Posts Tagged ‘zu Googleberg’

Guttenberg buys his way out of prosecution for €20,000

November 24, 2011

Paying your favourite charity is apparently sufficient to get German prosecutors to drop prosecution – at least when the offender is zu Guttenberg and the offense is plagiarism.

I had not expected that Germany would still be granting droits de feodalité dominante

Does appear to be “one law for the rich and famous”…

Deutsche Welle:

Bavarian aristocrat and former German defense minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg has paid 20,000 euros to avoid prosecution on charges of plagiarism. With the case dismissed, Guttenberg could stage a political comeback.

German authorities have dropped their investigation into plagiarism charges against Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg after the former defense minister agreed to make a donation to a charitable institution.

The public prosecutor’s office said that although 23 passages of Guttenberg’s doctoral thesis possibly violated copyright laws, the monetary damage to the original author was only marginal and Guttenberg had not profited financially.

According to German law, misdemeanor cases can be dismissed if the accused agrees to pay a sum of money, usually to the state or a charitable organization. The court, public prosecutor’s office and the alleged victim all have to agree to the dismissal.

Guttenberg has already wired 20,000 euros ($26,794) to German Cancer Aid, a non-profit organization that supports research into cancer prevention and treatment. The former defense minister can now avoid a criminal record, although the investigation could be resumed if new evidence comes to light.

“It’s a second-rate dismissal, but it’s a dismissal” said Norbert Geis, a legal expert and a parliamentary representative with Guttenberg’s Christian Social Union, a regional ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats. ……

Zu Guttenberg starts his public comeback

November 20, 2011

Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg is serving his self-imposed 2 year exile on the other side of the Atlantic. But he is beginning the process of his own rehabilitation in the public eye. He seems to have subtly changed his look – probably part of a determined effort to create a new “cleaner” image.

Deutsche Welle:

Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg

Guttenberg's developed a new look, sans glasses and hair gel: Deutsche Welle

Germany’s disgraced former Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg has returned to the political stage, albeit far away in Canada. After the dodgy doctorate debacle, is this the first sign of a comeback? …

Guttenberg, sporting a new look at the Halifax International Security Forum in Canada, was referred to as “the honorable Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, distinguished statesman, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)” when introduced to the audience of some 300 people. Guttenberg moved to the US with his family in the summer, and works at CSIS, a think tank based in Washington.

….. Guttenberg’s doctoral title has since been revoked by the University of Bayreuth, and he may yet face trial on charges of violations of copyright law in writing his thesis. The former defense minister did not speak to journalists on the sidelines of the forum.

Two years of self-imposed exile for zu Guttenberg

June 13, 2011

Governments no longer send people into exile but those out of favour often choose self-imposed exile to remove themselves from the public consciousness and wait for better days.

zu Guttenberg needs to purge himself after his plagiarism escapades were found out and seems to have chosen to go this route. A self-imposed exile in London or Washington for about 2 years. But for the “cut and paste” generation his sins are not so heinous – even in academic circles. I consider it unfortunate but it is a reality that the originality that was once considered necessary for any PhD work – in any country and especially in the non-quantitative disciplines – continues to be diluted. Even in the quantitative sciences, the pressure on producing publications has led to many labs with PhD students becoming paper factories. The students go along because the number of their publications is their entry into the academic world.

My guess is that he will be back in German politics in about 5 years. Der Spiegel reports:

After months of hiding from the spotlight, Germany’s fallen former defense minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg is ready for his next big move — abroad. The conservative is preparing to leave the country and rethink his career following the plagiarism allegations that stalled his promising political trajectory. 

Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg has reason to be cautious. State prosecutors are still investigating more than 100 claims connected to allegations that he plagiarized large chunks of his doctoral dissertation. Once Germany’s most popular and promising politician, the scandal forced the member of the Bavaria’s conservative Christian Social Union to step down from his post as defense minister on March 1. His alma mater, the University of Bayreuth, later stripped him of his doctoral title, after a damning review of his work found that he had deliberately used text from various sources, including the academic service of the Bundestag where he was an MP at the time, without attributing it. 

Guttenberg has called the plan to leave Germany for at least two years a “sabbatical” in conversations with and emails to friends. He has also reportedly refused to rule out a return to politics at a later date.

Guttenberg and his family are reportedly planning a fresh start abroad after his plagiarism scandal.

