Thursday, November 22, 2018

The Inheritance - What Became of Mrs. Lincoln's JFK Memorabilia - Updated

THE INHERITANCE - WHAT BECAME OF MRS. LINCOLN'S JFK MEMORABILIA 


The Inheritance – Poisoned Fruit of JFK’s Assassination - How One Man’s Custody of Bobby Kennedy’s Hidden Evidence Changed Our Past and Continues to Shape Our Future.  By Christopher and Michelle Fulton with an Introduction by Dick Russell. (Trinday, 2018)

The Inheritance concerns some of the most important and significant records and evidence in the assassination of President Kennedy that remained out of government control for a long time, and crushed the lives of everyone who crossed paths with it, including RFK, Mrs. Lincoln, Robert White and Christopher Fulton.

Only Fulton is left alive to tell the story and a convoluted one it is, but one that is factually well-documented and confirmed by other sources, at least the key aspects we are concerned with.

The list of coincidences between the assassinations of Presidents Lincoln and Kennedy first garnered my interest in the murder, one being Lincoln’s secretary was named Kennedy and Kennedy’s secretary was named Lincoln. While I don’t know about President Lincoln’s secretary, JFK’s secretary was Mrs. Evelyn Lincoln, a rat-pack hoarder who kept everything that came across her desk, and when LBJ took over, she ended up with the entire contents of the Oval Office.

As it has been documented, in the hours after the assassination President Johnson did not enter the Oval Office but instead went to his own suite of offices in the Executive Office Building (EOB), next door to the White House, and made a number of important decisions and phone calls that were not recorded or otherwise documented.

The next day LBJ asked Mrs. Lincoln how long it will take to clear out the Oval Office so he could move in, and Mrs. Lincoln, in tears, told RFK what LBJ had asked her. RFK confronted LBJ and he said Mrs. Lincoln would have a day or two to clear out the Oval Office, and Mrs. Kennedy can live in the White House until she was ready to move.

In a footnote to his book The Vantage Point (p. 37n.) Johnson wrote, “I had insisted that Mrs. Kennedy take her time in moving from the White House. Mrs. Johnson and I therefore remained in residence at the Elms until December 7. The Attorney General notified me when the Presidential office was vacated, and I worked out of my Vice Presidential office until then, Tuesday morning, November 26.”

This confirms Mrs. Lincoln’s collaboration with RFK, and she was close personal friends with RFK’s secretary Angela Novello.

Secret Service Agent Robert Bouck was responsible for the Protective Research Section (PRS) that was responsible for keeping tracks of threats to the president and anyone who was considered a threat to the President. On the day he was killed in Dallas, Bouck said there were no known threats to the President in Dallas. And it was Bouck who was responsible for collecting and maintaining the evidence in the assassination, which he did, except for the evidence, records and artifacts that Mrs. Lincoln removed from the Oval Office, a major loop hole in the cover-up of the crimes related to the assassination.

Mrs. Lincoln cleared out the Oval Office, taking Kennedy’s personal items as well as tape recordings, documents and everything to her home. After she retired she was called back by RFK to man an office at the JFK Library in Boston, an office that was not under the control of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). There, RFK began to assemble the evidence in the assassination of his brother – including JFK’s brain, which was apparently reburied with the body during a midnight 1967 reinterment in the renovated grave at Arlington Cemetery.  And then RFK himself was assassinated, and there was no record of his oral instructions to Mrs. Lincoln to keep the artifacts, evidence and records intact and out of the government control.

Because they were unaware of RFK’s instructions to assemble the assassination records independent of the government, Mrs. Lincoln was cut off by the Kennedy family, not invited to Caroline’s wedding, and in the end left dangling in the wind. So instead of doing the right thing, and turn over what she had to the Kennedy family before she died, Mrs. Lincoln willed the whole treasure trove to a total stranger, the unassuming and typical American Robert White.

