Rolling Stone

The Satanist NeoNazi Plot to Murder U.S. Soldiers

A rogue G.I.’s trial exposes the depths of a murderous far-right ideology — and the FBI’s complicity in spreading hate


Ethan Phelan Melzer’s secret life of hate ran deep. The 24-year-old private in the 173rd Airborne Brigade appeared to be just another young soldier, trying to find his way through military life at Fort Benning, Georgia. However, in his private time, prosecutor­s allege, Melzer had another, sinister side: He said he liked to perform macabre blood rituals; read obscure, gruesome tracts about torture and child abuse; collected violent iconograph­y; and found like minds in the depths of Telegram, an encrypted messaging app so favored by extremists of all stripes that it is often referred to as “Terrorgram.” His handle was “Etil Reggad” — a near anadrome for “Elite Dagger.”

By Melzer’s own account, enlisting in the Army was a ruse — on the encrypted app, he wrote that he had joined up solely to gain knowledge of military weaponry and tactics. “It’s great for training,” he wrote, adding a cryptic remark about his base. “All of

ali winston is an independen­t journalist in New York City. these places the vast majority deserve to be burned.”

Melzer repeatedly trash-talked the Army and described it as merely a means to hone his violent skills. “I’m not patriotic for shit,” he wrote to another radical who was considerin­g enlisting in the Marines. Telegram chats disclosed by the government in court filings reveal his efforts to mask his true beliefs: “I fly under the radar already, act completely normal around other people outside and don’t talk about my personal life or beliefs with anyone.”

The young paratroope­r said he was conducting what he called an “insight role” — both infiltrati­ng and subverting an institutio­n, one of the core tenets of the Order of Nine Angles, a secretive, nihilistic, bloodthirs­ty satanist-Nazi sect, to which, prosecutor­s allege, Melzer swore allegiance.

Once confined to the most obscure occultism, “O9A” ideology has spread like wildfire via the internet and the global fascist resurgence of the 2010s. Its cells, known as “nexions,” have cross-pollinated with the millenaria­n neo-Nazi worldview popularize­d by the wannabe 21st-century Tim McVeighs of the Atomwaffen Division, a group of American extremists who celebrated the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, venerated terrorists like Anders Breivik and psychopath­s like Charles Manson, and have been connected to five murders and numerous bomb plots.

The key evangelica­l for O9A, the figure who facilitate­d this macabre wedding of apocalypti­c death cults, is Joshua Caleb Sutter, a 41-year-old ex-convict, prolific satanist, publisher of manuscript­s advocating murder, torture, rape, and child abuse — and a paid FBI informant since 2004.

Sutter’s O9A message is a lunatic mashup of vampirism, Columbine-style death worship, and edgelord posturing, specifical­ly designed to lure in the lost, angry, and transgress­ive types like Melzer.

Indeed, for his part, Melzer’s indoctrina­tion seemed complete. “Fascism is more the law of nature than anything, [its] worldview is that by causing absolute chaos, anarchy, whatever you want to call it, the law of nature will naturally take over once again,” Melzer wrote on a Telegram channel devoted to satanism.

In spring 2020, Melzer learned of the 173rd Airborne Brigade’s upcoming deployment from Camp Ederle in Vicenza, Italy, to a base in Turkey. Prosecutor­s allege that Melzer passed on highly classified details of his unit’s forthcomin­g assignment to fellow satanists on Telegram, and to a person he believed was a member of Al Qaeda. The intelligen­ce was sent with the intent of having the 173rd ambushed by terrorists and triggering a “mascal” — military speak for a “mass casualty” event, prosecutor­s say.

In the back and forth over a number of days in May 2020, according to the evidence presented by federal prosecutor­s, Melzer and his alleged Al Qaeda and satanist co-conspirato­rs discussed the location of the base, the precise number of personnel stationed there, and the unit’s defensive capabiliti­es. Melzer also allegedly shared satellite images of the outpost’s layout. The proposed carnage apparently didn’t bother Melzer in the least. In fact, he reveled in the potential fallout from a massacre of American soldiers by jihadis, even if that meant losing his own life.

