Michael Withey

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 IS SUED FOR DOCUMENTS RELATED TO ITS INFORMANT SENT TO SCENE OF JUNE 1981 MURDERS; CONGRESSWOMAN PRAMILA JAYAPAL SEEKS INVESTIGATION.

On November 9, 2018 representatives of the families of slain anti-Marcos activists Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes filed a FOIA lawsuit in federal court in Seattle. It claims that the FBI is engaged in an ongoing cover-up of its role in the June 1981 murders.

The lawsuit follows on the heels of a three-year effort by the slain men’s attorney and author Michael Withey (Summary Execution: The Seattle Assassinations of Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes, WildBlue Press 2019) and independent film maker Sharon Maeda to obtain 1276 pages of secret documents on Forsythe which the Seattle FBI Office now admits it has on its use of Forsythe as a confidential FBI informant.

The lawsuit seeks to re-open Domingo and Viernes murders case and asks these questions: 

  1. Who in the FBI had advanced knowledge of the murders and sent its informant to observe the event?
  2. Who in the FBI authorized Forsythe to testify in favor of the hit men in order to protect Marcos and the FBI?
  3. Why is our government continuing to cover up its involvement in these murders?  

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal has written to the Department of Justice with a “Fact Sheet” seeking its cooperation. She is questioning why the DOJ has not responded to the April, 2018 referral of the matter to the DOJ by the Seattle FBI.

The lawsuit follows on the heels of an FBI Petition signed by over 250 elected officials, union leaders, community activists and human rights organizations asking the FBI to end its cover-ups.

The lawsuit states:

“The presence of an FBI informant at the scene of political assassinations originating with a foreign government raises issues of public concern, especially when that same informant tried to derail the criminal investigation in its tracks. The FBI’s and the public’s interest in enforcing the law and deterring and punishing criminal conduct requires nothing less than full cooperation and disclosure. “  Complaint Paragraph 111.

The lawsuit alleges that the FBI had three ongoing investigations in June of 1981 related to the slain men and Forsythe and asks the Court to order these files to be reviewed by the US Attorney for Seattle.

The first was a  1973-1982 “foreign counter-intelligence operation” against the Union of Democratic Filipinos (KDP), the anti-Marcos organization Silme and Gene were leaders of in Seattle. Domingo’s name and activities are referred to at least eight times in this investigation, according to the complaint.

The second is the FBI’s investigation of the June 1981 murders and the corrupt union officials who Gene and Silme opposed, but which resulted in no federal charges being brought.  Strangely, the FBI ever interviewed Forsythe, despite his being an eyewitness at the scene at the very time of the murders.

The third was a 1978-1982 “Loan Shark” case out of the Seattle office.  Forsythe was originally suspect and then use as an informant.  It resulted in the conviction of three men, whose names were also redacted despite being publicly available.  Tellingly, Forsythe was exonerated in the loan shark investigation on June 3, 1981, only three days after he was dispatched to the Local 37 ILWU union hall in Pioneer Square apparently with foreknowledge that the murders would happen that day.

The celebrated Domingo v. Marcos case went to trial in November of 1989 and a federal court jury found former Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos liable for the murders and awarded $15.1 million in damages to the Estates of the slain men.  Federal Court Judge Barbara Rothstein found two Marcos allies liable for the murders, stating that they participated in a civil conspiracy initiated by Marcos against the anti-Marcos forces in the U.S by paying for and/or providing the murder weapon for the murders.

It is the first and only time a foreign head of state has been held liable for the murders of US citizens on US soil.  At the Marcos trial the Estates proved that the murders were paid for out of an intelligence slush fund set up by Marcos to pay for “special security projects.” Athough Forsythe’s deposition was taken in the case and he admitted being both a long time FBI informant, and “bag man” for reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes, he denied working for the Seattle FBI office. His work on behalf of Hughes was documented by the FBI in the “Loan Shark” investigation by the FBI.

The lawsuit, Congresswoman Jayapal’s letter and Fact Sheet can be found in the Resources section of the website, www.michaelwithey.com.

 

 

 

 

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