February 17, 2004

Not only had the paper not sent a white American, it had sent no one...I had ended up paying a Pakistani lawyer a very large sum to represent Danny, and the Journal eventually reimbursed me a small fraction of his fees.

It will probably be a very long before another
investigative reporter working for the Wall Street
Journal sacrifices his life on the trail of the truth.
Danny Pearl was probably the first and the last. Of
course, since the Chickenhawk Coup of 2000, the
violent deaths of *un-embedded* news media
professionals in the zone of hate (i.e. Iraq,
Afghanistan, Pakistan, Palestine, etc.) have increased
disturbingly, but none of these many tragic stories is
more poignant or mythic than that of Danny Pearl's
kidnapping and brutal execution or his widow's
courageous quest for higher truth and simple
justice...It is regretable although predictable that
the Dow Jones Corporation either does not understand
or more likely does not care. Or is it something else?
Does the Dow Jones Corporation see the world in
general and events in the Zone of Hate very
differently than Danny Pearl did or Mariane or any of
us do..No more chilling message to world-class
investigative reporters probing into the murky world
of Al-Qaeda, the Saudi Kingdom, General
IShotTheSheriff's Pakistan and those blacked out 27
pages...It's the Media, Stupid...

Independent/UK: Not only had the paper not sent a white American, it had sent no one. The trial was held in a tiny, windowless "court" in the prison where the men were being held. Transparency sounded like wishful thinking. I had ended up paying a Pakistani lawyer a very large sum to represent Danny, and the Journal eventually reimbursed me a small fraction of his fees.

Repudiate the 9/11 Cover-Up and the Iraq War Lies,
Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)


My fight for Danny's memory
Daniel Pearl was murdered in 2002 while reporting for
the Wall Street Journal in Pakistan. For his wife,
Mariane Pearl, the lonely battle for justice continues
17 February 2004

I made a friend in Pakistan. I nicknamed him "Captain"
because of his authority; I couldn't tell if it came
naturally to him or was the result of decades spent in
the Pakistani army. But when my husband, Danny Pearl,
was kidnapped in Karachi two years ago, Captain became
the second most important man in my life. He told me:
"I will bring your Danny home." It took another four
weeks for us to find out what had happened to my

During this time, Captain got to know Danny. He met
me, he met Danny's friends, his bosses, his writing.
He saw Danny's mandolin lying there, in the house that
had become the headquarters of our search. Captain
even saw Danny's unmatched socks. "Danny," Captain
concluded, "is the best of America."

After the first three sleepless nights following
Danny's kidnapping, there was no sense of time in our
house and only one reality. Captain's only aim was to
save Danny, because I was there, because I was
pregnant, because Danny was innocent, because Captain
was a Muslim and a patriot who felt deeply ashamed by
those who kept him in captivity. When it was learned
that Danny was dead, it was Captain who had to tell
me. Because he said so, I knew it was true, the same
way I knew what he said next to be true. It was
another pledge: "I will pursue those who did this and
bring them to justice, even if it is going to take a
lifetime. My lifetime."

I only wish others who promised their resolve at that
time - including Danny's employers at the Wall Street
Journal - had kept their word, too.

On the first anniversary of Danny's kidnapping, 23
January 2003, Captain and I sat on the top floor of
the World Financial Centre, right across from Ground
Zero. I took him with me to meet Danny's bosses at the
Wall Street Journal. Captain was the behind-the-scenes
man, the one who had donated his time and his efforts.
The hero.

We wanted to know why the Journal had not sent anyone
to court to represent Danny as the Pakistani
authorities began prosecutions for his kidnapping and
murder. One of those on trial included Omar Said
Sheikh, who had confessed to masterminding the
operation. It was Omar who had lured Danny into a
trap, pretending he was the disciple of a source Danny
was trying to interview. Ever since I had left
Pakistan the year before I had been trying to persuade
the Journal to send someone. "We were advised not to
send a white American to a Pakistani court," Journal
chiefs told us.

Not only had the paper not sent a white American, it
had sent no one. The trial was held in a tiny,
windowless "court" in the prison where the men were
being held. Transparency sounded like wishful
thinking. I had ended up paying a Pakistani lawyer a
very large sum to represent Danny, and the Journal
eventually reimbursed me a small fraction of his fees.

