Michael Withey

BREAKING NEWS: Domingo/Viernes murder case reopened

FBI sued for documents related to its informant sent to scene of murders. Learn more here >>

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About Michael Withey

Michael Withey, in front of a wall of plants

I am a Seattle-based human rights lawyer who has made a career representing the “little guy” against powerful interests to protect constitutional rights, civil rights, and human rights for the past 45 years. I was a crusading lawyer when my best friends, Gene and Silme were murdered in June of 1981. I dropped out of law practice for 2 and ½ years to pursue justice in their case and wore a bullet proof vest and carried a firearm for self-defense. When asked why I took on the cause of justice I said: “They killed my friends.” In some ways it was that simple. But it wasn’t easy.

Little did I know that the pursuit of justice and our investigation would take me to the canneries in Alaska, the Philippines after its dictator Ferdinand Marcos was thrown out of office, uncovering the secret files of U.S. intelligence agencies and eventually to a federal courtroom in Seattle to put Marcos on trial.

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An incredible true story that reads like an international crime thriller peopled with assassins, political activists, shady FBI informants, murdered witnesses, a tenacious attorney, and a murderous foreign dictator.

Gene Viernes Photo Silme Domingo Photo

On June 1, 1981, two young activists, Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes, were murdered in Seattle in what was made to appear like a gang slaying. But the victims’ families and friends suspected they were considered a threat to the dictatorship of Phillippines dicatator Ferdinand Marcos and his regime’s relationship to the United States.

But how could they prove it up against such powerful, and ruthless, adversaries?

Advance Praise for Summary Execution

Headshot of Phyllis Bennis

“Withey’s book illustrates the importance of the civil justice system even in cases that begin with a criminal act. Civil remedies are especially important when state authorities are unwilling to go after higher ups due to political pressure. If not for Withey and the CJDV’s dogged combination of activism and legal work, Silme and Gene would have never gotten the full justice they deserved.”

Beth Terrell Founding member of Terrell Marshall Law Group PLLC in Seattle, and Board Treasurer of Public Justice, a non-profit legal advocacy organization

Headshot of Phyllis Bennis

“Remarkable … on one hand it is a thriller. On another, a compelling account of a historic saga … a must read for every social activist and investigative reporter. And it is timeless, especially given our current circumstances where, once again, the public is deeply concerned about foreign intervention in our politics. The story has so many twists as well – amazing turns – that prove the point that conspiracy theories aren’t necessarily fiction.”

Eric Nalder Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist

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Latest Updates

News: Inquirer.net covers Nov 13 book forum at UC Berkeley

November 25, 2018

Link to the publishing site HERE. Lawyer-author wary of return of Marcos-style spying on Filipinos in U.S. By: Jun Nucum – @inquirerdotnet INQUIRER.net US Bureau / 02:27 AM November 22, 2018 BERKELEY, California — The Seattle lawyer who sued the FBI for allegedly withholding documents to help cover up the 1981 murders of militant Filipino American Marcos critics added […]

News: KING 5 reporter Lori Matsukawa

November 19, 2018

A Freedom of Information Act lawsuit was filed against the FBI on Nov. 9th. The suit claims the Seattle FBI has failed to provide over 1200 pages of documents related about its handling of Levane Forsythe, the Seattle FBI informant who was sent to the scene of the murders and then attempted to exonerate the […]

News: Seattle Times investigative reporter Steve Militech

November 19, 2018

Link to the publishing site HERE. Filmmaker, author sue FBI, seeking records about infamous 1981 Seattle murders Written by Steve Militech | Originally published in The Seattle Times November 12, 2018 at 6:00 am A Seattle attorney and a documentary filmmaker sued the FBI on Friday, alleging the bureau has improperly withheld decades-old documents related […]

Movement Advisory: Domingo and Viernes Murder Case Reopened

November 12, 2018

TO:  SUPPORTERS OF OUR FBI PETITION Thanks for your support for holding the FBI accountable for its cover-up of the Domingo and Viernes murders. We are announcing exciting new developments in our ongoing search for justice which have been brought about because of your support and involvement.    DOMINGO AND VIERNES MURDER CASE REOPENED;  FBI […]

Read our Excerpt in YES! Magazine

October 3, 2018

Read our excerpt in YES! Magazine titled How to Sue a Dictator: “A brutal regime from across the Pacific Ocean ordered the assassination of two union activists in Seattle. Here’s the true story of how the killers—including the president of the Philippines—were made to answer for the murders. When Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes, two young […]

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