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What Raymond Davis's Ransom is Worth

Last week GRITtv spoke to Dave Lindorff about Raymond Davis, the CIA employee held in Pakistan, accused of shooting two Pakistani civilians. The story got murkier the deeper it went, Lindorff noted.

This week, Davis has been released after a reported $2.3 million was paid to the families of the victims. Davis is free, his secrets protected.

Others, like Shane Bauer, a freelance journalist still held by Iran, haven’t been so lucky. Pratap Chatterjee notes in the Guardian, though, that Bauer’s job was to uncover U.S government secrets, not to create more of them. Four New York Times journalists—Anthony Shadid, Tyler Hicks, Lynsey Addario and Stephen Farrell—are missing in Libya right now; will there be negotiation for their release as well?

Meanwhile, the money. $2.3 million for one man is a bit steep even in the war budget, when it costs about $1 million per soldier per year in Afghanistan.

What about closer to home? What could $2.3 million get us?

How about nearly forty-five Wisconsin public school teachers at the current average salary of $51,000 a year? When Scott Walker and the FOX News crew are crying about the budget-busting cost of teachers having some collective bargaining rights, we don’t hear them complaining much about the government’s bargaining for the freedom of a contractor in Pakistan.

Let the market decide, they say, and apparently the US and Pakistani governments consider $2.3 million a fair price for Davis. No word on the market price for journalists, let alone teachers and other workers here at home.

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Laura Flanders

Laura Flanders

Laura Flanders is a best-selling author and broadcaster who hosts the The Laura Flanders Show, where she interviews forward thinking people about the key questions of our time.  The LF Show airs weekly on KCET/LinkTV, FreeSpeech TV, and in English & Spanish in teleSUR. Flanders is also a contributing writer to The Nation and Yes! Magazine (“Commonomics”) and a regular guest on MSNBC. She is the author of six books, including The New York Times best-seller, BUSHWOMEN: Tales of a Cynical Species (Verso, 2004) and Blue GRIT: True Democrats Take Back Politics from the Politicians (Penguin Press, 2007). The Laura Flanders Show first aired on Air America Radio 2004-2008. You can find all her archives and more at or via Twitter @GRITlaura

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