US Soldier Indicted Over Mass Murder Plot

A soldier in the US Army has been charged with terrorism offenses after conspiring with extremist groups to arrange a deadly ambush of his own unit.

An indictment unsealed on June 22 in a Manhattan federal court accuses Ethan Melzer of passing sensitive information about the location, movements, and security of his unit to Al-Qaeda and to members of the Order of the Nine Angles (O9A). 

The order was established by a woman in the UK in the 1960s. It rose to prominence in the 1980s for its neo-Nazi ideologies and adherence to Satanism. 

Melzer, of Louisville, Kentucky, is charged with conspiring and attempting to murder US nationals, conspiring and attempting to murder military service members, providing and attempting to provide material support to terrorists, and conspiring to murder and maim in a foreign country. 

During a voluntary interview with military investigators and the FBI, the 22-year-old soldier declared himself to be a traitor against the United States and admitted his role in plotting a terrorist attack. 

The proposed attack, designed to result in the deaths of as many of Melzer's fellow service members as possible, was thwarted by the FBI and the US Army in late May 2020. 

In April 2020, after learning of plans for his unit to be deployed overseas, Melzer allegedly used an encrypted application to send messages to O9A members and associates. In these messages, he revealed the upcoming movements of his unit and plotted with co-conspirators to carry out a “jihadi attack” that would result in a “mass casualty.”

In May, Melzer allegedly passed information about an anticipated deployment of his unit to a purported member of Al-Qaeda, adding that he would be willing to supply further intelligence. 

“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 Demers.

“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.”  

Melzer joined the US Army in 2018 and the O9A in 2019. He was arrested by the FBI on June 10.

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