Meditation Focus #80

Silencing The Drums of War


What follows is the 80th Meditation Focus suggested for the two consecutive weeks beginning Sunday, January 26, 2003.


1. Summary
2. Meditation times
3. More information on this Meditation Focus
4. Peace Watch for the Ivory Coast


As the drums of war grow louder with the continued military buildup around Iraq and the growing impatience of the U.S. government with the UN inspectors' work in Iraq that has so far failed to prove the American assertion that Iraq still possesses weapons of mass destruction, and as the preferred "window of opportunity" for a U.S.-led military campaign to conquer Iraq grows closer, an increasing number of people around the world are making their opposing voices heard in a last-ditch effort to stall and prevent this war from occurring. The consequences of this war if it takes place would be far-reaching and devastating for the Iraqi people, the world economy and the stability of the entire Middle East. And yet nothing so far seems to be enough to deter the U.S. government from launching, possibly as early as this coming week or within the next couple weeks, an unprovoked and deliberate attack of conquest reminiscent of what the Nazis did when they invaded Poland in 1939 as a prelude to what became World War Two. The government of George W Bush now seems determined to go ahead despite the stated opposition of several key European countries and may even decide to attack without seeking a second UN resolution as was provided in the unanimous initial UN resolution that enabled the return of teams of inspectors who have been scouring Iraq in search of any proof that could constitute a material breach to this resolution, and thus a UN-sanctioned legal trigger for war.

A growing number of peace initiatives and prayer vigils are being deployed around the world to not only counter this military drive towards war but also to create new opportunities for global peace and a more propitious atmosphere to address some of the root causes of both the recourse to the extreme violence of war as a means to resolve international disputes and terrorism as a means to avenge economic inequities. The growing tensions between the polarities represented by peace-loving people and warmongering ones is a vivid symptom of the divide that crosses at the very heart of each individual human being on Earth as we are about to enter a new era of unprecedented peace and harmony and so must choose which side of this divide we each want to belong to, possibly for a great many lifetimes to come...

Please dedicate your prayers and meditations, as guided by Spirit, in the coming two weeks, and especially in synchronous attunement at the usual time this Sunday and the following one, to contribute in fostering in humanity's collective consciousness a sense of the cosmic possibilities at hand as we enter the crucible of one of the most challenging and potentially rewarding initiations our world and its billions of karmically related souls have ever been offered in our ages-old quest towards Unity with the Universal One. May the Highest Light of unconditional Love and omniversal Peace guide each Earth bound soul in the determining choices we are all about to make, for the Highest Good of All.

This whole Meditation Focus is also available at


i) Global Meditation Day: Sunday at 16:00 Universal Time (GMT) or at noon local time. Suggested duration: 30 minutes.

ii) Golden Moment of At-Onement: Daily, at the top of any hour, or whenever it better suits you.

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3. More information on this Meditation Focus

This complement of information may help you to better understand the various aspects pertaining to the summary description of the subject of this Meditation Focus. It is recommended to view this information from a positive perspective, and not allow the details to tinge the positive vision we wish to hold in meditation. Since what we focus on grows, the more positive our mindset, the more successful we will be in manifesting a vision of peace and healing. This complementary information is provided so that a greater knowledge of what needs healing and peace-nurturing vibrations may assist us to have an in-depth understanding of what is at stake and thus achieve a greater collective effectiveness.


Defeating the U.S. War Plans Series #16: Tug-of-War Between The Warmongers And The Peacemakers

Defeating the U.S. War Plans Series #15: The United States of Endless Horrors

Defeating the U.S. War Plans Series #14: Staying the Hands of the Assassins

The Guardian January 24, 2003

The message from the Bush camp: 'It's war within weeks'

Julian Borger in Washington, Ewen MacAskill and Simon Tisdall

President George Bush is determined to go to war with Saddam Hussein in the next few weeks, without UN backing if necessary, according to authoritative sources in Washington and London. The US president is "to turn up the heat" in his state of the union address on Tuesday.

