RIP, Daniel Pearl
- Subject: RIP, Daniel Pearl
- From: "George N. Schmidt" <Csubstance@AOL.COM>
- Date: Fri, 22 Feb 2002 06:54:30 EST
- Reply-to: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
- Sender: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
February 22, 2002
There are times when we are reminded more dramatically than others what all
this is about.
Why we squawk around here on ARN.
What's at stake that we're defending when we do this job of talking about
everything and trying to make up our minds based on that wonderful
convergence of fact and opinion we call news.
Why we're still flying the American flag outside this office, as we have
since September 11, 2001.
It's not yet dawn here in Chicago. We've been working most of the night on
one small newspaper, and we just picked up the Reuters report about the
murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in Pakistan. Daniel Pearl
is not the first among us, nor will he be the last, to die in the line of
this duty. Hopefully, more people will visit New York City this year, and
after we've spent a bit of time at Ground Zero, we can add the lobby of the
offices of the Associated Press to a tour that can include the Statue of
Liberty, Ellis Island, and some other important spots.
"Give us your tire, your poor..."
After all, rich people usually don't need a place like this and rights like
we have to preserve...
If I had my way, today at noon, every printing press on this planet would
stop for one full minute in honor of every man and woman who had to make that
supreme sacrifice for a free press. Ordinary men and women doing ordinary
jobs, which add up to something extraordinary.
If I had my way, today at noon every TV station would hold still for one
minute. First, to show a photograph of our most recent deceased colleague.
Then to roll back with pictures of every reporter, photographer, worker in
this field, every single one who has died in the line of duty, going back,
back, back -- back past Bernard Fall in Vietnam, back past Ernie Pyle on Ia
Shima, back to Elijah Lovejoy, of Alton, Illinois, who died a generation
before the American Civil War defending his abolitionist presses from
slavers. Back before that, to John Milton and before him to a thousand others
whose names we can never ever know but whose voices made ours possible.
If I had my wish, today, at noon every radio station would cease its regular
programming. Instead of news and chatter, music and ads, we would all play
the words, in their own voices, of the men and women of the press, no longer
with us to do this job of gathering and reporting the truth, ending those
moments of tribute with the words of the First Amendment of the United States
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or
prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging freedom of speech, or of
the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble to petition the
government for a redress of grievances."
Then a lone bugler would play taps and we would all go back to work.
I will be stopping by here at ARN the next four days.
But I'll hold my posts here until the proper period of mourning ends. As most
people here know, more reporters have been killed in action in Afghanistan
since September 11 than U.S. military personnel. Somehow, that has to be
thought through again, and our understanding of the importance of what we're
George N. Schmidt
5132 W. Berteau
Chicago, IL 60641
Below is the most complete Reuters report on the murder of Daniel "Danny"
Kidnapped U.S. reporter killed on camera
By Brian Williams
KARACHI, Feb 22 (Reuters) - American journalist Daniel Pearl, kidnapped in
Pakistan while trying to make contact with Islamic radical groups, was
executed on camera by his captors who slit his throat, U.S. and Pakistani
officials said on Friday.
Pakistan's president, Pervez Musharraf, who has rallied to the U.S.-led war
on terrorism and cracked down on Islamic radicals, denounced the murder as
gruesome and ordered an all-out nationwide manhunt for suspects still at
President George W. Bush, speaking during a visit to China, called the
killing of the 38-year-old Wall Street Journal reporter a "criminal,
barbaric" act. Pearl's family said it was a "senseless murder" that had
silenced "a gentle soul".
A top Pakistan government official told Reuters authorities learned of the
killing of Pearl, abducted in Karachi on January 23, from a videotape of the
murder sent to a Pakistani reporter in Karachi on Wednesday or Thursday.
Pearl's death was formally announced late on Thursday night.
His body has not been found and it is unclear exactly when and where he was
One U.S. official in Washington called the death tape "very gruesome". He
provided no details.
But in a account of Pearl's last moments, the Pakistani official, who asked
not to be identified, said Pearl's last words uttered on camera before his
killing were that he was a Jew and his father was a Jew.
"I have been told that the last words uttered by Pearl in the videotape,
immediately before his throat was slit, were 'Yes I am a Jew and my father is
a Jew'," the official said.
"Maybe he was forced by his kidnappers to say these words."
Dr Riffat Hussein, a defence and strategic studies analyst at Islamabad's
Quaid-e-Azam University in Islamabad, said the sophistication of the
kidnapping pointed to possible involvement of Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda
network, chief suspect for the September 11 attacks on the United States.
