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Peace from Harmony
John Avery. Nuclear Weapons: An Absolute Evil


March 16, 2021 г.

Duration: 11:17


John Avery's book
Nuclear Weapons: An Absolute Evil *- PDF format

* Brief additions and comments of this book are below,

in the eponymous author's article.

John Avery:
Nuclear weapons: absolute evil, genocide and crime against humanity



Джон Авери:

Ядерное оружие: абсолютное зло, геноцид и преступление против человечества:


My dear friend Leo,

I am attaching an article which I would be extremely happy to have published o­n your important GHA
website, provided that you do not change the wording at all.

I wish you great success with your important work for global peace science and harmony.

With love to you and to other dear GHA friends throughout the world,

John Avery
Nobel Peace Laureate
January 26, 2018

“The goals of Global Peace Science are absolutely essential.”

Prof. Emeritus Dr. John Scales Avery,

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate (shared 1995 award),

Chairman, Danish Peace Academy, 2004-2015, Denmark, actively collaborated with the GGHA, participating as a coauthor in all of its collective peacemaking books, starting since “Global Peace Science”, 2016: 

Nuclear Weapons: An Absolute Evil

by John Scales Avery


A pdf file of this book can be freely downloaded from the following link:


or: http://peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=800

I urge you to download this file and to send the link or file to friends who might be interested.

All of my books and articles o­n the serious global problems that we face today can be found o­n the following link:


or: http://peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=672


Please spread both links to any of your friends who might be interested. Also, if you have a website, please publish it there.


Here is an excerpt from an appendix o­n the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize:


The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, abbreviated ICAN, is a coalition of 468 NGO’s in 101 countries. The purpose of ICAN is to change the focus in the disarmament debate to “the the humanitarian threat posed by nuclear weapons, drawing attention to their unique destructive capacity, their catastrophic health and environmental consequences, their indiscriminate targeting, the debilitating impact of a detonation o­n medical infrastructure and relief measures, and the long-lasting effects of radiation o­n the surrounding area.

On July 7, 2017, the Treaty o­n the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was adopted by an overwhelming majority, 122 to 1, by the United Nations General Assembly. The adoption of the treaty, a milestone in humanity’s efforts to rid itself of nuclear insanity, was to a large extent due to the efforts of ICAN’s participating organizations.

On December 10, 2017 ICAN’s efforts were recognized by the award of theNobel Peace Prize. Part of the motivation for the award was the fact that the threat of a thermonuclear global catastrophe is higher today than it has been at any time since the Cuban Missile Crisis. Because of the belligerent attitudes and mental instability of Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un, the end of human civilization and much of the biosphere is, in the words of ICAN's Executive Director BeatriceFihn, “only a tantrum away”.


Here are some excerpts from the Introduction to my book o­n nuclear weapons:


The threat of nuclear war is very high today. This book is a collection of articles and book chapters that I have written advocating the abolition of nuclear weapons. Some new material has also been added, for example a discussion of the Treaty o­n the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which has recently been adopted by an overwhelming majority vote at the United Nations General Assembly.

Today, because of the possibility that U.S. President Donald Trump will initiate a nuclear war against Iran or North Korea, or even Russia, the issue of nuclear weapons is at the center of the global stage. I strongly believe that the time has come for all countries to take a united stance o­n this issue. Most of the world’s nations live in nuclear weapon free zones. This does not give them any real protection, since the catastrophic environmental effects of nuclear war would be global, not sparing any nation. However, by supporting the Nuclear Weapons Convention and by becoming members of NWFZ’s, nations can state that they consider nuclear weapons to be morally unacceptable, a view that must soon become worldwide if human civilization is to survive.

We must take a stand, and state clearly that nuclear weapons are an absolute evil; that their possession does not increase anyone’s security; that their continued existence is a threat to the life of every person o­n the planet; and that these genocidal and potentially omnicidal weapons have no place in a civilized society.


Nuclear warfare as genocide


On December 9, 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a convention prohibiting genocide. It seems appropriate to discuss nuclear warfare against the background of this important standard of international law.

Cannot nuclear warfare be seen as an example of genocide? It is capable of killing entire populations, including babies, young children, adults in their prime and old people, without any regard for guilt or innocence. The retention of nuclear weapons, with the intent to use them under some substances, must be seen as the intent to commit genocide. Is it not morally degrading to see our leaders announce their intention to commit the “crime of crimes” in our names?


The continuity of life is sacred


In 1985, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War received the Nobel Peace Prize. IPPNW had been founded in 1980 by six physicians, three from the Soviet Union and three from the United States. Today, the organization has wide membership among the world’s physicians. Professor Bernard Lowen of the Harvard School of Public Health, o­ne of the founders of IPPNW, said in a recent speech:


...No public health hazard ever faced by humankind equals the threat of unmake this planet uninhabitable... Modern medicine has nothing to offer, not even a token benefit, in the event of nuclear war...”


We are but transient passengers o­n this planet Earth. It does not belong to us. We are not free to doom generations yet unborn. We are not at liberty to erase humanity’s past or dim its future. Social systems do not endure for eternity. o­nly life can lay claim to uninterrupted continuity. This continuity is sacred.”


Mr. Javier P ́erez de Cu ́ellar, former Secretary-General of the United, emphasized the same point in o­ne of his speeches: “I feel”, he said, “Nuclear weapons are criminal! Every war is a crime!”


War was always madness, always immoral, always the cause of unspeakable suffering, economic waste and widespread destruction, and always a source of poverty, hate, barbarism and endless cycles of revenge and counter-revenge. It has always been a crime for soldiers to kill people, just as it is a crime for murderers in civil society to kill people. No flag has ever been wide enough to cover up atrocities.

But today, the development of all-destroying modern weapons has put war completely beyond the bounds of sanity and elementary humanity. Today, war is not o­nly insane, but also a violation of international law. Both the United Nations Charter and the Nuremberg Principles make it a crime to launch an aggressive war. According to the Nuremberg Principles, every soldier is responsible for the crimes that he or she commits, even while acting under the orders of a superior officer.

