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The Green Paper vs. The White Paper (was: Summary Notes from NAMES)

Early this semester, the Harvard Law School
invited approximately 20 ICANN supporters and
critics to participate in its IS99 class.

Historically, ICANN has refused to acknowledge
or respond to its critics.  In this class, however,
ICANN has attempted to justify its prior decisions
and its decision making process.

What follows is a summary of the many revelations
that have occurred in this class.  Anyone wishing
to read the unedited version can see all of the
comments via the following newsgroup:

At 01:46 AM 10/11/99 , Jay Fenello wrote:
>After almost a month's worth of discussions,
>a Harvard Law class list has generated much
>controversy between ICANN's president and
>council, and several of its many critics.
>First, Mike Roberts, president of ICANN, admitted
>that a certain business model would not be considered
>by ICANN, in direct contradiction to the ICANN By-Laws.
>Then, Joe Sims, corporate counsel to ICANN, became
>abusive after he was questioned on ICANN's processes
>to date, or rather, lack thereof.

While Joe has steadfastly refused to answer some
very basic questions about ICANN's most egregious
decisions, he has revealed the error that he uses
to justify ICANN's current direction.

It all started when, in an attempt to steer the
conversation away from past excesses, Joe demanded
"stop posting this drivel, stop fighting last year's
battles, and start engaging in substantive debate."

Of course, last year's decisions *were* substantive, as
they set in motion a long chain of assumptions that have
a profound impact on the future of Internet Governance.
In addition, they were made in direct violation of ICANN's
founding documents, and they resulted in a gerrymandered,
gamed and captured DNSO.

While trying to justify these actions, Joe said "the White
Paper reflected the fact that the vast majority of those
that commented on the Green Paper completely rejected its
underlying concepts."

Of course, that was incorrect as well.

The Green Paper was the result of an extensive
U.S. Government sponsored inquiry into the Internet
Governance question.  It was an attempt to resolve
the dispute between the supporters of the gTLD-MoU
(another governance proposal), and the pro-US and
pro-small business interests.

The gTLD-MoU was widely recognized as an inappropriate
power grab that would have transferred all authority
over the DNS to a Swiss-based cartel, run by a small
group of people using the same model as the Olympic

When the Green Paper overturned the gTLD-MoU, it came
under severe attack from those supporting a pro-European,
pro-Socialistic, pro-Regulatory approach to Internet
governance, and it was panned by the European power base,
the gTLD-MoU supporters, and the popular media.  It was
also tied to the redirection of the Root Servers by Jon
Postel, in what many considered to be a warning to the
U.S. Government.

So, the U.S. backed down to the White Paper,
a more geopolitically neutral document.

Instead of deciding the divisive issues, the White
Paper laid out a framework for self governance, with
the stated intention that this self governance would
fairly decide these issues.

Now, according to Joe Sims, the backers of ICANN
believe that the White Paper was a victory for the
gTLD-MoU forces, and a defeat of everything that the
Green Paper stood for.  They have used this to justify
their agenda to implement the gTLD-MoU, without any
regard to other community input.

In actuality, the evolution of the Green Paper to
the White Paper, did not overturn the positions in
the former.  It only deferred those decisions to the
consensus of the community, as defined by a duly formed

ICANN has circumvented this process.

This, in a nutshell, is what's wrong with ICANN.

So, as we sit at this crossroad between a U.S. based
approach to Internet governance, and a pro-European,
pro-Socialistic, pro-Regulatory approach to Internet
governance, I'd like to once again quote Newt Gingrich:

 >Lastly, I believe deeply, with all of my heart, that the United States has
 >to lead in the world.  I believe we have no choice.  I think as a country
 >and as a movement, we have to take seriously the principle, not just that
 >we were once anti-communist, not just that before that we were anti-Nazi
 >and anti-fascists, but that we are pro-freedom, that we believe that every
 >person on the planet has been endowed by God with the right to be free.
 >They've been endowed by God with the right to be safe.  And they've been
 >endowed by God with the right to pursue prosperity and pursue happiness.
 >This has been a remarkable country -- people who came here for freedom,
 >people who came here for religious liberty, people who came here for the
 >right to pursue a better life.  This is a country which has said to the
 >entire planet, "You have a chance.  You matter.  You are a real human
 >being."  From the founding fathers, to the American Civil War, to the
 >oration of Lincoln, to the willingness in the First and Second World Wars,
 >to 50 years of sustaining the Cold War to defeat the Soviet empire, to the
 >civil rights movement that insisted that all Americans had the right to
 >vote, the right to work, the right to buy a house.  Over and over, for 220
 >years, and if you go back to the Colonial Period for another 150 years
 >before that, there has been a constant, daily effort to create greater
 >freedom, greater safety, and greater prosperity.  It is a struggle which
 >will never end.
 >We are very lucky.  We stand on the shoulders of generations who have
 >bled, worked, thought, argued, fought passionately in politics as well as
 >war.  I think the challenge to us is to lift our eyes from the bickering of
 >Washington, the negativism of the elite media, all the temptations of
 >political schism, to recreate for the American people the dream that all of
 >us can be free and safe and prosperous, and to offer policies that work,
 >based on principles that are sound, based on values that are universal.
 >And I think that if we will do that, then just as Ronald Reagan over a
 >20-year period moved this nation, I believe we will, in fact, give this
 >country a fabulously better future, and through our example, give the
 >entire human race the opportunity by the middle of the century to be free,
 >safe and prosperous.
 >I believe that is our moral calling.

Our choices today are, emulate the success of the
American model, or capitulate to the collectivists
who prefer mediocrity and control.

Let's hope we choose wisely.


Jay Fenello,
New Media Relations
http://www.fenello.com  770-392-9480