Cientistas dados como culpados pela morte das vítimas do sismo da Itália 2009

fablept

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Six Italian scientists and an ex-government official have been sentenced to six years in prison over the 2009 deadly earthquake in L'Aquila.

A regional court found them guilty of multiple manslaughter.

Prosecutors said the defendants gave a falsely reassuring statement before the quake, while the defence maintained there was no way to predict major quakes.

The 6.3 magnitude quake devastated the city and killed 309 people.

Many smaller tremors had rattled the area in the months before the quake that destroyed much of the historic centre.

It took Judge Marco Billi slightly more than four hours to reach the verdict in the trial, which had begun in September 2011.

Lawyers have said that they will appeal against the sentence. As convictions are not definitive until after at least one level of appeal in Italy, it is unlikely any of the defendants will immediately face prison.


'Alarming' case

The seven - all members of the National Commission for the Forecast and Prevention of Major Risks - were accused of having provided "inexact, incomplete and contradictory" information about the danger of the tremors felt ahead of 6 April 2009 quake, Italian media report.


The Apennines, the belt of mountains that runs down through the centre of Italy, is riddled with faults, and the "Eagle" city of L'Aquila has been hammered time and time again by earthquakes. Its glorious old buildings have had to be patched up and re-built on numerous occasions.

Sadly, the issue is not "if" but "when" the next tremor will occur in L'Aquila. But it is simply not possible to be precise about the timing of future events. Science does not possess that power. The best it can do is talk in terms of risk and of probabilities, the likelihood that an event of a certain magnitude might occur at some point in the future.

The decision to prosecute some of Italy's leading geophysicists drew condemnation from around the world. The scholarly bodies said it had been beyond anyone to predict exactly what would happen in L'Aquila on 6 April 2009.

But the authorities who pursued the seven defendants stressed that the case was never about the power of prediction - it was about what was interpreted to be an inadequate characterisation of the risks; of being misleadingly reassuring about the dangers that faced their city.

Nonetheless, the verdicts will come as a shock to all researchers in Italy whose expertise lies in the field of assessing natural hazards. Their pronouncements will be scrutinised as never before, and their fear will be that they too could find themselves embroiled in legal action over statements that are inherently uncertain.


In addition to their sentences, all have been barred from ever holding public office again, La Repubblica reports.

In the closing statement, the prosecution quoted one of its witnesses, whose father died in the earthquake.

It described how Guido Fioravanti had called his mother at about 11pm on the night of the earthquake - straight after the first tremor.

"I remember the fear in her voice. On other occasions they would have fled but that night, with my father, they repeated to themselves what the risk commission had said. And they stayed."


'Hasty sentence'

The judge also ordered the defendants to pay court costs and damages.

Reacting to the verdict against him, Bernardo De Bernardinis said: "I believe myself to be innocent before God and men."

"My life from tomorrow will change," the former vice-president of the Civil Protection Agency's technical department said, according to La Repubblica.

"But, if I am judged by all stages of the judicial process to be guilty, I will accept my responsibility."

Another, Enzo Boschi, described himself as "dejected" and "desperate" after the verdict was read.

"I thought I would have been acquitted. I still don't understand what I was convicted of."

One of the lawyers for the defence, Marcello Petrelli, described the sentences as "hasty" and "incomprehensible".


'Inherently unpredictable'

The case has alarmed many in the scientific community, who feel science itself has been put on trial.

Some scientists have warned that the case might set a damaging precedent, deterring experts from sharing their knowledge with the public for fear of being targeted in lawsuits, the BBC's Alan Johnston in Rome reports.

Among those convicted were some of Italy's most prominent and internationally respected seismologists and geological experts.

Earlier, more than 5,000 scientists signed an open letter to Italian President Giorgio Napolitano in support of the group in the dock.

After the verdict was announced, David Rothery, of the UK's Open University, said earthquakes were "inherently unpredictable".

"The best estimate at the time was that the low-level seismicity was not likely to herald a bigger quake, but there are no certainties in this game," he said.

Malcolm Sperrin, director of medical physics at the UK's Royal Berkshire Hospital said that the sentence was surprising and could set a worrying precedent.

"If the scientific community is to be penalised for making predictions that turn out to be incorrect, or for not accurately predicting an event that subsequently occurs, then scientific endeavour will be restricted to certainties only and the benefits that are associated with findings from medicine to physics will be stalled."

