WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange complained of hearing imaginary voices and music while detained in a high-security British prison, a psychiatrist who has interviewed him told his extradition hearing on Tuesday.
Michael Kopelman, a psychiatrist who has interviewed Assange around 20 times, said the former hacker would be a “very high” suicide risk if he were extradited to the United States for leaking military secrets.
He cited as evidence Assange’s “severe depression” and “psychotic symptoms”, which included auditory hallucinations while in solitary confinement in his cell at the high-security Belmarsh Prison in southwest London.
Kopelman told the Old Bailey court in central London that Assange said he hallucinated music and voices saying “you are dust, you are dead, we are coming to get you”.
Assange’s suicidal impulses “arise out of clinical factors… but it is the imminence of extradition that will trigger the attempt,” he added, warning “he will deteriorate substantially” if extradited.
Assange’s partner Stella Moris has previously said she feared he would take his own life, leaving their two young sons without a father.
James Lewis, representing the US government, quizzed Kopelman over the veracity of some of Assange’s claims, suggesting he may have made them up.
Assange faces 18 charges under the US Espionage Act relating to the 2010 release by WikiLeaks of 500,000 secret files detailing aspects of US military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Washington claims he helped intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to steal the documents before exposing confidential sources around the world.
If convicted, Assange — who has been held at Belmarsh for the last 16 months — could be jailed for up to 175 years.
US authorities recently laid out new evidence, alleging that Assange and others at the whistleblowing site recruited hackers.
The extradition hearing is the latest in a series of legal battles faced by Assange since the leaks a decade ago.
In 2010, he faced allegations of sexual assault and rape in Sweden, which he denied.
He was in Britain at the time but dodged an attempt to extradite him to Sweden by claiming political asylum in Ecuador’s embassy in London.
For seven years he lived in a small apartment in the embassy, but after a change of government in Ecuador, Quito lost patience with its guest and turned him over to British police in April 2019.
© 2020 AFP
Pro-Trump internet trolls tried to hijack Nickelodeon’s kid’s survey on who should be president — and failed
On Tuesday, Nickelodeon hosted its "Kids Pick The President" straw poll, in which young viewers of the network give their own opinion on who should win the presidential election. The poll has no electoral significance, given that kids cannot vote and given that the survey methodology is not scientific and lets anyone opt in regardless of how it balances the sample.
Despite this, pro-Trump internet trolls reportedly sought to hijack the results, spreading the message to get people to flood the poll with votes for President Donald Trump.
In the end, however, they couldn't even do it. Joe Biden won the poll, 53 percent to 47 percent.
Wisconsin sees ‘nightmare scenario’ of COVID cases — as Trump ignores medical advice for campaign rally
Wisconsin residents saw a “nightmare scenario” situation unfold Tuesday as 5,262 COVID-19 cases rocked the state, resulting in 64 deaths as President Donald Trump held a large campaign rally with few masks and zero social distancing.
"This is no longer a slow-motion disaster," said Gregory Poland, director of the vaccine research group at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. "This is a disaster in warp speed. And it's maddening to me as a physician because a whole lot of people have died and are dying."
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the state Department of Health Services reported 5,262 new cases and 64 deaths Tuesday, both records far above any previous daily counts. The death toll now stands at 1,852.
Trump’s website hacked and defaced to stop the ‘fake-news’ spread by the president: report
President Donald Trump's website appeared to have been briefly hacked on Tuesday -- one week before the 2020 presidential campaign.
Visitors to the site briefly saw a fake DOJ takedown notice.
"This site was seized," the message read. "The world has had enough of the fake-news spreaded (sic) by President Donald J. Trump."
"It is time to allow the world to know the truth," the message continued.
The message also claimed "secret conversations" prove the Trump administration "is involved in the origin of the coronavirus."
There is no evidence that is the case, experts believe the virus originated in China.