Monday, May 28, 2007

Monday Roundup

News
The Belfast Telegraph catches up and posts an article about the appearance of Dr Wolfram Meier-Augenstein at the Landis hearings. The compensation the Dr. received for his appearance at the procedure was noted as was his lack of confidence in the LNDD and the results they produced in analyzing Landis' samples after last year's Tour de France.

The Philidelphia Inquirer's
Bob Ford notes that finally a Tour de France winner has been "nailed' and admits to doping, but it wasn't Floyd Landis.

The Times (UK) runs Paul Kimmage's rumination on doping in cycling. He's not surprised by anything.

Vail News
tells us the Teva Mountain Games are starting, and Landis is still scheduled to compete. They think he might give his team an edge. We're not sure -- he took at least a week and a half off training recently.

Snark O' the Day
Contra Costa Times seems not to have been paying attention, repeats the sort of list that was fashionable last August:

TOP FIVE LIST

Floyd Landis' top five explanations for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs:

5. Never been a good test-taker

4. Thought they were grading on the curve

3. Drank a bad batch of Snapple the night before

2. Once shook hands with Greg Anderson

1. Wanted to do something Lance Armstrong had never done



Blogs
Environmental Chemistry's editor's blog posts a piece about their disappointment at the lack of real science reporting presented in the mainstream press coverage of the Landis hearings. He wonders why it takes a small time newspaper like the Anchorage Daily News to cut through the tabloid chatter and get to the heart of the matter, and that is an incompetent lab is determining what happens in the professional lives of many athletes, not just Floyd Landis.

Rant picks up in the theme above and is right on in his indignation that there was no science reporter to interpret for the masses what the majority of the testimony was about in the Landis hearings:


OK, for the technically less inclined, what does this mean? In calibrating their equipment, LNDD doesn’t run a standard (or known) sample that contains all of the metabolites they’re looking for in a testosterone screening. If memory serves me correctly, the sample LNDD used only contained one of the metabolites.


Now, the tricky thing about this testing is that you need to match a number of peaks on a graph for a known compound to peaks on a graph for the unknown compound (that would be Landis’ sample, in this case) in order to identify what the sample contains. If they line up, then you’ve got a match. If they don’t, then no match



Manuel's View thinks that with doubt now being cast on Floyd Landis' performance in last year's Tour de France fans may be disillusioned enough to seek "real' competition and watch the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) . The UFC is undeniably honest in what it's purporting to do, and you can trust that what you see is what you get.

Tow.com thinks that now it's come to light that Floyd Landis, and almost 4/5 of the peloton, doped during competition Lance Armstrong's accomplishments are even more spectacular. Seems Lance was the only clean rider, and won against a bunch of cyclists using PEDs.

Passion2Ride is struggling to regain the fitness she lost and while climbing hills yesterday ruminated about whether Floyd Landis will have to struggle to regain his fitness as well. She hopes to see him on a bike competing again someday because he's a great rider, and happens to be "hot".

Biking and Hiking Tour Blog is scratching his head over the state of the pro peloton

Kat on a Wire Finds the Floyd Landis saga is more like a witch hunt than a search for justice, and at the same time is contemplating "computational doping". Kat wonders if a software program she is thinking of, that would manage computer memory making it easier to access, would be like those who use PEDs in cycling. Would it give an unfair advantage?:

There are clearly some similarities: person uses artificial substance to enhance their ability to perform; person may get more money and more prestige as a result of better performance; person isn't competing solely on their natural talents. There are also some strong differences: sport has one winner (individual or team) whereas research competition usually has several; elite sporting is more financially lucrative than elite research; the public gets emotionally caught up in sport.


Forums
DPF finally starts to discuss the relevant science from the hearing, and you3 seems to be showing how the LNDD methodology has problem. OMJ isn't buying it quite yet, and Nomad is provoking everyone to work on their answers. Duckstrap seems to tie things together at this evening's end.

59 comments:

Anonymous said...

"He wonders why it takes a small time newspaper like the Anchorage Daily News to cut through the tabloid chatter and get to the heart of the matter..."

Actually, he doesn't wonder that, at least in the article noted. He calls on big name publishers to take on articles about the science and not leave it to small web sites such as his own, but never characterizes ADN as a "small time newspaper." ADN has a couple of Pulitzers in the award display case, though it seems on a downhill trend in more recent years.

Medred is a very talented and entertaining writer, but the idea that he would be examining and detailing scientific evidence is just a bit silly.

I guess my main question is that if you take a website description of an issue and rework it to make a point that you seem to think important, but isn't what the original writer was saying, do you do that with all the other info bits on the site?

strbuk said...

I felt it was implied that he had pondered the fact that the "big" publications had missed the boat on the science reporting.

Anonymous said...

OK. In other words, you made it up and tried to present it as reporting the views of others.

tbv@trustbut.com said...

If you want to draw a different conclusion or make a different analysis, please feel free to do so.

If you disagree with ours, feel free to say so.

If all you can say is we "made up" our analysis, I can find the delete button pretty quickly, because you are not adding anything to the discussion.

TBV

Michael said...

TBV,

"If all you can say is we "made up" our analysis, I can find the delete button pretty quickly, "

Kind of sounds like LNDD's analysis of Floyd's urine!

What sucks is that no one can seems to take their emotions out of the case. Anyone can spin any sentence to mean what they want whether it's pro-Floyd or Anti-Floyd.

This whole case was supposed to be about infallible science and it's been proven anything but.

To think, all you did was point readers to an article in a paper about Floyd -- IN ALASKA???

Anonymous said...

"He wonders why it takes a small time newspaper like the Anchorage Daily News to cut through the tabloid chatter and get to the heart of the matter..."

In my humble opinion, the “discussion” has to include the article posted and quoted from above. I don’t think it is an accurate presentation of the article on the site.

Rather than term ADN a “small time newspaper,” the author actually calls Medred one of the “mainstream” reporters who tackles the science issue. I can’t find any place in the site where the above quote fits. Certainly the author calls on large media outlets to address the science issue rather than leave it to small websites like his own.
I’m afraid I don’t see reading a piece and then posting what I think the author might have pondered by implication is much more than “made up.”

Regarding points that would add to the discussion:

1) Medred claims that the Landis hearing is the first time the USADA has held a public airing of a drug case. That was Landis’s call, right?

2) Medred writes that LeMond “took the stand to testify not about science but about a blackmail attempt by a supporter of the former Mennonite Landis.”

a) LeMond took the stand to testify about the earlier phone call from Landis;

b) It certainly wasn’t a blackmail attempt;

c) supporter? How about “manager”?

3) In an article that is said to finally address the real scientific issues and not resort to tabloid chatter...

“Papp is a guy for whom you just have to feel sorry.”

“Lemond is a man with issues.”

"Geez, you know, I called up Greg Lemond to ask him why he keeps saying bad things about me in the press, and he starts telling me about how he was molested as a child. It was just sort of creepy. I've never had such a strange conversation in my life.”

“I don't know whether Floyd Landis is guilty or innocent, but I'm starting to like him.”

Why the delete key threat?

Gregg Dickson said...

I sent the following statement to both of my Senators and my Representative. I encourage all US Citizens to do the same. It's our only real weapon against the outright tyranny and incompetence of the USADA. Why should you and I pay their salaries?
_________________________________
Subject: Please cut-off funding for the USADA

Dear Senator Chambliss,
I am completely appalled by the outright political corruption and utter lack of scientific, procedural and due-process controls that are in place at the US Anti-Doping Agency.
Please cut off any funding for this organization until they completely reform their policies and procedures, which should include the following:
- American standards of justice including innocent until proven guilty and due process.

