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Guttenberg on surprise trip to Afghanistan

The Local · 17 Feb 2011, 14:08

Published: 17 Feb 2011 08:25 GMT+01:00
Updated: 17 Feb 2011 14:08 GMT+01:00

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The Defence Ministry announced that Guttenberg set off late on Wednesday for his ninth trip to the country, where he will meet with troops serving as part of the NATO mission there.

But unlike previous visits to Afghanistan, this time Guttenberg was unaccompanied by journalists. Further details were set to be released later on Thursday.

Chancellor Angela Merkel accompanied Guttenberg on his last journey to Afghanistan just before Christmas 2010.

Since then, the conservative Bavarian Christian Social Union politician has come under fire for a number of scandals within the military. Among them are the death of a woman sailor on board the navy training ship Gorch Fock and the shooting of a soldier in Afghanistan, which may have occurred during a game involving guns.

On Wednesday, Guttenberg was accused of plagiarizing portions of his doctoral thesis at the University of Bayreuth. The minister said he had nothing to worry about, but on Thursday further accusations about other uncited sources surfaced.

News magazine Der Spiegel reported Guttenberg had filched four sentences about the history of the United States' constitution from the US embassy’s website without citation. But later in the dissertation the embassy is cited in another context, according to the magazine.

Prof. Barbara Zehnpfennig called for Guttenberg's doctorate to be revoked after saying she was the original author of several passages in his thesis.

"It beats me how someone can be so blatant," Zehnpfennig told daily Die Welt.

Story continues below…

Guttenberg - or Karl-Theodor Maria Nikolaus Johann Jakob Philipp Franz Joseph Sylvester Freiherr (Baron) von und zu Guttenberg, to give the aristocrat his full name - regularly tops surveys as Germany's most popular politician.

But he is also a popular target for the German press, and the latest episode could turn out to be the most damaging to his political career according to some observers.

DAPD/AFP/The Local/ka/mry

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

09:49 February 17, 2011 by freechoice
trying to divert attention to his thesis? bad boy...
10:47 February 17, 2011 by MunchingInMuenchen
freechoice -- Actually, he's trying to divert attention FROM his thesis, not "to" his thesis.
10:59 February 17, 2011 by freechoice
sorry typo mistake..
11:12 February 17, 2011 by pepsionice
Since we're all getting peppy into this thesis examination business....why don't we just put the government in charge of regulating and examining each thesis instead of the university system. Then and only then.....will we be sure of the authenticity of the document. And the best way to start? Make each and every graduate go through a new review of their thesis....even if they graduated in the 1940s. Then we could be sure of their actual capabilities or knowledge level.

I'm sure everyone will agree with me....this is more than a Guttenberg issue. It's a German national issue. There ought to even be a ministry group in charge of thesis review....just to make this interesting.

And finally, for a personal opinion here....there are two types of thesis documents. The first is the one that is poorly written but loaded with great information and detail.....written typically by a person who just isn't a language person but a technician. The second is one that is written greatly and contains no grammar issues or such, but the information shown and the details are limited....thus showing that the individual can write but really isn't a big expert in the area they claim. Oh, and there is a third....where you simply buy a perfect product and use someone else's work.
15:44 February 17, 2011 by finanzdoktor
There is a fourth: A thesis rich in information and written to the utmost of abilities, requiring time and effort.
18:37 February 17, 2011 by proclusian
"But unlike previous visits to Afghanistan, this time Guttenberg was unaccompanied by journalists."

What a coward.
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