US soldier accused of planning attack on own unit

US soldier accused of planning attack on own unit
The US soldier has been described as an "enemy within". Source: Getty Images
3 Min Read

A US soldier has been accused of planning a deadly ambush on his unit by sending information to a neo-Nazi group. He has been charged with terrorism offences.

The 22-year-old Ethan Melzer stands accused of sending sensitive details about his unit to the Order of Nine Angles.

The US Department of Justice calls it an “occult-based neo-Nazi and racially motivated violent extremist group”.

He was allegedly planning for passing information to jihadists, who would then carry out an attack.

His plan was thwarted late last month by the US Army and the FBI. He was arrested on 10 June.

Private Melzer has been charged with conspiring and attempting to murder US nationals, providing and attempting to provide material support to terrorists, conspiring and attempting to murder military service members and conspiring to murder and maim in a foreign country.

In December 2018, Private Melzer enlisted in the US Army and began his active service in June 2019.

Audrey Strauss, acting US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said: “As alleged, Ethan Melzer, a private in the US 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,” her statement adds.

She added that the soldier is accused of planning to provide information intended to be conveyed to jihadist terrorists.

The group maintains a decentralised structure, so it is hard to imagine their true size and influence. But its ideology is having a resurgence in the US and Europe, partly due to the online proliferation of its literature.

It is alleged that the US soldier exchanged communications regarding passing information about an anticipated deployment of his unit to a purported member of al-Qaeda.

The statement said members of the Order of Nine Angles, also known as O9A, have expressed admiration for both Islamic jihadists, such as Osama Bin Laden and Nazis, such as Adolf Hitler. The Order describes itself as Satanic and its writings are widely shared in Neo-Nazi communities

FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. said: “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 ONA. Today, he is in custody and facing a lifetime of service – behind bars – which is appropriate given the severity of the conduct we allege today.”

You may read: Three people dead after Reading stabbings in England