Exile or a sabbatical for zu Googleberg: image Der Spiegel


Moving to America in times of difficulty has become an informal tradition for German politicians. Current co-chair of the environmentalist Greens, Cem Özdemir, took a job at a Washington think tank after his personal use of frequent flyer miles earned on the job scandalized German newspapers. He later made a successful comeback.  

Guttenberg, who resigned after just 16 months as defence minister, could be attempting a similar approach. Before the plagiarism scandal many expected the suave aristocrat to make it all the way to the chancellery.

But Guttenberg doesn’t plan to leave too quietly. Before his departure he’s likely to give a lengthy interview about the plagiarism affair, sources told SPIEGEL.

Bayreuth University: Guttenberg’s plagiarism was “intentional”

May 6, 2011

Der Spiegel:

Former German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg always insisted that he had never meant to plagiarize portions of his Ph.D. dissertation. On Friday, however, the University of Bayreuth said that he copied intentionally.

… On Friday, the University of Bayreuth, which awarded Guttenberg his Ph.D. title in 2006, announced its conclusion that the former conservative ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel had intentionally plagiarized. Guttenberg, the university said in a statement, “extensively violated academic standards and intentionally cheated.”  

It is a sentence which completes one of the most rapid and stunning political downfalls Germany has ever seen. Prior to the questions about his doctoral thesis, the member of the Christian Social Union, the Bavarian sister party to Merkel’s Christian Democrats, had been among the country’s most popular politicians. Many had even tipped him as a possible successor to Merkel in the Chancellery. But in late February, the University of Bayreuth revoked his doctor title pending an investigation and on March 1, Guttenberg resigned from Merkel’s cabinet. He went on to step down from all other political offices.

zu Googleberg: image

Related posts: The zu Googleberg affaire

zu Googleberg lives on: Guttenberg wants to suppress investigation results:

April 9, 2011

Guttenberg’s plagiarism was apparently quite deliberate and he is now trying to prevent publication of the investigation report!!!!

Deutsche Welle reports:

The University of Bayreuth has nearly finished its investigation into the plagiarism allegations that cost Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg his job as defense minister. He doesn’t want the university to publish its findings.

Former German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, who was forced to resign over allegations that he had plagiarized other authors in his doctoral thesis, does not want a university review into the affair to be made public, according to reports in the German media. Friday’s edition of the daily Süddeutsche Zeitung said Guttenberg’s lawyers would object on the grounds of breach of privacy if the university tried to publish its findings.

The University of Bayreuth, where Guttenberg completed his doctorate in 2008, withdrew his Ph.D. title when it emerged that parts of his thesis had been lifted from other works and incorrectly attributed. The university commission tasked with examining the thesis has now largely completed its work and wants to make its findings available in early May. The Süddeutsche Zeitung suggested the report may reveal that Guttenberg acted deliberately.

University of Bayreuth President Rüdiger Bormann told the daily Tagesspiegel he hoped that Guttenberg would accept the publication of the commission’s findings. “We want to make the conclusions public – they also address the question of whether it was a deliberate act,” Bormann said. “There is a strong public interest in the university’s appraisal of the case.”

The Local reports that

Daily Süddeutsche Zeitung said a commission at the University of Bayreuth determined that the extent and manner of the infringements were such that they could not have been inadvertent.

Guttenberg is toast – a tribute to the power of the internet

March 1, 2011

The power of the internet and we should not forget that of the shoes!!

zu Googleberg has bowed to the inevitable and has resigned.

Burnt Toast

German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg has announced his resignation after weeks of criticism over plagiarizing parts of his Ph.D. thesis. ….The University of Bayreuth had already stripped Guttenberg of his law doctorate last week. Guttenberg apologized to the German parliament, and said he had made “grave errors” in his thesis, but insisted he did not intentionally copy it.

Pressure mounted on him to resign, after at least 17,000 academics signed an open letter to the German chancellor on Monday (over 20,000 according to the Updated ticker of Germans signing the open letter here), in which they said the plagiarism scandal made a “mockery” of the academic profession.

In recent days Education Minister Annette Schavan had called Guttenberg’s actions shameful, and parliamentary speaker Norbert Lammert said they were “a nail in the coffin for confidence in democracy.”

The shoes say it all!!

February 28, 2011

Shoes against zu Googleberg.

An impromptu protest at the German Defense Ministry demanding that Guttenberg step down. "Resignation = Progress" reads the sign.

