[CCWG-ACCT] Follow-up from the Word Internet Conference in China

Mueller, Milton L milton at gatech.edu
Mon Jan 4 03:16:22 UTC 2016

Hi, George,
Just to be clear, I do not oppose certain ways of working with repressive regimes. For example, I would never oppose having an ICANN meeting in China, because I think it’s good for both sides to get more exposure to each other. I supported having IGF in Turkey despite the government’s crackdowns on Internet freedom that very year. The collaboration with the WIC seems very different, however; at an ICANN meeting the ICANN community sets its own agenda as does the IGF. The WIC advisory board seems to be lending their names to a Chinese state initiative, and I don’t see what is gained by that.

At any rate, this is not a discussion that is relevant to CCWG’s work, really.


From: George Sadowsky [mailto:george.sadowsky at gmail.com]
Sent: Saturday, January 2, 2016 11:57 AM
To: Mueller, Milton L <milton at gatech.edu>
Cc: Carlos Raul <carlosraulg at gmail.com>; Roelof Meijer <Roelof.Meijer at sidn.nl>; Accountability Cross Community <accountability-cross-community at icann.org>
Subject: Re: [CCWG-ACCT] Follow-up from the Word Internet Conference in China


I was in Wuzhen, and participated in the conference, including a 2 ½ hour panel discussion with Bob Kahn and others.

Although we may disagree more than agree in general, I thank you very much for an adult,  articulate and intelligent discussion of the fundamental issue of whether it is better to work with progressive factions of repressive regimes or to decide that it is not the right thing to do, for a number of reasons.

My conclusion differs from yours.  I've worked in about 50 developing countries over the last 40 years, and in general one can make a difference, possibly a substantial difference, in working with those progressive factions.  But that is my opinion, and I realize that it is not universally shared.

I say the above as a general comment, not related to the specifics of Fadi's involvement in China.  However, I am disturbed at the number of responses to this incident, based upon bias, distortion, and lack of fact or context, that have been gratuitously offered on this list.  The echo chamber has been very effective.

I thank Siva and Roelof for past comments (not repeated below) that in my view reflect an thoughtful and proper perspective of the incident.


On Dec 30, 2015, at 6:49 AM, Mueller, Milton L <milton at gatech.edu<mailto:milton at gatech.edu>> wrote:

Here’s my view of ICANN and Fadi’s support for the Chinese Wuzhen Internet Conference. (Spoiler: it’s not about Fadi)

From: accountability-cross-community-bounces at icann.org<mailto:accountability-cross-community-bounces at icann.org> [mailto:accountability-cross-community-bounces at icann.org] On Behalf Of Carlos Raul
Sent: Monday, December 28, 2015 10:35 AM
To: Roelof Meijer <Roelof.Meijer at sidn.nl<mailto:Roelof.Meijer at sidn.nl>>
Cc: Accountability Cross Community <accountability-cross-community at icann.org<mailto:accountability-cross-community at icann.org>>
Subject: Re: [CCWG-ACCT] Follow-up from the Word Internet Conference in China

@Roelof +1 on the last comment. Having somebody as bright as Fadi but choking his efforts to follow up on the IMHO GREAT results of the Net Mundial meeting in Brazil, has been the main explanation to me on why he is leaving.
For those critical of his entrepreneurship they may consider NOT hiring private sector CEOs in the future, but "secretary general" type of management that just follow up orders.
Happy holidays
Carlos Raul
On Dec 28, 2015 9:05 AM, "Roelof Meijer" <Roelof.Meijer at sidn.nl<mailto:Roelof.Meijer at sidn.nl>> wrote:
Might be the reason why someone like Fadi is actually NOT working for

And no, I do not agree at all that this is a "great example of lack of


Roelof Meijer

On 26-12-15 13<tel:26-12-15%2013>:19, "accountability-cross-community-bounces at icann.org<mailto:accountability-cross-community-bounces at icann.org> on
behalf of Nigel Roberts" <accountability-cross-community-bounces at icann.org<mailto:accountability-cross-community-bounces at icann.org>
on behalf of nigel at channelisles.net<mailto:nigel at channelisles.net>> wrote:

