Body Language of U.S. Soldier on Video Released Christmas Day By Taliban Shows Signals of Distress And Being Manipulated In His Speech

Looking at the body language of the recently released videotape of Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl, the American serviceman in taken by the Taliban in Afghanistan six months ago, there is no question he was being manipulated and exploited. The words he spoke were clearly not his own.


The first “tell” is the staccato and monotone of his voice which clearly indicated he was trying to be precise in the rhetoric that he was obviously told to say. The fact that the tone is monotone shows that it is devoid of emotion that would normally go along with the passionate words that he spoke. In essence, there were no feelings behind the words he spoke, because it is clear to me that he did not believe them. There were also times where it appeared as though he was reading what he was no doubt told to say by the Taliban.


His cocked head when he begins to speak, shows that he is not confident as there is confusion and internal conflict of not wanting to be there and not being able to say what he really believes but is rather forced to say.


When you initially look at the tape and see that he is wearing sunglasses. Then in the middle of the tape there is a shot of him wearing no sunglasses . The sunglasses were used to hide the fact that he may have been reading perhaps a screen or cue cards held in front of him or even from a chalk board. The sunglasses are the Taliban’s attempt to make it look like he is speaking from the heart. The sunglasses are to hide his eyes tracking the words as he reads them.

There are times where you could see him looking down at his lap where it was clear that he looked like he was reading the notes.

Another reason for his being told to wear the sunglasses by the Taliban was for them to try and disguise any fear that others would detect through Bergdahl’s facial language or via his eye movements.

But even though they forced him to wear the sunglasses, his forehead movement and red nose and chin compared to the rest of his pallid complexion gave away that he was very sad. Perhaps may have even been crying. His facial expression looked as though he was about to break down in tears at any minute. His facial expression clearly leaked out signals of distress, despite the cover up of the sunglasses. Perhaps he was crying before and that is why they insisted he wear the sunglasses to hide his glassy teary eyes


His gestures were ridged and mechanical which is further indication that he was force fed his speech. They were out of synch with regard to what he was saying. He even gestures with one hand with the back of that hand exposed indicating insincerity. As he mentions how US officials keep leading America “into the same holes,’ and recites the names of the various the countries Vietnam, Japan, Germany, Somalia, Lebanon and Iraq he appears to be counting them on his fingers as though he was forced to memorize this information. There were several other times he made inappropriate hand gestures that didn’t coincide with what he was saying.


Apparently when pfc Bergdahl was first captured there was a military analyst for FOX television former Lt. Col. Ralph Peters went on the air to say that he was a deserter and should be killed.

I believe that Ralph Peters doesn’t know what he was talking about. After carefully examining this recent tape and the past tape which was released this summer, there is absolutely no way that he deserted his country. His body language, communication patterns clearly show that he is speaking against his will. There are too many body language and vocal “tells” which validate this.

In the first tape I observed, which was equally as disgusting as this latest tape, he was asked how he feels about Islam. He was very diplomatic and said that he was in essence raised to be open minded and to respect all religions and that he would learn more about it. Then you hear a voice from one of the Taliban questioners in the background say you should.’ It was as though they were trying to convert him right on the spot.

There were also several occasions where berdahl leqaked out sinals of distress on this facial expression.

So Ralph Peters I believe, acted very irresponsibly and added insult to injury by making this ridiculous statement about a now captured prisoner of war.

The fact that this video was released this video on Christmas Day was an obvious attempt by the Taliban to show contempt and disrespect for an American tradition. What they forced him to say in terms of how well he was treated and that his clothing was not removed and he wasn’t attacked by dogs as was the case in Abu Ghrab prison was a clear and obvious dig and contempt against the Americans for how they treated their prisoners of war. They actually did have a point there. In any event, it was there way of letting us know that Pfc Bergdahl is not being abused by having to parade around in the nude and be attacked by dogs. But there are other types of abuse as any POW will tell you. we don’t know what this soldier has had to endure over the past five months. We can only pray for him and for his family for a speedy release. We can only pray that he does not have to suffer while he is in captivity in enemy hands.


One thought on “Body Language of U.S. Soldier on Video Released Christmas Day By Taliban Shows Signals of Distress And Being Manipulated In His Speech

  1. Thank you for this, Dr. Glass. Would it also be true that he was forced to wear the glasses because prisoners of war have been known to give signals, eye signals or codes in blinking when made to perform in propaganda videos such as this? All the tells you described were right on the money.

    Compare this to the tapes made by people like John McCain when a Viet Nam prisoner of war and I would bet we see just the same type of distress written all over their faces.


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