Nuclear weapons are not o­nly insane, immoral and potentially omnicidal, but also criminal under international law. In response to questions put to it by WHO and the UN General Assembly, the International Court of Justice ruled in 1996 that “the threat and use of nuclear weapons would generally be contrary to the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict, and particularly the principles and rules of humanitarian law.” The o­nly possible exception to this general rule might be “an extreme circumstance of self-defense, in which the very survival of a state would be at stake”. But the Court refused to say that even in this extreme circumstance the threat or use of nuclear weapons would be legal. It left the exceptional case undecided. In addition, the Court added unanimously that “there exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control.”

Can we not rid ourselves of both nuclear weapons and the institution of war itself?* We must act quickly and resolutely before everything that we love in our beautiful world is reduced to radioactive ashes.


* An effective instrument to rid humankind from ‘of both nuclear weapons and the institution of war itself’ can be the reformed “UN Harmony”, built o­n the principles of deep societal structural harmony as principles of non-militarism and nonviolence. A similar UN model was proposed in the Global Harmony Association project (http://peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=769), which I supported.

John Avery,

*Эффективным инструментом освобождения человечества от ядерного оружия и института войны может быть реформированная «ООН Гармонии», построенная на принципах глубокой социетальной структурной гармонии как принципах не-милитаризма и ненасилия. Подобная модель ООН предложена в проекте Глобального Союза Гармонии (http://peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=769), который я поддержал.

Джон Авери,
26 января 2018

Prof. John Scales Avery, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate (shared 1995 award), Chairman of the Danish Peace Academy, Copenhagen, Denmark, http://www.fredsakademiet.dk ,


January 26, 2018

My dear friend Leo,

I am enormously grateful to you for publishing my article and my book, "Nuclear Weapons: An Absolute Evil". Let us hope that world leaders will come to their senses and support the complete abolition of these anti-human weapons which today constitute an existential threat not o­nly to human civilization, but also to the biosphere.

I wish you great success in your vitally important efforts to achieve global peace, cooperation and harmony.

With love to you and to all my dear GHA friends throughout the world,

John Avery
January 28, 2018


‘Absolute Evil’ No. 1:
US Militarism/Pentagon

Absolute in time: 72 years of the "long war against humanity" (Chossudovsky), since the nuclear genocide of more than 200,000 innocent civilians of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. Planning the North Korean genocide, 25 million, in 2018 and other countries.

Absolute in scale: The US-NATO militaristic budget exceeds the military budgets of all other countries combined. US-NATO Genocide for 72 years: "US Has Killed More Than 20 Million In 37 Nations" (Lucas).


‘Абсолютное Зло’ №1:

США милитаризм/Пентагон


Абсолютное по времени: 72 года «долгой войны против человечества» (Чоссудовский), начиная с ядерного геноцида более 200 тысяч невинных мирных жителей Хиросимы и Нагасаки в 1945 г. План геноцида Северной Кореи, 25 млн, в 2018 г. и других стран.

Абсолютное по масштабу:

Милитаристский бюджет США-НАТО превышает военные бюджеты всех других стран мира вместе взятых. Геноцид США-НАТО за 72 года: «37 войн в 37 странах, в которых было убито более 20 млн.» (Лукас).


‘Absolute Evil’ No. 1:

US Militarism/Pentagon + NATO


My dear friend John,

My assistant and I were happy to publish your unique book-warning "Nuclear Weapons: Absolute Evil" in the archive of your most outstanding books o­n the GHA website "Peace from Harmony" here: http://peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=800 and its banners (below) here: http://peacefromharmony.org/#top

I accompany your book with my address comment. Your book "Nuclear Weapons: Absolute Evil" is not o­nly an abstract theory but it hasalso historical facts of its embodiment. I summarized them with the support o­n the most important studies of well-known Western scholars, which cannot be ignored or circumvented. We both, as scientists, highly value them. They characterize this absolute evil in many dimensions:

'Absolute Evil' No. 1 is the American Pentagon / Militarism + NATO.

1. This evil is absolutely in time: 72 years of the "long war of USA against humanity" (Prof. Chossudovsky) starting since the nuclear genocide of more than 200,000 innocent civilians in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. Now it is planned the genocide of North Korea, 25 million, in 2018 and other countries: Russia, China, Iran, Somalia, Yemen, etc. (He also + Mountain, etc.). "The historical tradition of America is imperial wars and genocidal crimes against humanity" during 220 war years from its 240-year history (Prof. Stahel, Prof. Hagopian, etc.)

2. This evil is absolutely in scale: The US-NATO militaristic budget exceeds the military budgets of all other countries of the world combined. The US-NATO genocide for 72 years is the "US Has Killed More Than 20 Million In 37 Nations Since WWII" (Prof. Lucas). The US-NATO deployed 240,000 troops in 172 countries and nearly 1,000 military bases around the world with nuclear weapons (Prof. Reimann, Prof. Vine, etc.). There are tens of thousands of similar scientific facts of this absolute evil.

3. This evil is absolutely in its identity with the state machine and its institutions. It identified itself politically with the all-powerful militaristic Pentagon, whose interests are served by both the government/president and Congress, uncomplainingly asserting its cosmic military budgets. Pentagon turned the US into a "nation of war" (Prof. Hastings). Pentagon created the "American Century of Violence" (Prof. Dower), "plunged the world into a crisis" (Pf., Conn and Wofsy). The war became the American "narcotic addiction" (Prof. Dorrel).

4. This evil is absolutely in its anti-democratization and hostility to the people. Militarism turned American democracy into "inverted totalitarianism" (Prof. Wolin), into "totalitarian democracy" (Prof. Engdahl), into "fascism" and "globalizing fascism" (Prof. Rubenstein, Prof. Brenner and many others) . There is nothing more dangerous than joining the fascist regime with nuclear weapons. What failed to Hitler in 1945, it became possible to the Pentagon in the early 21st century. In American militarism, democracy has evaporated, because "You can't have a democracy that organizes itself around war." (Prof. Giroux).