“Another 10 year war in the Middle East would definitely leave a mark,” Melzer messaged a fellow satanist. “I would’ve died successful­ly.”

Pvt. Melzer was arrested by military investigat­ors at the American military base in Vicenza on May 30, 2020, right before the 173rd Airborne’s expected deployment to Turkey. The young soldier was branded “the enemy within” by the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, when his indictment was made public on June 22, 2020. Melzer has pleaded not guilty to all charges, and his trial is expected to start on July 5. His attorneys declined requests for comment.

This piece is the result of years of reporting on the extreme right, and dozens of conversati­ons with former undercover agents, ex-militants, extremism experts, and hundreds of pages of court documents as well as neo-Nazi and satanist propaganda from criminal cases in both the United States and United Kingdom. That the sadistic ideology is dangerous, few would argue. The Order of Nine Angles already has a body count overseas, and a rising number of terrorism conviction­s involving young, troubled, impression­able men. But, critics say, this is a crisis the FBI helped create.

In Pvt. Melzer’s case, the American military allegedly came close to suffering a homegrown attack, which would have been the ultimate blowback of an 18-year undercover-informant operation. Joshua Sutter’s role as the chief American proselytiz­er of Melzer’s satanic ideology is complicate­d by the fact that Sutter was also enjoying life on the FBI payroll, while publishing thousands of words of blood-curdling propaganda that radicalize­d a growing movement of dangerous extremists.

“If you’re giving $140,000 to a guy you recruited, and to not check in on the material he’s publishing, which promotes murdering children and pedophilia, that’s not doing your fucking job,” says Jake Hanrahan, an English journalist and founder of the independen­t media firm Popular Front who has tracked the Order of Nine Angles’ growing influence for a decade.

If Melzer’s beliefs are a “diabolical cocktail of ideologies,” as the Department of Justice alleged, characteri­zing his beliefs as “neo-Nazi,” “anarchist,” “pro-jihadist,” and “white supremacis­t,” then don’t the U.S. government and the FBI have to reckon with their own complicity in allowing the insidious beliefs to fester and spread?

The lineage of Sutter and Melzer’s hate is documented. Allegedly created by octogenari­an Englishman David Myatt in the 1970s, and once confined to the most obscure corners of occultism, O9A ideology has expanded in the internet age. Myatt was a key figure in the English far right and was heavily involved in the militant skinhead organizati­on Combat 18 in the 1980s and 1990s. Over the years, his writings have been highly influentia­l within extremist circles: Myatt’s pamphlet “A Practical Guide to Aryan Revolution” is classified as a terrorist manual by the British government, and his writings were found in the possession of David Copeland, who set off a series of nail bombs targeting London’s Black, South Asian, and LGBTQ communitie­s in 1999, and Germany’s National Socialist Undergroun­d, which assassinat­ed nine people of Turkish, Greek, and Kurdish heritage and a police officer between 2000 and 2007.

Adherents to the Order of Nine Angles strive for the downfall of Western civilizati­on. In order to accelerate that collapse, they seek to sow chaos, death, and destructio­n wherever possible. Deception, murder, violence, sexual assault, and fraud are all deemed acceptable methods in O9A texts. While firm numbers on O9A disciples are hard to come by, occult researcher­s estimate there are roughly 2,000 adherents scattered around the world, with hardcore members identified in the United States, Great Britain, Italy, Moldova, Russia, Australia, and elsewhere.

“The popularity of the Order of Nine Angles has exploded as it’s

gotten picked up in these Atomwaffen­esque far-right circles,” says Spencer Sunshine, a longtime researcher of the far right who is writing a book about James Mason, the author of Siege, Atomwaffen’s ideologica­l lodestar. “Clearly, there’s a big turn toward the occult, satanism. Sometimes it’s more present in the propaganda and discourse than the white nationalis­t, racist politics — anything to overthrow the system — that’s why all the serial killers, massacres, and so on.”

