One of the leaked US defence department cables
released this week by WikiLeaks reveals details about Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl
’s kidnapping and murder in Pakistan in January 2002 and the divisions it caused within Al-Qaeda.
According to the cable, Al-Qaeda member Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks) told his interrogators at the Guantanamo Bay detention centre that Pearl was killed against the advice of several Al-Qaeda leaders. Mohammed personally beheaded him.
Sayf al-Adl, a former Al-Qaeda commander, said “it would not be wise to murder Pearl” and that he should “be returned back to one of the previous groups who held him, or freed.” But Sharif al-Masri, the group’s chief financial officer, disagreed. Mohammed told interrogators that Pearl was finally taken to taken to the house of Al-Qaeda’s finance chief in Pakistan, Saud Memon, and was executed there.
The revelations support the findings of the “Pearl Project,” a three-year investigation by journalists into Pearl’s death, which concluded that more than 27 people were involved in his murder.
Reporters Without Borders repeatedly expressed its support
for Pearl and his pregnant wife at the time his abduction and murder.