4. About communication, glass of wine and the expert meeting output: part 1 (M. Stucchi and G. Cavallo)

The main episodes of communication before the meeting

 30 March:  press release by Civil Protection of Regione Abruzzo (with reference to the frequent alerts given by unknown persons and by self-appointed earthquake investigator Giuliani)

Oggetto: Protezione Civile. Non previste altre scosse nell’aquilano.  (ANSA) – Pescara, 30 MAR –
Nell’aquilano ”non sono previste altre scosse sismiche di alcuna intensità”. Lo rende noto la sala operativa unificata permanente della protezione civile, evidenziando che “tutte le informazioni diffuse di altro contenuto sono da ritenersi false e prive di ogni fondamento”

Subject: Civil Protection. No earthquakes forecast in the L’Aquila Region (ANSA) – Pescara, 30 March. – In the L’Aquila region no earthquakes of any size are forecasted. The information comes from the operation, unified and permanent room of the [local] Civil Protection, saying that all other information contrary to this one are to be taken as fake and without ground.

Later, the head of national DPC, Bertolaso got angry for this press release and called Stati, Regional Assessor, announcing the expert meeting for the next day. Stati said that she would cancel the press release and Bertolaso said his office would do that.

 

31 March:   interview of Civil Protection Assessor of Regione Abruzzo, D. Stati.

Among other statements, Stati says that “there will be a meeting, Bertolaso will send two experts seismologists and his deputy, De Bernardinis…”
In the following she said “if there is someone able to forecast earthquakes I am waiting for him to give us true information, otherwise we are creating unjustified alarms…”

 

31 March: the TV interview to De Bernardinis.

This interview, containing references to the concepts of the sequence “as a normal phenomenon”, of favorable “energy discharge” through small earthquakes and the glass of wine “from Ofena”, a village not far from L’Aquila, has been considered by most persons (journalists, public opinion etc.) as the paradigmatic moment when the citizenship was “reassured”.
Actually, it was given by De Bernardinis to the interviewer, G. Colacito, responsible of InAbruzzo.com, before the expert meeting, on the arrival at the place. The interview was then broadcasted by TV Uno after the meeting, as if it represented the conclusions of it, without specification that it was recorded before. This interpretation, by the way, still remains in many comments, including some scientific papers.
In addition, during the hearings of the first trial, it was demonstrated (hearing of S. Bernacchi, press officer of the DPC), that the interviewer asked the permission to broadcast it as if it was recorded after the meeting. Such permission was denied and De Bernardinis stated that “it should be said that the interview represented the state-of-the-art at the moment to his knowledge”; but this did not happen. The judge discarded this important evidence. Also discarded was the fact that, at the end of the interview, De Bernardinis had defined as the most important points: “Never anxiety, always attention and readiness”. Incidentally, at this point it was the interviewer who proposed to drink a glass of wine, which De Bernardinis virtually accepted.

The importance of this interview is well known.
First of all, in the main body of the Motivation the judge quotes nine statements of the experts as causes of the death of the victims. While seven of them are taken out from the context of the minutes of the meeting (which were released only after the earthquake, to be discussed later), two of them make reference to this interview.
Next, the judge (and now the Appeal Prosecutor, too) state that “yes, the interview was given before, but it actually reflects the conclusion of the meeting”, which is obviously not true. Even more, the judge states that the interview represents the “Manifesto” of the meeting and that, should it had given after it, De Bernardinis would have said the same things (judgment of intentions?).
It has also to be noted that the judge avoids mentioning that this interview was given before the meeting, saying that it was given “aside” (Italian: a “margine”) the meeting.

 

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