Friday, December 4, 2015
Analysis of Claim of "Trump Video"
Donald Trump said he saw a video of Muslims celebrating 9/11 in the street of which "thousands" were celebrating the fall of the Twin Towers. Media denies the existence of such a video.
I posted a statement for analysis by the readers here at the Statement Analysis Blog.
This statement was made in response to the news article in which Donald Trump made the claim. The article had others who said they also saw the video including some that added an extra detail about the U.S. flag.
I asked for analysis of the statement first, and then a profile of the author from readers. Some readers expressed doubt to the veracity, but most claimed it was a truthful statement, that is, one that proceeded from experiential memory. We know that it is a lengthy amount of time that has passed which will impact our analysis.
I. The Statement
II. The Analysis
III. The Analysis Conclusion
I. The Statement
"I saw the 9/11 video of Muslims celebrating in New Jersey. I was shocked and wondered, "why do they hate us?" I was surprised when the video did not replay over and over. Back then, the news was on "constant alert status" with repeated video of the towers, people running and so on.
The video was more like 'hundreds' and not 'thousands' and I saw people dancing in the street, singing, jumping up and down. I saw men, women and children celebrating. Recently I read people saying that American flags were stepped on and I think I recall that, too, but I am not certain."
II. The statement with analysis.
"I saw the 9/11 video of Muslims celebrating in New Jersey.
This is a very strong statement.
Keep in mind the "formula for reliability" and that "short sentences are best" as you work through it.
a. It begins with the pronoun "I", increasing odds of reliability. This is only to increase the odds, it is not a conclusion on its own.
b. It uses the past tense "saw" which is part of the formula for reliability. Since most people lie by omission, this formula is essential in investigating because it tells us truth and can guide us as to things that really did happen.
If "I saw the 9/11 video..." is a lie, it is a rare, direct lie and a signal that the subject is a pathological liar; that is one who fabricates reality and lies in life as his baseline, or normal course. If asked, "Why should we believe you?" he would be incapable of looking at this statement and saying, "Because I told you the truth."
Also, if this is a direct lie, we should pick up signals that this did not come from his own experience.
c. He calls it "the" video; that is, one specified. Since the statement is in response to a news article, the article, "the" is appropriate. Had no such video been mentioned, the article "a video" should have been used. Consistency noted.
d. Note there is nothing to qualify or modify the sentence. This is where shorter sentences are considered "best" in that truth is readily seen in them, as their is an 'absence' of the need to persuade (NTP) within them. The need to persuade is a signal of sensitivity; not necessarily due to deception, thought it could be. It may be that the subject believes that many doubt him. It is but one of many signals that we not only view, but must put into our professional conclusion. Analysis deals with what one says, and what one does not say. Here, the subject did not say,
"I think I saw",
or the weaker,
"I think I may have seen.."
I was shocked and wondered, "why do they hate us?"
Here is an inclusion of emotion in the memory and it is as the "logical" portion of the account. This is often a signal of "artificial placement" in a statement.
Because it takes time to process emotion. In an immediate event, one might report,
"I was at the corner of Richmond Avenue when a man pulled a gun on me. He told me to hand over my wallet. He ran off. I was scared for my life."
Here, the emotions come 'after' the gun pulling. In story telling, the same account might sound like this if the subject was scamming and knew the 'robber':
"I was at the corner of Richmond Avenue and felt like something was just not right. I was really scared. The man pulled out his gun and said I should give him cash and then he ran off. "
In factual accounts, the most important issues come first, and then the emotions. To put them in the "perfect" or "logical" spot, suggests artificial placement.
Psychologically, it takes time to process emotions.
In this statement, the subject's emotional response about hatred is in the logical portion of the account. This is a strong signal that experiential memory is in play.
Question: Why isn't it "artificial placement"?
Answer: Because enough time has elapsed and the emotion (and question) have long been processed and explored. This is justified, not only by the year of the event, but it is found also within the language, as the question posed is actually answered by the subject. This shows lengthy thought.
Emotion is a chemical enhancer of memory.
Seeing an event leaves an imprint upon the brain.
Seeing an event that impacts emotionally, increases the impact (via hormones) upon the brain.
Recall is easier the stronger the emotion. This is why in long term memory victims will say, "I remember feeling such disgust when he put his hands on me..."
Sexual assault victims often include small sensory detail which impacts emotion such as "his breath was like cigarette" or "his hands smelled like motor oil"or other sensory enhancers of memory that further solidified the event in the subject's memory.
Principle: Note the location of emotions in a statement. Is emotion artificially placed or has enough time passed where the emotion has been thoroughly processed by the brain. This comes down to the skill of the analyst, based upon experience. Thus, the need for formal and ongoing training.
I was surprised when the video did not replay over and over.
Here, the emotion is again connected, and it is appropriated to a specific event that did not take place, making it "very important." The subject should tell us what took place, not what did not take place. Therefore, this sentence is now asserting something that needs to be answered:
Q. Why would the subject remember what did not happen?
We look for him to guide us:
Back then, the news was on "constant alert status" with repeated video of the towers, people running and so on.
A. Here, he justifies the concern of the negative. The news was incessant and he specifically references memory of the same video: people running from the towers.
Therefore, the sensitivity of the negative is appropriately answered by the subject, himself.
The video was more like 'hundreds' and not 'thousands'
Here we have another concern of that in the negative, but the context of the news story, itself justifies it. Donald Trump asserted that "thousands" celebrated. The subject read the news story and differs on this point.
This is a strong signal of motivation:
The subject is motivated by memory, and not in defense of Donald Trump. This may suggest that he is not a fan of Trumps, or in the least, his priority is truth, and not supporting Donald Trump's statement for political reasons. This is important given Trump's reason for being in the news article, itself.
and I saw people dancing in the street, singing, jumping up and down.
