The Naked Pyramid
'I Was Laughing at Some of the Stuff'
Saturday, May 22, 2004; Page A16
It was the night of Nov. 8, and documents show that seven prisoners were brought into Tier 1 at Abu Ghraib for allegedly starting a riot in the outside tents at the prison compound. The detainees were dragged into piles, stripped and at times hit, according to photos and videos.
Then, soldiers told investigators, someone came up with the idea of placing the naked detainees into a pyramid in the middle of the floor. One detainee after another was put in a crouching position on the floor and a soldier directed the action. One by one they were placed on top of one another, forming a human tower.
The picture, of soldiers grinning behind the pile, is one of the most widely known images of humiliation at Abu Ghraib.
Harman said Graner was placing the detainees into position, and said the entire pyramid lasted 15 to 20 minutes. Sivits said he was surprised by some of what the soldiers were making the detainees do, which later included a string of naked, hooded detainees standing in a line masturbating.
"I was laughing at some of the stuff that they had them do," Sivits told investigators. "I was disgusted at some of the stuff as well. As I think about it now I do not think any of it was funny."
The investigator then asked: "What part did you think was funny?"
Sivits answered: "The tower thing."
Shortly after, the documents show, the detainees were ordered to masturbate while soldiers stepped back to take photos and video. England said she was then asked to walk over and point at one of the men, which she said she did reluctantly.
"I really didn't want to get that close him masturbating but posed for the picture anyway," she said, referring to the well-known photo in which she points cheerily at a detainee's genitals, a cigarette hanging lazily from her mouth.
© 2004 The Washington Post Company