TIME Civil Rights

FBI Letter to Martin Luther King Jr Reveals Ugly Truths From Hoover’s Era

MARTIN LUTHER KING A PARIS 1965
Gamma-Keystone/Getty Images Martin Luther King, Jr., 1964
"First person in the Western world to have shown us that a struggle can be waged without violence"

MLK is depicted as evil and a fraud in the letter that urges the civil rights icon to commit suicide

A scathing letter sent by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to Civil Rights icon Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. has been uncovered, pulling back the curtain on J. Edgar Hoover’s efforts to discredit the leader as his popularity grew.

In the anonymous letter, published for the first time in the New York Times Wednesday, the author refers to the Nobel Peace Prize recipient as “evil,” a “fraud,” and a “dissolute, abnormal moral imbecile.” The author threatens to expose King as an adulterer and in the end flat-out suggests that the leader commit suicide.

One passage reads: “No person can overcome facts, not even a fraud like yourself. Lend your sexually psychotic ear to the enclosure. You will find yourself in all your dirt, filth, evil, and moronic talk exposed on the record for all time. I repeat—no person can argue successfully against facts. You are finished.”

The FBI under Hoover devoted a great deal of attention to Dr. King, whom Hoover considered a threat to national security, Vox reports. The letter reportedly came to be after Hoover failed to prove King was a Communist, which he could have used to disgrace him. Yale professor of American History Beverly Gage wrote in the New York Times, the letter is “the most notorious and embarrassing example of Hoover’s F.B.I. run amok.”

Read the full letter at the New York Times.

TIME Accident

See These Dramatic Rescues of the Past

Rescuers freed two workers whose scaffolding was dangling off 1 World Trade Center in New York City on Wednesday. See how these other daring rescues unfolded

TIME Security

Chinese Hackers Breached National Weather Websites

The breach wasn't acknowledged until after several probes

Officials announced Wednesday that Chinese hackers had gained access to Federal weather data as early as September.

The hack occurred in late September, but was not acknowledged by the the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration until Oct. 20, the Washington Post reports. As a result of the hack, some national weather websites were unavailable for as many as two days, including the National Ice Center website. And those sites being offline impacted some long-term forecasts.

NOAA also lagged in its response to the breach. The Post reports the the administration “did not say its systems were compromised” when the problem was first acknowledged on Oct. 20. When NOAA admitted Wednesday that there had been a cyber security breach, they did not say who was responsible either. That information came from Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), who disclosed that the attack had come from China. Wolf blasted the agency saying, “They had an obligation to tell the truth. They covered it up.”

Read more at the Washington Post.

TIME Accident

Workers Rescued From Dangling Scaffold at 1 World Trade Center

Window washers trapped alongside the Freedom Tower
Jason Szenes—EPA A window washer is seen being rescued by NYPD and NYFD after his carriage came dislodged from his cables along side the One World Trade Center in New YorkCity on Nov. 12, 2014.

Two window washers were rescued from a scaffold whose cable snapped Wednesday afternoon high above the ground outside 1 World Trade Center in New York City.

Rescue workers were able to save Juan Lizama, 41 of New Jersey and Juan Lopez, 33, of the Bronx shortly after 2p.m. ET after a rescue team cut through glass windows of the 1,776-foot tower and pulled the two veteran window washers through the hole. According to CNN, the two were taken to Bellevue Hospital to receive treatment for mild hypothermia upon their rescue.

The cable snapped around 1 p.m. due to a “scaffolding malfunction,” a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey told reporters. FDNY first-responders arrived at the skyscraper after workers became trapped on scaffolding more than 60 floors above the ground.

1 World Trade Center is the nation’s tallest skyscraper, surpassing Chicago’s Willis Tower which stands at 1,451 feet.

— With additional reporting by Josh Sanburn and Maya Rhodan

Read next: One World Trade Center Opens Its Doors

 

TIME faith

Joseph Smith’s Many Wives: The Faith at Stake in the News

Mormon Temple Salt Lake City
George Frey—Getty Images The historic Salt Lake Mormon Temple during the184th Semiannual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on Oct. 4, 2014 in Salt Lake City.