The Telegram channel where Melzer contacted his other O9A adherents was one of the most poisonous channels on Terrorgram: RapeWaffen, which the founder (dubiously) claimed was a splinter group of the Atomwaffen Division. The channel promoted bloodshed and the need to dehumanize, sharing videos of women being sexually assaulted, murder, and extreme violence. RapeWaffen’s alleged founder, who went by the moniker “Sinisteriu­s,” openly called for “culling,” the practice of human sacrifice that is one of O9A’s darkest features. Channel members were assigned a reading list, including Iron Gates, Liber 333, and Bluebird — books authored by an American O9A “nexion,” called the Tempel ov Blood, and distribute­d by Martinet Press, a publishing house run by Sutter.

O9A is elastic in its death mythos, weaving together different elements of fascism and various world religions. “The real thing is that these attacks and mass shootings are nothing but Kalki doing an ethic and ethnic cleansing on the world,” Sinisteriu­s wrote in one 2019 post, referring to a Hindu deity often cited in O9A and praising recent mass killings by right-wing militants. “When we celebrate those attacks, we are celebratin­g Kalki’s Will becoming manifest on this world.” Another post says: “Rape also serves like a magick practice that make [sic] you attain a higher conscious state.”

At first glimpse, talk of culling and “heil rape” may seem like vile hyperbolic posturing. However, there are real-world examples of such killings by O9A devotees: Guilherme Von Neutegem, a Canadian O9A adherent, is facing murder charges in the killing of a man outside of a Toronto mosque in 2020. In the United Kingdom, two sisters were stabbed to death in a London park in June 2020 by a young man who, under the influence of a Utah O9A proselytiz­er, claimed to have made a pact with a demon that required him to spill blood. There have been a number of other terrorism prosecutio­ns and conviction­s in Great Britain linked

by law enforcemen­t to the Order of Nine Angles, and Parliament has been lobbied to ban the satanic cult as a domestic terror group.

The rise of O9A among young millennial and zoomer radicals is part of a paradigm shift in the right-wing universe and its extremism, experts say, and driven by the internet. Nick Lowles, the chief executive of Hope Not Hate and a longtime journalist who has written about David Myatt’s rise in the late 1990s for Searchligh­t magazine, explains why the once-marginal satanist identity rose to such prominence that some British lawmakers have sought to ban the possession and distributi­on of its propaganda outright.

“Twenty to 30 years ago in the U.S. and U.K., to be ‘hard’ on the far right meant you had to be a good fighter — it was a drinking, fighting culture,” Lowles says. “Amongst this newer generation, fights don’t happen and a lot of people don’t leave their bedrooms. To become a known face in this world, you have to be extreme online.”

That’s where the appeal of the Order of Nine Angles, with its emphasis on torture, degradatio­n, blood rituals, and human sacrifice, comes in. “Putting out the most extreme content you can find makes you tough, makes you scary, makes you edgy in this world now,” Lowles says. In particular, he points out the haunting, almost indecipher­able videos, grating industrial music, and shocking texts churned out by Sutter’s American Tempel ov Blood nexion. Sutter’s twisted online sermons, Lowles says, epitomized the aesthetic that would give young extremists credibilit­y and heft in the wildest corners of the digital far right: “That’s the appeal of ToB in particular — it was so far beyond anything else out there.”

Pvt. Melzer is not the first American soldier charged with plotting crimes inspired by satanism. In 2019, Spc. Jarrett William Smith was arrested at Kansas’ Fort Riley and charged by prosecutor­s with distributi­ng explosives manuals; he also reportedly discussed plans to kill anti-fascists and car-bombing a news outlet “for the glory . . . of his religion of anti-kosmik satanism.” In 2019, Smith discussed attacking the headquarte­rs of a major news network with an FBI informant and an undercover agent. Smith pleaded guilty to the charges against him and was sentenced to 30 months in prison; he was released last November on three years’ probation. (Smith did not respond to requests for comment.)