"The pressure comes from President Bush and it is felt all the way down," a European official said. "They're talking about weeks, not months. Months is a banned word now."

Mr Bush wanted the US secretary of state, Colin Powell, to force the issue of military action by presenting evidence of Saddam Hussein's violations of UN resolutions immediately after weapons inspectors give their report to the UN on Monday. In Washington circles such an event is being referred to as the Adlai Stevenson moment.

The "Adlai Stevenson moment" has become Washington shorthand for the US presentation of its intelligence case. Stevenson was the US ambassador to the UN at the time of the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, who dramatically confronted the Soviet envoy with vivid aerial photographs of nuclear missiles being unloaded in Cuba.

Downing Street was alarmed by the Bush administration's sudden haste in moving towards a climax. It was adamant that the decision to go to war should not be declared before Tony Blair flies to Camp David for talks with Mr Bush next Friday.

An informed source in Washington said: "Blair is a good guy. They won't want to do that to him. They want it to look like he played a part in the policy-making but the decision has been made."

A key moment will now be the state of the union address. According to a Washington source, the US administration remains divided along old fault lines about the precise timescale of war. The defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, wants Mr Bush to set a clear and imminent deadline. But Mr Powell, is resisting, asking for a little more time for diplomatic coalition-building.

But both sides of the divide are making it increasingly clear that the end result will be military action, with or without UN backing.

The chief White House spokesman, Ari Fleischer, yesterday brushed off mounting anti-war feeling across Europe, led by France. It was "entirely possible that France won't be on the line", he said, adding that Britain, Australia, Italy, Spain and "virtually all of the eastern European countries" would provide support.

Mr Powell echoed this, saying: "I don't think we will have to worry about going it alone."

The impatience within the White House for action against Iraq came on a day in which the cracks in the international coalition against Iraq widened. China and Russia joined France and Germany in warning the US against precipitate action and calling for Washington to work within the UN.

The German foreign minister, Joschka Fischer, revealed the extent of European anger over the US position when he told Washington to "cool down". The Russian foreign minister, Igor Ivanov, said: "Russia deems that there is no evidence that would justify a war in Iraq."

But Mr Rumsfeld's deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, ratcheted up the rhetoric by claiming that Iraqi scientists were at risk of death. "We know from multiple sources that Saddam has ordered that any scientists who cooperate during interviews will be killed, as well as their families," he said.

Britain believes it has won a short reprieve before the US presents its own intelligence evidence against Saddam Hussein, in effect a declaration of war, but only for a fortnight at most.

Mr Bush will lay out the broad case for toppling President Saddam next Tuesday but White House officials insist the speech, a year after the president coined the phrase, "axis of evil", will stop short of being a declaration of war. That will await a more detailed presentation of intelligence evidence in the next few weeks, after Mr Blair visits Camp David.

"We said that has to be a substantive consultation, not a fait accompli," one British official said. The British argument is that the longer the US waits before showing its hand, the better the case it will have to put before the UN security council, as the inspectors come across more Iraqi infringements.

The Foreign Office had initially sought to defuse the rising tension around next Monday's inspectors' report by denying that it represented a "moment of truth", but in recent days a source conceded: "That was never going to be realistic. Of course it's important."

At his meeting with Mr Powell yesterday, the foreign secretary, Jack Straw, clung to the official line. "There are still ways that this can be resolved peacefully," he said. Mr Straw repeated that the British preference is for a second UN resolution before any further action against Iraq but Mr Powell, in a change of tack, refused to commit himself to seeking a second resolution.

One of the factors behind Washington's haste appears to be the annual rise in temperatures in the Iraqi desert over the next few months. In theory, US and some allied troops have the capacity to fight in any weather but the effectiveness of both soldiers and equipment diminishes rapidly when the temperature rises over 35C.

"The planes have been designed for the cold war. They start losing lift, carry lighter loads, and must make shorter runs when the temperature goes over 35," said one government official involved in Anglo-American debates over the timing of an attack.