An admission of historical facts by the Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints will be a test for the Mormon community

Religions at their core do not hinge on historical proofs. They hinge on faith. And that, ultimately, is what is at stake in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ public confirmation that Joseph Smith had dozens of wives.

Peggy Fletcher Stack at the Salt Lake Tribune reported the news three weeks ago when the essay first went live on the Church’s website. The story got national attention this Tuesday when the New York Times put Laurie Goodstein’s story about the development on A1. The shift is provocative: “Mormon leaders have acknowledged for the first time that the church’s founder and prophet, Joseph Smith, portrayed in church materials as a loyal partner to his loving spouse Emma, took as many as 40 wives, some already married and one only 14 years old,” she wrote.

Polygamy, or plural marriage as the Church calls it, has long been one of the hottest topics of conversation surrounding the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The LDS Church officially banned polygamy in 1890, and today only 2% of Mormons believe that polygamy is morally acceptable, according to the Pew Research Center. While scholarship about the LDS history has long discussed Smith’s multiple marriages, particularly his involvement with 15-year-old Fanny Alger, the Church itself has largely kept this part of its founder’s life out of the mainstream conversation.

Marriage and family have been central to the Church’s origin and trajectory from the beginning. Smith’s love for his wife Emma Hale has long been touted in Mormon circles. Mormon faith is often primarily nurtured in family structures. Today, half of Mormons say it is essential for their families to hold regular “family home evenings,” a family prayer and activity time, according to the Pew Research Center.

The Church may be talking about Smith’s marriages more openly, but the conversation will lead to topics far more complex than just polygamy. The disclosures raise deeper questions about how faith works. The essay explains that God sanctioned Smith’s polygamy for only a time. That prompts questions about who God is, how God acts, how humanity should respond to the divine, how divine revelation happens, and why it changes. That’s all on top of the particular revelation about polygamy itself. As the essay itself concludes, “The challenge of introducing a principle as controversial as plural marriage is almost impossible to overstate.”

The whole situation is a good reminder of how religions develop over time. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is one of the world’s youngest religions; it has not even celebrated its bicentennial. Christianity did not begin to decide which books would become the Bible until a century after Jesus Christ’s death when Marcion, a Christian leader, wanted the Bible to include just Luke’s gospel and Paul’s letters. The Council of Nicea, which set out orthodox belief about Christ’s relationship to God and formalized the Easter holiday, was 200 years after that. The Council of Chalcedon was another hundred years later in 451, when it standardized theology that that Christ was fully human and fully God. Now that Christian history and orthodoxy has been largely set for centuries, such big shifts can be easy to forget.

An online acknowledgement of Joseph Smith’s many marriages certainly is no Nicea, but it is another sign that the Church is trying to help its followers sort out their own history and theological place in the 21st century. The polygamy essay is one of 11 essays on controversial topics that the LDS Church has written and published online over the last year. Subjects include race and the priesthood—the LDS church did not ordain black men until 1978—and different accounts of Joseph Smith’s first vision.

All this means that the LDS reaction may end up being more important than the historical announcement. Religious trajectories are often determined by how communities handle tension. How Mormon families, wards, schools, and young people respond to this official word is what will matter.

TIME justice

U.S. Set to Revise Bush-Era Policy on Prisoner Treatment

As a signatory on a ban against "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment" in "any territory under its jurisdiction"

The United States is expected to tell the United Nations it will revise its interpretation of a treaty ban on prisoner cruelty to include some overseas locations, amending a widely criticized Bush-era interpretation formulated in the years after 9/11, according to a report Wednesday.

A signatory on a key U.N. torture treaty that bans “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment” in “any territory under its jurisdiction,” the U.S. will lay out the Obama administration’s position to the U.N. Committee Against Torture in Geneva, the New York Times reports, citing unnamed sources. The administration under former President George W. Bush had argued the ban did not go beyond domestic soil.

