(TMU) – At a recent extradition hearing for Julian Assange, a psychiatrist testified that the embattled Wikileaks founder is experiencing strong hallucinations and is at a high risk of suicide. Professor Michael Kopelman, an emeritus professor of neuropsychiatry at King’s College London, said that Assange has been hearing voices and has confessed to a priest that he was making preparations to kill himself. These preparations included drafting his will and writing a goodbye letter to his family and friends.
On Tuesday, at the Old Bailey courthouse in London, Professor Kopelman testified that he visited Assange over 20 times and has become concerned about his mental and physical health.
“He reported auditory hallucinations, which were voices either inside or outside his head, somatic hallucinations, funny bodily experiences, these have now disappeared. He also has a long history of musical hallucinations, which is maybe a separate phenomenon, that got worse when he was in prison,” Kopelman said.
The voices that Assange is hearing are saying things like “you are dust, you are dead, we are coming to get you”.
Kopelman said that the most severe hallucinations have begun to diminish, but Assange is still severely depressed and at a high risk of suicide. He also added that if Assange were extradited the risk would increase further.
“The risk of suicide arises out of clinical factors…but it is the imminence of extradition and or an actual extradition that would trigger the attempt, in my opinion,” Kopleman said.
Kopelman was cross-examined by James Lewis QC, who accused Assange of fabricating his mental illness to avoid extradition.
Kopelman disagreed with the assertion, and pointed out that Assange was reluctant to share details about his mental struggles with authorities, despite self-reporting in the past.
“Mr Assange was very reluctant to talk about his suicidal ideas and plans because he feared he would be put on constant watch or isolation,” Kopelman said.
“He thinks as a leader he shouldn’t be showing weakness or psychiatric problems and he was concerned he would end up being further isolated on continuous watch and he didn’t want that,” he added.
Prison guards have previously confiscated a razor blade and two cords from his cell, and he has been kept under close watch the entire time he has been behind bars. Last month, his partner Stella Moris visited him for the first time since the coronavirus lockdowns began at the prison.
Moris said that Assange is looking much thinner than he was the last time she saw him back in March. She says that the situation has been “incredibly stressful” and that he has been having some health problems, including a sprained ankle and a frozen shoulder. While the prison was taking virus precautions when Assange was having visitors, Moris says that they have done nothing to protect the prisoners during regular hours. Moris has also launched a crowdfunding campaign to help with legal costs for Assange as he fights extradition to the United States.
So far, the campaign has raised £138,445.
Assange is facing 18 charges under the U.S. Espionage Act from the 2010 release of 500,000 files that exposed US war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Cliffhanger: Mountain Biker Saved From “Imminent Death” After Falling Into Canyon
A Southern California mountain biker is likely counting his blessings after he was rescued from what authorities describe as “imminent death”” after falling from the side of a cliff in the Angeles National Forest.
The mountain biker, described as an older man, fell into the canyon at Mt. Wilson on Thursday morning and was dangling hundreds of feet above the ground before his fellow bikers, and eventually a special team from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, rescued him.
For some time the man dangled by a thin cord around his ankle that was tied to his bicycle while hanging on for dear life “like a cat,” Capt. Tom Giandomenico of the LASD special enforcement bureau told the Los Angeles Times.
“He knew he was in such a precarious situation. He was just scared to even rotate his head to look at us. He just didn’t want to move a muscle,” LASD Deputy Richard Thomsen told CBSLA.
Additionally, when the helicopter team arrived it wasn’t just a matter of simply hoisting the man to safety, as the air generated by the helicopter’s rotor would have sent the man plummeting to “imminent death,” Giandomenico added.
“Because he was head-down on the rock face there, that dropped probably a good 40 feet before it hit some soft dirt and a boulder,” Sheriff’s Deputy Scott Helbring said. “And beyond that was hundreds of feet down to the bottom of the canyon.”
Instead, one of the members of the special enforcement team composed of former SWAT officers devised a plan to rappel down to the man and move him to a ledge below, from which the two could be airlifted to safety.
