From Miguel, I learned today that the US military is threatening to expand the application of the UCMJ with regards to retired military saying disparaging things about the President. The Article to be used is Article 88. One thing that strikes me as odd is that Article 88 only applies to commissioned officers. I am sure that they will find another article to go after enlisted retirees.
Most obviously, the UCMJ applies to those who are currently serving on active duty in the armed forces, students enrolled in a federal service academy, and prisoners of war. After an amendment in the 2010s, the UCMJ also applies with equal force to contractors or other individuals “serving with or accompanying an armed force in the field.”
Now it is not unheard of for the UCMJ to be applied to those who are no longer in the military, but the use has been very narrow and specific before now.
The UCMJ does not apply to veterans who were discharged before reaching 20 years of service. The UCMJ also does not apply to retired reservists. However, it does apply to service members who retired from active-duty service, especially the Navy or Marines. This is because marines and sailors who leave active duty after more than 20 years in uniform but less than 30 and who want to collect retiree pay move into the Fleet Reserve, or Fleet Marine Corps Reserve. That’s right- retirees from the military are actually reservists.
Before 2021, I could not find any case of a retiree being prosecuted for a minor offence. Each incident I found involved serious offenses like kidnapping, sexual assault, or murder.
The problem here is that using the UCMJ changes everything. The application of UCMJ jurisdiction to retirees is significant because courts-martial are not Article III courts and are therefore not subject to some of the basic protections contained within the Bill of Rights. For instance, court-martialed defendants do not have the right to a jury trial; instead, an eight-person “member panel” selected by a high-ranking officer serves as the trier of fact.
That all changed after January 6. That was when the US military began using the UCMJ to go after military retirees for participating in the protest. This is a major expansion of military authority. This administration truly HAS declared war on the right. In unequivocal terms, they have said that no one can criticize this President without risking jail time.