WSJ Journalist Daniel Pearl was the son of a UCLA Prof
for the lazy:
Officials confirm death of Pearl, son of UCLA professor
PAKISTAN: Reporter had been missing since Jan. 23; family remembers his ‘compassion’
By Michael Falcone
Daily Bruin Senior Staff
For nearly a month, Daniel Pearl's father, UCLA professor Judea Pearl, waited for news about the fate of his son. Thursday, he learned that the worst was true.
At his home in Encino, Professor Pearl, a faculty member in the Department of Computer Science since 1970 when Daniel was just seven years old, received word from the U.S. Department of State that videotape evidence confirmed his son had been killed.
"Danny's senseless murder lies beyond our comprehension," said a spokesman reading a statement on behalf of Daniel's parents and sisters. "Danny was a beloved son, a brother, an uncle, a husband and a father to a child who will never know him."
A reporter for the Wall Street Journal, Daniel was kidnapped Jan. 23 in Karachi, Pakistan. That night he was on his way to interview the leader of an extremist Muslim group with possible ties to alleged shoe bomber Richard C. Reid. The 38-year-old journalist never returned.
Pakistani authorities said a videotape they obtained showed Daniel being killed by the Islamic extremists who kidnapped him a month ago. The U.S. State Department did not say when Pearl was killed.
"The murder of Mr. Pearl is an outrage, and we condemn it," said State Department spokesman Richard Boucher. "Both the United States and Pakistan are committed to identifying all the perpetrators of this crime and bringing them to justice."
Traveling in Asia, President George W. Bush extended his condolences to Daniel's pregnant wife, Marianne, and family, saying all Americans are "sad and angry" about the journalist's death.
"We are especially sad for his unborn child, who will now know his father only through the memory of others," Bush said. "May God bless Daniel Pearl."
In Pakistan, where police already have several suspects in custody – including Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, who admitted to involvement in the kidnapping – the country's president, Pervez Musharraf, instructed security forces to apprehend "each and every one of the gang of terrorists" connected with Pearl's killing.
For more than four weeks, Pearl's status was unknown. Days after Pearl's disappearance, several media outlets including the Wall Street Journal received an e-mail with photos of Daniel in captivity and a demand to release Pakistanis held at the U.S. naval base in Gauantanamo Bay, Cuba. The last of the e-mail messages, sent Jan. 30, said Pearl would be killed in 24 hours.
A week ago in a Karachi courtroom, Saeed indicated Pearl was dead, contradicting statements he made a day before that the journalist was still alive.
Reports that Pearl was led into a trap adds to speculation about the motivations of his abductors. Another man being held in connection with the kidnapping said Pearl was abducted because he was "a Jew working against Islam," according to a story in a major Southeast Asian newspaper, The Times of India.
Pearl was accused by his captors of being an agent of the Israeli intelligence group, the Moussad. Before that, they claimed he was an undercover CIA officer.
Out of a concern for the safety of Daniel, The Daily Bruin joined other media organizations in not printing information about the Pearl family until now.
Both Judea and his wife, Ruth, have Israeli citizenship.
Professor Pearl, a widely-published expert in the field of artificial intelligence, has been the director of the Cognitive Systems Laboratory at UCLA. He is not teaching any classes this quarter.
Professor Pearl received his undergraduate degree from the Technion in Haifa, Israel, and before joining the university, he worked in Princeton, New Jersey – the town where Daniel was born in 1963.
After the family's move to Southern California, Daniel graduated from Birmingham High School in Van Nuys and attended Stanford University, where he received a communications degree in 1985. Pearl went on to work at papers in San Francisco and Massachusetts before joining the Wall Street Journal.
Breaking their silence after a month-long period of uncertainty, Daniel's family in Los Angeles now begins what will be an even longer period of mourning.
"A musician, a writer, a story-teller and a bridge builder, he was a walking sunshine of truth, humor, friendship and compassion," their statement said. "We grieve with the many who have known him in his life, and we weep for a world that must reckon with his death."