Forensic analysis: Yes, Khaled Sheikh Mohammed murdered Daniel Pearl

posted at 4:57 pm on January 20, 2011 by Allahpundit

This theory’s been floating around since at least 2006, when the FBI noticed that KSM’s hands bear a striking resemblance to the hands seen wielding the blade in the infamous video of Pearl being beheaded. So prominent was the hypothesis, in fact, that it drew a (skeptical) response from Pearl’s own father. The obvious evidentiary problem: How do you go about making a positive identification of a hand? Unless there’s a telltale scar, there’s no way to hurdle a standard of proof as high as “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Or is there?

According to the new report, which was prepared by faculty members and students at Georgetown University, U.S. officials have concluded that vascular technology, or vein matching, shows that the hand of the unseen man who killed Pearl on video is that of Mohammed. The report also says Mohammed told the FBI that a senior al-Qaeda operative advised him to take control of Pearl from his original kidnappers.

The 31,000-word report, published in conjunction with the Center for Public Integrity at www.publicintegrity.org, is among the most complete and graphic accounts of Pearl’s death…

Mohammed slashed Pearl’s throat, killing him, but one of his accomplices failed to operate the video camera, which they had brought to capture the murder for propaganda purposes. Mohammed restaged the killing, this time decapitating Pearl, according to the report. He then dismembered Pearl’s body, and it was buried on the compound. Guards washed the bloody floor and then prayed, foreheads to the ground, on the same surface where their prisoner had just been killed, the report said.

The report said that 27 men, including guards and drivers, played a part in the kidnapping and murder, and that 14 remain free in Pakistan.

KSM told interrogators that he was encouraged via phone to take custody of Pearl and do the deed by Al Qaeda capo Saif al-Adel, who was allegedly under house arrest in Iran at the time and who was reported to have finally returned to the battlefield in Waziristan just last year. (How was al-Adel able to keep in touch with AQ operatives in the field while under “house arrest” unless Iran was enabling him?) The technology of “vein matching” seems straightforward — it follows the same principle of unique blood vessel patterns as retinal scanning — but whether the patterns in a hand are unique enough to stand up in court is so far unclear. Assuming Obama and Holder are willing to chance it, this is potentially a way to get an easy conviction against KSM in civilian court, which would solve their problem (in his case, at least) of holding a detainee indefinitely without trial. If he’s acquitted of Pearl’s murder, they can send him back to his pen at Gitmo on grounds that they need to hold him for an eventual 9/11 trial; if he’s convicted, then they can proceed to the 9/11 trial knowing that there’s already a murder conviction on the books in case the jury does something bizarre and acquits him. A conviction in the Pearl case is insurance, in other words, against the political fallout from a bad outcome in the 9/11 case.

Three looming problems, though. One: As noted above, vascular analysis isn’t established yet the way, say, DNA analysis is. If it’s the feds’ only hard evidence against him and either the jury is skeptical of it or the court deems it inadmissible, the case falls apart. Two: Pakistan’s already convicted Omar Sheikh for Pearl’s kidnapping and murder, a fact that would no doubt be hammered by KSM’s defense. And since many of the accomplices are still at large, corroborating testimony of KSM’s guilt will be hard to come by. Finally, three: While KSM has in fact confessed to Pearl’s murder — and might do so again if given a chance to grandstand in open court about jihad — the interrogation methods used to extract his confession will naturally become a centerpiece of the defense, turning the trial into precisely the sort of propaganda circus that opponents of civilian trials for detainees have warned about. Worth the risk? For Obama and Holder, I’m thinking … yeah, maybe.

The Time piece in 2006 that first fingered KSM as the culprit mentioned that the Bush administration wanted to try him for the murder, so these considerations have obviously been kicked around for awhile. Team Bush wanted to do it in a military commission, though, not in civilian court; then again, Team Bush didn’t have a vascular fingerprint “proving” whodunnit. And Team Bush didn’t have a base that’s unhappy with his Gitmo policy the way the left is with Obama’s. Putting KSM on trial in federal court for Pearl’s murder would be a convenient sop to progressives and a nice victory ahead of the 2012 election — assuming it ends in conviction, of course. If it doesn’t? Oh boy.


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Obviously, the loss of Daniel Pearl was one of those moments that captured the world’s imagination because it reminded us of how valuable a free press is.

barackhusseinobama on May 17, 2010 at 13:00 PM

steebo77 on January 20, 2011 at 5:03 PM

filthy kelb

blatantblue on January 20, 2011 at 5:04 PM

I think a 500 million dollar boondoggle of a trial is called for in Manhattan.

rob verdi on January 20, 2011 at 5:05 PM

We might never know what motivated him…..

the_nile on January 20, 2011 at 5:06 PM

Pity he sang like a bird.

We could be dancing on his bones by now.

CPT. Charles on January 20, 2011 at 5:07 PM

We might never know what motivated him…..

the_nile on January 20, 2011 at 5:06 PM

Bwaaaahhh. Very subtle…

Geochelone on January 20, 2011 at 5:08 PM

Hey, now…don’t go jumping to conclusions.

…although he might have envisioned a time in the future when Obamacare was passed and was mad about that.

Asher on January 20, 2011 at 5:09 PM

A small injection of hydrogen peroxide into the carotid artery.

Game over. And we could do it on PPV to help cover the cost of “closing” GITMO.

BobMbx on January 20, 2011 at 5:12 PM

He’s pled guilty.

Shoot him.

Really. Enough with this nonsense. He’s guilty of mass murder. He pled guilty.

Execute him.

SteveMG on January 20, 2011 at 5:13 PM

Can the Eighth Amendment be waived in this instance?

aunursa on January 20, 2011 at 5:19 PM

How does Sarah Palin figure into this?

