Baseline of a Desecrated Land XI: Love Child of the American Water Bureaucracy

Baseline of a Desecrated Land XI: Love Child of the American Water Bureaucracy
Part 11 of a 12 part series examining the ecological impacts of Israel’s occupation of Palestine. A synopsis of the findings is here.

by Dick Callahan, reposted from

Holy Water:  Old West meets Middle East

Thou shall inherit the holy earth as a faithful steward, conserving its resources and productivity from generation to generation. Thou shall safeguard the fields from soil erosion, thy living waters from drying up, thy forests from desolation.” American ‘Father of the Israeli water plan,’ W.C. Lowdermilk’s 11th Commandment read on the radio in Jerusalem, June, 1939.

In 1919, European Zionists presented the Paris Peace Conference a statement expressing their claim and desire, based on their ancient ancestors having been in Palestine 2,000 years ago (though almost none of them had been there since), to set up a Jewish state by kicking Palestinian Arabs off the land and replacing them with Jews who would take over the regional water supplies including not only the Jordan and Lebanon’s Litani Rivers, but also the vast acreage of their headwaters, which the Zionists claimed would be vital to the Jewish state’s survival. To get a feel of how that could possibly work President Woodrow Wilson, also in 1919, dispatched the King-Crane commission to Palestine. The Commission spoke with all factions. They received and examined over 1,860 petitions.

Of the petitions, 19 favored the Zionist plan or a modified version of it while 1,350 were opposed. Based on their work, King-Crane recommended against the ‘extreme Zionist program for Palestine,’ saying,

“For, “a national home for the Jewish people” is not equivalent to making Palestine into a Jewish state, nor can the erecting of such a Jewish state be accomplished without the gravest trespass upon the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities of Palestine.”

“No British officer, consulted by the Commissioners, believed that the Zionist program could be carried out except by force of arms. The officers generally thought that a force of not less than 50,000 soldiers would be required even to initiate the program. That of itself is evidence of a strong sense of the injustice of the Zionist program, on the part of the non-Jewish populations of Palestine and Syria. Decisions, requiring armies to carry out, are sometimes necessary, but they are surely not to be taken in the interest of a serious injustice. For the initial claim, often submitted by the Zionist representatives, that they have a “right” to Palestine, based on an occupation of 2,000 years ago, can hardly be seriously considered.”

And so it was that a hundred years ago the United States rejected support of Zionist plans to expropriate the region and its water. The Zionists took it in stride, continued building in Palestine and developing plans for expansion. Lacking the expertise needed for building major water infrastructure and recognizing the need to successfully pitch their project to the American government, they recruited an impressive and ever lengthening cadre of employees and former employees of the Tennessee Valley Authority and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

American Water Development Culture

They died to make the desert bloom.”
Hoover Dam memorial plaque to the 112 workers who died on the project.

To understand Israeli water development culture it’s necessary to understand American water development culture. For that there is no better source than Marc Reisner’s Cadillac Desert. After three decades Reisner’sremains the definitive and most fun book on epic water projects in the arid American West. He takes a reader inside the politics, chicanery, audacity, environmental destruction and ruthless ambition behind building dozens of the world’s largest water projects. More than that, he gets inside the minds of dam builders and dam haters like nobody else.
From 1931 to 1968 America was the King Kong of water engineering. Out West they’d followed up the 1913 Los Angeles Aqueduct (420 miles through the desert), with the All-American Canal to water the Imperial Valley. They’d built the world’s largest dams and reservoirs: Hoover, Shasta, Bonneville, Grand Coulee, Fort Peck, were all going up at the same time, and they were just beginning. Wherever a western river ran wild, the Bureau of Reclamation would show up with a plan to dam it, and dam it again, and again. Meanwhile back East, the Tennessee Valley Authority—a centralized rich, powerful, government backed bureaucracy, with little to no accountability, and exemptions from environmental and safety laws—was reconfiguring multiple river drainages in seven states. They’d built 22 major dams and had more on the drawing board plus power plants and irrigation infrastructure. Other parts of the Eastern Seaboard and mid-west were being dammed, levee’d, or diverted by the Army Corps of Engineers. Heads of foreign states, including Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, came from around the world to see how such miracles might transform their own countries.

