Thursday, April 13, 2017

Assad: Chemical Weapons

Is Syrian President Assad telling the truth about having no chemical weapons?

With 2nd language analysis, we step back from close inspection and note, in particular, additional and unnecessary words to help us determine the truth.  His quotes are in italics, and as reported, they are spread about the article.  

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad said a suspected chemical weapons attack was a "fabrication" to justify a US strike on his forces, in an exclusive interview with AFP in Damascus.

With "fabrication" we do not have the complete sentence. 

The embattled leader, whose country has been ravaged by six years of war, said his firepower had not been affected by the attack ordered by US President Donald Trump, but acknowledged further strikes were possible.
Assad insisted his forces had turned over all their chemical weapons stocks years ago and would never use the banned arms.

The interview on Wednesday was his first since a suspected chemical weapons attack that killed dozens of civilians in the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhun.

"Definitely, 100 percent for us, it's fabrication. 
Our impression is that the West, mainly the United States, is hand-in-glove with the terrorists. They fabricated the whole story in order to have a pretext for the attack,

Note the unnecessary "for us" as to qualify what is "definite" and "100%."

With "definite" and the percentage used, the assertion is weakened even before it is qualified.  

At least 87 people, including 31 children, were killed in the alleged attack, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor.
But Assad said evidence came only from "a branch of Al-Qaeda," referring to a former jihadist affiliate that is among the groups that control Idlib province, where Khan Sheikhun is located.

Images of the aftermath, showing victims convulsing and foaming at the mouth, sent shockwaves around the world.

But Assad insisted it was "not clear whether it happened or not, because how can you verify a video? You have a lot of fake videos now.  We don't know whether those dead children were killed in Khan Sheikhun. Were they dead at all?"

Note the use of "not clear" here.  Would he able to verify if a chemical attack took place? 

In power for 17 years, would he know?

He said Khan Sheikhun had no strategic value and was not currently a battle front.
"This story is not convincing by any means."

Even in translation or if English is not his first language, we see a Need  to Persuade within his additional wording. 

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has begun an investigation into the alleged attack, but Russia on Wednesday blocked a UN Security Council resolution demanding Syria cooperate with the probe.
And Assad said he could "only allow any investigation when it's impartial, when we make sure that unbiased countries will participate in this delegation in order to make sure that they won't use it for politicised purposes."

He insisted several times that his forces had turned over all chemical weapons stockpiles in 2013, under a deal brokered by Russia to avoid threatened US military action.

"There was no order to make any attack, we don't have any chemical weapons, we gave up our arsenal a few years ago," he said.

Here we have him moving towards passive voice in the context of both issuing an order, knowledge of an order, and his own lengthy rule in the nation. 

Passivity conceals identity and/or responsibility in a sentence.  It is appropriately used when one does not know the identity or the responsibility for the attack.  

Does he, as long term ruler, make such orders?
Is he engaged with his general?
Do they act independently, and if so, who is in control?

Otherwise, the passivity should be considered inappropriately used.  

"Even if we have them, we wouldn't use them, and we have never used our chemical arsenal in our history."

Deception Indicated

Here he allows for the possibility of his own words being untrue.  

When taken with his passive voice regarding responsibility, as well as the additional wording used to persuade, the conclusion is reached.  

The OPCW has blamed Assad's government for at least two attacks in 2014 and 2015 involving the use of chlorine.

The Khan Sheikhun incident prompted the first direct US military action against Assad's government since the war began, with 59 cruise missiles hitting the Shayrat airbase three days after the suspected chemical attack.
Assad said more US attacks "could happen anytime, anywhere, not only in Syria."
But he said his forces had not been diminished by the US strike.
"Our firepower, our ability to attack the terrorists hasn't been affected by this strike."

For training in Statement Analysis, go to Hyatt Analysis Services


General P. Malaise said...

Hello Peter

didn't Assad live in England where he was educated before becoming a reluctant President?

I saw a body language video about him and the body language expert shows him to be open and honest.

I have seen other videos of Assad and he seems to speak like that all the time. very cautious always qualifying. could that make him look deceptive.

Anonymous said...

He didn't say "I didn't do it"; therefore, we can't conclude he didn't do it. If he won't say it, we won't say it for him.

General P. Malaise said...

I read your analysis again and Assad's statement does have holes big enough to drive a truck through.

In previous chemical attacks in Syria (2013) it was shown widely to have been fabricated by the rebels and their backers (the USA and Turkey). The videos of last weeks attack was also reported by the discredited White Helmets group.

I know the truth is difficult to find and one can find contradictory things of just about everything on the web today.

Peter have you analysed statements from the previous attacks?

Anonymous said...

