Michael Withey



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Domingo/Viernes murder case reopened

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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.


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

More Testimonials

Latest Updates

40th Anniversary of the Murders of Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes; SATURDAY, JUNE 2th at pm

June 23, 2021

Each year we commemorate the lives and works of our fallen activists Silme and Gene. This year is special: It has been 40 years since the murders.  We are saddened that Silme’s mother Ade Domingo, the matriarch of the large Domingo clans in the US and Philippines, has passed away.  Please attend the commemoration by […]

J. Edgar Hoover and the Forsythe Saga

June 2, 2021

Image: Hoover’s doubts about Forsythe in his own handwriting in long-secret FBI Documents On the 40th anniversary of the assassinations of two of Seattle’s most beloved labor leaders a Freedom of Information lawsuit has revealed a gross miscarriage of justice by the Seattle FBI Office. What we know now we didn’t know then:  the Seattle […]

Stanford Libraries Honors Contributions of Silme and Gene

May 26, 2021

A huge “thank you” to the Stanford Libraries recognition of the contributions that Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes made to the struggles of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders for social and racial justice. We are looking forward to the 40thanniversary commemoration of their lives and work, sponsored by the Legacy of Equality, Leadership and Organizing […]

New Book by Michael W. McCann and George Lovell on Filipino Labor Activists a Must-Read.

December 14, 2020

Former FBI Supervisor Faults FBI’S Investigation of Murders

January 17, 2020