‘Serial’ to Tackle Bowe Bergdahl Case for Upcoming Season

23 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Serial’ producers may look to Army POW Bowe Bergdahl for future season: report.

Serial, the spinoff podcast from This American Life that became a viral hit in its first season, may have found its story for season 2. (This news comes fresh off of a pretty slick Serial reference in the premiere of Scream Queens, which means we must be ready for the podcast to come back.) Sources told Maxim that at least one of the two upcoming seasons of Serial will tackle the case of Sgt.The first season investigation revolving around Adnan Syed, the young man accused of murdering his high-school girlfriend, drew millions of fans and the team has reportedly been seeking a case just as compelling for the follow-up.The suspicious circumstances surrounding the night of Bowe Berghdahl’s capture and five-year imprisonment with Haqqani insurgents may be the next scrutinized subject of “Serial.” Several soldiers who served with the former U.S.The 29-year-old United States army soldier is set to become a household name if recent reports are to believed, as the centre point in an upcoming season of gripping podcast phenomenon Serial.

An Army Article 32 hearing is currently taking place at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, to determine whether Bergdahl will face a military trial for desertion and misbehavior before the enemy, charges that could at the very least strip him of rank, sack him with a dishonorable discharge from the Army, and take away any benefits he would otherwise be entitled to. Not only was Koenig spotted at a court hearing for Bergdahl’s looming court-martial, the magazine writes that “Zero Dark Thirty” screenwriter Mark Boal is allegedly sharing production notes on Bergdahl with the “This American Life” producer. The circumstances surrounding his disappearance were not straightforward and while he was being held by the Taliban in Afghanistan debate around him raged in the US.

Bergdahl’s story may be analyzed in one of two seasons following Adnan Syed’s story that earned the killer a chance to appeal his murder conviction in the death of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee. Bergdahl claims that he was kidnapped after walking off his outpost, which he says he did in order to make people aware of conditions on the base. (Rolling Stone first reported Bergdahl’s story in a 2012 feature).

The Serial team have not yet confirmed that this case will be the subject of the new series but the Maxim report comes from Matthew Farwell, a former soldier who previously contributed to Rolling Stone’s article on Bergdahl. Much of his correspondence with his parents leading up to his disappearance criticised the behaviour of his platoon and the purpose of American military presence in the area.

Maxim’s report also includes a statement from Serial which asks Maxim and other journalists “not to try to figure out what you think we might be doing, especially since we’re actively reporting stories, and having a bunch of wild speculation out there makes our job reporting harder.” They also say they’re currently working on several projects simultaneously including season two and season three as well as “some other podcast projects”. For starters, Bergdahl willfully and carelessly put the lives of his fellow soldiers in danger by abandoning his post on June 29, 2009, just five weeks into his deployment. The first podcast saw Sarah Koenig and Julie Snyder investigating the true-crime case of Syed, who was imprisoned for life for murdering his ex girlfriend. He was captured the next morning by a band of Taliban-affiliated militants and spent the next five years as a prisoner of war until the Obama administration traded five Guantamano Bay prisoners for him.

On May 31, 2014, Sgt Bergdahl was released as part of negotiations undertaken by President Barack Obama which involved the exchange of five Guantanamo Bay detainees for his safe return. John Billings, Bergdahl’s commanding officer in Afghanistan, said he was “in shock — absolute utter disbelief — that I couldn’t find one of my own men.” He also noted that Bergdahl’s platoon was “emotionally busted” after a grueling, fruitless search for him.

The original podcast caused a storm when it was released last year by public radio station WBEZ Chicago and it became the fastest ever to reach 5 million downloads. According to testimony given this month by Sgt Bergdahl’s platoon leader, Captain John Billings, he “snuck off” from his post “under the cover of darkness”. Bergdahl’s lead attorney, Eugene Fidell, argues Bergdahl planned to leave his post and travel to a nearby base where he could complain about poor command and service conditions at his base. Media coverage of Sgt Bergdahl’s ordeal focused on the circumstances of his disappearance and release, which many said went against the US government’s policy of never negotiating with terrorists.

Bergdahl was a very troubled individual prone to depression (he washed out of the Coast Guard for it), delusions of grandeur (he once tried to join the French Foreign Legion), and feelings of persecution (unfounded accusations of poor treatment by fellow soldiers and commanding officers during basic training and in Afghanistan). The plethora of mixed opinions, experiences and testimonies would lend itself perfectly to Ms Koenig’s style of storytelling and investigation, which draws on source material from the case and follow-up interviews to build a case. The defense strategy is to portray Bergdahl simultaneously as a victim of unforgiving circumstances and his own demons, but the sob story doesn’t hold up against the facts of his premeditation and his open contempt for the work he signed up to do. Earlier this year Mr Syed, who is currently serving a life sentence for Ms Lee’s murder, requested an appeal for his conviction based on fresh evidence from witness Asia McClain presented in the podcast. Further, they want to see that any sentence he receives is considered “time served” in light of his five-year captivity at the hands of the Taliban.

In what is believed to have been an oversight, Mr Syed’s attorney, Cristina Gutierrez, failed to interview Ms McClain at the time of the case, despite the fact Ms McClain could place Mr Syed away from the scene of the crime. Kurz may have said it best. “One does not just walk away into the Afghan wilderness and then return as though nothing happened.” It is still unclear just what Bergdahl may have shared with the enemy during his confinement.

Hopefully, Bergdahl will be punished for causing the loss of American lives and jeopardizing thousands more whose only mission was to protect a man who actually held in contempt the institution they represented and the country they fought for.

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