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Taliban ally to help U.S. investigators

http://www.jewishworldreview.com | (UPI) -- A Seattle man pleaded guilty Monday to conspiring to help the Taliban after striking a deal to assist anti-terrorism investigators for the next 10 years in exchange for a lighter prison sentence, the Justice Department announced.

Earnest James Ujaama, 37, had been facing 20 years in prison, however he will serve only two years on a charge of conspiracy to provide goods and services to the Afghan regime in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

American officials said they believed Ujaama's Taliban ties could assist them in tracking down more suspects in the ongoing anti-terrorism war against al-Qaida.

"An important part of our war against terrorism is to obtain the cooperation of insiders who have direct knowledge of the activities of dangerous terrorists," Attorney General John Ashcroft said of the deal in a press release Monday. "We expect his cooperation to lead to the arrest of additional terrorists and the disruption of future terrorist activity."

One likely target, The Seattle Times said Monday, will be Abu Hamza, a former London Islamic cleric who was a vocal supporter of Osama bin Laden and is believed to have also recruited radical Muslims for bin Laden's al-Qaida network. Abu Hamza is suspected of dispatching two of his followers on a bizarre mission to rural Oregon town to look at property for possible establishment of an al-Qaida outpost and training camp inside the United States.

Ujaama had been indicted last August on two counts of assisting both the Taliban and al-Qaida, the organization that is suspected of engineering the spectacular attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center. He pleaded guilty to a charge of traveling from London to Afghanistan in 2000 and delivering cash and installing software on Taliban computers in violation of U.S. economic sanctions.

In addition, Ujaama escorted an unidentified individual who wanted to undergo "violent jihad training" at one of Afghanistan's now infamous al-Qaida training camps.

A charge that Ujaama attempted unsuccessfully to smuggle another batch of money into Afghanistan immediately after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks was dropped as part of the plea bargain.

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