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User talk:Ben Malcom

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Hi Ben, welcome to SW. Feel free to drop me a line if you have specific queries on getting started or post them to this talk page so others may be able to respond faster than i. cheers --Bob Burton 22:13, 26 Jul 2005 (EDT)

Thanks Bob - I'm from Canada but I'm currently living in London doing a Postgrad degree at City University. There are a few things which I feel should be modified. Do I need to discuss them with you or anyone else, or can I make the changes myself? Many thanks

I'd encourage you to make a start where you feel comfortable - I know it is a bit daunting getting started in a wiki for the first time (if this is your first wiki experience). The most important things to remember are 1) key points need to be referenced so that readers can go back to the source if they want to check for further details or see if it is quoted in context. 2) Where you make substantial changes to existing work the protocol is to post a brief (or as detailed as you feel necessary) explanatory note to the talk page (accessed by clicking on the discussion tab from the article page). Don't worry about accidentally messing something up - accidental changes are easily fixed. If you are uncertain about where where you'd like to start drop me a line on your areas of interest and I may be able to point you to some pages that you could get started on. best wishes --Bob Burton 20:50, 27 Jul 2005 (EDT)

Many thanks Bob - Appreciate the guidance and advice.

sorry about not signing my post

Ben, again welcome to sourcewatch. The post I overwrote with this one was authored by me, but I absentmindedly did not sign it. Sorry.

If you're interested, the wayback machine (internet historical archive) offers 155 past pages for "apfoundation dot org" on a wildcard search. It can be referenced off of the following link:

http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.apfoundation.org/*

Sorry about the non clickable url, but the wiki code doesn't like the asterisks in the url.

I do not know your level of net comprehension, and admittedly, mine is spotty, so if you are aware of the internet archive, I apologise, and truthfully, I do not mine the resource as often as I should.

If you know about "bookmarklets" or in Internet Explorer lingo, I believe "favelets" is the term, the link that will search the archive for the page presently active in your browser is:

javascript:location.href='http://web.archive.org/web/*/'+document.location.href;

You must have javascript enabled to use it(at least locally). This link needs to be placed into your bookmark file, and then onto the browser taskbar. If you do not know how to use this, goto to archive dot org - homepage, and currently there is an anchor in the top block of data they tell you to drag to the taskbar. The clickable link will reside there. If you desire more data about it, message me.

Also, I didn't much in the way of versioning comparisons, but it looks as if another S/W member keeps an active eye on the Asia/Pacific article. If there is conflict, just plug away with citations. I've found all of the regulars here to be fairly stubborn, but not intransigent nor illogical, and surprisingly patient with my tendencies to obtuseness and low, elliptic orbits.

I noticed a mention of, Dr Rohan K Gunaratna, although not yours. I've run into references of him before. One I can cite quickly would be his public testimony in front of the Congressional 911 Investigative Committee 9 July, 2003. This was in session one for that day's public testimony, and all three "terrorism experts" had their own divergent pet theories to stroke and promote. Sageman was the reason I have read the testimony, but for reasons of my own, I decided not to dump the data I acquired on a fairly extensive datastreaming about him onto this site, at least yet... He's definitely skewed over into the really skinny egghead deviation on the far right of the bell curve, and possesses some degree of dis/anti-sociative. An interesting stream.

Finally, because you've stated your nationality, I offer an old goofing bit of html i created, playing with absolute positioned elements over a graphics file pulled form a dotgovserver. I call it nutcracker suite. The link is extremely temporary, if you like it, copyleft, download the file.

cheers, --Hugh Manatee 18:57, 29 Jul 2005 (EDT)

Thanks Hugh for the lowdown in how to use the website. Its much apprecaited. Thanks also for the graphics file!

---

No worries -- yes it takes a while to get the hang of it -- not that I have figured it all out yet either. cheers --Bob Burton 21:16, 27 Oct 2005 (EDT)

request

Ben, I noticed your posting a couple of Abramoff links. If you ever run across a transcript of The Senate Indian Affairs Committee Investigation held on June, 22, 2005, please message the url to me. I have not been able to locate it. It seems that many committees do not give transcripts over to the Government Printing Office (www.gpoaccess.gov) for web publishing in a timely manner.

