Preview for Part 2 of Australian Story; also Brisbane Times article
And the Brisbane Times has an article about it:
My report was too hot to broadcast:
Brisbane's war correspondent
September 19, 2010
A screen grab of Michael Ware during his period as a war correspondent with Time Magazine in the Middle east.
Brisbane war correspondent Michael Ware is set to reveal how he filmed a war crime in Iraq that claims has never been seen or investigated by authorities.
Mr Ware, who covered the Afghanistan war from 2001 and the Iraq war from 2003 for Time magazine and the US television network CNN from 2006, returned to Brisbane in December suffering post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
His harrowing near-decade of war coverages were documented last Monday in the first of a two-part ABC Australian Story series, with the second part to be broadcast tomorrow night.
Mr Ware tells of the incident he says he witnessed and filmed in 2007 when working for US news giant CNN, but claims the network decided the footage was too graphic to go to air.
He allages that a teenager in a remote Iraqi village run by the militant Islamist group, al-Qaeda was carrying a weapon to protect himself.
‘‘(The boy) approached the house we were in and the (US) soldiers who were watching our backs, one of them put a bullet right in the back of his head. Unfortunately it didn't kill him,’’ he tells Australian Story.
‘‘We all spent the next 20 minutes listening to his tortured breath as he died.
"I had this moment … that I realised despite what was happening to this man in front of me, I'd been more concerned with the composition of my (photo) shot than I was with any attempt to either save him or at the very, very least ease his passing.
"I indeed had been indifferent as the soldiers around me whose indifference I was attempting to capture.’’
He said the incident was ‘‘technically’’ a breach of the Geneva Convention or ‘‘a small war crime if there's such a thing’’.
Mr Ware’s friend, journalist John Martinkus who now teaches media studies at the University of Tasmania, returned to Baghdad in 2007 where he had worked previously for the SBS’s Dateline program.
‘‘One of the first things he (Ware) showed me was that tape and he was watching it over and over and over again; he was really obsessed with it,’’ Mr Martinkus said.
‘‘Part of him was like ‘how could I just stand by and watch that happen’. It was a really horrible stark moral choice that he faced and he still wrestles with that,’’ he said.
He said CNN owned the footage and Mr Ware therefore was not free to give it to anyone else.
Mr Martinkus, like Mr Ware, was kidnapped during his time in Iraq.
‘‘People really need to understand what Mick’s been through. The footage should be shown so people know how callously US soldiers treat the Iraqis,’’ he said.
Mr Ware’s parents, Gail and Len of the outer-Brisbane suburb of Ferny Grove said their son’s PTSD symptoms include nightmares, flashbacks, insomnia and mood swings. His son, Jack, aged 7 is helping his rehabilitation in Brisbane, they said.
After leaving Brisbane Grammar School, Mr Ware completed a law degree at the University of Queensland and spent a year as Associate to then-president of the Queensland Court of Appeals, Tony Fitzgerald who presided over the Fitzgerald Inquiry into corruption in the Queensland government in the 1980s.
Mr Ware’s graphic and unbiased reports made him a house-hold name overseas but he’s still a fairly well-kept secret at home. He considered Iraqi insurgents and US troops as friends and lived in Baghdad surrounded by his own private army which helped him survive several bombings.
He witnessed his first suicide bomb attack in Iraq when Australian ABC cameraman, Paul Moran was killed and reporter, Eric Campbell was wounded in 2003.
Mr Ware said three of his Iraqi staff were kidnapped and tortured by al-Qaeda because of him but he managed to get them back.
He said ‘‘a death sentence’’ hung on any locals if it was revealed that they worked for him or for CNN or Time magazine.
Australian Story is on ABC1 at 8pm tomorrow.