19 episodes

Lebanese Hezbollah goes to great lengths to publicize its overt, social, and political activities and to conceal its covert terrorist, militant, and criminal pursuits. In the words of one operative, Hezbollah's "Golden Rule" is this: The Less You Know, the Better.
In this podcast, terrorism scholar Matthew Levitt sets out to break this rule by shining a bright spotlight on Hezbollah's global terrorist and criminal activities. Levitt has been following Lebanese Hezbollah for almost three decades in and out of government. He's written books, given expert testimony, and literally mapped Hezbollah's worldwide illicit activities in an online interactive map and timeline. (https://www.washingtoninstitute.org/hezbollahinteractivemap)
Listen as Levitt tracks Hezbollah's evolution over the years and its operations across the globe from Lebanon to Kuwait, across Europe and Asia, then on to the Western Hemisphere from Buenos Aires to New York. Along the way, he'll speak with law enforcement officers, intelligence agents, government officials, and world-class experts from around the globe, each of whom has first-person experience confronting Hezbollah and uncovering things the group would much prefer nobody ever heard about.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Breaking Hezbollah's Golden Rule Washington Institute

    • Government

Lebanese Hezbollah goes to great lengths to publicize its overt, social, and political activities and to conceal its covert terrorist, militant, and criminal pursuits. In the words of one operative, Hezbollah's "Golden Rule" is this: The Less You Know, the Better.
In this podcast, terrorism scholar Matthew Levitt sets out to break this rule by shining a bright spotlight on Hezbollah's global terrorist and criminal activities. Levitt has been following Lebanese Hezbollah for almost three decades in and out of government. He's written books, given expert testimony, and literally mapped Hezbollah's worldwide illicit activities in an online interactive map and timeline. (https://www.washingtoninstitute.org/hezbollahinteractivemap)
Listen as Levitt tracks Hezbollah's evolution over the years and its operations across the globe from Lebanon to Kuwait, across Europe and Asia, then on to the Western Hemisphere from Buenos Aires to New York. Along the way, he'll speak with law enforcement officers, intelligence agents, government officials, and world-class experts from around the globe, each of whom has first-person experience confronting Hezbollah and uncovering things the group would much prefer nobody ever heard about.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    Risky Business in South America

    Risky Business in South America

    Earlier this month, the U.S. Treasury Department designated Hezbollah operative Amer Mohamed Akil Rada for coordinating the activities of various commercial enterprises for Hezbollah, including charcoal exports from Colombia to Lebanon. Rada previously helped case targets for Hezbollah around South America and was a member of the Hezbollah operational squad that carried out the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires. Here’s the backstory on Rada, recorded prior to the Treasury designation, and more on Hezbollah’s use of front companies to hide its criminal and terrorist activities in the Western Hemisphere.
     
    Guests:
    Armando Cortez, Director of the Anti-Terrorist Unit within the Argentinian Attorney General’s Office and team leader of the 1994 AMIA Jewish community center bombing investigation. Aurora Ortega, U.S. government professional and Ph.D. candidate at George Mason University. 
    Breaking Hezbollah’s Golden Rule is hosted by Dr. Matthew Levitt from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
     
    It is produced by Anouk Millet from Earshot Strategies, and written by Dr. Levitt, Lauren von Thaden, and Camille Jablonski, research assistants at The Washington Institute.
     
    Explore my map and timeline of Hezbollah’s Worldwide activities.
     
    For a full transcript of the episode, a list of sources, recommended reading, and information on our guests, visit our website.

    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    • 27 min
    Terror in Bangkok, Then and Now

    Terror in Bangkok, Then and Now

    An innocent looking hit-and-run accident in downtown Bangkok in 1994 uncovered a sophisticated Hezbollah network in Thailand, an attempt to target the Israeli embassy there, and a decomposing body hidden in a vat full of chemical explosives. Two decades later, a new string of Hezbollah and Iranian-directed plots in Thailand cropped up, this time involving operatives hiding explosives in bags marked as “cat litter,” signing up for flower arrangement classes as cover for travel to Bangkok, and bulk buying bottles of nail polish remover for reasons having nothing to do with makeup.
     
    Guests:
    ·     Sakdawut “Josh” Smanbut, Police Colonel and superintendent in the Royal Thai Police’s Special Branch.
    ·     Oded Ailam, former Deputy Head of Global Operations for the Mossad and Chief of Mossad’s Counterterrorism Center.
     
    Breaking Hezbollah’s Golden Rule is hosted by Dr. Matthew Levitt from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
     
    It is produced by Anouk Millet from Earshot Strategies, and written by Dr. Levitt, Lauren von Thaden, and Camille Jablonski, research assistants at The Washington Institute.
     
    Explore my map and timeline of Hezbollah’s Worldwide activities.
     
    For a full transcript of the episode, a list of sources, recommended reading, and information on our guests, visit our website.

