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False claim: Saddam Hussein spoke about coronavirus 

A Facebook video post (here ) with over 150 shares as April 01, 2020 depicts former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein seemingly speaking about coronavirus. The video is captioned “Listen to Saddam Hussein in a 1990 meeting with his cabinet, telling them how America was threatening Iraq with coronavirus. This prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that Corvid-19 is a US biological weapon”. The audio of this video is doctored.

The footage carries a watermark for Associated Press (AP) in the top right hand corner and tallies with AP archive video (here) of Saddam Hussein meeting with his military advisors in January 2003.

In the original audio Hussein does not talk about coronavirus. In the transcription under the AP video, he is quoted as saying: “if God wills it and we have to run after the enemy, then we will do it.” Reuters confirmed this is the particular quote Hussein is making in the section of video that is repeatedly used in the doctored Facebook video. A full drink is visible in the shot, Hussein is holding a cigar and an unidentified hand holding papers briefly enters the frame. Additional shots of an Iraqi military officer addressing the room and of various officers at the table are also repeatedly used. Shots in the manipulated video are repeated but the audio is not, with a monologue heard throughout.

In the fake audio, the Hussein impersonator talks about being unafraid of the virus and refers derisively to face masks and panic. This suggests that the audio may have originally been recorded in jest. Earlier Arabic uploads of the video can be seen on Facebook (here and here). Reuters has not been able to establish the original upload of the doctored footage or the recorder of the audio.

VERDICT

False: this genuine archive video of Saddam Hussein meeting his military advisors has fake audio added along with a misleading caption to suggest he spoke about the coronavirus in 1990.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact checking work  here  . 

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