January 24, 2003, 1930 PST (FTW) - Serious international developments are indicating that the first stages of the U.S. invasion of Iraq will begin unilaterally no later than next Wednesday and most likely as the President delivers his State of the Union address to Congress on Tuesday night.

The Associated Press reported today, in a story little noticed by mainstream American press, that the Japanese government had today urged all Japanese citizens to leave Iraq as soon as possible. Japan has large numbers of its nationals working in Iraq in various trade and oil-related business ventures. According to a second report today on CNN Headline News the Japanese advisory was specific that all Japanese citizens should be out of the country by next Wednesday at the latest.

The Japanese alert was followed by a simultaneous advisory from the U.S. State Department issuing a worldwide alert to all Americans traveling overseas. According to another AP story, State Department officials tried to downplay the significance of the warning, "but officials were unable to say when the last such advisory had been issued." A worldwide alert for U.S. citizens is extremely rare and suggests that the administration is concerned about a global backlash against Americans traveling overseas. Cautionary advisories are normally isolated to specific countries or geographic regions.

The invasion of Iraq will most likely commence with a massive aerial campaign in which the U.N. and many military analysts have predicted widespread collateral damage with heavy civilian casualties. One recent UN estimate suggested that the total Iraqi casualty count for the entire operation could exceed 500,000.

This decision should not be taken as a surprise. In recent weeks support for the obvious U.S. intentions, both worldwide and at home, has been declining rapidly. At the time this story was written a contemporaneous CNN poll showed that 62% of those responding believed that the United States should not attack Iraq without UN approval. Politically, the Bush administration has seen that this situation is not going to improve. Every delay in an attack to which the administration has already committed not only risks greater military, political and economic opposition but also increases the risk that U.S. ground forces will be engaged in desert fighting in hot summer weather. Recent moves by both the French and Russian governments to approve new trade and development agreements with the Hussein government might also weaken U.S. economic control in a post-Saddam regime.

With crude oil prices at two-year highs and with U.S. oil reserves at 27-year lows the signs of a crumbling U.S. economy made themselves felt again today with a more than 200 point drop in the Dow Jones Industrial average. The Bush administration has apparently decided to roll the dice now in a go-for-broke imperial conquest that has as its primary objective the immediate control of 11 per cent of the world's oil reserves.

In many previous stories FTW has documented how the Iraqi invasion is but the first in a series of sequential worldwide military campaigns to which the United States has committed. All of these are based upon globally dwindling oil supplies and the pending economic and human consequences of that reality. On January 21st, CNN Headline News acknowledged, for the first time, the reality of Peak Oil and accurately stated that "all the cheap oil there is has been found." The story also acknowledged that there was only enough oil left to sustain the planet for thirty to forty years and that what oil remained was going to become increasingly more expensive to produce and deliver.

It is likely that the resiliency of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, in his effort to resist U.S.-inspired strikes by wealthy Venezuelan industrialists, has had an impact on this decision by the Bush administration. Venezuela, which is the third largest foreign importer of oil to the U.S., has seen its U.S. deliveries cut to a fraction of normal levels in recent weeks. Within the last week oil analysts have been predicting shortages and price spikes similar to those of 1973-4 if U.S. oil stocks were not replenished quickly. The administration's apparent decision to launch the attacks against Iraq appears to be at least a partial acknowledgement that Chavez is successfully resisting U.S. pressure to oust him.

Chavez angered multinational investors and financiers recently by moving to increase the share of oil profits retained in Venezuela for the benefit of its people.

Today's announcements signal that the world is entering a period of danger not seen for forty years. That the announcements from the Japanese government and the State Department came on the same day that the Department of Homeland Security became active and its Secretary Tom Ridge was sworn in seems an unlikely coincidence. Previous reporting from FTW had indicated that even massive protests and non-violent global resistance would prove ineffective in preventing an Iraqi invasion. And our predictions that the Bush junta had prepared for all the worst-case scenarios, including domestic unrest and worldwide opposition appear to be vindicated.

