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(generated from captions) inside Baghdad's Green Zone, In the safety of a hospital between Iraqi and US forces. to a joint military operation but in the end it came down to secure Mr Wood's release There'd been an intensive campaign and his hands bound. with his eyes covered hidden under a blanket most dangerous neighbourhoods was found in one of Baghdad's 63-year-old Douglas Wood has been freed. for almost seven weeks who's been held hostage in Iraq who's been held hostage in Iraq The Australian engineer Good morning. with Chris Bath. This is Seven Morning News in State of Origin II. to lead the Blues to victory makes a blistering comeback And Andrew Johns from his Iraqi captors. troops rescue Australian Douglas Wood His seven-week hostage ordeal over, This program is LIVE captioned.

with Doug as soon as we can. and looking forward to catching up And we're so pleased The end result's all that counts. Unbelievable. tonight. I don't want to say any more The family is, of course, delighted. in Australia. That included his brothers here This man has suffered immensely. will be jubilant at this news. I know all Australians learnt of Douglas Wood's release. This is how the Australian public too. they've had to live with uncertainty, During his seven weeks in captivity are rejoicing at his release. Douglas Wood's friends and relatives California waiting to embrace him. He has family in Australia and and he's receiving the best of care. medical and psychological assessment At the moment he's undergoing set up to coordinate his rescue. of the Australian task force He is now under the care God bless America. for the soldiers. He had a special thankyou worked to bring about my release. and deeply grateful to all those who to be free again I'm extremely happy and relieved to free him. in the seven-week-long effort thanked everyone involved the 63-year-old engineer he gave to Foreign Affairs officials, In a statement they found him. But when they uncovered him, he's their father and he's sick and they claimed that. and he was face down He was under a blanket and arrested two of the kidnappers. an Iraqi hostage The troops also freed every house in different places. We're basically just searching operating under Taskforce Lightning. by Iraqi and US forces It was a surprise attack a lot of yelling and screaming. and then there's still covered me over with a blanket then they came there was a bit of shooting outside, First thing is but not this time. after the handover of a ransom, or freed have either been killed Other hostages in Iraq to see you. You don't know how pleased I am had something to smile about. Douglas Wood

obviously the neighbours are very event here. But behind closed doors tide around trees, a very low-key celebrations, no yellow ribbons there have been no obvious signs of have not heard from her then and for quite a few days nearby. We been staying with family friends wife is home. We understand she has from media. We do not believe his movement but to be honest mostly behind me. There has been a lot of the past 10 years in the home where Douglas Wood has lived for happier aday for this small court Hello Chris, yeah obviously a this morning? What's been happening there for that neighbourhood. Mike, good news in Alamo, California. is outside Douglas Wood's home Seven's US Bureau chief Mike Amor that's all that counts. He's free, and for his family to Douglas Wood. It probably matters little Two of the insurgents were detained. who was released. Iraqi hostage that was there but there was also another No-one was killed there was some exchange of fire. During the raid in Ghazali, a Baghdad suburb. and that Mr Wood was found were acting on a tip-off Iraqi and American soldiers But Alexander Downer insists specific details. He didn't go into any more it was in the city of Ramadi. He said to me with his kidnappers. it was by arrangement Sheikh al-Hilali's spokesman says came about. about how Douglas Wood's freedom But there are also different versions team Australia effort. This has been a real team Australia effort. has made. and the Australian Islamic community the contribution Sheikh al-Hilali We appreciate enormously al-Hilali, have also won kudos. and the work of Sydney sheikh, led by diplomat Nick Warner The hostage negotiating team forbearance and focus. with extroadinary dignity, have conducted themselves and the way in which they to the family We would want to pay tribute to try to win Douglas's release. They've been working tirelessly but will hold a news conference soon. without further comment this morning The family gathered in Canberra