An impromptu protest at the German Defense Ministry demanding that Guttenberg step down. "Resignation = Progress" reads the sign: photo DPA via Der Spiegel


Plagiarism was standard practice for Guttenberg

February 27, 2011

Guttenberg has given up his PhD and the University of Bayreuth has now rescinded it after the Googleberg affaire. But it seems that for  Guttenberg plagiarism is a long standing and regular habit and not just an opportunistic effort for his PhD and certainly not the unwitting mistake he claims it was.

Photo: DPA

"zu Googleberg" the Copycat Minister: photo DPA

Der Spiegel carries an article about the moral bankruptcy in Germany and reports on the discovery by the Gutenplag Wiki that he had plagiarised also in 2004.

The GuttenPlag Wiki website also found a 29-page analysis from 2004 that Guttenberg, then a representative in the German parliament, wrote for the Hanns Seidel Foundation. According to the site, the document contains passages that have been taken from other sources with minimal changes and not attributed. A spokesperson from Guttenberg’s legislative office told SPIEGEL ONLINE that the case involved an “editorial text” and not an academic one, and pointed out that the sources were all listed in an attached literature review.

Meanwhile, Bild published a survey Thursday in which 87 percent of the respondents said they believed Guttenberg should stay in office. More than 260,000 people called and faxed in to the toll line. The headline on the newspaper’s front page Thursday was “Yes, we stand behind Guttenberg!” However, on Friday, an ongoing online poll on the newspaper’s website found that 57 percent of the more than 680,000 surveyed wanted Guttenberg to step down.

Jürgen Trittin, floor leader of the Green Party, on Thursday spoke of a “dirty deal” between Guttenberg and Axel Springer AG, which owns Bild. It was announced this week that the newspaper will be a major recipient of new advertising that the government is planning to help with recruitment for the German military, the Bundeswehr, which is soon to become a volunteer army. A spokesman for the media company told SPIEGEL ONLINE this week that the editorial offices only learned of the advertising campaign from the media on Thursday, after the telephone poll.

Critics also pointed out that the tabloid in the past also defended Guttenberg’s controversial trip to Afghanistan in December with his wife Stephanie, which was decried as a publicity stunt by his opponents.

Ther are other writings by Guttenberg that are being criticised. Even Angela Merkel may have to back away from the support she has been giving to her Defence Minister to exploit his popularity before the impending local elections.

Guttenberg’s star with Merkel could more likely be tarnished by what a report said she regarded as an “only very rudimentary and poorly-considered basis for decisions about reform of the Bundeswehr.”

Der Spiegel reported at the weekend that criticism of his work at the Defence Ministry from the Chancellery was much harsher than previously thought.

Gaddafi Jr.’s PhD thesis from LSE being examined for plagiarism

February 24, 2011

After the success of the on-line analysis of Guttenberg’s PhD thesis from Bayreuth University which proved that more than two-thirds of the pages had plagiarised content, the suspect thesis of Gadaffi Jr. from the LSE is also being examined on line here.

It would probably be a good idea for LSE to apply some plagiarism software and get ahead of the curve.

From Wikipedia:

Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi received his Ph.D. from the London School of Economics in 2008. Through the Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation, Saif subsequently pledged a donation of £1.5 million to support the work of the LSE’s Centre for the Study of Global Governance on civil society organizations in North Africa. Following the political uprising in Libya in February 2011, the LSE has issued a statement indicating that it will cut all financial ties with the country and will accept no further money from the Foundation, having already received and spent the first £300,000 installment of the donation.

Saif’s Ph.D. thesis has been made available online and commentators have already identified several passages which appear to have been copied from other sources without attribution. There is speculation that the thesis was plagiarized and/or ghostwritten by another individual.

Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi

Analysis of Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi’s LSE Thesis:


In the Guttenberg case, Bayreuth University has now rescinded his PhD in an investigation which lasted less than a week. As Professor Debora Weber-Wulff points out this must be the fastest ever decision by a German University in over 400 years!!

Well, this has to be a record. I believe this is the shortest university decision process in the last 400 years or so. Last Tuesday evening the story broke, just over a week later the university commission for good scientific work at the University of Bayreuth reached a decision. They are rescinding his doctorate.

