January 4, 2010, - 11:44 am

Newsflash: Yemen Not “New” Terrorist Hotbed – American Victim Dies

By Debbie Schlussel

Even though Northwest Airlines Flight 253 Islamic terrorist Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was apparently radicalized in Great Britain, we’re now finally focusing–sort of–on the danger Yemen has been for years.  As I’ve noted on this site, the Yemeni government and its minions have repeatedly helped Islamic terrorists, including those who committed the 2000 U.S.S. Cole terrorist bombing, to escape from jail, etc.  And a Saudi Arabian of Yemeni descent, Abd Al-Rahim Al-Nashiri, and two Yemeni citizens, Jamal Badawi and Abu Ali-Harithi, planned and organized the Al-Qaeda attack on the ship.  Although the Sudanese government played a large role in the attack, the men who carried it out were largely Yemenis, and they were sheltered in Yemen afterward.


Johann Gokool, Victim of Yemeni Islamic Terrorism, Rest In Peace

And as I noted, regarding a 2008 terrorist attack on the U.S. Embassy in Sana’a, Yemen, the Lackawanna Six terrorists (of suburban Buffalo) were not only of Yemeni descent, but the only victim of that attack, was an American relative of Jaber El-Baneh, the seventh member of the Lackawanna Six, who remains a fugitive.

Sorry, but all of these politicians and so-called “terrorism experts” who are all over your TV screen telling you that Yemen “will become the next terrorist hotbed” simply haven’t been paying attention.  In many ways, it was the FIRST terrorist hotbed.  And has remained a terrorist base for years and years.  This isn’t a new development.

But, speaking of the Cole, it remains the first Yemeni “gift that keeps on giving.”  Just before Christmas, the Cole terrorists claimed the life of Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Johann Gokool.  And, in the shadow of the Flight 253 attack, barely anyone noticed.

U.S. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Johann Gokool lost his left foot when a bomb ripped a hole in the side of the USS Cole nearly a decade ago, but the injury was nothing compared with the mental torment that ravaged him almost daily.

He returned home to Florida suffering severe post-traumatic stress disorder and frequent panic attacks so violent he would launch into seizures and even fractured his own wrist several times as he flailed, sister Natala Gokool said Tuesday.

One of the brothers he lived with found him dead in their home last Wednesday, just a week after his 31st birthday, Natala Gokool said. . . .

The family believes the seizures just became too much for his body to handle.  Gokool was an electronic warfare technician aboard the Cole when suicide bombers rammed a small boat packed with explosives into it on Oct. 12, 2000, during a refueling stop in Aden, Yemen. It triggered a string of deadly fires. Seventeen U.S. sailors were killed and 39 others injured.

His sister said he soon began having panic attacks.

“Every year around the anniversary of the attack on the Cole, it seemed to get worse and more violent and more frequent,” she said. . . .

Born in Trinidad, he moved with his family to South Florida as a young boy, and joined the military right out of high school.

He was in the ship’s mess hall during the attack.

“When the explosion went off, everything was in slow motion, like a movie,” Gokool told The Miami Herald in 2005. “My body spun around and I could smell smoke and fuel.”

After being knocked unconscious, Gokool said he woke up and slowly dragged himself up a ladder to rescue.

“I don’t want to die here,” he said he thought to himself.

Doctors later removed his badly injured left foot. . . . It was the panic attacks that scarred him. He couldn’t work and stayed home when he felt them coming on, which was sometimes too often for him to live any normal life. . . .

While Gokool’s death was sudden, “my parents and my brothers and I always knew that unless somebody could figure out what was wrong with him, it would probably kill him,” she said. “A part of us always knew that would be his demise.”


Gokool’s brother said Johann’s upbeat day-to-day personality remained unchanged, but he experienced severe panic attacks.

He would describe them to me like a spirit taking over his body. He was conscious, but when the attacks hit he would just fly all over the place, move his arms around,” said Anjelo Gokool who added that his brother was powerless to stop the attacks. “He knew when they were coming on, but it was like he had to do whatever this spirit wanted. He couldn’t stop it.” . . .

He was particularly close to many of the men he served with on the Cole. . . .

“He was one of those guys. It would take an act of God to break his spirit,” said Gokool.

And the act of Islamic terrorists from Yemen.

