Italy Squelched Scientist Who Predicted Quake

Researcher cited for 'spreading alarm,' forced to retract findings
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 6, 2009 12:16 PM CDT
A portrait of late Pope John Paul II is seen inside a damaged church in the village of St. Elia, central Italy following a strong earthquake, Monday, April 6, 2009.   (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – An Italian scientist had predicted the quake that killed at least 92 early this morning near L’Aquila, but was silenced by the authorities, Reuters reports. Gioacchino Giuliani found evidence a month ago that a strong quake was brewing and organized a public-awareness campaign—which earned him a reprimand from police for “spreading alarm.” Giuliani was forced to remove his findings from the Internet.

But the head of the National Geophysics Institute dismissed the authorities’ apparent lapse: "Every time there is an earthquake there are people who claim to have predicted it. As far as I know nobody predicted this earthquake with precision. It is not possible to predict earthquakes."