Americans responsible for these projects were from European stock, born in the 1800’s or in the first decade of the 1900’s. They were the epitome of environmental Dominion Theology and they invoked God a lot. Many of them, particularly in the West, were from pioneering families. To them their work was a holy mission to tame the wilderness. Water was put there by God to be used by man and that was that. Their contempt for rivers ‘wasted’ by being allowed to flow into the sea was eclipsed only by their hatred of those who tried to stop them from building more dams.
They would drown rich bottom land for reservoirs to irrigate marginal acres above them. They destroyed forests and spectacular canyons. They knowingly sent the world’s largest salmon and trout runs to extinction. They robbed water from source communities and neighboring states. They dried up agriculture in northern Mexico. They had no scruples at all about displacing farmers, towns and indigenous peoples with clear title to the land.

These were the guys Israel turned to for water planning.

Personality flaws of American water bureaucracy

“We will let people in the future worry about it.” Bureau of Reclamation Chief Floyd Dominy on what to do about 30,000 dump truck loads of silt deposited into Lake Powell by the Colorado River every single day.

“We made a conscious decision to mine out our share of the Ogallala [aquifer] in a period of twenty-five to forty years.” Stephen Reynolds, New Mexico’s chief water engineer.

“Well, when we use it up, we’ll just have to get more water from someplace else.” former head of the Colorado Water Conservation Board, Felix Sparks.

American water engineers advising Zionists lived in a rising bubble of their own omnipotence. Obsessed with what they could build, they were excited as boys making dams alongside the curb in a rain storm. They systematically minimized the cost of projects and exaggerated the benefits. They maneuvered behind the scenes with land speculators, concrete contractors, politicians and developers. They fought environmental controls tooth and nail, gave outlandish estimates of how long reservoirs or aquifers would last, built dams whether people wanted them or not, and encouraged millions to move to the desert with no plan B for what to do when it all dried up.

Back in the mid-1900’s Middle East, American water engineers were new kids on the block compared with their British counterparts who advised the Arabs. American plans had several commonalities. They: 1) over estimated the amount of water available. 2) supported Zionist plans to pump Jordan river water out of the Jordan valley to Jewish colonies on the Coastal Plain and the Negev desert. 3) (all but one plan) wanted to divert Lebanon’s Litani river to Israel to make up for the lost Jordan river. 4) didn’t address the needs of Palestinian refugees. 5) were complex mega projects that would take decades to build, required huge foreign investments and gave Israel most of the benefits.

England, on the other hand, had a long history in the Middle East. Mid-1900’s British water engineers worked with Arabs to develop water plans that might keep a lid on escalating violence between Arabs and the Jews who were displacing them. British plans had commonalities at odds with American plans: 1) realistic estimates of available water. 2) Jordan Valley water would remain in the valley, e.g. it shouldn’t be pumped to Jewish colonies on the Coastal Plain and Negev at the expense of drying up the Jordan Valley. 3) The Litani river was not up for grabs by the Zionists. 4) Needs of over 700,000 Palestinian refugees who were ethnically cleansed from their homes by Zionists in the Nakba had to be addressed in any water scheme. 5) It was better to build smaller projects that could be built in a reasonable amount of time, didn’t require huge capital, and could be plugged into future projects. 6) could be built by local workers to bring rapid relief to the refugees and their host countries-especially Jordan.

Considering American plans environmentally questionable and politically impossible, the British felt that Americans didn’t understand the place. Over time a rift developed between American and British water engineers that simmered on the stove beside the rolling boil of violence, accusations, and bitterness between Zionists and Arabs.

The four riparian states, in order of where they lie in proximity to water sources, are Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan. Jordan being last in line has the least water and following the Nakba absorbed the most refugees. Palestinian stakeholders in the occupied territories were addressed by the Arab states.
Working separately, Arabs/Britons and Zionists/Americans produced eleven water engineering plans in the twenty years from 1938-1958. Denoted below with an B for British genesis plans, and A for American genesis plans, they were:

Ionides Survey, B (1938-39), Lowdermilk Plan, A (1938-44), Hayes Plan, A (1948), MacDonald Report, B (1951), Bunger Plan, B (1952), Israeli 7 Year Plan, A (1953), Main or Unified Plan, A (1953), Cotton Plan, A (1954), Johnston Plan, A(1953-55), Israeli Ten Year Plan/National Water Plan, A(1956), East Ghor Canal Storage, B (1958).

