The US Marine Corps has filed a half-dozen charges against Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller after he publicly criticized senior military leaders and then disobeyed orders to stop attacking them on social media.
“The Marine Corps revealed last week that Scheller has been formally charged with six violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and will be tried before a special court-martial,” The Blaze reported Sunday.
According to reports, the violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (USMJ) include:
- Article 88: Contempt toward officials
- Article 89: Disrespect toward superior commissioned officers
- Article 90: Willfully disobeying a superior commissioned officer
- Article 92: Dereliction in the performance of duties
- Article 92: Failure to obey order or regulation
Capt. Sam Stephenson, a spokesman for Training and Education Command, alluded to Scheller’s use of social media to air his grievances with top Pentagon leaders over the disastrous and deadly pullout from Afghanistan as being directly related to many of the charges leveled against him.
“In the military, there are proper forums to raise concerns with the chain of command,” he told the Marine Corps Times. “In a general sense not specific to any case, posting to social media criticizing the chain of command is not the proper manner in which to raise concerns with the chain of command and may, depending upon the circumstances, constitute a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.”
The outlet reported:
Scheller’s first video was posted after news broke that 13 service members, including 11 Marines, had been killed in a suicide bombing at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul as thousands were fleeing the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.
He immediately was fired from his position as the battalion commander of Advanced Infantry Training Battalion at School of Infantry–East at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
Despite the reprimand, the Marine went on to post several more videos and written statements to social media where he called for accountability from specific political and military leaders, including those in his chain of command.
Scheller, a 17-year veteran, stated in one of his posts that one of his goals was to “bring the entire system down.”
“While Lt. Col. Scheller was in an individual cell, he was never held in solitary confinement,” Stephenson explained.
“He was allowed recreational time for a minimum of two hours a day and could regularly converse with other prisoners and staff, albeit socially distanced and masked when in the company of others in accordance with COVID-19 protocols. As a policy, the brig does not put its prisoners in solitary confinement,” he added.
A number of Republican lawmakers came to Scheller’s aid early on, but the military’s main concern, according to Task & Purpose, is his repeated use of the term “revolution.” However, one of Scheller’s attorneys, Tim Parlatore, told the outlet that his client has never advocated for actual violence.
“At no time has Lt. Col. Scheller ever advocated any violent overthrow of the government or any other insurrection,” Parlatore said. “He does believe that there does need to be a change in the leadership, both the military and the political class, which is what he was referring to in all of these things.”
Furthermore, the Pentagon is upset with the former battalion commander for pledging to charge Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the head of US Central Command, following the terrorist suicide bombing outside Kabul’s airport in August, which killed 13 service members.
Scheller’s next hearing is scheduled for October 14 at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, according to Task & Purpose.