White too was willing to give the Kennedy family anything they wanted, if Caroline would only politely request it, but instead she was belligerent and demanding, so like Mrs. Lincoln, he too wouldn’t deal with her on her terms. So White was up against not only a rich and powerful political family but the government of the United States, and he was bound to lose.

It’s hard to figure out where this story really begins, and it’s not yet over. As a young man Robert White watched a “Lassie” television show in which Timmy writes to famous people asking them for their autograph, which inspired White to write to President Kennedy seeking his signature. Mrs. Lincoln got the request and sent White a signed photo of the President. White wrote back thanking Mrs. Lincoln, beginning a correspondence between the two that lasted until she passed away.

In her will, that was confirmed by a judge in court, Mrs. Lincoln consigned the entire collection of JFK memorabilia, including a rocking chair, cigar box, Oval Office and telephone tape recordings, files of national security documents concerning Cuba that were not classified or even reviewed for classification, personal notes and letters and an engraved gold Cartier watch.

For the provenance of the gold Cartier watch see: 
Robert White’s dream was to establish a JFK museum and share his inheritance with the public, but before he could get there, as a normal, everyday American citizen, with little money to invest in such a project, he violated his promise to Mrs. Lincoln to keep the collection together in one place and began selling off certain items to support himself. One of the first items to go was the watch, who he sold to his friend Christopher Fulton, an American building contractor who was constructing skyscrapers in Canada. 

While White would cooperate with authorities and avoid prison for all of these shenanigans, Fulton became the scapegoat, and the full weight of the American Federal government came down on him. And he’s lucky to have survived to tell us the story.

In the “The Maltase Falcon, Dashall Hammett’s private eye Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart) says, "There's another thing that's got to be taken care of first. We've got to have a fall-guy. The police have got to have a victim - somebody they can stick those murders on. The way to handle them is to toss them a victim, somebody they can hang the works on."

While I originally pictured Lee Harvey Oswald as Hammett’s fall guy, that description also fits Christopher Fulton, who they hung the works on.

At a social function in Canada Fulton happened to mention to a Russian industrialist that he had JFK’s watch, and the Ruskies learned about White’s treasure trove of JFK records, especially the Oval Office and telephone tape recordings, that give the most accurate portrait of JFK’s true feelings and intentions in the days and weeks before his assassination. The Russians wanted what White had, and they tried to use Christopher Fulton to get them.

What they didn’t know is that besides the Cartier watch, White had also given Fulton the tape recordings, and Fulton listened to them and knew more of JFK’s top secrets than the CIA.

White received an invitation to visit former President Ronald Reagan when Reagan learned about White’s inheritance, while Fulton went to Russia and met with their top intelligence guy who wanted the tapes and he met personally with John Kennedy, Jr., who wanted the watch, and offered a million dollars for it. That deal apparently went through, but before Fulton could spend it he was hammered. 

At that point the full weight of the federal government came down on Fulton. He was arrested at his home by the Canadian Mounties, jailed, transferred to the United States and prosecuted for various money laundering and tax evasion charges that led to eight years in federal prisons. Much of the book is about Fulton's jail time and the characters he met there, totally unrelated to the assassination story. 

In the meantime, White had auctioned off some of the collection and established a JFK museum that opened at Trump Tower in New York City, with Donald Trump promoting its merits.

I first learned of these shenanigans when one of Trump’s PR people in Atlantic City approached me as a Jersey Shore journalist to write an article promoting White’s JFK collection that they had moved from Trump Tower to one of Trump’s Atlantic City casinos. As I read the promotional material for the traveling JFK museum, that was to be in Atlantic City for the summer, I had bad feelings about it, knowing that Mrs. Lincoln’s personal effects and artifacts belonged to the Kennedy family and not to this guy Robert White, whoever he was. One of JFK's personal letters White inherited was to his wife saying that he wanted more children, certainly a private matter and a letter that belonged to the Kennedy family, not White. And that's just an example. 

While Fulton was in prison, his girlfriend died suspiciously, White died of a heart attack at age 54, and John Kennedy, Jr. died in a plane crash, so Fulton was left holding the bag, the bag of the truth as to what really happened.

