Monday, April 16, 2007

A Communique from Chairman Rafferty

Sent to the FFF mailing list:

Dear FFF Supporter,

USADA’s counsel recently requested our donor records, along with several other astonishing demands of Floyd (to read these demands for yourself, visit pages 3 - 12 of the attached file). Of course, we have no intention of providing them any private information. Fortunately for those of us who are not subject to WADA/USADA abuses, Americans are protected from these kinds of intrusions and threats. This, and a number of other basic democratic principles, seems to be lost on USADA, an agency funded by American taxpayer dollars.

[MORE]


USADA’s recent outrages -- including illegally retesting Floyd’s already cleared B samples in France instead of at the world-class UCLA anti-doping lab -- highlight their total lack of interest in the truth or in advancing justice. It also reminds the entire FFF team of our gratitude for your support. We simply could not conduct this expanding fight for justice without you. Over $500,000 has been raised for Floyd’s defense, and our communications and lobbying efforts have succeeded in reversing public and policymaker opinion regarding Floyd’s victory in the 2006 Tour de France.

Floyd needs your help again before the hearings begin May 14: It is critical that you contact your Congressional Representatives and/or key Members (to access the list, visit pages 13 - 14 of the attached file). This is urgent because the system employed by USADA is so biased against the athlete that any and all steps need to be taken to level the playing field before Floyd’s May 14 hearings. USADA has never lost an arbitration hearing. Their record is 167-0. Common sense and American justice tell us that not every single accused athlete can be guilty, but these apparently don’t concern USADA in their quest for government funding. If Congressional scrutiny puts their funding at risk, they just may begin to attend to the principles that inform the government that funds them.

There are specific Congressional communications guidelines in the “Get Involved” section of our web site (www.floydfairnessfund.org), but in essence, we request that you ask Congress to contact USADA to let them know that US taxpayers expect fair treatment for Floyd. We’ve also attached the contact details for USADA and their legal counsel in case you wish to let them know your thoughts regarding their attempts to intrude into your privacy and to intimidate a group exercising their democratic right to advocate for fairness and justice in athletic anti-doping efforts.

Floyd’s legal and scientific team has prepared an exceptionally strong case proving that his Stage 17 tests were never positive in the first place. You will be able to follow the case in detail as our request for an open hearing was granted and each day of the two week hearing will be covered by print and broadcast media. Our “Wiki Defense” has been based on the principle that Floyd has nothing to hide and that transparency assists us both to counteract the appalling show trial media convictions handed down by WADA and the cycling “leadership,” and to pressure USADA to focus on the facts and science of Floyd’s faulty test, not on extending their appalling 167-0 conviction rate. Your letters, calls and emails can help advance our efforts significantly.

I’ve had the chance to meet many of your at our FFF Town Halls, but would like to extend my personal thanks once again for your help and support for Floyd and the cause of fair and effective anti-doping in sport. Like several of our Team Wiki members, I am working pro bono for this cause, my family and I have also committed tens of thousands of dollars to the FFF. I have no doubt we have set in motion steps to improve the ineffective and deeply conflicted anti-doping system in sport, but Floyd stands at the front of this fight and has sacrificed greatly for what he knows is right. For the sake of justice, we should take every step possible to reverse the slander and injury WADA/USADA have directed at Floyd – a letter, email or call to the persons on the attached list will help greatly in this regard.

With my personal thanks and best wishes,

Brian Rafferty
Chairman
Floyd Fairness Fund

8 comments:

swimyouidiot said...

I really wonder why they think congressional pressure can make a difference. That seems unlikely to me.

Any chance Landis is hoping for some kind of settlement, and congressional pressure might help make USADA more willing to "plea bargain?"

That doesn't seem likely to me, but I can't really think of any other reason they could think this type of pressure could help them. It could help in the future, but now?

daniel m (a/k/a Rant) said...

Swim,

Consider who holds the purse strings. If USADA becomes afraid that Congress will pull the plug on the funding they give (which accounts for about 70% of their budget), they might just moderate their behavior. Maybe.

But without the pressure, how likely is USADA to do anything differently?

- Rant

strbuk said...

Perhaps the future is what they are thinking about. Change can never happen without some kind of impetus and maybe what can really be accomplished here is the kind of fairness that we all deserve, the kind of fairness that thus far Floyd Landis has been denied. I feel confident in saying that many elected officials have little to no knowledge of how the WADA/USADA system works, if pressure can be brought to bear than real reform MAY be possible, and all that Floyd has gone through will have meaning and purpose for more athletes than just himself.

str

Jim T said...