Arab/British Water Development Plans

1938-39 Ionides Survey
MG Ionides was a British Engineer who served as Director of Developments in Transjordan. With hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees and not enough water for them, Ionides was charged with surveying land and water resources to determine how many of the newly landless Palestinians might be settled there. The Ionides report provided the facts and figures for subsequent studies carried out by the Jordanian government, international bodies and later water schemes by other stake holders.

His proposal was to divert the Yarmouk and build a feeder canal from the south end of Lake Tiberius. Tiberius would act as a storage reservoir for winter rains. A canal on the east side of the valley would irrigate 75,000 acres and leave enough water in the Jordan river to irrigate the west side. Since there wasn’t nearly enough water for everyone Ionides recommended settling large numbers of Palestinians in the lower Jordan Valley both on the east side and between Lake Tiberius and the Dead Sea. Yarmouk and Jordan river water would come in via canal to irrigate land on both sides of the Jordan river. His plan kept Jordan watershed water in the valley.

This was the opposite of Zionists plans to pipe water west out of the Jordan Valley to water Jewish settlements, the Coastal Plain, and south to the Negev desert. The Zionists maneuvered to stop any diversions of the Yarmouk claiming that the British had given their power plant, The Palestine Electrical Corporation, a 70-year sole source concession (the Rutenburg Concession), and PEC might some day decide they needed the entire flow of the Yarmouk.

1951 McDonald Plan – Report on the Proposed Extension of Irrigation in the Jordan Valley
Commissioned by Jordan, Sir Murdoch McDonald and Partners’ 1951 plan was similar to the Ionides plan. Like Ionides, McDonald also called for keeping Jordan watershed water in the valley and irrigating both sides of the valley with Jordan and Yarmouk river water using Lake Tiberius as a reservoir. Jordan would be able to irrigate 145,000 acres and 25,000 irrigated acres would go to the Israelis.

Bunger Plan
In late 1951-52 Miles E. Bunger was Chief Water Engineer of the Water Resources Branch. Most ambitious of the era’s British plans, Bunger proposed a dam be built on the Yarmouk river below where three streams join the Yarmouk below Maqarin in Arab territory. Canals from the reservoir would irrigate the valley.

The Joint 4 mission, UNRWA and the Jordanian government planned the project. The UN would put up $200 million for Arab refugee settlement and agreed to put up $40 of the $50 million the project would cost. The dam would bring power to Jordan and Syria and settle 125,000 refugees. The Israelis complained they wouldn’t get as much of the Yarmouk as they wanted and managed to scuttle the project.

1958 East Ghor Canal Stage 1
Ten years after the Nakba Jordan was still struggling to provide for those hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees. The U.S, agreed to pay for a 70 km. canal from the Yarmouk river south along the east valley. The first part was the canal then the plan was to go ahead with the Maqarin Dam and to build a second at Mukheiba, to conserve winter rain water. 123 million cubic meters of water were to be diverted through the canal.

Zionist/American Plans

1939-1944 Lowdermilk Plan
Israelis called him ‘the father of the Israeli water plan.’ Walter Clay Lowdermilk was a deeply religious, anti-Arab, pro-Zionist American soil conservationist who had done good work with President Hoover in feeding Belgium during the WWI British blockade. He was also instrumental in starting the U.S. Soil Conservation Corps. The latter is why the Zionists first brought him to Palestine in the 1930’s. After a survey of the country Lowdermilk proposed a ‘Jordan Valley Authority’ (JVA) based on a combination of the Tennessee Valley Authority and the aspirations of his employers. His plan was published in book form as, Palestine Land of Promise in 1944. In his vision the JVA would incorporate all Zionist plans for the region except the Litani River which, at the time, was in the French Mandate north of the British Mandate, and the French didn’t want to give it up.

