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Reflections on first year of ex-silo.org
With the first anniversary of ex-silo.org looming on the horizon, we are reflecting on what we have accomplished, what we have learned and our direction for the future. The purpose of ex-silo.org is for providing factual information and informed criticism about Siloism, its leaders, ideologies and activities, known aliases and hazards to the public. As consumers of religious products and services, the American and Canadian publics have a right and a need to know about controversial groups that might pose a threat to themselves or their families.
We at ex-silo.org intend to spend more time giving information about Siloism itself and resources for survivors and ex-members of Siloism, as promised. In this sense, ex-silo.org is one of only three web sites (along with our friends at humanoidex.com and secta-humanista.com) that are dedicated to this pertinent mission. By contrast, the Siloists have over 340 web sites (and counting) dedicated to giving their own one-sided view of Siloism and are impervious to criticism. Thus, the ratio of pro-Silo to ex-Silo web sites is 340:3 or 114:1! In the interests of fairness and balanced reporting on the Internet, ex-silo.org offers an alternative viewpoint and is performing an essential function and a vital public service.
Some visitors to ex-silo.org have expressed their concern about the tone used, the allegations made and the private lives of Siloists. We believe that everyone in Canada deserves the protection of the law, especially as provided for by the Charter of Rights, even if Frederick and other cult survivors were denied justice in the past. Ex-silo.org will also separate political satire from political commentary and will not mix the two on the same page. Inside jokes, which were more suitable for sharing with friends but which were sometimes lost on the Internet public, have already been edited for appropriateness.
Ex-silo.org is concerned that everyone reading this site in any country should know that the personal events he suffered in the Movement are still at the level of allegations and have not yet been proven in a court of law. Frederick's case is still before the courts and he welcomes any chance to have his day in court, be it criminal or civil. Like Frederick, ex-silo is entirely sensitive to the rights of the alleged wrongdoers and will take greater care to specify when allegations are being made as opposed to statements of established fact. After summer vacations, we will undertake a review of all content on ex-silo.org to ensure fundamental rights are respected.
The right to privacy, however, does not apply equally or in the same way to politicians and people in the public eye. The public are fascinated by the personal lives, financial affairs, sexual dalliances and other details from the lives of politicians and public figures that are routinely found in print and electronic media around the world. For years, it has been common practice for newspapers, television and magazines to report on diverse scandals. One has merely to think of the British royal family, the Kennedy family, the divorce of Pierre and Margaret Trudeau, the Profumo affair, Pauline Marois and her golden toilets, Imelda Marcos' shoe collection, Leonid Brezhnev's luxury cars, Pierre Sevigny and Gerda Munsinger to recall the extent of liberties enjoyed by a free press in democratic nations.
Down to the last little morsel of financial impropriety or allegation of sexual misconduct, it is in the public's interest to know who governs them, even to know the lives of those who repeatedly run as candidates without success, such as Jesse Jackson, Ross Perot or Lyndon LaRouche. Even years after they have left office, politicians and people who stand for public office are fair game for intense journalistic scrutiny. Jean Drapeau, the great Montreal Mayor, was hounded for years after leaving office about the Malouf Report and Olympic spending. Conrad Black, himself the subject of a particularly sharp media interest, recently published a biography of Richard Nixon, some 33 years after Nixon left office, to address the public's unquenchable thirst for knowledge.
Any Siloist who may have run for public office pales in comparison to titans like Jean Drapeau, however, freedom of the press still applies, especially when the individual or group is still active in Movements or organizations with political ramifications or who are likely to relaunch their political activities. Since its demise in 1989, the Humanist Party of Quebec has threatened on more than one occasion to rise from its ashes. In a 1997 article in La Presse, perennial candidate Ann Farrell (who personally opposed Premier Robert Bourassa in a 1986 by-election) threatened to do just that. [La Presse, Wednesday May 7 1997, p. B4] In 2004, Jean-François Arsenault registered the name of "Parti humaniste du Quebec" with the Quebec Director General of Elections. Frederick himself appealed to the DGE not to allow the name and lost, leaving the door open for the HP to reconstitute. Through numerous name changes since the 1980s, the Humanists have always been active in Quebec politics and thus can be criticized plenty. Recently, the Humanists have rebranded themselves as "Réseau Humaniste International" and "Centre of Cultures;" both are active in Canada and in Europe.
Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press must be protected on the Internet, even if the Siloists will not do so themselves. Ex-silo.org wishes to make clear that everyone is welcome to visit this site, to submit articles and to send an e-mail, even current Siloists. The purpose of the disclaimer, prominently linked at the bottom of our home page, was merely to discourage Siloists from abusing us, which they still may not do. This invitation to dialogue is extended even to persons named on this web site, whose politics our authors may have severely criticized and who wish to submit a rebuttal, commentary or dispute a perceived factual error.
In 1997, the Humanist Movement took legal action against a free weekly newspaper in Montreal who had dared to mention in passing that the Humanist Movement was one of many cults who used the Internet. In refusing the Movement's petition for justice, the judge wrote that the plaintiff had failed to do her research properly and that she could have solved her problem merely by writing a letter to the editor of the newspaper concerned.
«Le Conseil de presse du Québec tient cependant à préciser que la plaignante...aurait pu utiliser d'autres recours pour manifester son insatisfaction devant l'article de Voir, comme une réplique dans la page du lecteur.»
Translation: "The Quebec Press Council wishes to point out that the plaintiff...could have used other recourses to show her displeasure with the article in Voir, like a letter to the editor."
Impatient Siloists should listen to the judge who told them not to be so hasty, but to take time to write a simple letter to the editor when the situation calls for it. I am here. I am the editor of this web site. If anybody has something non-violent they wish to say to me, they are welcome to send me a "Letter to the editor" by e-mail at email@example.com and I will read what they have to say. Since Siloists believe in "Direct Communication," they can have this chance to practice it by sending their message entirely on their own, without spokespersons.
Editors: June 19, 2007
La Presse, Mercredi 7 mai 1997, p. B4. Fair use.
Quebec (Province). Director General of Elections, 2005.
Application to revive HP Quebec
HP renewal process underway
Silo, cult leader
Jean Drapeau, Mr. Montreal