NBC News just broke the fascinating news about a 33-year-old Southern Californian with a crazy Twitter account who has been killed in Syria fighting for ISIS, Al Qaeda's uglier, nastier little brother:
The battle in itself seemed tragically normal. Two Syrian opposition groups fought and there were heavy casualties on both sides. Then victorious rebels rifled through the pockets of the dead. One contained about $800 in cash — and an American passport.
Douglas McAuthur McCain, of San Diego, California, was killed over the weekend fighting for the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), according to the Free Syrian Army. Photos of McCain's passport and of his body — which feature a distinctive neck tattoo — have been seen by NBC News. According to an activist linked to the Free Syrian Army who also saw the body and travel document, McCain was among three foreign jihadis fighting with ISIS who died during the battle.
White House officials and family members of Douglas McAuthur McCain—could there be any name less befitting a jihadist?—helped NBC News confirm that he had, in fact, died fighting with the same Islamic forces that have beheaded American journalists, engaged in ethnic cleansing and mass executions, and imposed a draconian version of Islamic law on the territories they've conquered.
McCain reportedly grew up in Minnesota before a full conversion to Islam in 2004:
After he graduated, McCain stuck around the Twin Cities for at least a while. Public records searches show several run-ins with the law. One mugshot of a Douglas McAuthur McCain details an arrest in 2000 at the age of 19 in New Hope on charges of disorderly conduct. Another arrest record – also from New Hope - shows the same man was arrested again in 2006 and booked on charges of obstruction. The mugshot from that arrest also clearly appears to be McCain – and has the same neck tattoo that is seen in Facebook photos of McCain on his "Duale ThaslaveofAllah" account - and the body found on the Syrian battlefield.
At some point this year, after bouncing around jobs and around countries, McCain appeared to be on his way to the jihad:
On June 9, Duale wrote to an alleged ISIS fighter on Twitter: "I will be joining you guys soon." He also asked if another self-proclaimed ISIS fighter had made it to "r town" – an apparent reference to Raqqa, the militants' Syrian stronghold.
Then came another post: "I'm with the brothers now." Later, he retweeted: "It takes a warrior to understand a warrior. Pray for ISIS."
McCain was prolific on Facebook and Twitter:
He apparently sometimes found it hard to cope with the strictures of his religion and distance from America:
Though he held some bigoted beliefs common to many hardcore religious militants:
But McCain apparently knew fighting for ISIS was a dead-end, at least in waking life:
[Photo credits: Facebook]