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Out of .Africa - Process Failures Don't Change the Facts

Sophia Bekele

Posted here on behalf of DotConnectAfrica Trust as rejoinder and reply to Andrew Mark's recent article.

The attention of DotConnectAfrica Trust has been drawn to a recent Blog article by Mr. Andrew Mark that was published in CircleID (see Out of .Africa - Process Failures Don't Change the Facts).

In his article, Mr. Mark tried to re-frame the ongoing discussions and commentary about DCA Trust's recent IRP victory against ICANN as one about "requisite support for geographic string" to assist him reach the biased conclusion that ZACR's bid has the required support to run .Africa whilst DCA Trust's bid does not.

In the same tendentious Blog posting, Mr. Mark agrees that the process was indeed flawed and replete with procedural errors; that DCA may have been treated unfairly; the ICANN GAC may have 'over-reached' or been vague in its advice to the Board — but still went on to argue that the Geographic Panel should have disqualified DCA long ago.

Before addressing Mr. Mack's presumptuous 'enlightened self-interest' in .Africa, we would like to begin by exposing some of the outright fallacies and illogicalities in Andrew Mark's Blog article.

1. The first is the assertion that "the ZACR bid had Letters of Support from literally dozens of African countries"

Nothing could be farther from the truth. ZACR never received any letters of support from any African country government in support of its bid. Any such claims that ZACR had dozens of letters of support are indeed specious.

What DotConnectAfrica Trust established long ago is that the African countries through their ccTLD operators and ICT Ministries had provided letters in support of the "African Union Commission's position" on .Africa — which was to request ICANN to approve the inclusion of .Africa in the Top-Level Reserved Names List — so as to enable the AUC benefit from a special legislative protection that would allow the AUC to delegate .Africa to a structure that the AUC would identify and select (appoint) outside the ICANN new gTLD program. This request was submitted as part of the 'African Agenda' to ICANN in October 2011 during the ICANN International Meeting in Dakar, Senegal. DCA Trust had successfully campaigned publicly to oppose the request that was made for the reservation of the .Africa name, which caused ICANN to reject the AUC request; but advised AUC instead to use the Community Objection route and or GAC Policy Advice to influence the delegation outcome of .Africa (please see letter by Crocker of ICANN to Ibrahim of the AUC, 8th March 2012).

Some of the African countries had actually provided such letters that were written to support the "AUC position", which ZACR then fraudulently appropriated as its own letters of endorsement for .Africa. There is a big difference between letters that are written to support the AUC's request to have the .Africa name reserved, and letters that would have been ordinarily written by African countries to ICANN to specifically endorse ZACR's application for .Africa. The letter written by Namibia is a good example of such letters that had been written in support of the AUC's position on .Africa. These countries never endorsed ZACR. Providing support — whether valid or not - for the .Africa name to be reserved outside ICANN new gTLD policy guidelines is not an endorsement for a geographic name string as stipulated under the new gTLD Program. Therefore, Mr. Andrew Mack did not tell the truth when he wrote that ZACR received letters of support from literally dozens of African countries.

DCA Trust had discovered this falsehood that was being regularly peddled since early 2012 which caused DCA Trust to bring the issue to the attention of ICANN by highlighting the Namibian letter as a good illustration.

Notwithstanding, it was also established during the DCA vs. ICANN IRP that ZACR lacked any letters of endorsement. This explains why ICANN staff were implicated in helping to 'ghost-write' another letter of endorsement for the AUC which was later re-submitted to ICANN to enable ZACR's application to 'pass' the Geographic Names Panel evaluation. It is already common knowledge that the details of such irregularities were redacted from the Final IRP Declaration by ICANN staff.

It is therefore quite disingenuous of Mr. Andrew Mack to make the 'tongue-in-cheek' remark that "I've heard a lot of discussion of the .africa controversy of late — from conspiracy theories to questions about staff competence".

If ZACR actually had 'dozens of letters of support' as Mr. Andrew Mack has falsely claimed, then this issue of 'ghost-writing' of a letter of endorsement by ICANN staff for the AUC apparently for the benefit of ZACR would not have arisen during the DCA vs. ICANN IRP.

2. As an individual, Mr. Andrew Mack seems ethically challenged...

In his write-up, Mr. Mack agrees that DCA Trust was treated unfairly, yet advanced the view that DCA Trust should have been disqualified long ago by the Geographic Names Panel. Andrew Mack is probably not aware that unfair and discriminatory treatment needs to be thoroughly redressed for the interest of justice, equity and fairness.

