On July 14th we sent a formal request to the FBI to produce documents related to its use of Levane Malvison Forsythe as an informant for the Marcos-backed murders of anti-Marcos union activists Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes and subsequent criminal trials. Mr. Forsythe was an acknowledged FBI informant as well as an eyewitness to the June 1, 1981 murders of Gene Viernes and Silme Domingo. Forsythe testified at the King County Superior Court trial of Jimmy Ramil and Ben Guloy, State v. Ramil and Guloy, in King County Washington
In 1989 a federal jury found Marcos directly liable for the murders and awarded $15.1 million in damages. A federal judge also found Marcos ally Dr. Leonilo Maladed liable for the murders because he ran the Marcos intelligence slush fund that paid the hit men. Four men, including Marcos henchman Tony Baruso, were charged, criminally convicted of the murders, and sentence to life imprisonment without parole.
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeks detailed information that answers the following questions:
- How did Mr. Forsythe get assigned to be present at the murder scene?
- What were Forsythe’s ties to Robert Maheu (formerly a right-hand man to reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes, whom the Kennedy Administration used to contact the Mafia to assassinate Fidel Castro), and was the FBI aware of this association?
- When was the FBI aware that Forsythe was going to testify in favor of the hit men and against the prosecution?
- Did it allow or direct Forsythe to testify for the hit men because the FBI itself had dossiers on the two slain men and the anti-Marcos organization they led?
- Why did the FBI continue to use Forsythe as a “reliable informant” after it became aware that Forsythe had perjured himself at the murder trial?
As part of the federal lawsuit Michael Withey, counsel for the Estates of Gene Viernes and Silme Domingo, took a sworn deposition of Levane Forsythe. Forsythe admitted he was a paid FBI informant who had been used in this capacity for decades. “I had to be told what to do…what to say and what not to say,” Forsythe said, including, “where to go, what to look for, how to report back.” Forsythe’s activities included both written and oral reports regarding the court-approved electronic surveillance he conducted on behalf of the FBI “on numerous occasions.” Forsythe admitted to tapping phones “numerous times.” He also had an FBI “C-number” used to identify “your activities and so forth. I guess they keep a record of it,” he said.
Forsythe’s perjured testimony in the criminal trials demonstrated a considerable knowledge of the area around the Local 37 Union Hall. His testimony addressed and contradicted every major piece of evidence that the King County Prosecuting Attorney, Joane Maida, had presented in her case in chief, including that two fireman asked Domingo who had shot him and he answered clearly: Ramil and Guloy. In his testimony, Forsythe claimed that he spoke with Domingo as he bled to death outside the Local 37 ILWU Union Hall and Domingo was unable to name his assailants. Forsythe also testified that the men he saw going into and coming out of the union hall at the time of the shootings looked nothing like defendants Ramil and Guloy.
On cross examination, Maida revealed that Forsythe had delivered the famed “Morman Will” of Howard Hughes to Melvin Dumar in Utah’s desert, arguing that he was a “publicity seeker”. Forsythe denied he was seeking publicity. He admitted that he had worked for Howard Hughes and named Hughes employees Robert Maheu and Nadine Hensley as persons who could vouch for him. Robert Maheu’s background and history is well known to the FBI. His contact and relationship with Maheu is a major subject matter of this FOIA request. Forsythe testified on behalf of Robert Maheu in a lawsuit that provided Maheu with enough evidence to regain control of the Hughes empire. See
The Domingo and Viernes case was the first and only time a foreign head of state has been found liable for the murders of US citizens on US soil. The fact that an FBI informant was present at the scene of the murders, testified falsely in a failed attempt to get the hit men acquitted, illegally taped a telephone call to the Prosecuting Attorney, and then continued to be used as an informant by a joint FBI/IRS/DEA Task Force justifies this FOIA request and the full disclosure of any and all documents sought by the FOIA request.