Australian Story: Part 2

Once again, many thanks to Morpium for getting this to me:

Alright, brand new encoding done, all should be well now. I will leave the links to the single file versions here as well, though. Full program length is 29:43.

Single .m4v file: 221.7MB

Single .wmv file: 373.1MB

Segmented .mov files:

Clip A 3:15 28.1MB (Small 4.3MB)

Clip B 4:51 43.2MB (Small 6.4MB)

Clip C 3:13 27.9MB (Small 4.1MB)

Clip D 2:15 19.5MB (Small 2.9MB)

Clip E 2:42 23.5MB (Small 3.5MB)

Clip F 3:14 29.0MB (Small 4.3MB)

Clip G 3:18 28.5MB (Small 4.3MB)

Clip H 3:19 29.3MB (Small 4.3MB)

Clip I 3:38 32.3MB (Small 4.7MB)

TONY FITZGERALD, PRESENTER: Hello, I’m Tony Fitzgerald. Tonight’s program continues the story of renowned journalist Michael Ware. When he was a young law graduate, Michael worked as my associate on the Queensland Court of Appeal. Now he’s famous in the United States for his brave reporting from Middle Eastern war zones. Michael Ware’s story concludes tonight, but first this recap.

DAVID BELLAVIA, FMR STAFF SERGEANT, US ARMY: The face of combat journalism is Michael Ware. He gets the story that no one has the guts to cover.

LARA LOGAN, REPORTER: Michael Ware is the only western journalist in regular contact with insurgents.

MICHAEL WARE: Once I was in these conflicts, there was a sense of belonging.

KIMBERLEY HAMMOND, SISTER: I just presumed he would give it all up when he had Jack.

MAN: Oh behalf of your Bad Boys, we present this as a birthday present.

JOHN MARTINKUS, JOURNALIST: He built up a really, really good team of people.

MICHAEL WARE: The Iraqi staff weren’t a second family, they were just family.

That’s the only film I have of my kidnapping.
You see a member of Al Qaeda stepping out from the median strip pulling the pin on a grenade.
I was being readied for my execution.
Through gritted teeth they literally shoved me back.

Straight after my kidnapping by Al Qaeda, I didn’t leave my bedroom for three days. Every time I got into a car of any description, going anywhere, I had -- I immediately wanted to throw up. At the same time, I was under threat from Al Qaeda, they were specifically targeting me for something I’d published. We knew that there was a team coming to kill me. Weapons dealers and others had warned us. We knew the attack would commence with a bomb. Suddenly at our main checkpoint a massive car bomb went off. At that instant we all looked at each other and went, ‘It has come upon us, they’re here’. And we all stood there ready and waiting for those first masked fighters to come spilling around the corner. As it turns out it was a false alarm but the lesson of that morning was that in that moment, not a single one of my boys took a backward step. Not one.

I knew Al Qaeda was still after me so I effectively went into hiding and it was then that I went into the battle of Fallujah with the US Army.

Hey Jack. It’s your Dad here, mate. I’m just about to go into the battle of Fallujah. Just want to say I love you, son, and I love your mother. You take really good care of her. She’s a very special person. I’ll see you soon, Jack. Bye, mate.

I was talking to Jack and to his mum, Shannon, even though we weren’t together. I just wanted to let them know that I loved them no matter what.

DAVID BELLAVIA, FMR STAFF SERGEANT, US ARMY: I met Michael Ware on Halloween of 2004. We were set to go to Fallujah, the epicentre of all Al Qaeda at that point. I didn’t really want to get to know Michael Ware because I saw him as the guy who got beheading videos and the guy who hung out with the people that were killing my friends.

MICHAEL WARE: We were literally in the first three American vehicles that entered the city of Fallujah.

DAVID BELLAVIA, FMR STAFF SERGEANT, US ARMY: At one point Michael Ware is facing me with the camera as I shoot at people that are shooting back at me. He actually was protecting me from a bullet with his head and his camera. It made no sense but that was the photo, that was the moment.

He will risk his life to get to where the action is.

We are looking for weapons caches and we're also going to be looking for...