Since something should be done regarding this abysmal level of ignorance and short-coming, Mr. Andrew Mack should perhaps be sentenced to undergo a 6-month course in 'Ethics' and another 3-month course in 'Critical Reasoning' in order to help complete his education.

3. Mr. Andrew Mack is deeply confused regarding what the DCA vs. ICANN IRP was about

It is quite obvious that Mr. Andrew Mack does not logically understand that if a process was flawed and irregular, the outcome would be absolutely dubious, will not stand to scrutiny, and cannot be vouched for. Nevertheless, amidst all these short-comings and irregularities, Mr. Andrew Mack still advances the notion that "we should move on" by sweeping all these wrongdoings under the carpet. Where is Accountability? Where is Transparency? Where is Probity?

We find it rather troubling that at a time that the Global Internet Community remains seriously concerned and challenged about ICANN's accountability improvements; and as such concerns have also become inextricably tied to the process of transitioning the IANA technical functions to the Global Multi-stakeholder Community; that wholesale accountability problems that have been uncovered by the DCA vs. ICANN IRP are now being made to look inconsequential by an ethically-challenged 'self-styled pundit'.

Apparent contradictions notwithstanding, we think that Andrew Mack was intellectually dishonest in his analysis. On one hand Andrew Mack thinks that 'ICANN needs more accountability', but his established bias against DCA Trust also makes him to think that 'ICANN's policy should be followed'. At what stage did Andrew Mack forget that DCA's decision to invoke an IRP under ICANN's accountability mechanism was because ICANN failed to follow its set policy as stated in the new gTLD Guidebook; and the principles enshrined in ICANN's Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation?

Again, Andrew Mack also posited that the biggest procedural error lies in "ICANN's simple inability to follow its own policy", and forgot that it was for this very reason, amongst others, that caused ICANN to lose the DCA vs. ICANN IRP, when the Panel ruled that ICANN broke its Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation, thereby making DotConnectAfrica Trust the prevailing party.

With these types of half-baked opinions, one wonders what type of advice Andrew Mack gives to his clients as the 'principal' of AMGlobal Consulting, a company that works "extensively in Africa".

4. Conclusion

DCA Trust believes that the only end to this controversy is not to "move on" as Andrew Mack has counseled so naively, but for further investigations to be conducted to identify the real culprits who were complicit in this fiasco, and for such individuals to be held accountable. We think that wrong-doing must be punished, and there should be severe penalties for ICANN as the guilty party in the recently decided IRP.

Moreover, it is also our firm belief that ZACR — as the apparent beneficiary of ICANN's wrong-doing — should be removed completely from the new gTLD Program. ICANN could not have legitimately delegated the .Africa new gTLD string to ZACR at the same time that ICANN was busy breaking its own Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation. The delegation of .Africa to ZACR under a putative new gTLD Registry Agreement that was signed between ICANN and ZACR at a time that ICANN was committing many violations remains legally problematic.

On a day that President Barack Obama told a gathering at the African Union Commission headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia that Africa should put an end to "the cancer of corruption", is it not poetic justice of some sort that .Africa, a new gTLD string that Is associated with the continent that is frequently criticized for poor governance and corruption, is now being used as a test case for demonstrating ICANN's accountability failures?

DCA Trust has always maintained that it is acting based on strong moral convictions, and that truth and justice will ultimately prevail whilst its detractors will encounter failure at their sentinel. These predications have all come to pass, and this possibly explains the level of frustration that Mr. Andrew Mack and his cohort are now feeling in the matter of .Africa new gTLD.

Andrew Mack tried to suggest in a 2012 posting that the DotAfrica application somehow has something to do with the ICANN Africa Strategy. In his article he stated inter alia: "You could also see it in the tremendous enthusiasm for the AUC-endorsed dotAfrica (.africa) application, which has become a real a (sic) focal point of an emerging "African Agenda".

To Andrew Mack's chagrin, the African Agenda was never accepted by ICANN, and the same excessive amounts of political and vested group pressures that had been put on ICANN to present the .Africa new gTLD name string as a 'commitment gift' to the African Internet community is what ultimately led to ICANN's accountability failures regarding .Africa.

Andrew Mack's advocacy on behalf of ZACR can now be dismissed as partisan posturing by another one of those bogus pretenders who claim to 'know Africa' very well: "I spoke at the DNS Africa event in Nairobi; I can confirm that there is interest in .Africa, blah blah blah...!"

