Did Saddam Say US Threatened Iraq With Coronavirus in 1990s? No!

The viral video is a doctored version of the original video shared by Associated Press in 2015. 

Published20 Mar 2020, 11:49 AM IST
WebQoof
3 min read

CLAIM

Amidst the growing global panic over the novel coronavirus, a viral video claims that the former President of Iraq Saddam Hussein, during a meeting in 1990s, had briefed his cabinet and Army about US’ threat to use coronavirus on Iraqis if they didn’t follow their command.

A Facebook post shared by one Sajjad Hussain Peerbhai had garnered over 4,000 views at the time of writing this story.

Saddam Hussein in 90s talking about Corona virus to his cabinet and army that America has threatened him to spread this virus if he doesn't follow their command

Posted by Sajjaad Hussian Peerbhai on Sunday, March 15, 2020

An archived version of the post can be viewed here.

A Twitter user posted the same video claiming that coronavirus is US’ ‘biological weapon’.

An archived version of the tweet can be viewed here.

The video has been shared widely on Facebook with a similar claim.

Screenshot of the post on Facebook.
Screenshot of the post on Facebook.
(Source: Facebook)

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TRUE OR FALSE?

False.

The viral video is a doctored version of the original video shared by Associated Press in 2015. The audios of both the videos are different not only in terms of their content but voice as well. In the original AP video, Saddam Hussein does not mention the word ‘virus’ or ‘coronavirus.’

WHAT WE FOUND OUT

Taking a cue from the logo of Associated Press on the top-right corner of the viral video, we searched YouTube with the key words ‘Saddam Hussein AP’ and came across a video titled ‘President with his military advisors’. The video was uploaded on 21 July 2015 by AP archive.

However, the description along with the video does not mention the exact date on which this meeting took place.

The viral video is a 2:03-minute clip while the Youtube video’s duration is only 01:18 minutes. We observed that the viral video has many repeated visuals throughout its run time.

For instance, 0:32 seconds and 01:40 minutes share the same visuals. As do 0:02 seconds and 02:03 minutes.

Also, the viral video is a tampered version of the original one since its audio doesn’t match, not only in terms of the content but the voice as well.

The description along with the video mentions that the president told the senior military officials, "If God wills it and we have to run after the enemy, then we will do it."

The description, which is the transcription of the video, further mentions an Iraqi military official’s words in Arabic when translated in English, "We all believe that the new technology will be defeated here in Iraq. Neither the American technology nor their bombs will affect us, because we believe God will be with us."

The description along with the AP video does not mention the word ‘coronavirus’ in its transcription.
The description along with the AP video does not mention the word ‘coronavirus’ in its transcription.
(Photo Courtesy: YouTube/ Screengrab)

There is no mention of the word ‘coronavirus’ in the description. Also, even the audio of the original video does not make any reference to the word ‘virus’ or ‘coronavirus’ as can be heard in the viral video.

Evidently, a tampered video is being used to peddle fake news that former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had then briefed his cabinet and Army about US’ threat to use coronavirus on Iraqis if they didn’t follow their command.

The Quint has debunked various fake news messages about the coronavirus pandemic. You can read all our fact-check stories on coronavirus here.

(Not convinced of a post or information you came across online and want it verified? Send us the details on Whatsapp at 9643651818, or e-mail it to us at webqoof@thequint.com and we'll fact-check it for you. You can also read all our fact-checked stories here.)

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