MICHAEL WARE: The American platoon I was with was searching a block of houses for a group of six or seven Al Qaeda fighters.

DAVID BELLAVIA, FMR STAFF SERGEANT, US ARMY: My platoon walked into a house and there were guys that were behind cover with machine guns and they opened up on us.

MICHAEL WARE: The bullets were literally coming through the wall and so this American platoon and I were forced to spill out of that house firing desperately to cover our withdrawal.

Are you alright, man? Have you been hit?

There was only one way that this situation could be resolved with any one of us getting out alive really, and that was someone had to go back in there.

DAVID BELLAVIA, FMR STAFF SERGEANT, US ARMY: And he looked at me and he had this like glazed look on his eyes like, ‘what are we doing’ and I just was like, ya know, ‘I’m going back in there’ and I’m thinking-- I’m saying this out loud my inner monologues bleeding out and I look, and I look at Michael Ware and I’m like ‘f**k it’ and he looks at me and he’s like ‘f**k it’ and I’m like, ‘do you know what you’re doing? You don’t have a weapon, do you know what you’re doing?’ And he was like ‘absolutely, let’s do this’.

I want to go in there and go after him.

And so we did it.

Hey dude, I’m telling you right now, this guy is shooting from point blank range.

MICHAEL WARE: Yeah, I know.

DAVID BELLAVIA, FMR STAFF SERGEANT, US ARMY: You want to stay right there?

MICHAEL WARE: I’ll stay here.

DAVID BELLAVIA, FMR STAFF SERGEANT, US ARMY: Alright, well, you stay on my right shoulder.

So Michael Ware and I were in that house alone, you know, for what felt like an eternity. There were like three times I almost shot Michael Ware. He kept screaming that he was a journalist and I’m like ‘who is that?’

Who is it?

MICHAEL WARE: [yelling] Mick! Mick, the journalist!

DAVID BELLAVIA, FMR STAFF SERGEANT, US ARMY: And he’s like ‘I’m a journalist’. He was whispering it to me, ‘I’m a journalist, I’m the journalist, it’s Mick.’ And I’m like, ‘dude, I am going to shoot you unless you tell me who you are’, ‘cos I was, and we were all freaked out there are guys every, like boogiemen, we were fighting boogiemen.

MICHAEL WARE: And when it was all over, the soldiers dragged the bodies out. As a result, this guy who I had only recently met who now is bound to me for life, was nominated for America’s highest military award, the Congressional Medal of Honour.

DAVID BELLAVIA, FMR STAFF SERGEANT, US ARMY: Michael Ware was a warrior. He wasn’t just a guy with a camera. We started to understand that he knew more about the enemy than our own intelligence officers were telling us. He gave us a lesson. When Michael Ware would talk to my platoon, everyone was writing things down as if it was an operations order. That stuff saved our life.

MICHAEL WARE: It was the battle of Fallujah that cleansed me. Somehow, you know, all that stomach churning, gut wrenching guttural fear that I had after the kidnap, dissolved after the baptism of combat in Fallujah and I don’t know why.

KIMBERLEY HAMMOND, SISTER: It would often be me that Michael would ring and he just debriefs really for hours on end. Sometimes when he is in the thick of awfulness over there, we will talk endlessly about his love life. And I really think that that’s his way of, a little bit of an escape, obsessing about girls, women.

MICHAEL WARE: You find love in the strangest of places. I’ve found it on American air bases. I’ve found it in the midst of the battle, literally. I was involved in a relationship with a woman who was on American ‘Sixty Minutes’.

LARA LOGAN: On our way back to the base, we started taking fire. One Marine was hit right in front of me.

KIMBERLEY HAMMOND, SISTER: He wears his heart on his sleeve. When he falls in love that is it.

KIMBERLEY HAMMOND, SISTER: You can’t really put the two people together, this, you know rough and tough war man. And then he rang me one night planning a romantic attempt to win a girl back. He had music and he had placards with ‘I love you’ and ‘ring me’ and all this, you know, really over-the-top romantic stuff.

MICHAEL WARE: Oh, the mad things I have done in love's name. I’ve almost been killed more than once in the name of love.

