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Ex-soldier infiltrated Army for Satanist neo-Nazis, plotted deadly ambush

A gavel cracks down. (Airman 1st Class Aspen Reid/U.S. Air Force)
March 06, 2023

A former U.S. Army soldier has been sentenced to decades in prison for plotting a “mass casualty” attack on a sensitive military base while spying for a Satanist, neo-Nazi occult group.

Ethan Melzer – a 24-year-old man of Louisville, Kentucky – was sentenced to 45 years in prison on Friday after pleading guilty to the plot in June, according to a Justice Department press release.

Melzer enlisted in the Army in 2018 with the purpose of infiltrating it for an extremist group, the Order of the Nine Angles (O9A). After being assigned to guard an isolated, sensitive installation in Turkey in 2020, Melzer began forwarding the group detailed information about the base and his new unit in order to plan what they called a “jihadi attack,” according to the release.

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Founded in the United Kingdom in the 1970s, O9A is associated with neo-Nazism, Satanism, and the occult. The group aims to topple existing societies, partly by encouraging members to infiltrate and subvert military and Christian organizations, according to the Counter Extremism Project.

Ahead of the deployment, Melzer revealed details about anticipated “troop movements, relevant dates, locations, armaments, topography, and security” to O9A – particularly a sub-group called the “RapeWaffen Division,” according to the Justice Department. He promised that once he made it to the base, he would share photographs of the facility and leak the frequencies to intercept Army radio communications.

Information was also forwarded to a purported member of al Qaeda. Melzer and co-conspirators said the intent was to cause a “mass casualty” event, and Melzer said the attack would “essentially cripple” his unit’s “fire-teams,” according to the Justice Department. 

He told O9A members in encrypted communications that he was “expecting results,” saying: “You just gotta understand that currently I am risking my literal life to give you all this.” He said that if he died in the attack, “I would’ve died successfully … cause another 10 year war in the Middle East would definitely leave a mark.”

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams for the Southern District of New York said Melzer “used his membership in the military to pursue an appalling goal: the brutal murder of his fellow U.S. service members in a carefully plotted ambush.”

“By unlawfully disclosing his unit’s location, strength, and armaments to other O9A members and jihadists in furtherance of this ambush, Melzer traitorously sought to attack the very soldiers he was entrusted to protect,” Williams said.