The JVA would develop “land, water, and mineral resources of the Jordan drainage and Transjordan, and maritime slopes of Palestine.” JVA would also control grazing of livestock, reforestation, minerals extraction, especially from the Dead Sea, “Potassium for fertilizers, magnesium for alloys utilized in aeroplane construction—all await exploitation in vast quantities.” Further, the JVA would use the Jordan and Yarkon rivers to irrigate the Negev desert. It would also rule over Trans Jordan.

In Lowdermilk’s book everything Jewish is: “advanced”, “modern”, “scientifically directed”, “intensive agriculture”, “irrigation”, “intelligent” and he speaks of the “beneficial effect of Jewish colonization on the Arab community.”

Everything Arab is: “backward”, “primitive”, “crude”, “low-yield agriculture”, “despising the tilling of the soil”, “hating trees,” and, “their own superstition and ignorance have kept them from realizing the full possibilities of the land.”

It comes as no surprise then, that Lowdermilk’s plan requires that his Zionist employers lead the JVA because, he says,

“ …Arabs have not shown the genius or ability to restore the Holy Lands to their possibilities. But the Jews, by their magnificent examples in colonization, have demonstrated their ability to reclaim and redeem wasted lands from desolation…”

Palestine Land of Promise was widely promoted and distributed especially in America to bias U.S. leadership in favor of the soon to be minted Jewish state. Many of Lowdermilk’s ideas were put into practice and are still pursued today. The years have proven them flawed.

He championed draining the Huleh Lake and Swamp to increase farm land. That led to huge peat fires, farm runoff contaminating Lake Kinneret, and wiped out the area’s rich natural flora and fauna. In this century a small part of the valley has been reflooded.

Lowdermilk thought it was great that Zionists segregated themselves and excluded Arabs from their agricultural endeavors. He admired how Jewish trucks, provided by funding from overseas, took over the transportation economy and only mentioned in passing that, “As a result of motorized freight and transport the breeding of camels, which was a profitable source of income, has greatly declined. The price of wool has dropped and opportunities to plunder have practically disappeared.”

In his capacity of soil conservationist he endorsed the Zionist practice of pulling down success-proven Palestinian terraces and rebuilding them wider and sloping to facilitate, “the wooden plow yielding to the tractor.” Today, because of increased erosion and negative impacts on soil structure, the tractor and plow are yielding to machines and methods having less impact on the land, that is to say, more like the old Palestinian model.

Palestine Land of Promise gives grossly inflated water flow estimates and hydro-power calculations but provides almost no technical detail as to exactly how all this was supposed to be accomplished. Instead Lowdermilk claims the details “have been worked out and submitted to a number of the foremost consulting engineers in America.” He doesn’t name these engineers or state their qualifications but he assures us they agree his scheme is feasible. Technical details would come next with the Hayes plan.

1948 Hayes Plan
James B. Hayes was a thirty year TVA irrigation and hydro-power engineer. Working for the Zionists he wrote a plan which was eventually published as, ‘TVA on the Jordan: Proposals for irrigation and hydro-electric development in Palestine’ Public Affairs Press, in 1948. This served as a blueprint for developing the Lowdermilk Plan into Israel’s National Water Carrier begun in 1953 and finished in 1964. The pedigree of his co-developers was TVA all the way including: TVA Chairman David Lilienthal, VanCourt Hare from the TVA Chief Engineer’s Office, William Voorduin the TVA Head of Project Planning, and TVA Chief Engineer Theodore B. Parker.

1949 Clapp Plan
Gordon Clapp was a former Chairman of the TVA. In 1949 he was on the UN Palestine Conciliation Commission, Economic Survey Commission. He marched in the American water experts’ World Zionist Union parade to show the American government that their own experts supported and agreed with the Zionists.

1951 Israel began unilaterally to drain the 15,000 acre Huleh marshes with the drainage channels leading one of three demilitarized zones which the UN had set up between Syria and Israel. Someone shot at Israelis working on the drainage project leading to a clash. There were no injuries but on March 30 Israel attacked the Arab farmers in the Central DMZ, drove out 785 of them and bulldozed their homes.

