Appointment With Death: The Beheading of Daniel Pearl

The video has been removed following discussions with WordPress staff. Try here instead. Note: Repost from the old blog. I am looking for translators to translate this post into Korean and Turkish. Email me if you are interested. Italian version (traduzione in italiano). French translation (en Frances). Note: This is intended for a mature viewing audience. It contains graphic footage and should not be viewed by minors. By viewing this video, you hereby agree that you are doing so of your own free will. This is the actual Daniel Pearl beheading video. It’s titled The Slaughter of the Spy-Journalist, the Jew Daniel Pearl (download the video on this site here), but I think the title is in Urdu at the beginning, so most won’t be able to read that. This video is easier to take than you might think. The actual beheading is thankfully not shown, but we do see the severed head afterward. It is said that in this video, Pearl says, “My mother was a Jew. I am a Jew,” and just then Khalid Sheik Mohammad (KSM) comes up behind him, pulls out a knife, and slits his throat. That never happens. What really happens in this video is, Pearl gives a little pre-prepared speech listing some of the demands of his captors. Pearl also makes some impromptu remarks about his Jewish ethnicity, that of his family, his family’s Jewish religion, the fact that his family are Zionists, and a town in Israel that is named after his great-grandfather, a famous Zionist. While Pearl is making all these remarks about Israel, Zionism, Judaism, etc., there are interspersed photos of Israeli troops hassling and arresting Palestinians, of dead Palestinians, etc. Then it shows Pearl on the ground, already dead thank God, apparently with his throat slit, while an unknown man, possibly KSM, easily saws off the head and then holds it up. The severed head stays up for the rest of the video while the group names itself – the National Movement for Pakistan Sovereignty, and lists a number of nationalist demands – the return of all Pakistani prisoners from Guantanamo, the release of all prisoners from Guantanamo, the release of F-16’s that Pakistan bought from the US and never received, and an end to all US presence in Pakistan. Then it says, “We assure Americans that they will never be safe on the Muslim land of Pakistan.” This is followed by, “And if our demands are not met, this scene shall be repeated again and again and again…” A good play-by-play of the video is here. The first part of the video is not that hard to take. Pearl is unusually composed and assured while he talks about Judaism, Zionism, Jewishness and Israel. It’s almost as if he is proud. But then he talks about how hard it is to be kidnapped – “The most difficult part is not knowing where you are or what is going to happen to you” – then he recites what is apparently a scripted propaganda anti-US screed about US foreign policy. His voice breaks, he seems nervous, stressed and frightened. He also looks a lot more haggard. It’s as if the two separate speeches were shot at different times. At that time, I felt sorry for the guy because he seemed so scared, and I knew what was going to happen to him. But right before he gets killed, when he’s talking about the Jewish stuff, he’s a whole new man, and he may as well be speaking at his college graduation. And this is seconds before his demise. Interesting. Pearl was a reporter for the Wall Street Journal investigating, of all things, the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI – this is the Pakistani FBI-CIA combined) and their possible links with Muslim terrorism and in particular Al Qaeda. I can’t believe this guy was running around Pakistan, a Jew and an American, openly asking questions like that. On January 23, 2002, he made an appointment to meet some Al Qaeda guy, and then he went missing for a while. The group announced his kidnapping, said he was a CIA agent (dubious) and made a list of demands. They also released a photo of Pearl with a gun to his head holding up a newspaper with the date on it. Pearl was killed on February 1, 2002 by beheading. On May 16, his body was found cut up in ten pieces in a shallow grave in Karachi. He was most probably murdered in Karachi. Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, a British Pakistani with a most interesting history, was eventually charged along with three others with the killing; Sheikh was sentenced to death. The death sentence has yet to be carried out. Sheikh is a most interesting fellow. He was apparently an agent or asset with the British MI-6 (the British equivalent of the CIA), beginning in 1994, and possibly up until his arrest. He also appears to have been an ISI agent at some time, at least in 2001, and possibly until his arrest or even afterward. Pakistani President Pervez Musharaff says he was a double agent. It seems that Sheikh, and apparently also elements of the ISI, played a key role in Al Qaeda’s 9-11 attacks on the US. This has never been adequately followed up by the US due to the US-Pakistani alliance. My personal opinion is that the ISI, using KSM and Sheikh, kidnapped and killed Pearl for looking into the ISI-Al Qaeda link. I think that then, under pressure from the US, they gave up Sheikh and sentenced him to death, but the sentence has not yet been carried out. I think that for Daniel Pearl, a Jewish reporter, to go to Pakistan soon after 9-11 and the US invasion of Afghanistan and wander around Pakistan openly investigating ISI-Al Qaeda links to the point of meeting with Al Qaeda guys was pretty much suicidal. I’m not defending these scumbags who killed him. I’m just saying it wasn’t a very smart thing for Pearl to do. Pearl has since been lionized, in particular by the World Jewish community.was killed in part for being a Jew, and his killers were surely virulent anti-Semites, but there’s more to it than that. I bet if he were a Jewish butterfly collector wandering around Pakistan netting butterflies, nothing would have ever happened to him. Other Jewish reporters have since gone to Pakistan and even openly interviewed heads of madrassas with no problems at all. Pearl was on a virtual suicide mission. At the very least, he was living very, very dangerously. People who choose to do that in our world sometimes end up injured or even dead. Happens all the time. The Daniel Pearl story is sad, but there is less here than the popular myth that is developing around the man. Pearl was an excellent student, graduated from a top university and was a superb journalist, breaking some of the biggest stories of the late 1980’s and 1990’s. He was not a bad person, and he had many exemplary traits. May he rest in peace. If you think this website is valuable to you, please consider a contribution to support the continuation of the site.