I want a copy of Ridenour's testimony, first and foremost:

Among the transactions discussed by the Senate was a $1 million payment from the Choctaws to the National Center for Public Policy Research, a nonprofit educational group that organized an overseas trip for Representative Tom DeLay of Texas, the majority leader, in 2001.
Amy Ridenour, the group's director, said she had agreed that her group would sponsor a trip to England so Mr. DeLay could meet members of Parliament, but she testified that she learned only later that a lavish golf outing in Scotland had been included. Ms. Ridenour said she had been misled by Mr. Abramoff, whom she considered a friend for nearly 20 years, as he funneled money through her organization.
Ms. Ridenour, who testified at length, said Mr. Abramoff first helped her secure the Choctaw donation and then instructed her to cut checks to a nonprofit group, the Capital Athletic Foundation, and to a company, Nurnberger & Associates, that he said would do legitimate educational work.
Neither Ms. Ridenour nor officials from the Choctaw tribe knew that the foundation was run by Mr. Abramoff, they testified, or that he owed the owner of the Nurnberger & Associates $50,000 in unpaid personal loans from his days as a filmmaker. The testimony showed in much more detail how closely Mr. Abramoff worked with Mr. Reed, the former head of the Christian Coalition, who received some money from tribes that participate in casino gambling to run a campaign to shut down rival casinos. Mr. Reed, now a candidate for lieutenant governor in Georgia, has insisted he did not know he was receiving money from Indian gambling entities.
Anne E. Kornblut, "Senators Hear of a Wink-Wink Lobbyist Move", NY Times, June 23, 2005

If you aren't aware of this story, I recommend it for a laugh: it's about a lifeguard think tank executive dude public policy guy; audacious. Especially the part about him questioning the morality of it, and becoming an honest ditch-digger instead.

In regards to DeLay's "educational" trip to play golf at St. Andrews with prominent lobbyists:

...House ethics rules allow educational organizations such as the National Center for Public Policy Research to sponsor congressional travel. Both the trip to Britain and the one to South Korea were reported to the relevant House office. Both before and after the stories appeared, staff members in the majority leader's office denied any implications that Tom DeLay's votes were improperly affected by the travel or that he had violated any House rule.
Bobby R. Burchfield (DeLay Shyster), "The Story Behind Tom DeLay's Trips", Washington Post, Saturday, March 19, 2005

Amy Ridenour, head of an "educational organization" was duped like a rube into just signing over checks at Abramoff's request. Looks to me that Amy needs a bit of remedial fiduciary education.

--Hugh Manatee 18:43, 28 Oct 2005 (EDT)


thanks Ben, that is exactly what I was looking for although I find it difficult without further investigation to take the pseudo: jewishwhistleblower, as authoritative. The transcript has the feel of a straight copy and paste rip though, and I archive a lot of government transcripts.

thanks --Hugh Manatee 23:38, 28 Oct 2005 (EDT)


Samuel Alito Supreme Court nomination, i.e. Samuel A. Alito, Jr.

Hi AI, I should have started the article Samuel A. Alito, Jr. I'm afraid I don't know how to do a redirect, so feel free to add that in. My knowledge is still limited. Sorry!

Also I noticed that some of your original message to me has gone missing. Hope I did not remove it by accident. --Ben Malcom


Ben,

I took care of the redirect, as you can now see. I deleted the missing part of the message. Unnecessary.

Please be careful to follow SW rules for entries, using as many documentation links as possible. Normally, we do not link in the same way as in the Wikipedia or other wiki cites. A read over of SW guidelines might be helpful .. goodness knows I resort to them often enough. Artificial Intelligence 11:01, 31 Oct 2005 (EST)


British MP's 2005 Expenses


Hi Ben, noticed you post re DNO Bioscience - came across this. Will add ref to both DNA and Luther's pages. but thought this might be of interest to you. --Bob Burton 22:11, 4 Nov 2005 (EST)

http://www.prweek.com/uk/news/article/525790/dna-firm-calls-luther-blunkett-scandal/ DNA firm calls in Luther over Blunkett scandal Hannah Marriott 3 Nov 2005 Blunkett leaves Downing St after

Blunkett leaves Downing St after

DNA Bioscience ­ the company embroiled in the scandal that prompted David Blunkett’s resignation ­ has called in Luther Pendragon to promote it as a successful and ethical institution.

