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A former Marine linked to neo-Nazis plotted attacks on Jewish targets, prosecutors say

By Josh Campbell, CNN

A former US Marine planned to attack a New York synagogue and engage in “widespread homicide and sexual assault” targeting minorities, federal prosecutors argue in court documents obtained by CNN.

Matthew Belanger, a former Marine who was discharged from the service in May 2021 due to alleged “dissident/extremist activity,” according to the government’s filing, was arrested last month by FBI agents on weapons charges as part of an investigation that began while he was stationed in Hawaii.

A federal grand jury in Hawaii indicted Belanger on June 16, 2022, for his alleged role in unlawfully obtaining a weapon, which includes charges of conspiracy to make a false statement to a federal firearm licensee; making a false material statement during the purchase of a firearm; and making a false statement of required information to a federal firearm licensee.

Belanger has pleaded not guilty to all three charges. CNN has reached out to Belanger’s attorney for comment on the government’s allegations.

The government’s filing describing Belanger’s alleged extremist activity, which was first reported by Rolling Stone, was submitted in response to a motion by the defendant to have his detention order reviewed. A judge ultimately denied his request.

According to the government’s filing, a witness told investigators that Belanger was one of the leaders of a neo-Nazi affiliated group called Rapekrieg, and “procured weapons, uniforms, and tactical gear, and discussed committing attacks on a synagogue, Jewish persons, women, and minorities.”

The group also allegedly discussed raping their “enemies” and the rape of “white women to increase the production of white children in furtherance of Rapekrieg’s goal of creating a white ethno-state through accelerationist means,” according to prosecutors.

CNN has reported that so-called “accelerationism” among extremist groups seeks to foment divisiveness and polarization that will induce the collapse of the existing order and spark a civil war.

According to a friend of Belanger who was interviewed by the FBI, Belanger, using a social media account with the name Adolf Hitler, received a document from another user discussing attacks on Jewish targets and containing the names and addresses of two popular Jewish community figures, according to the government’s filing.

An alleged member of the Rapekrieg group was interviewed by the FBI and said group members had obtained uniforms and body armor, and had practiced together using real firearms approximately once a year since 2017, prosecutors said.

According to the same individual, Belanger and other Rapekrieg group members had discussed opening fire on a synagogue “but eventually decided that burning it down at night using Molotov cocktails was a better plan,” the government alleges.

FBI agents interviewed other alleged members of the group who told investigators Belanger was an author of a Rapekrieg manifesto that contained numerous White nationalist, misogynistic and anti-Semitic passages.

To date, court records do not indicate Belanger has been charged with hate crimes nor conducting or threatening attacks.

CNN has reached out to the US Attorney’s Office in Honolulu to determine whether any additional charges will be filed against Belanger or other members of the Rapekrieg group.

The three counts associated with unlawfully obtaining a firearm carry a collective maximum sentence of 20 years in prison if convicted, according to prosecutors.

Belanger’s trial is scheduled for September.

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CNN’s Geneva Sands contributed to this report.

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