An American soldier Ethan Phelan Melzer was indicted yesterday over a plot to collaborate with neo-Nazi Satanist group Order of Nine Angles (O9A) to murder “as many of his fellow service members as possible”. Melzer engaged with a group active on Telegram calling itself “RapeWaffen”. In our annual ‘State of Hate’ report published earlier this year, we covered the channel and called for action from Telegram and from the authorities. After the indictment of Melzer, the channel announced that it would disband, but this should be treated cautiously as the group has disappeared before only to later return after a short period.
RapeWaffen is one of the channels on Telegram that most clearly identifies itself as a part of O9A. As the name suggests, the group actively promotes rape and sexual violence, alongside general calls for brutality more common among Terrorgram channels (a set of channels on Telegram that promotes terrorism). The group represents some of the most extreme content on Telegram, putting its calls for violence in recognisable O9A terms, and expressing sadism, amorality and the “need to dehumanize themselves and face the bloodshed”. Another post says: “by the Order of The 9 Angels [sic] I will do my best to fulfill the prophecy of the Rape War, heil Rape”.
In private chat groups related to the channel, users have been soliciting and sharing what appear to be genuine videos of women being subjected to sexual abuse, as well as videos of extreme violence and murder. The channel’s founder, who has gone by various different variations of the username “Sinisterius” and “Sinistrovs”, has also given detailed descriptions of where and how followers can find victims.
Notably, the channel’s founder has also repeatedly claimed that RapeWaffen is a splinter group of the American nazi terror group Atomwaffen Division (AWD), but he has made AWD’s support for O9A and sexual violence more explicit, thereby finding a way to make it even more abominable. In a message in another far-right chat group, he also described how he attempted to spread his ideas to existing far-right terror groups, saying that he had “slowly been Rapepilling the FKD”, referring to the now disbanded Feuerkrieg Division.
RapeWaffen highlights how O9A’s ideas and imagery have become appealing for the ever more extreme and anonymous far-right online communities that proliferate on Telegram and other parts of the internet. The channel’s founder openly discusses the pleasure he finds in immorality and transgression. Its calls for “culling”, Satanism and general deriding of morality is appealing for those who want to transgress every possible social boundary, but also those that want to find a framework to contextualise their hate. While rape is not a central tactic of O9A, and some have argued that rapists should be “culled”, rape can just as well fit into the transgressive and immoral elements of the movement, an interpretation of Myatt’s call for “ruthless individuals”.
Worryingly, the channel’s content is shared by other Terrorgram channels, where users already generally support the use violence, and could therefore be more likely to find RapeWaffen’s interpretation of O9A’s ideas appealing. The founder’s claim of being in contact with FKD provides an acute example.
Wording such as: “Rape is a figure of speech… When you say you’re ‘going to rape x’, you’re going to violate it”, provides a context that pro-terror groups understand, while staying ambigous enough to appeal to elements of the far right that might not otherwise have supported such extreme methods.
An example of this was when the channel’s founder promoted the group in a much less extreme chat group dedicated to alt-lite figure Milo Yiannopoulos. In Yiannopoulos’ group, he described RapeWaffen as “rape shitpost”, while his own channel and its chat room, as described above, explicitly calls for terror and sexual violence.
The possibility of framing O9A ambiguously, both as a real organisation that calls for recruits, as well as a practice of trolling and “shit posting”, shows the varying ways its ideas can be easily spread on largely anonymous platforms like Telegram.
Telegram has acted to remove terrorist propaganda posted by ISIS and al-Qaeda supporters. There is no good reason why they should allow terror propaganda from far right channels to flourish.
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