MICHAEL WARE: One, two, three…

MEN: Merry Christmas, Jack!

KIMBERLEY HAMMOND, SISTER: Michael gets really close to the boys, he calls them ‘his boys’ who work for him. It was like a family.

YURI KOZYREV: Happy Christmas!

JOHN MARTINKUS, JOURNALIST: At any time any one of them could have easily sold him out to be kidnapped or killed or whatever. They didn’t. They stuck with us and, you know, put their lives at risk.

MICHAEL WARE: Many of my Iraqi staff paid dearly, I mean, three of them were kidnapped and tortured mercilessly by Al-Qaeda because of me. I managed to get all three back.

SALAH DAWOOD, FORMER INTERPRETER: Everybody believed that there is a danger for us and for our families. I was always worried when and where we will be attacked and suddenly the explosion happened.

MICHAEL WARE: Salah was blown up just as a hundred metres or so from his house by Al Qaeda.

SALAH DAWOOD, FORMER INTERPRETER: Michael Ware was on the phone, I can’t forget the tone of his words and telling me how he care about me. He was telling me just to stay alive, stay alive. He gave me the power to stay alive, actually.

JOHN MARTINKUS, JOURNALIST: Mick used his influence and his clout and Time Magazine’s money to basically get him to Jordan, get him properly treated, then to get him a refugee visa.

MICHAEL WARE: I moved from working as a print journalist for Time Magazine, and I say this with great fondness, sold my soul and moved into television in 2006.

MICHAEL WARE: There's at least three known Taliban checkpoints...

DAVID BELLAVIA, FMR STAFF SERGEANT, US ARMY: All these reporters are wearing, like, crisp clean khakis. I know reporters in Iraq that brought hair gel.

MICHAEL WARE: We're here in Kandahar. This is a city surrounded…

DAVID BELLAVIA, FMR STAFF SERGEANT, US ARMY: He’s got, like, not even five o’clock shadow, this is like four o’clock the next day shadow, you know, he’s hairy, he looks like he’s been sleeping outside.

MICHAEL WARE: Well, Wolf, it's just three a.m. here in Iraq…

The US effort is barely touching the Taliban's war machine…

That time for departure may be coming sooner than many people think.

DAVID BELLAVIA, FMR STAFF SERGEANT, US ARMY: Michael Ware became the litmus test for success and failure in Iraq by his reports.

MICHAEL WARE: I don't know what part of Neverland Senator McCain is talking about when he says we can go strolling in Baghdad.

I would be able to write ten words in Time magazine and those words would sink like a stone. But when I would say those same ten words verbatim on television the American Secretary of Defence would have to respond to them in the next day’s Pentagon press briefing.

On a day where there's only three or four bombing incidents, none of them major, that's a good day. What on earth does that tell you about what the Iraqi people are living through?

KIMBERLEY HAMMOND, SISTER: He would ring me often, he would say, there’s just blood everywhere or I just saw a child my son’s age, you know, dead or badly injured.

DAVID BELLAVIA, FMR STAFF SERGEANT, US ARMY: Michael Ware has been in the combat zone far too long. He has completed the equivalent of eight to nine combat tours. There’s no soldier in our military that’s done that. Michael Ware has done that.

KIMBERLEY HAMMOND, SISTER: It’s nearly like a drug. He just kept going back for more. I know I do wonder whether his bosses should have just said ‘enough is enough’ and there is a bit of anger there from me that I think they’ve overused him and abused him.

MICHAEL WARE: There was an incident that I filmed back in 2007. It was in a remote Iraqi village, a village that had pretty much been owned by Al Qaeda. A young man who turned out to be 16, 17, maybe 18 years of age, you know like so many Iraqis had a weapon to protect himself, approached the house we were in and the 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. We all spent the next 20 odd 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 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. Technically being it a breach of the Geneva Convention at least or arguably a small war crime, if there's such a thing, that film, to this day, it’s never seen the light of day.

JOHN MARTINKUS, JOURNALIST: When I went back to Baghdad in 2007, one of the first things he showed me was that tape and he was watching it over and over and over again. Part of him was like ‘how could I, 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.

