Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller has been granted a conditional release from military jail and is now charged with violating six rules of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Scheller recently came into the spotlight after he published a video criticizing the military leadership for the botched Afghan exit. He was subsequently taken into custody by the military.
Scheller’s six charges include, disrespect towards superior commissioned officers, dereliction in the performance of duties, willfully disobeying a superior commissioned officer, failure to obey order or regulation, and conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman; which is counted as two violations. Though conditionally released, Scheller is now due to face a trial by court-martial on October 14. He has already spent a week in confinement.
The issue began when Scheller posted a video on Facebook on Aug. 26, the same day a suicide bombing attack at the Kabul airport killed 13 U.S. military personnel. Scheller said that he intended to bring charges against some superior military officers with regard to their actions related to the Afghan withdrawal.
“People are upset because their senior leaders let them down and none of them are raising their hands and accepting accountability or saying, ‘we messed this up,’” Scheller said in the Aug. 26 video.
Three days later on Aug. 29, Scheller was relieved of command, after which, he announced resigning from his commission, thereby potentially forfeiting $US2 million in pension.
In a Sept. 16 video, Scheller demanded “accountability” from his senior leaders for the “obvious mistakes that were made.” Scheller declared that he will soon be submitting charges against Commander Gen. Kenneth “Frank” McKenzie of Central Command for his role in the Afghan exit. On Sept. 27, he was put in confinement.
The Oct. 14 court-martial will be open to the public, an anonymous source told The Epoch Times. Scheller’s defense team has put in a request for a larger courtroom so as to accommodate his parents, family members, lawmakers, and reporters.
In a statement to the Marine Corps Times, Capt. Sam Stephenson, a spokesman for Training and Education Command, indicated that members of the military have certain limitations on exercising the right of free speech.
“In the military, there are proper forums to raise concerns with the chain of command… 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 statement read.
Scheller has garnered immense support from the public and lawmakers. A Sept. 29 letter signed by 35 members of Congress accused Scheller’s confinement of being motivated by a need for “messaging, retribution, and convenience.” Lara Logan, award-winning war correspondent, blamed military generals for not taking responsibility for what happened in Afghanistan and instead sending Scheller to prison.
“So, what they’re really doing is jailing him for speaking the truth. And I listened to the parents, and I want them to know and I want everyone in America to know that I stand 100% with their son… Because he did something that everyone in America has been waiting for years,” Lara said.