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Local daughter of '83 Beirut bombing victim: 'Keep his memory alive'

'A great sacrifice for peace'

I couldn’t believe my eyes. The barracks building was gone. The four-story building where hundreds of Marines with the Battalion Landing Team, 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, lived was gone.

“No freakin’ way, I thought….there was nothing but a mushroom cloud where the barracks building was. It was at that moment I realized the cakewalk was over

— Tim McCluskey, Beirut bombing survivor, writing for the online Marines Blog

Amanda Winter Moore was just 3 1/2 on Oct. 23, 1983. All she remembers of her dad, U.S. Marine Capt. William E. Winter, was running to him for comfort one night as he came home from work after her mother had disciplined her.

Winter, of Athens, was one of 241 American servicemen who lost their lives in the suicide attack on the Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. Another 128 Americans were wounded in the blast.

It was the deadliest single-day death toll for the United States Marine Corps since the 1945 Battle of Iwo Jima, the largest single-day death toll for the U.S. military since the first day of the Vietnam War’s Tet Offensive, and the deadliest single attack on Americans overseas since World War II.

The bombing was traced to Hezbollah, a militant and political group that originated in Lebanon in 1982. Iranian and Syrian involvement was also suspected.

But when you’re a little girl, hardly out of infancy, those figures and longstanding Middle East hostilities are meaningless.

“I remember sitting on the living room floor with my mother watching TV and all the names of the dead scrolling down,” said Moore. “I remember the funeral. I couldn’t understand if Daddy was in the box, why couldn’t he get out and play with me.”

On Oct. 23, 1983, Moore, her 6-year-old brother, Michael, and her mother, Melia, just 25, awaited the return of their father and husband, 32-year-old William “Bill” Winter, from Lebanon two weeks later to their home on Camp LeJeune at Parris Island, N.C.

Two days after the blast, then editor of The News Courier, Craig Beasley, interviewed the missing Marine’s father, Ellis Winter of Athens, who was still awaiting word on the fate of his only child. The elder Winter described his son, who had completed his paratrooper training while still at Auburn in the Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps, as “kind of gung ho.”

Winter had been in Beirut since May 1983 as part of the Multinational Peacekeeping Force. At 6:22 a.m. that October day a 19-ton Mercedes-Benz truck driven by Iranian national Ismail Ascari passed between two sentry posts, passed through an open vehicle gate in the perimeter of chain-link fence, crashed through a guard shack in front of the building serving as the barracks and crashed into the building’s entry way.

Ascari detonated his explosives, which were later estimated to be equivalent to approximately 9,525 Kg (21,000 pounds) of TNT. The force of the explosion collapsed the four-story building on the site of the old Beirut International Airport.

Winter’s remains were “tentatively” identified on Nov. 4, 1983, almost two weeks after the bombing, Moore said.

“My understanding is that his remains were the second or third to be identified,” said Moore. “His room was right above where the truck detonated. They said, “we think” they are his remains.”

Winters parents asked their daughter-in-law, Melia, who remarried several years later and is now Melia Collier, to bring her children from North Carolina to Athens so they could help raise them.

“Some people have asked why he isn’t buried at Arlington, but my mother had him interred at Athens City Cemetery,” said Moore. “She said it was important for his family to be able to visit his gravesite whenever they wanted.”

Moore, now the single mother of four children, Cary William, 13; Madison, 9; Ainslee, 6, and Everley, 4, said she will take her children to her father’s grave today.

“We were going to go to Camp LeJeune because every year they have a big commemoration,” said Moore, who works three part-time jobs — paramedic for HEMSI Ambulance Service in Madison County, registered nurse at Limestone Correctional Facility and RN at Morgan County Jail.

“I wanted to take my four children there on the 30th anniversary, but we can’t make it,” she said.

Capt. William E. Winter was posthumously promoted to major. His dress uniform and clippings are on permanent exhibit at the Alabama Veterans Museum and Archives on Pryor Street.

