Gov’t official and scientists convicted of manslaughter for giving public “incomplete, imprecise and contradictory” information on quake danger (VIDEO)

Published: October 22nd, 2012 at 8:55 pm ET
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Title: Italian scientists convicted for failing to predict quake
Source: ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
Author: Mary Gearin
Date: Oct. 23, 2012

Six scientists and a former government official have been sentenced to six years in jail for multiple manslaughter for giving the wrong advice about an earthquake which struck the Italian city of L’Aquila in 2009, killing over 300 people. [...]

Prosecutors [...] said they did not expect scientists to provide a precise forecast.

But they argued the commission had given “incomplete, imprecise and contradictory” information on the danger after a meeting on March 31, 2009, a few days before the earthquake. [...]

Instead of highlighting the danger, they said the experts had made statements playing down the threat of a repeat of the earthquakes which wrecked the town in 1349, 1461 and 1703, saying the smaller shocks were a “normal geological phenomenon”.

Title: The l’Aquila Verdict: A Judgment Not Against Science, but Against A Failure of Science Communication
Source: Scientific American
Author: David Ropeik
Date: October 22, 2012
Emphasis Added

[...] contrary to the majority of the news coverage this decision is getting and the gnashing of teeth in the scientific community, the trial was not about science, not about seismology, not about the ability or inability of scientists to predict earthquakes. These convictions were about poor risk communication, and more broadly, about the responsibility scientists have as citizens to share their expertise in order to help people make informed and healthy choices.

It is ludicrous and naïve for the American Association for the Advancement of Science to condemn the verdict, as they did the charges when they were filed, as a misunderstanding about the science behind earthquake probabilities. That this was never about the ability of seismologists to predict earthquakes is clear from the very indictment itself; the defendants were accused of giving “inexact, incomplete and contradictory information” about whether small tremors prior to the April 6 quake should have constituted grounds for a warning.

It was never about whether the scientists could or could not predict earthquakes. [...]

Scientific experts are among the most highly trusted sources of information in society, and as much as they share their expertise about risk with governments, they should also communicate with and educate individuals looking for the same kind of guidance. Small wonder then that the people of l’Aquila are celebrating what is essentially their revenge against those they hoped would help them make informed choices about how to stay safe, experts who – quite innocently, to be sure – let those people down.

One of the better pieces I’ve read by Ropeik, though claiming the people are “celebrating… their revenge”? Perhaps not:

“This is not thirst for revenge, it is just that our sister is not coming back” -Claudia Carosi

In Japan, the earthquake or tsunami are not so much the issue. It’s the “inexact, incomplete and contradictory information” given by officials to the public regarding the Fukushima disaster and the radiation risks.

For example: BBC: "Actual situation is much, much worse than we were told" says evacuee -- "From the start Japan gov't officials have lied"

Watch: Another “ludicrous and naïve” report on the manslaughter convictions in Italy

Published: October 22nd, 2012 at 8:55 pm ET
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17 comments to Gov’t official and scientists convicted of manslaughter for giving public “incomplete, imprecise and contradictory” information on quake danger (VIDEO)

  • PurpleRain PurpleRain

    I am very hopeful about this verdict! It is completely about the risk-management aspects and the fact that people are being held accountable gives me hope for the future. Now, if only we could hold people in the NRC "accountable"!


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  • kx kx

    I fear they will have to build a new prison in Japan to arrest all the bastards for giving “inexact, incomplete and contradictory information” after the Fukushima will frak us all accident.

    I must say they actually blatantly lied, scientists, government officials and doctors and for that they should build that prision inside the 20Km exclusion zone and make them work for 1 to 6 years or even more for some in the containment of the accident.

    For the too old work, higher management of TEPCO responsible to allow the cost cutting and advising the unsafer alternatives I think that would not be enough and I see the hanging a more proper punishment.

    I have it said.


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  • andagi andagi

    Dear Admin and Folks,
    WOOOHOO!!! Yeah Baby!! I sure hope this is true!! Thanks to the persons who made this happen!!
    Folks, keep reading and sharing ENENews! Generating worldwide change, everyday, 24/7!!
    Right On!! :)
    Aloha.


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  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    Fukushima Plume-Gate IS Bigger than 9-11 (mirror)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0rgqzCn368


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  • I heard this on the news of radio, up here in Van, and I thought about Fukushima and the implications. Didn't all the "experts" bless the Fukushima site as appropriate and safe? All the experts said every precaution had been made that was deemed nessessery. ( As in many other dubious American sites ) But you know, $hit happens……
    From the Scientific American blurb, above, "Scientific experts are among the most highly trusted sources of information in society, and as much as they share their expertise about risk with governments, they should also communicate with and educate individuals looking for the same kind of guidance.

    Sort of a nieve childish approach as Scientific Experts can only be trusted to recognize which side of the bread is buttered and further, Scientific Experts are on the payrole of the most surprising firms and so it is well recognized by the minority of the truly educated public that a Scientific Expert's opinion is, quite frankly, the most use when written down on paper, to be used as emergency toilet paper and even in that capacity does an especially poor job!