on patrol in the capital, killing eight officers. A senior Taliban leader claims al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden is alive after more than three years on the run. A commander in Afghanistan's former regime made the claims on Pakistani TV, adding that the Taliban leader Mullah Omar is also alive. During his visit to Australia this week the President of Pakistan said other Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders he believed bin Laden and other Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders were hiding in the rugged tribal areas between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Three Australian tourists have told how they escaped drowning when their helicopter crashed into New York's East River. They'd been enjoying a sightseeing tour when the chopper ditched into the water. Mary Greg and Taryn were taking off for a 15-minute joy-ride around Manhattan These a convoy of three police cars And a suicide car bomber slammed into during the lunch period. detonated his explosives belt A bomber disguised in army uniform at an army base north of Baghdad. in an attack on a mess hall and 26 others injured 26 Iraqi soldiers were killed have caused more devastation. In Iraq, suicide bombers conference at Parliament House. expected to address a media where Douglas Wood's brothers are live to Canberra later this morning Sure is, thanks Mike. We will cross Chris California but home in Australia, happy day not just here in Australia, but no doubt a very talking to the two brothers home in has been happy to leave all the heard from Douglas Wood's wife. She that is probably why we haven't time, has American children, and American wife lived here a long American connections. Obviously an down Douglas Wood's significant so. They have been trying to play Australian Government deliberately leave all the talking to the Americans have been very happy to It has been interesting. The the US Government? reaction. Has there been any for Mike that is the neighbourhood call everybody and let you know be home but when she is she will you where she is or when she will hen she gets home. I'm not telling will make a statement to the press She is very happy, she said she a few hours ago family friend who visited the home relieved. Let's listen inform a when the chopper suddenly hit the pier, plunged into the East River and rolled upside down. plunge I actually felt the helicopter hit the wharf. (The) cabin just filled up so quickly. the helicopter hit the I thought this shouldn't be lapping, I thought maybe everything would be all right but we started to head towards the water and on impact the cabin just filled up so quickly. 3 5yorld M arc r was strad in. The panic factor started to set in I thought how am I go go to get out The three somehow managed to find a way out My whole body was submerged. There was no time to take a breath, the water came in so quickly I couldn't see Mary but I was yelling out to her and then I thought the lady's husband was yelling out that she is still under, she can't swim Police on an e size nearby raced to the scene to help rescue the Australian along with three other passengers and their pilot At the time it just felt - it felt like a movie, then after the incident we all read the papers and it was just like "How did we get out of there?" Initial reports suggest the humidity may have played a part in the incident but whatever the cause the company will not be taking off again until a full investigation has been completed The front-page news didn't stop a steady stream of joyriders taking off with other operators but not Harry and his daughter who cancelled their seats on the doopbled chopper at the last minute. The weather changed my mind, it was just too hot to come down and we decided to go shopping instead Despite their ordeal the lucky three are kobting their holiday and won't be home for another two months. Next in Seven's Morning News, our business and finance report and the worrying link between red meat and bowel cancer. A family of 11 has escaped a house fire in inner-city Brisbane this morning. The timber house in east Brisbane caught fire around 3:00 with three generations of the one family inside. One of the eight children raised the alarm, allowing the family to get out. A 60-year-old man suffered cuts and blisters in the evacuation. A candle falling on furniture is believed to have started the blaze, which spread to the house next door. There were no smoke alarms in the house. The Cancer Council is trying to raise awareness of lung cancer through the launch of a national helpline. In more than 80% of sufferers, the disease is usually well advanced before they seek treatment. I spoke with Gillian Batt from the Cancer Council a short time ago. Good morning, Gillian. Good morning. Why do people leave it so late before getting help? Well, I think one of the problems is that it is actually very difficult to spot the symptoms of lung cancer and so often people just ignore them, especially if they are smokers they might think because they have got a cough that is part of smoking. But what we say is if you have a changing cough or a new cough or you are short of breath that is one of the symptoms of lung cancer and you should go to see the doctor straight away. What are the other symptoms people should look out for? If they feel hoarse or if they have a loss of weight or they feel very, very tired, that is another sign to go to your doctor and get it checked out. And today you have organised a call-in for New South Wales only. What is that all about? We thought we really wanted to raise the profile of lung cancer. Lung cancer often gets missed and it certainly doesn't get the media attention that it sometimes should do. So we have brought together about 25 experts from across the state who will be there to answer the phone and take questions from lung cancer patients, the carers of lung cancer patients and also anybody who is just concerned about lung cancer. You also have a national help line that people can call, too? Yes, there is a national help line run by all the Cancer Councils, which is staffed by specialist trained nurses. And anybody can ring that 131 120 during the week. And what sort of help can they get? There are trained nurses that can offer support, information, specialist advice and some counselling. When people call this line, could they ring and perhaps discuss their symptoms there first before going to their GP? Well, sometimes people do and perhaps they just want some reassurance that maybe it is something they need to ask their GP about. And we would say, "Yes, that's fine, give us a ring". Any sort of information or questions that people want to ask about cancer we can answer. You said that lung cancer doesn't have the profile in Australia as big as some of the other cancers. How much of a killer is lung cancer in Australian society? It is quite a phenomenal killer. for cancer It is the No.1 for men and it is No.2 for women for cancer. So people should definitely take it quite seriously. Gillian, thank you very much for your time. Thank you. For more information on the Cancer helpline, go to our web site - and follow the links. People who eat a lot of red and processed meat increase their risk of bowel cancer by as much as a third, according to new European research. It's not the first time that studies have highlighted the link. Very tasty - much better than meat Colon cancer nearly killed him, now this man watches what he eats to reduce the risk of it returning. New research shows he New research shows he is right to be cautious. Eating just two portions of red or processed meet a day raises the risk of bowel cancer by a third. Beforehand I was like most of the people bacon sandwiches, sausages, steaks, and I still enjoy the occasional bacon sandwich but I realised I have to change my diet. I eat more fish two or three times I eat more fish two or three times a week, serial every morning Europe's biggest ever study on diet and cancer monitored half a million people over 10 years. It found that someone who has a fry-up for breakfast, a ham sandwich for lunch and a couple of chopbs for diber is 35% more likely to get bowel cancer than someone who has red meat just once a week. By contrast, someone who eats fish every other who eats fish every other day is 30% less likely to get bowel cancer than some would be who rarely eats it. The advice - go easy on the steak We are talking about people who eat comparatively high amounts and they are the people who should be thinking about cutting down, eat more fibre you can protect yourself to some extent and chicken didn't seem to have any effect at seem to have any effect at all. Beef, Lamb, pork and veal were all found to carry the cancer risk. Meet producers insist most people eat far less than was foubd to be a danger. They say the study is a reminder that a balanced diet is a healthy diet. is reportedly distressed Michael Jackson's young accuser is reportedly distressed and having a difficult time dealing with the singer's not guilty verdict. Prosecutor Tom Sneddon says he spoke to the teenager after the pop singer's acquittal and he can't understand why people wouldn't believe him. Jackson hasn't been seen in public since he returned to his Neverland Ranch after being cleared of all charges, including child molestation. Also in the US, an autopsy has vindicated the husband of brain-damaged woman, Terri Schiavo. The battle between Schaivo's husband and parents over her life support became a national controversy. The autopsy's confirmed she was in a permanent vegetative state and couldn't survive if her feeding tube was removed. Michael Schaivo's lawyer says he was right all along. For years he's alleged, and we've proved in court, that Terri could not be sustained by mouth. Terry Schaivo died in March after two weeks without a feeding tube. To business and finance news now. And joining us is Kylie Macdonald from ABN AMRO Morgans. Kylie, some conflicting issues for the American market overnight? How did the session close? US stocks ended higher as the Federal Reserve's data gained late in the session after a spark had kept the indices lower for the day. The Dow Jones closed up 19 point Gold and base metal prices stronger overnight. Has that had an impact on our market? Yes, gold futures have lifted and across the metal pryes but pryes kept within a broad overall raise. Base metal rose supported by copier gaining on tight supply. Our resource stocks, both BHP and Rio up 1%, elsewhere in our market a up 1%, elsewhere in our market a good news day most sectors enjoying good rises Have the recent announcements of new CEOs for Telstra and the Commonwealth Bank had an impact The new CEO impressed on Sunday, Commonwealth Bank fell due to a major broker downgrade on the banking sector generally rather than the news of the new CEO appointment Maybe that will change when we Maybe that will change when we Noah bit more about Ralph nfpl orris. Sport is next in Seven's Morning News, with the Socceroos unlucky in Frankfurt. And it's game on in State of Origin after Andrew Johns