- Testing laboratories must not confirm their own adverse findings. If one testing lab finds sample "A" to be positive then a DIFFERENT testing lab would be required to test sample "B", with two labs being randomly chosen for the "B" sample test. One lab would get dummy control samples and the real sample while the other lab only got dummy samples. No lab would know who the other testing labs are and no one would know who was testing the real sample until after testing was completed. None of the three labs in question could know who the other testing labs were and none of the labs (or at least "B" sample labs) should know for which sport the samples are from. The athletes could still have representatives present for "B" samples, but they would have to keep the athlete and sport anonymous (transporting athletes representatives to the testing location would be at WADA expense).

- Research and enforcement arms of the anti-doping efforts must be separated. All government grants would have to go to testing labs and scientists through a channel completely independent of WADA and anti-doping enforcement agencies (e.g. USADA) with the existing agencies only paying for the actual testing they have preformed. This must be done to eliminate conflicts of interest.

- All testing procedures and testing methods must be validated via a true scientific peer review processes.

- All substances on the banned substance list must have been proven via true scientific peer review to either be a performance enhancing substances or masking agents.

- Illicit leaking of test results to the press must be criminalized.

- Doping by athletes must be criminalized with all prosecution going through the criminal justice system.

- Athletes and their legal teams must be allowed full and normal rights of discover for criminal cases including deposing lab testing officials prior to their case.

- Athletes must be allowed to employ individuals from testing labs not directly involved with testing their samples as expert witnesses.

Sincerely,
Gregg Dickson

Anonymous said...

Craig Medved didn't talk or report about or understand the "science" at all. He just did a hatchet job on Papp and Lemond. For Environmental Science to praise Medved for "getting it", i.e. the science issues is patently false and ridiculous.

I found Paul Kimmage's article in the Times about the "code of silence" amongst cyclists, and the vindictiveness of Lance when the code was broken much more enlightening.

Anonymous said...

Maybe someone hear can clarify something for me. It is my understandint that the athlete cannot attack to validity of the science of the testing. I think this was one of the issues in Hamilton. But, it seems that what the German doctor who testified for Landis testified to at least in part was that the testing was scientifically invalid, although I may be quite wrong on this. Is there a "bright line" between attacking the science of the test, and attacking the implementation of the test? It seems like the two should be clearly distinguishable, but perhaps not when things start to get complicated.

Anonymous said...

Happy Memorial Day to all at TBV. Thanks again for all your hard work. Just got back from a weekend of riding with my sons, and wanted to check in. I see that there are plenty out there that want to ignore the science, and still focus on "the LeMond factor". I say let them, those that actually watched and paid attention know the truth... LNDD is a joke of a lab, and Floyd Landis IS the 2006 champion. Period.

Mike
Green MTN.
Ephrata, Pa.

Anonymous said...

I'll line up behind everyone else to thank you all for your time and effort.

Hopefully the momentum to overhaul USADA procedures will continue. I urge everyone to contact their senators and representatives. Expenditure of tax dollars to combat doping is a reasonable use of funds, but not in the current manner that USADA employs.

Anonymous said...

A mixed bag of comments:

Sports medicine tends to be more of an art than other areas. Surprisingly little research is done and, according to some M.D.'s I know, a lot of information they gain is anecdotal from discussions at conferences where a condition is raised and then doc's talk about what they tried and how their patients responded. This does have relevance to doping by athletes: As we have seen here, there is little published research that they or their trainers/doctors can turn to. They rely on anecdotal evidence. Joe Papp believed that T helped him recover, that doesn't mean it did. But if he thought so, then that may have helped him (placebo effect). He might have gotten the same effect if he rubben on lip balm that he was told had T in it.

When I have questions about supplement claims I bother my daughter - a M.S. Registered Dietitian who is one of the relatively few ADA certified Sports Nutritionists. She consistently raises a couple points: any studies have to be double blind and peer reviewed before she will give them any weight and, even then, most involve small populations and relatively short time periods. Those factors diminish the importance of the study. Her second point is that even if a generalized effect is found, that does not mean that a particular person will experience that effect; there is tremendous variation in people's biological systems even when dealing with basic diet and eating patterns. Add in PED's and if it isn't done with close monitoring and evaluation, then the effects are a grab bag. The comment about the side effects of EPO are anecdotal, but may be true for the majority of users and not a minority. Without large, relatively long tests that are properly designed and involve athletes - as oppposed to cancer patients undergoing chemo - no one really knows what the effects are. The side effects of EPO could be masked by the chemo in that population with the net effect being positive for them. It could be counter productive for a healthy athlete.

The human body's systems adapt to demands placed on it. Performance can be improved by training regimens that are based on "bad" science. Best example I know is interval training in any sport: repeated high intensity effort. Coaches/trainers did this to increase the lactic acid thresh hold for years. Recently I saw an article that "revealed" that what actually was happenig was that the interval training stimulated the body to generate an increase in a cell component (mitochondria, I think?) that converted the lactic acid molecule and generated energy from it. I sent the article to my daughter and she called me. She had known this for a long time, and could explain the biochemistry that generated the lactic acid (a relatively efficient energy release) and that of breaking down the lactic acid (a much less efficient energy release). The training was done for the wrong reason but was effective. However, the benefit derived by an individual athlete depended on their body's response to the training. Almost everyone will benefit, but some more than others, some much more. The same is probably true of PED's. Joe Papp seems to have been a pedaling pharmacy, but it did not take him where he wanted to go.

I don't know what percentage of WADA's budget is spent on research, but I suspect it is small. It's umbrella covers many sports where bulky muscle (sprinting, weight lifting, shot put) can be an advantage, others where endurance and recovery are key (middle and long distance running, swimming, cycling, triathalon). A PED that benefits one type of sport may be a detriment in another, or have no effect on yet a third (horseback riding). WADA doesn't differentiate and seems almost frantic in its effort to identify anything that an athlete can do that is not an inherent part of the sport. An example was floating the idea of outlawing the use of "altitude tents" for athletes training at low altitudes. I don't think that there are any studies that prove that recovering at altitude is beneficial, but there is plenty of anecdotal evidence. Taking the tents away from sea level athletes who can afford them is overreaching for most folks. If WADA could do that, then it should also be able to outlaw the use of masseurs in multi day events.

Wonder what WADA's response would be if Armstrong went to his team's training camps and told them to do x,y and z as part of their regimen and at odd moments passed each rider a supply of blue pills to be taken on a particular schedule and told them that they would ride like the wind and feel fresher every day. And it worked in varying degrees for those that did. And the blue pills were nasty tasting vitamins and nothing more. Suspensions for intending to dope?

I wonder if cyclists have rituals and talismans as ball players do?
pcrosby

marc said...

I'm glad things seem to have settled down fairly well since this morning. It really disturbed me to see the civility that usually characterizes exchanges on this site go down the tubes.

Behind it all, I think there was some misunderstanding of who was saying what, exactly. I'm not sure anyone really wants who said what sorted out, and I'm reasonably sure that trying to sort it out is like popping your head out of the trench for a look-around. But I must say a word in defense of my colleague, strbuk.

As far as I can tell, the only misstatement strbuk made was calling the Anchorage Daily News a "small town paper."

As strbuk states, Ken Barbalace (Environmental Chemistry) definitely does express disappointment that the major news sources did not focus on the science of the case: "If there was ever a story that needed good science reporters, it was these hearings. They were all about science and it was well know in advance that science would be the center piece of the testimony. Unfortunately, mainstream media chose to report this as a human interest story as if this were a story better told in the tabloids."