The revision would apply the cruelty ban to wherever the U.S. exercises governmental authority, including Guantanamo Bay and American-flagged ships and aircraft in international waters and airspace. But the Obama administration has stopped short, however, of arguing that the ban unequivocally obligates American officials everywhere they have a prisoner in their custody, as human rights advocates have urged.

[NYT]

TIME Know Right Now

Watch: What You Need to Know Right Now In Less Than 2 Minutes

These are today's top trending stories

In today’s trending stories, China and the U.S. have agreed to lower carbon emissions by 2030, which the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions calls an “extremely hopeful sign.”

Some 20,000 nurses in California are going on a two-day strike to protest the lack of protection in hospitals when it comes to Ebola treatment. Eighty-eight hospitals — 86 of which are owned by Kaiser Permanente — are to be affected.

And it may be November, but the midwest is facing an early bout of winter. Other parts of the U.S. can soon expect the same.

Finally, director Quentin Tarantino announced he may retire after his 10th film. Currently, he’s working on his eighth, titled The Hateful Eighth.

Watch today’s Know Right Now to find out more.

TIME weather

First Winter Storm of the Season Kills 4 in Minnesota

Wintry Weather
Leila Navidi—AP Truck driver Vicky Stich plows snow and lays down sand and salt on Olson Highway Service Road in Minneapolis on Nov. 11, 2014

Cold weather blew through the American Midwest

At least four people had been killed in crashes on ice-slicked roads in Minnesota, and some parts of the Upper Midwest were buried under two feet of snow Tuesday as an unusually early winter blast socked large parts of the country, authorities said.

Lac du Flambeau in north-central Wisconsin had 23.7 inches of snow on the ground Tuesday afternoon, while 24.5 inches had fallen on Ishpeming in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, said the National Weather Service, which reported that numerous other locations in the north-central Upper Peninsula had seen more than 18 inches of snowfall…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME ebola

California Nurses Strike Over Ebola Preparedness

Nurses Strike
Jeff Chiu—AP Registered nurses and supporters protest outside of a Kaiser Permanente facility in San Francisco, Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014.

A lack of preparedness for possible Ebola cases is symptomatic of a more general erosion in patient care standards, claims National Nurses United

Almost 20,000 nurses went on strike in California on Tuesday, ahead of national protests planned for Wednesday over what union leaders deem a lack of protection for nurses who might treat Ebola patients.

The two-day strike is organized by National Nurses United and will affect 88 hospitals in the Golden State, 86 of which are owned by Kaiser Permanente, Reuters reports. The larger national strike will involve 100,000 nurses in 15 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

“Inadequate preparedness for Ebola symbolizes the erosion of patient care standards generally,” a spokesman for National Nurses United told Reuters, adding that numerous other patient care issues, including under-staffing, have been “stonewalled and ignored.” National Nurses United is in the midst of contract talks.

In rebuttal to the union, an ad published in the Sacramento Bee by Kaiser over the weekend called the strikes counterproductive to making sure that U.S. hospitals are ready for any future Ebola cases.

“There is never a good time for a strike,” it read. “Calling one now, just as we are entering the flu season, and when the nation and our members are concerned about the risk of Ebola, seems particularly irresponsible.”

Several U.S. agencies and groups, including National Nurses United, have jostled over where to put fault after two nurses who treated an Ebola patient at a Dallas hospital contracted the virus. Both nurses have recovered, and there are no current Ebola cases in the U.S.

[Reuters]

TIME Crime

Ferguson Braces for the Worst Ahead of Grand Jury Decision

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon talks during a press conference at the Missouri Highway Patrol Headquarters in Weldon Springs on Nov. 11th, 2014.
Bryan Sutter—Demotix/Corbis At a Nov. 11 press conference, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon said the National Guard could again be deployed to deal with violence in Ferguson.