MICHAEL WARE: There came a point where something inside me started to tell me that it was time to leave Iraq. That was a hard thing for me to come to terms with. I was sitting in the garden of the CNN house with one of my great mates Tommy the producer, I said ‘Tommy I think I need to leave’ and it was an enormous comfort for Tommy to say ‘I think so, mate’.

I hit New York like a meteor plunging into the earth, I mean, those first six months I felt nothing but pain and I suspect I caused nothing but pain.

DAVID BELLAVIA, FMR STAFF SERGEANT, US ARMY: The last time I saw Michael I didn’t even recognise him. He’d aged eighty years in his eyes. He just looked tired. He looked exhausted.

MICHAEL WARE: I couldn’t walk to the corner store and buy milk. I couldn’t go to a dinner party. I couldn’t stand in a crowd. I couldn’t catch the subway. I... you know, I couldn’t live.

GAIL WARE, MOTHER: He was in New York at the time doing local work, but he was sent back to Iraq three times and Afghanistan twice.

MICHAEL WARE: There's a Taliban here that wasn't here just a few years ago...

JOHN MARTINKUS, JOURNALIST: He was travelling with some Afghan police. They were doing a routine patrol in Kandahar.

MICHAEL WARE: A hidden Taliban roadside bomb is about to hit this Afghan police gun truck a CNN cameraman and I are riding in. By some miracle it detonates a heartbeat too soon; otherwise we'd all be dead.

KIMBERLEY HAMMOND, SISTER: He rang me and he said ‘something really bad has happened. You’ll hear on the news that a car bomb went off and that an Australian journalist was involved and it was me but I’m okay’. He just started rambling, not making much sense, crying.

JOHN MARTINKUS, JOURNALIST: And I think that really, in a way, I think it was like the last, you know, one near-miss too many.

MICHAEL WARE: Originally I came home for my yearly visit for Christmas and I tacked on the end three months book leave, because I’ve signed a book deal.

JOHN MARTINKUS, JOURNALIST: As that May 1 deadline for him to go back to work approached, I could tell from talking to him that he was dreading it, that he fully expected to be back at work on May 1 and by May 2 being shot at.

MICHAEL WARE: It’s turned out that I’m not ready to go back to work yet and it’s turned out that I’m not quite ready to write the book. I open a box brimming with notebooks and souvenirs and memorabilia and everything I touch is rich with memory and yet most of those memories are not pleasant and yeah, it’s been ripping my heart out.

DAVID BELLAVIA, FMR STAFF SERGEANT, US ARMY: You almost have to pretend every day to not let people know what you are thinking in your head, or what you’ve been through. Every time Michael Ware-- every time I see someone I imagine what they’d look like if they got blown up. Every time I hear something, I imagine what it would look like if a bomb went off. You can’t share that with people, you‘ll freak them out.

MICHAEL WARE : I mean, I never cease to be amazed at the age. The baby faces when we send our children into war. I mean, look at these kids. At this point, they think that they've killed a sniper team...

When our young men and our young women do go to war, one becomes enormously divorced from oneself, just as a survival mechanism. The place someone has to go to in their head to endure 12 or in some cases with the Americans, 15 months of that without respite, is a very dark place indeed.

You can actually sometimes you see the innocence just slip away right before your eyes.

These are our kids, and they're coming home. And you owe them.

The Michael that shot this film is long dead.

I've been left, at least in part, the custodian of the shadow of a lot of lives. Some of them I knew and some, I never met them. But, yeah, I walk with them. Now and I daresay forever. It's an honor. But sometimes it doesn't make living very easy.

GAIL WARE, MOTHER: He has horrendous night terrors and nightmares. He wakes up screaming and very distressed.

MICHAEL WARE: It just sucks not to feel anything, sometimes, other times it’s quite handy.

I’m here facing the demons from the war and the demons that are plaguing me out of war. Now, I’ve turned to all sorts of things to try to survive, or to get by. Many of which don’t actually help, actually make things worse, but anything to keep the demons at bay.