Fonte: BBC

Não conheço muito bem os contornos da história, mas fiquei :shocking:
 

Z13

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Isto é uma vergonha...

Tanto politico incompetente e corrupto neste mundo, e prendem uns cientistas que sabe Deus os meios de que teriam à disposição...

É mais uma prova que para se ser Juíz, além de se conhecer a Lei, tem que ser culto.
 

AzoreanShark

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Não sei se tem a ver com perfurações geotérmicas que podia levar a isso, ou se isso foi outro sismo. Mas enfim, geólogo em Itália é uma profissão de risco que poucos o devem querer ser agora.
 

adiabático

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"My life from tomorrow will change," the former vice-president of the Civil Protection Agency's technical department said, according to La Repubblica.

"But, if I am judged by all stages of the judicial process to be guilty, I will accept my responsibility."

Retenho estas palavras do vice-presidente do dep. técnico da Protecção Civil por me parecerem incompreensíveis. Não há integridade, moral ou cívica, que justifique que o mesmo se dê como culpado caso os tribunais assim o decidam. Estamos perante um caso extremamente perigoso para a investigação científica.

Também acho que é dever da comunidade científica denunciar a decisão judicial italiana, sem qualquer pejo de respeito institucional. Uma decisão destas só pode ser arbitrária e impassível de fundamentação objectiva.

Como estou fora do meio talvez me escape alguma coisa, mas acho que vocês meteorologistas deveriam desde já assumir uma posição quanto à possibilidade de vos ser imputada responsabilidade civil pelos prognósticos emitidos. Aparentemente, até responsabilidade criminal.

Não acredito em teorias da conspiração mas acredito que haja vontade de atingir a comunidade científica por trás deste veredicto.
 

adiabático

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de: http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2012/10/23/268364/italy-disaster-head-quits-over-laquila/

Italy disaster head quits over L’Aquila earthquake

The head of Italy’s top disaster body has resigned from his post to protest against a verdict convicting seven members of the earthquake section of manslaughter.

Luciano Maiami said on Tuesday that he had resigned as head of the Major Risks Committee because "there aren't the conditions (for scientists) to work serenely," criticizing the verdict as “a big mistake.”

On Monday, an Italian court convicted six scientists and an ex-government official to six years in jail for underestimating the risks of a deadly 2009 earthquake in Italy’s central town of L’Aquila.

"These are professionals who spoke in good faith and were by no means motivated by personal interests, they had always said that it is not possible to predict an earthquake," said Maiami.

He further said that, "It is impossible to produce serious, professional and disinterested advice under this mad judicial and media pressure. This sort of thing doesn't happen anywhere else in the world," adding, "This is the end of scientists giving consultations to the state."


Maiami said the committee's deputy head was also set to quit.

The international science community was outraged at the ruling, stating that any convictions would discourage other experts from sharing their expertise for fear of legal retribution.

Michael Halpern of the US-based Union of Concerned Scientists also said in a blog that, "Scientists need to be able to share what they know -- and admit what they do not know -- without the fear of being held criminally responsible should their predictions not hold up.”

The 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck on April 6, 2009, killing 308 people, injuring 1,500 and leaving around 65,000 people homeless.

MKA/MA
 

adiabático

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Não me espantaria que o veredicto tivesse por trás a pressão das seguradoras para encontrar formas de evitar ter que pagar os danos.

O que levanta uma questão paralela interessante: a de saber se o grau de responsabilidade do cientista muda a partir do momento em que este aceita, contratualmente, desenvolver estudos cujas conclusões se destinem a orientar as ferramentas financeiras de gestão do risco. E se essa responsabilidade deve ser limitada ou ilimitada. E se o risco inerente a assumir essa responsabilidade é ou não adequadamente reflectido nas remunerações por esse tipo de consultoria... Quando se entra por aí, são só os números que falam, esqueçam-se as questões de princípio.

Outra questão paralela, sempre latente nas relações entre a ciência e a política, tem que ver com a instrumentalização da ciência para fins políticos. Infelizmente, aí há culpas de parte a parte, pois também há "cientistas" que aceitam fazer o jogo de políticos, podendo fazê-lo de muitas formas, desde desenvolver processos demonstrativos construídos para se justificar pressupostos (e não para os pôr à prova) à utilização selectiva de dados.