What little is known of Melzer’s past indicates a man drawn to extremes. In his first post-arrest interview with the Army’s Criminal Investigat­ion Division and the FBI, Melzer claimed he’d hung around the wrong crowd at high school in Louisville, Kentucky. “Gang-affiliatio­n-type shit — there was a couple of friends that I hung out with that were Bloods,” he claimed, with a markedly different tone from that which he struck as his “Etil Reggad” persona in RapeWaffen, where he claimed to have done an insight role as “a runner for some Bounty Hunter Bloods.” Melzer also told the RapeWaffen administra­tor that he’d done a second insight role “with antifa.” It’s impossible to verify either claim, though Melzer fits the profile of an adolescent playing with the violent countercul­tural edges of society. Today, Melzer has virtually no digital footprint, but what can be pieced together about his background suggests an unstable home — his parents separated when he was young, and instead of a secondary education, he enrolled in the Department of Labor’s Job Corps program in Kentucky’s rural Muhlenberg County.

It was in this program, in 2018, at age 20, that Melzer began his descent into satanism. “In Job Corps [I] got a small following of people and used them for feeding, if we’re talking like actual growth wise,” Melzer wrote. The government alleges that Melzer’s phones contained videos and photograph­s of the young soldier ritually cutting himself, and a satanist text with its pages drenched in blood was recovered from his barracks. Other O9A adherents, like convicted English neo-Nazi Andrew Dymock, who was charged with 15 counts of terrorism and hate-related crimes. Ryan

Fleming, another militant, has been convicted twice and jailed repeatedly for sexually abusing and grooming minors. Fleming, according to reports by the BBC, actively promoted the Order of Nine Angles and published satanic literature through Sutter’s Tempel ov Blood cell.

In two interviews with military and federal investigat­ors following his arrest in Italy, Melzer acknowledg­ed downloadin­g and watching the satanist videos and jihadi-propaganda films found on his devices, but claimed his enthusiast­ic remarks about the lethal violence were “satire or dark humor” meant to impress other members of the RapeWaffen Telegram channel. His defense of the charges seems to be “I did it all for the lulz.”

Regardless of motive, nihilism and raw menace lurk at the heart of Melzer’s 09A beliefs. “The core of being O9A is truly embodying evil,” says Sunshine, the extremist researcher. “[In Melzer’s case], the Nazis, the Islamist stuff are just vehicles for that — and let’s face it, what could be more evil than killing your own comrades from within their own ranks?”

The true wild card in the federal prosecutio­n of Melzer, however, is its man on the inside of O9A. In filings last year, prosecutor­s identified O9A’s primary American “affiliate” as the Tempel ov Blood, the South Carolina-based nexion run by Joshua Caleb Sutter, a moribund son of a racist preacher who, since his conviction for purchasing a defaced firearm from an FBI agent in 2003, has been a government informant. Despite his work spreading the word of O9A, Sutter has earned well into the six figures for his assistance in rolling up right-wing extremists across the United States, including the Atomwaffen Division. After his arrest on the gun charges, Sutter began exploring fringe ideologies on polar ends of the spectrum, moving back to a wooded property owned by his parents in Lexington, South Carolina, and becoming deeply involved in a bizarre North Korean organizati­on called the Songun Politics Study Group USA. Sutter transforme­d himself into that group’s main propagandi­st before migrating to Hindu esotericis­m with a woman named Jillian Hoy, whom he married.

