General Non-Fiction

Il potere segreto

(The Secret Power)

Chiarelettere editore, September 2021, pp.400


Winner of the European Award for Investigative and Judicial Journalism 2021

Winner of the Premio Alessandro Leogrande Award for Investigative Journalism 2022


Preface by Ken Loach

English Synopsis Available

The whole story of Julian Assange, from the sensational WikiLeaks case, because of which he lost his freedom, to the torture endured in the maximum-security British prison where he is being held. A ten-year-old story told by a journalist who has been close to him from the start, as well as an exposé of the secret power that rules over our democracies.

In a cell in one of the United Kingdom’s most infamous maximum-security jails, Belmarsh prison in London, a man fights the planet’s most powerful institutions, which have been trying to destroy him for over ten years. His name is Julian Assange. Some people are even asking for a death sentence for him, for having broken the U.S. Espionage Act of 1917, which forbade the broadcasting of classified information during World War I. As far as the least visible but most pervasive powers are concerned, Julian Assange is one of the worst criminals alive. He should be punished in the most brutal of ways.

The author first got in touch with him in late July 2009, when his organisation contacted her in the middle of the night: they had a document about Italy and needed a journalist to help them check its authenticity and public interest. From that moment on, they worked together, they for WikiLeaks and she for various press outlets – l’Espresso and La Repubblica at first, now Il Fatto Quotidiano – and published millions of secret documents. She has travelled the world with an encrypted computer and phones; she was robbed in Rome, where very important documents on encrypted memory sticks vanished into thin air; she’s been repeatedly followed abroad; she was spied on at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. And yet despite all that, nobody has ever locked her up in a jail or even questioned her. In these ten years, she has never had to pay the high price Julian Assange is paying: since publishing the secret documents, he has never again been free.

Some of the most famous international investigative journalists and numerous human rights organisations have spoken out in Julian Assange’s defence, and even the Council of Europe and the United Nations have expressed concern and indignation at the crime of torture. The trial in London strongly mobilised public opinion.

Chiarelettere editore, September 2021, pp.400

  • “This is a book that should make you very angry”

    Ken Loach

  • “I highly recommend this. No one conveys better the urgency
    of averting the extradition and prosecution of Assange,
    which would demolish First Amendment protection of
    freedom of the press in America”

    Daniel Ellsberg, US whistleblower who leaked the Pentagon Papers

Rights Sold

World English rights: Pluto Books; France: Editions Agone.

Stefania Maurizi

Stefania Maurizi is an Italian investigative journalist working for the major Italian press outlets Il Fatto Quotidiano, la Repubblica and l’Espresso.

She has worked on all WikiLeaks’ secret documents from the very beginning and published her first investigation based on those files in 2009, when very few had even heard of WikiLeaks, as it had not yet published bombshells like its Collateral Murder video.

In 2010, when top international media partnered with WikiLeaks to reveal the secret documents on the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, the U.S. diplomatic cables and the files on the Guantanamo detainees, she worked on all of those secret databases and later partnered with the Washington Post, Der Spiegel, Le Monde and El País to work on other major revelations from WikiLeaks.

Since 2009, she has never stopped researching, investigating and reporting on those secret databases, as well as on the Julian Assange and WikiLeaks case. She has a very deep understanding of  WikiLeaks’ secret archives, the rationale behind those publications and the history of WikiLeaks.

She is also the only journalist in the world to have been litigating a FOIA request since 2015 in 4 jurisdictions (United States, United Kingdom, Sweden and Australia) to force the 4 governments to release to her the full documentation on Julian Assange and the WikiLeaks journalists in order to reconstruct the case factually, as investigative journalists should.

Her FOIA litigation has unearthed crucial information which has been widely reported by international media, including The Guardian’s Pulitzer Prize winner, Ewen MacAskill.

In addition to her work on the WikiLeaks case, she partnered with Glenn Greenwald to reveal the Snowden files related to Italy. She has also interviewed A.Q. Khan, the father of the Pakistani atomic bomb, revealed the condolence payment agreement between the U.S. government and the family of the Italian aid worker Giovanni Lo Porto killed in a U.S. drone strike, and investigated the harsh working conditions of Pakistani workers in a major Italian garment factory in Karachi.

She has been awarded a number of prestigious journalistic prizes, including the Colomba D’Oro of Archivio Disarmo and the Armenise Harvard Fellowship.

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