Safe Mode: On
War correspondent returns from battle and imprisonment

Updated September 10, 2010 10:11:00
Michael Ware reported for Time magazine and CNN, has been embedded with the US Army and attended terrorist training camps.

Michael Ware reported for Time magazine and CNN, has been embedded with the US Army and attended terrorist training camps.


After a decade of working in war zones, and being kidnapped and almost executed by Al Qaeda, Australian journalist Michael Ware has plenty of personal demons to confront.

Ware's work in some of the world's deadliest regions has made him a star on US television, but little is known of his exploits at home in Australia.

The reporter for Time magazine and CNN has been embedded with the US Army and attended terrorist training camps in places like Afghanistan, Iraq and West Timor.

Now back in Brisbane, he is reuniting with his young son and dealing with the trauma he experienced while working as a war correspondent.

In an interview to air on Monday night's Australian Story, Ware says he is coming to grips with his ordeal at the hands of Al Qaeda.

"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," he said.

While working in Afghanistan, Ware says he went from being a bumbling Aussie journo to being completely immersed in the conflict.

Adopting local guise and speaking the language of the Taliban, he gained trust on both sides of the war.

"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," he said.

"If they had known I would have been executed instantly, as would my team.

"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."

Prisoner of war

Ware is the only Westerner to be captured and later released by Al Qaeda in Iraq.

He says the time of his kidnapping was a particularly violent chapter in the country.

"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," he said.

"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 Qaeda has taken over Haifa Street... 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... A member of Al Qaeda stepping out from the median strip pulling a pin on a grenade - that's the only film I have of my kidnapping."

His actions have often rankled authorities, but former US Army Staff Sergeant David Bellaviva cannot help but notice his physical courage.

"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," he said.

But life at war gave Ware little time to deal with the psychological effects of the things he had seen, and so he says he locked away many memories to deal with another day.

Shell-shocked and back in Australia, that day has come.


Click to view image: 'b527705ccea4-ware.jpg'

Added: Sep-13-2010 Occurred On: Sep-10-2010
By: bellava
In:
Iraq, Afghanistan, News, Middle East
Tags: micheal, ware, cnn, time, war, correspondent, ptsd
Views: 10495 | Comments: 9 | Votes: 0 | Favorites: 0 | Shared: 0 | Updates: 1 | Times used in channels: 1
You need to be registered in order to add comments! Register HERE