidnapping plot, had contemplated bargaining over ransom demands for Pearl’s freedom, but that possibility faded when it became known that Pearl was Jewish and when Al Qaida operatives took charge of him.
An excellent work of journalism.