Holder should be shackled to this scum until he leaves offie or KSM leavs this life.

Preferably dangling at the end of a snug pigskin noose.

profitsbeard on January 20, 2011 at 5:21 PM

Too bad we didn’t just go forward when the dirt bag originally confessed.

No, we had to complicate things. DIDN’T WE BARRY?

GarandFan on January 20, 2011 at 5:22 PM

And yet, waterboarding this scum was “torture”…

JetBoy on January 20, 2011 at 5:27 PM

Can’t help but to wonder what czar title this man will receive upon his pardon.

Keemo on January 20, 2011 at 5:28 PM

filthy kelb

blatantblue on January 20, 2011 at 5:04 PM

You insult dogs.

toliver on January 20, 2011 at 5:28 PM

OK, OK, so he’s guilty of an individual murder, in addition to the mass murder.

Does that justify the barbaric practice of pouring a bit of water up his nose? So, we got information out of him that saved a lot of lives. We poured WATER UP HIS NOSE!

Oh, the humanity.

iurockhead on January 20, 2011 at 5:32 PM

Totally non-related(or is it?):

My initials are KA. I have veins in my left hand that form those same initials. Serendipitous, to be sure. But weird…

karl9000 on January 20, 2011 at 5:37 PM

He was motivated by the heated political speech formented by the tea party. AND WE POURED WATER UP HIS NOSE. He should be released.

Kuffar on January 20, 2011 at 5:37 PM

Wait, if he was already dead before the camera was rolling, then the film doesn’t prove who killed him, right?

mikeyboss on January 20, 2011 at 5:42 PM

He was motivated by the heated political speech formented by the tea party. AND WE POURED WATER UP HIS NOSE. He should be released.

Kuffar on January 20, 2011 at 5:37 PM

I prefer ‘nasal irrigation’. It’s actually very helpful in pollen-allergy season.

slickwillie2001 on January 20, 2011 at 6:03 PM

“Stop bickering and let’s kill him!”

- The three-headed knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Kafir on January 20, 2011 at 6:05 PM

AND WE POURED WATER UP HIS NOSE.

I never understood why we did this. It’s just not right.

They couldn’t get bacon grease? Pig urine was unavailable?

karl9000 on January 20, 2011 at 6:21 PM

This guy’s gotten a much better defense or a much more lenient prosecution than Timothy McVeigh.

How many years did ole Tim have until he was turned to room temperature?

How many years has ole Khaled Sheikh Mohammed had to be found guilty and turned to room temperature?

BowHuntingTexas on January 20, 2011 at 8:26 PM

He’s pled guilty.

Shoot him.

Really. Enough with this nonsense. He’s guilty of mass murder. He pled guilty.

Execute him.

SteveMG on January 20, 2011 at 5:13 PM

Too good for him. They ought to keep him in the day room of a women’s institution for the criminally insane with a mop and a bucket.

smellthecoffee on January 20, 2011 at 8:55 PM

How ’bout treating all Al Quaida operatives captured as PRISONERS OF WAR?
Bcs that is what they are.
Hence, they deserve no civilian trial.
I hate liberals.
This is just disgusting that they could even think of trying the enemy in a civilian court.
Effing insane.

Badger40 on January 20, 2011 at 9:20 PM

We don’t want any of these Islamic PsOS in our nation’s courts. Let Gitmo tribunals try and hang them all with a pig tail in their mouths.

SilentWatcher on January 20, 2011 at 10:21 PM

How ’bout treating all Al Quaida operatives captured as PRISONERS OF WAR?

Badger40 on January 20, 2011 at 9:20 PM

Because they are not POW’s under the Third Geneva Convention’s rules, but are illegal enemy combatants, war criminals, spies, saboteurs and terrorists, who neither merit nor deserve any of the Geneva Conventions’ protections for soldiers who legitmately follow the accepted Rules of War (wearing a uniform, fighting under a national flag, carrying their weapons openly, treating prisoners honorably, not targeting civilians specifically, eschewing terror tactics, et al) , but only warrant a field tribunal and swift execution.

Unless we can waterboard some vital info out of them before their firing squad sends them to hell.

profitsbeard on January 20, 2011 at 10:36 PM

I’d cut his limbs off, throw them into a pig pen and make him watch the pigs eat his body parts.

lonestar1 on January 20, 2011 at 10:36 PM

I know BO would never allow it, but…

Why don’t we let him go? Of course, we should plant a tracking device in his stomach first, unknowingly to him. Also, he is not a citizen and should be deported. So we would take him to Afghanistan or Pakistan in a heavy Al Queda area and release him. I’m sure his buddies wouldn’t take too kindly to him spilling his guts. All we did was waterboard him, that’s nothing compared to cutting off someone’s limbs or head. So as he is taken by Al Queda, we simply observe and then drop a bunker buster on top of them. Problem solved….

jeffn21 on January 21, 2011 at 9:30 AM

I know what I want to have happen to this vile smear of pig sh*t, but I also know that we are a nation of laws and he will be dealt with according to those laws. Still, if he ever walks free while I am alive, I would donate to a fund to kidnap him and deal with him per lonestar1′s suggestion above. It would be worth the time I would serve in purgatory.

Extrafishy on January 21, 2011 at 1:11 PM

The technology of “vein matching” seems straightforward — it follows the same principle of unique blood vessel patterns as retinal scanning — but whether the patterns in a hand are unique enough to stand up in court is so far unclear.

The question is how clear or detailed is the video? If the picture is super high quality i might buy it. I mean a retina scan isnt like looking at someone eyes from 3 feet away and saying they match.

Greed on January 21, 2011 at 1:32 PM