CBS News is reporting that the first attempt to rescue journalist Daniel Pearl from his captors has ended indisappointment. After zeroing in on prime kidnapping suspect, Sheik Omar Saeed, Pakistani police reportedly calledhim on Wednesday and attempted to negotiate. They told him that they had arrested members of his family and thatthey would release his loved ones if he would give up Pearl. Well, Saeed appeared to agree to these conditions,promising to release his journalist-captive within hours. But Pearl was never freed. Instead, Saeed used those hoursto make his own getaway. Now police are admitting their investigation has faltered and the trail has once again rundry.
Meanwhile, just days before this botched attempt at bargain-chip diplomacy, London Independent correspondent,Robert Fisk, wrote an article that doubled as an open letter to Osama bin Laden, asking him to help secure hisreporter-friend’s release. The letter reads like this:
“Daniel Pearl should not be a hostage. The photograph released by his kidnappers, manacled and awaiting execution,was profoundly shocking for me, because he and his young French wife were the last Westerners I saw in Islamabadbefore I returned to Beirut last December. I had just been beaten by an Afghan crowd and arrived, still bruised andvery bloody, at the guest house on Chinar Road, which has been home to many journalists over the past months.”
- Robert Fisk, Middle East correspondent for the London Independent, speaking from Beirutwww.independent.co.uk
Independent filmmaker Jon Alpert and his crew from Downtown Community Television recently returned from the villageof Chokur, Afghanistan. There he documented the journey home Afghan-American Masuda Sultan. 19 members of her familywere killed in a US bombing raid on October 22nd. While most mainstream media would not touch his footage when hereturned, tonight his latest documentary will air on PBS stations nationally, on “Now,” with Bill Moyers.
- Jon Alpert, independent filmmaker and founder of Downtown Community Television.