'Satanic Nazi' Soldier Pleads Not Guilty in Terror Plot Targeting His Own Unit

Jack Murphy
July 08, 2020 - 1:06 pm
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DVIDS: Photo by Sarah Tate

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Army Pvt. Ethan Melzer pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder of U.S. military service members, conspiracy to murder U.S. military service members, provision and attempted provision of material support in support of terrorism, and conspiracy to murder and maim in a foreign country.

The not guilty plea was submitted in New York City's Southern District Court, with Melzer appearing remotely. Melzer served in the 173rd Airborne, having joined the Army in 2018. 

Melzer is alleged to have been in contact with a Satanic neo-Nazi group called the "Order of the Nine Angels."

"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," according to the Department of Justice.

Federal prosecutors alleged that Melzer was also communicating with Islamic terrorists and the neo-Nazi "RapeWaffen Division," and that ultimately he was engaged in a plot to have his Army unit baited into an ambush while they were deployed to Turkey. At least one of the so-called "Satanic Nazis" that Melzer plotted with appears to have been an undercover FBI informant. The plot was orchestrated on the RapeWaffen Division channel on an encrypted messaging app, and was called "Jihadist Caliphate" and then later changed to "Op Hardrock."

Law enforcement officers gained access to Melzer's phone and iCloud account information with a warrant at the time of his arrest, finding evidence of ISIS propaganda, chat logs and incriminating photographs like this one:

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DOJ

After his arrest, Melzer, speaking to law enforcement officers made a confession after waiving his Miranda rights.

"Melzer was prepared to die to facilitate an attack on the unit, believed his actions were treasonous, and considered himself to be a traitor," the criminal complaint reads.

In courtroom proceedings obtained by Connecting Vets, the defense, prosecution and Judge Sarah Netburn appeared remotely in order to socially distance amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Judge Netburn ensured that the defendant had waived his right to appear in person, the arraignment began on July 6.

Judge Netburn: I've gone over the six counts of the indictment, but if you'd like, I can read the entire indictment to you in open court. Would you like me to read it to you?

Melzer: No, thank you, Judge.

Judge Netburn: And how do you plead to the charges?

Melzer: Not guilty, Judge.

Judge Netburn: Thank you. I'll enter a plea of not guilty on your behalf.

The court adjourned. A trial date has yet to be established.

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