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

  • TIFF 2017: Drake, George Clooney, Jennifer Lawrence, Benedict Cumberbatch and Angelina Jolie among celebs headed to Toronto

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Have CN Tower, don’t need to travel. Following his annual OVO Fest, which this year saw him performing on a makeshift version of the Canadian landmark, Toronto rapper Drake is set to mingle with the Hollywood A-crowd when he brings his Vince Carter documentary, The Carter Effect, to the Toronto International Film Festival next month. Source
  • Morgan Freeman to receive SAG Life Achievement Award in 2018

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- Morgan Freeman will receive the SAG Life Achievement Award at next year's Screen Actors Guild Awards ceremony. The actors union announced Tuesday that Freeman will accept its highest honour on Jan. Source
  • All the times Jon Snow nearly died (and the one time he did), ranked

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    During Sunday night's nail-biter "Game of Thrones" episode, Jon Snow nearly died not once but twice. As usual, he managed to escape (somewhat) unscathed. That's kind of his M.O., isn't it? He narrowly escapes death when someone or something swoops in at just the right moment to rescue him. Source
  • Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson top Forbes list of highest-paid actors

    Entertainment CBC News
    Transformers: The Last Knight star Mark Wahlberg has outmuscled Dwayne Johnson to become Hollywood's highest-paid actor in the past year with a transforming income of $68 million US, according to Forbes magazine. The former rapper known as Marky Mark beat out Baywatch star Johnson, with $65 million (all figures US), and Johnson's The Fate of the Furious co-star Vin Diesel, worth $54.5 million. Source
  • George and Amal Clooney donate US$1M to fight hate groups

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- George and Amal Clooney are donating US$1 million to fight hate groups. The couple announced Tuesday that their Clooney Foundation for Justice is supporting the Southern Poverty Law Center with a $1 million grant to combat hate groups in the United States. Source
  • Mark Wahlberg tops Forbes list of highest-paid actors

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- "Transformers: The Last Knight" star Mark Wahlberg has outmuscled Dwayne Johnson to become Hollywood's highest-paid actor in the past year with a transforming income of US$68 million, according to Forbes magazine. Source
  • Miles Teller proposes to girlfriend on African safari [Video]

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Miles Teller is engaged after proposing to girlfriend Keleigh Sperry on an African safari over the weekend. The news was announced by Sperry's sister Christie York, who shared a slideshow of pictures of the pair on her Instagram page. Source
  • Angelina Jolie, George Clooney, Drake to attend Toronto film fest

    Entertainment CBC News
    The stars are aligning for the Toronto International Film Festival, with Angelina Jolie, George Clooney, Drake, Emma Stone, Jennifer Lawrence and Idris Elba among the celebrities expected to hit the red carpet. Other stars confirmed to attend include Matt Damon, Nicole Kidman, Jessica Chastain and Liam Neeson. Source
  • Mariah Carey poses topless for Paper Magazine [Video]

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Mariah Carey, who's no stranger to skimpy outfits, has stripped down for Paper Magazine's Las Vegas Edition. The mother-of-two went topless for the magazine's cover photo, with her long hair covering her breasts. She also wore long black gloves, black pants and fishnet tights and a jewelled body chain. Source
  • Kristen Stewart and Miley Cyrus nude pix leaked online [Photos] [Video]

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Nude photographs of stars including Kristen Stewart and Miley Cyrus have been leaked online. The Twilight star and the Wrecking Ball singer were targeted by hackers who then shared the private pictures with website Celeb Jihad. Along with the nude snaps of Kristen and Miley, the outlet also published graphic selfies of Katharine McPhee, Stella Maxwell and Tiger Woods and his ex-girlfriend Lindsey Vonn. Source