KIMBERLEY HAMMOND, SISTER: I do worry about Michael trying to deal with the Post Traumatic Stress by self-medicating, because he just gets so desperate to get some peace. And I say you can’t self-medicate. You have to deal. Recently, when he has started feeling so bad, he will be open and say the only thing that has kept him going is Jack.

MICHAEL WARE: Well, that's what I was wondering -- how old is Nana?

JACK: Um, three?

MICHAEL WARE: She's older than three.

Until of late, war was home and there was an odd comfort in that. And to be amongst that brotherhood, I mean it’s every old soldier, every old digger’s story, nothing ever replaces it. And back in so-called civilian life, obviously it's hard but until of late I never found anything that even came close to matching that experience or that existence.

I want that one. You're mine, buddy.

This is the longest I’ve ever spent with my son since he was born.

Don't knock me over. I'll look silly.

KIMBERLEY HAMMOND, SISTER: It’s amazing. Jack obviously adores him and loves spending time with him.

MICHAEL WARE: For me the great cost of what I’ve done was missing those Jack years.

Here, bring it on. Bring me down! Come on, drive it over.

KIMBERLEY HAMMOND, SISTER: Michael really has forged a deeper bond with Jack which I’m so relieved, because that really has been my major worry that he would never be able to pick that up again.

A few times Michael has brought girls home and I have said to my children ‘do not get attached, there will be a new one soon’. This time he’s brought home Kelly. After three weeks my eldest daughter said ‘Mum, you’re the one who said do not get attached. You are attached to her, cut it outÂ’'. I’ve broken the golden rule.

MICHAEL WARE : Yeah this is a, from memory it’s an eight year old boy. His parent’s were killed in Fallujah in 2004. He became a fighter.

JOHN MARTINKUS, JOURNALIST: Mick’s done a lot already in terms of helping people leave Iraq. He wants to bring out the few members of his staff who remain there because he sees it like, as something that he hasn’t finished.

MICHAEL WARE: I’ve been able to get many families out of Iraq, not yet enough. A death sentence hangs upon them all if ever it’s revealed that they worked for me or they worked for CNN or they worked for Time Magazine. But Australia has taken two of my families and have given them homes. I’m going to see them for the first time since they’ve come to Australia and it’s very confusing. They’ve been here for years now and I’ve not been able to bring myself to visit them. As much as I want to, I just haven’t been able to. I’m ashamed. I don’t know. It’s something about being indebted, I dunno. Perhaps not being good enough, I don’t know.

MICHAEL WARE: You ready to come meet the boys? Come on, mate.

Where are you, big fella? Salah, salaam alaykum. Brother, I know, look at you, look at you. You look fantastic! Oh, mate! I want to present to you… this is Jack. Come over, mate. This is Salah, he used to work with Dad. Oh my god. Oh my god.

It’s overwhelming. It has been like taking a dip in a pool that I haven’t been in for a long time.

To the Baghdad tribe. Good onya. Cheers.

WOMAN: I can't thank you, Michael.

MICHAEL WARE: Oh, no, I can't thank you. I can't thank you.

WOMAN: We are reborn here. You gave us life.

MICHAEL WARE: What do you think -- I am still in the debt of your family. I'll always be.

SALAH DAWOOD, FORMER INTERPRETER: It is really really one of the best days I ever had. I want to show Michael that I am good here, I am really happy, he did a great job for me and for my family

We call your dad, Abu Jack, that means the father of Jack.

MICHAEL WARE: Jack, you are very famous in Iraq. I’m not sure that’s a good thing.

When I’ve been talking about Iraq, I can’t think of the good times. Until today I’ve struggled to recall them. This trip has bought some light back I think, that’s what I’m hoping. Certainly it feels like that right now.

KIMBERLEY HAMMOND, SISTER: I still do have hope that, you know, your soul really can regenerate. That’s probably what I want him to have, a bit more peace.

MICHAEL WARE: I'll never again live war. But for sure I suspect it's a mistress that I will certainly visit. For its truth, you know, that noble sense of journalistic intent with which we cloak ourselves when we act so devilishly selfish and go. I’m assiduously, you know, making an attempt at coming home. I want to reconnect. I just haven’t got a clue how, not yet. In time, inshallah, in time.