Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Baker's Wiki Defense

The Wiki Defense.
How the French Lab (LNDD) & US Anti-Doping Agency Botched Floyd's Test

By Arnie Baker and the Wiki Defense Team

(The science compliment to the Floyd Landis book Positively False.)

Pages, 60+ Defense Arguments, 150+ Figures, 50 Tables.


Arnie Baker has released his e-book on the Wiki Defense details to the public, and we've obtained a copy. At 307 pages, it's about the same length as Positively False, but with a lot more density, and a great deal of new (to us) information. Which is to say that it is going to take quite a while to get all the meaning out of it.


The Wiki Defense is divided into three "books". One consists of Baker's analysis of the LDPs and subsequent discovery filings. The second addresses the hearing, considering each witnesses' facts and credibility. The third addresses press coverage.

Book One is interesting in revealing great gobs of discovery material that has not been seen before by us or the public, and which should be mined by students of the case. I will not attempt to nibble into this here, but may as time permits later. It also contains a multitude of comments by Landis' experts in the case, some of which were used in the hearing, and some not. It suggests quite a number of discrepancies that were not raised as issues at the hearing, but which fall into the general bucket of "corroborative" evidence that procedure and competence at the LNDD have not been world-class positive models for others to follow.

Throughout, Baker has scored various issues with a "three star" system, with three being the best. I don't entirely agree with some of his rankings. This might relate to my concern for what I think are effective in the context of the arbitration system, vs. what Baker thinks what is right in a sane world. That is, I don't think there are many three-star procedural arguments that can't be argued away under the WADA system. I'm more interested in the smaller number I might have made 4 stars dealing with specific ISL violations that lead to incorrect results.

Similarly, Baker makes claims that things are ISL violations where I'm not entirely convinced a motivated arbiter could not wave a wand and say, "not a problem."

On the other hand, the picture as a hole should leave a deeply disturbed sense of trust in the "infallibility" of results reported by the LNDD.

Book Two's summary of testimony is interesting in that it suggests what to Baker seemed the important points. In so doing, he introduces non-discovery material that is very interesting. As a foreshadowing, he introduces the idea that "priming the liner" is an obsolete procedure now frowned on by the FDA as an indication of likely data fudging; and that Joe Papp tried to get help from Baker for his case, making some non-credible statement in the process.

Botre: Independance questioned.

On the Landis witnesses, Baker notes:

Amory: Baker accepts completely, and quotes "shingling past the edge of the roof" on taking one data point from the unpublished Cologne study as dispositive of anything.

Davis: Claims numerous ISL violations, general incompetence.

Goldberger: Many violations, not reliable work.

Landis: Denies PED use, involvement with and intention to harrasing call to Lemond.

Meier-Augenstein: ISL violations on IRMS operation, particularly peak identification, and absence of true positive control.

On the USADA witnesses, Baker finds:

Ayotte: Seemed to contradict self and standards on some issues, and not to really know what is done on the lab bench. Baker finds her a not-credible WADA apologist "good citizen".

Brenna: Baker finds him not credible for USADA because of funding conflict, confusion about identification of IRMS peaks, and admission that reprocessing didn't give the identical results.

Buisson: Baker finds she admitted the background subtraction with the OS/2 software was rarely correct.

Catlin: Baker cherry picks his testimony to show disconnection from bench work at UCLAl claim that the UCLA criteria were negative, and dismissing the WADA criteria; And Baker ignores completely Catlin's answer that "doping was going on." He does quote our post on the Curious Cross of Catlin in entirety, embarrassing us with the typos and punctuation.

Frelat: Admits transfers not documents; unable to explain time gaps; talks of "priming the liner" (see below); did reruns, mixed bottles without documentation.

Lemond: Baker discredits his testimony completely, and cites refusal to answer questions during cross-examination.

Mongongu: Convenient memory was not credible; unable to explain time gaps; admits common matrix interference; admits 44/45 trace needed to detect interference; Says retested B samples were AAFs, creating a legal conundrum; "Primes the liner" (see below).

Papp: dismissed entirely, not least because of the news that Papp had contacted Baker for help on his case, and made misleading statements at the time. Baker told Papp's attorney that Papp's case looked solid and that his story wasn't holding water. This apparently led to Papp trying to swing a deal with USADA.

Schanzer: Doesn't make measurements himself, a "good citizen".

Shackleton: Contradicted self, and never got the point of tracking between the 5a and 5b metabolites; not a current expert on IRMS.

On the matter of "priming the liner", Baker includes mail from Keith Hall, the co-owner of MassSpec Solutions, to Simon Davis:

Hi Simon

Neil told me of the running of standards to prime the injector column farce. This used to be done with compounds which were very "sticky" due to their polar nature but with the advent of fused silica capillary columns this went out of the window. IF the liner was dirty and causing the problem then it should be maintained correctly and changed if signs of adsorption are in evidence, this is a standard operating procedure and masses of literature has been published on this. Easy to obtain guides are freely available from the likes of Supelco or Restek on how to maintain injector liners and columns i.e. just go to Google and type Supelco literature and the first or seconf hit will be technical literature and look at general -- helpful guides, gas chromatography articles T112853 and T195895 for instance. Also have a look at Restek.com as they have myriads of information on such matters. All of it is freely available.