By Sophia Bekele, CEO of DotConnectAfrica. Ms. Bekele is a former ICANN generic Names Supporting Organization (gNSO) Council policy advisor & contributed to policy over the new gTLD programme & IDNs. She was also policy advisor to various UN Agencies on ICTs. Founder and spearhead of the Yes2DotAfrica campaign. Bekele is a business and corporate executive, an international entrepreneur, a thought leader in Corporate and ICT Governance, international policy, Business Strategy, Internet, ICT & development. Her Profiles on sophiabekele.com / wikipedia.

Related topics: ICANN, Internet Governance, Policy & Regulation, Top-Level Domains

 
   
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Comments

Wow Andrew Mack  –  Jul 29, 2015 6:53 AM PDT

Wow.  Its rare that I get to be the subject of such detailed — and personal — attacks.

But rather than discussing them one by one — and who has the time?  after all I'll need to be making space in my schedule for all these new courses you recommend — let me just say three things:

1.  Nobody — including me — is suggesting that ICANN didn't screw up in its treatment of .africa.  There have been many errors on many sides as I said in my earlier posts.

2.  Nobody I've heard from has suggested that the geo test isn't at the center of this process.  Maybe DCA is right, and the ZACR letters don't amount to an endorsement.  If the letters are invalid, let's get that ruling and see who can get the needed governmental support. 

3.  Nobody — besides perhaps the author of this initial post — thinks that DCA's arguments are made more convincing by ad hominem attacks on my ethics, my character or my more than 30 years of work in and with Africa. 

I've stated my opinions.  Nothing to do do with Obama or ICANN's Africa strategy.  And I've managed to do that all without calling anyone names.  I'm happy to disagree on the facts, but its time to cut out the insults.  They only serve to make DCA look foolish and they certainly don't help your case.

Welcome to the club mate. Kevin Murphy  –  Jul 29, 2015 10:15 AM PDT

Welcome to the club mate.

If it bothers you to be on Kevin Murphy  –  Jul 29, 2015 10:40 AM PDT

If it bothers you to be on the receiving side of personal attacks, perhaps you should consider posting under a fake identity.

You know, like ethical people do.

http://domainincite.com/11246-africa-gtld-applicant-caught-using-fake-identity

1) Irrelevant at this juncture. ICANN hit John Laprise  –  Jul 29, 2015 9:41 AM PDT

1) Irrelevant at this juncture. ICANN hit the reset button in response to the IRP findings. We'll see what happens with the process this time.

2) Ad hominem attack.

3) The IRP essentially found that the process was arbitrary and capricious with respect to the GAC interaction. From my point of view and more problematically, it identified the existence of accusations of process impropriety at ICANN but did not weigh in on them as it had already found sufficient grounds for recommending rebidding. These accusations linger and will likely fester.

4) Your belief notwithstanding, this is unlikely to occur. Having hit the reset button, the bidding process will recommence. I would like like a full internal public, process audit on this whole affair but unfortunately there does not seem to be a mechanism in place to execute such a thing.

If you're going to post a rebuttal Michele Neylon  –  Jul 29, 2015 10:47 AM PDT

If you're going to post a rebuttal here's a couple of tips:
- get the person's name right (you failed to do so)
- attack the argument not the person (again you failed)

Andrew is a well respected member of the community, attacking him doesn't help your cause at all

Trying to pass/fail an argument? Martin Otsieno  –  Jul 30, 2015 1:46 AM PDT

What makes you think DCA is trying to pass/fail an argument?  I think DCA is simply
countering the attack that was brought on it. 

Such argument is never determined on such platforms. Murphy and his "welcome to the
club" - a club of DCA haters have for so long tried to influence their partisan argument against DCA on any blogs DCA is mentioned unsuccessfully I might add, you folks are so frustrated with the reversal of outcomes to your wishes and all sound like cry-babies. 

As to your personal public testimony to your 'respected member', he has just made false
statement just to support ZACR. But that is the 'club'!

Bemusing comments David Sharpe  –  Jul 29, 2015 4:01 PM PDT

While I'm impressed most of you commenters are all in for polite debta, I'm bemused (and a little smug) that you are, for the most part, very quick to ignore the main points of this article in favour of discussing its tone.