As Trinday publisher Kris Milligan warned me when he gave me the book, The Inheritance is written in a novelized fashion so while it’s an easy read, the contrived conversations and fictionalized style takes away from the seriousness of the story and detracts from the basic facts that should be of concern to all JFK journalists and historians.

One of the best real journalists to cover the JFK assassination story, Dick Russell writes in the introduction, "The main character of this book is not human. It's a timepiece: the gold Cartier watch worn by our 35th President, John F. Kennedy - on the day of his assassination. His wife, Jacqueline, handed the watch to JFK that fateful morning of November 22, 1963. He was wearing it when the shots rang out in Dallas. It bore ballistic evidence. And it was no longer on his wrist when his body was flown to Washington D.C., for the 'official' autopsy. For many Americans, including myself, time stood still that day...." 

"If we could turn back the clock,...and that's what The Inheritance does," writes Russell, "in an anguished plea for the truth to will out,....The reason comes down to this: JFK's watch was the single most compelling piece of evidence that Lee Harvey Oswald did not act alone, that someone else fired the fatal shot from the front, that a conspiracy existed - indeed a coup d'etat may have taken place in Dallas. Forensics don't lie - but they can be buried." 

Instead of novelizing this story, Fulton should have written this book with Dick Russell as a true to life non-fictional account, and it would have served us all much better. 

The basic facts that can be acknowledged and elaborated on is that RFK knew that his brother was the victim of a conspiracy, one that was being covered up by LBJ and the federal government, and he began collecting evidence and records on the assassination he wanted kept out of the government's control and left them with Mrs. Lincoln.

We knew that RFK didn’t even trust the National Archives when he instructed the secretary at the National Photo Interpretation Center (NPIC) to collect, box and deliver the NPIC records on the assassination to the Smithsonian, instead of the NARA where they belonged. So that much can be confirmed. 

Much of what Fulton says in the contrived conversations may have actually been said, and some of it is true, but he uses the conversations to get across some basic facts in the case that have been documented elsewhere.

Fulton’s long and convoluted conversation with former Secret Service Agent Robert Bouck at JFK’s graveside is total BS. I don’t believe a word of it was spoken by Bouck, though some of it is true. Bouck was in charge of the Protective Research Section (PRS) that failed to detect any threat to the President in Dallas and was in charge of the evidence in the assassination, and was known to be a very discrete person, not someone who would spill his guts to a total stranger like Fulton, even if he did have JFK’s watch.

Nor do I believe, as Fulton attests, that LBJ had his Secret Service agents take JFK’s St. Christopher and Miraculous medals so they wouldn’t stop the bullets that he knew would be coming at him later that day. That’s BS. JFK accidentally left his medals in his Fort Worth hotel shower and they were retrieved by a Secret Service agent.

And Fulton claims that the blood and brain encrusted Cartier watch JFK wore at the time of his murder, is itself evidence of conspiracy. While RFK cleaned the blood and brain matter from the watch, and replaced the band, Fulton says that because the watch was only inches from his head when he was shot there, traces of the mercury coated bullet that exploded JFK’s head could be found on the watch, proof of conspiracy. I don’t buy that either. I just don't get it. How is the watch is proof or evidence of conspiracy?

What is true is RFK didn’t trust LBJ or the government he controlled, including the Archives, and he did what he could to keep the evidence and records he wanted out of their control. After he was murdered, Mrs. Lincoln was estranged from the Kennedy family and passed on her inheritance to Robert White, who himself was incapable of keeping the collection together and intact. And when White died of a heart attack at the age of 54, what remained of the collection was auctioned off separately, just what RFK and Mrs. Lincoln didn’t want.

When President Kennedy was asked if a coup d’état by the military, as portrayed in the film Seven Days in May was possible, he replied that it was possible if there was a Bay of Pigs, a second incident like the Bay of Pigs, it could happen if there was a third such incident, and he added, “but it won’t happen on my watch.”

But it did happen on his watch. 