Through his publishing house, Martinet Press, which he co-founded with Hoy, Sutter is one of the most prolific propagandi­sts for the Order of Nine Angles. In using Sutter as a paid informant while he continues to run his Tempel ov Blood nexion and publishing imprint, the FBI has, in effect, bankrolled one of the most extreme, perverse, and lethal ideologies to emerge from the fever swamp of the internet-driven neo-fascist revival of the early 21st century. (Sutter did not respond to Rolling Stone’s emailed requests for comment.)

“It’s shocking,” says Lowles of Hope Not Hate, who noted commonalit­ies between Sutter and David Myatt in their use of aggressive far-right militant groups to advance their O9A beliefs — Combat 18 in Myatt’s case, Atomwaffen Division in Sutter’s. (Myatt has claimed to have renounced extremism in 2013, though many O9A researcher­s remain skeptical of his supposed change of heart.)

Lowles maintains that by employing Sutter, the distributo­r and author of texts that promote not only terrorism but also pedophilia, human sacrifice, and child abuse, the FBI has given its informant way too long a leash, and innocents have paid a price.

“In the 21st century, people don’t have the Turner Diaries anymore, they have Iron Gates and Liber 333,” Lowles says, referring to Tempel ov Blood books published by Sutter. In the opening scene of Iron Gates, a desperate post-apocalypti­c mob kills and devours a child, a chilling example of this brand of satanism. Bluebird dwells on the theme of pedophilia and rape. These are not idle words: Children as young as 14 have been groomed by Tempel ov Blood adherents, who have gone on to be convicted for their offenses, including sexually assaulting minors.

While most people would read such macabre texts and think they were “barking mad,” Lowles says that there is a real risk of highly disturbed people taking such messages to heart. “The more you push out their propaganda, the more someone who might be vulnerable, angry, or have a mental illness will say, ‘I’m gonna do this.’ ”

Lowles has tracked Sutter’s involvemen­t with O9A and direct communicat­ions with Myatt as far back as 2004, when Sutter began working as a confidenti­al informant for the FBI. The timing of that contact and Sutter’s subsequent trajectory, Lowles says, raises a whole new raft of questions: “What was, if any, the FBI’s interest in the satanist stuff? Was Sutter genuinely into this ideology and allowed to be involved in it as long as he spied on what they considered to be the real threats?”

Independen­t journalist Nate Thayer surfaced communicat­ions between Sutter and another satanist wherein Sutter labeled himself “Master of the Tempel,” and Hoy the “BloodMistr­ess,” and outlined his intention to radicalize followers through repeated exposure to lurid material and texts to the point of desensitiz­ation. It’s the equivalent of creating human IEDS: people who are wired for violence and disconnect­ed enough from morality that they have no compunctio­n about abuse, torture, pedophilia, or any of the other practices outlined in the Tempel ov Blood texts.

“This Tempel is in many ways a social programmin­g experiment,” Sutter has written. “While we do create fanatics, we must make the ‘fake’ adherents entries look as if it is obviously their will and good for them to serve the ToB. It has to be subtle. In the later stages it becomes more overt and at that point is too late for them to change. They become so alienated from humanity that, well, haha, if they tried to go back they will still cause so much disruption.”

Over the ensuing years, Sutter used Martinet Press to spread O9A and the Tempel ov Blood in the hidden corners of occultism and extremism. This eventually led to him becoming a member of the Atomwaffen Division under the moniker “swissdisci­pline.” In spring 2017, he had been contacted by John Cameron Denton, a young Texan fascinated with National Socialist black metal, Siege, Charles Manson, and the Order of Nine Angles. According to a former Attomwaffe­n member who spoke on condition of anonymity, Denton knew of Sutter’s reputation in the occult through Tempel ov Blood, and invited him to join the terrorist group.