Mack wrote that "And in this case the answer is clear: the ZACR bid has the required support — well over the 60% of nations required have endorsed their bid to run .africa. DCA's bid does not." and "Further fuming about ICANN accountability may well be warranted, but that doesn't change the central fact in this controversy. Unless ICANN rejects the letters of support for the ZACR bid from literally dozens of African nations, there can be no issue about who should run .africa. Its time to move on."

The bulk of Mack's position is based on false premises, according Bekele. You should be addressing that, and Mack should check his facts instead of throwing up his hands. Yes, the tone and some of the content this article is embarrassing for Bekele/DCA. As intelligent people you should be able to filter that out. It's time to move on.

It's been discussed to death already "David". Kevin Murphy  –  Jul 29, 2015 4:31 PM PDT

It's been discussed to death already "David".

What you're witnessing is debate fatigue.

I was about to provide a comprehensive response to your comment, but then I noticed that your CircleID profile was created today and that this is your first comment.

And the first hit for your name and "ICANN" on Google is this comment.

Please excuse me — I'm not saying you're not a real person — but it seems possible that this comment might be the first thing you've ever said on on the internet with regards ICANN.

As you are so new to this debate, you may not know that DCA does have a track record of creating fake online identities in order to pretend that its .africa application has any support whatsoever.

Two examples:

http://domainincite.com/11958-nutty-dca-complains-to-us-congress-about-africa

and

http://domainincite.com/11246-africa-gtld-applicant-caught-using-fake-identity

Obviously, I wouldn't suggest for a second that you are a fake identity created by a company that has no actual support among even the grassroots, but there are people out there who will accuse you of that kind of manipulation.

You might want to prepare arguments against that accusation, because I'm sure it will come.

I'm not really sure what your point David Sharpe  –  Jul 29, 2015 4:37 PM PDT

I'm not really sure what your point is, to be frank. It seems to have very little to with the content of my comment, and more to do with your "debate fatigue". I'm sorry that you're tired of rationally defending your position, but I'll warn you that resorting to ad hominem attacks makes you look foolish.

You're correct. Congratulations. I'm accusing you of Kevin Murphy  –  Jul 29, 2015 5:34 PM PDT

You're correct. Congratulations. I'm accusing you of not being a real person.

It's completely ad hominem.

I'm accusing you of being a fake person that DCA made up because no real people support it.

If I'm wrong, lay into me. Fuck me up.

Reading the articles you linked to, I David Sharpe  –  Jul 29, 2015 4:54 PM PDT

Reading the articles you linked to, I think I have little to worry about someone confusing Bekele and I. The tone of that nine-page letter is… interesting. Thanks for sharing.

I think you lost the argument Martin Otsieno  –  Jul 30, 2015 1:42 AM PDT

Well, I managed to dig into the articles you are referring to here.

You mean you keep bringing up the legitimate argument you lost on
'anonymity vs fake identity', do you understand the difference really?

As far as your article on the 'nutty DCA complaints to the US', I think
you lost the argument as well in two consecutive rejoinders

http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs123/1102516344150/archive/1112629277408.html
and
http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs123/1102516344150/archive/1112653602807.html
and I see now that its common knowledge that DCA has also won its argument that
ICANN should be over-sighted by US Congress which it is.

Therefore I really think your partisan attacks on DCA, makes you look
like a sore looser.

Substance points Rubens Kuhl  –  Jul 31, 2015 10:14 AM PDT

The article mentions something that is false and there is no part of the IRP final declaration than can substance it: that " it was also established during the DCA vs. ICANN IRP that ZACR lacked any letters of endorsement" . DCA claimed that during the proceedings, but a claim does not establish anything. ZACR application was never a part of the IRP panel mission, and its status as approved holds.

So no matter who DCA puts in charge of replying to this comment, please point out where the IRP Panel established that.

I reviewed the IRP document (https://www.icann.org/en/system/files/files/final-declaration-09jul15-e David Sharpe  –  Jul 31, 2015 11:19 AM PDT

I reviewed the IRP document (https://www.icann.org/en/system/files/files/final-declaration-09jul15-en.pdf), and I can't see that Bekele's claim was ever substantiated by the IRP, unless it's in one of the hundreds of redactions, which I doubt. That said, the IRP does recommend that "ICANN continue to refrain from delegating the .AFRICA gTLD and permit DCA Trust’s application to proceed through the remainder of the new gTLD application process", so unless ICANN has chosen to ignore the recommendations of the independent review, I would ZACR's application "approved".

