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orion Note from the moderator

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On April 7, 1998, Orion list moderator Avital Pinnick wrote:

>I spent this morning checking the archives and it appears that David 
>Suter is correct. ... David Crowder seems to have initiated the discussion
>Chinese characters and the findings of Dr. Victor Mair.

In response to David Suter, who wrote:  

>I really would like to know what is going on here.  I reviewed the 
>archives of Orion, and David Crowder appears to be the one who introduced 
>the topic of Chinese characters in the Isaiah scroll to Orion in a post 
>of August 25, 1997.  I, of course, stand prepared to be 
>corrected by anyone who desires to do their own search of the archives, 
>but it seems to me that the accusation of the theft of intellectual 
>property is serious and should be investigated by the list moderator.

About Neil Altman's April 5 letter to Orion, which read, in part:

>  Even before we had a chance to publish our research, it was stolen,
> twisted and falsely reported on Orion and elsewhere.  It was unethical
> unprofessional but only a few of the Orion members said a word.  I would
> like to personally thank those who did speak up.

  I trust some list members will remember this fray and what it was really
about.  It did not have a thing to do with Dr. Victor Mair's 1990 report,
which confirmed Neil Altman's hunch that marginal markings in Isaiah and
Order of the Community apparently were Chinese. Altman quoted from that
report extensively in articles that appeared in the Washington Post's
weekly magazine and in articles in other newspapers, so it was no secret. 
  Altman's objections, mine and a few others' had to do with Mair's 1997
report, which was prepared at Altman's request on the basis of his
questions, his research and his evidence.  At about the time Mair handed
that report to Altman, it was obtained by Dr. Robert Kraft, who then quoted
parts of it and put his personal spin on it in a copyrighted letter posted
on Orion.
  I dubbed it "The Chinese Connection Heist" and a series of spirited posts
ensued.  The record is archived and there should be not a speck of
misunderstanding about the specific point raised in the letter Altman wrote
and I posted with his permission, of course.
  My first mention of Chinese has precisely nothing to do with Altman's
characterization of events on Orion  involving Mair's 1997 report, and any
serious suggestion that it does is just a diversion -- which is not to say
anything untoward about Suter's question.

Avital Pinnick also wrote:
>Re: N. Altmann's letter. Because we seldom have postings of letters from 
>non-members, I have never formulated a policy. It appears that some 
>guidelines are now necessary.

  But for one Happy Easter/Passover message, I have seen no public
objections to Altman's letter, though it's unintended physical appearance
warrants an apology form me to anyone who attempted to read it. So much for
pasting from a word processing program.  And I thought that new laws and
rules arose from a public outcry over clear and repeated abuses of  customs
or mores. Perhaps this outcry, which I predicted and sought to address in
advance, arose quietly in private posts to the moderator from a number of
influential Orion members. 
  If this was not the case, if members assented to Altman's first presence
here by their lack of objection, I would simply ask, why the new rules? 
  No one blinked when non-member Norman Golb's letter was posted here some
months ago. Have other non member letters been posted as well? 
  I trust the new rules will be evenly enforced from this day onward.
  Neil Altman, BTW, has no email address but anyone who wishes to contact
him via email may do so through me, and I will promptly forward it to
whichever friend is taking his email In Philadelphia that day.

  David Crowder
  "The truth IS out there"