Former POW Bergdahl breaks silence in new 'Serial' podcast season

BOISE, Idaho -- Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's decision to leave his military base in Afghanistan, his subsequent five-year imprisonment by the Taliban and the prisoner swap that secured his return to the United States have all launched a thousand opinions and nearly as many political narratives .

See Full Article

But Bergdahl himself never spoke publicly about the events, until now. He told screenwriter Mark Boal that he left the base to cause a crisis that would catch the attention of military brass, all so they would listen when he raised concerns about leadership at his post. About 25 hours of Boal's interviews were shared with Sarah Koenig for her popular podcast, "Serial."

"As a private first-class, nobody is going to listen me," Bergdahl says in the first episode of the podcast, released Thursday. "No one is going to take me serious that an investigation needs to be put underway."

Bergdahl, of Hailey, Idaho, was charged in March with desertion and misbehaviour before the enemy. He faces up to life in prison, though an Army officer has recommended that Bergdahl's case be moved to a special misdemeanour-level military court.

His attorney Eugene Fidell says politicians and would-be politicians have been using Bergdahl as a talking point to push their own agendas for months, a situation he described as creating "gale-force political winds."

The more the public can hear Bergdahl's own words, the better, Fidell told The Associated Press.

"Some of the information that is going to come out is inevitably not going to be what we would have preferred in a perfect universe, but net-net, we'll take it and allow people in our democratic society to form their own opinions," Fidell said.

In the episode, Bergdahl says he wanted to expose the "leadership failure" he experienced in Afghanistan. The episode does not elaborate on what that failure was, but he says he believed at the time his disappearance and his plan to reappear at another location would give him access to top officials. After leaving the base after midnight, he worries about the reception he'll get once he reappears, and decides to try to get information on who was planting bombs in the area. That information will help smooth things over with angry military officials, he figures.

Sarah Koenig, the host and executive producer of "Serial," describes Bergdahl as a "radical, idiosyncratic" man in the episode. She says Bergdahl shipped his personal items home, bought local attire and pulled out $300 in U.S. dollars and Afghanis ahead of leaving the base.

Bergdahl acknowledges his motives weren't entirely idealistic.

"I was trying to prove to myself, I was trying to prove to the world, to anybody who used to know me ... I was capable of being what I appeared to be," Bergdahl says. "Doing what I did was me saying I am like Jason Bourne. I had this fantastic idea that I was going to prove to the world I was the real thing."

He says after the sun came up, a group of men on motorcycles captured him as he walked through nearby flatland desert.

He also discusses the psychological torment of being held captive for years.

"It's like how do I explain to a person that just standing in an empty dark room hurts?" Bergdahl recounts. "It's like well, a person asked me, 'Why does it hurt? Does your body hurt?' Yes, your body hurts but it's more than that. It's mental, like, almost confused. ... I would wake up not even remembering what I was."

He adds: "It's like you're standing there, screaming in your mind."



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • Swedish film The Square wins Palme d'Or at Cannes Film Fest

    Entertainment CBC News
    The Square, a Swedish movie about the curator of a museum filled with grotesquely pretentious conceptual art was awarded the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival on Sunday. Sofia Coppola won best director for The Beguiled, Joaquin Phoenix was named best actor for You Were Never Really Here and Diane Kruger best actress for the German-language movie In the Fade. Source
  • Father of 3 young Ariana Grande fans posts open letter after Manchester bombing

    Entertainment CBC News
    A father of three Ariana Grande fans is telling the 23-year-old singer to keep making music following the Manchester bombing that happened after her concert last week. Patrick Millsaps, an American film producer with a 13-year-old and two 12-year-old daughters, posted an open letter on Twitter that has been re-tweeted thousands of times and has received likes from pop stars Taylor Swift, Miley Ray Cyrus and Grande herself. Source
  • Cannes gears up for Palme d'Or prize night

    Entertainment CTV News
    CANNES, France -- The Cannes Film Festival is gearing up to award its prestigious Palme d'Or at a glitzy award ceremony. No single movie has emerged as the clear favorite among the 19 in competition for the coveted prize being awarded Sunday evening. Source
  • 'Pirates of the Caribbean' tops box office, 'Baywatch' sinks

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- It was smooth sailing to the top spot at the box office for "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales," but the waters were choppier for the Dwayne Johnson comedy "Baywatch. Source
  • Jet owned by Elvis auctioned off for $430K

    Entertainment CTV News
    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- A private jet once owned by Elvis Presley has been auctioned after sitting on a runway in New Mexico for 35 years. The plane sold for $430,000 on Saturday at an Agoura Hills, California, event featuring celebrity memorabilia, GWS Auctions Inc. Source
  • House of Cards, Still Star-Crossed and Fear Factor top this week's TV must-sees

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    House of Cards Season 5 Stream President Frank Underwood must compete with reality’s current political landscape when House of Cards returns with its fifth season. The anticipated drama picks up following a lengthy season 4 cliffhanger with the lying, cheating, scandalous president vying for votes in the midst of his re-election campaign. Source
  • Gregg Allman dead at 69 [Photos] [Video]

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    SAVANNAH, Ga. — Music legend Gregg Allman, whose bluesy vocals and soulful touch on the Hammond B-3 organ helped propel the Allman Brothers Band to superstardom and spawn Southern rock, died Saturday, his manager said. He was 69. Source
  • Alicia Keys, Canada's indigenous movement share human rights award

    Entertainment CBC News
    American recording artist and humanitarian Alicia Keys believes a change is coming, as people in both Canada and the United States wake up to the fight against inequality and injustice. "There's a veil that's lifted so we're not able to say anymore, 'I didn't know that,'" she said Saturday in Montreal, where she was honoured for her activism. Source
  • Alicia Keys and Canada's indigenous movement share human rights award

    Entertainment CTV News
    MONTREAL - American recording artist Alicia Keys is sharing a top humanitarian award with indigenous rights activists in Canada. Keys and members of the indigenous rights movement are in Montreal to receive Amnesty International's "ambassador of conscience award. Source
  • Greg Allman's death prompts tributes from Cher, Keith Urban, Guns N' Roses

    Entertainment CBC News
    Cher, Keith Urban and Guns N' Roses are among the many musicians and entertainers paying tribute to Greg Allman following news of the Tennessee-born rocker's death at age 69. The Allman Brothers Band posted on its website Saturday that Allman, a founding member, "passed away peacefully at his home" in Savannah, Ga. Source