“What I would like to say is we must keep their memories alive — these men made a great sacrifice for peace,” Moore said. “But so did their families.”



Preliminary data suggests that a female suicide bomber conducted the attack on the bus in Volgograd, central Russia, killing six people and injuring 33, according to the Russian Investigative Committee.

“Today at 2:05pm Moscow time [10:05 GMT] in Volgograd inside a bus, as a result of an unknown explosive device going off, a blast happened, leading to casualties,” a national Anti-terrorist Committee representative said in the statement.

Forty passengers were on the bus. At least eight of them are in critical condition. A 20-month-old toddler is among those injured. His state is assessed as moderately severe.

Russia’s Health Ministry indicated that most of the victims in the explosion sustained mine explosive-type wounds, caused by the bus’s paneling and the shattered glass.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has instructed the Emergencies Ministry and the Ministry of Health to provide all the necessary help to the victims of the blast. An Emergencies Ministry plane, with medics and five special medical units on board, has arrived in Volgograd to help treat the injured.

A young man named Ilya, an eyewitness of the terror act, who was in a different bus on the same route, described the scene of the blast to RT:

“First I saw a lot of pieces of broken glass scattered all over the driveway [road]… There definitely was an explosion in [the bus] as its windows burst outside sending glass to a considerable distance, but with no fire outbreak… There were a lot of police there and also people who had been just driving by and stopped to help the victims, they were bringing med kits with them. There were people from the emergency service at the scene helping the injured, but I saw a woman sitting inside the bus. She was covered with blood and I couldn’t make out whether she was alive or not. She was just sitting there.”

According to Ilya, lots of students use that bus route, as it stops at Volgograd State University, and there were apparently some students at the scene of the blast. The bus also passes the local Cardio Center, he said, adding that some heart patients might have been there too.


Photo from

Photo from

A relative of one of the surviving passengers told Echo of Moscow radio the explosion went off in the middle of the bus aisle. There were a lot of youngsters on the bus at the time of the blast, he said.

Witnesses reported that the front part of the vehicle was heavily damaged, and that the nearby cars had their windows broken.

Bomber identified

The Investigative Committee has identified the woman who was the suicide bomber behind the blast: it's allegedly Naida Asiyalova, from Dagestan.

The preliminary information indicates that “the female suicide bomber recently converted to Islam, and was the wife of a militant leader,” an Investigative Committee representative told the media.

Also, a grenade has been found under the vehicle and it's now being checked whether the explosive is live, a source in the security forces now at the scene told RIA Novosti.


Naida Asiyalova's passport scan (image from

Naida Asiyalova's passport scan (image from

According to information obtained by LifeNews from security sources, the suicide bomber, Asiyalova, earlier recruited a young Muscovite, Dmitry Sokolov, who became a skilled bomber respected by Islamist militants. The 22-year-old reportedly fell in love with the female recruiter while studying Arabic in a Moscow university. She then turned him to radical Islam and convinced him to leave home for Makhachkala.

An unconfirmed report cited by the Russian media claimed the 30-year-old Asiyalova had a serious and painful disease.

Sokolov, now known as Abdul Jabbar, is wanted in Dagestan for taking part in two terrorist explosions, in which at least 29 people were injured, the media added.


RIA Novosti/Kirill Braga

RIA Novosti/Kirill Braga

Following the blast, local police cordoned off the scene and ordered all movement of minivan buses in Volgograd to be halted. A kilometers-long traffic jam has formed in the area.

Bomb technicians and investigators thoroughly searched the scene. Criminal investigators from Moscow have also been called to Volgograd, according to Russian Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin.

Emergencies Ministry video from the scene:

Earlier, the malfunction of gas equipment inside the bus was listed as one of the possible causes of the blast. However, investigators soon indicated a terrorist act was the preliminary cause.

The transport company which owned the bus said that the vehicle worked on diesel fuel, and there was no gas equipment on board, a statement on the local governor’s website later confirmed.


