Capture shock

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Capture shock is a term used to describe a brutal technique employed by the "snatch teams" the CIA employed during its extraordinary rendition program.[1][2][3][4] Balaclava clad men would cut the captive's clothes from his body, insert plugs in their eyes and nose, so they could neither hear or smell their surroundings, and throw a hood over their heads so they couldn't see where they were going. The captors would shackle the captive, and insert something into the captive's rectum. Then the captive would be clad in the orange jumpsuit, and their arms and legs would be shackled.

Commentators would conclude that the item inserted into the captive's rectum was a suppository containing a drug meant to further disorient the captive, either a sedative, or a psychoactive drug.[1]

This process was conducted with brutality, with the captor's raining unseen blows at the captive.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Meg Satterthwaite (2013-11-02). "African Commission Emerges as New Forum in Quest for Justice for Rendition Victims". Just Security. Archived from the original on 2014-07-02. Retrieved 2014-12-13. "The case, argued by Meg Satterthwaite of the Global Justice Clinic at NYU School of Law and Judy Oder of INTERIGHTS, seeks relief for the secret detention, ill-treatment, and refoulement of an ordinary Yemeni man who was caught up in the CIA’s rendition, detention, and interrogation program from late 2003 to mid-2005. The case is the first in the African human rights system, and the latest in a trend of international cases to confront U.S. partner states for their role in implementing the CIA’s extraordinary rendition and secret detention program. Mohammed Al-Asad’s case has the potential to open a new avenue for justice and accountability for individuals who were rendered and detained by African states." 
  2. Scott Horton (2009-09-28). "New CIA Docs Detail Brutal "Extraordinary Rendition" Process". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2014-12-13. "The process starts with "capture shock." The detainee is subject to a medical examination prior to his flight. During the flight, the detainee is securely shackled, and is deprived of sight and sound through the use of blindfolds, earmuffs and hoods." 
  3. Kelsey McKinney (2014-12-11). "How the CIA used music to "break" detainees". Vox magazine. Retrieved 2014-12-13. "We know from past torture reports from Guantanamo Bay that this means the same song or album is often played on repeat at very loud volumes to keep detainees awake for hours on end. A 2008 AP report on prisoner conditions at Guantanamo Bay said that music was used "to create fear, disorient . . . and prolong capture shock."" 
  4. "El-Masri and CIA 'Capture Shock'". Open Society Foundations. 2012-12. Retrieved 2014-12-13. "The CIA memo demonstrates that the method by which Mr. El-Masri was brought into U.S. custody was carefully designed to give rise to a state of “capture shock” with the goal of inducing a state of “learned helplessness and dependence,” conducive to effective interrogation upon arrival at the black site in Afghanistan. The memo specifically authorizes many of the methods that were used against Mr. El-Masri: “During the flight, the detainee is securely shackled and is deprived of sight and sound through the use of blindfolds, earmuffs, and hoods” in order to “contribute to the physical and psychological condition of the [High Value Detainee] prior to the start of interrogation.” It authorizes other techniques used against him such as “walling” (slamming him against a wall), “cramped confinement” and “stress positions”."