US POW released in exchange for Gitmo detainees

US President Barack Obama announced May 31 that prisoner of war Bowe Bergdahl had been released into US custody in exchange for five detainees held at Guantánamo Bay. Bergdahl was the only confirmed US prisoner of war from the conflict in Afghanistan remaining in enemy custody. The Obama administration brokered the deal for Bergdahl's exchange through the Qatari government; once Bergdahl was secured, five high-profile Guantánamo Bay detainees, including the former head of the Taliban army, were transferred to Qatar. Republicans in the US Senate and House of Representatives criticized the exchange, which had been conducted in violation of a law requiring the president to notify Congress 30 days before any detainees are transferred from Guantanamo bay (PDF). The Obama administration maintains that the provision of the law requiring the notification is an unconstitutional violation on his rights as Commander-in-Chief (signing statement, PDF).

Bergdahl was captured by the Haqqani Network, an insurgent group affiliated with the Taliban, in June 2009. The circumstances surrounding Bergdahl's capture remain unclear. In July 2009 a video in which Bergdahl says his name and home town was posted online and claimed by the Taliban. The Pentagon confirmed Bergdahl's identity and changed his status to "missing-captured" the next day. In the four years since Bergdahl's capture, Bergdahl appeared in six videos released by the Taliban, the only indication given that Bergdahl was still alive. The final video of Bergdahl, released three years after the last, was received in November 2013 at the request of the US as proof that Bergdahl was still alive.

From Jurist, June 1. Used with permission.

  1. Cannabis stigma used against ex-POW

    Few people have had a more precipitous fall from glory to villainy than Bowe Bergdahl, the US solider held captive by the Taliban in Afghanistan from June 2009 until he was released in exchange for five Guantánamo detainees in a deal brokered by President Obama in May 2014. He received a hero's welcome back in hometown Hailey, Idaho, which was festooned with yellow ribbons. Then the Republicans got their marching orders: the deal was to be portrayed as an Obama capitulation to the Taliban—and suddenly the former patriotic hero became a hot potato. Now Fox News is jumping on the theory that Sgt. Bergdahl was "high" on hashish when he was taken captive. The source for the claim is notorious ex-CIA operative Duane "Dewey" Clarridge. See full story at Global Ganja Report