Não estou a querer "colar" nenhuma destas questões ao assunto em causa. Já li algumas versões contraditórias desta história mas de maneira nenhuma o suficiente para me poder considerar informado. Mas até ser informado do contrário ponho-me do lado de quem presume a inocência dos acusados, não tendo sido manifestadas provas de dolo ou negligência.

Também não compreendo que tipo de argumentação podem usar os acusadores. Dizem que os cientistas e técnicos da Protecção Civil emitiram comunicados apaziguadores pouco antes do sismo. Dizem populares locais que, se não fossem esses comunicados, talvez não tivessem sido apanhados de surpresa... Mas como, pergunto-me?? Do pouco que conheço da previsibilidade de sismos, pode até ser possível quantificar, com toda a incerteza inerente, uma probabilidade de ocorrência, numa determinada área geográfica mais ou menos ampla, num determinado intervalo de tempo, mas as pessoas parece que queriam que lhes tivessem dito, naquela algura, para não irem dormir, ou trabalhar, para ficarem atentos, para poderem fugir se houvesse um sismo? Que tivessem evacuado a cidade? Face a uma probabilidade?

Pergunto, o que mais poderia a protecção civil ter feito? Imaginando que tinha sucedido o inverso, que tinham, com base nos mesmos dados, optado por dar ênfase à probabilidade de ocorrência e não à incerteza. Não teriam lançado o pânico? Originado a fuga de habitantes, a paralização da economia... E se, depois, não acontecesse sismo nenhum de intensidade preocupante? Caíam-lhes em cima a reclamar indemnizações por perda de lucros? Ou processos criminais por lançar o pânico?
 

adiabático

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do guardian:

L'Aquila quake scientists: creating scapegoats will cost even more lives
Many more lives can be saved by earthquake mitigation measures than by retrospectively targeting scientists

In 2009, the long-range forecasting team at the UK's Met Office assured us that we were in for – as they so enticingly put it – a "barbecue summer". Somewhat depressingly, but perhaps not surprisingly, this never materialised as the gloom and drizzle of spring merged eventually with that of autumn.

Understandably, people were pretty miffed and the Met Office took a bit of a battering in the media for making what many felt was an incorrect prediction. However, mindful of recent events in L'Aquila, Italy, those responsible for the forecast might feel relieved that they are not now cooling their heels at Her Majesty's pleasure.

As a consequence of an astonishing and incomprehensible judgment, seven Italian scientists, including Franco Barberi, whom I have known for many years, now face six years in jail and massive fines; essentially because they failed – in the manner of the Met Office scientists – to take proper account of the unpredictable nature of the world we live on.

While the non-appearance of the 2009 barbecue summer meant little more than a retail glut of charcoal and spicy kebabs, the "false assurances" given by Barberi and his colleagues about the likelihood of a major earthquake striking L'Aquila in April of the same year have been held responsible for the resulting toll of more than 300 dead and over 1,000 injured.

But could Barberi and the other members of the Italian government's Major Risks Committee have done any more? No they could not. For several decades now, scientists have been trying to find a foolproof way to predict earthquakes, but entirely without success.

We can get some idea of how often a quake will occur on a particular fault by checking the timing of previous shocks, and this will allow us to determine a window – which is likely to be several years or even decades wide – during which a future earthquake is likely to happen. Such "probabilistic forecasting" is not, however, the same as being able to say definitively that there will or will not be an earthquake next Saturday afternoon at tea-time.

Some earthquakes are preceded by signs such as the release of radon gas from the crust, water table variations and changes in the electrical properties of the rock. But such phenomena also occur in the absence of an ensuing quake. On occasion quakes can also be heralded by swarms of smaller tremors, but these can only be diagnosed as "foreshocks" if and when they have been succeeded by a major quake. Most of the time, small seismic shocks, such as were experienced in the L'Aquila region for months before the "big one", are not indicative of a larger quake to come.

Franco Barberi was absolutely correct, therefore, to announce – a few days before the magnitude 6.3 quake that flattened much of the city – that there was "no reason to believe that a swarm of minor events is a sure predictor of a major shock".

It is now well established that the way to save lives and limit destruction as a result of earthquakes is not by trying to predict them but by ensuring that buildings are constructed so that they do not collapse when the ground shakes, and by reinforcing existing structures. If more attention had been paid, proactively, to this aspect of earthquake mitigation, and less to retrospectively hunting down scapegoats after the event, the toll of death and injury and the degree of damage would have been reduced enormously.