Four days later Syrian troops killed seven Israeli soldiers in the DMZ. The day after that, Israel made an airstrike on Arab civilians in the DMZ killing two women and wounding six civilians. Next Israel forced 1,200 Palestinians from their homes in the central and south DMZ’s. On May, 02, Syrian troops dressed as irregulars, went to fight Israeli troops killing forty of them in five days of fighting.

On 18 May, the UN called on Israel to stop its drainage project and let the Palestinians back to their villages inside the DMZ. Israel let in about 350 people, blocked the others and continued their drainage project at Huleh. Israel stopped work at Huleh drainage in June of 1951 but started up again in July with a minor revision to keep the drainage out of the DMZ. Things calmed down for a while until 1953 when Eisenhower tried to find a solution to the Palestinian Refugee Problem. Eisenhower and company prevailed on Jordan not to adopt the Bunger Plan (above) saying Eisenhower appointee Eric Johnston would provide a more comprehensive solution for the region.

1952 Main Plan or Unified Plan
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNWRA) asked the American TVA for a report on developing regional water supplies in a way stake holders could agree on. The TVA commissioned Charles T Main, Inc. a Boston engineering company to do the report. It was a review of existing plans. The Main Plan wanted to keep water in the Jordan Valley, irrigate the upper Jordan Basin using Jordan headwaters, and use Lake Kinneret as reservoir for spring flood catchment of Jordan and Yarmouk river seasonal floods. Water from Lake Kinneret would irrigate both sides of the lower Jordan valley via canals. Israel was to get 394 mcm, Jordan would get 774 mcm, Syria would get 45 mcm, Lebanon would get zero. Total flow of 1,213 mcm/year. Cost was $121 million ($1.144 billion in today’s dollars) to be paid by the United States. (emphasis added)

1953-55 Johnston Plan
In 1953 President Eisenhower appointed Eric Johnston to try and find an agreement using the Main Plan as a guide. Johnston is usually identified in the literature as being the President of the American Motion Picture Corporation. That would be a strange choice for such a mission but in fact Johnston was a polymath. Among his accomplishments this self made man was a successful businessman, head of the US Chamber of Commerce, and a brilliant orator who’d done successful diplomatic missions for Presidents Roosevelt and Truman. In addition to working for a water agreement, Johnston is said to have been there to ‘help Israel get on her feet’ by establishing tacit recognition of Israel from the Arabs. Unlike other American efforts, Johnston wanted to involve Arabs in the process.

On the day—the DAY—Johnston left Washington for the Middle East, Israeli paratroopers led by Ariel Sharon massacred the Palestinian village of Qibya in the West Bank killing 69 people, two thirds of them women and children. In the weeks prior, Israel, knowing the talks were coming, had begun a nine-mile canal from Lake Huleh to Lake Tiberias right in the demilitarized zone between Israel and Syria. Privately the Americans told Israel stop digging or lose American funding, which back then was $26 million/year ($244 million in 2018 dollars). Israel thumbed its nose and kept digging. On 20 October, 1953 President Eisenhower publicly announced the U.S. would stop funding Israel because to do otherwise would undermine the UN. Whether this was a genuine effort by Israel to throw off the talks, or a ploy by Israel and the U.S. to show the Arabs that America was in charge and could keep Israel in line is unclear but 1953 may be the last time, from that day to this, that the U.S. cut off funds to Israel. Israelis stopped digging the canal at once.

After more than two tortuous years the parties agreed that water allocation would be split 60/40 between the four Arab groups and Israel respectively. Israel would get Lake Kinneret, and be able to pump its share of water out of the valley. Arabs would get a dam on the Yarmouk and irrigation canals. Johnston and the Arabs had agreed to a water oversight committee to make sure that all sides were adhering to the pact but Israel wouldn’t agree to that. In 1955 the talks floundered and failed. Some sources say it was because Israelis refused to recognize Palestinians rights. Some say Syria and Lebanon refused to recognize Israel. A Johnston biographer said regime change in Syria in 1955 soured the deal. In any case, the Johnston Plan joined all the others on a shelf in the Library of Broken Dreams.