Blues' half-back Andrew Johns made a remarkable comeback to representative football in last night's State of Origin clash in Sydney. He was in superb form, taking New South Wales to victory in game two, sending the series into a decider. Two injury wrecked years on and Andrew Johns was back in familiar territory. The series was on the line and a State was looking to its maestro. COMMENTATOR: Try! It's a try for the Blues. In Johns' absence, Darren Lockyer has won the mantle of world's best, and he showed why. Brad Thorn has scored for Queensland. Billy Slater capitalised on a Blues' mistake and won a foot race to the line to give the Maroons the lead at half-time. Slater racing away inside the 10m and Queensland again. Straight after the break, a try to Ty Williams was called back for a forward pass. Johns then rallied his troops and Minichiello and Menzies crossed. Mark Gasnier repayed the selectors' faith in him setting up the Blues' fourth try. Gasnier's got Cooper on his inside. He passes. The Dragons have done it! Matt Bowen wasn't willing to concede defeat as he scored to close the gap to 10 but the man who answered NSW's SOS call after game one put game two beyond doubt. I'm happy, but I'm looking forward to the next game. As I said, if we go up there and don't aim up then this game means nothing. Host nation Germany has beaten the Socceroos in Frankfurt. The game was played at a frantic pace with the opening four goals scored in the space of 13 minutes. The deadlock was broken after half-time. Germany was awarded a questionable penalty which Michael Ballack converted. Podolski then made it 4-2 nearing full-time before John Aloisi's second goal reduced the gap to one. COMMENTATOR: This is a chance for 4-3 and it is 4-3. The Aussies now play Argentina on Sunday morning. St Kilda's Nick Dal Santo will consider his future at the club this weekend. The Saints have offered the gun midfielder a modest two-year contract believed to be worth $250,000 a season, less than he could earn at a rival club. In AFL, Swans' coach Paul Roos has named Ben Matthews captain for the clash against Collingwood at Telstra Stadium on Saturday the 25th. Matthews is the fourth player to lead the team since Stuart Maxfield resigned from the position for personal reasons. Roos says the rotation experiment has been a success. The Australian cricket team has lost its second match in a row going down to English county side Somerset. It comes just days after the Aussies were belted by England in their Twenty20 clash. The Aussies batted first and were 5/342 at the end of their 50 overs with Ricky Ponting with Ricky Ponting and Matthew Hayden both retiring after making 80 and 76 respectively. But Somerset reeled in the total with three overs to spare. Stay with us here on Seven's morning news. I'll be back with the weather right after this break.

