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Afghan government, Taliban officials hold new talks in Qatar

Taliban officials and the Afghan government have held new secret talks in Qatar aimed at restarting peace negotiations to end the country's long war, three officials say, though questions remain over which faction of the insurgency is doing the talking.

Abrams to remain convening authority in Bergdahl case, judge rules

Gen. Robert Abrams will remain in charge of accused Army deserter Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s court-martial, a military judge ruled, rejecting defense attorneys’ claims he should be disqualified.

Bergdahl prosecutors push back against efforts to disqualify general

Prosecutors are pushing back against efforts by lawyers for alleged deserter Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl to have Gen. Robert Abrams disqualified as the court-martial convening authority, saying the defense team's issues are with the decades-old military justice system.


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Abrams: Bergdahl decision not influenced by McCain, others

Army Gen. Roberts Abrams said Wednesday that he was “absolutely not” influenced by comments made by Sen. John McCain or others when he elected to send accused deserter Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s case to a general court-martial.

Prosecution: Bergdahl charges can't be dropped over McCain comments

Army Maj. Justin C. Oshana, the lead prosecutor in the court-martial, argued the defense attorney’s motion is irrelevant because McCain is not part of the chain of command and no judge has ever thrown out a case because of congressional meddling.

Judge: Abrams must testify about destroyed Bergdahl letters

The four-star Army general who sent accused deserter Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s case to a felony-level, general court-martial will be required to testify Wednesday about accusations that he destroyed letters related to the case, a military judge has ruled.


Bergdahl trial schedule in question as accused deserter returns to court

An Army judge is expected to decide Monday whether accused deserter Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s case was improperly influenced by a powerful senator or whether the four-star commander overseeing it must be dismissed.

Witness: Bergdahl spoke of leaving outpost to be hitman in Russia

Hours before disappearing from his combat outpost in eastern Afghanistan, then-Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl asked a fellow soldier how one might become a hitman, saying he'd dreamed of joining the Russian mafia as an assassin, according to a sworn statement filed by Army prosecutors.

Bergdahl's lawyers want second forensic psychiatrist

Lawyers for alleged deserter Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl want to even the playing field by hiring a second forensic psychiatrist, one more comparable to the renowned doctor hired by the government earlier this year as consultant on the soldier's mental capacity at the time of his captivity.

Bergdahl's lawyers say general burned letters, ask judge to cancel trial

Lawyers for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was held prisoner by the Taliban for nearly five years after abandoning a remote Army outpost in Afghanistan and faces criminal charges for leaving his unit, on Friday accused his top commander of burning more than 100 letters regarding the case.

Bergdahl lawyers want charges dropped over McCain comments

Attorneys for accused Army deserter Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl asked a military judge on Monday to dismiss charges against the soldier, contending the case has been unfairly influenced by the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Bergdahl lawyers ask judge to remove soldier’s case from docket

Attorneys for accused Army deserter Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl have asked a judge to remove the soldier’s case from the service’s court calendar after prosecutors asked for additional time to review thousands of documents containing classified evidence.

Oscar winner asks court to protect Bergdahl interview tapes

An Oscar-winning filmmaker has asked a judge to prevent the military from forcing him to turn over interviews with Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, adding Hollywood intrigue to the soldier's prosecution on desertion accusations.

Bergdahl attorneys seek greater access to information

Alleged Army deserter Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s attorneys contend the Army has treated their client “differently” from other soldiers accused of crimes.

Government posts documents related to Bergdahl court-martial

The Army has posted more than 40 documents related to its case against Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl online for public access.

Judge delays Bergdahl trial until February

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl will not face trial until at least February on accusations he deserted his post in Afghanistan and endangered the troops who spent months searching for him.

Bergdahl to return to court Tuesday after long pause in case

Progress in Bergdahl’s case had been halted since Feb. 5, when prosecutors asked an appellate court to overturn a military judge’s ruling that ordered them to turn over classified evidence to the soldier’s lawyers.


When military makes mistakes, lessons need to be learned

When Medal of Honor recipient Clinton Romesha was a boy, his father taught him life lessons. “It’s OK to make mistakes,” was one of them, Romesha said. “One of the greatest teaching tools is that you can learn from mistakes.”


Bergdahl, Franks: A tale of 2 'deserters'

Three months before Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl walked off his base in Afghanistan, 2nd Lt. Lawrence Franks walked away from his in upstate New York.

