[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Mon Jul 26 23:48:11 CDT 2004
The Pakistan connection and the US silence over an execution
Omar Shiekh, a British-born Islamist militant, is waiting to be hanged in
Pakistan for a murder he almost certainly didn't commit -- of the Wall
Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in 2002. Both the US government and
Pearl's wife have since acknowledged that Sheikh was not responsible. Yet
the Pakistani government is refusing to try other suspects newly
implicated in Pearl's kidnap and murder for fear the evidence they produce
in court might acquit Sheikh and reveal too much.
Significantly, Sheikh is also the man who, on the instructions of General
Mahmoud Ahmed, the then head of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence
(ISI), wired US$100,000 before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to Mohammed
Atta, the lead hijacker. It is extraordinary that neither Ahmed nor Sheikh
have been charged and brought to trial on this count. Why not?
Ahmed, the paymaster for the hijackers, was actually in Washington on
Sept. 11, and had a series of pre-Sept. 11, top-level meetings in the
White House, the Pentagon, the National Security Council, and with George
Tenet, then head of the CIA, and Marc Grossman, the under-secretary of
state for political affairs. When Ahmed was exposed by the Wall Street
Journal as having sent the money to the hijackers, he was forced to
"retire" by Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.
Why hasn't the US demanded that he be questioned and tried in court?
Another person who must know a great deal about what led up to Sept. 11 is
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), allegedly arrested in Rawalpindi on March 1
last year. A joint Senate-House intelligence select committee inquiry the
following July stated: "KSM appears to be one of bin Laden's most trusted
lieutenants and was active in recruiting people to travel outside
Afghanistan, including to the US, on behalf of bin Laden."
According to the report, the clear implication was that they would be
engaged in planning terrorist-related activities.
The report was sent from the CIA to the FBI, but neither agency apparently
recognized the significance of a bin Laden lieutenant sending terrorists
to the US and asking them to establish contacts with colleagues already
there. Yet the New York Times has since noted that "American officials
said that KSM, once al-Qaeda's top operational commander, personally
executed Daniel Pearl ... but he was unlikely to be accused of the crime
in an American criminal court because of the risk of divulging classified
Indeed, he may never be brought to trial.
A fourth witness is Sibel Edmonds. She is a 33-year-old Turkish-American
former FBI translator of intelligence, fluent in Farsi, the language
spoken mainly in Iran and Afghanistan, who had top-secret security
clearance. She tried to blow the whistle on the cover-up of intelligence
that names some of the culprits who orchestrated the Sept. 11 attacks, but
is now under two gagging orders that forbid her from testifying in court
or mentioning the names of the people or the countries involved.
She has been quoted as saying: "My translations of the Sept. 11 intercepts
included [terrorist] money laundering, detailed and date-specific
information ... if they were to do real investigations, we would see
several significant high-level criminal prosecutions in this country [the
US] ... and believe me, they will do everything to cover this up."
Furthermore, the trial in the US of Zacharias Moussaoui -- allegedly the
20th hijacker -- is in danger of collapse, apparently because of "the
CIA's reluctance to allow key lieutenants of Osama bin Laden to testify at
2 of the alleged conspirators have already been set free in Germany for
the same reason.
The FBI, illegally, continues to refuse to release agent Robert Wright's
500-page manuscript Fatal Betrayals of the Intelligence Mission, and has
even refused to turn the manuscript over to Senator Richard Shelby,
vice-chairman of the joint intelligence committee charged with
investigating the US' Sept. 11 intelligence failures. And the US
government still refuses to declassify 28 secret pages of a recent report
on Sept. 11.
It has been rumored that Pearl was especially interested in any role
played by the US in training or backing the ISI. Daniel Ellsberg, the
former US defense department whistleblower who has accompanied Edmonds in
court, has stated: "It seems to me quite plausible that Pakistan was quite
involved in this ... To say Pakistan is, to me, to say CIA because ...
it's hard to say that the ISI knew something that the CIA had no knowledge
Ahmed's close relations with the CIA would seem to confirm this. For years
the CIA used the ISI as a conduit to pump billions of US dollars into
militant Islamist groups in Afghanistan, both before and after the Soviet
invasion of 1979.
With CIA backing, the ISI has developed, since the early 1980s, into a
parallel structure, a state within a state, with staff and informers
estimated by some at 150,000. It wields enormous power over all aspects of
government. The case of Ahmed confirms that parts of the ISI directly
supported and financed al-Qaeda, and it has long been established that the
ISI has acted as a go-between in intelligence operations on behalf of the
Senator Bob Graham, chairman of the Senate select committee on
intelligence, has said: "I think there is very compelling evidence that at
least some of the terrorists were assisted, not just in financing ... by a
sovereign foreign government."
In that context, Horst Ehmke, former coordinator of the West German secret
services, observed: "Terrorists could not have carried out such an
operation with four hijacked planes without the support of a secret
That might give meaning to the reaction on Sept. 11 of Richard Clarke, the
White House counter-terrorism chief, when he saw the passenger lists later
on the day itself: "I was stunned ... that there were al-Qaeda operatives
on board using names that the FBI knew were al-Qaeda." It was just that,
as Dale Watson, head of counter-terrorism at the FBI told him, the "CIA
forgot to tell us about them."
(source: Michael Meacher is a British Labour MP and former UK environment
minister; The Taipei Times)
5 got capital punishment for triple-murder in Lalbag
A speedy trial tribunal court today sentenced 5 persons to death for the
sensational triple-murder at Lalbag where an old lady, her daughter and
son were slain by their kinsmen.
The condemned convicts are Syed Obaidul Akbar, 45, Ahmed Hossain, 38,
Sattar, 35, Dulal and Nasir, 30. Dulal was tried in absentia.
2 co-accused, Bashir and Mohammed Ali alias Kalachan, were acquitted while
another, Giasuddin, had died during the trial proceedings.
"The accused looked unmoved in the dock as the court pronounced the
judgement, sentencing them to death," says an eyewitness account.
Prosecution case was that there was land dispute between the victims --
Sajedunnessa, 60, and Sabiha Begum, 28, daughter of Soyedunnessa, and
Morchalin alias Swapan.
Sajedunnessa constructed house on her own land at Azampur Road in the
citys Lalbag area. The accused persons are the owners of the adjacent land
and the victims and the accused are close relations. The accused raised
objection regarding the area of land and forbade raising building
encroaching upon their land. But the victims continued the building
"Then the accused threatened them a dire consequence," says the case
statement. The victims filed a GD with Lalbag police station on April 10,
Thereafter, the accused planned and murdered Sajedunnessa, her daughter
Sabiha and son Morchalin and dumped their bodies in a room on November 23,
1999. Police recovered the dead bodies 2 days after the carnage.
Accused Syed Obaidul Akbar had made confessional statement in the murder
case. The judge of the tribunal, AR Masud, after examining 22 witnesses
gave the verdict with the observation that it was "preplanned,
pre-mediated, deliberate and cold blooded murder."
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