Yes, Yemen is not “the next terrorism hotbed.” And anyone who believes it is, simply hasn’t been paying attention to Yemen for the last two decades. Sadly, that’s far too many of our ignorant “leaders” and federal counterterrorism officials.

Johann Gokool’s death is yet another sad reminder of that. Johann Gokool, American hero and patriot, Rest In Peace.

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20 Responses

Debbie, incredibly enough our officials want to send more terrorists home to Yemen from Gitmo. The situation is so dangerous in that country the US Embassy has been closed there. To make things really surreal, the US has no plan to deal with the terrorist base of operations in Yemen.

That’s how we pay tribute to those killed on the USS Cole and to Johann Gokool’s memory – by doing nothing to those who murdered them.

America – desperate but not serious about fighting terrorism abroad.

NormanF on January 4, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    D?o you actually believe America gives a damn about it’s dead soldiers? America that took 60 years to make a WW2 memorial after virtually all of their WW2 veterans were dead? Bush and his buddies raped America good and Bush got a lot of US soldiers killed for nothing. Well. Not actually nothing. Bush and buddiews made off with a lot of tax money in the name of the war and ‘rebuilding’ Iraq. SUCKER. Now Obama and buddies are taking their turn. Either way, say goodbye to America thanks to the people YOU support or hate…ha ha ha.

    Pyd Pydper on January 5, 2010 at 4:39 pm

      The government, run by greedy, wimpy, demon-possessed, evil, swines not only does not care about its dead soldiers, but its live people.

      We are experiencing the 7th century again only now we have many more means of murder and destruction. Our own government is doing everything in its power to kill as many of us as possible while doing nothing about outsiders who want nothing else but to kill us.

      Wake up people. The spiritual battle (which it has always been) has been upped several notches and the demons are winning because no one will admit the fight is between pure evil and good.

      Truthonly on January 5, 2010 at 9:12 pm

I have had panic attacks. What Johann Gokool went through was a nightmare I would not wish on anyone. It is like being the real victim in a slasher movie or repeatedly thrown off a high building. In short it is a living hell. God bless his family.

Our government, though, will be happy to give his killers and those like them a Martha Stewart trial in New York City. Kibbi and couscous for all.

JLin on January 4, 2010 at 12:04 pm

Look for the government in Yemen to help the West only as much as is necessary while ratcheting down their assistance to the Jihadis again only as much as is necessary in order to maximize the amount of dollars Obama will now be sending them.

I_AM_ME on January 4, 2010 at 12:12 pm

To The Family of Navy Officer Johann Gokool,

La vie est breve
Un peu d’amour
Un peu de reve
et puis bonsoir

Dormez-vous en paix et honneur, Officier Gokool de la Marine des Etats-Unis.

Dennis / Florida

Dennis on January 4, 2010 at 12:29 pm

He was a good man brought down by the most vile of the vile. Unfortunately, our government mocks his sacrfice through its actions.

Worry01 on January 4, 2010 at 12:42 pm

Debbie, Thank you for drawing our attention to American Johann Gokool. May he now rest in peace.

SquareMileWife on January 4, 2010 at 12:47 pm

As an American citizen living in Canada, I recall (ok quite a while ago) there were countries listed on your U.S. passport where you were not entitled to travel to…countries such as Cuba, Libya, etc. (I don’t recall if Yemen was on the list)…Maybe such a policy should be re-instituted. BTW, the British are tracking at least 20 nationals who’ve traveled to Yemen for terrorist training…

J.S. on January 4, 2010 at 2:02 pm

JS, there is a Visa Waiver program. Homeland Security is now going to do extra screening of travelers from Muslim countries. But its meaningless since there are ways around it and we’ll never dismantle the jihadi recruiting ground called Visa Waiver. If anything, we’ve gone backwards since 9/11.

NormanF on January 4, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    I agree the situation (with respect to getting Visas, passports, etc) seems to be going backwards (as in, since 9/11, growing increasingly lax). Thanks to the Detroit underwear bomber, maybe screening of those entering the U.S. from these suspect countries (Yemen, etc) will become somewhat more strict (but as you note, it’s all but useless); but I also wonder about “Americans” living in, say, Dearbornistan, who suddenly decide they want to travel to Yemen (that’d be like some “Americans” deciding to travel to Cuba during the Cold War). Back then, traavel to an embargoed country was not allowed. Maybe “Americans” wanting to travel to Yemen (and other such countries) should be restricted. (?) It has been done in the past.

