End the Cover-Up of the Domingo and Viernes Murders
To: The Seattle Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation
As friends, family, and activists, we formed the Committee for Justice for Domingo and Viernes in the 1980’s to bring to justice all those involved in the murders and cover-up of Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes. By holding Ferdinand Marcos and his hired guns accountable, we achieved a notable human rights victory – the first and only time a foreign head of state has been held legally accountable for the murders of U.S. citizens on U.S. soil.
However, our justice efforts have one remaining task: to hold the U.S. government and the FBI accountable for their part in the cover-up of these murders. This history is detailed in a recent book, Summary Execution: The Seattle Assassinations of Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes, by Michael Withey, lead counsel in the case. (WildBlue Press 2018, see www.michaelwithey.com).
The lack of transparency on the part of the Seattle FBI office is unacceptable. There is a strong public policy interest in disclosing the identify of government officials who may have been involved in an obstruction of justice.
End the Cover-Up of the Domingo and Viernes Murders!
Terri Mast, Cindy Domingo, Sharon Tomiko Santos, Sharon Maeda, Elaine Ko, Jeff Robinson, Mike Withey
To: The Seattle Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation
From: [Your Name]
Petition to the Seattle Office, Federal Bureau of Investigation
Re: FBI Informant at Scene of 1981 Domingo and Viernes Murders!
- WHEREAS: On June 1, 1981, anti-Marcos Filipino activists Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes, were summarily executed by a hit team paid for by the repressive regime of Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines.
- WHEREAS: Ferdinand Marcos was found personally liable for the murders in a federal jury trial in 1989 and a federal judge found that the murders were paid for out of a Marcos intelligence slush fund as an overt act of a conspiracy against the anti-Marcos movement in the U.S.
- WHEREAS: During the King County Superior Court criminal trial of Jimmy Ramil and Ben Guloy, the men that Silme identified to first responders that were his assailants, a witness Levane Forsythe, came forward at the end of the trial to testify for the defense. He testified that he was present at the scene of the murders, spoke to Silme, who he claimed did not know who shot him and that the men on trial (Ramil and Guloy) were not present. Despite this testimony, the hit men were convicted of first degree aggravated murder.
- WHEREAS: The FBI assigned 42 agents to investigate the Domingo and Viernes murders but no indictment was ever brought by the U.S. Attorney.
- WHEREAS: In his deposition taken in the civil case filed by the Estates of Domingo and Viernes against Ferdinand Marcos, Forsythe admitted he was an FBI informant. He sated that he would be called by his control agent and told to go to a particular location, observe what happened and write a report. He testified he wrote a report about the Domingo and Viernes murders on June 1st that described what he had testified to but claimed not to remember who he sent it to.
- WHEREAS: Forsythe also claimed in his deposition that he was an informant for FBI-DEA-IRS investigation in Southern California and named his control agent.
- WHEREAS: In June of 2015, Mike Withey, attorney for the Domingo and Viernes Estates, and independent film maker Sharon Maeda filed an FOIA request with the FBI seeking all documents related to Forsythe, his testimony in the criminal trial, and his work as an FBI informant.
- WHEREAS: The FBI has delayed producing any documents for close to three years. However it has admitted that it has 1246 pages of documents related to an investigation in which Forsythe worked as an informant for the FBI office in Seattle from 1980 to 1986, a period of time covering the Domingo and Viernes murders and his testimony at the Ramil and Guloy trial. The FBI denied having any documents related to the FBI-DEA-IRS investigation in Southern California indicated they had been destroyed.
- WHEREAS: The FBI has verbally refused to provide any documents which identify Forsythe’s Seattle FBI control agent, who ostensibly, and perhaps with prior knowledge of the Marcos-initiated murders, dispatched Forsythe to the crime scene and was aware he testified in the Ramil and Guloy trial. If true, such action could constitute an obstruction of justice and should be investigated as such.
NOW THEREFORE, the undersigned organizations and individuals hereby demand:
- The FBI immediately provide to Withey and Maeda and/or make public ALL documents related to Forsythe’s role as an FBI informant, including for its Seattle Office.
- The FBI provide the name or names of all FBI agents in Seattle or elsewhere who had any contact with, or provided guidance, direction or authorization to Forsythe at any time.
- The FBI refer this matter to the U.S. Attorney in the Western District of Washington and/or the Department of Justice to investigate possible obstruction of justice charges against any such FBI employee who acted as Forsythe’s control agent in 1981 with knowledge of his activities related to the Domingo and Viernes murders.
(Organizations listed for identification purposes only) PARTIAL LISTING
Cindy Domingo, National Coordinator of the Committee for Justice for Domingo and Viernes
Terri Mast, Secretary-Treasurer Inland Boatman’s Union
Sharon Maeda, independent filmmaker
Michael Withey, Author of Summary Execution: The Seattle Assassinations of Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes, Co-counsel for Domingo v. Marcos case
Jeffery Robinson, American Civil Liberties Union and co-counsel for Domingo v. Marcos case
State Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos
Teresa Mosqueda, Seattle City Councilwoman
Jeff Johnson, President, Washington State Labor Council
Lynne Dodson, Secretary-Treasurer, Washington State Labor Council
Elaine Ko, Co Chair-Committee for Justice for Domingo and Viernes
Tina Podlodowski, Chair, WA State Democratic Party
Arthur Bryant, CEO of the Public Justice Foundation
Vince Warren, Executive Director, Center for Constitutional Rights
Joanne Doroshow, Center for Justice and Democracy
Michael Fox, Retired King County Superior Court Judge
Karen Strickland, President, AFT Washington, AFL-CIO
Ricardo Ortega, Executive Director, LELO-- Legacy of Equality, Leadership and Organization
WA State Rep. Velma Veloria
Bob Hasegawa, State Senator
Estela Ortega, El Centro de law Raza
Robby Stern, President, Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action
Mary Le Nguyen, Washington Community Action Network
Prof. Michael McCann, UW Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies
Juan Bocanegra, El Comite
David Della, former Seattle City Councilmember, CJDV
Rick Harwood, Sea-Tac Neighborhood Action Council
David McLanahan, MD, Coordinator, Physicians for a National Health Program, Western Washington
Garry Owens, LELO
Susan Saladoff (Filmmaker of Hot Coffee)
Rita Zawaideh, SCM Medical Missions
Thomas Hillier, former Federal Public Defender-Seattle
Gerald Lenoir, Black Alliance for Fair Immigration
Richard “Tick” Segerblom, Nevada State Senator
Emily Van Bronkhorst, CJDV, Local 1199 SEIU
Michael Ramos, Director, Church Council of Greater Seattle
Phil Bereano (former UW Professor)
Evangeline Keefe, SEIU Local 1199
Gordon Baxter, U.A. Local 32
Diane Morrison, SEIU Local 925
Paul Pemberton, ILWU
Lou Truskoff, Seattle Local American Postal Workers
Nancy Eichner, AFT Local 1950
Alexandra Vekich, ILWU Local 19
Mary Keefe, LELO
State Sen. Art Wong
Plus an additional 150 other off-line signatories