Dubai





“Beneath this mask there is more than flesh. Beneath this mask there is an idea, Mr. Creedy, and ideas are bullet-proof.” – V for Vendetta (2006) Via Daily Dot: Dubai police have…





Just ten days ago I was in Dubai for the International Conference on Ancient Studies. We had half a day of free time before we flew out so most of us headed straight to the Dubai Mall, mainly to check out the excellent Book World as we wanted to make sure they were stocking our books (I was with numerous authors including Graham Hancock, Robert Bauval, John Major Jenkins, Michael Cremo, Andrew Collins and Robert Schoch). Nonetheless, we also visited the world’s largest mall’s marquee attraction, it’s aquarium stocked with 33,000+ sea creatures, including some very large sharks. It is very impressive, but as with the rival mall in Dubai that features a ski resort with real snow, it seems to be tempting fate. Yesterday that became all too apparent – check out the video below:


The recent, outlandish assassination in Dubai may prove the most damaging yet in the Mossad’s history of high-profile, bungled operations. Ian Black asks how it squandered its reputation for ruthless brilliance, for…


Juan Cole writes on Informed Comment:

The world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifah or Khalifah Tower, was unveiled in Dubai on Monday:

Dubai is a finance hub, the bubble of which has burst, so the building’s opening now seems a critique of past excesses more than the triumph originally dreamed of. Now that Dubai is having to be bailed out by its oil-rich sister emirate, Abu Dhabi, the tower had to be named for its ruler Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, rather than retaining its original name, Burj Dubai. Many critics have seen it as a monument to hubris likely to remain mostly empty, as the 21st century Tower of Babel.

As you can see, Dubai nevertheless went all out to celebrate the opening.

The Burj Khalifah is a symbol of everything wrong with our present moment. Rooted in a finance and real estate bubble, planned as big for the sake of bigness, opulent, now saved from disaster by Abu Dhabi’s unsustainable oil revenues, it casts its shadow on a nation of guest workers, many impoverished and exploited. If global warming proceeds at the pace some climate scientists fear, and the seas rise substantially, it may, ironically enough, be all that is visible of the low-lying United Arab Emirates a century from now.


In November 2008 I went to Dubai for the inaugural International Conference on Ancient Studies (ICAS). It was an opportunity to reconnect with Disinformation authors and contributors like Michael Cremo, Robert Bauval and John Major Jenkins as well as to meet other luminaries in the world of ancient mysteries. It also enabled me to visit the Middle East and to see just how vibrant a city Dubai has become.

In February 2010 I’ll be returning for the second ICAS, which again features a stellar lineup including another Disinformation author, Graham Hancock. Needless to say, I’m greatly looking forward to it and this time I’ll actually have an official role as MC (but don’t let that put you off). I asked a friend of mine who lives there if the recent news about Dubai World would have any impact on ICAS and this was the somewhat surprising response I received, essentially assuring me that the Dubai World debt problem is a smokescreen for something far more serious:

“I doubt it. Not much has changed here and people here just wonder what all the trouble is about. The fuss is about one single company (called Dubai World) who simply said it would delay (not default) its first installment repayment to a couple of international banks by 6 months. The amount is about 4 billion dollars which is a drop in the ocean considering banks in the US and Europe will have to actually write off about 2.8 trillion by 2010. Does it make sense that this rather common occurrence sends world markets crashing down? I mean, in the US alone hundreds of banks and companies actually defaulted since 2007 and hundreds everyday are probably requesting to delay payments in their quest to remain afloat. Even the actual international banks who lent the money to Dubai World are not very worried and are also wondering what the fuss is all about. So why all the fuss? It is a diversion. Something darker is going on and the perpetrators were just waiting for an excuse like this one to play their cards once again…


DubaiMontageLANDON THOMAS Jr. writes in the New York Times:

Of the many economies that gorged on debt in the boom years, Dubai stood out. In the space of a few years the emirate’s investment arm, Dubai World, racked up $59 billion in debt, borrowing to build lavish developments like a giant island shaped like a palm tree to entice celebrities like Brad Pitt, and to invest in glittery properties like the MGM Grand Casino in Las Vegas.

Now that the boom has gone bust, both in Dubai and in the United States, Dubai is stuck with a glut of real estate that no one wants to buy or rent. Creditors and markets had always assumed that when push came to shove, its oil-rich neighbor Abu Dhabi would bail out Dubai. But that assumption was called into question this week, and the resulting fear that Dubai might not be able to pay its bills sent a wave of uncertainty rippling through markets just as investors thought the worst of the global financial instability was over.

The anxiety reached Wall Street on Friday, sending the Dow Jones industrial average down more than 150 points, as investors worried about hidden debt bombs in other countries and institutions — heavily indebted nations like Greece and even Britain, high-flying emerging markets and even European and American banks that had lent Dubai money…