'You can literally see the fear in people’s eyes,' says one area gun shop owner

Here in Ferguson, you can measure the dread in sales figures. At the Original Reds BBQ on West Florissant Avenue, where the wafting aroma of rib tips and catfish fillet used to draw looping lines, the chairs stayed stacked on tables on a recent Friday at lunchtime. Boarded windows darkened the near-empty restaurant, which is now open only three days a week. “Why replace any of it if it’s just going to get broken again?” shrugs Al Bee, the 44-year-old head cook. “Business is bad, very bad.”

A few miles away, at the Metro Shooting Supplies gun shop in Bridgeton, the sense of threat has driven record sales, including more than 100 handguns and other weapons sold over a three-day stretch ending last Sunday. Shooting lessons are booked through 2015. “You can literally see the fear in people’s eyes,” says owner Steve King. “People are anticipating far worse than last time.”

Throughout the St. Louis area, citizens fear the riots that engulfed the city over the summer are about to return. A grand jury deliberating whether to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the Aug. 9 shooting death of Michael Brown is expected to come to a decision this month, perhaps as soon as late this week. And amid a steady drip of leaks that appear to corroborate Wilson‘s account of the encounter, protesters are readying for the possibility that the officer won’t be indicted on murder or manslaughter charges.

As a result, local law enforcement, politicians and protesters alike are bracing for the specter of another wave of unrest in a city that was filled with tear gas in the turbulent nights after Brown, an unarmed African-American 18-year-old, was shot to death on Canfield Drive by Wilson, a white police officer. The subsequent protests and law enforcement’s response to them stoked a national debate about race, representation and policing in America.

Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, announced Tuesday a chain of authority to maintain order in the wake of the grand jury announcement. “Violence will not be tolerated,” Nixon said. Police and government officials have met daily with each other and protest leaders to plan. More than 1,000 area law enforcement officers have received more than 5,000 hours of additional training. And once again, the Missouri National Guard will be at the ready if needed. “There’s a large sense of anxiety out there,” St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said.

St. Louis-area law enforcement agencies are replenishing and ramping up supplies of weapons and riot gear. “No one wants to use them, but it would be irresponsible if we didn’t prepare,” said Sgt. Brian Schellman, spokesperson for the St. Louis County Police Department. The county police have spent more than $100,000 since August on riot gear, tear gas, smoke bombs and so-called non-lethal ammunition such as rubber bullets and beanbag rounds.

School districts across the region have formally asked St. Louis officials to schedule the grand jury announcement during the weekend or after school hours to protect student safety. Administrators have also mailed letters outlining emergency procedures. “The students are definitely aware of the situation in the community,” says Emily Kuehl, a middle school teacher in Ferguson.

The sometimes violent demonstrations in August have continued to affect virtually every corner of the community. Religious groups and nonprofit organizations are dealing with sluggish charitable donations and fewer civic programs because of “fear of riots,” says Ferguson Public Library Director Scott Bonner. The library lost an educational program in which honor high-school students from affluent nearby communities would tutor Ferguson kids. Donations to food pantries have dwindled because “people don’t want to come into the area,” says Jason Bryant, 32, a father of two and a pastor who has lived in Ferguson for a decade. Bryant says he had to put his home renovation on hold because his contractors won’t show up to work. They say it’s “too dangerous.”

Shannon Kozeny, a 41-year-old single mom who lives in Kirkwood, an affluent suburb about 20 miles from Ferguson, says she recently bought a gun to protect her young daughter. “You don’t have to live in Ferguson to feel threatened,” she explains. “God forbid anything happens, I have a little girl to protect. If it comes down to life and death between my kid and somebody else, somebody who’s bigger than us, and angrier, I will stop it.”

Even peaceful protesters are bracing for violence. Last week, a coalition of 50 activist groups requested advance notice of the grand jury decision to quell the anger they say it may unleash.

On West Florissant Avenue, the shopping strip that was the center of the unrest in August, business owners say they fear for their lives as well as their livelihoods. “I’m scared,” says Rokhaya Biteye, 45, who owns a hair-braiding parlor on the Ferguson street. “I fear this time it will be more violent.”

Read next: Missouri Prepares for Ferguson Grand Jury Announcement

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