The only reason I can think of that they would continually inject standards is to "pick" suitable data so that it can be fitted into their needs for certain data points. The FDA takes an extremely dim view of such things, it is commonly called "data manipulation" and is a trick as old as the hills, tried many times but now fortunately outlawed by bodies such as the FDA, EPA and any other regulatory body worldwide.

[Emphasis added]

Now, no one has claimed conscious conspiracy to fix data, but there is the whiff here that unconscious action to get things "right" may lead to cherry picking of data from standards runs to get certain results. And I'd like to verify the claims about the FDA and EPA outlawing "priming" with a standard, but don't have the time to chase it at the moment.

In Book Three, Baker quotes some press and blog coverage, pointing to some work by our Bill Hue, Environmental Chemistry, LA Times/Hiltzik, Washington Post/Jenkins, ESPN/DeSimone, Independant (UK)/Fotheringham, NY Times Magazine/Sokolove among the ones that get it.

He concludes with some of the process improvements suggested at the Floyd Fairness Fund.

On the whole, it's an important work for those interested in the case details. There is a wealth of infomation and data that is presented nowhere else. At the same time, it is unequivocally a work with an agenda, and it presents things in the way most likely to reinforce the cause it is promoting. There isn't complaint about cracks in the stories told by Landis witnesses, or strong consideration of counterarguments that can be made against positions that are taken.

I'll read, and re-read it, in hopes of getting more facts to assimilate, keeping in mind I'm only getting part of the story. But I'm glad to have this part at this level of detail.



Unknown said...

Yep, they botched his A test, and B test, and all the subsequent B tests. Basically a big conspiracy against Floyd, they were all in on it, they've picked him as the scapegoat, everyone remotely associated with the case at LNDD and USADA and WADA and everywhere is botching things and fixing results of all tests carried out against good guy Floyd. Not sure why they didnt do this to Lance all the years he was tested when he was the guy they really wanted, nor why they'ye managed to botch about 7 of Floyd tests (A, B + subsequent B's) yet we dont seem to have this level of botching year on year for every other rider thats tested, I suppose he's just unlucky (or conspired against). Anyway, even if he did it, we dont really care, there are plenty of technicalities he needs to get off on anyway. FREE FLOYD NOW. Oh no, no need for that, he's out already publicising his book and making his money, never mind the gagging order. I think he's just about made up his mind on some of his everchaging/evolving stories (whiskey the reason he tested positive and he was/wasnt there/listening to Will, decided to sack him straight away/no he didn't) Just waiting to see if the libraries put it in the fiction or non-fiction section. Anyway, rant over, someone needs to counter the increasing biased shown on the website!!

Pesty said...

Nice rant... my question is did you actually read or research any of the information presented in the case, or are you basing your opinion on your own personal bias and uninformed information presented by the mainstream media?

As for conspiracy and the Lance connection, I would say that any conspiracy theorists could make the argument that they did try to get Lance... I mean the guy is the most tested athlete in history, do you think that is by chance?

On the topic of bias. I'm guessing you haven't bothered to read the "Admissions" section to the right?

For a site that is admittedly biased toward Floyd, I think that they have been extremely liberal in the information they post.

Unknown said...

I don't really see a bias; I think here we have a source of facts and arguementive points on both sides of floyds case. My mind is fairly well made up on floyd, yet I am interested in the countering posts made at this site because ultimately I was a fan of european pro-cycling- although now, much, much less so than a year ago before the puerto raids revealed such widespread fraud amongst the top contenders. however floyds case is resolved, it will most likely be an addendum to my interest in procycling as a whole as I have found it more entertaining to laugh as each new confession, revelation and discovery comes to the fore in the media than any race result. good riddance to them all.

Ken (EnvironmentalChemistry.com) said...

I've been skimming over the book this morning. I find it very concise and very well laid out. I really like the way it is put together. One can really find what they are interested in very easily.

I had one of those really cool... what did you guys call it ... "Washington read" [?] moments when I discovered my article "When science, peer review & independent experts are anything but" cited. Thanks Arnie and team, the citation really made my day.

Bewert said...

Interesting that the Giro is using another lab for tests. Quote from cyclingnews.com: "... The two Italians' urine samples were sent from Rome laboratories to Barcelona for further investigations." Source http://www.cyclingnews.com/news.php?id=news/2007/jun07/jun27news2

One can only wish that ASO would follow a similar plan.

cat2bike said...

This site has performed over and above what anyone would expect! Tbv and cohorts, post pro- and snarky stuff about Floyd; and gave us the BEST coverage of the arb. hearing. bi-anne2001, I can hear stuff like you are spouting in the mainstream media. I prefer to know the truth. Thank you for your rant. You don't need to come back; we've heard it before.....my point of view; not TBV, and he may not let my post stand, if he finds me over the line on being fair and nice....

It's Theresa, btw.