Taking a look at the weather now - A cold front approaching WA is bringing strong winds and rain. Cold westerly winds will maintain showers across Tasmania, Victoria and south-east New South Wales. And a high will keep most of the inland dry, and clear rain from Queensland. Around the capitals - Returning now to Canberra, where the brothers of released Australian hostage Douglas Wood are about to address media at Parliament House. Political editor Mark Reilly joins me now. He is an incredible man. Everybody loves loves Douglas. He looks - he looks great. Might be better with hair, but he looks great How did you feel when you heard? So eccstatic, it was just Douglas and I thought he would be weak and he sounded up and just my he sounded up and just my Doug When will you see him? We don't know yet. The Government of course is going to be taking care of that, I'm asiege they will call me in the morning, I'm call me in the morning, I'm hoping in if morning Do you think you will go to Australia? I'm sure he will. His brothers are there and you know how hard they have worked through this entire thing. He does have a daughter in Washington also. We don't know at this point what will happen

How have you been holding out Without my baby sitters the FBI, I would have been a basket case and my friends and family and all the prayers and love from the community, my neighbours. It has been an incredible experience. I think we were on probably 600 prayer chains and he is coming home, that is the most important thing How hard has it been for you not being able to speak about this? Pretty tough. I felt very badly treating the press, you know, tough, but it was necessary. A tough Aussie spirit u did you think it helped him? I know it got him through, he would say he is a rough, tough Aussie, you saw him on the news, after seven weeks he looked super I thought We talked to friends and they said they had almost given up hope. Was there ever a moment that went through your mind? I believe in good and I thought he would see us through this whichever way it happened. The emotions waxed and waned but mostly I believed he was coming home Douglas ace man of faith, do you think that helped him? No doubt it had a major role. Doug's father was a minister and the family is very Christian and have strongly believed in help Did Douglas tell you anything? No, he couldn't We will leave the delighted wife of Douglas Wood and go to Canberra where his brothers Malcolm and Vernon are about to address the media. I have been helping the Wood family. There will be two statements, Malcolm will speak first, then Vernon and please feel free to ask questions. Malcolm? The family of the of of Douglas Wood is immensely relieved that Doug has been found alive and well. His health is reported to be surprisingly good. We all look forward to seeing him again soon. Doug made a number of phone calls to us late last night. He sounded remarkably composed. He asked me whether the Geelong cats would win

