Verax: The True History of Whistleblowers, Mass Surveillance, and Drone Warfare
The graphic novel Verax: The True History of Whistleblowers, Mass Surveillance, and Drone Warfare is terrifying on many levels, and it means to be.
Verax is a collaborative project between investigate journalist Pratap Chatterjee--who's reported on the U.S.'s surveillance and secretive wars for the New Republic, the Guardian and the New York Times--and popular political cartoonist Khalil (Zahra's Paradise). Narrated by Chatterjee, the book chronicles the rise of the country's post-9/11 "military-surveillance-industrial complex"--the unholy alliance of national intelligence agencies, the military and private defense companies, which together have created an unprecedented global surveillance state. This monstrous rise in state power is illuminated here by the stories of Edward Snowden and Julian Assange. The novel also shines light on lesser-known whistleblowers in the NSA and other agencies.
Chatterjee's writing is sharp and factual, and Khalil's illustrations are persistently engaging. The surveillance state they describe threatens civil liberties and has engendered the U.S.'s endless drone war, killing scores of innocent civilians with little or no accountability. Verax's most infuriating and heartrending moments focus on the victims of drone strikes: "We had hoped that America would come to the region with educational and development projects and services, but it came instead with aircrafts to kill our children." Furthermore, there are the young drone pilots, many disillusioned and suffering from PTSD.
Verax is a gripping account of abusive power and those who stand up to it. --Scott Neuffer, writer, poet, editor of trampset