He was the first Marine Guard hostage in the Iran crisis. He was shot, tortured and sentenced to die. He was rescued… then went on to become a police officer.
And while everyone on Facebook seems to think they are an expert in foreign affairs (you know those college baristas are very worldly these days), this guy actually has some experience.
In February, 1979, Ken Kraus was working at the American Embassy in Iran. The incident that happened actually pre-dates what everyone knows as being the formal Iran hostage crisis.
(Above: Ken Kraus featured in video about his time in Iran.)
Kraus says they started hearing sustained machine gun fire, and then crackling over the radio.
“They’re coming over the wall, they’re coming over the wall. It took a few minutes to realize holy hell, we’re in a gunfight here, what the hell is going on?”
Kraus ended up being shot with his own gun after saving fellow Americans. He was then taken by the Iranians to an aid station.
In the middle of the night, insurgents came by, ripped the blood and IV from his arms, handcuffed and blinded him and then took him to a makeshift prison.
“For eight days, they kept me in a dungeon downstairs.”
Kraus, along with Iranian prisoners, were tortured over the course of the week. Then came time for his murder trial.
“I was put on trial for shooting Iranians, which we did – it was a firefight. When I came back to my cell, the other Iranians that were there, I seen a real lull come over everybody.
People just shook their heads, shoot their shoulders. I said I don’t understand. They said the council found you guilty. You’ll be shot.”
Kraus said a deep depression came over him.
“I thought, I wonder what it’s going to feel like for those bullets to rip into me.”
Minutes before Kraus was to be executed, a Red Cross representative came in and told Kraus his release had been negotiated.
“He said we have found a way to get you out of here. I stood up to hug him and I’ve never hugged a man so hard in my life and I just broke down crying. I said, ‘I’m not going to die today’ and he said, ‘not today’”.
Kraus went on to become a police officer and served in the Atlanta area for decades after that.
(Above: Ken Kraus shares more details about his experience in Iran on “Behind the Uniforms”.)
He said the lessons he learned as a hostage and then as a police officer set him up for a lifetime of serving and protecting others.
“There’s three things. You have to be physically prepared, you have to be mentally prepared and I believe you have to be spiritually prepared.”
That preparedness, he says, is desperately important for what’s happening in America.
“To me there’s nowhere better in the world to live. There’s no better people to be around. We feed half the world, we support half the world, we are the freedom, the light and the beacon for everybody.
And if that has to be defended with my blood and my sweat, it’s worth it, and I will stand shoulder to shoulder with my brothers and my sisters in the street to do it.”
Now he believes the day might rapidly be coming where we’ll find ourselves in exactly that situation. But he is concerned that his fellow Americans are siding with the enemy.
Kraus was fuming mad when McGowan came out publicly in support of Iran.
“It is precisely because of people like myself, dedicated American military service members, law enforcement officers, and first responders, that have fought, sweated, bled and sacrificed the most sacred things in their lives, so that you would have the freedom to speak your mind in a nation of people that totally disagree with you,” he said.
He pointed out the ridiculous irony of her support for Iran.
“You know as well as I do that you would not dare speak the hateful, misguided, ungrateful words about the regime in Iran, if you were there. They would NOT tolerate you. They would punish you severely, if not straight out kill you – you and your family.
I have witnessed exactly that in that country. And the world has been recipients of Iran’s non-tolerance, unwillingness to coexist peacefully with those they disagree with and unmitigated barbaric violence for over 40 years.”
He said her words are that of an enemy.
“Just stop and think for a moment how cruel your hateful words are towards all those who have sacrificed for this nation. Try to realize how your misplaced anger emboldens the enemies of this great nation of wonderful people and endangers Americans all over the world. Ironic that you would be so reckless with the lives of the very people who protect you.”
He said she – and anyone else joining in her “peaceful protests” should get the hell out of America.
“Please feel free to leave this great land and join the ranks of our enemies in Iran and similar regimes, because someday in the future, your recklessness will have a price tag put upon it here in America. And you are not prepared to pay it.”
Kraus said Americans need to be prepared not just for war overseas, but the very real threat of the war coming here. Just as many states like Virginia, California and New York are rapidly trying to disarm citizens.
“The day is rapidly approaching where you’ll need to decide – are you for America, or are you for the destruction of everything we stand for as a country?”
(Above: Ken’s story is rapidly spreading across the country. Micah Richardson shares a mic drop moment about the Marine.)
His words come as law enforcement agencies across America deal with a very real threat.