The administration has clearly issued a statement to the world. "Screw you. We're going to play this game any way we want to play it. And we're ready for anything that comes."

Only time will tell if they are correct.


See also:

Putin Calls Bush, Sides with France and Germany in Resisting War
WASHINGTON/BAGHDAD - Russian President Vladimir Putin told President Bush in a telephone call Thursday that the key to future action on Iraq would be found in next Monday's report by U.N. arms inspectors, joining leaders of China, Canada, France and Germany in opposing any rush to war. The spokesmen for the big powers said U.N. weapons inspectors should be allowed to continue efforts to disarm Iraq by peaceful means. Washington dismissed the objections, saying it would find other supporters if it decided to go to war. CLIP

Transatlantic Tension Over Iraq Flares at Davos (Jan 24)
DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) - Tensions over Iraq flared at a meeting of global business and political leaders on Friday as angry exchanges between the United States and key European allies spooked financial markets.

U.N. Experts Question Key U.S. Evidence in Iraq (January 23)
Bush Evidence of Iraq 'Appetite' for Nuclear Weapons in Doubt (...) After weeks of investigation, U.N. weapons inspectors in Iraq are increasingly confident that the aluminum tubes were never meant for enriching uranium, according to officials familiar with the inspection process. (...) In the 1980s, Iraq was known to have obtained a design for 81mm rockets through reverse-engineering of munitions it had previously purchased abroad. During the Iran-Iraq war, Iraqis built tens of thousands of such rockets, using high-strength, 7000-series aluminum tubes it bought from foreign suppliers. U.N. inspectors in the 1990s had allowed Iraq to retain a stockpile of some 160,000 of the 81mm rockets, and an inspection of the stockpile last month confirmed that the rockets still exist, though now aging and corroded after years of exposure in outdoor depots. CLIP

Head of Atomic Energy Agency Will Tell Security Council (January 24)
Saddam Has Done `Quite Satisfactory' Job in Cooperating VIENNA, Austria (AP) -- The head of the U.N. nuclear agency will tell the Security Council on Monday that Saddam Hussein has done a "quite satisfactory" job of cooperating with inspectors in some areas but that they need more time to complete their search. CLIP

Anti-War Movement Grows Louder, Stronger (January 23)
Activists rally, cities pass peace resolutions in effort to influence policy, avert conflict. (...) So far, 42 cities across the nation have approved anti-war resolutions, including Detroit, Ferndale, Ann Arbor, Kalamazoo and Traverse City. At least 15 other Michigan cities are targeted by local activists working for the organization. Municipalities say they are concerned that sending troops into Iraq would take a financial toll on the country when the economy's direction is uncertain and many state governments, Michigan included, are struggling with budget deficits that is translating into cuts to social programs. "The tax money that this community will contribute to waging an unnecessary war could be better spent on health, education, environmental and infrastructure agendas," CLIP

'A River of Peaceful People' (January 23)
The preemptive demonstration against the preemptive war, which drew an estimated 250,000 chilled Americans to the Mall last weekend, was as polite and peaceful as George W. Bush could have asked. It also had diversity, an imperative he lately discovered. CLIP

Iraq's Neighbors Meet in Turkey on Averting a War (January 23)
ISTANBUL, Turkey (AP) -- Fearful that a possible overthrow of Saddam Hussein may lead to chaos in the region, six of Iraq's neighbors met Thursday to discuss ways to avert a conflict and urge Baghdad to cooperate more with U.N. arms inspectors.

