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Sherman wants Kadafi to pay U.S. costs

May 27, 2011|By Bill Kisliuk, bill.kisliuk@ltimes.com

As the nation prepares to honor its veterans Monday, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) wants the military to look out for today’s combat troops by monitoring nearly 80 large burn pits near U.S. bases in Afghanistan and Iraq.

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives adopted Schiff’s amendment to the Department of Defense authorization bill, requiring the Secretary of Defense to study the health risks of the open-air pits where plastics and other waste material are incinerated.

“These are big pits where the military burns refuse,” Schiff said. “Unfortunately, they burn stuff that creates a lot of toxic fumes.”

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A 2010 Government Accountability Office report found that the military does not track whether the burn pits cause respiratory damage or other health risks to people stationed nearby.

The defense appropriations bill passed in the House Thursday and now heads for the Senate.

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Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) delivered a direct message to a leader of the revolutionary movement in Libya earlier this month.

Mahmoud Jibril, the interim Prime Minister of the Transitional National Council of Libya, visited Capitol Hill on May 12.

Sherman — whose district includes part of Burbank and who is the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonprofileration and Trade — expressed unease about the backgrounds of Libyan fighters who may have ties to Al Qaida. In a letter handed to Jibril, Sherman focused on Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi, whose claims include being commander of the rebel forces in Libya and assistance to Al Qaida in Iraq.

Sherman wants Jibril to ban from his potential government-in-waiting any Libyan rebels who have supported Al Qaida or fought U.S. troops in Afghanistan or Iraq.

“Even if Mr. al-Hasidi’s comments boasting of taking action designed to kill many dozens of American soldiers are entirely fabricated,” Sherman wrote, “such claims should disqualify him of serving in any capacity.”

Sherman also told Jibril he believes that Libyan strongman Moammar Kadafi’s currently frozen international assets should be used to repay the United States for its support of NATO air strikes in Libya, which have loosened Kadafi’s grip on power and cost the U.S. an estimated $700 million so far.

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