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Graeber is the author of the bestselling book “Debt: The First 5000 Years”. The man whom the press called the ideologist of the Occupy movement. One of the few academic scholars who do not hide their anarchist views. The author of many publications in support of Kurdistan.

“Some Russian friends asked me to look into the case of ten young men who’ve been arrested in what’s been called the Network case, “Network” for a lack of a better name, the prosecutors apparently have made up this imaginary anarchist terrorist organization which is intending, they claim, to create acts of violence and unrest so as to overthrow the government. Basically, what happened is they’re these young kids who are all young men in their twenties, mostly vegetarians, lefties, some of them are anarchists, some of them are antifascists, some of them aren’t. Really, about all they have in common is that they are aficionados of the game called airsoft, which is kinda like paintball, where they would run around the forest and shoot BB guns at each other. Somehow in KGB, or, FSB is what they call it now, <someone> decided these guys are part of a secret network, and has gotten a number of them to confess to be part of a secret organization planning to overthrow the government. Pretty much every single one of them has now claimed to have been extensively tortured, and doctors have found burns all over their bodies, clear signs of not only beatings but systematic use of electricity. Almost all of them have withdrawn their confessions. Many of them have permanent injuries, like all the teeth knocked out. None of these people had been in any way of trouble, they’re a bunch of game players with vaguely leftist sympathies who have been treated as this kind of fantom terrorist organization, and it’s a terrible precedent because if this is allowed to stand, people are threatened everywhere. Russia is the place where they experiment with new forms of repression which, if they work, are then exported elsewhere. If people this obviously innocent can be railroaded – I mean, they’re facing trial on February 10th and they’re up against anywhere between 6 to 18 years of maximum security hard labour, – if these guys can get railroaded basically based on nothing other than confessions extracted under torture, nobody is safe anywhere. I really think the world needs to pay attention to things like this and do something about it.”

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21 January 2020

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