Those who have posted saying Medred himself does not cover the scientific arguments are correct, but neither strbuk nor KB said he had. Medred's argument is that the USADA argued character rather than science. (And, yes, Medred makes some questionable arguments about character himself.) And he argued that the USADA took this tack in order to intimidate other athletes. Medred concludes: "[I]f USADA had stuck to science -- as it said it would when the case began -- Lemond wouldn't have been asked to appear in the first place. . . . This really isn't about science. This is about a bunch of chemists convinced they've caught a bad guy and, by God, they're going to hang him one way or another."

It is these latter two points that form the content of strbuk's, "[ADN] cut[s] through the tabloid [strbuk picks term 'tabloid' up from KB] chatter and get[s] to the heart of the matter, and that is an incompetent lab is determining what happens in the professional lives of many athletes, not just Floyd Landis"--which it seems to me a reasonable characterization of Medred's argument, as well as of KB's comment about Medred as "one of the very few 'mainstream' reporters to not get suckered in to the tawdry smear tactics employed by the USADA [i.e. as distinct from arguing the science]."

Needless to say, one doesn't have to agree with Medred or KB or strbuk. But KB did not invent nor mischaracterize what he reports Medred as saying, nor did strbuk invent or mischaracterize what Medred and KB said.

--marc

Anonymous said...

“Those who have posted saying Medred himself does not cover the scientific arguments are correct, but neither strbuk nor KB said he had.”

“He wonders why it takes a small time newspaper like the Anchorage Daily News to cut through the tabloid chatter and get to the heart of the matter, and that is an incompetent lab is determining what happens in the professional lives of many athletes, not just Floyd Landis.”

I’m sorry to be so clueless, but how does one state that the lab is incompetent and still not cover the scientific arguments? Non-scientific incompetence? They can’t get the address labels on letters right?

I enjoy Medred’s writing, but do note that while ADN has an excellent sports department, he isn’t part of it. His beat is Outdoors, which in Alaska covers a very wide (and utterly beautiful) range, but has more to do with moose hunting and salmon fishing. Has Craig ever written on cycling before? Scientific knowledge?

I’m not denying that some percentage of those moose hunters and salmon fishers are likely toking on some herb while they’re out in the wilds, a fine old Alaskan tradition. But I kinda doubt that use makes Craig much of an authority on doping by cyclists. Heck, if you tried to tell one of those hunters that he didn’t already have far more testosterone than he could ever use, you’d likely be in for a brawl.

Davis Straub said...

----- Original Message -----
From: Davis Straub
To: phersh@tribune.com ; sportsonline@cbc.ca ; sports@nytimes.com ; theworld@pri.org ;sportletters@theherald.co.uk; psheridan@phillynews.com
Sent: Monday, May 28, 2007 9:06 PM
Subject: Questions we might ask ourselves about the science at the Landis hearing


This is a self test, not a survey. It is meant to be helpful as we question our own basis for understanding a murky reality. If you answer honestly you will better understand your own understanding.

1. I have the following amount of confidence in the statement,"Floyd Landis took testosterone some time between giving his urine sample after the 16th stage of the 2006 Tour de France and when he gave his urine sample after the 17th stage."

[ ] I have no confidence.

[ ] I have some confidence.

[ ] I am moderately confident.

[ ] I am mostly confident.

[ ] I am very confident.

2. I have the following amount of confidence in the statement,"The laboratory that tested Floyd's urine sample for WADA banned substances correctly determined that there was exogenous testosterone in Floyd's urine."

[ ] I have no confidence.

[ ] I have some confidence.

[ ] I am moderately confident.

[ ] I am mostly confident.

[ ] I am very confident.

3. Which of the following percentage ranges are valid for the percentage of riders in the 2006 Tour de France taking WADA banned substances within two weeks before and/or during the 2006 Tour de France:

[ ] 0%

[ ] 1% to 15%

[ ] 16% to 30%

[ ] 31% to 50%

[ ] 51% to 75%

[ ] 76% to 95%

[ ] 96% to 100%

4. I have the following amount of confidence in my choice in 3 above.

[ ] I have no confidence.

[ ] I have some confidence.

[ ] I am moderately confident.

[ ] I am mostly confident.

[ ] I am very confident.

5. It has been stated by a Landis lawyer that the laboratory that tested Landis' urine produces positive tests for WADA banned substances at a rate three times greater than any other WADA accredited laboratory. If this statement is true, this indicates:

a. Just random chance. There is a spread in the "hit rate" between WADA accredited labs, and this is just where LNDD happens to be.

b. LNDD is much more professional than all the other WADA accredited laboratories and is therefore much better at finding the drug cheats.

c. LNDD is much less professional than the other WADA accredited laboratories and therefore has a much higher rate of false positives.

d. All the above.

6. The Landis lawyers have pointed out numerous problems with the chain of custody of the urine samples. This is summarized as:

Up until Floyd Landis's samples arrived at LNDD and the seal was broken the chain of custody seemed to be handled appropriately. From that point on the COC totally breaks down. There are many missing entries, and hence opportunities for mistakes to have occurred, switches of samples to be made, and the integrity of the sample and test results to be fatally compromised.

Aside from the lack of certainty in the COC, the procedural errors that occurred in the laboratory were too numerous to mention. The technicians even admitted that they knew that they were testing samples from Floyd Landis. It appears, in fact, that many of the errors have been built into the procedures from day one of operation and that the mass spectrometer was set up or calibrated properly to begin with. LNDD's procedures were so inadequate that one would have to question every drug test result that ever came from that laboratory.

http://blog.environmentalchemistry.com/2007/05/lndd-chain-of-custody-was-broken.html

The USADA lawyers have characterized these procedural problems as minor flaws that don't affect the outcome of the positive results. For example:

To the contrary, "The data are excellent and clearly show testosterone," concluded Wilhelm Schanzer, director of the Anti-doping Laboratory of Cologne (Germany) who had been called as a witness by the Usada.

How confident are you that the USADA lawyers are correct about this?

[ ] I have no confidence.

[ ] I have some confidence.

[ ] I am moderately confident.

[ ] I am mostly confident.

[ ] I am very confident.

7. It has been reported that the Landis lawyers presented evidence that the "analysis failed to conform to various International Laboratory Standards." The USADA lawyers stated again that these were minor and inconsequential omissions. How confident are you that the USADA lawyers are correct about this?

[ ] I have no confidence.

[ ] I have some confidence.

[ ] I am moderately confident.

[ ] I am mostly confident.

[ ] I am very confident.

8. It has been reported that the Landis lawyers presented evidence that "the operators and their supervisor were not trained by the testing equipment manufacturer or someone qualified by the manufacturer." This is characterized as follows:

Had this testimony ever been documented in a US Court against a testing lab in the United States, one would expect that the lab would have been shut down until the mass spectrometers were properly installed and calibrated, the laboratory technicians were properly trained, procedures were in place and it could be demonstrated that employees understood the procedures, including COC.

This was dismissed as inconsequential by the USADA lawyers.

How confident are you that the USADA lawyers are correct about this?

[ ] I have no confidence.

[ ] I have some confidence.

[ ] I am moderately confident.

[ ] I am mostly confident.

[ ] I am very confident.

9. The "B" sample was not tested by another WADA accredited laboratory but by LNDD. How confident are you that this procedure is reliable?

[ ] I have no confidence.

[ ] I have some confidence.

[ ] I am moderately confident.

[ ] I am mostly confident.

[ ] I am very confident.

10. How confident are you that the following statement is true, "The fact that no main stream media outlet chose to send a qualified science reporter to the Landis hearing has had no effect on the public perception of the quality of the science practiced at WADA accredited laboratories, such as LNDD?

[ ] I have no confidence.

[ ] I have some confidence.

[ ] I am moderately confident.

[ ] I am mostly confident.

[ ] I am very confident.

11. Finally, given the issues raised above, and the possibility that one's mind might be changed by argumentation, I have the following amount of confidence in the statement,"Floyd Landis took testosterone some time between giving his urine sample after the 16th stage of the 2006 Tour de France and when he gave his urine sample after the 17th stage."

