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The harrowing story of Bowe Bergdahl well done by Sean Langan says MATT BAYLIS

Sean Langan and Bowe Bergdahl.

Both Sean and Bowe were abducted by the Taliban, so Sean made a film about him

Unfortunately, many a freed prisoner finds new nightmares awaiting them when they return.

Coming Home: Bowe Bergdahl versus the United States (BBC4) was a film that many people could have made.

Few could have brought what director Sean Langan brought to it though.

Bergdahl, a young US soldier who walked away from his post and into the hands of the Taliban, endured five years as a hostage before his release in May 2014.

While making a film about the Taliban in 2008, Sean Langan was captured by the same network and held hostage for four months.

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Bowe Bergdahl.

Bowe was branded a 'deserter' and was thought to have been trained by the Taliban

Nine years on, Langan was plainly still struggling with his experiences and making a film about fellow-sufferer Bergdahl brought many painful memories to the surface.

It also meant that he had a unique slant on the story and more importantly, made him a trustworthy interviewer in the eyes of Bergdahl and his family.

They had reasons to be cautious, for no sooner had President Obama stood outside the White House with Bergdahl’s parents, and announced the soldier was on his way home, than the poison started to seep in.

Certain news networks, unsurprisingly those opposed to Obama’s policies, began to ask why a ‘deserter’ was being treated like a hero.

Fresh details emerged, claims that Bergdahl had converted to Islam, that he had become a jihadi, had been allowed to train with the Taliban and to carry a gun.

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It was said that six US soldiers had died in the attempt to free him.

Donald Trump, then campaigning for office, called Bergdahl a dirty traitor, and said that he should be shot.

There was much to wonder about in Sean Langan’s reconstruction of the story.

It was clear for a start that there was a whole other story about Bergdahl’s troubled youth and his fractured relationships with his family, cautiously being skirted around.

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It was also clear the US military had few doubts about Bergdahl’s integrity and wished to let him go free after he flew home.

That he ended up in a court martial, facing life imprisonment, had nothing to do with senior army investigators and just about everything to do with rent-a-ranters on the news networks.

It also had a lot to do with lies, simple, deliberate untruths, such as the one about the six soldiers dying, planted, in some cases by the Taliban, and in others, made up on American soil to suit the politicians.

In terms of frightening places to be, today’s America comes a close second to Afghanistan.

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Nigella Lawson in pictures

Thu, February 16, 2017

Celebrity Chef Nigella Lawson in pictures.




Play slideshow

Nigella Lawson in BBC's Nigella Kitchen Pacific UK

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Nigella Lawson in BBC's Nigella Kitchen

Nigella – At My Table (BBC2) marked a welcome return for the tv chef, whose new series celebrates the simple, lovely stuff you can knock up at home.

(Provided you have several different kinds of chili pepper in your cupboard, anyway).

There are, as last night reminded us, many things to love about Ms Lawson.

She chucks great handfuls of salt in everything (hooray!). She has no problem with frozen peas (double hooray!).

She even has one of those hell-cupboards full of rusty, greasy baking tins and waffle makers you bought on the internet late one night when tipsy (triple hooray with choc chips!)

She will, however, never convince me that the kitchen table is where the family should be spending all its together-time. Nor do chili, lime and salt belong on a melon. Sorry.

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