During Atomwaffen member Kaleb Cole’s trial in September 2021, Sutter testified that, on the direction of his FBI handler, Special Agent Bill Moser of the

Columbia, South Carolina, field office, Sutter became part of the undergroun­d militant group. Sutter participat­ed in at least two of the group’s “Hate Camp” trainings near Washington’s Mount Rainier and Death Valley in Nevada in August 2017 and early 2018, respective­ly. At these trainings, the Atomwaffen Division militants marched in the Northweste­rn woods and the Nevada desert, shot propaganda footage, fired off dozens of rifle rounds, and got plastered while discussing the coming race war and obscure Nazi theory late into the night. In Nevada, Sutter, Cole, and two other Atomwaffen Division members posed for photos outside the Alien Cathouse brothel while giving the Sieg heil! salute.

Sutter also attended Atomwaffen’s 2019 “Nuclear Congress” gathering in a Las Vegas hotel room with several high-ranking members and James Mason, the author of Siege, who urged the creation of a new fascist regime through murder, small “lone wolf ” terror attacks, and relentless war against the government. Sutter had remained a free man as law enforcemen­t rolled up his fellow neo-Nazis in 2019 and 2020 during a nationwide series of arrests and prosecutio­ns culminatin­g with a raid on a suburban home in Conroe, Texas, where Denton, Cole, and two other members of the Atomwaffen Division were arrested.

According to the former member of Atomwaffen, Sutter repeatedly visited the house in Conroe and introduced undercover FBI agents into Atomwaffen’s inner circle. In the sparsely furnished house, where Nazi flags hung from the walls and electronic­s littered plastic folding tables, Sutter would speak late into the night with Denton and Cole about operationa­l security and a plot to dox journalist­s who the group felt had maligned them, the former member says.

Sutter’s influence over Atomwaffen Division was apparent soon after he joined: Denton and Cole had taken over leadership of the group from its imprisoned founder, Brandon Russell, who was serving federal prison time for an explosives-possession conviction. Martinet Press titles were introduced as required reading for new recruits.

“He really just acted in the background, through the others, stuff like pushing the O9A sentiments, the books like Iron Gates,” says the ex-Atomwaffen Division member who left the group years ago and has renounced his former beliefs. In late 2017, Atomwaffen’s propaganda [

“Using Sutter as a paid informant while he continues to run his Tempel ov Blood cell, the FBI has, in effect, bankrolled one of the most extreme and lethal ideologies of the early 21st century.”

[ Cont. from 43] began to feature more graphic images of torture, and Charles Manson became central to the aesthetic. However, the introducti­on of satanic beliefs and texts caused dissent, particular­ly among Atomwaffen members with more traditiona­l National Socialist or Christian-identity views. “As the occult and the Manson gimmick started to be pushed more and more, a lot of those new people dropped out because that was a bit much for even them to handle,” says the former member.

Sutter’s work for the FBI was substantia­l and underpinne­d the early 2020 indictment­s that decimated the Atomwaffen Division. While Denton and several others pleaded out, Cole pleaded not guilty to conspiracy charges over doxxing several reporters and went to trial. Last August, Cole’s lawyers filed a bombshell motion to suppress evidence from the search of the Atomwaffen house in Conroe on the basis that Sutter was a snitch for the FBI — and had been since 2004. “The CI is a convicted felon and currently owns and operates a publishing company that distribute­s white-supremacis­t writings,” reads the Aug. 13, 2021, motion by Cole’s attorneys. “The CI began his long career as a profession­al informant in exchange for considerat­ion regarding his sentence on a federal conviction for possession of a firearm with an obliterate­d serial number and an unregister­ed silencer. He has continued this work for pay.”

Despite the allegation­s about working with law enforcemen­t, Sutter maintained cachet within the extreme right wing, in large part because Tempel ov Blood and Martinet Press produced graphic, ultraviole­nt literature popular with the extremist crowd.

However, the 2021 allegation­s about Sutter had substance: Cole’s defense attorneys based their presentati­on on discovery materials disclosed by prosecutor­s in Seattle. Moreover, the government lawyers admitted that Sutter was on their books and vouched for his reliabilit­y: “The fact that the FBI repeatedly chose to pay the informant for informatio­n over many years is a reflection of the fact that the FBI consistent­ly found the informant’s informatio­n proved reliable,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Woods wrote in a filing last August.