[ ] I have no confidence.

[ ] I have some confidence.

[ ] I am moderately confident.

[ ] I am mostly confident.

[ ] I am very confident.

12. I have the following amount of confidence in the statement,"The laboratory that tested Floyd's urine sample for WADA banned substances correctly determined that there was exogenous testosterone in Floyd's urine."

[ ] I have no confidence.

[ ] I have some confidence.

[ ] I am moderately confident.

[ ] I am mostly confident.

[ ] I am very confident

Davis Straub
http://ozreport.com
http://ozreport.com/worldrecordholder.php
http://ozreport.com/location.php
On the road, USA

Jim T said...

Anon 1:46

WADA's prohibition on athletes questioning the "science" of the test means that WADA presumes that if the test is administered correctly, it will correctly determine that a doping athlete doped and that a non-doping athlete did not dope.

The athlete may argue that the lab did not conduct the test correctly, but may not argue that the test itself cannot reliably determine whether an athlete doped or not.

The German professor questioned the lab's administration of the test, that is, he suggested that the way they conducted the test left them completely unable to correctly identify what they thought they were identifying.

Ken (EnvironmentalChemistry.com) said...

Well that just figures. I make a blog post and then go out for a Memorial Day BBQ with friends and a firestorm breaks out about what I said or meant. I will try to weigh in on this matter as best I can.

About the controversy surrounding my latest blog post
Marc @ 2:49 PM seemed to express my intentions about as well as anyone. By no means did I mean to infer that the Anchorage Daily News was a small time paper. To me a small time paper might be one of those free weekly papers that lots of small communities up here in Maine have that mostly cover local news and events and are packed with ads for Joe's Welding Service, etc.

I choose the term "small town paper" to differentiate the Anchorage Daily News from the really big papers like the New York Times and Chicago Tribune, which have really big news staffs, very large circulations and whose articles are very widely syndicated. In no way was this meant to reflect on the quality of their writers.

Medred may not have gotten into the finer details of the science, but he did argue that it was the science aspects of this story that we need to be looking at as there are very serious implications for all athletes who fall under WADA's rules. We can not expect every reporter to have a PhD in biochemistry and understand the finer points of mass spectrometers, but they still can try to cover the science side of the issue from "40,000 ft" the way Medred has.

Clarifications and background about my site
I'd also like to make a couple notes about my site; I have frequently seen here and elsewhere references to my site as "environmental science" rather than "Environmental Chemistry" or even more correctly "EnvironmentalChemistry.com". Our primary focus is on environmental, chemistry and hazardous materials related issues. The articles on our main site tend to focus on environmental related issues and are written by professionals and scientists (frequently PhDs) in fields related to the topic of the given article. We also have a very large volume chemistry, HazMat regulatory related resources that I have built up over the nearly twelve years I have been running the site, which I started while attending the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

The Floyd Landis issue is way outside of our typical environmental focus, but I decided to delve into this issue on my blog as it is a chemistry related issue and I was extremely appalled by what I saw in the testimony by USADA witnesses. I had also become very frustrated with the mainstream media who got totally suckered by the dancing monkeys instead of covering the real issues. The revelations and admissions by the LNDD techs should have been the headlines, not Papp and LeMond who added nothing to our understanding of the facts of the case. All they could add (with or without Will's stupidity) was tawdry hearsay and distraction. Literally I scrapped a couple of other blog topics that I had intended to work on for last week because I could not get my frustration with what I saw in regards to LNDD out of my mind.

General Floyd Landis and LNDD comments
The more the media and individuals argue about personalities, the further from the truth we get. Regardless of Floyd Landis is a church choir boy or a mischievous bad boy of the peloton, there are some very serious issues with processes and procedures within WADA/USADA and very serious issues with incompetence bordering on fraud at LNDD.

Based on the way WADA rules are written there may not have been a snowball's chance in hell of Floyd Landis being able to be exonerated when all is said and done. There is, however, no doubt in my mind that the procedures at LNDD are so flawed and their techs so incompetent, that they have produced false AAF that resulted in the conviction and suspension of innocent athletes who lack Floyd's tenacity and financial capabilities.

The truth of the matter is that neither Floyd Landis nor any other athlete can every truly prove they didn't/don't dope once they have been accused of doping. It just can't be done, especially given WADA's current rules. This is why rock solid lab procedures are necessary to prevent false positives in lab tests.

No performance benefit from the accused doping
Okay, lets presume for a minute, Floyd did actually dope in the manner USADA has accused him of (low dose creams, injections, etc. to aid in recovery). So what? It would not have affected the outcome of last year's TDF. As the peer reviewed papers that I have referenced in my comments here at TBV and on my blog and Rant has referenced on his blog have found, such small doses of testosterone have absolutely NO benefit to the athlete. Even large doses of testosterone over an extended period are not of benefit to cyclists because it would cause them to add too much bulk (e.g. weight) which in cycling is a detriment.

Why are we so obsessed and worried about whether cyclists do or don't take small doses of testosterone when it has no positive benefit to them and in fact has negative impacts? There needs to be some kind of scientific logic as to what drugs are actually banned for a given sport. If there is no peer reviewed evidence that a drug (e.g. testosterone) does actually boost performance for said sport or is a masking agent, then we shouldn't care whether an athlete is stupid enough to take said drug. The banned limit threshold should also be set at a level just below the level where said drug actually begins to provide an unnatural performance enhancement such that innocent uses (e.g. hair growth medicine) don't result in AAF.

@Anonymous 3:57 PM
Do not sell Medred short. In Alaska many sports including Olympic sports and the outdoors are inseparable. If you think that outdoors in Alaska is all about hunting and fishing you are very sadly mistaken. As Medred and many of us here have pointed out the issues surrounding LNDD, WADA and USADA go well beyond cycling. As Medred also pointed out, Alaska, particularly the Anchorage area, is a favored winter hangout of many Olympic caliber winter sport athletes. I have no doubt that as part of his reporting; Medred has had plenty of opportunities to interview and/or kick back a few beers with competitive athletes who are subjected to WADA/USADA and thus has first hand knowledge of athletes' concerns about WADA/USADA.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

"I have no doubt that as part of his reporting; Medred has had plenty of opportunities to interview and/or kick back a few beers with competitive athletes who are subjected to WADA/USADA and thus has first hand knowledge of athletes' concerns about WADA/USADA."

So, uh, kicking back a few beers constitutes the sort of science we should be looking for here? And unless they've changed some bits of English on me, if Craig talks to someone and they express their concern, he has second hand knowledge of that concern, not first. Numbers count in science.

But mainly, if the understanding of the science we should be seeking here is the "40,000 ft" sort, that's much easier:

1) Floyd's urine test suggested he had used a banned substance;
2) A second test on a second sample showed the
same thing;
3) Floyd said it might have been the beer.
(Hey, the rules up there say one can be tacky as long as it's funny!)

Ken (EnvironmentalChemistry.com) said...

Anonymous 9:37 PM,

You totally missed the point of my comments. By being able to interview/socialize with athletes subjected to WADA Mr. Medred would have had first hand opportunity to learn about athlete's concerns with WADA and WADA's lack of due process. This would encourage him to investigate further.

In regards to your points 1, 2 & 3, they are completely irrelevant if as is contended by Landis's lawyers, myself and so many others (including scientists) that the testing procedures were totally flawed. Floyd's urine suggested nothing for it can not speak for itself. The lab techs who conducted the test at LNDD suggested that Floyd's samples were positive, but admitted under oath that they had mad numerous errors, had deleted data, had failed to completely log everything and had broken the chain of custody. In addition there is ample evidence that the mass spectrometer had never been set up correctly to begin with AND the techs were not properly trained by factory certified personnel (they didn't even have the correct users manual for it). On top of all of this one of the logs that were provided to Landis's attorneys was apparently a complete fabrication in that it was supposed to be a running daily log covering an entire year yet all of the handwriting in the log was the same (e.g. written by one person at one time).

