Tag Archives: trial

The judge who sentenced seven earthquake scientists/officials in Italy to prison has released a detailed explanation for his verdict.

The judge who sentenced seven earthquake scientists/officials in Italy to prison has released a detailed explanation for his verdict.

The judge’s perspective is worth reading. It is not as foolish as some wish to make it appear. For one thing, he makes it very clear that

the trial was not against science but against seven individuals who failed to carry out their duty as laid down by the law. The scientists were not convicted for failing to predict an earthquake, something [Judge Marco] Billi says was impossible to do, but for their complete failure to properly analyse, and to explain, the threat posed by the swarm.

At the same time, I still think it very bad for the law and government to interfere in this kind of situation. For example, I think the actions of the climategate scientists were as improper (though they did not lead to anyone’s direct death). Yet, the last thing I want is for the government to prosecute them. Rather, I want the scientific community to condemn them instead, so that their careers as scientists suffer. Imprisonment is an over-reaction, and instead serves merely squelch open debate and honest scientific work, something I expect to happen now in Italy.

An Italian court has convicted seven earthquake scientists of manslaughter for their failure to properly warn the public prior to the L’Aquila earthquake.

An Italian court has convicted seven earthquake scientists of manslaughter for their failure to properly warn the public prior to the L’Aquila earthquake.

The court also sentenced the men to six years in prison, which is two years more than the prosecutor recommended.

The more I have read about this case, the less I have been in sympathy with the scientists. While it is absurd to expect any scientist to be able to precise predict the occurrence of an earthquake, in this case some of the individuals convicted had issued statements that actually go against basic earthquake science in order to give the public a false sense of safety. They claimed that the increased level of seismic activity suggested a reduction in the risk of an earthquake, when all research actually indicates the exact opposite.

Some additional details here.

The prosecutor in the Italian trial of seven earthquake experts has requested four year jail sentences for their failure to properly warn the public about the possibility of an earthquake

The prosecutor in the Italian trial of seven earthquake experts has requested four year jail sentences for their failure to properly warn the public in advance about the April 2009 L’Aquila earthquake.

The trial of seven earthquake scientists in Italy on charges of manslaughter for not correctly predicting the earthquake in L’Aquila continued yesterday with each of the defendants testifying.

The trial of seven earthquake scientists in Italy on charges of manslaughter for not correctly predicting the earthquake in L’Aquila continued yesterday with each of the defendants testifying.

The trial will not resume again until the fall.

More details unveiled describing the charges against the CERN scientist on trial in France.

More details revealed describing the charges against the CERN scientist on trial in France for consorting with al-Qaeda.

Adlene Hicheur is accused of compiling a “hit list” of targets that included French president Nicolas Sarkozy and his former interior minister, Brice Hortefeux. …

Officials said they intercepted e-mails he exchanged with al-Qaeda’s North African branch, in which he plotted to blow up a Total oil refinery and a French military base. In one e-mail to suspected Islamic terror chief Mustapha Debchi, Hicheur said he would “propose possible objectives in Europe and particularly in France”. He wrote in March 2009: “Concerning the matter of objectives, they differ depending on the different results sought after the hits. For example: if it’s about punishing the state because of its military activities in Muslim countries – Afghanistan – then it should be a purely military objective. For example: the airbase at Karan Jefrier near Annecy in France. This base trains troops and sends them to Afghanistan.”

So, if these emails are accurate, this guy did far more than simply correspond with terrorists. He plotted to aid them in terrorists attacks.

The French trial of a CERN physicist for associating with terrorists began today.

The French trial of a CERN physicist for associating with terrorists began today.

As much as I fear and oppose the intolerant Islamic world, I worry when we in the West beginning putting people on trial merely for talking to the wrong people. I wish the accusations against this man weren’t so vague.

The testimony of the fired JPL employee who is claiming religious discrimination continued on Monday.

The testimony continued on Monday of the fired JPL employee who is claiming the science center fired him because of his religious beliefs.

[David Coppedge] trial’s started last week, and on Monday [he] testified that his supervisor Gregory Chin had wrongly accused him, threatened his freedom of religion and created a potentially hostile working environment. “You are pushing your religion in this office and harassing people with this religion,” Chin said, according to Coppedge, who added: “He was angry and he got angrier.”

Coppedge said he asked Chin why he considered intelligent design anything but science. “Dave, intelligent design is religion,” Chin replied, according to Coppedge. Chin warned him against discussing religion or politics with colleagues, he said.

“I felt threatened .. I said: ‘Greg, this gets into issues of free speech and freedom of religion … this could be construed as creating a hostile work environment’,” he added.

Real scientists should never feel threatened by anything Coppedge was saying, and should in fact enjoy debating the issue. Unfortunately, I have learned that such open-mindedness is found with increasing rarity in modern intellectual society, especially when it comes to Judeo-Christian beliefs. This is why I tend to believe Coppedge’s story.

The manslaughter trial of six scientists and one government official continued yesterday in Italy over their reassurances to the public prior to a deadly earthquake in 2009.

The manslaughter trial of six scientists and one government official continued yesterday in Italy over their reassurances to the public prior to a deadly earthquake in 2009.

Guido Bertolaso, former head of the Department of Civil Protection and De Bernardinis’s direct superior, had not been indicted and was originally expected to appear as a witness. But a few weeks ago a wiretap revealed that he had apparently set up the meeting to convey a reassuring message, regardless of the scientists’ opinion. He also seemed to be the source of the “discharge of energy” statement. He thus found himself under investigation and, at the beginning of the hearing, he was officially notified that he too may soon be formally indicted for manslaughter.

Bertolaso was asked by the prosecutor to explain that telephone conversation. He defended himself by saying that by defining the meeting as a “media move”, he was not trying to downplay risks but rather to put some order into the contradictory information that was reaching the citizens in those days. In particular, he referred to Giampaolo Giuliani — a laboratory technician and amateur seismologist who was alarming the population with claims that a major shock was coming — and to a newspaper article that had misquoted some Civil Protection experts and stated that the shocks would soon be over. The meeting, he said, was meant to make clear that both were wrong and that no deterministic prediction could be made. [emphasis mine]

This increasingly appears to be another case of science being corrupted by politics.

A wiretap could exonerate the six seismologists on trial for manslaughter in Italy for not properly warning the public of an earthquake.

Scientists on trial: A wiretap conversation might exonerate the six seismologists on trial for manslaughter in Italy for not properly warning the public of an earthquake.

The trial of seven Italian earthquake experts facing manslaughter charges for not correctly predicting an earthquake continued this week.

The trial of seven Italian earthquake experts facing manslaughter charges for not correctly predicting a deadly earthquake continued this week.

The prosecution’s argument that the experts had underplayed the possible occurrence of a major quake was bolstered by testimony from Daniela Stati, the former civil protection officer for Abruzzo, who took an active role in the March 31 meeting. Stati confirmed what she had previously told prosecutors in 2010, that one of the indicted said during the meeting that the continuing tremors represented a “favorable signal” because there was a continuous discharge of energy that made stronger tremors less likely. In fact, scientific evidence suggests that groups of small earthquakes tend instead to increase the chances of a major earthquake nearby, even though the absolute probability of such a quake remains low. Stati said that nobody within the commission objected to this statement. She also underlined that the “reassuring message” given to the press by her, L’Aquila Mayor Massimo Cialente, and two of the indicted, Franco Barberi and Bernardo De Bernardinis, was based on comments made at the meeting.