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More than $2 Million Raised for Marine Officer Tossed in Brig for Speaking Out

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Nearly $2 million has been raised for a Marine officer who was jailed last week and now faces possible charges after he publicly criticized senior military leaders following the deaths of 13 U.S. military members in Kabul in August amid a deadly and chaotic pullout from Afghanistan after 20 years.

Supporters of Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller Jr., a 17-year combat vet and former battalion commander, have raised more than $2.1 million (out of a $2 million goal) after he posted a video in late August critical of Pentagon leaders after 11 Marines, two U.S. Army soldiers, and a Navy corpsman were killed by a suicide bomber at Abbey Gate outside the Afghan capital’s international airport.

“The Pipe Hitter Foundation is incredibly proud to assist [Scheller], a Marine who had the courage to demand accountability from his leadership in the wake of a disastrous exit from Afghanistan,” says the fundraising site.

In his video, Scheller noted that officers at his command level would be held responsible for such actions while he called on senior Defense Department leaders to be held accountable. After being relieved of his commander last month, he was ordered not to continue publicly criticizing Pentagon brass, but he continued to do so. He was put in the brig at Marine Corps Installations East abroad Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and is awaiting legal proceedings.

However, at this time, no date, time, or location for Article 32 proceedings has been scheduled.

The Washington Examiner reported:

He has not been charged, though four specific charges will be considered during his hearing: Article 88 (contempt toward officials), Article 90 (willfully disobeying a superior commissioned officer), Article 92 (failure to obey lawful general orders), and Article 133 (conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman), according to a Marine Corps spokesperson.

More than three dozen Republican lawmakers signed on to a letter initiated by Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, in which he said that Scheller’s incarceration “appears to be for messaging, retribution, and convenience.”

The letter, which was addressed to Marine Corps. Commandant Gen. David H. Berger, reminded the service branch chief him that Scheller’s commander is required by law to justify his imprisonment within 72 hours.

“Given his excellent record and more than 15 years of dedicated service, we do not believe and have seen no evidence that LTC Sheller poses a grave risk of criminal misconduct,” wrote Gohmert, according to the Daily Mail. “For the aforementioned reasons we request that LTC Scheller be released from pretrial confinement and be housed in the least restrictive form of housing.”

Army veteran and executive director of the non-partisan Justice Warriors Caucus told the Daily Mail his organization believes “that the military is trying to do this behind closed doors without proper oversight.”

“There’s nothing that prohibits people from being admitted to this court procedure,” he said. “The fact that they’re trying to do this behind closed doors should be concerning to every American.”

Miller also pointed out that Scheller is being incarcerated though no one who was responsible for making decisions regarding the pullout from Afghanistan has been held to account.

“I think that there are a lot of frustration and with this process in general, if look at what happened during the Afghanistan withdrawal and the service members who unfortunately lost their lives and the families who will never see their loved ones again,” he told the Daily Mail.

“There was never any high-ranking official who was in charge of the withdrawal held responsible. We just recently saw a drone strike that killed all civilians that was initially touted as a military success, yet no one was held responsible,” he added.

“But when you look at the Lt. Col. Scheller and other cases where you have someone was directly impacted or raised an issue with the command’s conduct, they are automatically slapped with charges or deprived of their freedom behind closed doors, where people can’t see what’s going on,” Miller continued.

Scheller said in his first video, while in uniform: “The reason people are so upset on social media right now is not because the Marine on the battlefield let someone down. 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 up,’” Scheller said in his first video, in uniform, which quickly went viral.

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