Feds Foil US Soldier’s Plot to Murder Americans with Help From ‘Satanic’ Neo-Nazis and Al-Qaeda

June 25, 2020Nolan Peterson
U.S. Army paratroopers at a training exercise in Germany in 2019. Photo by Nolan Peterson/Coffee or Die.

U.S. Army paratroopers at a training exercise in Germany in 2019. Photo by Nolan Peterson/Coffee or Die.

A U.S. army soldier has been arrested and indicted by a federal court for allegedly plotting with a notorious Satan-worshipping, neo-Nazi extremist group to ambush his unit, which is based in Europe.

The United States District Court, Southern District of New York released an indictment on Monday, detailing how Private Ethan Melzer, 22, worked with members of an extremist group called “Order of the Nine Angles,” or “O9A,” to plan a “mass casualty event.”

Melzer also disclosed classified information about his unit to a purported member of Al-Qaeda, the terrorist group responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against the United States, with intent to orchestrate an attack, the indictment alleges.

“As the indictment lays out, Ethan Melzer plotted a deadly ambush on his fellow soldiers in the service of a diabolical cocktail of ideologies laced with hate and violence,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers in a release.

“Our women and men in uniform risk their lives for our country, but they should never face such peril at the hands of one of their own,” Demers said.

Paratroopers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade at an exercise in Germany in 2019. Photo by Nolan Peterson/Coffee or Die.

According to the Justice Department: “Members and associates of O9A have espoused violent, neo-Nazi, anti-Semitic, and Satanic beliefs, and have expressed admiration for, among others, Nazis, such as Adolf Hitler, and Islamic jihadists, such Usama Bin Laden.”

“Members and associates of O9A have also participated in acts of violence, including murders,” Melzer’s indictment states.

According to the indictment, FBI and Army investigators thwarted Melzer’s plot in May and arrested him on June 10. Melzer confessed to his role in plotting an attack on his Army unit, the indictment states, adding that he “intended for the planned attack to result in the deaths of as many of his fellow service members as possible.”

Melzer “declared himself to be a traitor against the United States whose conduct was tantamount to treason,” the indictment adds.

Paratroopers with the 173rd Airborne Brigade present arms during the playing of the American national anthem Feb. 12, 2016, during the graduation ceremony of the first rotation of Fearless Guardian II at the International Peacekeeping and Security Center near Yavoriv, Ukraine. Photo by Sarah Tate, JMTC Public Affairs, courtesy of DVIDS.

Altogether, Melzer faces six counts, including conspiracy to murder U.S. nationals, attempted murder of U.S. nationals, conspiracy to murder U.S. service members, attempted murder of U.S. service members, provision and attempted provision of material support to terrorists, and conspiracy to murder and maim in a foreign country.

“As alleged, Ethan Melzer, a private in the U.S. Army, was the enemy within. Melzer allegedly attempted to orchestrate a murderous ambush on his own unit by unlawfully revealing its location, strength, and armaments to a neo-Nazi, anarchist, white supremacist group,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss for the Southern District of New York, according to a statement posted to the Department of Justice’s website.

“Melzer allegedly provided this potentially deadly information intending that it be conveyed to jihadist terrorists,” Strauss said. “As alleged, Melzer was motivated by racism and hatred as he attempted to carry out this ultimate act of betrayal.”

Army paratroopers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade prepare for a training jump at Ramstein Air Base in 2019. Photo by Nolan Peterson/Coffee or Die.

As of this article’s publication, the Army has not disclosed Melzer’s unit or home base. However, the Justice Department said the investigation into Melzer was done with assistance from attorneys from the U.S. Army Africa Office of the Staff Judge Advocate and the 173rd Airborne Brigade, which is based in Vicenza, Italy.

Melzer joined the Army in 2018 and was assigned to a unit in Europe around October 2019. He also likely joined O9A sometime in 2019, the indictment alleges. Melzer’s communication with the extremist group ramped up after his unit was assigned in April 2020 to deploy abroad, according to the charges against him.

Melzer also communicated with another associated group called the “RapeWaffen Division.” In those communications, the Army private allegedly disclosed details about his unit’s upcoming deployment. Melzer also allegedly accessed Islamic State propaganda material online, including details about attacks on U.S. soldiers and personnel.

“As alleged, Ethan Melzer sought to facilitate a deadly mass attack on his fellow service members by disclosing sensitive information to multiple extremists, including Al-Qaeda,” said Assistant Director Jill Sanborn of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division, in a release.

A U.S. Army 173rd Airborne Brigade paratrooper prepares for airborne training operations July 27, 2016 at Aviano Air Base, Italy. The 173rd Airborne Brigade from Vicenza, Italy, is the Army Contingency Response Force in Europe. Photo by Tech. Sgt. Evelyn Chavez/U.S. Air Force, Released.

In an O9A internet chat group, Melzer allegedly said his plotted attacks would start a “new war.”

In another online exchange, Melzer reportedly addressed whether he might die in the planned attack, stating: “Who gives a fuck […] it would start another war […] I would’ve died successfully.”

“Melzer declared himself to be a traitor against the United States, and described his own conduct as tantamount to treason. We agree. He turned his back on his county and his unit while aligning himself with members of the neo-Nazi group O9A,” said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office William F. Sweeney in a prepared statement.

“Today, [Melzer] is in custody and facing a lifetime of service—behind bars—which is appropriate given the severity of the conduct we allege today,” Sweeney said.

Nolan Peterson
Nolan Peterson
Nolan Peterson is a senior editor for Coffee or Die Magazine and the author of Why Soldiers Miss War. A former US Air Force special operations pilot and a veteran of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Nolan is now a conflict journalist and author whose adventures have taken him to all seven continents. In addition to his memoirs, Nolan has published two fiction collections. He lives in Kyiv, Ukraine, with his wife, Lilya.
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