    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    • 35 min
    "A Jumble of Overlapping Plots" in Baku

    "A Jumble of Overlapping Plots" in Baku

    In 2008, Azerbaijani authorities thwarted a Hezbollah plot to target an Israeli Independence Day celebration and kidnap the Israeli ambassador in Baku. Two Hezbollah operatives were arrested, tried, and convicted, but the group was not deterred by this setback. By 2011, Hezbollah and Iran had formulated “a jumble of overlapping plots” that officials discovered to be part of a coordinated campaign to assassinate foreign diplomats in at least seven countries, including in Azerbaijan.
    Guests:

    Ambassador Arthur Lenk, former Israeli Ambassador to Azerbaijan (2005-2009)Mahammad Mammadov, Research Fellow at the Topchubashov Center in Baku, AzerbaijanZohar Palti, Viterbi International Fellow at The Washington Institute Joby Warrick, national security reporter at The Washington Post
    Breaking Hezbollah’s Golden Rule is hosted by Dr. Matthew Levitt from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
     
    It is produced by Anouk Millet from Earshot Strategies, and written by Dr. Levitt, Lauren von Thaden, and Camille Jablonski, research assistants at The Washington Institute.
     
    Explore my map and timeline of Hezbollah’s Worldwide activities.
     
    For a full transcript of the episode, a list of sources, recommended reading, and information on our guests, visit our website.


    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    • 28 min
    Blood Diamonds, Picassos, and Illicit Financing in Africa

    Blood Diamonds, Picassos, and Illicit Financing in Africa

    Diamonds are an excellent way to smuggle and launder money - they’re very liquid, can’t be sniffed out by dogs, don’t set off metal detectors, and are easy to conceal. Similarly,  illicit funds can be laundered and stored by investing in artwork. These luxury items link Hezbollah headquarters in Beirut to the blood diamond trade in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, art galleries in Côte d’Ivoire, and illicit business activities in South Africa.
    Guest:

    Joseph Palazzo is the Deputy Chief of the Special Financial Investigations Unit within the U.S. Department of Justice’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section (MLARS).
    Breaking Hezbollah’s Golden Rule is hosted by Dr. Matthew Levitt from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
    It is produced by Anouk Millet from Earshot Strategies, and written by Dr. Levitt, Lauren von Thaden, Camille Jablonski, and Delaney Soliday, research assistants at The Washington Institute.
     
    Explore my map and timeline of Hezbollah’s Worldwide activities.
     
    For a full transcript of the episode, a list of sources, recommended reading, and information on our guests, visit our website.


    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    • 39 min
    Hezbollah’s Digital Footprint

    Hezbollah’s Digital Footprint

    40 years ago this week, Hezbollah blew up the barracks of U.S. Marine and French military peacekeepers in Beirut, killing about 300 people. The group continues to carry out attacks, but has developed the means to complement and support these real-life operations through online activities. Hezbollah was one of the first non-state actors to build up a digital presence to conduct cyber operations against its enemies. The group also uses some unconventional means to recruit and radicalize followers and engages in cyber attacks and sleuthing targeting its enemies. Today, Hezbollah even produces its own first-person shooter video games in which gamers kill Israeli soldiers to promote its vision of the world to impressionable youth. This week, we shine our spotlight on Hezbollah’s digital footprint. 
    Guests:

    Galen Lamphere-Englund, co-founder, Extremism and Gaming Research Network. Alma Keshavarz, official, U.S. Cyber Command. Douglas London, former official, Clandestine Service, CIA. 
    Breaking Hezbollah’s Golden Rule is hosted by Dr. Matthew Levitt from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
     
    It is produced by Anouk Millet from Earshot Strategies, and written by Dr. Levitt, Lauren von Thaden, and Camille Jablonski, research assistants at The Washington Institute.
    Explore my map and timeline of Hezbollah’s Worldwide activities.
    For a full transcript of the episode, a list of sources, recommended reading, and information on our guests, visit our website.


    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    • 29 min
    Sleeper Cells and Surveillance in the U.S.

    Sleeper Cells and Surveillance in the U.S.

    In 2017, two Hezbollah operatives were arrested on the same day for conducting independent surveillance operations on U.S. targets across the country. A third was arrested in July 2019 for taking pictures of a number of high-profile U.S. landmarks and communicating this information back to Beirut through his Hezbollah handlers. These three cases received a lot of media attention. A fourth didn’t, despite one operative’s efforts to stockpile bomb-making materials…in Houston, Texas.
    Guests:

    Russell Rosenthal, former FBI special agent and former FBI Legal Attaché and senior representative to IsraelSeamus Hughes, senior research faculty member, National Counterterrorism Innovation, Technology, and Education Center (NCITE) at the University of Nebraska
    Breaking Hezbollah’s Golden Rule is hosted by Dr. Matthew Levitt from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
     
    It is produced by Anouk Millet from Earshot Strategies, and written by Dr. Levitt, Lauren von Thaden, Camille Jablonski, and Delaney Soliday, research assistants at The Washington Institute.
     
    Explore my map and timeline of Hezbollah’s Worldwide activities.
     
    For a full transcript of the episode, a list of sources, recommended reading, and information on our guests, visit our website.


    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    • 31 min

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