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41 thoughts on “Appointment With Death: The Beheading of Daniel Pearl”

  1. Pearl was on a virtual suicide mission.
    That doesn’t fit it with what we know about him at all. He was on a journalistic mission. Not a suicide mission. Did he ignore the dangers? Clearly, he did. But he was after the story. Not death. Not at all.

  2. David, if you are that heedless and reckless about going about getting a story, you are defying death itself. I’m not suggesting that he was deliberately out to get killed. A Zionist Jew going to Pakistan to research the links between Al Qaeda and the Pakistani government and then publishing them in a huge US newspaper would have to be out of his frigging mind. What on Earth was he thinking? He had an appointment to “interview some Al Qaeda guy” and then he disappeared and later got murdered.

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  4. Robert,
    You are dead on about Perl being a fool going to Pakistan. However, I don’t agree that it is a myth that “Islamo-Nazi types are ready to finish Hitler’s job as soon as they can get started.” With all the hate that Muslims have imbibed growing up from numerous sources (radical Imams, state television, etc…) what do you think would happen if Israel was successfully invaded by the an Arab Army? Do you believe that might be just a few gratuitous killings, rapes and pillaging?
    Btw, great blog!

  5. You are correct, Landline. I’m sure they would kill lots of Jews. It would probably be like Iraq – just nonstop Arab terrorism from the start if the Jews refused to leave. Car bombs going off everywhere.

  6. what happens when a man becomes a terriffic example of PRO- war sentiment in amercia mere moments after the 9-11 attacks???? Pitt-Jolie must be two of the most unpatriotic people still loved by americans nation wide!-=-what we DIDN’T do to save Mr. Pearl, and why we’re to blame for not doing enough to reclaim one of our own???? well Bush proved his point well…”WE DO NOT NEGOTIATE WITH TERRORISTS” right.

  7. That video was very awakining, and alarming. I feel that Mariam Pearl was a strong woman. To be able to indure all of the anxeity and heart ache that came with the long 15 days that Daniel was missing, and then ending it with such a horrific conclusion, and STILL having stood tall and refused to give Al Queda what they wanted… To be terrorized. Me? I was. .. She is a strong woman. My heart goes out to Daniel Pearls family and expecially to Adam Pearl, and Mariam Pearl. God Bless.

  8. I believe that all those extremists idiot fukks need to be herded like sheep, with their suicide bombs strapped to themselves, and have them just press the buttons and they can go and see Allah earlier than anticipated. As a matter of fact, Allah won’t take their sick evil asses, so they can go to hell.

  9. The muslum God is satan and they are the crazies who look for pipe dreams in the sky. All those who do such things as the talaban deserve to have bacon shoved into thier throats to deliver to thier so called God and the deamon virgin whores they’ll be with in hell.

  10. The man was a financial reporter working for a prominent financial newspaper with sources all over the world, and he was trying to trace the money trail of the 9-11 hijackers. He was Jewish and working in an Islamic country at a time when anti-Jewish settiment was high.
    2 things come to mind:
    As an American and Jewish reporter did he really think that he was going to get answers from any Islamic people in a position of Government or Religion when both were being suspected and targeted by U.S. Intelligence due to suspicions of involvement in 9-11, and did he lose all realms of common sense by thinking he could move and work freely in a country that has seen war, revolution, civil strife, uprisings by anti-government groups like the Taliban, fighting in Afghanistan, Al Queda and the coming to prominence of other extremist groups that are hard set on anti American and Israeli thinking? These people don’t trust each other and think nothing of killing each other for political and religious gain. Did he really think he was going to get a straight answer?
    He was asking for trouble and found it by displaying a lack of common sense.
    I don’t vindicate what was done. It was sick and immoral, regardless of what his nationality and religion was. It is a sin to have this happen to any person at all. But he did not respect his boundaries and used the possible ‘ground-breaking’ headlines a story would have produced as a screen to disregard his personal safety and that of his family.

