Melzer, a 22-year-old from Louisville, is accused of leaking sensitive information about his unit to a satanic neo-Nazi cult as part of a plot to launch a “mass casualty” attack intended to cause “the deaths of as many of his fellow service members as possible,” according to an indictment unsealed Monday.
In electronic messages, Melzer allegedly shared details about his unit’s location, movements and security with members of the Order of Nine Angles, or O9A, an organization based in the United Kingdom and described by prosecutors as “an occult-based neo-Nazi and racially motivated violent extremist group.”
The charges against Melzer are likely to renew concerns about white nationalist and extremist influences within the U.S. military amid an increase in violence linked to right-wing fringe movements. In the United States, for example, followers of the “boogaloo boys” have recently been charged with murder and accused of attempting to incite violence at the largely peaceful demonstrations against police brutality.
In April, the U.N. Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate published a report citing research that there has been a 320 percent rise in terrorist attacks with links to such movements and ideologies over the past five years. There is a “growing and increasingly transnational threat posed by extreme right-wing terrorism,” the report said, noting that the attacks have been intensifying in both frequency and lethality.