The social media statements, actions and behavior of the father of newly released American soldier Bowe Bergdahl suggest someone who is much further into the study of Islam than would be expected of a parent whose son was being held by Islamic jihadists, according to a new analysis.
A report by Middle East researchers Walid and Theodore Shoebat, who analyzed videos, social media statements and other material, indicates there was a major shift in faith in the Bergdahl household, which the BBC described as “devout” members of a church in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church denomination.
So how did it progress to the point that Robert Bergdahl, Bowe Bergdahl’s father, was tweeting to the White House, John Kerry, the State Department and others that, “In the name of Allah most beneficent most merciful … it is Allah whom judges what he wills.”
The Shoebat report noted that the Arabic war cry “bismillah al-rahman al-rahim,” which means “in the name of Allah the most gracious, the most merciful,” was declared by the senior Bergdahl at the White House when Obama announced the deal that freed five terror leaders at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
“While the Obama administration is proudly touting how it was able to free an American soldier who was captured by the Taliban, what no one picked is the fact that Obama SMILED as soon as he heard the most famous war cry of Islam, ‘bismillah al-rahman al-rahim,’ Arabic for ‘in the name of Allah the most gracious, the most merciful,’” the report said.
"The 'bismallah' is the Islamic expression for victory and only indicates that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's father is a Muslim," the report said. "Think that the man is acting as 'Muslim' for a stealth operation to rescue his son who is already in good hands in Germany? And what is with the long beard an trimmed mustache?"
The report continued: "No this is not a bum, biker, or a Santa Claus fan. When one gives the bismallah, trims his mustache and elongates his beard, it's the first sign of a convert to Islam, just as that an ex-Muslim putting on a cross and saying, 'In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit,' is evidence enough of conversion to Christianity."
The London Telegraph reported in 2010 that Bowe Bergdahl had converted to Islam and taken the name Abdullah.
The report said the evidence that Bowe Bergdahl converted isn't definitive.
But the Shoebats believe Robert Bergdahl's list of "favorites" on his YouTube account suggests devotion to Islam.
"It reveals a dark mind, a collector of a litany of 'terrorist favorites,' videos from training on how to become Muslim jihadi to urging American troops to desert and even favorite speeches by confirmed terrorists like Sheikh Anwar al-Awlaki, condemning America as a terrorist state."
The report noted one of the videos is a prayer for the release, not of Bowe Bergdahl, but of "Muslim prisoners."
"Another favorite is a favorite from Mufti Ismail Menk, who identifies himself as a Muslim scholar, titled 'Qualities Of A True Worshipper.' Menk was also a favorite of Boston bombing suspect Dzhokar Tsarnaev," the report said. "Another video favorited by Bergdahl is a Muslim jihadist terrorist video uploaded by the Afghan Islamic Emirate (the same group the five terrorists who Obama helped release and who Bergdahl praisingly communicated with, were a part of) on August 45, 2013, in which a verse from the Quran is chanted: 'Fight them, so that there will be no mischief, and the religion will be all Allah's.'"
Then there were the jihadist instructional videos on how to praise Allah, the report said.
"Bergdahl is a subscriber to Al-Ghurabaa Media, a virulent jihadi YouTube media that features Osama bin Laden."
An Anwar al-Awlaki video on the favorites list was titled "Why the World Hates America."
"Afghan Refugee Describes Horror of U.S. Bombings."
"Afghan Children Left to Die After U.S. Bombings."
"America botched rescue attempt."
"Petraeus: Protect Afghan civilians."
"The Soldier Myth."
"Kill Everybody: American soldier exposes U.S. policy in Iraq."
"U.S. Deceiving Public on Afghan War."
There were also reports about the younger Bergdahl and multiple videos in Arabic.
The senior Bergdahl also sent a message to several Taliban officials, stating: "I am still working to free all Guantanamo prisoners. God will repay for the death of every afghan child."
The Rolling Stone reported in 2012 that the younger Bergdahl said in and email: "I have seen their ideas and I am ashamed to even be American. The horror of the self-righteous arrogance that they thrive in. It is all revolting."
The younger Bergdahl in 2009 had vanished from his post and reappeared in Taliban videos. He was taken into American custody Saturday in exchange for five of the top Taliban terror commanders detained at Guantanamo Bay. The terrorists had been determined to be too dangerous ever to released.
The London Daily Mail said the senior Bergdahl was an Olympic-level bicyclist, but his goals were derailed when President Reagan boycotted the Games in 1980 over the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
While Chip Deffe, one of Bob Bergdahl's friends, said he is not a "loon," he said the man was devastated by missing the Olympics.
"He was a world-class athlete and set for big things and was supposed to travel to Moscow until we boycotted the Games," he said. "He wasn't at all happy with the government, he couldn't understand it and became disillusioned."
Friends told the London paper the senior Bergdahl just walked away from bike racing, even though one of his contemporaries had been Greg LeMond, and he only returned to biking in the past few years.
Deffe, who runs a bike shop near where the Bergdahls' live, said the senior Bergdahl grew his beard and studied Islam and the Taliban when his son was taken.
He described the actions as those of a desperate father, not a man who sympathizes with radical Islam.
"What everyone has been saying is wrong, Bob is a normal guy from a normal family going through a trying time," Deffe said.
Bowe Bergdahl's brother-in-law, Michael Albrecht, a U.S. Navy pilot, told the Mail Bob Bergdahl has no feelings for the Taliban or Islam.
"Just because he speaks a few words of Pashto. There are guys on my base that do that. You wouldn't accuse them of having sympathies," he said.
He suggested there's more to the issue, a "deeper story," but didn't elaborate.
Doubting such explanations, the Shoebat report noted that Bob Bergdahl was in direct communication with one of the top three Taliban spokesmen, Abdulqader Balkhi.
"Was he planning to smoke a Hukkah? Drink Afghan tea?" the report said. "No. He had messaged this top Taliban spokesperson."
Balkhi was one of several officials for "the Afghan Islamic Emirate" of which the five terrorists released by Obama were a part.
"This makes the entire story very suspicious," the Shoebat report said. "Obama trades five Muslims who are part of a terrorist group, for a man whose father is associated with the same terrorist group."
Said the report: "In neighboring Pakistan, there is a 72-year-old Jew named Warren Weinstein who was captured by al-Qaida over two years ago while working as a consultant on U.S. government programs. No one in the government reaches out to rescue that Jew despite that Weinstein sent a video message last December, addressing the U.S. government and said, 'now when I need my government, it seems that I have been totally abandoned and forgotten.' Obama's administration has said it will not negotiate with al-Qaida for Weinstein's release, but is all ready to negotiate with the Taliban to release terrorists."