Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Berghdal the spy...?

Look, I'd rather not be thinking the way I'm thinking. But this story really does have an odd smell to it...
Within days of his disappearance, says Buetow, teams monitoring radio chatter and cell phone communications intercepted an alarming message: The American is in Yahya Khel (a village two miles away). He's looking for someone who speaks English so he can talk to the Taliban.

"I heard it straight from the interpreter's lips as he heard it over the radio," said Buetow. "There's a lot more to this story than a soldier walking away."
Firsthand accounts from soldiers in his platoon say Bergdahl disappeared while he was on guard duty.

Buetow says Bergdahl was about to go on guard duty, but when a fellow soldier went to wake him, he was not in his tent. He had left behind his weapons, his bullet-proof vest, and night vision gear.
Although this account strongly hints that Berghdal aided the Taliban, the Taliban doesn't seem to have had any affection for him. They have released a video showing his transfer back to American hands...
The video has few words in English, other than this message superimposed over Bergdahl:

"Don'come back to afghanistan"
Hm. Doesn't sound like he was a Muslim convert or anything of that sort.

Suspiciously enough, we've been given multiple versions of what happened when he left his base. Here's the Wikipedia summary:
Bergdahl went missing on the night of June 30, 2009, near the town of Yahya Kheyl in Paktika Province.[14] Accounts of his capture differ. In a video, Bergdahl stated that he was captured when he fell behind on a patrol.[2] Taliban sources allege he was ambushed after becoming drunk off base; U.S. military sources deny that claim, stating, "The Taliban are known for lying and what they are claiming [is] not true".[4] A Department of Defense spokesperson said, "I'm glad to see he appears unharmed, but again, this is a Taliban propaganda video. They are exploiting the soldier in violation of international law."[2][3] Other sources said Bergdahl walked off base after his shift[15] or that he was grabbed from a latrine.[16]
In other words, at different times the Taliban and Berghdal and the American military brass have given three different accounts of what happened -- and all three stories now seem to be bogus.

Admit it: That fact is weird.

In 2010, the military released a statement saying that they had incontrovertible proof of desertion. Later, reporter Michael Hastings (!) offered an excerpt of an email to Bergdahl's parents in which he outlines his disillusionment with the Army.

If Bergdahl were actually an infiltrator, then Hastings' piece went a long ways toward establishing cover. It's clear from the article that Hastings received a lot of help from the military and/or American intelligence. Obviously, someone "on high" wanted that portrait to appear in Rolling Stone.

I'm not the only one thinking this way. New York Magazine published a guide to Berghdal conspiracy theories....
While Bergdahl had been in captivity for five years, U.S. officials said they had to act quickly because his health and safety were suddenly in jeopardy. InfoWars suggests Bergdahl's life was in danger because he was an undercover U.S. agent whose cover was blown when the White House accidentally released the name of the CIA's highest-ranking spy in Afghanistan last week. "Bergdahl may have actually been an embedded intelligence asset who allowed himself to be captured in order to infiltrate the Haqqani network, yet was ultimately endangered by the Obama administration’s blunder," according to the site.
I despise giving the Alex Jonesians credit for anything. For one thing, they're libertarians. For another thing, they're so paranoid they annoy even me.

C'mon. Look at this piece: Do the authors give us any evidence linking Bergdahl to that recent slip-up? I don't see any. I don't even see anything resembling a halfway-logical argument.

Nevertheless, the authors of that article do make one very good point:
Recent statements by Bergdahl’s father – as well as his mannerisms – also suggest that Bergdahl was trained by an intelligence agency to penetrate the Haqqani network under deep cover.

For one thing, it’s puzzling that Robert Bergdahl, Bergdahl’s father and an Idaho resident, can speak Pashto, one of the official languages of Afghanistan, considering that the State Dept.’s Foreign Service Institute considers Pashto one of the most difficult languages for an English-speaker to learn, especially without immersion in a native environment.

Both the FSI and the Pentagon’s Defense Language Institute are likely the two best sources for Pashto course material for native English speakers.
Bergdahl's own bookishness indicates someone preparing for an assignment.

The Bergdahl-as-spy theory may well be proven wrong in days to come. Right now, though, this narrative suggests answers to some troubling questions:

1. If Bergdahl really did desert his post just before being put on guard duty, why didn't the military simply say so right away? Why have they given wildly varying accounts?

2. If he was working for the Taliban, then why do they now seem to hate him?

3. Why send a Special Forces team to rescue a deserter?

4. What's the deal with the father?

Let me stress once again that we may soon receive reasonable explanations for all of the above. But at this writing, we have both a right and good reason to speculate. As I always say: Speculation has its place, as long as it is clearly labeled as speculation.

Incidentally, most stories indicate that Berghdal was held by the Haqqani network, which was once (in the days before 9/11) funded by the CIA. That network now seems to be a creature of Pakistan's ISI -- which itself once had strong ties to the CIA. The current status of the relationship between ISI and CIA is absolutely unfathomable to me. Hell, it's probably unfathomable to a lot of people within those two services.

The ISI has used the Haqqanis as fighters in a proxy war against the U.S. -- a war that included a 2011 attack on the U.S. embassy in Kabul. If Berghdal was infiltrating this network, perhaps his job was to find out the true relationship between ISI and the Haqqani operation.

Or consider this: Haqqani leaders have been targeted in very precise drone strikes. An infiltrator might have been able to identify and locate the leadership.

