January 25, 2011
Wrong people convicted in Daniel Pearl murder, new report asserts
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Another reason was that a court might throw out KSM’s own confession because of the consistent waterboarding torture he had undergone.
In a multicolored chart available online at jewishjournal.com, Project Pearl gives a current breakdown on the participants in the kidnap/murder conspiracy, as follows:
Total number of men involved: 27
Number convicted: 4 (Omar Sheik and three associates)
Dead, under violent or suspicious circumstances: 5
Judea and Ruth Pearl furnished valuable contacts to the project investigators and praised their intentions and probity, but they view the findings with caution and are reluctant to discuss specifics.
Although the couple received the report some six weeks before its public release, they said they were still “trying to digest” the contents.
Judea Pearl seemed skeptical of the value of KSM’s confession, saying “he had nothing to lose.” Similarly, Mariane Pearl told a British newspaper, “I’m not ready … yet.”
Nomani commented that she and Feinman Todd fully understand the reluctance of Daniel Pearl’s family to react immediately to a complicated report dealing with what remains a deeply traumatic loss.
However, the two project directors said they are certain that they got the story right, based on three years of hard digging by themselves and 32 students, who conducted hundreds of interviews across five countries and pored over 2,400 pages of court records.
In addition, the project was aided by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists at the Center for Public Integrity, while the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation underwrote the project with a $300,000 grant.
However, Nomani and Feinman Todd acknowledged that all the facts may not be in yet and agreed that “we probably have 80 to 85 percent of the whole story.”
“It’s hard to know what we still don’t know,” said Nomani, and she hopes that public release of the report will trigger additional tips and leads.
The impact of Pearl’s life continues after his death.
Through the Daniel Pearl Foundation, Judea and Ruth Pearl are fulfilling their son’s legacy with a global program of cross-cultural understanding, encompassing journalistic exchanges, music and other innovative projects.
Last year, in the presence of the Pearl family, President Obama signed into law the Daniel Pearl Freedom of the Press Act, instructing the State Department to report “with vigor” on violations of press freedom anywhere in the world.
The project applauds the president’s stand but faults his administration for not opening its voluminous files on the Pearl case.
In tracking the Pearl case, the report explores the complexities of the Pakistani situation, with the shifting roles of the government, its military and shadowy Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence, al-Qaeda, Taliban and other tribal and militant groups.
This kind of information, said the authors, may well be of value to present U.S. policymakers in assessing this country’s future actions in the region.