A U.S. Army soldier is facing charges after allegedly giving classified military information to a neo-Nazi Satanist group, a U.S. Attorney’s Office statement said Monday.
Ethan Melzer, 22, a private in the U.S. Army, allegedly planned an attack on his army unit by sending sensitive details including location, movements and security, to members of the Order of the Nine Angles, the statement says.
Acting USA Strauss: As alleged, Ethan Melzer, a private in the U.S. Army, was the enemy within. He allegedly attempted to orchestrate a murderous ambush on his own unit, unlawfully revealing its location, strength & armaments to a neo-Nazi, anarchist, white supremacist group.
— US Attorney SDNY (@SDNYnews) June 22, 2020
He is charged with multiple conspiracy charges, including attempting to murder U.S. nationals and military service members, and conspiring to murder and maim in a foreign country. He is also charged with providing material support to terrorists. (RELATED: Knife Assault In UK Investigated As A Terrorist Attack, American Among 3 Casualties)
“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. Melzer allegedly provided this potentially deadly information intending that it be conveyed to jihadist terrorists,” acting U.S. attorney Audrey Strauss said in the release.
“As alleged, Melzer was motivated by racism and hatred as he attempted to carry out this ultimate act of betrayal.”
Melzer joined the U.S. Army in 2018 and joined the Order of the Nine Angles (O9A) by 2019, according to the statement.
He allegedly reviewed propaganda from terrorist groups like ISIS, which the O9A has expressed admiration for. Melzer allegedly kept an iCloud account with an ISIS-issued document that described the murders of U.S. personnel in April 2020.
After Melzer’s deployment in April 2020, he and his co-conspirators began to plan what they called a “jihadi attack” in an attempt to create “mass casualty” among his fellow soldiers.
The Order of the Nine Angles has been linked to terror offenses in the U.K. among 4 teenagers, and prosecutors have described it as “self-consciously, explicitly malevolent” and the “most prominent and recognizable link between Satanism and the extreme right,” the BBC reported. British lawmakers have called for the group to be banned.
“The racist order deifies Hitler and the Third Reich, which are regarded as having attempted to create a ‘Satanic empire’ in order to achieve the destiny of the western world,” according to the U.K.-based advocacy group Hope Not Hate.
“The O9A believes civilisation must be undermined and destroyed from within, so adherents are encouraged to be as grubby and horrible as they like – committing crimes, random acts of violence, sexual assaults, and even the ‘culling’ of human victims.”