Dogma = dead people.
Scientific retardation, censorship, and information suppression at it's finest: Italy muzzled scientist who foresaw quake.
ROME, April 6 (Reuters) - An Italian scientist predicted a major earthquake around L'Aquila weeks before disaster struck the city on Monday, killing dozens of people, but was reported to authorities for spreading panic among the population.Italian earthquake: anger mounts over ignored warnings.
The first tremors in the region were felt in mid-January and continued at regular intervals, creating mounting alarm in the medieval city, about 100 km (60 miles) east of Rome.
Vans with loudspeakers had driven around the town a month ago telling locals to evacuate their houses after seismologist Gioacchino Giuliani predicted a large quake was on the way, prompting the mayor's anger.
Giuliani, who based his forecast on concentrations of radon gas around seismically active areas, was reported to police for "spreading alarm" and was forced to remove his findings from the Internet.
Italy's Civil Protection agency held a meeting of the Major Risks Committee, grouping scientists charged with assessing such risks, in L'Aquila on March 31 to reassure the townspeople.
"The tremors being felt by the population are part of a typical sequence ... (which is) absolutely normal in a seismic area like the one around L'Aquila," the civil protection agency said in a statement on the eve of that meeting.
"It is useful to underline that it is not in any way possible to predict an earthquake," it said, adding that the agency saw no reason for alarm but was nonetheless effecting "continuous monitoring and attention".
Giampaolo Giuliani told locals to evacuate their houses and posted a video on YouTube in which he said a build-up of radon gas around the seismically active area of Abruzzo suggested a major earthquake was imminent.
Several tremors had been felt in the medieval city of L'Aquila, around 60 miles east of Rome, from mid-January onwards, and vans with loudspeakers had reportedly driven around the city spreading the warning.
But instead of heeding Mr Giuliani's advice, the local authorities reported him to police for "spreading alarm" and he was told to remove his findings from the internet.
Even after he was proved right, civic leaders effectively dismissed him as a maverick whose accurate prediction was little more than a fluke.
As the row escalated yesterday, the Italian president, Silvio Berlusconi, was among those having to fend off angry questions about whether the area should have been evacuated in the light of the warnings.
Maria Francesco, a survivor of the earthquake who lives in L'Aquila, said: "It's a scandal what's happened. For the past three months there have been regular tremors, and they've been getting stronger and stronger. The authorities were well aware."