An Italy-based paratrooper pleaded not guilty this week to charges he conspired with a satanic neo-Nazi group to help plot an ambush on his own unit during a planned deployment to Turkey. Ethan Melzer, 22, entered the plea Monday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn in Manhattan at a virtual hearing, court records show. The six charges he faces include conspiracy to kill U.S. nationals and conspiring and attempting to murder U.S. service members, which each carry a maximum sentence of life in prison. He is also charged with providing support to terrorists. Prosecutors accused Melzer, a private serving with the Vicenza-based 173rd Airborne Brigade, of using an encrypted app to send sensitive details about his unit’s locations, movements and security to members of the extremist groups the Order of the Nine Angles, or O9A, and the “RapeWaffen Division.” He was motivated by hatred to orchestrate “this ultimate act of betrayal,” Audrey Strauss, acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a statement announcing Melzer’s indictment last month. (…) O9A, formed decades ago in the United Kingdom, has espoused violent, white supremacist, anti-Semitic and satanist beliefs. The group has also expressed support for Osama bin Laden and other radical Islamic jihadis, and hopes to “usher in a new imperial aeon (age) ruled by a race of Satanic supermen,” the London-based advocacy group Hope Not Hate has said. In one message to unnamed group members, Melzer wrote that a lack of heavy weapons and machine guns at the base in Turkey meant “every fire-team is essentially crippled,” a federal complaint said. An attack from nearby mountains could “panic the s— outta” the troops, another chat participant said, according to the filing.

via stripes: Paratrooper pleads not guilty to charges he plotted with satanic Neo-Nazis to ambush his unit