I'm nervous about the FFF asking Congress to influence an ongoing adjudication - even though the process is astoundingly biased. I don't think Congressional representatives will want to be seen as using their power to affect the outcome of a judicial process.

I'm afraid that if Congress decides to do anything, it will be to examine USADA's methods after Floyd's case is over. This will help future athletes, but as far as Floyd's case is concerned I don't think members of Congress want to put themselves in a position where USADA can accuse them of improper use of their authority - and I'm sure that's what USADA would say.

But maybe if USADA learns that Congress is WATCHING - that might be good enough to keep in line a little bit.

Anonymous said...

Congress shouldn't have anything specific to say about the case in any way. However, as a body, they have been the primary funding source for USADA, on our (U.S. taxpayers)behalf. It seems to me that it would be fair and proper for members of congress to remind key USADA officials that they will be watching how the hearing, and events leading up to the hearing, are conducted, particularly with regard to ethics, fairness, respect for the rules (flawed as they are - my words) in place, and an honest search for the truth. Floyd has a right to use any legal means at his disposal to make his case, especially in light of the rules being stacked against him. I hope his radio spot helps.

USADA can scorch the earth and railroad Floyd, but if they do, it may be at their own peril as an organization. My congressional representatives say the are interested in following the hearing and at least one already has concerns about several facets of the discovery process. I intend to keep reminding them to follow events and form their own opinions. (Watch and form their own opinions is the thrust) Others in congress are just as, or more, interested. If USADA manufactures the result they desire and/or are seen as being more interested in their prosecutorial batting average (1000) than they are about a fair, correct, and just result, they can expect much less enthusiasm for their next budget funding request.

Too many people are watching for USADA to conduct business as usual. USADA doesn't seem to get it yet, but I hope they do before it's too late (perhaps it already is too late?). USADA's mission is an important one. It's also important that USADA not make itself irrelevant and under-funded by acts of railroading innocent athletes.

Jeff from Newark, DE

swimyouidiot said...

Jeff, what in particular did you mention to your reps to get them to start paying attention? What was the best thing to emphasize?

syi

Anonymous said...

SYI,

Congressman Mike Castle has promoted the idea of upgrading the recreational area along the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal to include multi-use trails suitable for cycling and other activities. Senators Biden and Carper are in favor of the project as well. Delaware is a small state. Access to those that represent us in congress isn’t particularly difficult. In this case, it was made easier due to the familiarity developed due to my early and continuing support of the canal project. In addition, Senator Biden was an attorney before becoming a senator. His son is Delaware’s current Attorney General. The issues surrounding due process caught his attention. I haven’t had any luck in getting a response from Senator John McCain. I am deeply appreciative and respectful of the sacrifices he endured on our country’s behalf during the Viet Nam War. While Senator McCain was recently instrumental in increasing our government’s financial support of USADA, I’m certain he was generally supporting the anti-doping movement and was not aware of how USADA actually functions with regard to accused athletes. As someone tortured and denied due process for years, I cannot accept that this honorable man would knowingly become an instrument involved in denying due process to athletes from the United States. While being imprisoned in Viet Nam and facing a hearing before USADA are worlds apart, John McCain is more acutely aware than most of us, of the importance of due process. Maybe a resident of Arizona will have more success than I have in pleading the case to Senator McCain?

In each case, I’ve briefly summarized what I think is wrong with the process and asked my representatives to follow Floyd’s case and form their own opinions. I’m confident they will be less than satisfied with USADA’s actions. Their dissatisfaction isn’t likely to help Floyd directly, but the pressure to satisfy those that have the most influence on the level at which USADA will be funded, moving forward, should be important to Travis Tygart and USADA. Finally, while critical to Floyd, his hearing, and the events leading up to his hearing, serves more as a glaring example of the need for reform of the anti-doping system. Our congressional representatives have no right to interfere with USADA’s conduct of Floyd’s case, but can observe and vote their conscience the next time a funding request comes before them. It would be fair for USADA to know the case is being closely monitored.

Jeff from Newark, DE

swimyouidiot said...

Thanks Jeff. I have some connections to my U.S. Rep. (Don Manzullo, R-IL), so I'll make that contact. Because he is on the Senate Appropriations Committee, and I think was one of the first people Floyd visited, I contacted Dick Durbin long ago, but I'll try again. I guess Barack Obama has a few other things to think about right now.

Peace