Michael Withey

Marco shaking hands with Barasso
Protest march after the murders of Gene Viernes and Silme Domingo, two Seattle Filipino Labor Actvists.

On June 1, 1981, two political activists, Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes, were murdered in Seattle. Ten years later, their estates, led by Silme’s widow, Terri Mast, his sister, Cindy Domingo, and attorney, Mike Withey won a $15.1 million federal jury verdict holding the former dictator of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos, liable for the murders. They proved that Silme and Gene were murdered because they were effective activists against the Marcos regime. Four men were charged with their murders and sentenced to life imprisonment.

This was the first and only time ever that a foreign head of State has been held liable for the murder of US citizens. Even more remarkable, the murders took place under the watchful eyes of a secret FBI informant who came forward and perjured himself in an attempt to exonerate the hit men.

Recently, the friends of the slain activists demanded that the FBI turn over all documents related to its use of the FBI informant in the hopes of revealing the role of US intelligence in the murders. The mission, at its core, is to keep the memories of Silme Domingo, Gene Viernes, and other civil rights activists alive and to use their stories to affect change by building awareness and creating partnerships with other human rights organizations, civic allies, and socially and politically conscious individuals.

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About Author Michael Withey


Michael Withey is a Seattle-based public interest 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 42 years.  He was a very close friend of the slain men, and dropped out of law practice for 2 and ½ years to pursue justice in their case, while wearing a bullet proof vest recommended by the police.

Michael has taken on Ferdinand Marcos, Boeing, Exxon, General Motors, the Seattle Police Department (SPD), and a host of other powerful opponents who harmed people that the perpetrators’ thought couldn’t fight back.   He is the former president of the Public Justice Foundation and received numerous prestigious awards. But his most important accomplishment yet has been his successful trial of Ferdinand Marcos, the former dictator of the Philippines, for his involvement in the murder of two Filipino-American activists, Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes …
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Michael Withey, Author

Michael Withey, Author

What People are Saying About the Book

To read additional testimonials, click here. 

“…the story will expose the role that United States government agents and agencies may have played in the killing of Gene and Silme — and that exposé remains a key component of our own fight for real democracy here in the United States.”
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Phyllis Bennis

Director, New Internationalism Project, Institute for Policy Studies

“[Mike] now sheds light on a fascinating story that not only exposes how the Marcos regime murdered innocent people, but how an FBI informant was sent to the scene of the murders, and eventually testified for the hit men.”
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Susan Saladoff

Filmmaker, “Hot Coffee"

“In the case of the Domingo and Viernes Story, the US Navy appears as a possible player, just as it did in the case of the deaths of my husband Charles, and fellow-American Frank Teruggi, in Pinochet’s 1973 coup in Chile.  Illegal and covert acts taken by US intelligence agencies to spy on and collude in the murder of Americans on foreign soil, rather than protect their lives, must be brought to light and to justice.”
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Joyce Horman

Founder, Charles Horman Truth Foundation 501(c)(3)

“This is a story which must be told. It not only will reveal the full story of these killings, but will show how the U. S. government turned its back on efforts to uncover the conspiracy to commit murder on U. S. soil, but actively hid evidence that would have led to a much earlier discovery of this terrorist act.”
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Michael J. Fox

Retired Superior Court Judge

“The U.S. government role in the Seattle murder of two young anti-Marcos labor leaders from the
Philippines tells this grisly story of how American intelligence agencies collaborate with foreign
authoritarian leaders to crush democratic opposition.”
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Richard Falk

American Professor Emeritus of International Law, Princeton University

“This story of international intrigue involves murder, conspiracy, and reaches into the highest levels of government. And, the story is true. Sure to be a page turner, you will be frightened and stunned. This is a story that must be told and should be heard.”
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Oliver Diaz

Retired Mississippi Supreme Court Justice, Featured in the award-winning documentary HOT COFFEE.

“Public Justice became involved in this extraordinarily important, precedent-setting case to help find out the U.S. government’s role in these tragic murders and their cover-up … The fact that an FBI informant was both at the scene of the murders and a direct part of the cover-up is amazing — and truly disturbing.”
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Arthur Bryant

Chairman, Public Justice Foundation

“We were heartened by their victories in court but remain convinced that there are others who need to be held accountable.  I am really looking forward to the publication of Mike’s book and hope a movie can eventually be made of this amazing story of struggle, survival and success.”
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Elizabeth M. Daley

Dean, School of Cinematic Arts, University of Southern California

“I look forward to the publication of The Domingo and Viernes Story and its expose of the role of the US Naval Investigative Service in providing information to the Marcos regime leading to the murders of two American citizens.  The Navy had no busy spying on Americans and the idea that the FBI had an informant at the scene of the murders who testified for the murders is repugnant to me.”
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Stephen Dundas

Navy Seal, Vietnam War Era