the premiership this year. He also joked that he had not liked his last hair cut. How Doug coped during the captivity of 47 days is hard for any of us to imagine. But he is a person who has inner strength. His commitment to life and all that is good ib it and his generosity of heart and spirit would have sustained him. He would have known, too, that Government officials t military and his family would have been doing everything possible to secure his freedom. We dreamt of the day that arrived yesterday. That hope sustained us. We smiled inwardly in imagineing his first question - what took you so long? In reality, one of his earlier questions addressed to his new mate Nick Warner was whether he had any beer! After the excitement, Doug consulting his wife Yvonne, his daughter Christina and his brothers Graham, Vernon and myself, will need to address his future, where he will will live it and what he will do. These are questions which Doug in coming weeks will address carefully. I cannot say now what the answers will be. Immediately the family wishes only that medical experts assess Doug's health and provide all necessary assistance. Doug will need to rest and recuperate. The family will urge Doug to leave Iraq. We will do this partly for our own sakes that we may enjoy him again with us. Closing his business, however, may be a hard decision for Doug to make. As was the case previously in Armenia and Georgia, in his ek nearing and project management work, he has been committed to improving infrastructure and helping people live easier lives. He has related to people's suffering adds helped them privately in practical down to earth ways. The unhappy circumstances in which the family has recently been placeed has

brought the situation of the people of Iraq into sharp focus. In consultation with community leaders in Iraq, we will honour our commitment to make a charitable donation. The family acknowledges with sincere thanks the commitment and efforts of Sheik Taj Din al-Hilali, the mufti of Australia, in travelling to Iraq and identifying potential intermediaries. He has not been well and has placeed his life in danger. We have greatly valued the support of the Australian Muslim community, particularly office bearers of the Australian federation of Islamic councils. The family deeply appreciates the work of the emergency response team in Iraq under Nick Warner's leadership. We pay tribute to those many officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs and trade t Australian Federal Police and other agencies who worked extraordinary long hours dealing professionally with complex issues. I wish to mention several officials whose concern for Doug and support to his family has within outstanding. Mr Gilding, Colin Rigby and Chelsea Martyn of DFAT and Andrew Colvin of the Australian Federal Police and his team. The nation is extremely well served by these public servants. The work of Government agencies reflects the priorities of the Government. I thank the Prime Minister, Mr Howard, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr Downer for their unswafrg commitment throughout this crisis. There will be copies of the two statements handed out as well. Of the four brothers in the family Douglas and I are the closest in age and in our formative years we forged a very close emotional bond which has continued as we pursued our life relationships and careers which in Doug's case has embraced many countries and many cultures. The last six and a half weeks has be a very stressful period, but I'm mindful that I have been able to sustain myself in the comfort and safety of Australia with my family around me and far from the inherit dangers which unfortunately exist in many other parts of the world. The kidnapping has become an issue far great than a Wood family problem. From the first days of the news breaking, it became apparent that the lives of so many Australians , the majority of whom are not known or connected to us in anyway, have been deeply affected by the sheer horror of terrorism and all that it implies. We do not know why Doug was singled out to be taken captive. He is a humanitarian at heart and a wonderful person. But terrorism has no conscience and we do not condone what his captors did. but we are grateful that he is now safe and that during his captivity they provided him with his medical requirements. The family bears no animosity towards the people of Iraq and their patriotic spirit and their right to independence. As a people, they have suffered and continue to suffer but we do not believe that the majority of Iraqis support kidnapping as a valid means inform achieve political and social goals. Doug was working there for no purpose other than to alleviate that suffering and to support himself and his family - Iraqis are our brothers and our sisters and we empathise with those who have lost loved ones, lost jobs an lost hopes. I also wish to acknowledge certain other people - in particular our media advisor Neil smail for the professional advice he offered and for the way he dealt with the many requests from media representatives. I thank his company national company communications for making him available to us. We are particularly grateful that the media have respected our family's privacy and that reports fairly told the story as it unfolded and