While the gambit to get the evidence against Cole tossed failed, and he was sentenced to seven years’ incarcerat­ion (including prior time served) after a jury convicted him in January, it revealed a huge problem for the FBI. In his court testimony, Sutter gave his occupation as “publisher,” referring to Martinet Press, his occult-book imprint.

The FBI declined to respond to questions from Rolling Stone about Sutter’s role as a paid informant, Martinet Press’ role in spreading O9A ideology, or whether it had been contacted by foreign law enforcemen­t regarding either Sutter or the Tempel ov Blood. Sutter’s primary handler, Special Agent Moser, also did not return requests for comment.

FBI snitches have long come under scrutiny for committing crimes while working as government informants, most notably Whitey Bulger and Stephen Flemmi, Boston gangsters who committed more than a dozen murders while on the federal payroll. Roy Frankhouse­r, a longtime neo-Nazi and fixture on the far right, signed on as an FBI informant to feed the bureau informatio­n on Black nationalis­ts and left-wing militants in the 1970s. Mike German, a former FBI agent who spent years infiltrati­ng white-supremacis­t movements in the 1990s, points to Bulger’s case and Sutter’s years of satanist proselytiz­ing as exemplars of “gross mismanagem­ent” by the country’s premier law-enforcemen­t agency. “The confidenti­al informant has been mismanaged for decades — that’s a very fraught enterprise, the idea that you’re going to go out and find people with firsthand knowledge of criminal activity and to the extent they’re cooperatin­g with you, it’s because they’re betraying their colleagues,” German tells Rolling Stone. “Where the FBI gets in trouble all the time is ignoring the crimes the informants are committing.”

German notes the FBI’s relationsh­ip with Proud Boy leader Enrique Tarrio, currently facing federal charges in connection with the Jan. 6 insurrecti­on (he has pleaded not guilty), as well as rightwing radio host Hal Turner in the early 2000s, another propagandi­st like Sutter whose role as a paid informant emerged during a federal trial. “Originally, they must’ve thought signing up a propagandi­st who agreed not to engage in criminal activity was appealing,” German says of the FBI’s rationale for employing Sutter. Bureau rules bar agents from retaining informants who engage in violent crimes, and propagandi­sts often network among like-minded extremists while not getting their hands dirty. However, German noted that the same attributes can be dangerous: “To the extent that this guy is sending this ideology into the ether for everyone to absorb — how many others are following through and acting on it?”

During the course of April and May 2020, Pvt. Melzer’s alleged plans to frag his own unit continued to evolve. He split off from the main RapeWaffen channel and formed a separate, smaller group labeled “Op Hardrock” with several alleged co-conspirato­rs — the administra­tor of the RapeWaffen Division channel, who claimed to be an ex-Canadian paratroope­r but was, according to filings by Melzer’s defense attorneys, in reality a teenager with severe mental-health problems; another person who claimed to be a Turkish national affiliated with the ultranatio­nalist Grey Wolves organizati­on; and an American who posed as an O9A adherent while in truth reporting back to the FBI.

In court filings, federal prosecutor­s allege that in late May 2020, Melzer and the FBI source discussed the planned attack. “What makes you think that you can actually get away with fucking with the U.S. military,” the informant asked. Melzer stated he maintained a neutral, normie presence within his unit and that there was enough Islamic-militant activity in the region to provide logical cover for any potential attack he might be involved in. The source also asked Melzer why he’d deleted messages from their earlier chats.

“You deleted them because that’s treason,” the FBI source said.

“Kek,” Melzer replied, using an old gamer term for “Lol” that the alt-right adopted.

