Re: significance to testing/belt rank?
While I understand your general caveats, I disagree that it 1) Doesn't pertain to this thread & 2) Even talking about one organization from a position of authority is tenuous at best, unless you can provide some indication of qualification for speaking with such authority.
I also disagree regarding your definition/opinion/interpretation of rank via organizational decree. In some cases, the organization becomes the stand-in for the teacher (or the true method of transmission when the teacher may not qualify - pros and cons of which can be debatable), but it's still going to be a case by case instance of transmission of an art and rank being an aspect of the relationship between the student and transmitter/student/teacher/organization/whatever.
While I also do get what you mean about organizations sometimes existing to support the organization, rather than further transmission, I would be very careful (good lesson learned for me) about trying to take it upon myself (I train with folks/dojo in organizations periodically, but belong to an independent dojo) to make any worthwhile comments about how aikido organizations exist or should exist. I have enough to do with just being dedicated to my own training and, frankly, what they big groups do is none of my concern.