Federal prosecutors say a former U.S. Marine plotted mass murder and sexual assault to “decrease the number of minority residents” in the United States as part of his membership in a far-right neo-Nazi group, “Rapekrieg.”
Matthew Belanger was arrested on June 10 in New York and charged with making false statements to a federal firearms licensee in order to make straw purchases of an assault rifle and handgun. Belanger pleaded not guilty to the firearms charges during an arraignment hearing on Monday.
In a July 14 court memo, federal prosecutors say that while a Marine, Belanger plotted far more serious crimes as part of the neo-Nazi group. The memo says Belanger trained with airsoft guns in the woods of Long Island as part of a plot to attack the “Zionist Order of Governments.” The memo also says Belanger was the subject of an FBI Joint Terrorism Taskforce investigation into allegedly plotting to “engage in widespread homicide and sexual assault.” Much of Belanger’s ideology and plotting, the memo says, is based around a desire to lessen the number of nonwhite Americans and to rape “white women to increase the production of white children.”
In a criminal complaint against Belanger filed June 8, prosecutors allege he violated federal firearms policy twice by purchasing guns via a strawman. In one case, prosecutors claim an unnamed New York police officer purchased a PTR91 assault rifle for Belanger while he was stationed in Hawaii. Belanger allegedly had the same officer purchase a Luger, a handgun “which was used by the Nazi armed forces during World War II,” for almost $1,000, FBI agents noted in an affidavit.
Belanger was part of the Marine Corps from 2019 until May 2021, when the Marine Corps discharged him with an Other Than Honorable Discharge. That so-called “bad paper” discharge is issued for misconduct, and means the recipient is ineligible for certain veterans’ benefits and cannot reenlist.
In October 2020, Marine Corps officials and the FBI searched Belanger’s Marine Corps barracks housing and his electronic devices. They found “1,950 images, videos and documents related to white power groups, Nazi literature, brutality towards the Jewish community, brutality towards women, rape, mass murderers,” along with “violent uncensored executions and/or rape” and “previous mass murderers such as Dylan Roof.”
Belanger is currently detained at a federal detention center in Honolulu. He has not been charged with crimes related to his alleged membership in Rapekrieg, but a federal judge sided with prosecutors who argued that Belanger should be held in pretrial detention, citing his extremist beliefs and calling his alleged plots “both a danger to the community and a risk of non-appearance.”
The Justice Department, the Marine Corps, and Belanger’s attorneys did not respond to Rolling Stone’s requests for comment.
Belanger’s attorney, Leighton Lee, had argued that his client should be allowed home detention with an ankle monitor. In court documents, Lee claimed Belanger was not a flight risk in part because he had not fled despite being aware that he was under federal investigation for nearly two years.
Rapekrieg, according to prosecutors, has “overlapping beliefs and membership with other neo-Nazi groups such ‘Rapewaffen’ and ‘Atomwaffen,’” a neo-Nazi terrorist group whose members have been charged with federal firearms offenses and threatening journalists, and have been linked to at least one murder.
The groups, prosecutors wrote in the detention memo, are “similar” and “espouse racially motivated violent extremist neo-Nazi rhetoric and call for acts of violence to further their extremist ideology.” A Rapekrieg manifesto cited in the memo speaks approvingly of the “rape ideology” as an “effective tool” against the group’s enemies. It also warns that those who believe themselves unable “to pull the trigger on a Jewish child” are unfit for membership in the group.
Prosecutors say the FBI began investigating Rapekrieg in 2020 and learned more about Belanger’s participation in the movement from two unnamed witnesses: “W1,” a friend of Belanger and Rapekrieg members, and “W2,” a member of Rapekrieg.
W1 told the FBI that Belanger allegedly has shown up at his home seeking to train in combat tactics in nearby woods and that Belanger had also used an unspecified social media account under the name “Adolf Hitler” to discuss an attack on a synagogue. Using that social media account, Belanger also allegedly worked on a document plotting for an attack on Jews. The detention memo “identified two individuals popular for their work with the Jewish community along with associated physical addresses.”
The second witness, a member of the group, told agents that Rapekrieg had plans to “take action against specified and unspecified targets.” The witness said Belanger and members of the group had conducted surveillance on an unnamed synagogue in 2019 as part of a plan to attack it with Molotov cocktails.
A confidential source also told the FBI that Belanger discussed the potential rape of an unnamed girl in an encrypted group chat with Rapekrieg members, describing her as a “Good find” and “Could possibly get her pretty easy rn,” along with pictures of the girl in high school and at a music recital.
Belanger allegedly created a fake Twitter account in the name of a fictitious gay Jewish man with two adopted daughters named “Israel Shillingstein” in order to “generate Black hate towards the Jewish community by making derogatory statements while disguised as a Jewish man,” according to law enforcement.
Efforts to investigate far-right extremism within the military increased in the wake of the Jan. 6 insurrection, when a number of veterans were charged with attacking the Capitol. But efforts to root out extremism faced stiff opposition this month. Every House Republican voted down an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act tasking the Departments of Justice, Defense, and Homeland Security to produce a report about extremism within the services. In the Senate, the Armed Services committee demanded that the Pentagon “immediately” stop its Countering Extremist Activity Working Group, as it believes extremism within the military is “exceptionally rare” and the working group’s efforts are “ an inappropriate use of taxpayer funds.”