Great analysis Peter, and thank you for doing it. This is a very concerning situation in Syria.
I also find it so difficult to believe Assad would believe the "terrorists" fighting him have chemical weapons yet he himself would get rid of HIS chemical weapons. Does he hope people will think he is Christ-like "turning the other cheek"?!
It is nice to see the evidence you found in his language that he is lying.

Statement Analysis Blog said...

Thank you, Anonymous.

I have scratched my head on the gas attack, initially wondering if it was a false flag, a deliberate provocation, or even a testing of the Trump administration after 8 years of Obama.

I also have questions about us getting involved in every Islamic nation that is awash in violence due to its ideology.

Therefore, I stick to the wording here to guide me regarding Assad.
No reliable denial and deception about having gas.

It does not justify nor annul our bombing, but is just affirmation of what he tells us. I remain open to moral and political arguments about our response.

General P. Malaise said...

Peter, I think you may have alluded to it in your article questioning how much control Assad may actually have.

mom2many said...

I have difficulty with analyzing statements in this circumstance. We are depending on media with an agenda to provide an appropriate translation, and I, for one, am not well educated enough to know how the culture may affect his speech. The statements are too clipped and manipulated.

I was looking for any response from Syria a few days ago, and ran across this statement by the Foreign Minister. “The Syrian Arab Army has not, did not, and will not use this kind of weapons; not just against our own people, but even against the terrorists that attack our civilians with their mortar rounds,” al-Muallem said.

I found other articles which 'quoted' Muallem as saying Syria has 'never' used chemical weapons, so you can see the deliberate manipulation of translation and out of context quotations.

I am not convinced there is enough evidence available to the public to make a determination of what happened.

I do believe Assad is sensitive about the origins of the videos because it is directly out of his opposition's playbook to make and distribute false videos. It has been proven they have done so before.

Foolsfeedonfolly said...

Fabrication, not lie, falsehood, or false pretense? Why did he choose the word "fabrication", as opposed to another? Perhaps I'm reading into this, but my first thought was fabric, material which covers (cloaks). In context with secret chemical weapons stockpiles and "surprise" chemical attacks on one's own people, it seems to fit. Fabrication is repeated again.

"Our impression is that the West, mainly the United States, is hand-in-glove with the terrorists.- Impression? That's a surprising word choice for a government leader, who's country's been bombed for chemically attacking their own people. Impression lacks mental and emotional commitment to the statement, as well as any sense of indignity and outrage that a "foreign government" has interfered in how Assad's running his country. Why does he feel the need to clarify "the West", with "mainly the United States"? The West is Europe, Canada, America, South America, Australia, and New Zealand. Hand-in-glove is also an interesting word choice. Which terrorists is Assad referencing? How does he define a terrorist?

Assad: " is not clear whether it happened or not, because how can you verify a video?"- That's a deceptive statement. Chemical warfare, by virtue of its components, leaves trace chemical signatures and measurable residue (namely isopropyl methylphosphonic acid (IMPA)- uncommon in nature, it is the byproduct of Sarin gas breaking down- detection evidences the recent deployment of Sarin as a weapon). Assad does not deny that he gassed his people.

Anonymous said...

this article has the video and audio of the interview.

Statement Analysis Blog said...

Anonymous said...

this article has the video and audio of the interview.
April 13, 2017 at 3:40 PM

Thanks, Anonymous. It allows me to check my work for accuracy. If the article misrepresents his statements, I can change the analysis.


mom2many said...

Here is my transcript of the video linked above.

Clip starts in the middle of a sentence...

Assad: So there was no order to (pause) make any attack, we don't have any chemical weapons. We give up our arsenal three years ago. Even if we have them, we wouldn't use them and we have never used our chemical, uh, arsenal, in our history.

Q: So what happened Tuesday?

A: As I said, we're only [indecipherable, sorting?] Al-qaeda, we cannot take it seriously, but our impression that the West, mainly the United States, is hand-in-glove with the terrorist. They fabricate the whole story in order to have a pretext for the attack. It wasn't attack because of what happen in Khan Sheikhoun. It's one event. It's a stage one - the play - that we saw on the social networking, on TVs, eh, the propaganda. And the stage two is the military attack. That's what we believe is happening, because it's only few, uh, few days, two days, 48 hours, between, uh, the play and the attacks, and no investigations, eh, no eh, concrete evidence about everyth- anything. The only thing were allegations and propaganda and they strike.

Q: So, who, according to you, is responsible about this alleged chemical attack?