5. Absolute evil is absolutely in its inevitable fall. The inevitability of the "fall of the American Empire" for global militarism in 2020 was predicted by many and long ago (Prof. Galtung et al.). There are many other dimensions of absolute evil that you have outlined in your book. Many of his facts are summarized in our common projects with you (http://peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=769 and others).

A positive non-violent way out of absolute evil is indicated, as you emphasize, by Einstein, who wrote in the middle of last century that "peace cannot be achieved by violence, it can o­nly be achieved by understanding." The highest form of understanding is science. Therefore, o­nly the "Global Peace Science", created during 12 years in the GHA with your participation, opens up a real social and political perspective of nonviolent overcoming of "absolute evil" in the form of priority nuclear disarmament. It has already been supported by 122 countries of the UN. But of the 9 nuclear leaders, o­nly the President of Russia confirmed his commitment to nuclear disarmament, which he undoubtedly realizes after his re-election in March 2018.

With this note of hope for a positive scientific and political perspective for the suppression of the "absolute evil", I and the GHA members are happy to congratulate you and all the peacemakers o­n the New Year, wishing you good health and new scientific peacemaking achievements.
          With Love,
Dr. Leo Semashko,
GHA Honorary President

‘Абсолютное Зло’ №1:

Американский милитаризм/Пентагон+НАТО


Мой дорогой друг Джон,

Мы с моим помощником были счастливы опубликовать вашу уникальную книгу-предупреждение «Ядерное оружие: Абсолютное Зло» в архиве ваших наиболее выдающихся книг на сайте ГСГ «Мир из Гармонии» здесь: http://peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=800 , а ее баннеры (ниже) здесь: http://peacefromharmony.org/#top

Вашу книгу я сопровождаю мои адресным комментарием. Ваша книга «Ядерное оружие: Абсолютное Зло» - это не только абстрактная теория, но и исторические факты его воплощения. Я суммирую их с опорой на наиболее важные исследования известных западных ученых, которые невозможно игнорировать или обойти их. Мы оба, как ученые, высоко ценим их. Они характеризуют это абсолютное зло во многих измерениях:

‘Абсолютное Зло’ №1 – это Американский Пентагон/милитаризм+НАТО.

1. Это зло - абсолютно по времени: 72 года «долгой войны США против человечества» (Проф. Чоссудовский), начиная с ядерного геноцида более 200 тысяч невинных мирных жителей Хиросимы и Нагасаки в 1945 г. Теперь планируется геноцид Северной Кореи, 25 млн, в 2018 г. и других стран: России, Китая, Ирана, Сомали, Йемена и др. (Он же + Томас Мантейн MountainThomas и др.). «Историческая традиция Америки – это имперские войны и геноцидные преступления против человечества» на протяжении 220 военных лет из ее 240 летней истории (Проф. Стахель; Проф. Хагопиан и др.)

2. Это зло - абсолютно по масштабу: Милитаристский бюджет США-НАТО превышает военные бюджеты всех других стран мира вместе взятых. Геноцид США-НАТО за 72 года: - это «37 войн в 37 странах, в которых было убито более 20 млн.» (Проф. Лукас). США-НАТО разместили 240 тысяч войск в 172 странах мира и на почти 1000 военных баз по всему миру вместе с ядерным оружием (Проф. Рейман; Проф Вайн Vineи др.). Существуют десятки тысяч подобных научных фактов этого абсолютного зла.

         3. Это зло абсолютно по своей идентичности с государственной машиной и ее институтами. Она отождествила себя политически с всемогущим милитаристским Пентагоном, интересы которого обслуживает и правительство/президент, и Конгресс, безропотно утверждающий его космические военные бюджеты. Пентагон превратил США в «нацию войны» (Проф. Хастингс). Пентагон создал «Американский век насилия» (Проф. Dower), «погрузивший мир в кризис» (Прф. ConnandWofsy). Война стала Американским «наркотическим пристрастием» (Проф. Доррел).

         4. Это зло абсолютно в своем антидемократизме и враждебности народу. Милитаризм превратил Американскую демократию в «перевернутый тоталитаризм» (Проф. Волин), в «тоталитарную демократию» (Проф. Энгдаль), в «фашизм» и «глобализирующий фашизм» (Проф. Рубинштейн; Rubenstein, Проф. Бреннер и многие другие Brenner). Нет ничего более опасного, чем соединение фашистского режима с ядерным оружием. То, что не удалось Гитлеру в 1945, то удалось Пентагону в начале 21 века. В американском милитаризме демократия испарилась, потому что «У вас не может быть демократии, если она организует себя вокруг войны» (Проф. Жиро).

         5. Абсолютное зло абсолютно в своей неизбежной кончине. Неизбежность «падения Американской империи» глобального милитаризма в 2020 году была предсказана многими и давно (Проф. Галтунг и др.). Существует множество других измерений абсолютного зла, которые вы наметили в своей книге. Многие его факты обобщены в наших с вами общих проектах (http://peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=769 и др.)

Позитивный ненасильственный выход из абсолютного зла указан, как вы подчеркиваете, Эйнштейном, который писал в середине прошлого века, что «мир не может быть достигнут насилием, он может быть достигнут только пониманием». Высшая форма понимания – наука. Поэтому, только «Наука Глобального Мира», созданная в течение 12 лет в ГСГ с вашим участием, открывает реальную социальную и политическую перспективу ненасильственного преодоления «абсолютного зла» в форме первоочередного ядерного разоружения. Оно уже поддержано 122 странами членами ООН. Но из 9 ядерных лидеров только Президент России подтвердил свою приверженность ядерному разоружению, которое он несомненно реализует после своего переизбрания в марте 2018.

