We can gain a lot of information from the words that people use because the words they choose to communicate can’t be controlled consciously.  Statement analysis is the most powerful tool today in determining whether a person is being truthful or deceptive.

In the case of the Manchester bomber, several statements have now been made about the perpetrator of this terrible act and it is worth looking at them to see if we can get any closer to the truth of what happened.

Here we look at what the father has said.

We don’t believe in killing innocents.  This is not us.

This is a truthful statement.  It is short and to the point. However, the words one chooses are subjective according to our beliefs and experiences.

First he tells us what is not believed – we are left to wonder what it is that is believed, there is missing information here.

He then tells us about killing innocents.  We know he is a muslim, so we need to consider the context of an innocent in Islam.  In short, innocents are women and girls who cover themselves from head to foot and followers of the Muslim faith.  A pop concert in the western world is the antithesis of this innocent image, and therefore in the context of Islam no innocents have been killed.  He is telling us the truth.

‘This’ denotes that the belief in not killing innocents is  close to him – as opposed to ‘that’ which would denote distancing.

Again he uses a negative ‘not’ – as before we note this as important as we are left to wonder what ‘is’.   Missing information.

We and us are used but it is not clear who is included in the sharing of the belief

he seemed ‘normal’

We don’t have a full quote here, however, normal is a word that was used in telling us about his last conversation with his son.   In statement analysis we raise a flag when we see words like ‘normal’ and consider that perhaps he seemed anything by ‘normal’.   This word is sensitive.

Yes, a friend of his was killed by the gangs of Manchester, but that doesn’t mean he carried out an attack for it.

‘a friend of his’ is distancing,  it is not ‘his friend was killed’.  I would question how close he was to this friend – it is possible it was an acquaintance more than a friend.

‘the gangs’ is interesting as it is in the plural.  Multiple gangs killed one person – or does he see all non muslims as belonging to gangs according to ethnic or religious beliefs?  He does not tell us so can only question the possibilities here.

And they are ‘of Manchester’.  He is very specific about location and the ownership of the gangs being Manchester, does he feel Manchester is to blame? – following this through Manchester is of England, etc – this phrasing makes me think of the movie title Gangs of New York – I wonder if he sees life in Manchester in the context of that movie – I would ask him if he had seen the movie.  I have not seen it, however, I understand that there is a strong thread of violence between immigrants vs natives.

Where we see ‘but’ we know that what follows is more important than what proceeds it.

‘doesn’t’ begs the question – what does it mean?  negatives are always important

‘he carried’ – an interesting verb to use.   to carry is a mundane action, common.  passive.

‘an attack’ – again interesting reference for a suicide bombing, we also think of attacks in on going war/conflict situations especially with the word ‘an’ indicating that it is one of many in his mind – we would expect it to be called ‘the’. Attack is an aggressive verb.  to carry out an attack is military speak.


What is most important to the person is what they choose to communicate.  Sadly I do not have a full transcript of the interview, if I find it I will update this blog.   What we do have is a statement of belief, the word ‘normal’ and a statement referencing possible reason.  It must be noted that that these statements were a translation which weakens the specifics of the analysis.

He uses negatives, indicating that there is more information that he aware of but doesn’t want us to know about.  Speaking in negatives is a common way to deceive/mislead.

‘Normal’ may be important and indicate that the last time he spoke to his son it was not a normal conversation.

Carrying out an attack is more important than a friend being killed.   The friend being killed is not the reason for the attack, it is a story that fits into the context and reason for the attack.  For example – a member of his army unit was killed in an attack last year, it was not the reason for him to carry out an attack on the enemy this year he [the friend] was just a casualty of an on going war with the enemy.

If I was the police, this man would be on my ISIS suspects list and would warrant interrogation.

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