And I’m sure if someone opens their coat and tries to sell Christopher Fulton a watch, he won’t buy it.

While this book is worth reading, you can’t buy the entire content, as it has been novelized, despite the extensive documentation in the massive appendix (p. 392-509) that are not fiction, but records that provide areas for further research.

Sir Malcolm Blunt, the British researcher, provided me with some documents he found at the Archives, including a letter from Mrs. Lincoln’s Nebraska attorney who told the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) that he had in his possession two unopened trunks that were kept in a safe in his local sheriff’s office that belonged to the late Mrs. Lincoln. He wanted to know what to do with them.

JFKCountercoup2: Mrs. Lincoln's Trunks

I have written the NARA and asked them if the ARRB obtained those trunks and I want to know what was in them. 

I also asked them about Mrs. Lincoln’s collection of artifacts, evidence, recordings and documents, and asked what became of them.


POSTSCRIPT: 

Larry asked for an example of what is among Mrs. Lincoln's records that is significant and new: 


Here's two - 

From The Inheritance – Christopher Fulton (TrineDay, 2018 - (p. 79)

“He (Robert White) took a moment to find one box in particular, from which he unpacked a series of old dictabelts. ‘President Kennedy made these recordings in the Oval Office,’ he said. ‘There are meetings, phone conversations, and dictations of his memoirs made in ’62 and ’63. Mrs. Lincoln set them aside, so I inherited them. I haven’t listened to them yet, but I’ve made one copy of them on cassettes. Some of the belts stretched and broke when I copied them. I don’t think I can get all of the information off them a second time.’ With that he handed me six cassette….’they are the only copies in existence.’”

(p. 86) “I was eager to sit down and listen to the dictabelt recordings Robert had given me. He told me that they hadn’t been listened to in thirty years, and even then, only Evelyn Lincoln and Robert Kennedy had been privy to their content. This verbal history of the slain president had remained silent since RFK’s assassination.”

“I prepared myself; this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be a fly on the wall in the Oval Office in the early sixties. It would surely be the closest I would ever get to traveling back in time. I felt a deep sense of honor as I pressed the button and began the playback.”

“Kennedy’s voice was much lower and slower than I anticipated, but it carried his unmistakable lilt. I used the fine adjustment on the tape player to speed up the rotation. All of a sudden, there it was – as if he was sitting in the room with me – President  Kennedy’s voice rang out full and clear.”

“I listened as JFK talked to John McCone, the Director of the CIA, in early November 1963. McCone said, ‘…There was a history during the administration of President Eisenhower when the Agency did play footsie with the opposition groups.’”

“’Was that a true story….the CIA did do it?’ President Kennedy asked.

“’Sure’ McCone said. ‘They supplied money, and they were involved in a plot against…..’”

“JFK cut him off. ‘Christ, they did it in Indonesia, they did it in Laos, they did it in Cambodia.’”

“I could tell he was agitated.”

“McCone continued, ‘We are playing for it with our own people, in our own press and in our own Congress. The Agency in those days wasn’t responsible to the State Department; the State Department didn’t know about it. Every time I go to Capitol Hill I get this thrown in my face:  ‘Are you in control?’ I told them I am, well I am, but it’s hard to live with the past…..We have to buckle our belts and really take the ambassador’s advice: get out gracefully on our aid program……Our public position at the moment….is the categorical denials we have anything to do with the opposition there, their plots, or the assassination of Diem, and Nhu…..’”

“JFK spoke again, ‘Yeah, are we going to say we are going to get out?’”

“’Mr. President, I think we are past the stage of being able to turn it around.’”


“’Well, it seems to me we’re going to have to have a public, and probably a Hill position on what we’re going to do about withdrawing our aid. Ok?’” 

BK NOTES: I want to know what became of the Oval Office Tapes - the original dictabelts and the cassette copies White made and gave to Fulton? 

As for Mrs. Lincoln's trunks - the NARA never got them, as they recently informed me: 


JFKCountercoup2: Mrs. Lincoln's Trunks - The NARA Never Got Them


WHAT happened to these records?