С этой нотой надежды на позитивную научную и политическую перспективу пресечения ‘абсолютного зла’ я и члены ГСГ счастливы поздравить вас и всех миротворцев с Новым годом, с пожеланием крепкого здоровья и новых научных миротворческих достижений.
С любовью,
Лев Семашко,
Почётный Президент ГСГ,

My dearest friend Leo,

I wish you health and happiness during the new year! Let us hope that despite the very serious problems that are facing our poor world, 2018 will be a year of peace and global harmony.

Here is a link where some of my books and articles o­n these problems are made available.

Perhaps my dear friends in GHA would be interested in the link.

I am attaching a Christmas letter with some news about my family.
With my admiration for your vitally important work, and with best hopes for a peaceful future,


Prof. John Scales Avery,

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate (shared 1995 award), Chairman of the Danish Peace Academy, Copenhagen,

Проф. Джон Скалес Авери,

Лауреат Нобелевской Премии Мира 1995 г., Председатель Датской Академии Мира, Копенгаген,
Дания: http://peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=672



Счастливый Новый Год, Веселое Рождество и сама Жизнь:

несовместимость с абсолютным злом ядерного оружия


Мой дорогой друг Джон!

Большое спасибо за ваши теплые поздравления, важную информацию и поддержку ГСГ миростроительных проектов и практики! Особенно восхищает ваша последняя (ноябрь 2017), воистину великая книга более 300 страниц: «Ядерное оружие: Абсолютное зло». Точнее и лапидарнее не скажешь!!! Я опубликовал ваше письмо и мой ответ здесь: http://peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=799, и на вашей персональной странице.

Мы счастливы поздравить вас с этим беспрецедентным миротворческим достижением, с определением ядерного оружия как АБСОЛЮТНОГО ЗЛА, ГЕНОЦИДА И ПРЕСТУПЛЕНИЯ ПРОТИВ ЧЕЛОВЕЧЕСТВА, одно намерение использовать которое заслуживает незамедлительного нового НЮРНБЕРГСКОГО ПРОЦЕССА!!! Человечество знает такое преступление 1945 года, в Хиросиме и Нагасаки, которое до сих пор, через 72 года, не дождется этого процесса! Его виновники не хотят даже извиняться за это преступление! Его авторы утвердили за собой «одностороннее право превентивно использовать ядерное оружие первыми». Уже это есть абсолютное зло, геноцид и преступление против человечества! КТО ОСТАНОВИТ ЕГО??? Это способна сделать только новая «ООН Гармонии» по инициативе Президента России Владимира Путина, который единственный из 9 ядерных лидеров давно выступает за ядерное разоружение. Это мы доказали в нашем соответствующем проекте ООН: http://www.peacefromharmony.org/?cat=ru_c&key=736

Конечно, я буду счастлив опубликовать все ваши тексты, в первую очередь вашу книгу «Абсолютное зло», на нашем сайте, если вы позволите. Но я могу сделать это только в начале января. Могли бы вы дополнить также ваш список последних статей нашей совместной статьей:

«Лев Семашко, Джон Авери, Вера Афанасьева, Тими Экимович. Термодинамика и негэнтропия социетальной гармонии сферных классов: термодинамика глобального мира:

http://peacefromharmony.org/?cat=ru_c&key=728» Это возможно сделать? Спасибо.

Веселого Рождества и счастливого Нового Года вам и вашей замечательной семье, чтобы в 2018 году исчезла возможность абсолютного зла для всех людей!

С любовью, Лев Семашко,



Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Life itself:
incompatibility with the absolute evil of nuclear weapons


My dearest friend John,

Many thanks for your kind congratulations, important information and GHA support for peace-building projects and practices! Your latest (November 2017), truly great book of more than 300 pages, is especially attractive: "Nuclear Weapons: An Absolute Evil." More precisely and lapidary not say! I published your letter and my answer here: http://peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=799, and o­n your personal page.

We are happy to congratulate you o­n this unprecedented peacemaking achievement, with the definition of nuclear weapons as ABSOLUTE EVIL, GENOCIDE AND CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY, o­ne intention to use which deserves an immediate new NUREMBERG PROCESS!!!

Humanity knows such a crime in 1945, in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which until now, 72 years later, will not wait for this process! His culprits do not even want to apologize for this crime! Its authors approved the "unilateral right of preventive use of nuclear weapons by the first." This is already an absolute evil, genocide and a crime against humanity! WHO STOPS IT??? o­nly the new "UN Harmony" is able to do this o­n the initiative of the Russia President Vladimir Putin, who has long been advocating for nuclear disarmament the o­nly of the nine nuclear leaders. We proved this in our UN respective project: http://peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=769

Of course, I will be happy to publish all your texts, primarily your book "Absolute Evil", o­n our website, if you will permit. But I can do it in early Januaryonly. Could you also supplement your list of recent articles with our joint article: "Vera Afanasyeva, John S. Avery, Timi Ecimovic and Leo Semashko. Thermodynamics and Negentropy of Spheral Classes Societal Harmony: Global Peace Thermodynamics": http://peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=756 Is it possible to do? Thank you.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and your wonderful family, so that in 2018 the possibility of absolute evil for all people disappears!

With love, Leo,




John Scales Avery

Personal page:



Review of John Scales Avery’s Book

Nuclear Weapons: an Absolute Evil


Anne Baring

February 18, 2018


The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has recently announced (25/1/18) that they have moved the hands of the Doomsday Clock to two minutes to mid-night. A few days before this announcement was made a statement by General Sir Nick Carter appeared in The Times in the United Kingdom: “Our ability to pre-empt or respond to threats will be eroded if we don’t keep up with our adversaries.” (The Times 22/1/2018).

Source: International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN)


This statement encapsulates the mind-set that drives the Military-Industrial Complex in the nuclear nations and its interminable preparations for and anticipation of a future war. It could ultimately lead to o­ne of these nations, whether deliberately or inadvertently, unleashing o­n the world the catastrophe of a nuclear war.

Many decades ago General Eisenhower warned America about the unwarranted power of the Military-Industrial Complex.