The DNA testing firm has faced a raft of charges in the media over recent weeks.

Reports have included allegations of ineligibility for Whitehall contracts and suggestions that the company's ownership is questionable. Controversial businessman Tariq Siddiqi ­ the man who introduced Blunkett to estate agent Sally Anderson, and whose wife Lucy was a DNA Bioscience director ­ is reported to own 75 per cent of the company's shares.

Luther Pendragon founding partner Charles Stewart-Smith, who heads the account with consultant Rachel Hedley, claimed the reports were 'completely false'. He insisted Tariq Siddiqi had no shares in the company, adding: 'We will put this false perception right.' He also revealed that Lucy Siddiqi had resigned.

DNA Bioscience contacted Luther Pendragon over ten days ago. The agency's former clients include the Hinduja brothers. Stewart-Smith said this brief had many similarities to the Peter Mandelson/Hinduja case.

The agency reports to the DNA Bioscience management team, led by chief executive John Rowley. The fees are undisclosed.

Luther Pendragon partner Simon Whale, meanwhile, said he expected his MBO of the consultancy alongside three other partners to be completed later this month (PRWeek, 9 September).


Ben – Thought you may be interested in the info on BP below. I’ve just come back from a trip in China. Companies like BP are wanting to do exploratory search’s into potential oilfields in some of the remote provinces. Villagers who are opposing it are being intimated by the state government. -- SARS

In January 2003, U.S. law courts ordered BP to allow federal inspectors unrestricted access to its Alaskan operations to verify compliance with environmental, health and safety laws. This was a modification of a five-year probation imposed on BP in 2000 after the company admitted it had illegally dumped hazardous waste from the Endicott Island oil field between 1993 and 1995. [1]


Note to self, need to work on article about Cash for Peers, [2]

Naming of Members of Parliament page

Hi Ben, Re List of Members of Parliament 2005 was thinking that it would be good to rename this to reflect that it refers to the UK. Was thinking that:

a) if you were thinking of adding members of the House of Lords in another section it could be renamed List of Members of Parliament 2005 (United Kingdom); or

b) if you were thinking it would remain as a list of the House of Commons of renaming it List of Members of House of Commons Elected 2005 (United Kingdom)

What you think?

Cheers --Bob Burton 03:31, 29 Apr 2006 (EDT)


Renaming Page

To rename a page, the cleanest method is to copy the material, create a new page with a new page title, and delete the unwanted page or pages to avoid confusion. Artificial Intelligence 08:49, 29 Apr 2006 (EDT)

Thnaks AI, sounds a lot easier than I thought. I'll do it know. --Ben Malcom

Members of House of Commons pages

Hi Ben,

  • In terms of renaming, AI's outline above is fine if you just started a page and made an error or if it is one that has had no edits to (esp other than your own contributions). However, the downside to just copying content, posting to new page and deleting the old is that the edit history is also lost.

So if a page has been subject to some substantial edit changes by different contributors it is better to use the 'move' function. (This moves both the article and talk page and preserves the edit history).

  • In terms of the members of the House of Commons - I started adding the to the pages that don't have it. (So far I have covered those pages existing in A and B). When I started on that I came across some of the pages started by Secret London which posted unreferenced extracts from a register of interests.

(By way of background, SecretLondon and another created about 2000 pages plus over Xmas New Year 2003/2004. By the time I caught up on them they had gone. While I eventually got around to adding refs for all the APG and APPG pages for some reason I didn't get around to referencing the interests details on the member pages they created). Which means that we really need to add references and update the details on those pages.

So a few thoughts on how to progress with cleaning those up:

  • We should create a page on how to research members of the House of Commons so if other contributors want to help, they know some of the short cuts. (I haven't had a look to find the interests register online but I guess its around somewhere);
  • If there are pages you come across as you are working your way through, perhaps you could update and reference those interests details as you go (if its not too much hassle); and
  • I'll try and tidy up some too.

One other point. When you add the office contact details for the members of the House of Commons you don't really need to add a reference link for those details. Referencing is really only intended for key points in the narrative that are important for verification by readers and other users.