Bush the Cowboy Leaves Europe Cold (January 24)
(...) Over the past several months, as Mr. Bush has mounted his argument for forcing Iraq to disarm, the president himself has once again become the issue here. In interviews in three capitals over the past week, diplomats, politicians and analysts said they believed relations between the United States and two of its most crucial allies -- Germany and France -- were at their lowest point since the end of the cold war. CLIP

U.S. Coalition for War Has Few Partners, Troop Pledges (January 25)
The Bush administration has asked 53 countries to join the United States in a military campaign against Iraq, but so far the "coalition of the willing," in President Bush's phrase, consists of a handful of countries and even fewer commitments of troops, officials and diplomats said yesterday. The United States would carry much of the burden of any war against Iraq, but diplomatically it is more important for the administration to claim a broad coalition if it fails to win United Nations backing for a military strike. For the moment, many countries publicly have said they will provide help only if the U.N. Security Council approves it. Britain, Australia and the Czech Republic have sent troops to the region, while Kuwait and three other Persian Gulf states have either welcomed U.S. forces or supported military action. CLIP

Continued Arms Inspections Get U.S. Nod (January 25)
Troop Deployment Timetables and Drive to Build Support Temper Bush's Desire to Act - While making clear it believes Iraq has already violated last November's U.N. Security Council resolution, the Bush at least for the next several weeks, according to U.S. and diplomatic sources. There is no expectation that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein will decide to cooperate more fully with weapons inspectors, and the administration is unlikely to announce any formal retreat as it strives to keep the pressure on Baghdad, sources said. But requests from Britain, the need to build more public and political support at home and abroad, and a military schedule that is a month or more away from full deployment have combined to temper thoughts of attempting an earlier inspection cutoff. CLIP

Pentagon Eyes Mass Graves Option Would Fight Contamination After Bioterror Deaths (January 24)
The bodies of U.S. soldiers killed by chemical or biological weapons in Iraq or future wars may be bulldozed into mass graves and burned to save the lives of surviving troops, under an option being considered by the Pentagon. Since the Korean War, the U.S. military has taken great pride in bringing home its war dead, returning bodies to next of kin for flag-draped, taps-sounding funerals complete with 21-gun salutes. But the 53-year-old tradition could come to an abrupt halt if large numbers of soldiers are killed by chemical or biological agents, according to a proposal quietly circulating through Pentagon corridors CLIP

Iraqi Scientists Refuse Solo Questioning (Jan 25)
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Three Iraqi scientists refused to submit to requested private interviews with U.N. inspectors in their search for signs of forbidden arms programs, a senior Iraqi official reported Saturday.

Key Developments Concerning Iraq
Developments in the Iraq crisis Saturday

4. Peace Watch for the Ivory Coast

Please also keep in mind the current situation in the Ivory Coast with the new draft agreement to end a spiraling civil war in this country. There is great hope that peace will prevail but the following weeks will be crucial for the success of this peace breakthrough as many oppose it while many of the details of the accord and a timetable still haven't been worked out, leaving room for further disagreement.


Ivory Coast president names power-sharing interim prime minister

January 25, 2003

PARIS - Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo named a new transitional prime minister Saturday, taking the first step toward implementing a peace plan aimed at ending a four-month civil war.

Gbagbo said he had appointed Seydou Diarra, a former prime minister who chaired national reconciliation talks once before, as his partner in a new power-sharing government.

Appearing at a news conference with Diarra, Gbagbo said that he had "taken note" of the peace agreement reached Friday by government and rebel leaders in Paris and would announce a new coalition government soon. The peace deal requires that the new government include opposition members.

Peace negotiations on the outskirts of Paris ended Friday with a draft agreement to end a spiraling civil war in Ivory Coast. A weekend summit of 11 African leaders being held in the French capital was aimed at providing a stamp of international legitimacy to the peace plan.

French President Jacques Chirac welcomed the progress made so far but said "naturally, a lot still needs to be done."

Chirac's words were echoed by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan who said "the real hard work — the determined, sustained and good faith implementation of the agreement — begins now."

Annan urged the international community to follow through with previous pledges of aid for Ivory Coast intended to help ease the way to peace. "Let us not betray the hopes of the Ivorian people," Annan said in a statement issued by the United Nations.