1954 Cotton Plan
Not liking the Johnston plan from the get-go, Israel hired an American ‘consulting engineer’ of uncertain pedigree, Johns S. Cotton, to refute the Johnston/Main Plan and write one they liked better. Cotton’s counter to the Johnston Plan was the “Plan for the Development and Utilization of the water resources of the Jordan and Litani River Basins. His co-authors on the project were:
HW Bashore—former Commissioner of the US Bureau of Reclamation, and Chairman of the Upper Colorado River Basin Committee.
JL Savage—former Chief Designing Engineer of the Bureau of Reclamation, in charge of designing the Bureau’s largest irrigation projects. Arguably the best water engineer in the modern world, Savage had supervised Hoover, Grand Coulee, Shasta and Parker Dams.
Abel Wolman—former Chairman of the US National Water Resources Commission.

Cotton’s team took away from the Arabs and gave to their Zionist employers. “In the case of Israel, the amount of irrigable land far exceeds the amount of available water. Hence waters not needed in other states are allocated to Israel.” Recommendation of JL Savage, member of the Cotton Commission. Who would decide whether Arabs needed water or not? The Zionists. And part of their decision was using the Litani river.

Near the Israeli border the Litani is small but upstream at Lake Qirawn dam the flow is 700 mcm/year. Cotton’s plan would run the Litani through aqueducts, tunnels and channels across Litani Gorge, into Israel. The Israelis would have to control most of Southern Lebanon below the Zahrani river-the south half of Bekka valley.

Hydro-power plants running on Litani River water would pump Jordan River water out of the Jordan valley to irrigate the Negev. Litani water would be used to compensate and irrigate the Jordan valley for the lost Jordan river. Cotton and company said the Litani was just being wasted into the sea from Lebanon, meaning that the Arabs didn’t really need it. A summary of the report made the surreal claim that diverting the Litani to Israel, “…would not constitute the diversion of a natural resource of an Arab state for the exclusive benefit of Israel; it is, in fact, the conveyance of the resource, through Israeli territory, for the common benefit of the entire region.”

Another part of the scheme was a decades old idea to pipe sea water from the Mediterranean to the Dead Sea using the elevation drop to run more hydro-power stations as the water replenished the Dead Sea. Cotton estimated his project would cost $470 million ($4.4 billion in today’s dollars). Construction would be in stages over a period of 25 years. The first stages: river diversions, hydro-power plants, reservoirs and canals, would be built in Israel, Arab projects would be addressed later, and “… an annual expenditure of about 20 million dollars spread between the Basin states would be required to implement the scheme.”
That the Zionists never lost sight of Cotton became clear when Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982. They went straight for Lake Qirawn, seized all the dam’s hydrographic data, commenced seismic testing and began surveying Cotton’s water delivery route.
Compared with the Main Plan, Cotton’s Plan cost almost four times as much, gave Israel 4.25 times more irrigated acreage and doubled Israel’s water allotment. Unbelievably, Cotton, whose template evolved into Israel’s National Water Carrier, wanted the Arabs to pay for Israel to take their water. The Arabs weren’t on board.

The rest is history
In 1960 the Arab League, fed up watching Israel’s National Water Carrier export the Jordan river out of the Jordan Valley, supported a Headwaters Diversion Plan designed to do to Israel what Israel was doing to them, only upstream of the Israeli diversion. In 1964 Israel bombed the Arab diversion setting the stage for the Six Day War in 1967 where Israel seized numerous water assets including the Golan Heights and Jordan headwater streams, and has kept them ever since.
Fifty-one years later Israel’s National Water Carrier is running as fast as it can to stay in place with Israel’s increasing population and decreasing, degraded water supply. The Israeli news service Haaretz marked the National Water Carrier’s golden anniversary with the byline, “Fifty years after the ground-breaking project was inaugurated, it appears that its environmental damage may be irreversible.”

