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Berlin / Hamburg; 27.8.2013: 30 years ago (on 28th August 1983) two Greenpeace activists floated over the Berlin Wall to the former GDR (German Democratic Republic) with a hot air balloon (the route of the balloon: http://gpurl.de/KarteBallon1983) to protest against nuclear weapons tests and for disarmament. The divided Berlin was the only location for such a cross-border protest. Four out of five nations (except for China) that tested nuclear weapons at that time could be reached hereby at the same time: The USA, Russia, Great Britain and France. Meanwhile an extensive test stop contract exists. But it has not been put into action until today because the USA and China, amongst others, have not ratified yet.
The two activists that were in the balloon then were John Sprange and Gerd Leipold. After their landing in the former GDR they were interrogated by the State Security (Stasi) but released shortly after. “I wasn’t afraid but it was a very queasy feeling to float over this usually impassable border” remembers Gerd Leipold. “The action made it clear to me that borders are manmade and not naturally given. Radioactivity also doesn’t respect borders.” The State security of the former GDR wrote hundreds of pages about Greenpeace and the two balloonists after the action. After the fall of the Berlin Wall the activists demanded their files. The confiscated balloon was given back to Greenpeace only five years after the action. For storage and transport the GDR charged the environmentalists with a fee of 8.523 Westmark. Greenpeace has now published the documents of the Stasi online: http://gpurl.de/MfS-Ballon-83 Today there are still about 17.000 nuclear warheads. Since the mid 1980’s the amount of nuclear weapons worldwide has decreased from 70.000 to round about 17.000 nuclear warheads. The arsenal of ready for use nuclear warheads in the short term is estimated 4.500. The so-called disarmament is more or less a modernisation of nuclear arsenals. Furthermore new nuclear nations alarmingly rearm. Greenpeace therefore asks the international community to stop the spread of nuclear technology and the phasing out of nuclear energy. Nuclear power plants (npp) are the basis for nuclear weapons. With the same technology that is used to enrich uranium for npp’s; material can be produced that is suitable for weapons as well. Besides the five official nuclear nations (USA; Russia; Great Britain; France and China) already four more states dispose of nuclear weapons: Israel; India;
Pakistan and North Korea.
Footage shows Gerd Leipold and John Sprange with a few press people and Greenpeace Collgegues (Brigitte Behrens, executive director of Greenpeace Germany, Patric Salize, Pressesprecher) at the place where they started off with the balloon.
Statement: Gerd Leipold, former executive director of Greenpeace Germany and commissionary Director of Greenpeace International
Berlin Balloon 30 Years Anniversary News Access
27 Aug, 2013
Berlin Balloon 30 Years Anniversary News Access
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