Here we have the formula for reliability again:
1. Pronoun "I"
2. Past tense verb
3. No modification or qualifying
Note he gives specifics:
c. jumping up and down
This is to report what he saw, rather than a conclusion. This is a change from "I saw Muslims celebrating" which is very specific:
"I saw the video of Muslims celebrating" which refers to the video, not the celebration.
Here, the change is another signal that experiential memory is in play: this is not a summation of the video, it is a description of what he saw: "people" and they were not "celebrating", but were "dancing, singing jumping up and down..."
When language changes, there should be a change in reality. If this change of reality is in the context, the analyst is looking at experiential memory in play.
If there is no justification for the change, the analyst must now question if the subject is making this up as he goes along and has lost track of his lies, since the lies are non-experiential memory, with no emotional (hormonal) impact upon the brain, assisting memory.
It was the "video" of "Muslims celebrating" but it was within the video that he saw "people", and what they were doing. This is also to suggest that the author does not have bias towards the Muslim people, but sees them as "people" and not just "Muslims" in the context of the attack upon the Twin Towers. This is why profiling is so important:
It can reveal gender, age, education, background and experiences, personality and motive.
The subject goes further to explain why here, they are not "Muslims" but they are "people":
I saw men, women and children celebrating.
The change of language is justified. "People" are, specifically, "men, women and children."
Also note that this sentence follows our formula for reliability.
The change of language that shows experiential memory looks like this.
Allegation: Female employee stole jewelry.
"I would never steal anything from the store. I saw the jewelry in the case and the customer wanted to see it. I let her handle the jewelry and then I took the necklace back to put it back into the case"
Here we have signals of guilt. Yet, the subject is telling the truth.
First, the subject did not deny stealing with "would never" violating our principle of Reliable Denial, but also note two very important indicators:
a. "jewelry" became a "necklace" when it was in the subject's own hands.
b. The subject should tell us "what happened"; instead, she told us "why" she did something. This "why" means she anticipated being asked.
c. That she went to put it back in the case is unnecessary, making it very important.
She tells us what she "went" to do, but not what she did.
The "jewelry" remained "jewelry" when the customer saw it, and when the customer handled it, but it 'changed' into 'necklace' when the employee had it.
She had stolen it.
Yet, in her sentence, she is reliable and can guide us. The surveillance camera showed a motion 'towards' the case while slipping it into her pocket. Even in this tiny detail, she was reliable, which is why her sentences felt no need to modify or support them with qualifiers.
In this case, the change of language showed that she was, in deed, speaking from experiential memory. She did go to put it back, but then diverted it.
Her statement is 100% truthful, yet it is deceptive by that which is missing. Even "I would never..." may be truthful, now that she is frightened out of her mind, this future conditional statement may be something she believes.
Here, the subject goes "out of sequence." This is only out of sequence for us, the reader, and remains there until we understand the subject's own thinking, and then the sequence will make sense. The 9/11 attack and video were years ago. The subject has jumped in time.
I read people saying that American flags were stepped on and I think I recall that, too, but I am not certain."
In new articles (which now include video reports) the subject has moved to chronologically to the time of the news article about Trump. In it, he recounts this additional fact.
He qualifies seeing it with "think", which is a 'weak assertion.'
Is this reliable?
Note the word "that" shows distancing language. This is consistent with the weak assertion of "think."
This consistency suggests truth.
Then, he makes it plain by way of rebutting or minimizing by comparison with the word "but"
"I am not certain" uses the pronoun "I" and the present tense "am", which is consistent with his weak assertion.
"I locked my keys in the car" is strong;
"I think I locked my keys in the car" is weaker, expressing uncertainty, but is also truthful. It suggests that the keys may be somewhere else, a place he may be thinking of.
"I think I may have locked my keys in the car" suggests that, in the mind of the subject, the keys could be there, or in a number of other places. It, too, has appropriate weakness and is a signal of honesty.
The context tells us if the weakness is appropriate or not.
"I don't think I cheated...." or the obvious, "I think I didn't kill him..."
The subject speaks from experiential memory: he is truthful.
He shows some distancing language from Donald Trump, which shows priority which is truthful recall, and not defense nor support of Donald Trump.
The change of language and inclusion of emotion affirms experiential memory. This is further buttressed by the lack of sensitivity indicator, and the lack of additional words "needing to persuade" the audience.
The subject refuses to commit to seeing the American flag, which indicates, in context, the commitment to memory. This lack of affirm may be due to seeing other videos or pictures of the American flag being burned or stepped on, which he appears to support, but without confidence that he saw it in this specific video.
This is another signal of priority being truth.
The author saw the video and showed an expectation of seeing it repeatedly but was surprised, that it was not repeated. This, too, would impact memory as he considered if the video was no longer to be played that a reason had to exist.
If the subject were to be polygraphed he would pass.
Thank you to all who participated. I recognize that when you put your own name on your conclusion, you are taking a stance which invites criticism, but in doing so, you are further able to learn. It also allows me to gauge the factors within opinions, such as 'need to persuade' and even agenda, which sometimes comes in the revelation of 'passive aggressive' sentences, where one is more interested in, for example, discrediting the politician, than in discerning truth from deception.
Although this is a small example, if you are interested in hosting a seminar for your company or department, or wish for intense formal training, please contact Hyatt Analysis Services.
Any enrollment includes 12 months of follow up e-support, including job interviewing, and confidential case assistance.
Successful completion of the course allows for the professional to join in monthly training with other professionals from around the country, Canada and Europe. These trainings are monthly and include live ongoing cases, employment application analysis, profiling and Anonymous Author Identification.