It's Tuesday, May 12th.
Six General Motors executives have admitted that they sold more than 300-thousand-dollars in company stock and liquidated all of their direct holdings in the company.
Currently, Exactly the kind of judgment it's going to take to turn this company around.
This is The Current.
Part One: Pakistani Women Panel
As the fighting in Pakistan's Swat Valley rages on, hundreds-of-thousands of civilians are just trying to stay out of the cross-fire. At least 360,000 people have fled their homes since a military offensive that began last week.
And according to the United Nations Refugee Agency, more seem likely to follow. The Pakistani Army is trying to push back Taliban fighters after they got within 65 kilometres of the capital, Islamabad. Government officials say more than 700 militants have been killed along with 20 soldiers.
Many Pakistani women support the government's bid to oust the Taliban from the Swat Valley. But as in many conflict zones, women are also among the most vulnerable once the fighting starts.
For their thoughts on the fighting and what's at stake for women in Pakistan, we were joined by Kamila Shamsie. She is a Pakistani-born novelist who now lives in the United Kingdom. Her latest novel is Burnt Shadows and she was in Ottawa this morning. Shahina Siddiqui is a Pakistan-born Canadian and the President of the Islamic Social Services Association in Winnipeg. And Fatima Bhutto is a Pakistani journalist who writes for the country's largest Urdu-language newspaper as well as The New Statesman magazine. She's also the niece of Benazir Bhutto and she's currently working on a book about Pakistan, her prominent family and the violence that connects them. She was in Karachi.
Break a Terrorist
We started this segment with some sounds from Abu Musab Al Zarqawi's spectacularly bloody playbook. He was the chief of Al Qaeda in Iraq and responsible for blowing up the United Nations' headquarters in Baghdad that killed Sergio Viera de Mello. He was responsible for the beheading American contractor Nicholas Berg, and destroying the Golden Dome Mosque in Samarra. He also killed hundreds of civilians and coalition soldiers.
In 2006, a U.S. military interrogator who goes by the name Matthew Alexander was dispatched to Iraq to head the team that was trying to track down Zarqawi. As we now know, the U.S. military was using what it called aggressive interrogation tactics that not only blurred the line between interrogation and torture -- they crossed that line.
But Matthew Alexander insisted that he could get better results without those tactics and still get Zarqawi's people to give him up. And in the end, he did. Matthew Alexander isn't his real name. It's one he has assumed in order to write a book about his experiences. The book is called, How To Break a Terrorist: The U.S. Interrogators Who Used Brains, Not Brutality to Take Down the Deadliest Man in Iraq. And Matthew Alexander was in our Washington studio.
Obama and Gay Rights
We started this segment witha clip from a documentary about his life, gay rights activist Harvey Milk speaking in November of 1977... right after he became the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California. One year later, Harvey Milk was assassinated. But his message lived on.
And 31 years later, another American politician rose to power on a similar campaign of hope. We aired a clip of U.S. President Barack Obama speaking at a campaign rally in San Francisco in November, 2007. But since then, President Obama has sent out some conflicting messages on the issue. We aired what he said last August during a televised interview with Reverend Rick Warren.
To some gay and lesbian rights advocates, that's just realistic politics. To others, it sounds as if President Obama is trying to dodge the issue. Either way, it isn't getting any easier to handle. In the District of Columbia, local politicians are still fighting over last week's decision to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions.
This week, the New York State Assembly is expected to pass a bill to legalize same-sex marriage. And among the people being touted as potential U.S. Supreme Court nominees are two women who are openly gay. Yesterday, White House officials met with the leaders of some prominent gay rights organizations. But Richard Socarides says that's not enough. He is a civil rights lawyer and a gay rights advocate who advised President Bill Clinton on gay and lesbian issues. He e was in New York City. And Elizabeth Birch is a former President of Human Rights Campaign. She now runs the Elizabeth Birch Company. She was in our Washington studio.
Last Word - Bibi
Earlier in the program, we talked about what's at stake for women as the Pakistani military tries to oust Taliban militants from the Swat Valley. But that's not the only part of Pakistan that has struggled under repressive leaders. Mukhtaran Bibi grew up in a village in Punjab province in central Pakistan.
In 2002, she was ordered to be gang-raped by tribesmen as punishment for a crime her teenaged brother allegedly committed. Village leaders expected her to commit suicide after the rape. Instead, Ms. Bibi spoke up about her ordeal, and her attackers were eventually charged. She was awarded compensation and she used the money to start two schools, including one for girls that she attended herself.
We spoke with Mukhtaran Bibi in October, 2005. And we ended the program today with part of our conversation, through translation.