Earlier Saturday at the opening of the summit, Annan told the gathering he hoped that "the spirit of openness and compromise which made it possible to achieve this accord will prevail, and that decisions which have been taken will be implemented in good faith."

"It is, of course, for the men and women of Ivory Coast to repudiate this dark page of their history," Annan said. "But we can and must help them to do so."

Thousands of people rallied Saturday in Ivory Coast's commercial capital of Abidjan to protest the French-brokered peace agreement. They claimed it gave too much to the rebels.

Protesters dressed in the Ivorian national colors — green, white and orange — gathered in two crowded and impoverished neighborhoods, waving signs supporting President Laurent Gbagbo and declaring "No to a negotiated coup d'etat."

A regional peacekeeping force is being assembled in Ivory Coast to help more than 2,000 French troops deployed in the country enforce the accord.

In Paris, hundreds of pro-Gbagbo supporters thronged the street outside the Ivory Coast Embassy chanting, "No to a peacekeeping force, yes to an intervention force." Dozens of anti-riot police kept the protesters at a distance.

Long-standing ethnic, regional and political strife in the former French colony boiled over in September, when rebels launched a failed coup to oust Gbagbo. Rebels seized the mainly Muslim north and west of the country, while loyalist forces still hold the Christian-dominated south. Hundreds have been killed and thousands displaced in the fighting.

Under the agreement, Gbagbo, who came to power in a tainted 2000 vote, can remain in office but must share power with a newly strengthened prime minister until new elections can be held.

Guillaume Soro, head of the main northern rebel group, the Patriotic Movement of Ivory Coast, told reporters his group would be given the defense and interior portfolios in the new government.

Gbagbo did not discuss the makeup of the coalition government at his news conference and declined to take questions. Many of the details of the accord and a timetable still haven't been worked out, leaving room for further disagreement.

Diarra, a career ambassador, served as a prime minister in a national unity government under slain Gen. Robert Guei, who led Ivory Coast's first coup in 1999. Diarra later led national talks in October 2001 aimed at reconciling Ivory Coast's deep ethnic and political rifts. The talks failed.

Gbagbo came to power in a flawed 2000 election in which opposition leader Alassane Ouattara, a former prime minister with heavy support in the rebellious north, was barred from running after doubt was cast over his nationality. Gbagbo's victory infuriated the opposition.

The accord Friday came hours after the Ivorian government pleaded with France to send more troops to protect its people. The government said its forces had come under attack by fighters from neighboring Liberia

The peace agreement calls for amnesty for rebel soldiers and an international commission to investigate alleged human rights abuses.



Ivory Coast president appoints new prime minister as part of peace pact to end civil war

January 25, 2003

PARIS - Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo on Saturday named a new transitional prime minister with whom he will share power as part of a peace plan to end a four-month civil war.

"I have just signed a decree appointing as head of government Mr. Seydou Diarra," Gbagbo said at a joint news conference with Diarra, who didn't speak.

Diarra, a former prime minister who chaired national reconciliation talks once before, was chosen to fill the post until new elections can be held.

Gbagbo said the lineup of a new coalition government would be put together in the coming days. He said his new government had "two essential objectives: to lift Ivory Coast out of war and to bring back prosperity."

The selection of a new prime minister was the key element of a peace deal reached Friday after nine days of negotiations between government and rebel representatives.

The deal stipulates that Gbagbo can remain in office but with his power limited by a coalition government that includes opposition figures and a new prime minister.

French delegates at an African peace summit for Ivory Coast had said earlier Saturday that Diarra's nomination was expected. Eleven African leaders, along with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan , attended the weekend summit in Paris aimed at providing a stamp of international legitimacy to the peace plan.



See also:

Ivory Coast peace deal clinched (Jan 25)
Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo agrees to a peace deal to end the four-month civil war in the country, and a new prime minister is chosen.

Thousands rally in Ivory Coast commercial capital to protest peace deal (Jan 25)

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