A: The allegation is of Al-Qaeda, the Nusra Front, so we don't have to investigate who. They announced it. It's under their control. No one else. Eh, about the attack, as I said, it's not clear whether it happened or not, cause how can you verify video? You have a lot of fake videos now. And you have to prove that those videos were fake, like, White Helmets, for example. They are Al-qaeda, they are Nusra Front, who shaved their beard, wore white hats, and appeared as humanitarian, eh, heroes, which is not the case. The same people who are killing Syrian soldiers, and you have the proof, on the internet anyway, so the same thing for that chemical attack, we don't know whether those dead children were the kids of Khan Sheikhoun. Were they dead at all? Eh, eh, who committed the attack, if there was attack? What the have no information at all. Nothing at all. Not investigated.

Q: So you think it's a fabrication?

A: Definitely. Oh, a, a hundred percent for us/false?, it's fabrication.

Anonymous said...

Off Topic: U.S, just dropped "Mother of All Bombs" on ISIS tunnels in AFghanistan. Kinda weird, it says the bomb explodes before it hits the ground--how is that going to take out tunnels??

cough cough said...

"and we have never used our chemical arsenal in our history."

So they do have an arsenal of chemical weapons.
"we don't have any chemical weapons,
we gave up our arsenal a few years ago"
That was his lie.
They may have gave it up, but they replaced it.
And they may not be armed, but the chemicals and the delivery system is sitting there together ready to go in a few minutes.

Anonymous said...

I watched the video of the MOAB bomb dropping/expoding, and considering they dropped it in the middle of the desert, and sorry but it's damage radius doesn't really look that impressive--like what the length of a football field, how do they even know it took out any ISIS fighters? BEcause why would they be hiding in tunnels that far away from any town/city? Is it just me or does that look like it probably was done just for show???

Anonymous said...

If it hit ISIS fighters, I am all for it, but I feel skeptical that they have caves and tunnels they hide in that far from towns or cities.

Anonymous said...

So good to see you back on form again Peter. Excellent, clear analysis. I don't know what happened to you during the recent London car ramming. You made some wild, ranting posts that depicted you in a really bad light, but I'm glad you seem to have come to your senses. As someone said at the time, stick to what you do best, because you do it really well. Thanks

Anonymous said...


Foolsfeedonfolly at 330. UNBELIEVABLE!!!!
"Impression lacks mental and emotional commitment to the statement, as well as any sense of indignity and outrage".


Anonymous said...

ATTENTION: Statement Analyzers. What up w/Pres not revealing WH visitor's log?

Bottle Cap said...

Anon 7:03 those are some pretty elaborate and famous caves. Do you really think the US with all it's satellites and intelligence would send a $16 million bomb to nowhere?

The CIA paid for the caves to be built.
Osama Bin Laden helped design and build them and later lived in them.
General Mattis was hamstrung by the Bush administration and not allowed to clear them out in 2001 when Osama Bin Laden and 800 terrorists were believed to be inside.

The CIA built those tunnels in Afghanistan that were destroyed via MOAB yesterday in the "1980's against the Soviet occupation. Rising to more than 13,000 feet, 35 miles southwest of the provincial capital of Jalalabad, Tora Bora was a fortress of snow-capped peaks, steep valleys and fortified caves. Its miles of tunnels, bunkers and base camps, dug deeply into the steep rock walls, had been part of a C.I.A.-financed complex built for the mujahedeen.

Osama Bin Laden was one of the mujahedeen.

Now James Norman "Jim" Mattis is now the 26th and current United States Secretary of Defense, serving in the Trump Administration.

Anonymous said...

Bottle Cap, I actually did think they might have dropped it on nowhere but Yeah it's amazing about the tunnels like 130 feet underground--I saw Daily Mail had a diagram up of the tunnels--I never knew they existed. That is crazy that the CIA was the ones who built them. So ISIS really isn't that clever--they just moved into the tunnels. I am glad we dropped the MOAB on them, although there was something slightly disturbing about reading about the details of how the bomb works, a bit too powerful, but what else could they do to blow out those tunnels and ISIS in them? I read that the nearby villagers were scared of the sound/shaking from the bomb but were very happy that the US dropped it on ISIS. Now Trump just needs to drop one on the North Korean leader.

Statement Analysis Blog said...

Anonymous said...
ATTENTION: Statement Analyzers. What up w/Pres not revealing WH visitor's log?
April 14, 2017 at 9:04 PM

It is the same policy of Barak Obama.

It is just honestly stated as the only difference.


Anonymous said...

What ya'lls thinkin about the Sept 2017 sign of Rev 12? Any thoughts? It real or no?

mom2many said...

I ended up hearing this audio clip again on a show I was listening to today. On different speakers, it was clear to me that Assad says "false" not "for us" as is quoted in the original analysis. I agree with cough cough's thought that Assad does have access to chemical weapons. I do not believe that he used them, however.

Here is an article that explains how our intligence has become politicized. I read that phrase as "propaganda".