Photo Credit: US Attorney's Office
An image from Pvt. Ethan Phelan Melzer's iCloud account showing the Satanic group's manifesto, a mask, a knife and his Army beret.

Ethan Phelan Melzer, 22, a US Army private from Louisville, Ky., confessed to helping a satanic neo-Nazi-group in a plot to cause “the deaths of as many of his fellow service members as possible,” federal prosecutors in Manhattan said on Monday.

Melzer is accused of collaborating with the Order of the Nine Angles, or O9A, which the prosecutors said was “an occult-based neo-Nazi and racially motivated violent extremist group.” Prosecutors said he enlisted in the Army in 2018 and joined O9A in 2019, shortly before his unit was deployed overseas.

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Audrey Strauss, acting United States attorney in Manhattan, said that “Ethan Melzer, a private in the US Army, was the enemy within.” He tried “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.”

According to the indictment, “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 as Usama Bin Laden.”

One of the main symbols of the Order of Nine Angles / Andel via Wikimedia

The Order of Nine Angles describes itse approach as “Traditional Satanism” and is based in the United Kingdom, with associated groups in other parts of the world. The group says it was established in the late 1960s in the Welsh Marches of Western England, by a woman who had previously been involved in a secretive pre-Christian sect, and started to receive public attention in the early 1980s for its neo-Nazi ideology.

The ONA promotes the idea that human history can be divided into a series of Aeons, each of which contain a corresponding human civilization. It advocates a spiritual path in which the practitioner is required to break societal taboos by isolating themselves from society, committing crimes, embracing political extremism and violence, and carrying out human sacrifices.

In April, his unit was told it was being sent to guard a US Army installation in Turkey, and Melzer used an encrypted messaging app to send O9A information about “the Unit’s size, anticipated travel routes in Turkey, weaponry, and defensive capabilities, which Melzer understood would use to facilitate an attack on the Unit,” the criminal complaint alleges.

The FBI and the Army foiled the plot in late May, according to the prosecutors, and Private Melzer was arrested on June 10.

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