RIA Novosti/Press-service of Russian Emergen

RIA Novosti/Press-service of Russian Emergen

Volgograd, formerly known as Stalingrad, is an important industrial city and the administrative center of Volgograd region. The city spans some 80 kilometers along the Volga River in the South of Russia.

At the present time more than 1 million people live in Volgograd.




Shown here is Marine reservist Jason Brezler, left. At right is Sarwar Jan, an Afghan police official whom Brezler warned his fellow Marines about.Courtesy of Brezler family

Catherine Herridge

A good Marine is being put through the wringer -- with his career now hanging in the balance -- for mistakenly sending a threat warning from an unclassified email account, according to supporters.

The 2012 warning from Jason Brezler, a Marine Corps reservist and New York City firefighter, told his fellow Marines that a senior Afghan police official was a security risk, including allegations that he sexually abused minors on U.S. bases in Afghanistan. One of the Afghan official's assistants and purported victims, days later, opened fire and killed three U.S. Marines.

But Brezler's supporters say his career is now in jeopardy because of political correctness and a genuine fear that revealing the facts of his case will expose the underbelly of U.S. policy in Afghanistan.  

"Brezler's immediate chain-of-command here in the U.S. did not recommend punitive action, and the Marine command in Afghanistan called for the relevant document in Brezler's case to be declassified, because there is no information in the document which, if released, would damage national security," Kevin Carroll, whose firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan is representing Brezler pro bono, told Fox News.  

Brezler now faces a board of inquiry as early as next month where he could be forced from the Marine Corps -- what amounts to an "other than honorable" separation -- for sending the warning from a Yahoo, rather than a classified, account even though Brezler admitted the error to his own supervisors.

Last summer, Brezler received an urgent request for information from his fellow Marines in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. They wanted background information about a senior Afghan police official, Sarwar Jan, who was routinely allowed on base as part of the U.S. strategy to train local security forces before the 2014 withdrawal.  

Brezler immediately responded with information about Jan's derogatory background, including the allegations of sexual abuse. There is no evidence immediate action was taken, and days later, one of Jan's assistants allegedly opened fire on the Marines.

In September, Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., wrote to the Defense Department inspector general that Brezler "suspected Jan had committed sex crimes against juveniles at U.S. Department of Defense facilities in Afghanistan. On August 10, 2012 one of Jan's subordinates and sex-crime victims killed three U.S. Marines, including my constituent Lance Corporal Greg Buckley, Jr."

Buckley, along with Staff Sgt. Scott Dickinson and Cpl. Richard Rivera, were all murdered at Forward Operating Base Delhi after the alleged shooter, a teenage boy who worked for Sarwar Jan as an "assistant," opened fire on the men while they worked out at the gym. Another Marine, Staff Sgt. Cody Rhode, was shot five times and survived.

In a July letter to Commandant Gen. Jim Amos, King said Jan was believed to be a security risk, and Brezler was only trying to save lives. It is "unfair for Maj. Brezler's good-faith effort to warn his fellow Marines, of what sadly proved to be mortal danger, to derail his reserve career. The Marines and the (New York City) Fire Department need more good men such as Maj. Brezler, not less," King wrote. The congressman, who also sits on the Homeland Security and Intelligence committees, said the report about Brezler's actions from March 12, 2013 "contains several administrative irregularities."

Among Brezler's supporters are Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer and Bing West, former assistant secretary of Defense, who wrote the Board of Inquiry in September, that "Brezler is an unvarnished leader. His unwavering quality comes through to other Marines and to the people and government officials in other lands. As Marines, we exist not to occupy space in cubicles. We're expeditionary. What counts is what we do in the field."

Another supporter, New York City Fire Commissioner Salvatore J. Cassano, also wrote a letter of support. "I have met thousands of dedicated members, and Jason represents the top tier of our ranks in character, ability, dedication and leadership," he wrote.