Bergdahl lawyer wants Army to turn over communications

The lawyer for alleged deserter Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl wants the Army to turn over all of its communications with the Senate Armed Services Committee dating from mid-2014.

Command sergeant major: No troops died searching for Bergdahl

Command Sgt. Maj. Ken Wolf had a message for the families of troops killed in Afghanistan after Bowe Bergdahl walked off his post. “Their sons did not die looking for Pfc. Bergdahl,” Wolf said on Thursday’s “Serial” podcast, the 11th and final episode of the season.

Pentagon proposes changes to Uniform Code of Military Justice

The Pentagon has proposed significant changes to how troops are tried and sentenced, two years after a comprehensive review of the military justice system was ordered by then-Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in the wake of persistent sexual assault controversies.

Army protests in court after Bergdahl's legal team releases transcript online

Army lawyers say the document's disclosure includes sensitive information in the controversial case and raises questions about whether Bergdahl's lawyers will appropriately handle classified information.

'Serial' podcast: Politics made Bergdahl a 'target'

The latest episode in the “Serial” podcast about Bowe Bergdahl explored how politics distorted the case from the moment the Army sergeant’s release from years of Taliban captivity was announced on a sunny May day in the White House Rose Garden in 2014.

Experts: Bergdahl defense pushing to change public perception

Nearly one year after the Army charged Bowe Bergdahl with crimes that could send him to prison for the rest of his life, the former Taliban captive’s defense team has launched an increasingly public campaign to change the narrative surrounding his court-martial.

'Serial' podcast says years of talks preceded Bergdahl release

Inside a secret safe house just outside Munich, Bowe Bergdahl started off as a line item, one of many on a list designed to kick-start peace talks in Afghanistan.

'Serial' podcast: Bergdahl feared his commander might kill him

Bowe Bergdahl believed in an honor code that demanded action to right wrongs, no matter how futile the effort. He believed that a man should never bow to a corrupt system. And he also believed that his brigade commander might try to kill his own soldiers by sending them on a suicide mission.

‘Serial’ podcast: Bergdahl's captivity mirrored childhood isolation

As Bowe Bergdahl endured the moments, hours, days and years alone in a dark room or metal cage, he considered how he’d ended up a captive to the Taliban.

Former general makes a case for sparing Guantanamo

Sitting in the office of his Bayshore Boulevard home, Jay Hood holds a picture of five bearded men — all Taliban leaders taken off the battlefields of Afghanistan and detained at Guantanamo Bay until they were swapped for an Army sergeant who walked away from his post.

Bergdahl lawyers appeal to military's highest court

Lawyers for alleged deserter Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl are asking the military's highest court to partially lift the stay on his court-martial proceedings.

Bergdahl lawyers: Stalled court proceedings 'unfair' to accused soldier

Lawyers for Bowe Bergdahl said Wednesday that the Army sergeant’s right to a “truly public trial” are in jeopardy if an appeals court does not allow the case to proceed now.

Bergdahl court-martial halted as dispute over classified info continues

General court-martial proceedings in the case of accused Army deserter Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl have been indefinitely halted by an appeals court over a disagreement in the handling of classified information.


How soldiers like Bowe Bergdahl can wind up hating good commanders

It's an axiom among military leaders: command is not a popularity contest. That folk wisdom has given a measure of comfort to many officers whose soldiers resent them for sending them into harm's way -- and frustrated many more soldiers convinced that their commander really does not have their best interests at heart.


Bowe Bergdahl, military uniform violations, and the frustration they cause in war

In the newest "Serial" episode, Bowe Bergdahl goes deeper into his reasons for walking off his base. For one, he thought his commanders were too fixated on making sure soldiers followed the rules for how they should appear.

'Serial': Bergdahl says toxic battalion commander prompted walk-off

A corrosive commander. An unclear mission. An inflated sense of his own abilities. The factors that pushed Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl to walk off his post in eastern Afghanistan in 2009 were the focus of the sixth and latest installment of the podcast “Serial,” which is examining Bergdahl’s case.

'Serial' podcast: Disarray among agencies hampered search for Bergdahl

The effort to find and rescue Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl after he was taken to Pakistan was understaffed and disorganized, hampered by competing interests, lack of interest and disdain for the soldier “up and down the chain of command,” according to the fifth installment aired Thursday of the podcast “Serial.”

Army tables decision on Bergdahl's POW Medal, Purple Heart until after court-martial

The Army will not decide whether alleged deserter Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl will receive two significant medals that could be associated with his five years of captivity until after he is court-martialed for deliberately walking away from his infantry platoon's base in 2009, an Army official said.