I found it hard to find any definitive record of either side's endorsement, anywhere. The IRP makes no claims on this either way.

ICANN approval of ZACR application Rubens Kuhl  –  Jul 31, 2015 11:27 AM PDT

https://gtldresult.icann.org/application-result/applicationstatus/applicationdetails/1184
http://newgtlds.icann.org/en/program-status/application-results/ie-1-1243-89583-en.pdf
"The Geographic Names Panel has determined that you rapplication falls within the criteria fora geographic name contained in the Applicant Guidebook Section 2.2.1.4, and the documentation of support or non-objection provided has met all relevant criteria in Section 2.2.1.4.3 of the Applicant Guidebook."

Note that approval is different from prevailing; many applications to a single string can be approved, so an approval does not prevent the evaluation of applications in the same contention set.

Fair enough regarding "approval". Makes sense. Regarding David Sharpe  –  Jul 31, 2015 11:44 AM PDT

Fair enough regarding "approval". Makes sense.

Regarding the Initial Evaluation Report (https://newgtlds.icann.org/sites/default/files/ier/bqe3so7p3lu2ia8ouwp7eph9/ie-1-1243-89583-en.pdf), I was hoping for something a little more definitive. All this says is that ICANN is satisfied with ZACR's geographic endorsement, and we already know ICANN's position. How did ICANN evaluate geographic endorsement, and why isn't DCA satisfied with that? That seems to be the crux of Becele's argument, when she says that:

"Some of the African countries had actually provided such letters that were written to support the 'AUC position', which ZACR then fraudulently appropriated as its own letters of endorsement for .Africa. There is a big difference between letters that are written to support the AUC's request to have the .Africa name reserved, and letters that would have been ordinarily written by African countries to ICANN to specifically endorse ZACR's application for .Africa. The letter written by Namibia is a good example of such letters that had been written in support of the AUC's position on .Africa. These countries never endorsed ZACR. Providing support — whether valid or not - for the .Africa name to be reserved outside ICANN new gTLD policy guidelines is not an endorsement for a geographic name string as stipulated under the new gTLD Program."

Now, I'm not saying I agree with this — I'm not "endorsing" DCA. I'm just trying to understand it because it's interesting.

Proxy versus direct endorsement Rubens Kuhl  –  Jul 31, 2015 11:53 AM PDT

What Ms Bekele disputes is the proxy nature of ZACR endorsement; a good number (majority) of African countries made a resolution that in AUC's view allowed AUC to endorse applications for .africa, so an AUC endorsement is a proxy for those countries. Since AUC endorsed ZACR (it could have endorsed both if wanted to), then ZACR was approved.

But such topic were not part either of the IRP challenge or the IRP decision, even though DCA mentioned such topic every time they could… so the ICANN decision to approve ZACR still stands, no matter how many blog posts DCA publishes otherwise.

The issue with endorsements Kieren McCarthy  –  Jul 31, 2015 1:34 PM PDT

I went into this issue in some detail in my follow-up story: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/07/24/icann_dot_africa/

Basically, the endorsements for the ZACR bid from African countries did not meet the criteria in the applicant guidebook.

Now, whether this means that they simply didn't know what they had to say (as AUC/ZACR would not doubt argue), or whether the countries were not actually supporting ZACR's bid but the general notion of a '.africa' top-level domain (as DCA would no doubt argue) - that is something that the evaluators may need to look at.

What happened was that the evaluators suggested that going back to 30+ governments and asking them to send new, clearer letters was probably not the best approach. So they argued instead that the AUC be accepted as representative - that way you only have to deal with one entity to pass the bid.

When it came to the fact that both the ZACR and DCA claimed to have support from the AUC, the evaluators suggested that they go to the AUC and ask definitely who they support: whether one or the other, or both, or neither.

ICANN stepped on that plan - you can speculate as to why - and told its "independent" experts to go to the applicants themselves and get new letters from the AUC.

But then the ICANN Board took the GAC advice and eliminated the DCA bid: something that the review panel said was the wrong thing to do as the Board failed to do any real due diligence around the advice and failed to let DCA be heard in the process.

Once DCA was out of the process (at least to ICANN's mind), ICANN then changed its mind re: getting the applicant to go to the AUC direct and instead ICANN staff drew up a letter which they then sent the AUC. The AUC sent it back to ICANN (with some changes that were most likely drafted by ZACR) and ICANN told its evaluators to approve the '.africa' ZACR bid on the back of it.