Today, the entire planet is held hostage to this Complex whose lethal tentacles control the nine nuclear nations as well as those nations and corporations engaged in the lucrative arms trade. This Complex is o­ne of the major causes of war and the persistence of war. Here is Eisenhower’s comment o­n war in general:

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. The world in arms is not spending money alone.

It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children… This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron. (1)

America paid no attention to his warnings and, in its hubristic will to power, continues to be complicit in expanding the greatest evil that has ever come upon this planet, threatening war with Russia and China and, most recently North Korea.

Most of the planet’s inhabitants, even those who are highly educated and working in governments and organizations like the United Nations have very little awareness of what an exchange of nuclear weapons would be like or what its immediate and long-term effects would be in terms of the massive numbers of civilian deaths and the rapid deterioration of the planetary environment.

This is the lacuna that Professor Avery’s book sets out to fill in an admirably clear and comprehensive way, enriching it with photographs and quotations from men who have, from the outset, expressed their opposition to nuclear weapons.

The book is an education in itself o­n the many facets of this complex subject including how these weapons first came into being in first five, then nine nuclear nations.

In addresses both the amorality and the illegality of nuclear weapons. Many people like myself who are appalled by the existence of nuclear weapons but insufficiently informed of their history and the threat they pose to the planetary biosphere, could benefit by reading its highly informative chapters.

The Sacrifice of Civilians

The first chapter, “The Threat of Nuclear War”, explores the important subject of how existing ethical principles about avoiding the bombing of civilians were eroded during the Second World War with the carpet bombing of cities by German and British air forces, culminating in the incendiary raids o­n Coventry, Hamburg and Dresden that destroyed those and other German cities and many thousands of their helpless inhabitants.

Not long after these, in August 1945, came the horrific obliteration of the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the first atom bombs, together with most of their civilian inhabitants. It is noteworthy that the First and Second World Wars cost the lives of 26 million soldiers but 64 million civilians. We live, Professor Avery comments, in an age of space-age science but stone-age politics.

Instead of drawing back in horror from the evil it had unleashed, America and then the Soviet Union embarked o­n an arms race that has led, step by step, to the current existence of nine nuclear nations and some 17,000 nuclear weapons, with the greater part of these situated in the United States and Russia.

Thousands of these are kept o­n permanent “hair-trigger” alert. 200 of these nuclear bombs are situated in Belgium, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands, available for use by NATO and placed there by the United States principally to deter a Russian attack. The danger of the launch of o­ne of these weapons in error is a constant possibility and would precipitate a genocidal catastrophe.

His first chapter also addresses the important concept of nuclear deterrence and shows how, according to the historic 1996 decision by the International Court of Justice in the Hague, this was declared to be not o­nly unacceptable from the standpoint of ethics but also contrary to International Law as well as the principles of democracy.

The latter have been reflected in the pattern of voting at the United Nations (originally founded to abolish the Institution of War) which has consistently shown that the overwhelming majority of the world’s people wish to be rid of nuclear weapons.

The basic premise of this chapter and indeed, the entire book, is that nuclear weapons are an absolute evil and that no defense can be offered for them, particularly the defense that they act as a deterrent. He brings evidence to show that the effects of even a small nuclear war would be global and all the nations of the world would suffer.

Because of its devastating effects o­n global agriculture, even a small nuclear war could result in a ‘nuclear winter’ and in an estimated billion deaths from famine. A large-scale nuclear war would completely destroy all agriculture for a period of ten years. Large areas of the world would be rendered permanently uninhabitable because of the ‘nuclear winter’ and the radioactive contamination affecting plants, animals and humans.

Summarising at the end of this chapter Professor Avery writes: “In the world as it is, the nuclear weapons now stockpiled are sufficient to kill everyone o­n earth several times over. Nuclear technology is spreading, and many politically unstable countries have recently acquired nuclear weapons or may acquire them soon. Even terrorist groups or organized criminals may acquire such weapons, and there is an increasing danger that they will be used.”

To believe that deterrence is a preventive to their being used is to live in a fool’s paradise. It o­nly needs o­ne inadvertent mistake, o­ne mis-reading of a computer, o­ne terrorist nuclear bomb to unleash unimaginable horror o­n the world.

There have already been several near disasters. (2) Governments claim to protect their populations by holding these weapons.

Instead, they offer them as hostages to the greed and will to power of the giant corporations, of arms manufacturers such as BAE and the Military-Industrial Complex in general. Professor Avery refers to the greed for power that drives each of these as “The Devil’s Dynamo”.

Trident | JohnED76| Wikimedia Commons

As an example of this will to power, concealed beneath the mask of deterrence, there is the existence of a Trident submarine which is o­n patrol at all times, armed with an estimated eight missiles, each of which can carry up to five warheads.

In total, that makes 40 warheads, each with an explosive power of up to 100 kilotons of conventional high explosive—eight times the power of the atomic bomb dropped o­n Hiroshima in 1945 which killed an estimated 240,000 people from blast and radiation. o­ne nuclear submarine can incinerate more than 40 million human beings.

This capacity for mass murder is presented as essential for our defense but it begs the question: ‘How many people are we prepared to exterminate in order to ensure our security?’ We would have no protection against a reciprocally fired nuclear missile directed at us. The concept of deterrence puts us at risk of instant annihilation.

In subsequent chapters, “Lessons from the Two World Wars”, “The Social Responsibility of Scientists” and “The Illegality of Nuclear Weapons”, Professor Avery expands o­n the different aspects of the danger that nuclear weapons present as well as the concerted efforts of many individuals and nations to eliminate them, culminating in the Treaty o­n the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons that was passed by 122 nations in the United Nations General Assembly in July 7th, 2017.

“Today”, he writes, “War is not o­nly insane but also a violation of international law.”

The Illegality of War

Many people are not aware that the illegality of war was established in 1946 when the United Nations General Assembly unanimously affirmed “The principles of international law recognized by the Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal and the judgment of the Tribunal.”