    If this ruling could be applied in USA the nuclocratic nut bars would run for the hills!


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  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    FACT: Quakes are part of nature, and always have been.

    FACT: Nuclear reactors are not.

    FACT: Nuclear disasters happen when there is
    no quake, as proven by Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and others.

    FACT: Each nuclear disaster is unforeseen, and triggered by a different set of circumstances.

    FACT: And the next big one will most likely be no different.

    FACT: The "only" safeguard is to stop using nuclear reactors.


    Report comment

    • @TheBigPicture
      October 22, 2012 at 11:45 pm
      Nowadays one finds it perhaps(!) difficult to distinguish between man-made natural disasters and those that are not! What you have stated for nukes applies by the application of the precautionary principle to quakes in the modern setting(spanish fracking for instance and Fukushima caused by dams via a nuclear effect). The infinite trouble is that there is vested interest "science" for profit by hook or by crook and life interest science which is backed by truth, not in the sense of modern civilization's casteist fragmented bits of imperfect know how passing arrogantly for the delphic oracle like edict that knowledge starts with the men of modern civilization(the supremacy of piecemeal profiteering as a way of life over one based on truth). The truth is that everything is interconnected with everything else. Thus dams and the earth are rigidly connected. Nuclear reactor systems from mining to the end interface rigidly with nature and hence with dams. You get a feel for the next event via observations like the web fire mapper hot spots created by the surge waves of the world's dams, the daily rate of change of dam contents, the rainfall, the hurricanes and you give a prediction. Even this procedure is arrogantly dismissed by the specialists! A seismo proclaimed after the Andaman Sumatra 9.3 MM quake of 26 December 2004 that for the next 200 years you will not see a great quake there and just months later an 8.6 MM occurred!


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  • markww markww

    There is NO CRYSTAL BALL OR GENIE that can tell when a earthquake will hit Only educated guesses.There is a man who did come up with a plan he was ignored about his math findings but was right as to earthquakes. the only thing we can do till something comes along is study and try to make some good accounts but none work 100 per cent. They were wrong to jail people unless they told them to die Mark


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  • arclight arclight

    i hope heraldine thomas, richard wakeford etc are taking notice

    whats this?
    scientists who think they are bankers! :)

    'We won’t advise the state again': Scientists outraged at Italian seismologists' jailing {great idea! arc]

    The head of Italy’s disaster evaluation body has quit in protest against the conviction of seven of his colleagues for failing to warn people of a deadly earthquake in 2009. Scientists all over the world have expressed outrage at the verdict.
    [...]
    On Monday, Barberi and six other senior scientists in the emergency services were jailed for six years for manslaughter (two more than the prosecutor demanded) for giving a

    “misleadingly reassuring statement”

    and causing at least 29 people who wanted to leave the town to stay instead
    [...]
    http://rt.com/news/italy-jail-scientists-reaction-061/


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  • Erhyth

    This verdict gives a sneaky subliminal message that it is the job of the "scientist" and "expert" to interpret information rather than for the thinking public to do so. If I were in Bayou Corne I'd get out of there.


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  • PavewayIII PavewayIII

    "…This verdict gives a sneaky subliminal message that it is the job of the "scientist" and "expert" to interpret information rather than for the thinking public to do so…"

    A physics lab technician in L'Aquila predicted a major quake following a series of tremors based on his observations of increased radon in the air. The town had a lot of historic structures subject to damage in past quakes and the people were frightened. Some were already sleeping outside in tents.

    The Commissione Nazionale dei Grandi Rischi is Italy's Federal Commission on Major Risk – kind of like a Department of Homeland Security. They called a group of six seismologists to L'Aquila. From the article:

    "…
    The experts met for several hours, discounted the radon-based prediction, and agreed that the tremors could not help predict whether there would be a major quake. The scientists then left town without speaking at all. A local civil defense official who ran the meeting was asked about it by a reporter and casually and inaccurately described the discussions. “The scientific community tells us there is no danger, because there is an ongoing discharge of energy. The situation looks favourable.” Dr. Bernardo De Bernardinis, deputy chief of Italy’s Civil Protection Department, added laconically that local citizens should go have a glass of wine. A little over a week later 309 of them were dead.
    …"

    The thinking public was told nothing – what could they interpret?


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  • Urban27

    This is actually good. Scientists are always so sure about what they say. But there 'truth' usually don't survive more than five years. And then we get a new version.
    And this has been going on and on – decade after decade – and scientists don't seem to take notice.
    And this is in all sciences – natural science and humanistic.
    (for instance our galaxy, the milky way, was fifty years told to have 10 million stars, then it was 100 million, and a billion, and 10 billions, and 100 billions, now it is estimated to have 3-400 billion stars. The same galaxy. 400,000 times more).
    This is so typical for scientists seeming to lack common sense. Always they say that they 'know' – They should be more humble.


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  • mick

    Scientists want the paycheque and notoriety for supposedly knowing what they're talking about, but they're not too keen on the idea of having to be accurate or responsible for their predictions.


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