Quite simply there is no way of knowing what Floyd Landis's urine samples contained because they were destroyed during testing AND the testing that was done can not be trusted. As we reported on our blog last week, had the bad procedures, errors and omissions been disclosed during an inspection or court hearing here in the United States, LNDD would have been immediately shut down and required to make major changes in procedures, get their personnel properly trained, have their equipment properly installed and demonstrate that they could accurately run tests before allowing to resume operations.

The incompetence at LNDD may raise to the level of willful criminal negligence (at least by U.S. standards) and this entire case should have been thrown out long ago with LNDD's WADA accreditation having been stripped years ago when problems with LNDD first started to be reported. Unfortunatly, WADA's code of silence and "good neighbor" policies prevented other labs from speaking out against LNDD and they have been allowed to run amok for far too long. Had LNDD been shut down a year or two ago, as it should have been, and a different lab that follows proper lab testing procedures tested samples from the 2006 TDF, we in all likelihood would not be sitting here today discussing Floyd Landis's case because we would all either believe in his guilt OR his results would have never come back positive to begin with.

Anonymous said...

“You totally missed the point of my comments. By being able to interview/socialize with athletes subjected to WADA Mr. Medred would have had first hand opportunity to learn about athlete's concerns with WADA and WADA's lack of due process. This would encourage him to investigate further.”

So Craig, having talked to these athletes, has investigated the matter further? I guess I’m just still confused about what new scientific insights or facts he presented in the column. I trust that through your own reading, though, you can explain how Craig’s investigation has shed new light on the affair from a scientific standpoint?

“In regards to your points 1, 2 & 3, they are completely irrelevant if as is contended by Landis's lawyers, myself and so many others (including scientists) that the testing procedures were totally flawed. Floyd's urine suggested nothing for it can not speak for itself.”

My points 1, 2 & 3 were meant as a joke, though didn’t Landis claim, when addressing about his earlier comments about beer causing the lab results, he was only saying what his lawyers at that time said he should say? If he gets new lawyers, and then starts saying that, OK, really, he was just pedaling along when a spaceship beamed him up and pumped him full of banned substances, will we get a panel of UFO experts saying how that sort of thing happens all the time? Maybe the lab can’t really tell the difference between synthetic testosterone and extraterrestrial testosterone?

As for Floyd’s urine not being able to speak for itself... urk! Talking urine??

anne lydsay said...

Ken, your statement that testosterone has no benefit is irrelevant in this case. It is a banned substance, and so irrespective if there are benefits traces found must result in disqualification. Also as the USADA case summed up, the Landis expert pointed out that there is no benefit to taking testosterone, but the number of athletes testing positive for the substance suggests that certian cyclists do feel there is a benefit, and use the banned substance for benefit.

Ken (EnvironmentalChemistry.com) said...

Anne Lydsay,

My comments about testosterone having no benefit, may have no bearing on Floyd's guilt or innocence, but it is relevant to the larger issue, which is the need for fairness and sanity in anti-doping rules. The banned substance list must be based on solid science, that shows a substance is truly performance enhancing. Some good science that shows the bad side effects of specific drugs and that they have little to no actual performance enhancing benefit (like testosterone for cyclists) might do as much to stop some doping as anything else.

In regards to the benefits certain cyclists think they feel, this may simply be a placebo effect or in Papps case the result of a different drug since he admitted to being a walking pharmacy.

the Dragon said...

An aside to the work of Big Paper reporters & Columnists.

This weekend in my local "Washington Post" Mike Wise opined on the Duke Lacrosse team in the NCAA finals up the road in Baltimore.

His article took issue with the "Innocent" label Duke supporters appearently were touting regarding their team. In his column, he rehashed each and every negative aspect reported in the early period of this tabloid event.

Interestingly, the Attorney General of North Carolina issued a 20odd page report which dealt with many of the "Facts" Mr. Wise was still tarring Duke Lax with. Maybe if he had taken a few moments to read the report, he would have found where the innocence moniker came from.

In todays column, he again takes several similar swipes at Duke.

I note this example because the tabloid nature of LaMonde & Papp get so much play rather than the science.

Regards,

ps: I AM NOT a Dukie, rather a lifelong Virginian who would gladly see Duke fall, if the facts supported that result.

Anonymous said...

Environmental Science:

"I had also become very frustrated with the mainstream media who got totally suckered by the dancing monkeys instead of covering the real issues.":

Anybody who uses the "dancing monkey" name calling discredits himself in my book.

And how you can keep holding Craig Medved up as an example of good reporting is ridiculous. All he did was attack the character of Papp and Lemond. Why didn't he talk about the USADA science witnesses? Because he wasn't competent to. So he engaged in character assassination himself, against Papp, Lemond and the USADA.

Landis' character has taken a real hit because of this hearing. But he is the only one to blame for that: the sleezy threat to Lemond, both online and through Geohagan, and his own hysterical attacks on the USADA and TDF.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

(Sean in NH here)

Anon 9:28: In Ken's defense, I think he was just repeating Judge Hue's use of the term "dancing monkey." And Judge Hue had seemed to use it, like "walking objection," as if it were standard legal slang for the trial technique of raising distracting but irrelevant material.

bill hue said...

We posted the "dancing monkey" to the glossery. many people refer to the "walking objection" as the "talking objection" and we added it to the glossery as well. Do not be mislead by the high-jacking of the term "dancing monkey" used as a metaphor to deride those who use it as people who who feel doping in cycling is a distraction or something of a novelty to be made fun of. It isn't that. It is a distraction or a diversion device used by clever attornys to draw attention away from something that affects their case negatively, thus lessening its impact.
Bill Hue

bill hue said...

Glossary, sorry. You can find it at the top and to the right of the top page of the blog.
Bill

Ken (EnvironmentalChemistry.com) said...

As Sean in NH and Bill Hue pointed out I was using the term as judge Hue had made use of it to infer testimony/actions in the court room designed to distract from the real issues. I was NOT using it to call either Papp or LeMond names. I hope this clarifies my intentions.

Anonymous said...

You, Strbuck and others claimed that the Papp and Lemond testimony was "irrelevant" and a "diversion" to the issues in the case. It wasn't as I have discussed. Papp supplied a plausible reason for doping with testosterone, and Lemond testified to words that could have been a **confession** to doping by Landis. It wasn't dispositive, but it was relevant and probative.

Yet you all criticize the press for covering this "dancing monkey" testimony rather than the "science".

I can only take that as referring to them and their testimony as "dancing monkeys".

The science is incomprehensible and beyond the ken of all of the reporters. They would rather report on "character issues" or the hysterical claims of Landis regarding the USADA being out to get him and Lance, spiking his urine samples, etc. etc. Unfortunately this case isn't important enough for the news media to hire one of the few experts out there without an ax to grind. And it's hard for me to see how such an expert could really explain the science to a lay audience anyway.


Underlying my comments is the idea that emotional name calling isn't very persuasive to those who aren't already on your side anyway.

Ken (EnvironmentalChemistry.com) said...