These set out the crimes that henceforth were punishable under international law. It is obvious that the nine nuclear nations, in developing and holding their weapons, have ignored and violated these principles.

Source: International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN)

In 1968 there was a further attempt to contain the growing nuclear threat. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), drawn up during the Cold War and signed by 187 countries, was designed to prevent nuclear weapons from spreading beyond the five nations that already had them.

It has now been in force as international law since 1970 and is convened every five years to pursue further negotiations towards total nuclear disarmament. In Article VI of the Treaty, the non-nuclear states insisted that definite steps towards complete nuclear disarmament would be taken by all states, as well as steps towards comprehensive control of conventional armaments.

These steps have not been taken by the nuclear states. Israel (which has still not acknowledged that it holds them), India and Pakistan have not signed the Treaty and North Korea, having originally signed, withdrew in 2003. (3)

Pakistan, a dangerously unstable country, presents the very real danger of nuclear technology or bombs falling into the hands of Islamic Fundamentalists. (4) The 2015 meeting of the NPT ended in disarray with no agreement reached o­n further commitments to disarm.

Professor Avery draws attention to the significant fact that NATO’s nuclear weapons policy violates both the spirit and the text of the NPT. An estimated hundred and eighty US nuclear weapons, all of them B-61 hydrogen bombs, are still o­n European soil with the air forces of the nations in which they are based regularly trained to deliver the US weapons.

These nations are Belgium, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands as well as the United Kingdom with its Trident submarines. Turkey, o­ne of the 29 nations that have joined NATO holds about 50 hydrogen bombs at a US base at Incirlik. (5) (6) The aim of all these weapons is to intimidate Russia.

This “nuclear sharing” as he points out, “violates Articles 1 and 11 of the NPT, which forbid the transfer of nuclear weapons to non-nuclear-weapon states.” And, he continues, “The principle of no-first-use of nuclear weapons has been an important safeguard over the years, but it is violated by present NATO policy, which permits the first-use of nuclear weapons in a wide variety of circumstances. This is something that every citizen of the EU should be aware of.

Aircraft of the 509th Composite Group that took part in the Hiroshima bombing. Left to right: Big Stink, The Great Artiste, Enola Gay | Photo taken by Harold Agnew o­n Tinian Island in 1945 | Source: private collection of Harold Agnew | Wikimedia Commons

In another most important chapter “Against Nuclear Proliferation” Professor Avery draws attention to the danger of nuclear reactors, a danger that is very rarely reflected o­n by the governments who have committed vast sums to building them and is virtually unknown to the general public.

Nuclear reactors constructed for “peaceful” purposes to generate electricity nevertheless constitute a danger in that they generate fissionable isotopes of plutonium, neptunium and americium and, are not under strict international control.

Since 1945, more than 3,000 metric tons (3,000,000 kilograms) of highly enriched uranium and plutonium have been produced, of which a million kilograms are in Russia, where they are inadequately guarded.

A terrorist could create a simple atom bomb, capable of killing 100,000 people if he were able to access a critical amount of uranium.

He notes that “no missile defense system can prevent nuclear weapons falling into the hands of terrorists since these weapons can be brought into a country via any o­ne of the thousands of containers loaded o­nto ships whose contents cannot be exhaustively checked.” This fact, as he says, undermines the argument in favor of deterrence.

More specifically, the danger lies with the fact that reactors can be used to manufacture both uranium and plutonium from the fuel rods that are an intrinsic part of every reactor and these elements can be used by anyone with sufficient expertise to create a nuclear bomb. Because this is such an important subject and largely unknown to the layman, it is worthwhile quoting his exact words:

By reprocessing spent nuclear fuel rods, a nation with a power reactor can obtain weapons-usable Pu-239 (a fissionable isotope of plutonium that was used to create the bomb dropped o­n Nagasaki).

Even when such reprocessing is performed under international control, the uncertainty as to the amount of Pu-239 obtained is large enough so that the operation might superficially seem to conform to regulations while still supplying enough Pu-239 to make many bombs… Fast breeder reactors are prohibitively dangerous from the standpoint of nuclear proliferation because both the highly enriched uranium from the fuel rods and the Pu-239 from the envelope are directly weapons-usable… If all nations used fast breeder reactors, the number of nuclear weapons states would increase drastically… If nuclear reactors become the standard means for electricity generation [as is planned in Saudi-Arabia, for example] the number of nations possessing nuclear weapons might ultimately be as high as 40.

At the moment, there are no restrictions pertaining to the control of the enrichment of uranium and reprocessing of fuel rods in the reactors throughout the world. In Professor Avery’s view, this is a very dangerous situation which invites the manufacture of nuclear weapons by default. (7)

Source: ICAN-International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons

The Effects of Radiation

There were 2053 nuclear tests that took place between 1945 and 1998, the majority by the United States and the Soviet Union. All of them emitted radiation.

The United States used the Pacific chain of islands as the site of 67 nuclear tests from 1946 to 1958. Of these the hydrogen bomb dropped o­n Bikini Atoll in 1954 was 1300 hundred times more powerful than the bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

It gave rise to devastating radiation that affected and still affects the inhabitants of the Marshall Islands, 120 miles from Bikini. They experienced radiation sickness and deaths from cancer and women still give birth to babies who do not resemble humans and have no viable life.

Photo: Map of Bikini Atoll as of 2008. The islands of Bokonijien, Aerokojlol, and Nam were vaporized by the nuclear tests. | Author: Peter Minton (EVS Island) | Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

In April 2014, the Republic of the Marshall Islands filed actions in the International Court of Justice in The Hague against the United States and the eight other nations that possess nuclear weapons. The actions focus mainly o­n the Nuclear Nine’s alleged failure to “fulfill the obligations of customary international law with respect to cessation of the nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament.”

As of March 2014 o­nly the cases against the UK, India, and Pakistan have reached the current preliminary stage of proceedings before the court, because the other six nations have refused to participate. True to form, the United States has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

In addition to the radiation emitted by nuclear testing there has been the radiation emitted by the Chernobyl (1986) and Fukushima (2011) disasters.

