Hezbollah is a terrorist organization that prompts ongoing concern despite the current focus on ISIS in Syria and Iraq, a counter-terrorism expert told Carson City’s Rotary Club Tuesday.
Frederic Piry said those in Hezbollah are financed by Iran.
“They are military grade,” said Piry, the chairman and co-founder of Northpoint Response Group. He’s a former Marine and counter terrorism agent with the U.S. State Department. He said Hezbollah has a structure and emphasized the connection to Iran.
Piry, who lives in both the Washington D.C. area and Douglas County south of Carson City, spent much of his talk warning of dangers civilians can face from terrorists when they go overseas. He described alertness and training as he cited his own survival despite danger from six terrorist attacks.
He said counter terrorism requires staying a step ahead by ferreting terror planners out in their pre-attack surveillance mode, if possible.
‘I think stuff up that I don’t even want to say in this room,” Piry said in the banquet room during a luncheon meeting at the Carson Nugget. He talked of suicide bombers, outright attacks, hostage taking while offering up a litany of concerns. He said terrorists aren’t manageable and so must be dealt with pro-actively, if possible, by going on offense rather than waiting and using only defense.
Piry said terrorists can focus on civilian Americans overseas, as well as others. The State Department, he said, knows private citizens are prime targets facing violence.
There were 6,771 terrorist attacks worldwide in 2012, which killed 11,000 and injured 21,500 more, according to Piry’s presentation. He reported since 2008, ransoms have totaled $185 million, according to the U.S. Treasury Department.
Sometimes hostages are taken for ransom and in others for different purposes, among them leverage, but captors can kill the hostages later. Piry cited as examples the recent beheadings of two journalists in the Middle East.
Piry’s firm was founded after his years working in government, which included service in Desert Storm, State Department counter terrorism work as an agent, guarding the likes of Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and the late Yasser Arafat, who headed the Palestine Liberation Organization, and years combatting terrorist activities in such places as Beirut, Lebanon.