45 years in prison for a former American soldier who “tried to start a war in the Middle East”

(CNN) — The US Department of Justice announced, on Friday, the imprisonment of a former US soldier who was sentenced to 45 years in prison for “his role in planning to kill his colleagues at a US military base in Turkey.”

The ministry said, in a statement, that Soldier Ethan Melzer, 24, belongs to a pro-Nazi group known as the “Nine Angels” (O9A) and “leaked classified information about his unit to the group as part of a plot to attack al-Qaeda and kill fellow soldiers.” .

According to prosecutors, Melzer’s motive for the attack was to “cause massive human casualties, leading to a war in the Middle East that would later turn into a race war to promote white supremacy and the downfall of Western civilization.”

In June, Ethan Melzer pleaded guilty to “attempting to kill colleagues, providing material support to terrorists, and unlawfully transmitting military information.”

“I’m sorry, I regret everything I did,” he told federal judge Gregory Woods during the hearing last year.

According to Melzer’s defense attorney, Jonathan Marvini, Melzer became acquainted with the extremist group via the Internet in early 2019, 3 months after he was drafted into the US Army, where he was “confined in his barracks in Italy during the Corona pandemic, and began drinking heavily, spending a lot of time on the Internet”.

According to court documents, before the soldier joined the Nazi group, he had an interest in “occultism”.

“As soon as Melzer became aware of the imminent deployment of his unit to a sensitive location near jihadi forces, he contemplated planning an attack on the very soldiers he was entrusted to protect, revealing highly classified information to group members and jihadists in order to kill his fellow soldiers in an ambush,” prosecutors wrote in the sentencing memorandum. .

According to the Department of Justice, Melzer leaked sensitive information to a suspected al-Qaeda operative.

In a letter to the judge, Marvini said the Nazi group was “incapable of carrying out any action” and that the leader of the subgroup Melzer joined was a 15-year-old Canadian boy who posed online as a former paratrooper.

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