Cheers --Bob Burton 01:55, 30 Apr 2006 (EDT)

in re Taheri and Benador

Ben, i was editing Benador yesterday, because i was looking for data on one of their speakers, and while there noticed the list was old, so i did a quick data scrape of the speaker list page on benador and placed it onto the stub, after placing those who had been pulled from the lineup in the former speaker section.

in re Taheri, i haven't a clue, but the article you pointed me too said:

"Amir Taheri is the former executive editor of Kayhan, Iran's largest daily newspaper. He now lives in exile in Europe."

The first bells ringing in my head want to know how long has he been an exile. Is it since the Iranian revolution, and if so search using the strings {Taheri Ghorbanifar} and {Taheri Khashoggi} and see if anything pops up. After that, maybe some Euro based Iranian exile political arms? Be aware that many of the Shah's era define themselves as Persian. That twist could be helpful searching.

if that returns nothing let me know, and maybe i'll have thought of other possible linkages germane to Benador and an iranian exile. I otherwise engaged presently, in far too many angles. Sorry i can't be of direct assistance.

i just did a google on the strings oofered above:

  • khasoggi and taheri returned about 203
  • ghorbanifar and taheri returned about 141

it's a start.

cheers --hugh_manateee 02:52, 30 Apr 2006 (EDT)

Ben, wherever the datastreams provide Iran exile info, especially in an EU context, always wonder about Ghorbanifar, he has a long history of pulling strings from behind the scenes.

also, what's up with no email pointer? i am probably going to have control over some extra pop3 accounts soon. The domains may be a bit on the odd side, but for a single purpose (SW nonpublic contact pointer) it still would have utility, and easily accessed from any preferred email client program.

let me know if you're interested.


--hugh_manateee 19:28, 30 Apr 2006 (EDT)


Ben I have created a stub Help:How to research members of the U.K. House of Commons page. cheers --Bob Burton 04:43, 1 May 2006 (EDT)

your edits to the Asia-Pacific Foundation-related articles

Hi Ben, Please see my comments over at Talk:Asia-Pacific Foundation. Cheers, --Neoconned 14:01, 4 May 2006 (EDT)

First, I have to say that the characterization you offered for the edits ("removed repetitions, dead links") seems rather inaccurate. For example, you have removed the mention of the Daily Excelsior article about the APF's founding conference from the Asia-Pacific Foundation article. This is neither a repetition nor a dead link. There are numerous other examples of this. You have gone through the articles arbitrarily deleting content, without offering a proper explanation.

If a link is dead, or the content of the page it points to has changed so that the link no longer supports the assertion being made in the article, the first step should be to check in the Internet Archive for a cached copy of the old version of the page, rather than simply deleting the link and the associated content.

A particular problem arises with the content of the old APF website, which is that shortly after I provided links to various pages on their website (which had been inadequately masked behind a new homepage), they removed those pages. So then I changed the links to point to copies in the Internet Archive... and it didn't take long before the APF requested that its site be removed from the archive. Do you spot a pattern here? The fact that the APF appears to have gone to some lengths to flush the old contents of its website down the memory hole is a good reason to keep that content alive, in my book.

Unfortunately, copyright reasons preclude me from simply uploading my saved copies (and screengrabs) of those pages and Word documents to SourceWatch. What I propose to do is this. I will create a sub-article called Asia-Pacific Foundation/Publications and website, with a summary of the contents of those saved pages and documents. This is legally OK under Fair Use, as far as I understand. I'm also sending a copy of those saved pages to SourceWatch's editor, so he has them in case of future queries.

Finally Ben, I'd like to suggest that if you want to make further changes to the articles, please make each change as a separate edit, offering a detailed justification in the Summary box.

Cheers, --Neoconned 13:52, 4 May 2006 (EDT)

Having looked at wikipedia's article on Fair Use, it seems to me that at it should be OK to upload at least some of my screengrabs of the deleted APF website pages, both on the grounds of public interest, and amount and substantiality. --Neoconned 14:25, 4 May 2006 (EDT)

Hi Neoconned,

There are numerous reasons why I made the appropriate changes, and which I totally stand by. I made those changes over a week ago, and on one page three weeks ago. If you had any issue with that you surely should have raised it back then. I am a 'sysop' of which I’m very proud of and I know it carries a lot of responsibility. I’m somewhat hurt by your comments that I’ve made arbitrary changes.