At Fukushima, between 300 and 400 metric tonnes a day of this radioactive water has been and still is flowing into the Pacific, contaminating the fish, algae and the birds who feed o­n the fish — and ultimately affecting humans. Contaminated fish have already been found off the coast of Alaska and the west coast of America.

According to a report by the French Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety, the initial breakdown caused “the largest single contribution of radio-nuclides to the marine environment ever observed.”

The Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant after the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami | Credit:Digital Globe | Wikimedia Commons

In support of the graphic description of what would happen to the world in the event of a nuclear exchange, elaborated in Professor Avery’s chapter “The Social Responsibility of Scientists,” Professor Chris Busby, o­ne of the world experts o­n the effects of ionising radiation, now living in Latvia, has warned about the catastrophic effects of nuclear radiation.

He says that even a limited nuclear exchange between the US and Russia would have these effects. “We know from the nuclear test effects of radiation o­n the veterans exposed to the fall-out from them that the damage to the human genome and the genome of all species o­n earth will be terminal.”

People exposed to radiation will become infertile and their children with be genetically damaged and this includes the millions of cancers that will also be part of these effects. He says that generals such as General Shirreff, a former head of NATO, who has written a book published in 2016 with the title 2017 War with Russia, are not aware of the catastrophic long-term effects of nuclear radiation.

They don’t understand that nuclear radiation contaminates a huge area of ground, rendering the people and animals living o­n it infertile or genetically damaged. Constantly ramping up the threat of Russia to the West, they themselves constitute o­ne of the major dangers confronting us.

Professor Busby exposes the fallacy behind the currently accepted model of exposure hazard adopted by governments and the nuclear industry since the 1950’s. He says the ICRP (International Commission o­n Radiological Protection) is in error by about 1,000 times.

Through nuclear testing (over 2,000, see above) and the accidents at Windscale, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima, the world has been increasingly bathed with radioactivity since 1945. We are now seeing the result in a virtual epidemic of cancer in many parts of the world.

These cannot all be set at the door of lifestyle and diet or genetic inheritance. In the 1950’s o­ne in nine people developed cancer. In the 1990’s it was o­ne in five. In the last few years it is o­ne in three and in 2020 it is estimated by WHO that it will be o­ne in two. The chief underlying cause of this increase in cancers is, according to Professor Busby, ionising radiation. All this is not known to the general public. (8)

Summing up the effects o­n the world of a nuclear war, Professor Avery writes:

The danger of a catastrophic nuclear war casts a dark shadow over the future of our species. It also casts a very black shadow over the future of the global environment. The environmental consequences of a massive exchange of nuclear weapons have been treated in a number of studies by meteorologists and other experts from both East and West.

They predict that a large-scale use of nuclear weapons would result in fire storms with very high winds and high temperatures [similar to what happened in Hamburg and Dresden]… The resulting smoke and dust would block out sunlight for a period of many months, at first o­nly in the northern hemisphere but later also in the southern hemisphere. Temperatures in many places would fall far below freezing, and much of the earth’s plant life would be killed. Animals and humans would then die of starvation.

The Expenditure o­n Weapons and the Impoverishment of the world

In subsequent chapters, Dr. Avery draws attention to the colossal sums that are spent o­n weapons and preparations for war o­n the part of the Military-Industrial Complex and how these impoverish the nations that are committed to them and impoverish the people of the world as a whole. “War,” as he says, “creates poverty”.

If even a small fraction of these sums were directed by an organization such as WHO or UNICEF towards improving health, eradicating disease, providing education and technical assistance such as basic hygiene, access to water and electricity in the poorer parts of the world, the lives of billions could be immeasurably improved. $1.7 trillion dollars is currently spent by the richest nations o­n armaments.

An enormous river of money, he says, buys the votes of politicians and the propaganda of the media that continually announces the existence of a new enemy and the defensive preparations needed to counteract its menace.

An atmospheric nuclear test conducted by the United States at Enewetak Atoll, Marshall Islands, o­n 1 November 1952. Photo: US Government | Source: UN

As proof of what he has described in his book which was published before he could include it, it was announced in 2015 that the Pentagon plans to spend $1 trillion over the next 30 years o­n a new generation of nuclear bombs, bombers, missiles and submarines, including a dozen submarines carrying more than a 1,000 warheads. During his presidency Obama ordered 200 new nuclear bombs to be deployed in Europe.

Russia has revealed plans for a new kind of weapon – a hydrogen bomb torpedo – that can traverse 6,000 miles of ocean just as a missile would in the sky. o­n impact, the bomb would create a “radioactive tsunami” designed to kill millions along a country’s coast.

A World Federation of Nations

In his final chapter, “Against the Institution of War”, Professor Avery suggests that “the tribalism deeply embedded in the concept of the sovereign nation-state makes it an anachronism in a world of thermonuclear weapons, instantaneous communication and economic interdependence.”

He puts forward the idea of a United Nations developed into a stronger World Federation of Nations with a legislature having the ability to make laws which are binding o­n individuals, and to arrest and try individual political leaders for violation of these laws. Such a strengthened United Nations would need to be independent of the income currently given to it by the most affluent nations which generally falls far below what is required to run such an institution effectively.

He suggests this income could be provided by a “Tobin tax” raised from international currency exchanges at a rate between 0.1 and 0.25% – an amount that would hardly be noticed by those involved in today’s enormous currency transactions.

It could provide the new World Federation of Nations with between 100 and 300 billion dollars annually. Endowed with this amount, the World Federation could strengthen all the current UN agencies that suffer from a chronic lack of funds and make their intervention in conflicts more effective.

In the recent Syrian catastrophe, the world has seen how ineffective he United Nations has been, mainly due to the blocking of proposed humanitarian action by the Security Council.


In the first of a number of important Appendices, Professor Avery has included the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to ICAN (The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons) which took place o­n December 10th, 2017.

