by Florian Flade
„I decapitated with my blessed right hand the head of the American Jew, Daniel Pearl, in the city of Karachi, Pakistan. For those who would like to confirm, there are pictures of me on the Internet holding his head“
– Khalid Sheikh Mohammed confession during U.S. military in 2007
The alleged 9/11 chief planner Pakistani national Khalid Sheikh Mohammed told US interrogators in 2007 he personally killed the US Wall Street Journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002. Pearl was kidnapped on January 23 2002 while on his way to interview a Pakistani Jihadi leader in Karachi. The group which later claimed responsibility for the abduction called itself „The National Movement for the Restoration of Pakistani Sovereignty“. Pearl´s kidnappers claimed the Jewish American was a CIA agent working in Pakistan to hunt down al-Qaida.
Several demands for Pearl´s release were sent via e-mail, including the release of all Pakistani terror prisoners held by the US. Pictures showing the journalist holding a newspaper and a man standing right next to him, holding a gun to Pearl´s head were attached to the e-mail sent by the kidnappers.
On February 21 2002 the kidnapper group released a disturbing video showing the execution of Daniel Pearl. Titled „The Slaughter of the Spy-Journalist, the Jew Daniel Pearl“ the 3-minute tape shows Pearl´s throat being slit and later the beheading is shown as well as the mutilated body of the journalist. A unknown man is then seen holding the head of Pearl in front of the camera.
Daniel Pearl´s body and head were found on May 16 2002 north of Karachi.
About a year later – on March 1 2003 – the alleged 9/11 chief planner Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was arrested by Pakistani security forces in a compound in Rawalpindi. The CIA then sent Mohammed on a tour around secret intelligence prisons around the world before imprisoning him at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. During military interrogations the Pakistani al-Qaida leader confessed of having planned the 9/11 attacks and also executed Daniel Pearl.
Pakistani investigation had revealed Mohammed´s involvement in the Pearl murder. It was suspected Khalid Sheikh Mohammed had ordered the American hostage to be killed but it was not known or confirmed he himself beheaded the journalist. Human Right´s critics questioned the CIA confession transcripts of Sheikh Mohammed and said they could not be trusted as the al-Qaida suspect probably confessed due to torture and abuse.
Now a report by the Georgetown University says US intelligence officials have erased any doubts Khalid Sheikh Mohammed´s claims of personally having killed Daniel Pearl. A new report filed by Georgetown University says new technological tools were used to compare the hand of the murderer of Pearl with the actual hand of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed who is in Guantánamo Prison waiting for his trial. The Pearl murder video did not show the killer´s face or identity, only the hands are seen cutting off the hostage´s head.
A technique known as „vein-matching“ delivered new information and resulted in the conclusion Mohammed indeed did kill Pearl himself. During this process the blood veins seen on the hand of the killer were compared with those of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed – the images matched.
More in my Welt Online article