Sunday, 8 June 2014

Two Unusual Aspects of the Bergdahl Episode

Over the last couple of days, I've come to note two unusual aspects....which really tell a different story over the Bergdahl episode (our returned GI for the five Islamic terrorists).

First, this group who held Berdahl for all this time (roughly five years).....they aren't really Taliban.  They are more of a Afghan black-market mafia type group.  They might worship Islam to some degree....but typically....what they are all cash.

So how do the five returned terrorists fit into this group's agenda?  They DON'T.  That's the curious part of the story.

You end up sitting there and realizing that this group held something of value.  They really didn't want the five terrorists.....they wanted cash.  Some middleman in this deal goes over and talks to the Taliban leadership, and probably some Saudi backers (my hunch), and rigs up this deal.  We give the five guys to Qatar, who says they got the guys, then someone pays up some cash to the group holding Bergdahl, and we get Bergdahl back.

The amount of cash?  That would be a interesting question.  I doubt if we are talking one or two million.  I'd go more for twenty or forty million dollars.

Does it really matter?  No.  But for the sense of news.....everyone is pretending the group holding Bergdahl for five years....are Taliban, when they aren't Taliban.  That's the comical side of the story.

Item number two?  These non-disclosure agreements (NDA's).

When you join the military.....there's always the possibility that some officer will pull out a NDA and say that you saw something or heard something that you shouldn't have.  So they put this on paper, and insist you sign the document....never to talk about this event.  I'd say that half the people in the Air Force, over a twenty-year career.....will sign at least one NDA.

In the Bergdahl episode......we find that most of the guys in his unit....upon his disappearance....were directed to sign NDAs by their commanding officers.  This would generally cause you to ask stupid questions.  Usually, a NDA is for seeing classified stuff....Bergdahl?  It's not classified.  It's embarrassing, but certainly not SECRET stuff that you'd encounter.

The value of a NDA?  Well....they can prosecute you for violating the agreement.  This past week....members of the unit...who signed the NDA....came on Fox News and told the whole story.  Violation?  Yep.  Trouble?  No.....if the Army says they want prosecution on these's trigger a massive enlisted payback and big questions over Army leadership.

What triggered the necessity of the NDA?  That would be a curious question.  Course, it's five years later, and some officers likely have a memory issue.  I'm guessing it really aggravated a general or two, and they wanted the whole story killed off....never to be discussed.