He has also included the Nobel lecture given at the Award ceremony by Beatrice Fihn, the Executive Director of ICAN, together with the lecture by Setsuko Thurlow, o­ne of the very few survivors (hibakusha) of the 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima whose deeply moving words everyone concerned about nuclear weapons should read.

Another Appendix gives a review of a highly important book o­n Hiroshima by Josei Toda which gives the testimonies of the survivors and the memorable statement: “Nuclear Weapons are an absolute evil. Their possession is criminal under all circumstances.”

A third Appendix is devoted to a book review of an important book: The Path to Zero, (2012) by Richard Falk and David Krieger in which these two men engage “In a stunningly eloquent dialogue o­n a range of nuclear dangers, and our common responsibility to put an end to them.”

This book should be essential reading for citizens, scientists, policy-makers and above all, political leaders whose so-called ‘rational’ decisions too often take nations into war. Dr. Krieger is founder of The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation which is actively supporting the ‘David and Goliath’ suit of the Republic of the Marshall Islands against the Nuclear Nations.

The fifth Appendix gives the text of the important Russell-Einstein Manifesto of 1955 and the last o­ne is a Call for an Arctic Nuclear Weapons Free Zone.

In summary, Professor Avery says that we live at a crucial time of choice. We have the innate capacity for both good and evil but lack the moral awareness of how far down the path of evil our nuclear technology has taken us.

Will we choose to continue down the fatally dangerous nuclear path or will we choose to free our beautiful planet and our children and grandchildren from the scourge of these weapons.

He calls for a new global ethic, “where loyalty to o­ne’s family and nation will be supplemented by a higher loyalty to humanity as a whole… We know that nuclear war threatens to destroy civilization and much of the biosphere. The logic is there. We must translate it into popular action which will put an end to the undemocratic, money-driven, power-lust-driven war machine…

The peoples of the world must say very clearly that nuclear weapons are an absolute evil, that their possession does not increase anyone’s security; that their continued existence is a threat to the life of every person o­n the planet; and that these genocidal and potentially omnicidal weapons have no place in a civilized society…

Civilians have for too long played the role of passive targets, hostages in the power struggles of governments. It is time for civil society to make its will felt. If our leaders continue to support the institution of war, if they will not abolish nuclear weapons, then let us have new leaders… What is needed is the universal recognition that nuclear weapons are an absolute evil, and that their continued existence is a threat to human civilization and to the life of every person o­n the planet.”

Twenty years ago, General Lee Butler, former head of the U.S. Strategic Command (Stratcom) which controls nuclear weapons and strategy, wrote this:

By what authority do succeeding generations of leaders in the nuclear-weapons states usurp the power to dictate the odds of continued life o­n our planet? Most urgently, why does such breathtaking audacity persist at a moment when we should stand trembling in the face of our folly and united in our commitment to abolish its most deadly manifestations? (9)

I cannot recommend this book too highly. It has given me what I wanted to know and what I had no immediate access to: the complete picture of how we have lost our humanity and how we could regain it by ridding the earth of these demonic weapons.



Address by President Dwight D. Eisenhower “The Chance for Peace” delivered before the American Society of Newspaper Editors, April 16, 1953.

Notably the night of September 26th, 1983, when a young software engineer, Lt. Col. Stanislav Petrov was o­n duty when suddenly, the computer screen turned bright red with alarms going off simultaneously, Indicating that the United States had launched a missile strike o­n the Soviet Union. Miraculously, Petrov disobeyed orders and reported the incident as a computer error, which indeed it was.

There is also the terrifying accident at a missile silo in Arkansas, recorded in Eric Schlosser’s book, Command and Control (2013) where a handful of men struggled to prevent the explosion of a ballistic missile carrying the most powerful nuclear warhead ever built by the United States.

A third example is the US air force B-52 bomber carrying four nuclear weapons that crashed in Palomares in south-eastern Spain. o­n 19 Oct 2015 – Nearly 50 years after the crash – Washington finally agreed to clean up the radioactive contamination that resulted from it.


On January 6th, 2016 Kim Jong-un triumphantly announced that North Korea had detonated a hydrogen bomb and in December 2017 threatened to detonate o­ne over the Pacific.

Most of Pakistan’s nuclear weapon storage facilities are located in the north western part of the country, near the border with Afghanistan and Pakistan’s lawless tribal areas.

According to Hans M. Kristensen, the director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists, underground vaults at Incirlik hold about fifty B-61 hydrogen bombs—more than twenty-five per cent of the nuclear weapons in the NATO stockpile. The nuclear yield of the B-61 can be adjusted to suit a particular mission. The bomb that destroyed Hiroshima had an explosive force equivalent to about fifteen kilotons of TNT. In comparison, the “dial-a-yield” of the B-61 bombs at Incirlik can be adjusted from 0.3 kilotons to as many as a hundred and seventy kilotons.

See the article by Eric Schlosser in the New Yorker, July 17th, 2016 about the danger and also the ease of a terrorist attack o­n this base.

449 reactors already exist in the world and 60 are currently under construction.

Article by Chris Busby in Caduceus magazine issue 93, Spring 2016

Quoted in Noam Chomsky’s book Who Rules the World? 2016


Professor Avery’s official title at the University of Copenhagen is Associate Professor Emeritus. He has aPh.D. and D.I.C. degrees from Imperial College of Science and Technology (theoretical chemistry, 1965). He also has a B.Sc. (physics, MIT, 1954) and an M.Sc. (theoretical physics, University of Chicago, 1955). He is a Foreign Member of the Danish Royal Society of Sciences and Letters, and a Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science. Since 1990 he has been Chairman of the Danish National Group of Pugwash Conferences o­n Science and World Affairs (Nobel Peace Prize, 1995).

The book “Nuclear Weapons: an Absolute Evil” can be read here, and purchased here. Also, visit here for a repository of John Scales Avery’s articles and books.


Original with many photos: https://eacpe.org/review-of-book-nuclear-weapons-an-absolute-evil/





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