Michael Ware


Michael to be featured on Australian television next week [UPDATED]

Michael will be featured on the Aussie ABC program Australian Story next week. Here’s the blurb from their website:

Michael Ware's fearless reporting from the world's deadliest war zones has made him a star on US television.

He’s a regular on the big American talk shows, but his jaw dropping exploits are little known at home.

Working in Afghanistan and Iraq for Time Magazine and then CNN, Michael Ware willingly went where no other reporter could or would.

Seemingly 'addicted to danger', he was kidnapped three times and was only seconds away from being executed in the street by Al Qaeda.

Now he's back home in Brisbane, to reunite with his young son, and finally confront his personal demons.

In this compelling two part program, he tells his own story for the first time...

Two comments... first, “a regular on the big American talk shows”? Um, not so much, two appearances on Bill Maher’s program notwithstanding. Second, yes, he has a son, although this is the first time he has discussed that publicly, for security reasons.

Photos from the site:

(Sorry, ABC... I just could not stand the reversed photo anymore
and had to fix it!)

There is also a short clip on the site. Check that out here.

Now I just have to hope someone can get me the video when it airs!

Here is the press release, including quotes

Australian Story –
Monday September 13th 8pm ABC1

September 7, 2010

In this special two part edition, a famously fearless reporter finally confronts his personal demons after a decade dodging bombs and bullets in warzones across the globe.

Part I Monday September 13 at 8pm on ABC1
Part II Monday September 20 at 8pm on ABC1

“From sitting down with West Timorese, to spending endless hours with the Afghan Taliban; to have sat with Al Qaeda after 9/11… I’ve always found myself crossing into the unknown – to the darker recesses.” – MICHAEL WARE.

Michael Ware’s fearless reporting made him a star on U.S. television, but his exploits are little known back in his home country.

Over the past decade, Michael Ware has reported on conflicts all over the world.

But it was his most recent assignments in Afghanistan and Iraq that made him a household name in America. Formerly TIME Magazine’s Baghdad Bureau Chief, Ware has spent the past four years as a foreign correspondent for CNN. His unflinching candour and outrageous physical courage often rankled authorities, while his reputation as a fearless seeker of truth earned him respect from all sides of the conflict.

“Michael Ware has completed the equivalent of eight to nine combat tours – there is no soldier in our military that has done that…Michael Ware has done that.” – FORMER STAFF SERGEANT DAVID BELLAVIA, US ARMY INFANTRY

Adopting local guise, Michael immersed himself in the conflict, gaining the trust of all sides, by attending insurgent training camps, speaking with Al Qaeda and embedding with the US military.

Today, Michael remains the only Westerner to be captured and later released by Al Qaeda in Iraq.

After constantly cheating death, Michael has just returned home to Brisbane to start to heal the psychological scars, reunite with his young son, and deal with experiences and trauma that almost defy belief.

On Australian Story, he is telling his compelling personal story for the first time.

Producers: Claire Forster & Renata Gombac
Executive Producer: Deborah Fleming

Australian Story also airs online www.abc.net.au/iview and Saturdays at 12.30pm on ABC1

“What at the end of the day has always driven me in these environments, conflict environments, and what continues to drive me most is the intrigue and this intellectual thirst – I have to know the truth.
In conflict everybody lies. Our government lies, their government lies, other governments lie. There is no one pure truth. And we never get to the truth. And the most that we can possibly hope for are but shards of the true story.”

“No matter how many times I’ve told the story of me being kidnapped by Al-Qaeda, every time I’ve told that story it just rolls off my tongue , I thought I was talking about someone else. I never stopped to go back and contemplate how it felt. So effectively, what I’d done was I’d put that moment in a cardboard box and sealed the box and gaffer taped it up and I put that emotional box up in my attic and left it there to be dealt with later. And it’s only now that I’ve come back home to Australia to attempt to write of my experiences that I went back up into the attic and found it filled with 300-odd gaffer taped boxes that have been waiting for another day. And that day has arrived.”

“I arrived as a bumbling Aussie journo but to get to the answers I was seeking I became an Afghan. My Afghan language is that of the Taliban and I started wearing Afghan clothes. Because I simply had to immerse myself in the place to even hope to begin to understand it.”

“We would go into these Taliban controlled areas and stop for a bite to eat and the Taliban would be absolutely unaware that a foreigner had just been among them. If they had known I would have been executed instantly as would my team.”

“And then I personally witnessed the birth of the insurgency through my friends. I watched first as occasionally they’d just pick up a weapon and take the odd angry shot at a passing American convoy for no particular reason and from that start to organise into a little group.”

“I was with Iraqi insurgents as they went and attacked the Americans.
I was going to their first training camps in the dead of night- having been blindfolded or shoved in trunks of cars –and taken by circuitous routes to arrive at these places where men were training other men in how to conduct guerrilla warfare.”

“I quickly came to realise not just that our people and the West and public didn’t know who we were fighting; much to my disbelief I actually learned that the American war machine honestly and genuinely didn’t know who they were fighting. And they’re the ones conducting the war.
I quickly realised it was, like, honest, they could not understand why these people were shooting at them and yet I was with these people as they took their first shot and all through the shots that followed and I knew exactly who they were fighting against and why they were fighting.”

“The end of 2004 was a furious time in the war in Iraq. I mean, the blood-letting was at a horrific rate. There was a day in September when there was a particularly furious battle on Haifa street- when the Americans went in…”

“After that battle, the Iraqi guerrilla commander who controlled Haifa Street sent one of his mid ranking commanders to my house. That commander came to my house and he said ‘Al Qaida has taken over Haifa Street.’ That meant Al Qaida had taken over a central part of the Capital of Iraq …so he said ‘the boss said to come and bring you in and show you.’
“Whilst we were driving I clearly saw the multitude of Al Qaeda fighters.”
(referring to vision on tape) “You see a member of Al Qaeda stepping out from the median strip pulling a pin on a grenade – now that’s the only film I have of my kidnapping.”