Thursday, September 20, 2007

On Key Issue, Landis Experts called flat wrong

The key issue is whether the CIR peaks are what they are claimed to be. Landis' side had argued the peaks were not properly identified to TD2003IDCR by either absolute or relative retention times. The Panel accepted Brenna's argument that it's possible to do the identity by eyeballing the peaks, and Davis and Meier-Augenstein got it all wrong.

186. Dr. Brenna’s testimony specified that it could still be possible that the retention times might be proportional to one another (and within TD2003IDCR), but it won’t always work out in that way. Instead, the lab compares the peaks and the sequence of the peaks from the GC/MS and GC/C/IRMS to identify the metabolites and the endogenous reference compounds. Specifically, to identify the substances in question, one would compare the pattern of peak heights and retention times in the GC/C/IRMS chromatograms, anchored by the internal standard with a known RT, with the pattern of peaks heights and RTs in the GC/MS chromatograms obtained from the same aliquot of the sample.

[...]

188. The point must be conceded because the chromatographic conditions are different. The GC column is, of course, the same in both instruments. However, the thermal ramp {that is the variation of the temperature of the compartment containing the GC column as function of time} is different. That is evident from the fact that the total time for analysis is 25 minutes for GC/MS and 45 minutes for GC/C/IRMS. This difference in the experimental conditions would itself be enough to consider totally worthless a comparison of the retention times (or relative retention times) between GC/MS and GC/C/IRMS. Thus, the proposition of the Athlete as put by his scientific experts was unsound and without any reasonable scientific basis.

189. The Panel concludes that the Respondent’s interpretation of TD2003IDCR is a complete misapplication of the document. The conclusions of the Respondent, based upon the evidence given by both Dr. Meier-Augenstein and Dr. Davis are scientifically totally unacceptable and fundamentally flawed. The Technical Document does not contemplate the comparison of retention times or relative retention time between two separate instruments. Therefore, the Respondent has failed to rebut the presumption that the LNDD departed from the ISL as outlined in WADA TD2003IDCR. This branch of the Respondent’s case and argument is dismissed as a matter of the expert testimony and as a matter of the proper legal interpretation of the Technical Document.

(emphasis added)

This will be the major arguing point in any appeal, as it is the point of decision for the whole case. As far we're concerned, the rest of the award is a noisy distraction.

There seem to be two possibilities.

One, the Landis theory really is that wrong, in which case Davis and Meier-Augenstein are charlatans.

Two, the Landis theory is sound and was inadequately presented, allowing the panel to be snowed by Brenna and Botre's refutations, which if incorrect, are damnable lies of their own.

The truth of this can probably be determined by hearing what Davis and Herr Doktor Professor have to say now that they are ungagged, and they have the opportunity to explain what they think was going on.

Since we're not sure we ever understand the issue, or exactly how it is supposed to work, we're inclined to listen to what Davis and Meier-Augenstein say in response now that they are free to speak. Being charitable, that we didn't understand it completely may be why the panel didn't understand it. Being parsimonious, they may have chosen not to understand it, and deferred to the "independant" expert, WADA lab director Botre.

If it's found that Brenna and Botre are the ones who misled the panel, there ought to be an uproar.


30 comments:

joeschmo1of3 said...

I liked this part in the majority decision:

311. In response to these assertions the Panel finds that the practises of the Lab in
training its employees appears to lack the vigor the Panel would expect in the
circumstances given the enormous consequences to athletes of an AAF.
Furthermore, the other matters introduced in evidence and referred to in this
section do give some cause for concern. Nevertheless, like other parts of the
evidence in this matter there are no ISL Rule violations that might result in the
Panel accepting the Respondent’s allegations as affecting the AAF in this case.


Translation: they suck, but the rules are so lax, it doesn't matter anyway.

Way to cover your ass, WADA!

Ken (EnvironmentalChemistry.com) said...

There had better be some damn good science (and eyeballing peaks is not science) backing up any conviction of Landis or I don’t think anyone should ever respect or trust WADA, USADA or the arbiter system ever again.

The hard core lab scientists amongst us (I’m not one) need to really chew this ruling apart. Good or bad we need to know if the ruling is truly justified or if the arbiters were snowed. As I’m sure Trust but Verify would be willing to do, I am willing to provide space on my website/blog for any qualified scientist who would like to provide an analysis of the verdict. It is looking like a very dark day for science and fairness.

m said...

Even the dissent seems to agree with the majority on this point, i.e. that Meier-Augustine was wrong regarding the retention times and the rules applicable thereto.

This is what Campbell wrote:

"I am not sure that Dr. Meier-Augenstein got his retention time argument correct."

"57 Dr. Botrè, the panel’s expert, opined that he got the times wrong because he failed to take into account
they were using two different machines for the retention time."

bill hue said...

Ken,
I've been drummed out of many forums for articulating the same things. Unfortunately, I came to those conclusions the very first time I evaluated the structure of the disciplinary procedure and well before any evidence was taken. In the passage of time, I had come to hope that all 3 arbitrators would see this case from what is quite clear under a legal/scientific due process analysis. Instead, as pointed out in Joeschmo's citation, due process, unless embraced in the WADA Code, does not play a role. There is no Laboratory Standard requiring adequate training and thus competence.

Rob said...

I'm not a lab guy but this is much like the TT position debate over the 'Preying Mantis' or 'Preying Landis' this season. The interpretation was open and the race officials said, do what you want but if a team files a protest you're DQ'd.

This does remind me of some monty python style reasoning:

"There are ways of telling whether she is a witch. What do you do with witches? Burn them. And what do you burn, apart from witches? Wood. Good. Now, why do witches burn? Because they're made of... wood? Good. So how do you tell whether she is made of wood? Does wood sink in water? No, it floats!
What else floats in water? A Duck. Exactly. So, logically... If she weighed the same as a duck... she's made of wood. And therefore...A witch!"