Perhaps I should have given a more detailed explanation, which I did not think was required, but which I will happily do so now. To some extent this is my fault as I have allowed these inaccuracies and selective reasoning to remain on those pages for far too long, and they should really have been corrected earlier. I feel it is absolutely essential that the integrity of SW is maintained at all times. Quoting from you, SW has very strict rules on referencing.

Firstly, all the pages unfortunately look like your own private blogs, full of conspiracies, maybe that’s not your intention, I’m sure it’s not, but they do strongly convey that you have a personal problem with these people, as many others have already suggested. Maybe you don’t, but whenever anyone has made a change you have reverted it and then added reactionary comments. Creating another page would only justify their perceptions and there is no need for that. You have done a good job on SW and added some important innovations and you are a valued member. However, on these pages I’m afraid to say that you are not being fair, nor accurate.

For instance, the Agra quote does not exist anywhere, other then on your screengrab. With respect, and I mean that, we don’t know if it is genuine or legitimate, many will say it has come from your computer, an image can easily be taken after the text is manipulated. Because of your strong intrest in these pages we certainly can’t be sure. Also, the Fair Use terms from wikipedia talks about images and pictures, not old web pages, because it cannot be proved that it is a true reflection of what existed. In addition, I also think it doesn’t proves anything. The APF website, if one can even call it that, is old, and they seem rather slow, archaic, at doing anything with it; but, all websites make changes or updates and replace old data, and that alone cannot be interpreted as an elaborate conspiracy theory that you seem keen to state as a fact.

Secondly, you choose what it seems is a selective paragraph about Agra, allegedly from a document, to justify your argument and then you picked on a very random and obscure source, the WSWS, to justify the argument. The WSWS is a known communist site. Have a look at the following links [3], [4],

Vajpayee’s own opponents have called him a man of peace. The WSWS has nothing to do with what Gohel allegedly said, it has to do with Vajpayee. Therefore it is not appropriate to keep it and I removed it as I did on the other links to do with the region because, as I’m sure you know, Pakistan was seen, after 9/11 and even more so after 7/7 as being an alleged base for al-Qaeda and Taliban, and for this reason Bush and the Neocons have forged such close links to President Musharraf despite his flagrant abuses of human rights and democracy. SW has articles on that like: Porter Goss; and Bush lies and deceptions: The Pakistani Exception.

Some of your other sources are very tenuous and again the credibility is somewhat lacking. The quote from “Daily Excelsior”, which it seems is an obscure regional newspaper, does not even get the spellings of names right. This is not a credible source. Secondly, in the article it does not say anywhere in it that the APF focused on Pakistan, people that spoke at the conference did, there is a clear difference. The newspaper deliberately chose a selective headline that you seem to have jumped on.

Other bizarre quotes are also from sites which are not well known and missing credibility. Quite frankly, no one would use them for any other SW page.

Lastly, there are ample repetitions in the names which looks strange, an article should not read like a bullet list. And, you don’t need three sources to illustrate exactly the same point.

You also made a reference to a comment which was ‘Blairite’. Again, that is in the realms of personal opinion and not fact. As far as I know, it is not what Blair has ever said but I had left that bit in there. I’ve tried not to change everything although, technically I could have. I had compromised.

SW should not become a vehicle for any personal issue that you, myself or anyone may have. Fairness and accuracy is all important, otherwise even one badly constructed page can hurt the entire SW effort.

I’ve tried to be fair and accurate which is why no one else from SW has ever queried my integrity. I’ve set up numerous new pages and tried to update many others, none of which you have taken issue with, nor anyone else.

The Talk page on the APF is totally outdated and issues have been resolved and again seem to mostly reflect your blog type edits. Other SW Talk pages have been changed overtime. In any case the info still remains in the history log for anyone to look at it.

Out of consideration to you, I have made some more compromises. The rest I am restoring as I strongly and adamantly feel they reflect accuracy and fairness. And, I will pursue this very robustly as I don’t like SW high standards being damaged, and which I hope you will agree with and support. Cheers.

-- Ben Malcom

An interjection

Ben, I'm trying to see if I can mediate this dispute a bit. Please see the Talk:Asia-Pacific Foundation page. You and Neoconned are both great contributor to SW and I hate to see you two get bogged down in this stuff.

