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German 'minister for cut'n'paste' resigns over PhD plagiarism

Baron von Googleberg ousted from defence ministry

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The German defence minister has been forced to resign after being dubbed "minister for cut-and-paste" and "Baron zu Googleberg" for plagiarism while completing his PhD thesis.

Freiherr* Doktor Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, a 39-year-old Bavarian aristocrat, resigned his ministerial post following a firestorm of press and public criticism after the University of Bayreuth stripped him of his doctorate last week. He had admitted copying large parts of his thesis.

The Guardian, reporting on an interview given by the plagiarist baron to German TV, quotes him as saying that he was resigning because he had become the story rather than German troops in combat in Afghanistan**.

"The death and wounding of soldiers has moved into the background," he said.

"I was always ready to fight [to keep the job] but I have reached the limits of my powers," he added.

Guttenberg had previously said that he copied chunks of his thesis due to the pressure of other commitments he had at the time, including being an MP and raising his children alongside his wife, TV presenter Countess Stephanie von Bismarck***.

Prior to becoming defence minister, Guttenberg had served as an MP since 2002. Before that he managed his family's investments, studied law at university and did his compulsory military service, becoming a sergeant in an alpine unit. One of his moves as minister was to abolish such conscription, moving the German services toward becoming an all-volunteer force.

The offending doctorate was granted in 2007 for studies of constitutional law in the USA and EU.

Though Guttenberg initially enjoyed strong support from his fellow Christian Democrat politicoes, this wasn't universal. The Grauniad quotes German education minister Annette Schavan as commenting that "intellectual theft is not a small thing. The protection of intellectual property is a higher good."

The humiliated, workshy freetard aristo will presumably now retire to his family castle in Bavaria. ®

Bootnotes

*Meaning "Baron" in English. Guttenberg's full name and title is apparently Karl Theodor Maria Nikolaus Johann Jacob Philipp Franz Joseph Sylvester, Freiherr von und zu Guttenberg.

**Germany does contribute troops to the NATO forces there, though under many "caveats" as to where and how they can be employed. They can't for instance be deployed to the war-torn southern provinces where US, British, Canadian and other soldiers have suffered so badly over the past 6 years. Nonetheless the German forces have seen some fighting and taken some casualties.

***A descendant of the renowned 19th-century Prussian strongman Otto von Bismarck, the man we have to thank for the existence of Germany as a single unified nation.

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