Daniel Pearl

pearl-gun Journalist for the Wall Street Journal, killed in Pakistan by Muslim extremists. As a Jew, perhaps it was not the wisest move to allow himself to be taken voluntarily into the custody of such people.

Pearl's captors made a video, titled The Slaughter of the Spy-Journalist, the Jew Daniel Pearl. The video made its way to the Pakistani government and the U.S. government, and eventually it leaked onto the Internet through a Jihadist site. It consists of a Pearl monologue describing his Jewish upbringing, his family's involvement with the creation of the Israeli state, and his feelings regarding the current controversy. His monologue is presented in edited sound bites; at times he appears relaxed and his speech is natural, but during other parts he is tense and his speech sounds forced. Most of what he says is not terribly controversial, and notably he does not claim to be a spy for the U.S. or Israel.

According to published reports, when Daniel Pearl's throat was first slashed, a technical error caused it not to be captured on film. In the video Pearl's corpse is shown naked from the waist up, laying on a blanket; a man's arm is holding his head forward so that his cut neck cannot be seen. With the knife in his other hand, the man proceeds to cut deeper into Pearl's neck, from the back to the front. There is little blood. The man holding the knife is now strongly believed to have been Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, then the chief of military operations for al Qaeda.

The remaining 90 seconds of the video consist of a list of demands scrolling by, superimposed over a picture of Pearl's severed head being held by the hair. Among the list is a demand for delivery of American F-16's paid for but never received by the Pakistani government.

Transcript of the English text on the video:


We still demand the following:

- The immediate release of U.S held prisoners in Guantinamo Bay [sic], Cuba.
- The return of Pakistani prisoners to Pakistan.
- The immediate end of U.S presence in Pakistan.
- The delivery of F-16 planes that pakistan had paid for and never recieved [sic].

We asure [sic] Americans that they shall never be safe on the Muslim Land of Pakistan.

And if our demands are not met this scene shall be repeated again and again....

Three suspects were caught after the Federal Bureau of Investigation traced emails announcing the kidnapping back to the laptop which sent them. The suspects were members of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a Pakistani terrorist group with ties to al Qaeda, whose membership is closely linked to both Khalid Shaikh and his nephew, Ramzi Yousef. The group is also linked to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian terrorist operating in Iraq who has since made the videotaped beheading his personal trademark. The Pearl killing was notable for kicking off an industry boom in terrorist snuff films that continues to this day.


10 Oct 1963 Daniel Pearl born, Princeton NJ.
1985 B.A. Communications, Stanford University.
1990 Joins the staff of the Wall Street Journal.
1999 Marries journalist Mariane Van Neyenhoff.
23 Jan 2002 Kidnapped, Karachi Pakistan.
21 Feb 2002 Videotape received by Pakistani government indicating Pearl has been killed. On the tape: "Yes I am a Jew and my Father was a Jew." Then his throat is cut.
22 Apr 2002 Trial of Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, Salman Saqib, and Sheikh Mohammed Adeel begins.
16 May 2002 Daniel Pearl's body recovered in Karachi, Pakistan.
23 May 2002 The Federal Bureau of Investigation orders an ISP to remove the Daniel Pearl video from its servers, citing an obscenity law passed in 1996. Such behavior is an undisputable attempt at intimidation, as obscenity obviously does not apply to such a video. After some bad publicity, the FBI backed off its baseless claim.

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