Best, Conor Kenny, Congresspedia Editor


References

Perhaps you will find the SW resource on References helpful. Artificial Intelligence 11:10, 8 May 2006 (EDT)

Addressing edit changes re APF pages

Dear Ben

I'm aware that Conor has foreshadowed an attempt to address the issues you have with Neoconned's version of the various APF pages.

However in the meantime I have reverted your latest changes back to Neoconned's version. The reason is simply that his pages should be taken as the starting point for subsequent changes. Given your changes involved substantial deletions that were and remain unexplained this is only fair. It shouldn't be for Neoconned to have to argue for reinstatement of material that has been accepted by everyone else other than yourself.

A couple of other points:

  • it think it is would be better is you avoided personalising the issue and concentrate on the specific points on the pages that you take issue with. I suggest retracting that last post to Neoconned's talk page would be a a good start to avoiding personal critiques and sticking to the issues. As Conor indicated both Neoconned and yourself had contributed valuable material and I'd like to see the issue resolve amicable.

However, it is worth stressing that there are some basic protocols worth emphasising:

  • the content of 'Talk' pages should not be deleted just because it is old or even long. When pages get over 32k we move the content to an archive page but we do not delete it. A link to the archived content is also left on the current talk page. Just because earlier comments are on the history file is not the point. The reason for keeping content on the talk pages intact is a simple courtesy to current and future contributors and readers so they can easily follow the discussions on the page. The APF pages are not large enough to worry about yet. So in my view reinstatement is entirely justified.
  • your reverts of Neoconned's contributions have the effect of deleting a large amount of referenced material without explanation. Again the protocol is to explain deletions. You have referred to a couple of specific points but a far larger body of referenced material has been deleted without explanation. Again, this warrants the re-instatement of Neoconned's version;
  • just because material is referenced to locations such as internet archives etc doesn't mean it should be ignored. Far from it. Many SourceWatch articles link to old versions of organisations webpages or material or even articles that aren't available online. One of the functions of SourceWatch is to synthesise material onto one page and to add links to sources.

The aim is to make it time efficient for other researchers and readers to find the original sources if they want to check the primary material. A willingness to dig out hard to find supporting references does not indicate a contributor having some 'personal' grudge with the orgamisation or individual they are writing about. It is just good journalism. Neoconned's work is therefore exactly what we are seeking to encourage all contributors to do. Now maybe you want to argue that the views advocated on old pages have been superseded but that doesn't justify pretending the sources don't exist.

  • Just because you made changes to a page one or three weeks ago is not in itself an argument that they should stand. As much as we try to keep up with all changes, sometimes a change is missed. In this case I should have picked up that substantial unexplained changes were made and reverted them myself.
  • You raised specific points about Agra and the WSWS and “Daily Excelsior” - i'll have a more detailed look at these later.
  • You wrote: "Other bizarre quotes are also from sites which are not well known and missing credibility"; maybe, maybe not. The point is, that the onus is on you to be specific and justify deletions. Simply asserting that a raft of references aren't credible and deleting them is not sufficient.
  • You wrote: "an article should not read like a bullet list." Again, articles in SourceWatch take many forms. In some cases a bullet point list is entirely reasonable way to set out information in a profile. We don't has a hard and fast approach to this. Besides, this is a formatting issue rather that justification for deletion of content.
  • You also wrote "And, you don’t need three sources to illustrate exactly the same point." I for one think there are benefits in having multiple references in some instances as it illustrates that, say the description of someone hold a certain position have been made on numerous occasions and over a period of time. This is particularly relevant on the APF pages where links have been going missing on a regular basis. Besides, there is no harm from multiple references.

I also think it would be better to post your specific concerns to the talk page rather than flag them offline.

I'll add some other comments later.

Bob

Hi Ben, please see my reply to you over at Bob's talk page, and also could you please critique the list of sources I have provided here, since you've indicated you have a problem with many of them. --Neoconned 23:16, 9 May 2006 (EDT)

New SourceWatch admin group

Ben,

For some reason I couldn't find your email in the internal system, but as a sysop I wanted to make sure to invite you to a new Yahoo group we've setup to discuss SourceWatch administration.

You can join-up here (we require approval to keep spammers and troublemakers off the group).

cheers, --Conor Kenny 15:13, 13 June 2007 (EDT)