For his part, Joshua Sutter has faced no consequenc­es for his role in spreading Order of Nine Angles dogma. Martinet Press continues to publish and distribute books, and its website remains up and running. However, his reputation is badly damaged in many far-right circles. The Atomwaffen Division’s remnants have written a number of self-absolving screeds against him and what they perceive as FBI entrapment. Sutter also never paid taxes on the $140,000 he earned as an informant, or the $4,378.60 in travel expenses given to him by the FBI. Satanists apparently don’t care much for the Internal Revenue Service. [ Cont. from 53] istically swaggering rap (the video has more than 800 million views on YouTube). “I have so many things I like . . . I love vocals, rap, dance. I can contain all of that in a single song. I have that diversity.”

Fun or not, making music is full of pressure, as the foursome recall during a break from the photo shoot. “The most fun is before we start making it,” Jisoo says with a laugh.

“Or when it’s in the past,” says Jennie, giggling. “When I recorded something for the first time,” Rosé says, “I was so excited. I didn’t know any better, so it was fun. I envy that now. Now, no matter how hard I try, a part of me is never satisfied.”

“That’s an occupation­al disease,” Lisa tells Rosé. “And I feel exactly the same.”

Jisoo loves creating, loves building a song from scratch with an expert team. But she sometimes struggles with questions of purpose and the pressures of fame. “What do I exactly like?” she asks. “It’s still a mystery. I love to perform, but I don’t always enjoy being part of the spotlight. I think it’s different for the other members: They love to receive the spotlight, feeling energized by the people who come to see us, and then getting a bit depressed when the stage is over and silence arrives. I’m a little different. When I’m onstage, I think about not making mistakes. Performing sometimes feels more like a test than something genuinely fun.”

Lisa talks about a period of fighting with her own voice. “That whole year between ‘As If It’s Your Last’ [2017] and ‘Ddu-du Ddu-du’ [2018] was rough for me,” she says, sitting in a dimly lit recording studio on a basement floor of YG. “I couldn’t sing. When I went to the studio to record, nothing came out. I cried. I felt like I was bringing the team down. Teddy pushed me hard: ‘You can’t? No. Try harder. Go back in there.’ Because of Teddy, I overcame that time.”

Jennie regularly does Pilates, yoga, boxing, and other exercises to stay healthy. “For me, so far, when I’m good in my body, I feel happier and healthier in my mental health. . . . And have good people around you that you can trust,” she adds. “And pets.”

Now, Blackpink are revving up to launch new music — to unleash more bangers, to further cement their place as one of greatest girl groups of all time — with no end in sight. “I mean, won’t Blackpink last at least 10 more years? We’ll be nearly 40 by then,” Lisa says. “Someday we’ll get married and things like that. But then I see the Spice Girls, how they got together for a reunion concert. Can we do that too someday? Will I be able to dance then, like I do now?” Then she laughs in her characteri­stically hearty way.

“Even if we’re 70 and we have different lives, I’ll still feel like I’m Blackpink,” says Jennie. “As corny as it sounds, I don’t think Blackpink will ever end in my heart. It’s a part of my family. You can’t deny your family.”

Last year, Rosé released her first solo single, “On the Ground.” I ask what the lyric “Everything I need is on the ground” means to her. She pauses. Her shoulder-length blond hair wisps around her face as her eyes narrow into focus. “Just us as people. A year and a half ago, maybe two, I remember us eating. It was the four of us and Teddy. We were just hungry people — we got to the restaurant, very hungry, and the food was really good. This is what makes us feel like people. Just us, eating with the people we love.”

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Top: Order of Nine Angles parapherna­lia presented in Melzer’s case. Above: Sutter (far right) with members of the Atomwaffen Division. Inset: A hate screed published by Atomwaffen.
RESIDENT EVIL: WHERE FASCISM AND SATANISM MEET Top: Order of Nine Angles parapherna­lia presented in Melzer’s case. Above: Sutter (far right) with members of the Atomwaffen Division. Inset: A hate screed published by Atomwaffen.
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