The obvious question arises: How would a captured Bergdahl secretly communicate with anyone on the outside? Perhaps one of my readers may suggest an answer.
The language skills do indeed smack of an LHP-type, but according to Consortuim News He was pretty dissapointed with the Army. This could have been staged, but here's one of his e-mails:

Bergdahl was quick to discern that he and his comrades were pawns of a policy doing far more harm than good in terms of helping the Afghans. Emailing from Afghanistan in late June 2009, Bergdahl pointed out the main problem in these words: “In the US army you are cut down for being honest… but if you are a conceited brown nosing shit-bag you will be allowed to do what ever you want.”

Good post. I'll offer a thought on a related subject: why five prisoners? Well, if you send one back and he's working the US, then the mole's identity is obvious. You have to send at least three to give your guy some cover. Send five-- now you're covering for two moles.
Bob, I just read a piece about those five guys. And they all seem pretty hinkey to me...

I'm thinking of the sectarian factor.

But I really do counsel caution. Once an idea grabs hold of you, it's always pretty easy to see confirmation everywhere you look. That has happened to me before -- and perhaps to you as well.
Well I can wield the Big Scoop with the best of them, so I'll speculate about your questions.

1. Why has the military given wildly varying accounts? Varying accounts discourage media coverage because commercial reporters like to get the story quick and easy. They know their readers and viewers lack the patience for complications and contradictions, and prefer simple stories confirming their biases.

2. Why does Taliban seem to hate him? Maybe Taliban figures that things will go easier for him in the USSA if they give the impression that they hate him.

3. Why send a Special Forces team to rescue a deserter? Because you're afraid the deserter might give valuable information up to the enemy?
If he was a defector he would probably have had some freedom of movement and could have passed information back by a dead-drop or courier, if a courier trusted by the CIA but with access to the other side's bases could be found.

Or perhaps a concealed burst transmitter, placed somewhere in the desert where he would be able to get to it after defecting.
I don't buy the spy story. Joseph's question concerning how to get intel outside kills it for me.
Why do the Taliban appear to hate Bergdahl now? Maybe they are just pretending. Perhaps they have all become best buds after five years, and they don't want their friend to be punished after he is returned. The big question for me is why did the Obama administration make this deal and why now? Unless Bergdahl can be given some John McCain-like hero's welcome and used for propaganda, which seems unlikely, what purpose does his release serve?
Perhaps the spy story has been floated to provide a possible back door exit strategy: "No, Sgt. Bergdahl isn't going to be prosecuted, because he was involved in a covert ops which failed. He will receive an honorable discharge. The end." Just speculating.
I know Orially says a lot of stupid stuff but when he said the father looks like a Muslim that was something else. I mean Islam is religion Muslims come in all shapes and sizes. what do we call remark like that
I read the Michael Hastings story in Rolling Stone and he summed it up well enough in my mind. Bergdahl was an odd duck with some not-well-thought-out ideas. Such as joining the French Foreign Legion. He got weirded out when he saw what a fustercluck the Afgoofistan Crusade was, and he thought he could "just walk away" as the saying went when the housing bubble popped and peoples' home debt went underwater. On the lam to Pakistan! Only, it's harder to easier the clutches of the bank's repo man than it is the Taliban. He was a not-as-smart-as-he-thought-he-was white man wandering through Pashtunland and he got grabbed by the men with bushy beards. The local mujahedarmerie onsold him up the line until he landed with Haqqani HQ. Due to prideful bureaucratic inefficiency on both sides, they dicked around for 5 years or so before finally cutting a deal.

All this double-reverse super-secret-spy shit seems to be "Opposite Occam's Razor" -- look for the most complicated explanation, not the simplest. Not everything is a deep conspiracy. Unless you believe in Alex Jones. In which case, you're also shouting "THE MOON LANDING WAS A FAKE!!!!"
Bukko, Occam's Razor can be a blunt instrument, depending on how you use it. Powerful as it may be in the science of inanimate objects, when applied to the human world's atmosphere of deliberate deceptions it can be more obscuring than revealing.

When people act in unbelievably stupid ways, you have to consider the possibility that their "stupidity" has a purpose. To prematurely discard the fundamental tenet that Nothing is What it Seems is very naive. We live in a world of surfaces and lazy (and comforting) assumptions if we do. That can be dangerous.
I personally believe he is of the same mindset as Pat Tillman, and just grew disillusioned. One of the few times I dont buy into a bigger conspiracy. However, Joseph, take a look at the story on Hastings Bergdahl story being investigated by the FBI. The same FBI that said they never had an investigation into Hastings. I'll email it to you.
Joseph, Please correct the spelling of "Bergdahl" in this post. Fox is already doing their best to make his name sound or look foreign and "Arabic." Your version ("Berghdal") is just too reminiscent of "Benghazi." As a proud Swedish-American, I can attest that his name is distinctively Swedish. (The combination of the letters "ahl" is very common in Swedish). "Berg" = "mountain," and "dahl"= "valley," so his name means "mountain valley" in Swedish.
What do you suppose are the chances that we turned at least one, of the five that we released, into a spy? What are the chances that Israel has not turned at least one of the thousands it released into a spy? Needless to say, Obama can't say that we turned one of the "terrorists" into a an operative for our side. He can't even tell congress because it leaks like a sieve. Some things just have to remain secret. The other side is that if I have my suspicions, I would guess the Taliban does to.
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