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British police make arrest over Saddam’s bronze buttock

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LONDON — British police arrested a 66-year-old man in connection with part of a bronze statue of Saddam Hussein, a buttock, was illegally brought over from Iraq after the war.

He was held on suspicion of breaching the 2003 Iraq Sanctions Order, which bans dealing in “illegally removed Iraqi cultural property”, including items of archaeological, historical, cultural, or religious importance.

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Derbyshire Police in northern central England said the unnamed man has been released on bail pending further inquiries.

The two-foot (0.6-metre) piece of metal had been picked up in Baghdad by a former soldier from Britain’s elite SAS regiment, Nigel “Spud” Ely, after he witnessed US marines drag the statue down following the fall of the Iraqi leader.

He originally put it up for auction in Britain last year, but it failed to reach its reserve price of £250,000 (300,000 euros, $390,000).

Ely has been interviewed by police about the statue, and warned that if he sold or defaced the bronze buttock he could face prosecution, but he expressed shock at Thursday’s arrest of the other man.

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The unnamed suspect is thought to be connected to a company trying to find a buyer for the souvenir.

“This is like having a chunk of the Berlin Wall — it’s part of history but it’s not cultural property,” said Ely, 52.

He said that US marines gave it to him at a time when Baghdad was under US control, adding: “How can it be classed as cultural property when it was put up by the biggest tyrant since Attila the Hun?”

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Mnuchin begs Chris Wallace: Take the president ‘very literally’ except on being ‘the chosen one’

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Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin insisted on Sunday that Americans should take President Donald Trump's hyperbolic comments "very literally" -- but he allowed for some exceptions.

During an interview on FOX News Sunday, host Chris Wallace noted that Trump had recently "ordered" companies not to do business with China.

"When the president says something, how seriously, how literally should we take it?" Wallace asked.

"I think most of the time, you should take it very literally," Mnuchin insisted. "I think sometimes he says things that are meant to be a joke."

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White House spokesperson ridiculed for ‘pathetic’ spin on Trump’s trade war admission: ‘Does she think we believe that?’

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Hours after Donald Trump blithely admitted that he had "second thoughts" about his trade war with China that has damaged the U.S. economy and helped set the stage for a possible recession, White House spokesperson Stephanie Grisham was forced to issue a clarification about the president's comments.

Addressing Trump's G7 response about his tariffs, widely interpreted by the press as expressing some regret, Grisham issued a statement saying the president meant that he wished he had increased his market-destroying tariffs even more.

"The President was asked if he had ‘any second thought on escalating the trade war with China,'" White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham relayed. "His answer has been greatly misinterpreted. President Trump responded in the affirmative - because he regrets not raising the tariffs higher."

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Here is why Trump is obsessed with Greenland

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They say that history repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce. Remember that President Harry Truman tried to purchase Greenland in 1946; now, in 2019, President Donald Trump is trying to do the same thing.

This article first appeared in Salon.

To be clear, Trump’s farcical, “absurd” idea — to borrow the adjective used by Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen — is not happening, and was never going to happen. As Frederiksen pointed out, Greenland is “not for sale." Trump, for his part, has not backed down from the idea.

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