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  • Writer's pictureFred Litwin

Was James Gochenaur a Credible Witness in "JFK Revisited"?

Oliver Stone's so-called documentary, JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass, uses James Gochenaur, a former student at the University of Washington at Seattle, to support two major allegations, one on Kennedy's throat wound, and one on an assassination plot in Chicago.

Gochenaur was not a direct witness to anything, but he did have conversations with ex-Secret Service agent Elmer Moore, and ex-FBI agent Carver Gayton.

There are some very good reasons to question Gochenaur's credibility.

The first time Gochenaur appears is at 42:38 and he is in a segment on the throat wound of President Kennedy:

Dr. Donald Miller: One of the main reasons Dr. Perry changed his testimony and publicly agreed it was an exit wound is a Secret Service agent put the pressure on him, and that person was Elmer Moore. In 1970, Elmer Moore was head of the Secret Service office in Seattle. And a graduate student named Jim Gochenaur became friends with him. And he admitted to Gochenaur that regretted putting pressure on Dr. Perry.

James Gochenaur: So, I asked him directly, I said, "Mr. Moore, did you pressure Dr. Perry?" He stopped for a minute, and he says "Well, I was ordered to do that." He expanded on it, and he said that Inspector [Thomas] Kelley had ordered him to talk with Perry and convince him that it could be either an exit or an entry wound. Not an entry wound. And I thought it was pretty interesting that he would admit to something that's pretty close to a felony.

It's interesting that the Moore did not pressure Perry to say it was an exit wound, but rather to say that it could be either. In his testimony to the HSCA, Gochenaur said that Moore told him he had "badgered" Perry into "making a flat statement that there was no entry wound in the neck."

Elmer Moore did talk to the Dallas doctors. How much he pressured Perry is not exactly known. Is Gochenaur the right witness to back up the allegation?

Point C. is interesting:

"Moore told me several times he did not "twist Perry's arm," which leads me to believe he might have."

So, in JFK Revisited, we are getting Gochenaur's interpretation of what Moore actually said, which was quite different from what he actually said. Got it.

Gochenaur appeared a second time in JFK Revisited in a segment about a plot to kill JFK in Chicago in November 1963: (1:28:03)

Whoopi Goldberg: Secret Service Agent Elmer Moore was aware of Agent Bolden and the Chicago plot.

James Gochenaur: I met with Elmer three times face-to-face, several phone calls very short, one very long one with him. I first asked him did you ever interview Thomas Arthur Vallee? And he says, "Oh, Washington wouldn't let me see the files on that." I said, "Oh, well, what about the man, the Secret Service Agent by the name of Abraham Bolden?" His demeanor completely changed. He stood up from his chair. He pulled out his revolver and he put it on the table right in front of me. He leaned over the table, and he says, "Jim, tell me right now, who are you working for?" I said, "I'm an independent researcher." He told me, in a very loud voice, and with a very stern look on his face, "We finally got him."

Once again, a story with some truth, but with quite possibly the wrong witness.

Gochenaur was interviewed by the Church Committee in 1975. (courtesy of the Malcolm Blunt Archive in the Authors, Journalists and Researchers folder) He said that Elmer Moore told him he had destroyed a picture that was given to him by Jack Ruby's sister.

Moore never told Gochenaur what was in the picture, but "Gochenaur gained the impression that it was a photo of Ruby and some individual that would link Ruby to the incident in Chicago."

The incident in Chicago was an attempted assassination of Kennedy in early November 1963. Gochenaur said that Moore told him that Ruby had made several calls to Chicago on the day before he shot Oswald. Here is a really wild allegation:

"Moore told Gochenaur that one of the persons Ruby talked to in Chicago was an individual who was arrested in Chicago on November 1, 1963, the day a number of people were arrested in the vicinity of Soldiers' Field, where President Kennedy was scheduled to appear."

Gochenaur is claiming that Moore linked Ruby to another assassination attempt on JFK. This is a far bigger allegation than claiming that Moore put pressure on Dr. Perry. Is there any evidence to back this up? If there is, I can't find any.

The two Chicago calls are to the American Guild of Variety Artists (AGVA) and to Nathan Carroll, husband of Jack Ruby's sister Marian.

