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Webmaster indicted for terror support

The founder of the StopAmerica.org Web site, who has been linked to an alleged al-Qaida plot, was indicted on charges of aiding terrorists.

Declan McCullagh Former Senior Writer
Declan McCullagh is the chief political correspondent for CNET. You can e-mail him or follow him on Twitter as declanm. Declan previously was a reporter for Time and the Washington bureau chief for Wired and wrote the Taking Liberties section and Other People's Money column for CBS News' Web site.
Declan McCullagh
3 min read
WASHINGTON--A federal grand jury has indicted the founder of the StopAmerica.org Web site on charges of aiding al-Qaida terrorists.

Prosecutors say Earnest James Ujaama, 36, who was born James Earnest Thompson, conspired to create an al-Qaida boot camp in rural Oregon. Ujaama also helped al-Qaida with computer training and Internet propaganda, according to the 9-page indictment released late Wednesday.

Ujaama is a well-known Seattle activist who was arrested by the FBI last month and was held as a material witness until charges could be filed. In addition to operating the StopAmerica.org site, which quotes Ujaama as accusing the United States of "conspiracy to commit genocide and crimes of terrorism against Muslim people," the government says he designed a site called the Supporters of Shariah.

"It was further a part of the conspiracy that Ujaama established one or more World Wide Web sites (through which his co-conspirator) espoused his beliefs concerning the need to conduct global violent jihad against the United States of America and other Western nations," the indictment says.

The Supporters of Shariah site predicts Muslim domination rising "unchallenged over the whole of the globe" and condemns Jews as inherently corrupt. It assails Christianity, saying: "They are filthy scum of the earth and Allah says about these kuffar, they are beneath the level of the cattle."

Shari'ah is a reference to the religious laws of Islam.

Ujaama is an American black Muslim convert who was raised in Seattle and allegedly traveled to London in 1996 to study under a militant Muslim cleric and al-Qaida recruiter named Sheikh Abu Hamza Al-Masri. Al-Masri, who lost his hands and left eye fighting in Afghanistan, is wanted in Yemen on terrorist charges.

After Ujaama was arrested in Denver and his brother Mustafa was briefly detained, friends and family dismissed the idea of any ties they had with terrorist cells operating in America. "They've been busy for a long time--visiting elected officials, trying to raise money for the Central Area Youth Association, being proponents of the need to improve employment conditions," King County Executive Ron Sims told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. "Terrorists? I don't think so."

Ujaama said in a statement at the time, "My brother and I are not terrorists, and we should not have been charged in the media and harassed."

Ujaama is charged with providing "training, facilities, computer services, safe houses and personnel to al-Qaida." He is also charged with federal firearms violations.

Also on Wednesday, another federal grand jury indicted five Denver men on charges of operating "as a covert underground support unit for terrorist attacks."

In a third unrelated case, a federal judge in Virginia on Wednesday ordered the FBI to explain why the bureau had no records of alleged Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui's e-mail.

Moussaoui, who used the xdesertman@hotmail.com address, has asked that the FBI turn over any records of e-mail it obtained by sending a subpoena to Microsoft's Hotmail service.

Prosecutors claimed the government had obtained no e-mail from the account, prompting U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema to express skepticism. "Given the intense law enforcement attention focused on Mr. Moussaoui after Sept. 11, 2001," Brinkema wrote, "we do not understand why an immediate and thorough investigation into the defendant's e-mail and computer activities did not lead investigators to the xdesertman@hotmail.com account, if it existed."