did not seek to put Doug's life at greater Rix. I thank our solicitors Mallesons and Arnold Bloch Leiber and the National Bank all given freely freely to overcome international barriers in connection with the donation. My brother Malcolm deserves special thanks for his untiring efforts as spokesman for the family. When he volunteered to take the load on behalf of the family no-one could have imagined what that would entail and he has my admiration and heartfelt thanks from all members of our extended family for his efforts.The family has taken great strength for the number of expressions of support which have come to us from people of all ceedz and cultures across the world. They have been a source of inspiration and courage and we are grateful for that as we now embrace the next important stage of helping Doug back to his normal lovable self. Can you shed any more light on the circumstances surrounding Doug's release? It is not clear to the Government, I think, at this point, and certainly not clear to the family, just what exactly has happened. I think it is more appropriate that Government spokespeople tell the story Malcolm are you surprised at how good your wrote there looked after 6 and a half weeks? I have scarcely had a chance to see the television or any footage. I'm told he looks well and we are relieved Can you tell us how the events unfolded yesterday, how you heard the news and how you spent the evening as well once you heard Doug was free? My wife and I received a call from the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Downer, at about 5.30 last evening and it is right, as he has said, that we were slightly disbelieving. We have had a roller-coaster ride, as you can imagine, for nearly 7 Wallabys and at times our hopes have risen so we were just hoping that he was We apologise for the temporary loss of captions. Normal service will resume as soon as possible. We apologise for the temporary loss of captions. Normal service will resume as soon as possible. We apologise for the temporary loss of captions. Normal service will resume as soon as possible. Can you tell us what the proof of life question and answer was? Yes, I believe it was one that I provided, which was what was the name of the family bulldog in Geelong and the answer was Monte. How long ago was that the family pet? 1950s (Laughter) Do you find that the Government was aware of the video showing that your brother was alive a few weeks ago. Were you made aware of that video? Yes, we saw it but it was not appropriate to talk about it Understanding that you had limited information about the circumstances of the release, given what you have been told and the phone calls you had with your brother Douglas, do you believe his captors released him, made a decision to release him? I don't believe it was a release. No You think they were still holding

him at the time he was found? Yes, that is my understanding. How has Douglas's wife Yvonne reacted to the news? Our brother Graham spoke with Yvonne last night and she was over the moon. We haven't been able to this morning - but she is over joyed obviously an Christina his daughter has been in touch and she is thrilled to bits Are the people behind you part of the team? Yes, my wife, Vernon's wife and my children Emma, Mary and Nick You seem very emotional listening to Vernon speerbgs advertise reality of what has happened starting to spill over? Yes, we have had our big ups and downs. I think I have cried more when Doug was released than when he was captured. It is the overwhelming let incorporating has taken us by storm There are obviously many factors that contributed to this eventual outcome, but can you pinpoint one thing that you think made a big difference? It is a bit hard to pinpoint one thing. It has been a Team Australia (Laughter) linked with Team of the Allies and itisticly encourageing that we understand that the Iraqi army had a part to play in the eventual rescue but throughout, as I have said, the Government officials backed by the Government itself were extremely strong and supportive and put an enormous A effort and resources into the whole management of the crisis or to try to reach an outcome - a successful outcome T family has played its part. The must Muslim community in Australia has played a part, the Sheik Taj Din al-Hilali, a wonderful cooperative effort. It is

rather hard to single out any particular player as worthy of particular praise It was a rescue rather than a release - are you able to give us some indication of who you think has credit for making the rescue operation? We don't know much about it. I think it is more appropriate that Government officials speak about what they understand happened The family had a careful campaign of e of TV appeals and advertsing and a web site. Can you ex-Blaine the rationale behind that and how you got the advice to stage things in that maner? We picked up quite early from the piece the first couple of days that our target really ultimately was the captors. Otherwise, influential parties in Iraq who could be intermediaries between Government and family and the captors, so our target f you will excuse me, was not the Australian media, it was people if Iraq. So we were trying to exert some influence, moral persuasion, if you like From whom did you get that advice to go down that track? Team Wood! I think a couple of days after Douglas was taken you were advised by other people who have been in situations like this to be pro-active, to actually go out and do this stuff. How important do you think it was to them and do you have similar advice to anybody else who might end up in this unfortunate situation? Yes, I think it is wise to seek advice from a number of different quarters and we did - other families, Government officials, act a dem I cans - so as best we could in those first days we got a range of opinion but by the same token it was not possible to get a very broad range of opinion but basically people were saying to us target people in Iraq and do the sorts of things that we did When will you see Douglas? When do I hope to see him? Soon, we hope. It is not quite clear. Doug presumably will leave Baghdad shortly and he may or may not go to an intermediate stageing post. What then happens is his decision. He may go back to California to be with his wife, he may come to Australia for a time. It is not clear. We will be talking to him Do you think he wants to come to Australia some time soon?. He hasn't indicated no You said you were trying to convince him to pull out of Iraq. Has he indicated he wants to continue his business?. No, that is ... no, there is no indication of that at all and we certainly hope he won't and we would certainly encourage him not to Did you put that to him on the phone? Did anyone suggest to him on the phone that they didn't want him to go back to Iraq? I think it is too early to push those ties of lines. He was more interested in football and beer For the rest of us the war is "Over there". Of course many Australians are much closer to it because they have loved ones serving there with the armed forces. But this whole circumstance has brought that into your lounge rooms, into your hearts. How is the family - what is the take-out of all of that, this very personal contact with Australia's military involvement in Iraq? How has that left you as a family? I think that will take some time to sink in. The thing that has overwhelmed me is the support from the community and as it has affected the community almost as much as if it is their brother or husband or someone that is take Indonesian this fear of terrorism, I think we have just embraced the feeling of the country and we are sensing that from lots of people we talk to that talk to us - we have people ringing up anonymously and it is quite moving and that is

