A picture taken on March 14, 2017 in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul shows a drone carrying two grenades flying in a test flight by Iraqi forces which aim to use it against Islamic State (IS) group fighters.

Investigative journalist Pratap Chatterjee and editorial cartoonist Khalil Bendib present a history of drone warfare and mass surveillance in “VERAX,” a graphic novel. The first half of the book profiles famous whistleblowers like Julian Assange and Edward Snowden. In the second half, Chatterjee investigates the murky background of drone warfare and its ethical implications. We talk to both authors about their new book and unexpected approach.

Khalil Bendib,
editorial cartoonist and graphic novelist; co-creator, “VERAX: The True History of Whistleblowers, Drone Warfare and Mass Surveillance”; co-host, “Voices of the Middle East”

Pratap Chatterjee, executive director, CorpWatch; co-author, “VERAX: The True History of Whistleblowers, Drone Warfare, and Mass Surveillance”

Graphic Novel Explores the History of Drone Warfare 9 November,2017Michael Krasny


    The drone warfare began with the war criminal GW Bush, followed by the Noble peace prize holder, Barack Obama who expanded it several folds, when in fact near all their murdered victims were innocent civilians, Both should be charged with war crimes.


    The war on terror is bogus, it really a war against the American people by the elites to rob them of their assets and civil liberties, it all began from Reagan time who supplied cash and lethal arm to known terrorists, followed by GH and GW Bush criminal genocidal invasion of Iraq, based on lies, followed by Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton who supplied cash and lethal arms to known terrorists to murder Qaddafi in Libya and to topple Assad in Syria, with that all, many countries were totally destroyed, millions of people were murdered, as well as near 20 million refugees, and the bloody random terrorism across the World.


    The bloody terrorists, so called Islamic state, is neither Islamic or state, it’s followers are bunch of stupid misled idiots who violate all rules and pillars of Islam by murdering innocent civilians, while their leaders are bogus Muslims, paid agents, for the some elements the Islamophobic in the U S, Israel, and the West…..

    • Curious

      The world must defeat Islamic terror.

  • Noelle

    This sounds like a good idea to use the graphic novel format. Ted Rall terms his books “graphic biography” for works “Snowden”,”Trump” and “Bernie”, and the upcoming “Francis:The People’s Pope”

  • Robert Thomas

    In one night of March of 1945, Allied forces (the United States) dropped 450 tons of incendiary bombs on the city of Tokyo, Empire of Japan. Casualties included at least 100,000 civilian lives and 1,000,000 civilians displaced. Few Americans wept. After Hiroshima and Nagasaki and their civilian populations were incinerated five months later, the Empire of Japan never threatened the United States again.

    In the space of a mere sixty-five years, Americans have become very tender toward the civilian populations that harbor their enemies.

    Did 450 tons of fire bombs hit any “wrong targets” in Tokyo? Probably. No Americans of the day cared and no one ever mentions it any more.

    If the American people would like to stop prosecuting warfare in one theater or another, they should demand that it stop. Elsewise, they deserve humanitarian medals for being so careful in exercising their deadly power.

    • Noelle

      Americans can’t admit that we are an imperial power and they continue to believe that we are the good guys who don’t hurt people. Drone warfare another way to continue the charade.

      • Robert Thomas

        Perhaps. I fear that fewer Americans all the time feel very much nostalgia for the institutional altruism you describe. Americans found their position on a pedestal appealing as long as the nation was free from physical attack perpetrated against its continental territory.

  • James Gibson

    It is ironic that the guests are speaking to the dangers of acting off incomplete information, when those who know from direct experience can clearly tell that your guests are working off of incomplete information themselves.

  • elindi

    I wonder if your guests can speak to the dangers of these systems being hacked or manipulated by hostile actors? It seems many of our other systems are incredibly vulnerable to hacking, and it’s even more horrifying to think about this possibility.

  • Ehkzu

    Armed UAVs kill civilians. It’s called collateral damage. Nobody denies this. The points of contention are whether armed UAVs are effective at accomplishing their military objectives; whether changes in rules of engagement would result in fewer civilian deaths; whether those changes would make UAVs less successful at their primary mission; and how the collateral damage statistics would compare between UAVs and their alternatives.

    Your guest appears to be confused about the difference between war and police operations. War occurs where police actions are impossible or extremely difficult. Ultimately the choice is between killing a mix of civilians and combatants or leaving both alone, with the consequences tha unfold from giving those coimbatants their sanctuary.

    General Sherman said “War is hell.” Those who believe war can be made to not be hell are inevitably disappointed. Those who believe pulling our punches will make war less hellish are also disappointed.

    • Robert Thomas

      All such hand wringing as that promoted by Bendib and Chatterjee is merely misdirected critique of U.S. use of military power against its avowed enemies, the implication being that Americans would rise up in outrage if they only knew how awful is war. In fact, the evidence is that a large fraction of the American people would rather just see Pakistan or [fill in the blank], which they believe are generating or harboring their sworn enemies simply wiped off the map, along with ALL civilians, women and children, puppies and kitties and bunnies and every other living thing. None should imagine that within the living memory of many, the United States did not do precisely this.

      Our task is to demand that our government use OTHER MEANS ENTIRELY, to neutralize our enemies and reduce their and our mutual rage – NOT to imagine that needlessly imperiling members of our armed forces, in some sort of comically goofy notion of “consciousness raising” will finally soften Pharaoh’s Heart.

  • Robert Thomas

    The English at Agincourt are alleged to have used their stand-off weapons (the longbow) to gain advantage over the French chevaliers, though its unknown whether any serfs were skewered at the greater distance that those weapons afforded.

    Crewmen targeting the shorelines under attack by battleships, during the era of their use, had very little idea how many civilians were dismembered or incinerated by the gargantuan shells they hurled from the barrels of their 16″/50 caliber Mark 2s.

    Crews restocking the candy machines on the residential decks of modern aircraft carriers aren’t busied with concern about the fate of civilians destroyed by the F/A-18E Super Hornets that fly from the decks over their heads.


Michael Krasny

Michael Krasny, PhD, has been in broadcast journalism since 1983. He was with ABC in both radio and television and migrated to public broadcasting in 1993. He has been Professor of English at San Francisco State University and also taught at Stanford, the University of San Francisco and the University of California, as well as in the Fulbright International Institutes. A veteran interviewer for the nationally broadcast City Arts and Lectures, he is the author of a number of books, including “Off Mike: A Memoir of Talk Radio and Literary Life” (Stanford University Press) “Spiritual Envy” (New World); “Sound Ideas” (with M.E. Sokolik/ McGraw-Hill); “Let There Be Laughter” (Harper-Collins) as well as the twenty-four lecture series in DVD, audio and book, “Short Story Masterpieces” (The Teaching Company). He has interviewed many of the world’s leading political, cultural, literary, science and technology figures, as well as major figures from the world of entertainment. He is the recipient of many awards and honors including the S.Y. Agnon Medal for Intellectual Achievement; The Eugene Block Award for Human Rights Journalism; the James Madison Freedom of Information Award; the Excellence in Journalism Award from the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association; Career Achievement Award from the Society of Professional Journalists and an award from the Radio and Television News Directors Association. He holds a B.A. (cum laude) and M.A. from Ohio University and a PhD from the University of Wisconsin.

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