On September 11, 2001, 19 men hijacked 4 planes and orchestrated one of the darkest days in our nation’s history. Four of those terrorists came to the US on visas and then stayed after the expiration.
There was no accurate method for tracking overstays or their whereabouts. Nearly two decades after terrorists exploited the U.S. government’s inadequate, more than 700,000 foreigners with expired visas remain at large in the country.
The latest government figures, as reported by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), show 702,000 overstays in 2017.
It has been almost 18 years since that horrific event and the government still hasn’t found a way to accurately and adequately track visa over stayers. According to a Judicial Watch report, they obtained Department of Homeland Security (DHS) figures in 2015 showing that 527,127 foreigners with expired visas remained in the country.
Thousands of those are from nations with links to terrorism. Per that report, the breakdown is: 1,435 from Pakistan, 681 from Iraq, 564 from Iran, 440 from Syria, 219 from Yemen, 219 from Afghanistan and 56 from Libya.
Following the 9/11 attack, Congress created the U.S. Visitor and Immigration Status Indicator Technology system to track the entry and exit of foreign nationals by using electronically scanned fingerprints and photographs. Five years and $1 billion later, it still has serious flaws.
The GAO has since published a report that said nearly half of the nation’s immigrants who are no longer here legally, entered the U.S. legally and overstayed their visas undetected.
As stated by Judicial Watch:
In the years that followed the government did little to improve what has developed into a dire national security disaster.
In 2011 yet another federal auditconfirmed that the U.S. had lost track of millions who overstayed their visas and two years later the crisis intensified when DHS lost track of 266 dangerous foreigners with expired visas.
The government determined that they “could pose a national security or public safety concerns,” according to the director of Homeland Security and Justice at the GAO.
You read the correctly. The Department of Homeland Security lost track of 266 dangerous immigrants with expired visas.
The latest GAO report shows that about 52.7 million nonimmigrant admissions to the U.S. through air or sea ports of entry were supposed to depart in fiscal year 2017.
Part of the problem is that DHS relies on third-party departure data. This includes commercial carrier passenger manifests. In other words, the government is depending on airlines and cruise ships to help it enforce visa violations.
Now, to make matters worse, we have presidential candidates like Elizabeth Warren who plan to decriminalize improper border crossings and visa overstays.
Last summer, she and other Democrat candidates for president introduced plans to decriminalize immigration, welcome more refugees and focus enforcement on only security threats. Her open borders approach is in stark contrast to the stance taken by the Trump administration.
Warren, a Massachusetts senator, said the Trump administration’s harsh treatment of migrants, to include separating undocumented children and parents at the border, is based on a law known as Section 1325.
It allows for criminal penalties for illegally entering the U.S. or entering legally and overstaying a visa. Warren wants to repeal the provision and indicated that she would use executive power to reduce its enforcement as president.
“We should repeal this criminal prohibition to prevent future abuse,” Warren wrote in a Medium.com post.
She vowed that as president she would:
“immediately issue guidance to end criminal prosecutions for simple administrative immigration violations” and “refocus our limited resources on actual criminals and real threats.”
So, to translate: Warren – and other Democrats running for president – want to allow anyone who wants to walk into this nation to do so with no consequences. She wants to give free admission to anyone and everyone. Given that she is in favor of free healthcare for those not here legally, her plan could get extremely expensive.
This plan came in conjunction with President Trump’s announcement that he will take executive action on the 2020 U.S. Census to include a citizenship question in the population count.
There are also credible indications that mass arrests of thousands of undocumented people are expected to begin Sunday, assuming sanctuary proponents don’t tip them all off first.
Warren, like most of other Democratic hopefuls, refuses to grasp the concept that making an illegal action legal doesn’t make the inherent problems go away.
Among the other aspects that she cannot grasp, the senator is just one of the crowd when it comes to accusing the current administration of atrocities that were actually perpetrated in the Obama years.
Obama’s immigration shortcomings notwithstanding, Warren said she would create a Justice Department task force to investigate what she referred to as criminal abuses of immigrants by Trump administration officials.
An excerpt from Bloomberg News states:
“In his 2016 campaign, Trump mobilized voters with an anti-immigration message focused on building a wall and removing undocumented people, successfully capitalizing on grievances about demographic and cultural changes that have made the U.S. more diverse. Warren’s plan is sure to amplify the president’s claim that Democrats are embracing an “open borders” immigration policy — most of her rivals have not gone as far.”
Warren’s plan is merely political pandering. It is aimed at a growing pro-immigration constituency in the Democratic Party, the Latino community specifically.
