WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Pentagon has denied initial reports out of southern Afghanistan that Marines have tortured prisoners after an embedded journalist reported the playing of Justin Bieber songs to "extract intelligence."
New York Times reporter Thomas Brennan claimed that Taliban fighters were forced to endure songs like "Baby" and "Someone to Love." He also described one "emotionally disturbing" incident where frustrated Marines went even further -- playing Rebecca Black's "Friday" to a Taliban fighter who soon became "completely demoralized and drained."
"I can still hear him screaming," said Brennan, recalling the captured fighter's terror. "He was begging to be water-boarded but the Marines just turned up the volume."
"We absolutely do not torture," said Pentagon spokesman Michael Lee. "Music can help to 'motivate' prisoners, whether it be the Sesame Street theme, Katy Perry, or Nickelback. If I have to listen to that crap on the radio, so can they."
Human rights activists from Amnesty International were quick to condemn the Marines' actions as "coercion and torture" on a scale similar to that of Abu Ghraib.
"No one should have to listen to such horrifying 'music'," said James McDougal of Amnesty, using his fingers to make a quoting motion. "Bieber Fever may be alright for 12 year-old girls, but it's another matter entirely for hardened enemy fighters."
McDougal went on to say that this is just another case amid a string of abuse, beginning with Guantanamo, continuing with the practice of 'PowerPointing', and culminating in what he deems "the worst -- Fuckin' Beiber [sic]."
A preliminary investigation from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service found that the allegations have merit.
"Marines did in fact play this material near Taliban prisoners," said Major Alan Furgenson. "We are still in the process of ascertaining all of the facts, but some of the Marines have said they thought the prisoners may 'like' the music. I don't really know how that's possible. But I do want to make one thing clear: we do not believe this is torture."
Battalion Commander Lieutenant Colonel Evan Keller voiced concerns over the actions of his troops.
"The fact that these Taliban shit-heads had to listen to this stuff was one thing, but what I'm most disturbed about is that men under my command would have Justin Bieber music in their possession. It's completely unacceptable, and disciplinary action will be taken."
This latest scandal follows on the heels of a similar incident several months ago where Army interrogators allegedly showed prisoners the Twilight movies with Pashto subtitles.