Anon 11:59 AM,

As I, Bill Hue and Sean in NH stated. The term "dancing monkey" is not about calling a witnesses derogatory names. It is about creating courtroom theatrics that distract observers from particularly damaging testimony and or evidence that preceded. Papp and LeMond are irrelevant because they provide no evidence that Floyd doped, both are very weak attempts to make it seem likely that Floyd doped and to assassinate his character. These two witnesses were called because USADA had a particularly weak science case and they needed something to sow doubt into Landis's claims of innocence. Had the science case for USADA been solid they would not have needed Papp or LeMond at all. Unfortunately for USADA every time a USADA science related witness took to the stand they revealed weakened USADA's case during cross testimony. In fact the most damaging witnesses to USADA's case were the LNDD techs who admitted all kinds of laps, errors and omissions during cross examination.

The core issue is whether or not Floyd's urine samples were truly positive AND whether or not those samples had been tested properly. It doesn't matter how much Papp believed testosterone aided his recover, in fact it doesn't even matter if it does aid recover (peer reviewed papers have reported no such benefit) because it doesn't go to support USADA's central case. What matters is that Floyds tests were done correctly and really show what USADA claims, yet USADA spent precious little time building a case to support the fact that the tests were run correctly and as a result the tests are reliable. If USADA had science on their side, they would have had no need for Papp and LeMond and could have convicted Floyd on the science alone.

Anonymous said...

"Dancing monkeys" is too pejorative. It could just mean a "distraction". But it could also mean the witness is just a dumb monkey taught to do tricks. Bill Hue should not have used that term.

"Papp and LeMond are irrelevant because they provide no evidence that Floyd doped"

Irrelevant??? You are in denial. An admission of wrongdoing is relevant in any proceeding, and is often sufficient to convict by itself in a criminal proceeding.


"Had the science case for USADA been solid they would not have needed Papp or LeMond at all."

Perhaps. But they did present an extensive science case, which I'm not capable of judging. That doesn't mean they shouldn't or couldn't present other relevant evidence of guilt or to address issues raised by the defense like the claim that no cyclist would use testosterone.

I don't buy this accusation that Papp and Lemond's testimony was an attempt to smear Landis's character. It's just an excuse by Medved and you all to do your own character attacks. I don't see Papp's testimony as speaking to Landis's character. Papp had nothing to say about Landis or his character, but about his own experience doping with testosterone. And how did Lemond's testimony attack Landis's character except to say that Landis confessed to doping. Doping is the central issue in this case. Landis can't escape that character issue.

Landis's reputation has been injured by his own apparently vindictive actions attacking Lemond. He only has to look into the mirror for that.

Ken (EnvironmentalChemistry.com) said...

Irrelevant??? You are in denial. An admission of wrongdoing is relevant in any proceeding, and is often sufficient to convict by itself in a criminal proceeding.

Of all the testimony in the trial, LeMond's is the most irrelevant because he refused to answer questions under cross examination. All we have is his hearsay testimony about what he wants the world to think Floyd told him. LeMond's testimony was a quintessential "monkey dance" as Bill Hue has explained the term to us.

LeMond's testimony also shows one of the most glaring flaws of this whole process, that being the fact that the defense was not allowed to take depositions of USADA witnesses prior to the hearing as is normal in a court of law. LeMond should have never been allowed to testify in the manner that he did and if he did testify he should have been forced to answer questions posed to him under cross-examination. LeMond's testimony showed a very serious breakdown of due process.

Anonymous said...

I don't want to belabor the point, but, again, Lemond's testimony about what Landis told him is either not within the definition of hearsay, or is within a well recognized exception to the hearsay rule. People may think of the testimony as they will, but in the legal sense it is admissible and relevant evidence, which may or may not ultimately be significant to the panel. It will be interesting to see what they say about Lemond's testimony, if anything.

Anonymous said...

Also, I might add that even true hearsay testimony is admissable if not objected to, and although Landis made an objection to strike Lemond's testimony on the grounds he wouldn't submit to the cross, I don't believe any objection to Lemond's testimony was made at the time based on hearsay. So, even if it was hearsay, which it wasn't, the lack of any objection would mean the testimony would come into evidence and could be considered by the panel. Perhaps Judge Hue could also comment on this.

Anonymous said...

Greg Lemond testified that Landis is an admitted drug cheat.

In addition, Lemond was threatened directly by landis and his cohort Will Geoghegan.

That is material evidence and will justify a LIFETIME BAN fro all Olympic sports----badminton included.

Landis' empty denials do not change these facts.

Anonymous said...

"Of all the testimony in the trial, LeMond's is the most irrelevant because he refused to answer questions under cross examination"

The "MOST irrelevant"? Now you're reaching into hyperbole land. Testimony about a confession of guilt is always relevant and admissible.

The lack of cross examination goes to it's reliability. Lemond refused to answer questions about Lance Armstrong. I believe Landis's attorneys were free to cross examine Lemond on other subjects, including his conversation with Landis, but chose not to.

So what would the cross about Lance have shown? It's reported that Lemond stated that Lance might have been doping also, and that Landis claimed Lance threatened him also. So it's possible Lemond makes up these threats? That is what lawyers would call weak impeachment on a collateral issue. Especially since there is no dispute that Geohagen called Landis and threatened him. Landis and Geohagen don't dispute that.

Is Lemond jealous of Lance and Landis, so he would make up/misinterpret the confession? A weak inference from his prior statements against Lance. Not strong enough to strike Lemond's testimony.


I just don't understand the emotional response to Papp and Lemond's testimony. All I've read are character attacks against them.

p.s. Agree that Lemond's testimony re confession is not inadmissible as hearsay. It's either an admission against interest or not hearsay at all,

bill hue said...

Lemond's testimony was admissible both under the relaxed rules of evidence at the arbitration hearing and in a court of law-as a statement by a party in interest (What Lemond says Landis told him and what Landis wrote about Lemond at DPF)and as to the effect Will's statement had on Greg (intimidation,threats) which was not heresay because it wouldn't be admitted for its truth(after all, Geoghegan wasn't really Lemond's uncle, as he claimed in the phone call). None of those matters were more prejudicial than probative, even if the probative value was determined to be marginal by the Panel.
I said at the time and continue to say that stopping cross made no sense and that the testimony would not be stricken, and it was.

Anonymous said...

Bill Hue, if cross had been continued, what testimony do you think might have been elicited from Lemond that would have been helpful to Landis? (Assuming no testimony about Armstrong.)

anne lydsay said...

If Papps evidence is irrelevant, can we all agree that Amory's (or whatever his name was, the case is slowly drifting from my memory and I'm getting my sanity back!) evidence was also irrelevant (or a Dancing Monkey as you might say!!). Papp's evidence directly refuted the points made by Amory that Testosterone doesn't help cyclists. By papp admitting that he and others used it anyway counteracts any evidence given by Amory that Floyd wouldnt have used it becasue it has no benefit.

bill hue said...

Papp' evidence was relevant as it related to his being living proof, if he is deemed credible by the fact finder, that a person can use testosterone in low doses and receive benefits, during a race and avoid detection by testing. he also testified that cycling has a peloton of cheaters.
Compare that to the testimony of Dr Catlin, who said the same thing. Now two witnesses have said the same thing. this is called cumulative evidence. The evidence is not irrelevant. If it was, it would have been excluded. So now you have cumulative evidence, marginally relevant, in a case where time ticks down every second, so it is a valuable commodity. the nature of the Papp evidence is highly charged.

Unlike Lemond's testimony, it is prejudicial in the legal sense because it is so inflamatory..... Everyone cheats. Everyone knows how to cheat. Here is a list of drugs I used. Here is how I got the drugs.
This is evidence of a political nature, the politics of the Omerta and the "truth" of cycling. It has very little to do with the "truth" of any particular case. Yet it is the most valuable testimony to many people.

I have added the definition of "dancing monkey" to the glossary. It is the introduction of highly distracting ( In Papp's case and Lemond's.... highly emotional as well) evidence to a case about something else (here the science) so as to distract the fact finder from the other evidence.