“Immigrants have always been a vital source of American strength. They grow our economy and make our communities richer and more diverse. They are our neighbors, our colleagues, and our friends,” Warren wrote. “President Trump sees things differently. He’s advanced a policy of cruelty and division that demonizes immigrants.”
Warren is calling for the outlawing of private detention facilities and limiting detentions to people who pose a security or flight risk, who could be tracked and monitored with technology. She wants to end ‘warrantless’ arrests and instead focus on smuggling, trafficking and spotting counterfeit products.
So, Warren’s plan does not fix the issues with the current issues of tracking visa overstays, it decriminalizes them. Not only will there be zero incentive under her plan for migrants to come into the country, there will be no incentive for them to remain on the abiding side of the law once they are here.
This all comes at a time when we should be better protecting our country… not inviting in attacks.
On Saturday, a former Secret Service, CIA officer issued a warning to police: Prepare for Iran sleeper cells to strike rural America.
In the wake of growing tensions in the Middle East, the United States has made a deliberate strike against the most prolific state sponsor of terrorism.
The killing of Iran’s Quds Force General, Qassem Soleimani, has sparked much debate across the aisle of whether or not this action is an act of war by President Trump.
Regardless of where you stand, the act of terrorism has increased for months before the US response. The question is, is America ready for attacks in the homeland?
As a country, we have been blinded by the possibility of a concentrated attack on US soil and many Americans, including our politicians, have forgotten the grim reality of 9/11 and not given our adversaries the respect they deserve.
We have allowed our guard to be lowered with debates of human rights for open borders, disregarding threats on social media and handcuffing the hands of our law enforcement officers to protect and serve.
Art Del Cueto, the Vice President of the National Border Patrol Union and President of the Arizona Border Patrol Union, touched on it this week:
“We need to take securing our nation’s borders very serious. With the huge rise in individuals claiming asylum, we truthfully don’t know enough about those individuals past, much less their true intentions. Drug cartels are the ones that control our southern borders and they do not care about human lives, it’s all about the money,” he said.
Del Cueto rightfully pointed out that the border opens us up to terrorists walking right into America.
“They would have no problem making deals with terrorist organizations to ensure safe passage into our country,” he pointed out.
Furthermore, intelligence has shown that Iran has embedded terrorist sleeper cells within the US and was proven correct with the prosecution and conviction of Hezbollah operative Ali Kourani and Samer el-Debek in New York City.
The new debate is not a matter of if an attack will happen, it’s a matter of when and where.
The act of terrorism is instilling fear within your enemy with the goal of creating mass chaos amongst the people in order to gain leverage and weaken the will to fight back. As the administration ramps up our overseas presence to stand against this terrorist state, we need to do the same here at home.
Targets are chosen through a calculated criteria with the ultimate goal of creating as much physical and emotional destruction as possible to gain the biggest headline.
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Conventional target cities like NYC, LA and DC are always on the radar, but with constant threats to those locations, have become harder to execute a successful campaign. Softer targets in the country seem more ideal for a successful operation.
First responders in smaller cities need to be prepared with the reality that they are on the radar with locations such as malls, educational institutions, and event centers being prime targets with the substantial amount of people congregating.
Due diligence of preparation needs to extend from Wall Street to Main Street; for the Iranian terrorist regime, nothing is off the table.
We must take it upon ourselves as Americans to become harder targets. We must throw out the conventional fear of being socially and politically correct with identifying unusual activities and reporting it to the local authorities.
We need to secure our border to reduce the amount of possible terrorists from entering. We need to understand that our government has failed us in protecting our homeland and force our politicians to secure our borders.
We need to stand together to fight this enemy and understand that this war is not about political motives or social-economical righteousness.
This war is deep rooted in cultural religious views between radical Islam and the western world, with the United States being the largest adversary against their movement. Peace is always the goal in every society, but peace cannot be accomplished by turning a blind eye to the threat and hoping it will go away.
Peace comes from facing our adversaries and standing strong together, undivided.
Editor note: Anthony Sabio is a 25 year veteran of public service in the U.S. Marine Corp Special Operations, US Secret Service and the Central Intelligence Agency, is a highly recognized consultant in intelligence and security policy.
After spending a decade as a CIA officer with multiple tours in conflict zones directing and performing counterterrorism, counterinsurgency and counterintelligence operations, he left government service to share his expertise and technical advice to security organizations and media.
Mr. Sabio is an acclaimed guest speaker at multiple security events and performs as a content adviser on world-wide security issues.
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