In addition, Greg Parker called my attention to the fact Fulton had a problem selling a bogus watch for $50,000 - that went to court - and even though the ruling was in his favor, it is clear that the watch is bogus and the collector who purchased it was robbed. And Fulton's mother is involved in this caper, and she is the one who first suggested - according to the book - that Chris sell the JFK watch via auction and ask the Kennedy family to bid on it.


While this may call Fulton's integrity into question, the provenance of JFK's Cartier Watch has been firmly establish - it was sold at auction for $1 million - ostensibly to JFK, Jr., though the Cartier watch company was also bidding on it. 


What is even more disturbing about Fulton's mother however, is her friendship and association with Linda Tripp, the Roger Stone protege of Republican Dirty Tricks who convinced Monica Lowinsky to save President Clinton's DNA on her dresses, and illegally tape record him. This of course, makes everything suspect. 

Stay tuned and maybe we’ll find out. 

8 comments:

Unknown said...

Great work.I was going to buy the book brcause of Dick Russell's connection. You have given a fair and balanced overview.

William Kelly said...

Greg Parker called my attention to the following concerning the watch:

https://jfkcountercoup2.blogspot.com/2018/11/more-on-christopher-fulton-and-watch.html

LSchnapf said...

I have not heard anything in the reviews about the book or the radio broadcast about what important facts about the assassination may be in the papers that Fulton got. and how did he keep these from the government while he was in prison? I need more facts before putting this book high on my reading list.

William Kelly said...

Larry, I'm not asking you or anyone to buy the book, I'm telling you that Mrs. Lincoln kept some very significant evidence - the entire contents of the Oval Office including the OVAL OFFICE TAPE RECORDINGS of phone conversations and room conversations that took place in the weeks and days leading up to the assassination, as well as the contents of the special, secret file cabinet and writing desk JFK kept next to the main desk, that includes documents on Cuba. Then there are two large unopened trunks Mrs. Lincoln asked her Nebraska attorney (Mr. Norton) to keep for her and after her death, Norton wrote to the ARRB asking what he should do with them I have a request in to the NARA asking what became of these items, that could prove significant.

CLINTON MERCHESON said...

Very good! Very good! dm

A Horse Friend said...

Wow, what a ride....really opened my eyes, and I'm a skeptic..but the facts were too detailed to be fabricated, and i do think Christopher's story is tragic and feel so badly for his being railroaded like this. Not one bit of fairness in the way he was handled by the Feds. And LBJ is burning in hell right now, as hopefully all of those evil CO's from the various prisons are. Hard to fathom man's inhumanity to man, reading this book. I cried at the end but don't want to ruin it for others.

Greg Jay's Electric warrior said...

I just picked the book Inheritance up and read 200 pages before I knew it, I loved the part where Mr. Fulton and the Retired Secret service guy at Arlington, it was fascinating reading, I always wondered why Robert seemed to go along with the Warren omission and actually worked against Big Jim Garrison who needs to be included in that same cloth as JFK just without the charisma maybe but Jim was fearless and had it right from jump street, he never gets any credit, why are JFK researchers so catty with one another? Don't they understand they are on the same side? So much jealousy there. To borrow a line from Dr.Walt Had Robert assisted Mr. Garrison who knew Bobby was in trouble, they could very possibly have left no Oliver Stone unturned, the book so far is a very good easy interesting read, If Robert really did bury evidence with Jack chances are just like with the whole episode with Oswald's head they probably already dug it up but I still have hope that one day the truth will finally come out, the country will never heal until that day,kind of ironic that Trump is in the story and is president now, I am still pulling for him cuz the country I grew up loving has turned into a shit show, holding the bag of truth in the shit show. 2 more things, Also the ArrB wasn't all that bad, Doug Horne has 6 hours of compelling video on the coup on youtube as well as Danny Sheehan but I love the book, Kudos! Every time I think I know all there is to know I find I have been mistaken.

Greg Jay's Electric warrior said...
This comment has been removed by the author.