So… after all of that…

Sophia is in fact perfectly correct when she says that individual governments did not properly endorse the ZACR bid. Those letters of support were never rewritten to meet the appropriate criteria. Instead the AUC's letter was taken as representative of the countries.

Hope that clears things up.

The AUC explicitly retracted its endorsement of Kevin Murphy  –  Jul 31, 2015 2:04 PM PDT

The AUC explicitly retracted its endorsement of DCA in 2011.

http://www.au.int/en/content/africa-union-commission-clarification-dot-africa

Did nobody think to mention this to ICANN or InterConnect?

Does it really matter? I Lampeka  –  Jul 31, 2015 2:39 PM PDT

That withdrawal letter has always been a subject of dispute between DCA and AUC.  It was dismissed as a letter of act of sabotage by DCA's detractors to assist them to block DCA from getting further African Government endorsements.  It was learned that the Chairman's office could never confirm it at the time. 

Besides, AUC endorsement alone is not a qualifying criteria, should that matter. DCA has the endorsement of the UNECA.  Perhaps under the new 360 degree rule change of ICANN to assist ZACR, I can see that to be a possible dis/qualifying criteria!

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UNECA doesn't have proxy authority and rejected DCA in public comments Rubens Kuhl  –  Jul 31, 2015 2:44 PM PDT

UNECA never received delegation to represent African countries regarding .africa, so I understand why AUC might be questioned, but UNECA for sure doesn't have proxy authority here.

Considering UNECA rejected DCA in public comments when they thought it applied to .dotafrica as a countermeasure, it seems the UNECA endorsement is outdated just the AUC one also was:
https://gtldcomment.icann.org/comments-feedback/applicationcomment/commentdetails/6481

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Take the blinkers off Kieren McCarthy  –  Jul 31, 2015 3:00 PM PDT

In that retraction - which is unsigned - it says:

"The AU Commission would like to hereby categorically state that it is not supporting any one individual or organization in this bid."

If you were reviewing this statement as part of an evaluation, what would you take from that statement? Perhaps that you need to ask the AUC to state clearly and explicitly whether it support one, or both or neither of the bids for .africa.

Which is exactly what the "independent experts" InterConnect suggested. And were then overruled by ICANN's exec team.

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Non-redacted IRP declaration Rubens Kuhl  –  Jul 31, 2015 11:30 AM PDT

Courtesy of DCA: https://regmedia.co.uk/2015/07/16/icann-dca-irp-final.pdf

Substance Points - Focusing on Details I Lampeka  –  Jul 31, 2015 12:55 PM PDT

I believe the article does not say the “IRP declaration” established, it refers to the process "DCA vs ICANN IRP".  I would think the final declaration would be based on over a year and half deliberation of the a series of document discovery and witness testimony process that the IRP panel ruled on and that which DCA prevailed in.

The article does mention the ghost writing of the letter by ICANN staff which is enough reason to establish the requisite endorsement.  It matters not that the IRP panel rules over a specific endorsement over ZACR or DCA or any other issue that may have came out in the IRP discovery process or witness testimony.  The panel in making their overall decision over the IRP matters have stated that ICANN has broken its bylaws and article of incorporation in the treatment of DCA’s application. 

ICANN is free to interpret it to their liking and see if their decision prevail again.

Treatment of DCA's application Rubens Kuhl  –  Jul 31, 2015 1:08 PM PDT

As you mention, only the treatment of DCA application was put in question by the IRP panel.
As for the alleged ghost writing, this happened for all geo applicants, and would have been done to DCA's as well. I was in charge of one of such geo letters for an uncontested geo application, also have received clarifying question in that regard… since the city itself was the applicant it was quite clear that the endorsement was there, and even so I got a similar letter, city mayor signed it and the application moved forward. ICANN, AUC and ZACR can present all geo registries as witnesses to that regard, if that was the point (hint: it wasn't).

* I wouldn't call ZACR's application "approved". David Sharpe  –  Jul 31, 2015 11:20 AM PDT

* I wouldn't call ZACR's application "approved".

ZACR is contracted. Kevin Murphy  –  Jul 31, 2015 1:14 PM PDT

ZACR has a legal Registry Agreement with ICANN. It doesn't get any more "approved" than that.

Its very annoying that the comment threads Kevin Murphy  –  Jul 31, 2015 6:48 PM PDT

Its very annoying that the comment threads on CircleID are so limited.

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