How Bowe Bergdahl's disappearance created ripple effects in the Afghanistan war

Bowe Bergdahl's disappearance in June, 2009 created a ripple effect as the U.S. military pulled resources from every corner of eastern Afghanistan to hunt for him.

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl case: Lawyers argue over access to classified documents

Access to thousands of classified documents became a point of contention between Army lawyers and the defense team for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl during a pretrial hearing Tuesday at Fort Bragg.

Lawyer: Bergdahl should be awarded POW Medal, Purple Heart

A military lawyer representing accused deserter Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl called for the Army to award his client several medals, including the Purple Heart and the Prisoner of War medal, during a pre-trial hearing Tuesday.

General says Guantanamo houses 'bad boys' who are mostly compliant

Retiring Marine Gen. John Kelly, ending his career at Southern Command next week, told the Pentagon press corps Friday that the majority of Guantanamo detainees are currently compliant “bad boys.”

Bergdahl court-martial scheduled for August on Fort Bragg

Judicial officials on Fort Bragg have set aside two weeks in August for the court-martial of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

Bergdahl recounts harsh treatment by captors in new ‘Serial’ podcast

Bowe Bergdahl’s torturer called him a dog, a donkey and an infidel as he sliced into the soldier’s chest with a razor blade. On each occasion, Bergdahl said, the man would make 60 or 70 slow, painful incisions. He said he stopped counting after the 600th cut.


How George Bush's war on terror ensnared Barack Obama

In his new book, "Power Wars," the author Charlie Savage makes a meticulous case that – with few exceptions – Presdent Barack Obama preserved a long war on terror that many progressives in the 2000s regarded as criminal.

Bergdahl recalls escape and capture in third 'Serial' episode

Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl learned during his first year in captivity that filth and stink were his best weapons and that it was best to be forgotten, even if sick, hungry and lonely.

Navy SEAL, dog handler: How a failed mission to rescue Bowe Bergdahl caused irreparable loss

The juxtaposition of two American military men who could stand in the same courtroom in the coming months couldn’t be set in more stark relief. Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl faces a general court-martial for walking off of his base in Afghanistan. Navy SEAL Jimmy Hatch, who led a platoon into a fierce battle to try to rescue Bergdahl, was shot and badly wounded on that mission.

Accused deserter Bergdahl defers entering plea at Fort Bragg

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl sat stiff and upright Tuesday morning as he made his first appearance before a military judge, declining to enter a plea to charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy in Afghanistan that could send him to prison for life.

'Serial' podcast: Taliban saw Bergdahl as worth 'maybe more than 5,000' men

The American soldier’s capture was a gift from God to the Taliban, the militants said; he was like “a golden chicken.” They thought so even after 15 of their fighters were killed in a raid by U.S. forces trying their hardest in the summer of 2009 to find Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl.

Why Bergdahl faces a worse charge than desertion

U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has been charged with desertion, but that isn't the reason he faces life imprisonment in his court-martial. Under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the maximum punishment for desertion is five years. The potential life sentence comes from a now-obscure charge with origins in the articles of war enacted by the Continental Congress on Sept. 20, 1776: the charge of misbehavior before the enemy.

Did Bowe Bergdahl appearing on 'Serial' alter his criminal case?

Bowe Bergdahl's attorney, Eugene Fidell, has been reticent in discussing his client's involvement in the production of the massively popular podcast.

Experts downplay significance of a Bergdahl court-martial trial

Military law experts cautioned against reading too much into an Army commander’s decision to send Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl to trial at a general court-martial rather than to follow a recommendation that would have limited penalties and losses.

Bergdahl will face desertion charge in general court-martial

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl will face a general court-martial for the desertion and misbehavior charges levied against him after he was freed from Taliban imprisonment last year, the Army announced Monday.

GOP lawmakers say Taliban-Bergdahl prisoner swap had ulterior motive

A new congressional report details what Republicans call a deception surrounding a controversial 2014 prisoner swap, suggesting the release of five Taliban prisoners in exchange for American captive Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl had an ulterior motive: helping President Obama get closer to his goal of shutting down the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

In 'Serial' podcast, Bergdahl recalls leaving Afghan post thinking ‘I’m in over my head’

About 20 minutes after stealing away from his post, alone in the dark in the wilds of eastern Afghanistan, then-Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl realized just what he’d done.

By STARS AND STRIPES Published: June 2, 2014


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