Douglas McAuthur McCain, an American Islamic State (IS) fighter, was reportedly killed by the Free Syrian Army on August 25, 2014.
McCain was active on various social media sites including Facebook, but most of what he has documented on his experience in Syria has been on Twitter. On this account, under the name "Duale Khalid," he made 341 tweets and had 193 followers while following 158 accounts until his last tweet on August 19, 2014. Eventually, McCain would use this Twitter account to promote jihad and communicate with other fighters.
According to McCain, he "reverted to Islam 10 years ago" and claimed it to be "the best thing that ever happen to me." Notably, though, activity on his Twitter account spanning from December 2012 to January 2013 indicates his radicalization likely happened much later in his life. During this time, for instance, McCain would tweet lyrics from rappers like Lil Wayne ("Don't fuck around with them fuck around you'll fuck around and get smoke") and tweet pictures of himself hanging out with his friends.
Still, McCain also made many crass and aggressive statements on social media. In two tweets made in December 2012, McCain stated, "Watching the Help starting to make me hate white people." He followed up in another tweet, "Ok its official fuck white people."
In another tweet made in January 2013, McCain stated, "Why do these fags keep saying that they were born gay no bitch you choose to put a dick in your ass just saying."
It seemed that McCain also had disdain for many people around him. In a December 27, 2012 tweet, he stated:
Somali n***** in San Diego are some pussys if I wasn't from Minnesota I would think they all are some b***** shot out to my Minnesota n*****
McCain also displayed a noteworthy desire for popularity on social media, regularly retweeting spam-like accounts promising to provide followers with statements like, "HELPING SMALL ACCOUNTS AGAIN! RT FOR A SHOUTOUT! HURRY." In December 2012, McCain made his own tweet stating, "Shot out 2 #teamfollowback I got mo follower in 2min then I did in a week." Even the about section on his Twitter page, first reading "It's Islam over everything," then follows up, "follow me I follow back."
Up to his last tweet made on January 25, 2013 before taking a hiatus from Twitter, McCain made very few references to religion. Following this break, though, McCain returned to his Twitter activity on May 14 with a tweet endorsing the Islamic State, claiming:
To all my Muslim out there stand strong we will soon be 1
#oneummah #oneflag #oneleader In sha Allah
On the same day, he also tweeted, "Islam is the religion Muslims are the people. Follow the religion not the people."
From this day forward, almost all of McCain's tweets would pertain to jihad. In a June 8, 2014 tweet he implied that moderate Muslims were hypocrites while defending IS, stating:
It's funny to me how all these so call Muslim claim that they love Allah but always curse the one who try to implement his laws
McCain also began expressing a greater awareness that he might die in battle, stating in a May 15, 2014 tweet, "Ya Allah when it's my time to go have mercy on my soul have mercy on my bros."
Futhermore, McCain followed jihadist accounts like that of prominent Australian jihadist recruiter Musa Cerantonio, retweeting him on April 3, 2014 after Cerantonio had translated and posted a speech by IS spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani.
Other notable jihadist accounts McCain followed included pro-IS American "Amreeki Witness," British IS fighter and Rayat al-Tawheed leader "Abu Abdullah Britani," female jihadist recruiter "Umm Layth," and Dutch jihadist "Israfil Yilmaz." McCain was also followed by other prominent jihadist accounts including American jihadist "Mujahid Miski" and "Abu Usamah."
Conversations on his account imply that McCain had relationships with jihadists in Syria and elsewhere, particularly with known-IS fighter "Abu Dujana." In a June 7 Twitter conversation between McCain, Dujana, and another alleged IS fighter under the name "Al Kashmiri," McCain states to the two, "I miss you brothers to I was sad when yall left." Kashmiri and McCain then exchange what appears to be an inside joke with Kashmiri, stating, "I'm about to drink some pop lol," to which McCain responds, "lol u mean fizzy drank."
In another conversation taking place between June 25-26, McCain asks Dujana, "Walaykum salaam [peace be upon you] how are u brother," to which Dujana replies, "im good akhi alhamdulillah [thanks to God] heard you made it to baab. Give my salaam to the brothers." McCain then replies, "I sure will akhi now we are all waiting for you guys in sha Allah we will see you soon."
When exactly McCain left for Syria to fight with IS was never indicated on his Twitter. However, the year-and-a-half-long gap between his casual tweets in January 2013 and his returning May 14, 2014 tweet—in which he endorses IS and claims that "we will soon be 1"—may indicate a span of time in which McCain became radicalized and immigrated to Syria.