why I say it has gone beyond the Wood family thing, it is an Australian issue and it has brought terrorism to our doors which is a great outcome but it has also frightened a lot of people I think and how we all pan out from that I don't know, I will take sometime to unwind I understand you have not condemned the captors but why now do you not condemn them after they have put you through so much? It is very hard for us to place ourselves in their context, we can't. We can't see into their minds. It is a very troubled country obviously and their history and heritage is so different from ours. It is hard to comprehend what they are thinking so in a sense it is not possible to hate. You don't know the people. You can't quite understand them. How important do you think was the mufti's involvement and has Douglas confirmed to you that he did speak to the mufti by telephone during his capture? It is not entirely clear to us. It is not clear whether the mufti's involvement which we have acknowledged with gratitude was instrumental in the freeing of Douglas yesterday. It may have been, it is not clear. Do you think he had spoken to anyone during his 47 days? By phone to me, no. No. We are all being very careful of not pushing Doug too far. The psychological damage could be significant for a person in his situation, that we don't feel it appropriate for us to push any line. It is very much a family and just be there to support him and we certainly are not pushing him in any respect to get answers for anything Do you have any reason for thinking that the rescue of your brother might have been connected in anyway to the recent releases of the Italian and the French women?

We have no information that suggests that Did either ever give up hope? Did you expect to be sitting here today with this good news? You have your doubts. Part of the ups and down and the emotional roller-coaster ride that you have been on, we had enormous highs and lows but I have never given up total hope. You have fear but the hope is always there or you destroy yourself yourself in the process but you are always ready to hear the bad news if it does come What about the ransom question? In all the pressure on you did it ever seem like that was the right way out? We always had strong ethical difficulties with paying a ransom - that is partly why early on we made an offer to make a charitable an offer to make a charitable donation. We meant what we said. Perhaps that was pre-emptive. It may or may not have had any impact in the end but that was as near as we could go to ransom and it is not a ransom, it is a donation to if people of Iraq who are needy Do you know how the donation money will be used? No, we have yet to have discussions with trusted discussions with trusted community leaders Didn't you have a word to the Government and ask if they could pull out 1400 troops and put an end to this? No, we didn't Do you think the Government's position was the correct one? I'm not saying that either. We didn't have a quiet word with the Government to put pressure on them You thanked the Australian Government so describing the interaction interaction you had with the Islamic community and with the shake, was there any other contact made? Vernon and I met with the shake at the mosque early on and until last night I think we had not spoken with Sheik Taj Din al-Hilali directly so our contacts with Sheik Taj Din al-Hilali have been through several spokespersons of his in Australia