Francis Piccoli, a spokesman at the Marine Corps Forces Reserve headquarters in New Orleans, told Fox News: "Due to the impending Board of Inquiry for Maj. Brezler, it is inappropriate for me to address this issue at this time other than stating that pursuant to a NCIS investigation that substantiated the mishandling of classified information, Maj Brezler has been ordered to show cause for retention in the U.S. Marine Corps before a Board of Inquiry."

A critical editorial was published this week by the Marine Corps Times, calling for a serious rethinking of the Brezler case.  

It said: "Brezler's treatment sends the message that in the Marine Corps there's no room for honest mistakes. That's a dangerous precedent to set ... In his quest to recenter the Corps and 'hit the reset button on accountability,' Gen. Jim Amos has said that the new law of the land does not mean 'zero defects.' ... Brezler's case is an opportunity for the Corps to act on Amos' intent -- and do the right thing."

Heavily armed British cops are now sweeping London searching for suspects involved in Jihad plots.
Heavily armed British cops are now sweeping London searching for suspects involved in Jihad plots..

Scotland Yard's Counter Terrorism Officers (CTOs) continued on Tuesday to search suspected addresses of terrorists following a pre-planned intelligence operation that began on Sunday evening in Great Britain's city of London, according to officials with the Metropolitan Police Service.

On Sunday, four Muslim men were arrested on suspicion of commission, preparation or instigation of terrorists acts as covered by the United Kingdom's Terrorism Act 2000. Some of the police officers were armed with 12-gauge shotguns that used "Hatton rounds" against the suspected Islamists fleeing in an automobile.

The suspects were all taken to a south London police station and they remain in police custody. Officers from the elite MPS Firearms Unit were involved in the capture of the suspected terrorists.

MPS officials said that the alleged Jihadist plot was "serious" and the terrorists planned to use firearms in their United Kingdom attacks.

But police said the plot was not as extensive as earlier major plots, such as the airline liquid bomb plot or the Birmingham rucksack (backpack) bomb plot, which resulted in the convictions of the Jihadists.

Two suspects, both aged 25, were arrested in an automobile in Whitechapel, in east London, after police officers fired "Hatton rounds" -- ammunition designed to blow out the car's tires and blow open its doors.

According to elite UK forces, these special 12-gauge shotgun rounds are designed for door-breaching operations. The Special Air Service (SAS) special forces units, Britain's version of the Navy SEALs, use Hatton rounds to shoot hinges and locks off of locked doors. The Hatton round is a mixture of compressed gun or zinc powder and wax and is formulated to cause only localized damage without passing through the door and hitting a hostage.

One of the suspects was of Turkish origin and the second was of Algerian origin, police said.

A 28-year-old suspect of Azerbaijani origin was arrested at premises in west London, and the fourth man, a 30-year-old Pakistani, was arrested in southeast London.

Scotland Yard officials would not discuss the actual terrorist plot or the targets selected for the attack or attacks, but they are continuing the counterterrorism operation.

While the British Security Service MI5 states they do not discuss intelligence and security matters with the news media its director general, Andrew Parker, gave a speech last week at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) on the continuing threat of terrorism and how the Security Service and its sister agencies are adapting to respond.

Parker highlighted the enduring and diversifying threat from al-Qaeda and its imitators. MI5 noted that:

"... the work of MI5, the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) and the police in countering the threat of terrorism and emphasized the extent to which the [MI5] is accountable. In concluding his speech, he commented on a number of challenges that MI5 will face in the future, including rapid changes in technology and the growth of new electronic means of communications."

"In addition to day-to-day criminal activity, the Metropolitan Police must deal with unique challenges that other cities in the UK do not face to the same degree, including public order events, as well as the threats posed by organized [crime] and terrorists. The reputation of London as a safe city and a stable place to invest and grow depends upon an effective response to the whole host of crime and disorder challenges that we encounter," said London Mayor Boris Johnson

The Examiner
Jim Kouri
October 16, 2013

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