Michael Ware


Herald Sun article about IS recruiting

Michael is quoted in an article about Westerners fighting for IS:

CNN correspondent Michael Ware.

In terms of how “the dark masters of the art” of propaganda get their recruits online, Ware says, “it’s not like there’s a man in an overcoat offering candy”.

“The first step is self-motivated. A young Australian has to actively go on social media and seek out an Islamic recruiter,” he says. “It’s then the process of indoctrination begins as they help facilitate travel to the war zone in the Islamic State.”

As the only known westerner to be kidnapped by al-Qa’ida and survive, Ware says there is “no frame of reference in Australia” for what recruits face there.

“It’s one thing to read their Twitter feeds and to watch their propaganda videos, but until you actually see it, feel it and breathe it, there is no possible way to understand what life is like within the society that these Islamic militants create”, he says.

Even those who go for humanitarian purposes, like Perth doctor Tareq Kamleh who joined ISIS in Syria earlier this year, face life-threatening dangers.

“If you are working in a hospital where the US, Brits, French or Jordanians believe there is a military headquarters or military presence, they’ll drop a 500-pound bomb on that hospital,” he says. “You’re also exposed to Syrian regime attacks on the local population. Like in any war zone, death is constantly around everybody.”

After seven years on assignment in Iraq, Brisbane-born Ware, 46, has made the confronting war documentary, Only the Dead. The title comes from the expression, “only the dead have seen the end of war”.

Already attracting global attention, the 77-minute film, much of it shot by Ware using a $300 Handycam, premieres this weekend at the Sydney Film Festival.

“Our film will take you to war,” Ware says. “It shows the most intimate combat footage ever recorded in Iraq. You want to understand what is happening now, then watch the documentary.”

For years the gritty footage he accumulated was stowed in Tupperware boxes under his mother’s bed in Brisbane after returning from assignment.

So what does he see as the solution to more and more Aussies wanting to head off to fight with ISIS?

“We need to rob the IS of the motivation to drive our children to join them,” he says. “The only way we are going to do that is to engage with our own Muslims. These young men and women feel disconnected from Australian society because of the way we treat them. Take away that sense of grievance and injustice and you take away the motivation to go and join something like IS.”

The full article is here.