Unfortunately, that is all we know since "Gochenaur said that he was reluctant to speak about some of these matters over the telephone, especially with regard to the names of people that Moore had mentioned in connection with Ruby's activities in Chicago."

Gochenaur also repeated assassination buff factoids to the Church Committee (courtesy of the Malcolm Blunt Archive in the Authors, Journalists and Researchers folder):

"In this connection, Gochenaur said that he believes it has been reported, either in the Warren Commission or in the assassination literature that when Thomas Vallee was arrested in Chicago on November 1 outside Soldier's Stadium, as indicated above, it was discovered that Vallee's car was registered in Lee Harvey Oswald's name."
"Skolnick also says that Vallee's car, bearing New York license plate 311 ORF, was "linked or registered to Harvey Oswald."

There was never any truth to this.

The Weisberg-Gochenaur correspondence gives us a contemporaneous view of what was being said. It's hard to distinguish between what Moore and Gayton actually told Gochenaur and Gochenaur's buff views on the assassination.

For instance, Elmer Moore was in San Francisco the weekend of the assassination. Here is what Gochenaur wrote about that in his letter to Weisberg on April 6, 1971:

However, in a letter from Richard Sprague to Bernard Fensterwald, it appears that Gochenaur believed that Moore was lying about being in San Francisco and might have actually been in Dallas:

So, Moore was either watching Shaw in San Francisco or he was lying and was actually in Dallas.

Also, Gayton supposedly told Gochenaur that Hosty told him that Oswald was a "potential security informant," but that Oswald was reluctant and did nothing to help. Gayton said this to the Church Committee but did not repeat this to the HSCA. He only overlapped with Hosty in Kansas City for one month.

But this silly statement just makes Gochenaur look like an amateur buff: (from his Church Committee interview)

"Gochenaur also pointed out that it was on November 1 that Hosty visited Oswald's home and talked to Oswald's mother and Oswald's wife in an effort to reach Oswald."

Richard Sprague sent a letter to Bud Fensterwald about Gochenaur in which Elmer Moore was to meet them in Victoria, British Columbia. They discussed a mysterious "Mr. O" who supposedly worked for the Office of Naval Intelligence:

The relevant quote is towards the bottom:

"Gayton admitted talking with Gochenaur but says he is somewhat of a flake and was an assassination buff when they met in Seattle."

Moore claims he was just trying to help Gochenaur:

Future blog posts will cover the wound in JFK's throat and the Chicago plot against JFK.

Previous Relevant Blog Posts on JFK Revisited

Oliver Stone's so-called documentary claims that Guy Banister gave Oswald a room at 544 Camp Street. The evidence does not support the allegation.

Dr. Robert Kirschner's consultation with the ARRB explains a mystery in the documentary.

JFK Revisited makes a big deal about the weight of JFK's brain and ignores a non-conspiratorial explanation.

Oliver Stone's so-called documentary makes it sound like the autopsy photographer said that he did not take the photos of JFK's brain that are in the current inventory,

Oliver Stone took to Twitter last weekend to bemoan the fact that the mainstream press is ignoring his so-called documentary, JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass.

There is something really obscene about Oliver Stone once again going after Clay Shaw.

You won't learn everything you need to know about Connally's position on the shots from Oliver Stone's so-called documentary.

Oliver Stone tries to make it seem like Marina Porter has denied taking the backyard photographs of Lee Harvey Oswald.

Oliver Stone once again raises the issue of the legitimacy of the backyard photographs of Lee Harvey Oswald.

This post debunks every witness that ever claimed Shaw was Bertrand.

He cannot imagine any sort of non-conspiratorial explanations for any of the suspicious pieces of evidence in his film.

No, Clay Shaw was not a "contract agent."

Steve Roe Blog Posts on JFK Revisited

"Stone/DiEugenio hatch another Bogus Mystery with Sinister Strap/Sling Mounts on Oswald's Rifle"

Oliver Stone claims that Oswald could not have been in the sniper's nest on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository. Steve Roe exposes Stone's mistakes.

In an interview on RT [Russia Today], Oliver Stone says that the throat wound might have been made by a flechette.

Steve Roe presents some examples of Oliver Stone's 'creative' abilities.

Oliver Stone distorts the testimony about Oswald's palmprint on the Mannlicher-Carcano rifle.


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