Wednesday, June 18, 2014

General appointed to Bergdahl investigation

Hollywood sets sights on soldier’s ordeal

Express Staff Writer

    As the Army begins to investigate the circumstances surrounding Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s capture by Taliban militants, two major film companies have signaled interest in moving forward with adaptations of the Bergdahl drama.
    Details from Bergdahl’s diary that were released last week to The Washington Post indicate that he may have been mentally ill at the time. A 2010 Rolling Stone magazine story by Michael Hastings, detailing emails between Bergdahl and his father, suggests that the soldier left his post in protest.
    Bergdahl was home-schooled and grew up in the Wood River Valley. He was reported missing in the Paktika Province of Afghanistan on June 30, 2009.
    The military reported that the Bergdahl investigation will be led by Maj. Gen. Kenneth R. Dahl, who has combat experience in Afghanistan.
    “The primary function of this investigation, as in any other investigation, is to ascertain facts and report them to the appointing authority,” the military stated in a press release Monday. “These types of investigations are not uncommon and serve to establish the facts on the ground following an incident. The investigating officer will have access to previously gathered documentary evidence, including the 2009 investigation.”
    Bergdahl was released at the end of May after five years in captivity in a prisoner exchange that also freed five high-level Taliban leaders. The prisoner swap set off a political firestorm in Washington, D.C., and among Bergdahl commentators.
    Bergdahl, 28, returned to the United States on Friday after spending nearly two weeks at a U.S. military hospital in Germany. He is being treated at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, where military officials say he receives daily medical and mental-health treatment.
    The military has said Bergdahl is not aware of the controversy surrounding the deal that secured his return.
     “The Army’s top priority remains Sgt. Bergdahl’s health and reintegration,” the military stated. “We ask that everyone respect the time and privacy necessary to accomplish the objectives of the last phase of reintegration. The investigating officer will not interview Sgt. Bergdahl until the reintegration team clears such interaction, so no timeline for completion of the investigation has been set.”
    Hollywood is not waiting for a resolution to the story.    Page 1 film company, funded by Megan Ellison, daughter of Oracle CEO and billionaire Larry Ellison, contacted the Idaho Mountain Express for local details about Bergdahl last week. Variety Magazine reported Tuesday that “Zero Dark Thirty” director Kathryn Bigelow and producer/writer Mark Boal are at work on the project.
    Variety magazine reported this week that Page 1 and Fox Searchlight are both moving forward with film projects involving Bergdahl, stating that Fox Searchlight bought the rights to Hastings’ Rolling Stone’s article, titled “America’s Last Prisoner of War.”
    Page 1 film company producer/writer Mark Boal, a former journalist, was quoted by Variety as saying, “There are great stories being told every day by reporters who dig deep and provide not only great reportage, but insights into who we are as societies, as nations, as people. And these are the kinds of stories we want to translate to the big screen.”

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