Eventually, the Journal promised to do what Captain
suggested: put pressure on President Musharraf to make
sure the judicial process would continue. In July 2002
Omar was sentenced to death, and the other three men
were given life sentences. The paper's bosses promised
they would find and pay a lawyer in Pakistan to
represent Danny in subsequent trials.

Omar's appeal has since been delayed nine times,
mostly for the simple reason that his lawyer doesn't
show up in court. It's all far from over. Even behind
bars, his influence is thought to remain great. Some
reports have suggested that he helped orchestrate the
recent assassination attempts on President Musharraf.
There have also been reports in the Pakistani press
that one Sardar Naeemullah Shahani, the Punjab sports
and culture minister who was kidnapped in January,
would be offered to the government in exchange for
Omar Sheikh and the three others, although government
officials have denied this.

Far-fetched, you say? Not for Omar, who was freed from
an Indian court in 1999, where he was serving time for
a failed kidnapping plot, in exchange for the safe
release of passengers aboard a hijacked Indian
Airlines flight. It's also important to understand
that the forces within the Pakistani government that
have so destabilised the Musharraf regime - the
intelligence agency (ISI) and the military - are those
to whom Omar had at least passing ties before his

This powerful conflict within the Pakistan government
could be seen in Musharraf's handling of the
government's corrupt nuclear program. Just three weeks
ago, after it was revealed that Pakistan had given
nuclear secrets to Iran, Libya and North Korea - a
story that Danny had been pursuing - Musharraf called
the scientists involved "enemies of the state". But
then, last Wednesday, Musharraf seemed to cave,
pardoning Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan's
nuclear programme who had taken responsibility for the
leaked information. By doing so, Musharraf avoided a
battle with government hard-liners, who deified Khan
for turning Pakistan into a nuclear power. It
illustrates how rough the justice in this part of the
world can be, and why it helps to have as many
witnesses as possible.

In addition to Omar's appeals, the trial of the four
men who held Danny captive is yet to take place. All
four are Pakistanis - the last one, Naeem Boukhari,
was finally captured after a bounty of 1 million
Pakistani rupees ($17,450) was placed on his head.
Their trials are to follow the Pakistan Supreme
Court's decision on Omar's appeal case. The Wall
Street Journal's interest in proceedings has seemed to
wane. It remained remarkably dedicated until we found
out for sure, nearly a month after his kidnapping,
that Danny had died. The Journal set up a financial
trust for our son Adam and me, to which hundreds of
people have contributed thousands of dollars.
Afterwards, at the Journal, I could tell his
co-workers really liked Danny. I could tell everyone
was traumatised by what had happened to him, just four
months after the September 11 events had sent them
running for their lives from their own offices. I
could tell a lot of things, but still not why Danny
died and who killed him.

In May 2002, a lawyer for Dow Jones (the parent
company of the Wall Street Journal) levelled with me.
It was during Omar's trial, and as I tried to follow
its proceedings I persisted in asking what the Journal
was doing. They did not hire a lawyer in Pakistan and
there was no transparency in any of the proceedings.

"It is your case, not ours," the lawyer eventually
told me. I hung up. The moment that followed, when I
looked at myself, too pregnant to go to Pakistan and
represent Danny on my own, was one of the loneliest
I've ever had. Months later, I wrote the Journal a

"I am very well aware of the difficulties posed by the
trial and investigation, as I have been facing them
alone for the past ten months. But the murder of Danny
was like a hijacked plane sent to explode in the heart
of your company. I simply cannot understand how you
can turn your back and fail to seek the truth...my
determination to pursue these two goals reflects my
own loyalty to the values I shared with Danny. My
loyalty is stronger than the obstacles I have and will

I asked to meet them again, preferably without a
company lawyer present, which led to my visit with
Captain a year ago. Since then, not much has changed.
I still rely on Yahoo for my updates about the case.
>From the Journal, all I've heard is the sound I've
learned to dread the most: silence.
17 February 2004 07:01

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2004 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd

Posted by richard at February 17, 2004 04:26 PM