CAQ response to Terry Allen's charges

Response to the messages posted by former employees of Covert Action Quarterly:

Bill Blum

Mon, 21 Sep 1998 20:07:59 EDT

It's remarkable how otherwise intelligent and sophisticated people have been jumping to conclusions about these postings without knowing any more than what one side is telling them. The fact that the letter speaks of one of the publishers championing "a proposal to expose Hitler's current hideout in Antarctica" should have given readers at least a little pause, and made them wonder about the rest of the letter. The fact is that the letter is composed largely of three factors: a) half-truths, b) whole untruths, c)irrelevancies. The firings had nothing -- repeat, nothing -- whatever to do with matters political, ideological, journalistic or editorial, no matter how many times the former editor Terry Allen may and will repeat this story . The firings had to do solely with interpersonal relations. The proof of this -- not disputed by the fired employees -- is that the publishers at first moved to fire only the office administrator, Barbara, not the editor or assistant editor, Sanho. Clearly, this wasn't an editorial matter. It was only then that Terry and Sanho signed an ultimatum to the publishers saying that the three of them were a team and that if one were fired, all three would have to be fired. This is what happened.

It is also a fact that Barbara and Terry continually -- for years -- displayed only the utmost contempt for the people who founded the magazine. Countless examples could be given. Their behavior could be called "mean", except that "cruel" comes even closer. Things finally reached the breaking point when Barbara took her hostility out on the 13 year-old-child of one of the founders at a moment of emergency for the girl.

Though it was not a factor in their firing, I myself was on the receiving end of their despicable behavior on numerous occasions, during the three years I worked at the CAQ office. They had lost all sense of proportion, balance and simple human kindness.

The method chosen to fire them came only after repeated efforts to modify their behavior. I spoke to each of the women about the abuse they showered on myself and others on several occasions, but to no avail. Barbara was given sufficient warning by phone and letter of her firing by one of the publishers, and she chose not to respond at all. There really was no other way than that employed to effect their dismissal, short of sending in some goons to physically eject them.

As her parting shot, Terry Allen deleted from the main computer all the articles of CAQ for the past 8 years or so, as well as the entire rolodex of authors and the many other people a magazine needs to function. She also removed the desktop publishing software. She left hardly anything except Windows. These losses have added greatly to the chore of reviving the magazine. She has since been sending out countless poison pen letters to anyone who might conceivably be in a position to do the magazine some harm.