      1. agreed ! he should have told the pakistani agencies as to what his ambitions were … not everyone is allowed to poke his nose every where just because he has a green card or a red passport … not that i m not sad to see what happened but see the thing what he was upto , if he would have suceeded his story would have been published in big newspapers and people all over the world would have been ridiculing the paki agencies saying that they were harbouring terrorist … which is not the case

  11. This article almost makes me angry. I stopped reading after the “It’s almost as if he is proud.” part. Do you really know what you are talking about or are you just taking info from other articles?! This isn’t even the real actual video. He isn’t proud.. he just has no idea what is about to happen to him though he is held at gun point being made to make these remarks and demands. He is composed because he has no idea that (like in the actual video) in a matter of moments his head will be sawed off from the spine forward.
    It’s not a matter of if he did or did not do what he set out to do, but the fact that he was brave enough to try. Would you put yourself in his shoes? Didn’t think so. You’d rather stay in the comfort of your own grossly comfy shoes.
    The thing that is HORRIBLE to say is: “Pearl was on a virtual suicide mission” How fucked up can you be??! Yes he went into the deep end, but he was going after what he went there for. He was in a way doing his job, his passion.
    To all of those talking about killing these horrible people as a whole…a genocide in fact, You need to watch the end of The Kingdom. Yes, it may be a hollywood movie, but the ending has such a powerful message (I believe.). Pearl did not set himself up for this in any way…”We give you one more day if America will not meet our demands we will kill Daniel. Then this cycle will continue and no American journalist could enter Pakistan” It could have been anyone….ANYONE.

  12. You observe several times that KSM has been sentence to death “but the death sentence has never been carried out.” But you don’t mention that the reason for this is that KSM was captured after DPs murder and sent to Guantanamo Bay. That’s certainly a very relevant point that should be included here.

  13. this world would be so much better without any religon. Its all about money and hatred and who is better than whom. god, allah, who the hell ever…
    we all are humans and death and destruction seem to be the only way…until women run the world!

  14. I’ve read lots of ignorant, egoistic drivel on the internet, but Lindsay, your insensitive, pompous and probably racist screed about the murder of Daniel Pearl is about the greatest endorsement for internet censorship I’ve ever seen. Take your “high IQ” and ride off into the sunset of your self-righteous voyeuristic fantasies. You are so wrong, so full of it and so distorted on so many levels: what else is to be expected from someone who hosts this travesty of a video.

  15. While reading this article, I felt like the author was blaming the victim. Pearl trusted too much, and did not realize the extreme extent of his killers antisemitic hatred. When the Lashkar-e-Taiba were killing Rabbi Holtzberg and his wife in Mumbai in 2008, their handlers told the killers “the lives of Jews were worth 50 times those of non-Jews”. The Koran/Hadith says Jews are apes and pigs–they hide behind trees–“O, Muslims, come and kill him (ie, The Jew)”.On January 9, 2012 at a Palestinian public event, Mufti Muhammad Hussein state Palestinians had a duty to kill Jews now, today.
    Lots of haters in non-modern Islamic societies take the Koran literally. I hope those Islamic societies can finally evolve and no longer allow child marriage, pederasty, cutting of hands, feet, execution of children, genital mutilation, child martyrs and human shields.

  16. Killed before his son was born. Every1 of deathbringer will die. SOON. U dont know and no one knows what to expect from the other world. ull see ))

  17. I’m a trauma psychologist and frankly am disappointed by the angle of this blog. It is a shade just below blaming the victim for this horror that was done to him. To do so may aid in helping you avoid difficult and horrific emotions, but it serves the perpetrators of the crime, and further damages any surviving victims of similar horror. My colleagues and I fight so hard to help these victims of horror, the lack of empathy of this author and the almost-victim-blaming depicted in this blog helps further the horror.

  18. People should be free to choose the time and method of their death. Obviously the vast majority live out their lives and die when they are old and infirm. I would guess that a vast majority of the population does not concern itself with such matters. But, a small minority do. With billions of persons, even a small majority turns out to be a large number. No one should have the right to pick the time, place and manner of another individual’s death, unless that individual has taken a life without proper reason and has therefore broken the social covenant. Not every Muslim is a murderer and not every Muslim brokered murder is improper. To kill an individual solely due to his religious beliefs (or his religion simply based on birth) is unconscionable. Many individuals do their business at risk to life and limb. Lindsay’s characterization that Pearl’s venture into Pakistan was a death wish is unfortunate. Succumbing to death at the hands of religious fanatics should not be trivialized or blamed on the victim no matter what risks were taken, Civilized people do not behead other people. They do not murder other people, Governments should not murder other people in the name of ANY religion, form of government or other beliefs.

  19. I thought this was a good attempt at explaining what happened to DP, I don’t understand the anger at the author! The Jewish community seems to take offense at anything that doesn’t unequivocally blame all Muslims. I do believe he was foolish not to understand the risks involved in what he was doing! Pakistan is incredibly dangerous place for an American, but a Jewish American trying to investigate Al Queda?

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