>If Fadi worked for me, then his leaving date would just have been
>brought forward dramatically, and he would have, as we say in the UK,
>found a number of pressing reasons to spend more time with the family.
>But the Board don't collectively have the cojones to do that.
>That's not really a criticism of the institution or the current members
>of it, just a recognition of how much power that the Board of
>non-profits (don't) have over their General Manager (as I saw over 20
>years ago as a board member of the Radio Society of Great Britain, which
>despite being an office I could trace back in history to a certain Sr.
>Marconi, had exactly the same level of power(lessness) than the ICANN
>Board has, in some aspects).
>Indeed, were I an ICANN Board member I might take that view -- in that
>the damage to the organisation from further inflaming the situation
>might be greater than just crossing my fingers and waiting for the
>problem to go away naturally in the Spring.
>However, it's a great example of lack of accountability, wouldn't you
>On 25/12/15 15:33, Paul Rosenzweig wrote:
>> We must live in a bit of a different world, I think. Where I come from,
>> public official (and let's not kid ourselves -- that is what Fadi is)
>> did what Fadi did would be subject to discipline if not removal.  While
>> acting in a public role, the official has no private capacity -- none at
>> all.  At least in the world I inhabit that prohibition is so stringent
>> it applies even to actions that would be (under any reasonable test) so
>> clearly distinct that the likelihood of confusing the public role with
>> private role was virtually non-existent.
>> For a particularly telling recent example of this, consider this story:
>> -ad3f-991ce3374e23_story.html.  A minor Federal official wrote "The
>> Revenant" before he joined the government.  Now, the book is a major
>> just released today, starring Leonardo DiCaprio.  In the normal course
>> events, the writer of the book on which the film was based would be
>> publicity for the film.  Here, the author cannot -- because he is a
>> Trade Representative of the US.  Now, I don't know about you, but for
>>me the
>> likelihood that people will associate the movie publicity with the USTR
>> office and draw an inference of official US government approval is
>> vanishingly small -- so on the merits I would say that this is a place
>> the officials private life could diverge from his public responsibility.
>> But as I said, here we are so cautious about even the appearance of
>> impropriety that the author is not doing any public relations for his
>> As others have pointed out for Fadi the possibility of confusion is
>> much higher -- the press and the public will (and have) linked his new
>> "personal capacity" job to his current status as CEO of ICANN -- which
>>is of
>> course exactly why he was hired and exactly what the Chinese wanted.
>> Frankly, as Nigel said, I find his behavior troubling and remarkably
>> deaf.
>> I should add that the purpose of the restriction on trading on your
>> position works both ways.  We worry not only about the new "private"
>> connection currying favor with public official, we also worry that the
>> official may make decisions in his public capacity that are now to
>> his future private actions rather than the public interest.  It isn't
>> connection and the cooperation that is troubling (as Eric notes) -- it
>> the promise of future employment with unknown benefits that was made
>> the public official was still working for the public that raises the
>> questions.
>> Paul
>> Paul Rosenzweig
>> paul.rosenzweig at redbranchconsulting.com<mailto:paul.rosenzweig at redbranchconsulting.com>
>> O: +1 (202) 547-0660<tel:%2B1%20%28202%29%20547-0660>
>> M: +1 (202) 329-9650<tel:%2B1%20%28202%29%20329-9650>
>> VOIP: +1 (202) 738-1739<tel:%2B1%20%28202%29%20738-1739>
>> Skype: paul.rosenzweig1066
>> Link to my PGP Key
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Nigel Roberts [mailto:nigel at channelisles.net<mailto:nigel at channelisles.net>]
>> Sent: Friday, December 25, 2015 5:47 AM
>> To: accountability-cross-community at icann.org<mailto:accountability-cross-community at icann.org>
>> Subject: Re: [CCWG-ACCT] Follow-up from the Word Internet Conference in
>> China
>>> Are we tending a bit much toward micromanagement of the CEO?  I have
>>> never been one of his fans, but this seems a bit much to make an issue
>> over.
>>> avri
>> This is not just a matter of judgment, but a matter of cross-cultural
>> judgment. The CEO gets paid to get this right. And I REALLY expected
>> from Mr Chehade' in that department
>> Actually, I would not have expected this kind of behaviour from recent
>> previous CEOs.  Certainly not from Paul.  In fact not even from Rod, who
>>    despite his public persona and irritating Hollywood rockstar ways
>>was, in
>> many was, quite sensitive to non-US cultures!
>> In China, relationships matter.
>> Appearance matters. A lot.
>> Both of those things can be as important, if not more important than the
>> 'letter of the law' as to whose dime he was on when carrying on the
>> discussion with the relevant actors inside China.
>> The American way (and the British, to a lesser extent) is based on a
>> cliteral interpretation of the rules (with a seasoning of 'wiggle-room'
>> for peccadilloes).
>> So while it's understandable to hear from some of you that you don't
>>see the
>> problem, some of us really, really see a big issue here.
>> I'm not going to complain loudly about the ethics side, although I
>> personally find it curious that Fadi was there on ICANN's dime, yet once
>> again making announcements 'in his personal capacity'.  A CEO can never
>> in his personal capacity, in my view until he gets his cardboard box.
>> (It was strange how the reporters describe him as ICANN's CEO, though.
>> Oh yes, that's because he IS. Even yet.)
>> The issue is that the head of ICANN, voluntarily handed in his
>> choosing to leave early, before transition was complete, and in another
>> revolving-door shocker joined an organisation with an apparently
>> different world view, and chose Wuzhen to make supportive statements of
>> and their backers.
>> Once again, 'it's not what they say, its what others hear'.
>> UK public servants have a purdah period before moving to organisations
>> operate in the same sphere.  Why, in the name of accountabaility, does
>> still not? (Have we forgotten and already discounted the terrible
>>optics of
>> Dengate-Thrushgate?). A mere xix months would not be onerous.
>> Please don't dissect Fadi's actual words. They don't count.
>> Hardly at all.
>> It's the nature of 'who', 'where', and 'when' that counts much more than
>> 'what', or even 'why'.
>>> '
>>> And with that, I shall stop and simply add -- Happy Holidays!
>> Likewise.=

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