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Escape and Capture

Written by an ex-Special Forces soldier for Eurohacker

When you are in war the last thing you need to do is become captured, so the best thing is to avoid capture in the first place. Becoming ignorant of potential risks is idiocy and this is why, as an example in Iraq, people have been kidnapped and murdered.

In special forces you are taught that even after a conflict has apparently ended there is still quite a high risk you can be compromised. This is where most people actually get caught out and fall victim when you think you are "Home & Dry".

You never give up under any circumstances or cease to be aware even in when you are back in your own country.

To avoid capture remember the SAS motto "Check and Test then Check and Test again!". It is Not "Who Dares Wins". That is complete bullshit.

As you now have a slight concept, let's get down to the meaty stuff :) If you are a vegetarian though, go home and die and stop reading this article!

The first and foremost issue is to not be captured in the first place and that way you do not have to escape. So let's look at some of our "Closed Protection" training where we go undercover and protect government officials and international diplomats.

These are the rules.

1. Always wear clothing that makes you fit into the crowd and never wear a suit.
2. Never wear any aftershave, perfume or deodorant. They leave an distinct signature especially if it is an expensive brand and if you are wearing a pair of jeans, a t-shirt and a jacket you will look out of place and someone will smell a rat and you will compromise yourself.
3. Never put in your pockets anything you do not need or anything that can identify you. The only things you need to carry is a concealed firearm and a hunting knife. Try and keep your clothing rather loose as well, as tight clothing gives the game away.
4. Never wear body amour that shows. Loose clothing will allow you to pull either weapon in time and kill your enemy. It is true that a knife can be pulled faster than a gun can be aimed and fired by which time your throat has been slit and one is bleeding out on the floor.
5. Always map out your route beforehand and do check and test then check and test again, re-running it over and over. You will need to have at least 4 routes to the destination and the equal amount to escape.
6. It is standard that you are covered with 3 vehicles (auto-mobiles) for closed protection. It is also fact you cannot rely on the Police Force when they give armed escorts. The police use around 7 vehicles because they are not trained well enough to deal with a potential combat situation. Yes, this does not exactly inspire confidence with armed police, or SWAT but is a reality. Sadly, there was an armed robbery in the USA a few years ago and 4 FBI agents lost their lives and it took over 100 police officers and SWAT to stop two guys that were ex-military Vietnam veterans in a massive shoot-out.
7. The above shows you can never be too careful in any situation, so the rule of thumb is never assume anything unless you want to become the next victim.
8. The utmost skill you can have is being aware without drawing attention to oneself, and that means trying to make yourself invisible/transparent whilst at the same time spotting potential threats and do remember that the only thing that trips you up in life is the small details. As we always say: "A stray bullet is deadly even if it hit you by mistake". The old adage is the 6 P's ( Poor Planning and Preparation leads to Piss Poor Performance) That goes for your life.
9. The above points are all well and good in the western world and some other countries, but in war-torn countries this is where you have to be extra vigilant because getting someone in and out of a place is normally surrounded by secrecy and planned well beforehand. By that, I mean you have your MO's (Mission Orders), the team is assembled (usually four men) and by the time your staff have reported in for duty and you are on an airplane, boat, train or in a car, nobody but the four men know each other. Afterwards you get a staff debrief. This leaves any chance of intelligence leakage quite limited and makes it very hard for an ambush to occur.

Now with the above in mind, you should not be captured or be compromised. I would like to stress, however, that there is an unwritten rule that states if one of your 4 man team is a potential "mole" it is your duty to dispense of that individual.

This does not occur in UK Special Forces. However, this does apply to CIA agents in the USA and abroad. Yes, that is right. The CIA are allowed to kill other agents who are suspected of espionage without question. However, when Bush came to the UK to collect his award from the Queen, he brought along a ridiculous amount of agents and was told quite clearly, if any agents were to open fire or kill anyone they would be held at HMP (Her Majesty's Pleasure), imprisoned for life without parole or pardon.

Bush only got an award because of the UK Prime Minister requesting it for trying to keep America stable after 9/11. There was no other reason.

When Bush came to the UK, he was not allowed a full tour, but driven only 150 yards from behind Buckingham Palace, around the corner to an entrance to collect his award still under an armed escort, with flashing lights turned on by his staff, which was hilarious to UK special forces.

I would talk about this some more, however, it is too ridiculous as he felt so vulnerable in our country, during which we had everything covered, and why he needed such an entourage. Maybe he was trying to outperform Jennifer Lopez.

Now back, onto serious matters, let's talk about capture.


In this part, I would like to talk about being Captured and how you keep yourself alive in a very hostile situation. Really, if you avoided capture in the first place and you want to stay alive, this is a must read "Always remember, if there is a way in, there is a way out".

This is the hardest part in any Special Forces training. Of course there will always be different scenarios facing you, whether it is becoming a prisoner of war, or trying to survive in other environments under extreme duress, whether it be arctic, jungle, desert, etc. I will do series of follow-up articles on these.

For the time being let us concentrate on being captured. I recommend only those with a strong stomach read ahead.

1. As always, if you are captured in the Military under International Law, you are only supposed to give your name, rank and number. This is not easy for the hardened soldier under physical torture, let alone a civilian. If you want want to stay alive you follow some unorthodox rules.
2. You need nerves of steel and not everyone has that ability. As an example, the Royal Marines advertisements in the UK say 99 % of you should not apply. By that it is means even people from other Regiments apply and fail. Let alone getting through SAS training if you take it. When captured, you will be used, abused, beaten, starved, deprived of water, threatened with death, be forced to drink your own urine, eat your own shit, maybe someone else's, given electric shock therapy, drilled through the knee's, and suffer some mutilation or being burnt and injected with drugs or given gas.
3. In point above, these are the potential realities you have to face. So how do you survive this? Well most people give up and die to be honest rather than be subject to constant pain and humiliation. Well, sorry to say, that is what happens in life all the time. The only way to escape is to just be there and confront it.
4. Show no fear. Yes, show pain. But always look a person directly in the eyes, without that stupid vacant look. The moment you have that vacant look you are losing the battle.
5. Use reverse techniques, like "sorry you captured me, but I am not for ransom, you got the wrong person. If you want to behead me then so be it, I am not doing a television interview for your politics". Ask them to give you justice and kill you and look them in the eyes when you say it. You can also say "I mean no threat, however, if you decide to kill me, be rest assured it is against your own religion and you shall not go unpunished by God". 6. All of these comments may seem extreme, but you are dealing with extreme people, who have killed before. If you show no fear "Your word is your honour" and they are most likely to let you go.
7. This final part is where most people are killed after. Your kidnapper says "It is all over and you are free". Never believe that, ever. It is a tactic used to get you to lower your guard, they give you food, water, medical attention and say you can go home to your family with apologies.

Sadly you can have gone through all SAS training and excelled, but on that last point after everything you have been through, you will be failed as an elite soldier. How painful is that? Not as painful as losing ones life.

To sum up, "Do Not get Caught in the First Place", and secondly, "Show no fear if you become captured" <----- Good advice for adventurism vacation/holiday makers and pioneers.

Copyright 2005, EuroHacker Magazine