    J.S. on January 4, 2010 at 4:20 pm

      [J.S. – Maybe “Americans” wanting to travel to Yemen (and other such countries) should be restricted. (?) It has been done in the past.]

      I don’t know how this could be enforced. Someone can always go through a third country.

      It might be possible to catch them on the way back, but I am fairly certain that an American traveling through a third country can find a way to avoid proof they were in a restricted country.

      I_AM_ME on January 4, 2010 at 7:58 pm

And when are we going after the terrorists who attacked the USS Liberty and took the lives of 34 brave Americans ?

john john on January 4, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    Sorry, that was an accident on the part of Israel, and not a terrorist incident. Also, Israel immediately came to the aid of the vessel when it discovered its error. This incident occurred during the 6 Day War in 1967 when Israel was being attacked by Syria, Egypt and Jordan. Finally, Israel never evaded its responsibilities in the matter.

    “In May 1968, the Israeli government paid US$3,323,500 as full payment on behalf of the families of the 34 men killed in the attack. In March 1969 Israel paid a further $3,566,457 in compensation to the men who had been wounded. On 18 December 1980 Israel agreed to pay $6 million as settlement for the US claim of $7,644,146 for material damage to the Liberty itself.”

    NSA History Report William D. Gerhard and Henry W. Millington, National Security Agency, “Attack on a SIGINT Collector, the USS Liberty”, 1981 (p.64)

    Israel provided full compensation to the families of the killed and wounded, as well as the U.S. government itself for this mistake. When will al-Qaida and its Islamist affiliates and backers start compensating Moslems and non-Moslems for their quite intentional attacks? The Jews paid up for a genuine accident, but will you do the same for what you did intentionally?

    sorrow01 on January 4, 2010 at 7:10 pm

I remember how FBI Counterterrorism head John O’Neil’s team was refused entry back into Yemen in early 2001 to nail the 9/11 attack before it could happen…before he was railroaded out of the FBI, and took the job as Head of Security for the WTC. It was State Dept. Barbara Bodine who refused the visas. He knew exactly how this all was going to go down. He knew about Yemen, everyone around the deep water port of Aden knew about Yemen’s strategic importance. So when Ms. Bodine gave that US Mormon team making a movie got ALL THEIR VISA’s in early 2001 when the head of NY counterterrorism was denied his teams’, this gives us yet another place to look, Denver CO. This terror stuff does not happen in a vacuum. The terrorist enemy is here at home, and is being fed and watered and resourced by well conencted ppl not only in the UK but also in the US. “On my honor”, ha, and I call the man to investigate “William of Arabia”, that’s his plate tag, too. Such men know nothing of real honor. Officer Gokool did.

Anna on January 4, 2010 at 7:56 pm

PS The Gokool name is an Indian one, Hindu. Point of fact, Americans must remember, as of USS Cole, India had been fighting this terror for 500 years, Israel for 50 and America about 5. If you want to know how to handle this sort of terror threat, go to the ppl who have had the most experience.

Anna on January 4, 2010 at 8:20 pm

Ms. Schlussel,

Don’t know how to contact P.O. Gokool’s family but please relay condolences and thanks to them from a grateful people.

Jay LeTroll
Washington County, Virginia

Jay LeTroll on January 5, 2010 at 8:52 am

I feel so bad for P.O. Gokool and the torment he must have gone through. For 15 years I suffered from panic attacks and it was a living hell. I still can not imagine what he went through though. Thank you Debbie for making us aware of this. I said a prayer for P.O. Gokool and his family after reading this. The terrorists robbed him of his happiness for 9 years…such a sad story.

Angela04 on January 5, 2010 at 9:29 am

Debbie, check this out. We’re importing Al Qaeda terrorists from Yemen anyway:

State Department Using Diversity Visas To Encourage Immigration From Yemen

Yup, that’s what we need to honor Gokool’s memory: invite the folks who killed him to come live in our midst. We should be halting Muslim immigration. Instead, we act like we don’t have enough of them here already: the co-religionists from the Religion Of Jihad.

NormanF on January 5, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    Incidentally, Syria, Cuba and Iran are also countries we get immigrants from. Ain’t life wonderful when America is so welcoming to its enemies? Like I said, we need more diversity: more jihadists are exactly what the doctor ordered!

    NormanF on January 5, 2010 at 2:39 pm

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