However, due to a lack of boulders or trees, there was nothing to tie a rope to – and thus no way to rappel down to anything.
So instead, the special enforcement team used the man’s brother and another friend to be their anchor, a plan that ultimately succeeded.
Giandomenico called the rescue “one of the more significant, courageous maneuvers I’ve seen.”
“Heroic, in my opinion,” he added.
Scientists Create First-Ever Embryos With Monkey and Human Cells
For the first time, scientists have created embryos in a lab that contain the cells of both humans and monkeys.
Scientists hope that by creating chimeric embryos – embryos containing cells from two distinct species – they might be able to create organs for people who desperately need transplants.
Over 100,000 people in the United States lone are currently on a waiting list for organ transplants crucial to saving their lives, but the supply of donor organs has dropped significantly since the pandemic began unfolding.
Researchers have attempted to inject human stem cells into the embryos of pigs and sheep in recent years in hopes of growing organs for transplants, but this hasn’t yielded positive results. Scientists are hoping that by turning to macaque monkeys, which share a greater genetic similarity to humans, they may have more success.
In a study published Thursday in the journal Cell, researchers in the U.S. and China injected 25 pluripotent stem cells from humans into embryos from macaque monkeys.
After one day, the researchers detected human cells beginning to grow in 132 of the embryos. They embryos ultimately survived for 19 days.
However, bioethicists have raised concerns about the potential for abusing medical regulations that currently govern the treatment of animal and human subjects, as well as the possibility that a rogue scientists might potentially spike living creatures with human cells.
“My first question is: Why?” Kirstin Matthews, a science and technology fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute, told NPR. “I think the public is going to be concerned, and I am as well, that we’re just kind of pushing forward with science without having a proper conversation about what we should or should not do.”
Researchers insist that the study serves purely humanitarian goals that could save countless lives in the future.
“This work is an important step that provides very compelling evidence that someday when we understand fully what the process is we could make them develop into a heart or a kidney or lungs,” said University of Michigan professor Jeffrey Platt, who was not involved in the study.
US Cop Shares Tiktok Video Showing How It’s Impossible To Confuse Taser for a Gun
In recent years, policing in the United States has received a much-needed reexamination, with many demanding changes to law enforcement or even its defunding and dismantling in light of high-profile killings committed by police officers.
However, one U.S. police officer has shared a video where he points out that in at least some fatal police encounters, simple common sense can save lives.
In a video shared to TikTok by user @brianb1504, the officer points out the differences between a pistol and a Taser. The video is a seeming response to the recent slaying of 20-year-old Daunte Wright by Minnesota police officer Kim Potter.
In the video, Officer Brian can be seen loading his belt with the firearm and less-lethal weapon, noting that his pistol is “dominant” while the bright yellow plastic taser is “not so dominant.”
“Huge weight difference, guys – I don’t understand how we can mistake a taser for a gun or a gun for a taser,” Brian continues.
“If you’re in the heat of the moment and you do something like that, you shouldn’t be doing this job,” he adds.
Continuing, Brian notes that he is sick and tired of the lousy state of police-community relations resulting from the actions of killer cops.
“I’m not going to put my life on the line to try and fix your stupidity and deal with restoring the peace with my public that I serve just because of your stupid actions,” Brian said.
“It makes no sense. 99 percent of our job is communication. You don’t have to be quick to pull out a gun or a taser on somebody and think everybody’s a threat,” he said. “Not everybody’s a threat. Try talking to them, get to know these people.”
While the account seems to have disappeared, it received upwards of 6 million views along with over 1.5 million likes and thousands of comments across the platform.
The video comes as the United States braces itself for more protests following the police killing of Daunte Wright by Kim Potter, a 26-year veteran of the Brooklyn Center Police Department. Police Chief Tim Gannon claims that Potter was trying to tase Wright but he died as a result of an “accidental discharge.”
Potter has since been charged with second-degree manslaughter. If convicted, she could face up to 10 years behind bars and/or a $20,000 fine.
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