As it is, the court has – at a stroke – alienated the country's entire community of hazard and risk scientists. Surely no one could now be persuaded to join a government expert panel in the full knowledge that in trying to save lives they might, as reward for their efforts, end up bankrupt, disgraced and in jail.

Bill McGuire is professor of geophysical and climate hazards at University College London. His latest book is Waking the Giant: How a Changing Climate Triggers Earthquakes, Tsunamis and Volcanoes
 

adiabático

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Para não ficar sem contraditório.

Leiam o artigo, mas leiam também os comentários no site de blogues convidados da Scientific American:

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2012/10/22/the-laquila-verdict-a-judgment-not-against-science-but-against-a-failure-of-science-communication/

Por mim acho que o autor, ao expressar uma opinião que é legítima, foge à questão essencial que é a responsabilização criminal dos 7 técnicos envolvidos por... comunicação inadequada... 6 a nos de prisão efectiva... montantes incalculáveis de indemnizações...

Sr. Ropeik, pode achar o que quizer mas esta é a questão central.

The L’Aquila Verdict: A Judgment Not against Science, but against a Failure of Science Communication

By David Ropeik | October 22, 2012 | Comments13


A court in Italy has convicted six scientists and one civil defense official of manslaughter in connection with their predictions about an earthquake in l’Aquila in 2009 that killed 309 people. But, 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. Even the leader of the 309 Martiri (309 Martyrs) who pressed for the case to be brought said so; Dr. Vincenzo Vittorini, who lost his wife and daughter in the quake, said back when the trial began “Nobody here wants to put science in the dock. We all know that the earthquake could not be predicted, and that evacuation was not an option. All we wanted was clearer information on risks in order to make our choices”.

Dr. Vittorini’s frustration and anger are understandable. The scientists did a horrible job of communicating. In fact, the scientists didn’t communicate at all! Italy’s national Commissione Nazionale dei Grandi Rischi asked the experts to convene after a series of tremors in the seismically active Appenines led a local physics lab technician to predict a big quake (based on radon levels).

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.

That is what this trial was all about; the poor risk communication from Dr. De Bernardinis – one of those convicted – and the NON-communication by seismic experts, who would certainly have offered more careful and qualified comments. Did that poor communication cause those tragic deaths and warrant manslaughter convictions? Certainly not directly, as the defense attorneys argued.

Did it fail a frightened community looking to the scientific experts for help, for guidance, for whatever insights they could offer…a community so scared by the tremors and that lab tech’s prediction that hundreds of people were sleeping outdoors? Yes, the poor communication was a serious failure, although scientists share the responsibility with the Italian national government.

While these scientists were there for their expertise in seismic risk, not as communicators, they also knew full well how frightened people were, and how important their opinions about the possibility of a major earthquake would be, and how urgently the community wanted…needed…to hear from them. But they just left town, and let a non-seismologist describe their discussions. For his failing to do so accurately and without appropriate qualifications, the scientists themselves are also surely to blame.

But so is the national government. How can a Commissione Nazionale dei Grandi Rischi, which convenes experts to try to predict and plan for various possible disasters, not include someone responsible for the vital job of risk communication? This is a critical part of overall risk management, because it shapes the way the public perceives a risk, and that has everything to do with how prepared people are for natural disasters, how they respond when a disaster strikes, and how they recover, both physically and psychologically.

The psychological recovery matters a lot to physical health. Chronic stress does great harm to human health in many ways and it is often the case in disaster recovery that the psychological damage does as much damage to the effected community, and in some cases more, than the disastrous event itself.

That there was no one at that experts’ meeting trained in and responsible for communicating the results of the discussion to the public, is a gross failure in and of itself. At the very least the experts in the meeting should have been expressly told that as members of the Commissione Nazionale dei Grandi Rischi they had an obligation to communicate to the public they were there to serve. Any risk management program that overlooks the importance of risk communication is dangerously inadequate.

This entire affair could well have been prevented but for that oversight.

But there is a subtext here that brings us back to the role of scientists as communicators and educators, particularly scientists with expertise about issues involving risk. Indeed, this trial sends a message to them all. As much as we need experts to help predict and plan for risk to society in general, we also need experts to help us understand what we need to know to protect ourselves as individuals.

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.

Image: Flickr/Darkroom Daze
David RopeikAbout the Author: David Ropeik is an Instructor at the Harvard Extension School and author of 'How Risky Is It, Really? Why Our Fears Don’t Always Match the Facts'. Follow on Twitter @dropeik.