While reporting on the high civilian death toll from drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen, journalist Pratap Chatterjee began to suspect a link to the U.S. government’s reliance on inaccurate electronic surveillance.
Together with cartoonist Khalil (Zahra’s Paradise), he set out to investigate this connection, delving into the workings of corporations that sell spy software as well as the intelligence and military agencies that buy and use these products. Along the way, they introduce us to a rich cast of characters: contractors, soldiers, reporters, whistleblowers, wrongly targeted civilians – and in a leading role, the devices themselves.
In the course of their quest, recounted in Verax: The True History of Whistleblowers, Drone Warfare, and Mass Surveillance, Chatterjee and Khalil learn about the many ways that governments track people, through both targeted interception and indiscriminate data collection. They discover how software programs with names like Stellar Wind and hardware tools like Gilgamesh get turned into deadly weapons. They recount the stories of individuals willing to speak truth to power about these dangerous technologies from Edward Snowden to the lesser NSA Four and even former drone operators.
Vibrant and eye-opening, Verax makes a complex subject accessible to all with the help of engaging and detailed illustrations while asking hard questions about the threat that these mighty systems could pose in the hands of a rogue actor or a vengeful, irrational leader in our modern era.