They didn’t go into details, and most important, didn’t decide if he plagiarized on purpose. He says he didn’t, the documentation found on the GuttenPlagWiki screams a different story. Since he has announced that he wanted to withdraw his doctorate anyway, he won’t contest it, so they don’t have to do the normal detailed analysis.

Price of a PhD in Germany: €10,000 – €30,000

February 23, 2011

Between 500 and 700 PhD degrees awarded in Germany every year are illegitimate. The days when Ph.D. degrees were mainly awarded to scientists and scholars in Germany are long gone. The title is in high demand among managers, lawyers and politicians – many with little time for the required research writes Deutsche Welle.

The zu Googleberg affaire has focused the spotlight on Germany’s new PhD consultantcy industry. New cases of corrupt practices are being found regularly.

One former law professor from Hanover, for example, is currently serving three years in prison after he was found guilty of issuing doctoral titles in exchange for bribes and sexual favors in 2009. It seems the prestige and the higher salary an academic title confers is a temptation some career-minded Germans find difficult to pass up.

Guttenberg is hardly alone when it comes to ambitious people with high goals battling time restraints. In German corporate circles, where a Ph.D. means more status and a higher salary, busy managers have little time to study. While the defense minister stands accused of failing to provide the proper attribution for certain passages of his thesis, others have been known to turn to a relatively small industry of so-called “doctorate consultants.”

The consultants demand anywhere from 10,000 to 30,000 euros to help aspiring doctorate holders with all the formalities and contacts needed to be accepted into a Ph.D. program – and more. It’s the “more” that can cause problems, however. Doctorate consultants specialize in providing assistance in labor-intensive areas such as research and writing – tasks Ph.D. aspirants are normally expected to master on their own.

“We’re aware of the criticism of our line of business but we aren’t doing anything criminal,” said Thomas Nemet from ACAD Write, a company that employs around 250 staff and serves a customer base of 1,500.

“Our clients are mostly managers, lawyers and others in the medical profession, who have little time. We help them optimize their time to earn a Ph.D. But let me make one point very clear, we don’t sell doctorate degrees.” Some of his rivals in the doctorate consulting branch, like the “Institut für Wissenschaftsberatung” in Bergisch Gladbach, have been accused of doing exactly that, however, by paying large bribes to corrupt professors. …..

Manuel Rene Theisen, an economics professor at the Ludwig-Maximillian University in Munich, estimates that between two and three percent of the Ph.D. degrees awarded in Germany are illegitimate. So that’s between 500 and 700 degrees annually.

Time Magazine reported in 2009:

…. German prosecutors revealed that they are investigating around 100 academics at some of the country’s top universities on the suspicion that they granted doctorates to dozens of unqualified students after taking bribes from a consultancy firm. The investigation follows a raid on an academic consultancy called the Institute for Scientific Counselling in the western town of Bergisch Gladbach in March 2008. .. Prosecutors in the city of Cologne say the institute helped doctoral candidates find a supervisor and paid lecturers to take on Ph.D. students. “Some Ph.D. students paid up to $30,000 to get their doctor titles,” Günther Feld, a senior prosecutor in Cologne tells TIME. “Many people had received mediocre results in exams and they weren’t eligible to do a Ph.D. in the first place.”

Leibnitz Universität Hannover

…. One former director of the Bergisch Gladbach consultancy was convicted on bribery charges in July 2008 and sentenced to three and a half years in prison. He was found guilty of illegally helping more than 60 students get their doctor titles. A law professor at the University of Hanover who received money from the consultancy for accepting doctoral candidates was given a three-year jail sentence. ….. “We recently stripped nine Ph.D. holders of their titles,” Henning Radtke, Dean of the Law Faculty at the University of Hanover. Those students are now appealing the decision.
“The investigation in Cologne is just the tip of the iceberg,” says Manuel René Theisen, professor of business administration at the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich. “Around a dozen academic consultancies have been on the market for years offering Ph.D.s for money.” Theisen says he estimates that of the 25,000 doctorates awarded each year in Germany, up to 1,000 are obtained through illicit means. “The consultancies advertise in trade magazines and they pretend to offer coaching for would-be Ph.D. students, but it’s a fairy tale,” he says. “People know when they read the adverts they can get their Ph.D. for money and not for their [academic] work.”

The Googleberg affaire might accelerate the decline of the reputation of German PhD’s. On the other hand if it leads to more rigorous award processes it could help in restoring some of the shine that a German PhD once conferred — but that is by no means certain.

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