Justin Bieber rampage may have al-Qaeda links, terrorism analysts warn

January 23

To continue a theme we've used previously on Canada stories (borrowed from Slate's Joshua Keating), how would the U.S. media write about Justin Bieber's arrest if he were from almost any other country? Here is a satirical take on the story you might be reading if Bieber were from, say, Pakistan or Algeria. To reiterate: satire.

(Miami-Dade Police Department via Getty Images)
(Miami-Dade Police Department via Getty Images)

LANGLEY, Va. – U.S. law enforcement officials have seized Canadian national Justin Bieber, ending a reign of terror that analysts suggest could be linked to al-Qaeda.

U.S. intelligence agencies say they are investigating a potential connection to al-Qaeda, according to a spokesperson who acknowledged that Bieber's rampage bore the hallmarks of the global terrorist group's activities. Though al-Qaeda is not known to have yet established a foothold in Canada, its leaders have previously hinted at assets there.

While Bieber is best-known to Americans for his pop music and celebrity persona, his humble origins in the faraway nation of Canada belie his Westernized public image. His family hails from a tribal district known as Ontario, a lawless expanse of pine trees and information technology firms, and a well-known breeding ground for extremism. Bieber's home village is referred to locally as London, a legacy of Canada's history as a remote and violent corner of the British Empire.

Canada has been roiled by political instability and protests in recent years, which analysts warn can create fertile ground for extremists.

"It's not clear whether Bieber self-radicalized, probably from an Internet Web site, or if he perhaps came into contact with a radical imam while on tour in Europe," said Clint McZelin, a terrorism analyst at the Washington-based Policy Center for Subject Studies.

"We can't rule out the possibility that Bieber is an AQIA sleeper cell," McZelin added, referring to the possible Canada-based spin-off group al-Qaeda in the Islamic Acadia.

The FBI declined to confirm reports that Bieber may have once visited the Internet, which analysts consider a hotbed of radical Islam.

Bieber has resided in the United States for years on a Canadian passport, raising questions about U.S. intelligence failures that may have allowed the young foreign national to plan his violent campaign undetected.

Congressional leaders have announced hearings to investigate whether the White House, and President Obama personally, were aware of the warning signs. The hearings are expected to increase long-mounting pressure on U.S. intelligence agencies to turn their attention to Canadian extremism.

"This is a massive failure by the Obama administration to anticipate and guard against the rising dangers of Canadian terrorism," one member of Congress warned, urging that the White House allocate more funding to security walls along the U.S.-Canada border.

Shortly after Bieber's detention, social media accounts from Ontario reported unidentified aircraft overhead followed by a rapid series of explosions. Reports that a Canadian tribal gathering may have been struck could not be confirmed. A CIA spokesperson declined to comment on long-held rumors that the agency operates a secret drone base in Nova Scotia.

In a speech planned for Friday at the site of Bieber's attacks, President Obama is expected to announce $15 billion in military aid to the Canadian regime, which has been a close U.S. ally in fighting Canada-born terrorism despite its controversial reputation for authoritarianism.

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