USADA had a great case on the science. In fact, so good that the presumption coming into the trial under the system was that Landis was guilty. So, while amory had to testify to counter the testimony of Papp and Catlin, neither Catlin nor amory constituted a dancing monkey, because neither had attatched to their testimony, any aspect of sensationalism viseral emotion.

As to the Lemond cross, absent reference to Armstrong, a ton of questions could be asked:
What were the exact words you heard Landis use?
What was said by him and you, immediately before and after those words?
Might he have actually said this (pose the question)?
What were you doing when you got the call?
Had you been drinking or were you otherwise distracted?
Have you had problems with misinterpreting statements others have made to you?
Isn't it true you misinterpreted these statements by these people (list examples).
Those are off the top of my head. With preparation time, there would be many more, all having nothing to do with Armstrong.
If the attorney instructed him not to answer a series of these, for no good legal reason, the testimony might have been excluded as a result.

Ken (EnvironmentalChemistry.com) said...

Thanks Bill, that was very helpful.

Anonymous said...

Bill Hue says:

"I have added the definition of "dancing monkey" to the glossary. It is the introduction of highly distracting ( In Papp's case and Lemond's.... highly emotional as well) evidence to a case about something else (here the science) so as to distract the fact finder from the other evidence."

As I said before "dancing monkey" is too perjorative a term. It could mean the witness is just a trained dumb monkey, who is just parroting what he has been instructed to say. It's name calling.

You claim or imply that the Lemond and Papp testimony was unduly/improperly "distracting". I don't buy that, especially as regards Lemond. As you admit their testimony was relevant to key issues in the case, and in Lemond's case highly relevant. You also admit that neither was so prejudicial that it outweighed it's probative value. Just because testimony is powerful or emotional doesn't make it unduly distracting.

Their testimony wasn't unduly distracting to the arbitrators who are trained to ignore any irrelevancies. The press was never going to cover the science, except in a cursory way. Its unrealistic to claim that they would have covered the science but for Papp and Lemond.

If the child molestation testimony was a distraction, then blame Landis and Geohagan. If Geohagan had not made the threat it likely never would have come up. But by referring to Landis as a "dancing monkey" you imply that he was to blame for that.

As to Papp's testimony about widespread doping, you may be right that omerta and the culture of doping is not specifically on trial here. Then again maybe it is, because Landis chose to make the proceding public and use it as a vehicle to attack the whole anti-doping enterprise.

tbv@trustbut.com said...

Note to the anon's who get deleted, the preceding post is one that we have no problem with keeping. It makes cogent arguments even though it's taking different positions than some we've expressed here, and it doesn't devolve to hurtful personal attacks.

TBV

Anonymous said...

"But by referring to Landis as a "dancing monkey" you imply that he was to blame for that."

"Landis" should have been "Lemond".

I mix them up alot.

bill hue said...

I don't imply anything like that. You can go back to my original essay on the topic and you can refer to my comments as the matters unfolded. I blamed USADA always for the critism I offered. I expressed sympathy for both Papp and Lemond
.
The problem with critism post-facto is that the origianl thoughts and comments take on a new dimension in the lexicon as utilized by others for their own purpose. You react to how others have utilized the phrase by noting I should have not used it...... so that others couldn't use it the way they have.

Correspondingly, another group has exploited the term to give it the pejorative definition that suits their purpose.

I defined the term in the original essay. I cannot control what others on either side of the debate have done with it. Neither side has, in my opinion, correctly used the term as i intended and specifically defined, originally.

You rarely get that kind of defined terminology from a commentator. But I have defined my terms throughout.

Bill Hue

bill hue said...

I will say this, too. I commented that Landis' team brought the matter of Geohegen and their inability to cross Lemond upon themselves and suggested that they were "hoisted on their own petard" (see glossary) of their own demand for a public hearing concerning its results.
I have a lot of content posted here. And it might be too much to expect someone to go back and read all of it. But this case has had its twists and turns. My commentary ranged from quite bad to very good but I stand by it as a body of work and the monkey phrase has taken on a life of its own, through no fault of mine. it was an accurate observation of the trial technique being utilized and it has turned into something else, entirely. Don't kill the messenger.
Bill Hue

Ken (EnvironmentalChemistry.com) said...

Bill Hue,

I think you are right that the phrase "dancing monkey" has taken on a life of its own and I may be one of those who is culpable. This is probably because some of us, myself included, basically see any non-science in these hearings as a distraction from what matters, which is what passes as science and sound laboratory practices at WADA and LNDD.

This case is that it exposed how sloppy lab work and blind obsession to convict accused athletes at all costs being passed off as science. WADA and LNDD should be an affront to any dedicated scientist who takes research and sound lab practices seriously.

Anonymous said...

Bill,

While you may have meant it as referring in a non-emotional way to a courtroom tactic, "dancing monkeys" is just too pejorative and demeaning when applied to the witness, i.e. the monkey. Just imagine if you talked about a the distracting "minstrel show" or "dancing darkie".

Even you strayed over into demeaning Papp and Lemond.

"And the lawyer lets the monkey out of its cage and it begins to dance around. He turns to the jury and says: "Look at the monkey, look at him dance. Isn't he funny? Look at him go!"

The monkey dances and all are spellbound..... other evidence is quickly forgotten. The lawyer smiles.

This courtroom trick is known as the "dancing monkey..."

The monkey was Lemond. That is simply demeaning.


Moreover, Lemond's testimony was not a distraction from the "true" issues in the case. In the Tim Montgomery case the CAS found that Montgomery's implied admission to Kelly White about using the Balco "clear" steroid gel was sufficient by itself to sustain a doping charge. (granted he didn't dispute the conversation.) In no way can one characterize the Lemond testimony as an unfair distraction from the real issue of doping. This case is not solely about science.

Even wrt Papp, I really don't see a problem. He put a voice to the folklore of testosterone use by cyclists. He supplied a motive for doping with testosterone. It didn't really matter what the science said (although that was disputed), it mattered what the cyclists thought. He supplied background about the culture of doping, loyalty and omerta.

You claimed that the arbitrators already knew this stuff. If so, then how did this distract them from the"science".

"Dancing monkey" seems mainly to be used to put down testimony the speaker doesn't like.


BTW though I'm disagreeing with you, I really do appreciate your comments and reporting.

bill hue said...

This case wasn't prosecuted as a nonanalytical positive. It can't be found by the Panel under the Supplimental Procedures or the WADA Code to be a nonanalytical positive. Therefore the Lemond evidence is only relevant to the third burden turn, that any violation of the International Laboratory Standards if any was not the cause of the adverse analytical finding, the fact that Landis doped was, as evidenced by the "admission" to Lemond. That is usually handled in rebuttal.
Therefore, the testinmony was barely relevant where it was presented and it was emotional and distractingas evidenced by the mass exodus from the hearing room and hallway press conference. Did you see the Panel laughing at the press as they tripped over each other to get to the door? that laughter spoke volumes about the circus that was occuring.
It was the dancing monkey.

The part where you quote me and add "The monkey was Lemond". I didn't write that, you did.

I'll still stand by my analysis because it was right and right on the money.


The Lemond and Papp testimony wasn't for the Panel. It will be a shock to me if the Panel cites either testimony in the decision. That testimony was for the media to give to you. The strategy was thus sucessful. Anything for the Panel, Young handled.He wouldn't let Barnett handle anything the Panel was going to cite. Barnett's stuff was for public consumption only. Believe me on that.

Anonymous said...

Bill

"The part where you quote me and add "The monkey was Lemond". I didn't write that, you did."

Bill you were speaking about the Lemond testimony the day before. You could only have been referring to Lemond.



Wada Rule 3.2 cited in the Tim Montgomery CAS opinion states: "violations may be established by any reliable means, including admissions." I wasn't aware that USADA had limited it's case to analytical findings only.

