9/11 mastermind slaughtered Daniel Pearl.

From The Ottawa Citizen

September 11 mastermind blamed for Pearl murder

BY BEN FARMER, THE DAILY TELEGRAPH

JANUARY 20, 2011 5:37 PM

© Copyright (c) The Daily Telegraph

The journalist Daniel Pearl was beheaded by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-confessed mastermind of the September 11 terrorist attacks, according to a newly-released FBI forensic test.

The analysis, which matched veins on Mohammed’s hand with one in the video of Mr Pearl’s murder, has been disclosed after a three-year independent investigation into the killing. It casts further doubt on the conviction of the Briton Omar Sheikh for the murder, which was filmed and put on the Internet.

The Pearl Project concludes Pakistani authorities “knowingly used perjured testimony” to pin the murder on the former public schoolboy.

Mr Pearl was kidnapped in the Pakistani port of Karachi on January 23, 2002 while researching Islamic militants and four weeks later a video of his execution was delivered to American officials.

While Sheikh and the other three convicted of the killing were involved in the kidnapping, they were not in the room when the Wall Street Journal reporter was murdered, the inquiry found.

He had been seized and held in a “multifaceted, at times chaotic conspiracy” involving at least 27 men from three militant groups. Only 14 of those have been arrested and Mr Pearl’s actual murderers are unlikely to face trial.

After his kidnap, he was handed to an al-Qaida gang led by Mohammed, a strategist for the terrorist network, who killed him. The inquiry by academics, journalists and students involved hundreds of interviews with American and Pakistani officials.

Mohammed was captured in March 2003 and confessed to masterminding the 9/11 attacks. The al-Qaida number three is being held in Guantanamo Bay military prison and has also previously confessed that he beheaded Mr Pearl.

Doubts have surrounded the confession, because it may have been extracted under “water boarding” torture.

The Pearl Project found Michael Dick, an FBI investigator, used video of Mr Pearl’s beheading to create stills of the hand of his masked killer.

The photographs were shared with CIA colleagues holding Mohammed, who used a forensic technique called “vein matching” to determine the hands belonged to the same man.

One reported: “The photo you sent me and the hand of our friend inside the cage seem identical to me.” Both the CIA and FBI use the mathematical modelling technique, though it is not considered as reliable as fingerprinting.

The investigation found Sheikh, who studied mathematics at the London School of Economics, orchestrated the kidnap, but was sidelined when Mohammed became involved.

The conspirators were “inept, plagued by bungling plans, a failure to cover their tracks, and an inability to operate cameras and computer equipment”.

Sheikh was sentenced to death in July 2002 for murder and kidnapping and three others were given life terms. Their appeals have stalled.

Rai Basheer, a defence attorney, said the prosecution was delaying the process because it knew it would lose on appeal.

© Copyright (c) The Daily Telegraph

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