"If you look at the character of this case -- the methodology that was used,
the use of email, and videotape -- it suggests it may have some very
significant al-Qaeda links," Hussein said.
A Pakistani source close to the investigation told Reuters the video was
short and showed Pearl's throat being cut.
"The scene that apparently confirmed the murder of Pearl was when one
person's hand cut the U.S. reporter's neck with a sharp tool," the source,
quoting someone who had seen the tape, said.
The source added that the tape showed the hands of two or three other people.
Pearl disappeared in Karachi, Pakistan's largest city, as he tried to contact
Islamic radical groups and investigate possible links between alleged shoe
bomber Richard Reid and the al Qaeda network of suspected September 11
mastermind Osama bin Laden.
MURDER ON TAPE
The group claiming to hold Pearl, calling itself The National Movement for
the Restoration of Pakistani Sovereignty, accused him of being a spy -- first
for the CIA, then for Israeli intelligence. It said it was protesting against
U.S. treatment of Taliban and al Qaeda prisoners.
Lonnie Kelley, U.S. Public Affairs officer at the U.S. consulate in Karachi,
told Reuters "both Pakistan and U.S. investigators have identified the
perpetrators behind the crime". Police are already holding some suspects.
They include key suspect Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, a British-born Islamic
militant commonly known as Sheikh Omar who has previous links to kidnappings.
"Pearl's murder is outrageous and the United States is determined to bring
the perpetrators to justice," Kelley said.
Wall Street Journal Publisher Peter Kann and Managing Editor Paul Steiger
said in a statement: We are heartbroken. His murder is an act of barbarism
that makes a mockery of everything Danny's kidnappers claimed to believe in.
"Their actions must surely bring shame to all true Pakistani patriots," they
The Pakistani official said the reporter who received the tape took another
24 hours to convince U.S. authorities they should view the tape.
"According to my information, the videotape was in the possession of a
(Karachi-based) Pakistani reporter for 24 hours while he was trying to
contact the U.S. consulate to deliver it to them," the official said in an
interview with Reuters.
Pearl's family called him "a beloved son, a brother, an uncle, a husband and
a father to a child who will never know him." Pearl's wife Mariane, who was
in Karachi, is more than six months pregnant with their first child, a son.
Bush said he was deeply saddened by Pearl's death, saying the murder would
only hurt the cause of his captors. "All Americans are sad and angry to learn
of the murder," Bush told reporters in Beijing, where he is on the final day
of a six-day trip to Asia.
"Those who would threaten Americans, those who would engage in criminal,
barbaric acts, need to know that these crimes only hurt their cause and only
deepen the resolve of the United States of America to rid the world of these
agents of terror."
In Islamabad, the Pakistani government vowed every member of the kidnap gang
would be hunted down.
"General Musharraf has directed the government of Sindh (the province where
Pearl was kidnapped) and other national security agencies to apprehend each
and every member of the gang of terrorists linked to this gruesome murder," a
statement by the president's office said.
Pearl, the Journal's South Asian bureau chief based in Bombay, India, for the
past two years, had been working in Karachi for three weeks when he was
Friends said he was smart, sweet, soft-spoken, self-effacing and unlikely to
take unreasonable risks. He also was a talented fiddler, guitarist and
classical violinist. One of three children, Pearl's father was an academic
and his mother a computer consultant.
Pearl's family said in their statement that "up until a few hours ago we were
confident that Danny would return safely, for we believed no human being
would be capable of harming such a gentle soul".
Outside the temporary newsroom in New York of The Wall Street Journal, which
was displaced after the September 11 suicide hijack attacks in the city,
Journal reporters said they had been asked by management not to talk about
One unidentified reporter said people inside the newsroom were extremely
upset. Another called Pearl's death "a despicable act".
"JUST A REGULAR GUY"'
"He was just a regular guy doing his job. He wouldn't hurt a fly. It's just
disgusting," the reporter said.
Pearl, a Princeton, New Jersey, native, grew up in the suburbs of Los Angeles
and graduated from Stanford University.
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan saluted the courage of Pearl and other
journalists around the world. "The crime highlights the enormous dangers
encountered by journalists, particularly in areas of conflict and violence,"
Annan said through his spokesman, Fred Eckhard.
In New York, the Committee to Protect Journalists called Pearl's death
"brutal, wanton, and senseless".
On Thursday, Fahad Naseem, one of three men accused of involvement in the
kidnapping, said Pearl was abducted because he was a Jew working against
Islam, according to his lawyer.
Pakistan police in early February arrested Naseem and two other suspects for
sending emails to media organisations that showed Pearl in captivity.
The Journal is owned by publisher Dow Jones & Co <DJ.N>.
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