But even if the confession evidence should have been presented in rebuttle, (and Papp also), the testimony would have come out in any case and would have had the same emotional impact. Under the relaxed and rules of arbitration and compressed time frame, I don't fault USADA anticipating defenses and presenting all it's evidence at one time.

As to the sensational news coverage, he who holds constant news conferences to attack USADA can't complain about looking bad in the press.

Ken (EnvironmentalChemistry.com) said...

This case was brought because WADA claimed that they had irrefutable scientific proof via LNDD's lab tests that Landis doped. This makes all other evidence irrelevant if the central claim to their scientific evidence if found to be fraudulent and unreliable. LeMond and Papp's testimony can only go to support the scientific claims. They can not stand on their own.

The moment we start to convict people on the suspicion of doping and he said, she said testimony with no scientific or forensic evidence supporting the testimony is the moment where all credibility in the anti-doping process is lost and the process becomes nothing more than a witch hunt.

Anonymous said...

"This makes all other evidence irrelevant if the central claim to their scientific evidence if found to be fraudulent and unreliable. LeMond and Papp's testimony can only go to support the scientific claims. They can not stand on their own."

Why? Let's say the test results are indeterminate or have to be thrown out because of some procedural or other error, why can't you convict based on a confession assuming you believe its credible as in the Tim Montgomery case.

Even Hue says the Lemond confession testimony can be used in rebuttle to show a doping violation in a case where flaws have been shown in the test results.

Ken (EnvironmentalChemistry.com) said...

Anonymous 10:17 AM,

Without scientific and/or forensic evidence proving that Landis had doped, Landis should not be convicted based on LeMond's testimony because LeMond was only testifying on what he THOUGHT he heard Landis say. He was not testifying that he actually saw Landis dope.

Papp's testimony doesn't show that Landis doped, or even believed that testosterone creams would work. All Papp's testimony showed is that Papp believed the stuff worked and that he was willing to try anything to improve his performance.

Convicting Landis on the testimony of these two witnesses alone without forensic evidence would be no different that the standards of proof used to convict witches during the Salem witch trials.

As a society we can not afford to lower our standards of justice that low because history has shown that when the burden of proof is lowered so far as to convict someone on simple suspicion and the testimony of what one person thinks they heard then a lot of innocent people get wrongly convicted.

Besides, the USADA claimed that they could convict Landis based on scientific evidence. If their scientific evidence is based on incompetent lab procedures and/or the falsification of lab results, then WADA/USADA should lose this case to send a message that just as doping is unacceptable so is bringing cases based on flawed science. This is the only way to force WADA to hold their testing labs to higher standards. If USADA can simply move the benchmark to claim that the science doesn't matter and get a conviction based on he said she said evidence, then there will be no incentive to fix broken labs like LNDD.

Anonymous said...

Ken,

You are confusing whether a confession is "relevant", ie does it tend to prove guilt, and what weight to give it, i.e. is it enough to convict.

A confession is relevant.

Personally, like you I don't think Lemond's testimony alone is sufficient to convict, the words were too ambiguous and Landis denies it. But legally, in the Tim Montgomery case an implied confession was enough to convict.

In courts everyday, poor black people are convicted based on confessions with nothing more. So don't talk about witch hunts.

So why is Landis so important to you?

Ken (EnvironmentalChemistry.com) said...

Anonymous 1:43 PM,

By itself, and even with Papps testimony, LeMonds claim that Landis confessed to him is not sufficient evidence to convict Landis because the supposed "confession" was not recorded and we only have he said, she said testimony about what actually transpired during the conversation. This is very different from a confession that is recorded and takes place under a controlled setting like a police station.

Your point about a lot of poor black people being convicted based on supposed confessions really proves my point about not convicting based on he said, she said testimony. Over the last century how many innocent poor black men were convicted solely on the testimony of a single person? I don't know the answer, but look at how many have been released from prison in recent years after DNA evidence cleared them of wrong doing.

The Landis hearing is important to me for the same reason it should be important anytime someone is railroaded by a system that shortcuts due process and makes a mockery of science. I do not want a system that can wrongly accuse innocent people and destroy their lives.

There are no checks and balances within WADA. There is written code of silence that prohibits those within the system from speaking out when they see wrong doing by other elements of the system. There are labs (namely LNDD) that do not ensure that: their techs are properly trained; their equipment is even set up properly; and proper procedures are followed.

The list of procedural errors at LNDD during the testing of Landis's various samples was very extensive. During the hearings we saw LNDD lab personnel admit under cross examination that they had deleted data, not logged their work properly, had a broken chain of custody, could not account for large time gaps, and made numerous mistakes during the testing process. A principle designer of the equipment in question testify that the equipment had been set up incorrectly, procedures were not followed properly and that lab techs were using the wrong instruction manual for the equipment. We also saw indications that some of the logs that were produced were actually falsified.

The reason Landis is so important to me is simply because I see WADA as a corrupt system that is railroading athletes and in this case is trying to cover up its own failures. Maybe if enough pressure is put upon WADA as a result of these hearings, they will be forced to change its ways and put a proper system in place that ensures due process, transparency and holds labs accountable to higher standards. If Floyd is convicted then WADA won't feel the urgency to fix their system and it will be business as usual.

I love to watch cycling and especially the Tour de France, but all of the enjoyment of the sport has been stripped out for me because of all the doping and WADA's complete lack of due process. How can I enjoy a sport or cheer for a specific rider and their team when there is a nagging concern that my favored athlete will turn out to be a cheat or worse yet be falsely accused of being a cheat. When a lab comes back and states that the results are positive; the system should be transparent enough and the procedures strict enough that there is no doubt as to the validity of the tests. This is why I care so much, I simply want to be able to enjoy the only sport I really care to follow.

In regards to Floyd's innocence, I don't know empirically that he is innocent but I'd like to think that there are clean athletes out there and that he is one of them. All I do know for sure is that the system is so flawed and LNDD's testing so incompetent that there is no way that one can claim that there was truly an AAF of his samples. I do not care about he said, she said testimony and I don't care what type of doping other cyclists (e.g. Papp) did and/or do. What I care about is whether or not there is reliable analytical proof that he doped and based on what I know from the testimony I have concluded that there is none.

m said...

Ken,

"the supposed "confession" was not recorded and we only have he said, she said testimony about what actually transpired during the conversation. This is very different from a confession that is recorded and takes place under a controlled setting like a police station."

I was referring to "he said, she said" confessions that are not recorded: jailhouse snitches, co-conspirators etc. Poor folk get convicted everyday on such testimony. The FBI as a matter of policy does not record witness interviews. So they can prosecute you for lying, based on the FBI agent's notes and testimony.

If you are so concerned about justice, then you should be fighting for all the poor criminal defendants who are caught up in our justice system and can go to jail based on some snitches testimony, not some privileged athlete .

And if you think the anti-doping regime is error prone or inadequate then you should support increased taxes to pay for more extensive and better testing and regulation. That stuff costs a lot of money.

Ken (EnvironmentalChemistry.com) said...

In regards to paying taxes for anti-doping efforts, I honestly don't think that any taxpayer money should go to funding what is essentially an effort to clean out cheaters from highly profitable commercial enterprises. If the International Olympics, Tour de France, etc. want robust drug testing efforts, then they should use parts of their massive profits to properly fund said research.

If, however, U.S. taxpayers are going to be funding these anti-doping efforts then we as taxpayers have the right to expect that said anti-doping efforts will confirm to our standards of due process for athletes including: the concept of innocent until proven guilty; proper rights of pre-hearing discovery, and taking depositions; etc. I have detailed many of the changes that I think should be made on my blog.