A lot of grief might have been avoided if Israel could have looked into a crystal ball to see where their American mentors would be in fifty years. For one thing, most of the American water experts who said, ‘We’ll just have to build more water projects when these are gone,” are dead. In this way they escaped the consequences of their projects.
What happened was America’s water bureaucracy outran itself. In the West the Bureau of Reclamation was reduced to building ‘cash register’ dams on marginal rivers, whose only apparent purpose was to generate tax payer subsidized electricity to make enough money to build more dams. Seventy years ago hardly anyone questioned the claims that dams were clean, renewable energy. But now, with dams silting up all over the west people wonder if a dam that only lasts a hundred years is any more renewable than a hundred year coal seam, or even if its cleaner when you count all the environmental costs including building it. The Bureau of Reclamation’s former Commissioner Dan Beard wrote a book called ‘Deadbeat Dams’ that recommends abolishing the Bureau of Reclamation, taking down Flyod Dominy’s favorite project, Glen Canyon Dam and draining its reservoir, Lake Powell.

In the east, the Tennessee Valley Authority has been accused of drowning as much land with flood control dams as it saved. Set up in 1933 with a mandate to pay for itself, the TVA is $26 billion in debt. Like Israel’s state owned companies that used it for a guide, the TVA exempted itself from environmental laws and gets away with criminal negligence in cases like the Kingston Coal Ash spill that sent 4.1 million cubic meters of coal ash laced with lead, thallium, beryllium, mercury and other heavy metals into the Emory and Clinch Rivers. The ash was six feet thick in places. In addition to killing fish and wildlife, it contaminated the water supply of nine million people in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Alabama. After Kingston the EPA identified 44 coal ash storage sites that present potential for death and significant property destruction. These places exist with ‘little or no Federal regulation.’ The Army Corps of Engineers, Department of Homeland Security and FEMA claim that locations of these sites shouldn’t be made public,” because it would compromise National security. That’s a very Israeli sort of rationale. Of course, you can find them on Google Earth so the only possible point in trying to hide them is to protect the next failure.

(*Graphic at top by artist Kari Dunn

Recognition 11: Love Child: Selected Sources:

1986 Cadillac Desert: The American West and its disappearing water by Marc Reisner Penguin Books 582pp.
o8.2010 Calamity on the Colorado Orion Magazine by James Powell.
08.28.1919 The King Crane Report
(first printed as the “King-Crane report on the Near East”  Editor and Publisher Co, 1922, v.55, #27, 2nd. 2d section (Dec.2)   free online here:
1944 Palestine: Land of Promise by Walter Clay Lowdermilk Victor Gollancz, London 198 pp. available free online from,, here:
1948 TVA on the Jordan: Proposals for irrigation and hydro-electric development in PalestinePublic Affairs Press by James. B Hayes.
March, 1960 50 years ago: The Reclamation of a man made desert. Scientific American by Walter C. Lowdermilk.
05.09.1974 Walter C. Lowdermilk, conservationist, is dead New York Times by William Freeman.
1940 Report on the Water Resources of Trans Jordan and their development by M.G. Ionides, London, Crown Agents for the Colonies,see also, 1959 Jordan (book pg 149-161) by Ann Deardon Robert Hale Ltd, London 217 pp. available here:  This section describes current events leading up to and following the Ionedes Report. for another survey of various plans, see also, June, 1995 Competition and Conflict: Water Management in the Jordan River Basin, Thesis: Naval Post Graduated School. by Mary Patricia Hill.
12.28.1949 Report of the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine. Gordon Clapp, Chairman.
February, 1954 the Cotton Plan for the Development and Utilization of the water resources of the Jordan and Litani River Basins Israeli Archive document. Oregon Digital. University of Oregon  by John S. Cotton.
10.14.2002 Qibya and Sharon 50 years later Counterpunch by Eric Ridenour
10.22.1953 Eisenhower says he approved suspension of U.S. Aid to Israel Jewish Telegraphic Agency
03.02.2009 How Big Government infrastructure projects go wrong Reason by Jim Powell, (article is on Cato Institue website).
06.26.2016 Eco Logic//Israel’s National Water Carrier: both boom and bane: Fifty years after the ground-breaking project was inaugurated, it appears that its environmental damage may be irreversible Haaretz by Zafrir Rinat
05.18.2017 Shedding light on the Tennessee Valley Authority debt. US Government Accountability Office. WatchBlog.
12.22.2009 Broken promises follow Tennessee coal ash disaster Grist by Sue Sturgis.

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