Australia Expressions of support though, were there expressions of support made more broadly? We understand that there have been very many expressions of support given to the Australian federation of Islamic councils and that has been fed to us, yes You mentioned that you don't understand your brother's captors, but what sense do you have of why they did this, they did this, was it money, politics, what was it? Why did they take him hostage? It has never been entirely clear throughout the crisis what the nature of the group has been. There have been different hypothesis and I think it is still not clear Did you ever speak to Steve Pratt about what the sort of imprisonment might do to your brother? Yes, Vernon Yes, Vernon and I did advice sit Steve Pratt and his wife a couple of weeks ago What was his advice? Hang in there, don't give up hope I think was the basic line and we certainly followed that advice You mentioned strength of character as a family trait, how do you think that would serve Douglas in his recovery? Will he bounce back? We certainly hope so, but we shouldn't underes tit mate the psychological psychological effect of captivity under duress that he has suffered. But we are sure that he will bounce back Have most offers gone very badly - was there ever a turn point when you felt that he might have been about to be killed but he wasn't and do you think the mufti's arrival had anything to do with that? We don't know We don't know Malcolm, given the decision to become the spokesman for the family, I wonder if you can tell us how you came to decide that you would take on that role and did it have anything to do with advice given to you by the brother of a British hostage? I had one advantage of being a Canberra resident and I guess I was the first to the first to be in touched with the department of Foreign Affairs add trade on that first Monday morning at about 3 or 4 am. Things went from there, I guess. Perhaps it was a little easier for me than Vernon. I'm six years younger than Doug. Vernon is closer in age to Doug and has a strong emotional has a strong emotional bond Do you think if your brother was offered a life membership of the Geelong football club he might come back from California for good? If you knew our brother Doug, he would want to come back as a playing coach We leave the conference where Douglas wood's brothers Malcolm and Vernon have been talking to the press. We will head to press. We will head to the US where Mike Amor has just seen Douglas wood's wife Yvonne. How is she She is fantastic. It is the first time we have heard from Yvonne during this seven-week ordeal and she was ecstatic saying it was Douglas wood's old fashioned Aussie spirit that got him through this. spirit that got him through this. He rank up and said "Hi, it's Douglas" she said he sounded remarkably well and she may tpwhrie to him, it is possible he may go home to Australia first, she doesn't know. I know we saw a bit of her press conference live but let's listen to her further. A super day, I thank all of you for being here and immigrate for being here and immigrate full for all the love and prayers that everybody has given our family. Everybody has been soaper. I especially want to thank the Iraqi police, especially under the pressure they were under for find I can Doug and getting him some place safe, the Australian Federal Police and the FBI have not left my side since? Began. My friends since? Began. My friends especially have been baby sitting me through all of this. A psychologist called every night to help me through the trials and he is coming home, guys, thanks very, very much. I spoke to him this morning. He said "Hi honey" and it was 6 in the morning and I and it was 6 in the morning and I said "Douglas are you healthy?" he said "Yes, when are you going to come and get me" He seems to have an amazing sense of tumour He is an incredible man, everybody loves Douglas and he looks great. I like him better with hair but he looks great How did you feel when you heard his voice? So ecstatic, it was just Doug and I thought he would be weak but he I thought he would be weak but he sounded up and just my Doug Very delighted Yvonne Wood there Yes, one very happy woman. It is fantastic. Obviously this neighbourhood will be celebrateing tonight We will go now to Canberra where our political editor Mark Reilly joins me. Amazing to watch that media conference and see that neither of the brothers floor the family is at all family is at all bitter about the experience Incredible. Listening to Mike there have to be a dozen Hollywood producers watching this thinking there is a blockbuster in this. It is the most fabulous compelling story. Douglas Wood is obviously a very lucky man to be alive, and an incredibly lucky man to have such an impressive family. an impressive family. They are not expressing any bitterness, they have handled this in an extraordinary manner. This may now become a template I suspect for the way that other families may handle any future kid napping in Iraq. It will not always work but the poise and the control of the family, the strategic approach they have taken is very impressive I think the Foreign Minister described them as described them as stoic, I don't quite know how you teach that, but the other interesting thing they had to say was this was not in fact a release but a rescue, given the

number of stories floating around this morning, that is an interesting take It is, Chris, and the circumstances still remain unclear as both Vernon and Malcolm wood said then. There are two verges - the Government's which we must rely on that on that they had specific intelligence that Douglas wood was in a suburb of Baghdad in a fairly - in an area that was insecure and that act tinge on that intelligence the second battalion of the Iraqi army supported by some US elements went in and freed him and another Iraqi cantive. We know from what Douglas wood has said overnight that he heard gunfire outside where he was he was being held under a blanket and that accords with what the Government has been saying. Sheik Taj Din al-Hilali says that it was his belief that Douglas Wood was going to be sent to a safe house about 110 km west of Baghdad in a marredy. That does not seem to be the case although other things the hill hill has said do accord with the Government view. In these circumstances circumstances I will take days before clarity is seen The relief is all over Australia because it has affected all of us. Very happy to hear that Douglas wood has been freed. We will keep an eye on the story. and bring you more details as they emerge in our bulletins at 4.30 and 6.00. I'm Chris Bath Thanks for your company. Have a great day. Captioned by Seven Network Email - captions@seven.com.au