Glendora Mountain Road said...

Chris Campbell's Dissent is very interesting reading.

* He blasts Dr. Christine Ayotte.
* He regards Dr. John Amory a member of the USADA independent anti-doping board above reproach.
* That both Dr. Caitlin and Dr. Amory stated that Floyd's long term steroid profile did not indicate doping.
* Only 15% of the arbitrators are selected "to safeguard the interests of the athletes" (interpret: non-WADA affliates
)

JCB said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Whareagle said...

Weren't either Meier-Augenstein or Davis involved in the CREATION of this technology and process? And they're accused of getting it wrong? Something rots here.

PEM said...

Just read the headlines. Extremely disappointed with the lack of justice. The Canadian lawyers did not have the courage to do the right thing. How can they look their colleagues in the eye?

The message is clear - do not bother with an arbitration hearing. Why waste time, money and hope? Spend a few bucks for the arbitration formalities, then concentrate on appeal where there is a real justice system to follow. I am really sorry for all atheletes now, especially those that do not realize the system they have that is policing "fairness" in their sport.

Hope Floyd has the strength to carry on fighting. He should take some comfort knowing that there are many "smart people" with no vested interest that are speaking out for him.

("Eightzero") said...

I have been digesting this news for several hours, and am very emotional about it. My initial reaction is one of dismay, anger and disappointment.

While analyzing the substance of the written opinions, I think it is important to pass along two quick thoughts:

1. Floyd: do not dispair. I can't imagine how disappointed you must be, but today does not change who you are - a champion and hero to many. I am inspired by your courage.

2. TBV/Judge Hue/Strbk/ et.al.: *Thank you* for your hard work today! Let the record show I heard the news at TBV first, and you are, far and away, reporting far more facts and information than any other source.

Ken (EnvironmentalChemistry.com) said...

RE: ("Eightzero"),

For me the record should show that I heard the news first on "Rant your head off". I'm so happy I didn't hear it first on Google News.

snake said...

just got the news myself. imagine that - it fell just the way it was stacked. jeez, what were the odds of that happening ?

Michael said...

This whole thing makes me sick to my stomach. Can anyone say Kangaroo Court?

Campbell discention is unbelievable. It's straight to the point and just about calls the whole thing a conspiracy.

I can't believe I read the following from the two arbs that found against Landis:

157. Therefore, violations of the ISO 17025 or of WADA Technical Documents can be violations of the ISL for purposes of rebutting the initial presumption favouring the Lab that an AAF has been established. However, that of itself does not mean that the AAF does not amount to an anti-doping rule violation. The Panel must weigh the evidence to determine if the violation affected the AAF. If that is the
case then the anti-doping rule violation may not have been made out at law.

Wow, I didn't know the Arbs were able to make such a determination. I guess they all Aced their Chemistry classes.

Better yet, their complete belief in Dr. Ayotte testomony. Such much, they understand that a "blurb" is obvioulsy a scientific term:

But the chromatogram which produced this result of 0.44 nanogram of epitestosterone doesn’t have a peak for epitestosterone, it’s just a
“blurb”, as such there was in fact no epitestosterone in the free fraction. Her
conclusion was therefore that there was no evidence of sample degradation.

Better yet:

In light of the Panel’s conclusion on the T/E issue, it is unnecessary to determine whether the longitudinal study corroborates the Stage 17 AAF for it is only required in the event that the T/E is to be used as an antidoping rule violation which the Panel has held it is not to be used.

If the T/E test isn't valid, why were any further testing done on his sample??? I call BS. Also, their paper wasn't written by them. It tries to be way too scientific. I think the Arbs should be able to defend their decision and I guarantee, that if they were put on the stand and asked scientific questions about their decision, they would fail miserable.

pcrosby said...

I have not gotten to the decision documents yet, but am already floored.

When I learned that Botre was going to get a private meeting to answer the arbitrators' questions tis is just what I feared. He could baldly make any statement he wanted without accountability. There should at least have been a trasncript to be published along with the decision. What this really constituted was a panel of 4 with only 3 having to sign written decisions.

As an attorney I am embarassed; the chain of custody problems alone should have been dispositive.

The cynics have been proved accurate. The system really does more than smell.

There is no assurance that a closed hearing with CAS will end any differntly; without public proceedings I frankly would anticipate little more than a rubber stamp. I will continue wearing my Free Floyd shirt.
Pete Crosby

Michael said...

WTF???

239. The experts for the Respondent were working in a laboratory for scientific research in the case of Dr. Meier-Augenstein and a laboratory doing work for criminal prosecutions in DUI and DUI/drug cases. According to the testimony of
the Respondent’s experts, the standards in such labs appear to be of a higher and more rigorous basis than those of the WADA accredited labs. Such facilities also do not have the benefit of the presumption found in Article 18 of the UCI
Regulations to the effect that they are presumed to have conducted the sample analysis in accordance with the ISL and other WADA documentation. The antidoping laboratories have a shelter from the standards of other types of labs in the form of this presumption. It may be that as a consequence some more relaxed procedures are acceptable. That is not a matter for this Panel to consider but for the WADA to contemplate. Is too much leniency being extended by the presumption? We leave that question for others to answer for it is beyond our jurisdiction and scope in this arbitration proceeding.

Talk about skirting your responsibility. A MAN'S REPUTATION AND PROFESSION is at stake and they act like, oops, not my problem....

Better yet: 257: The Panel rejects the theory of a Lab conspiracy as being without foundation
and facts to come to such a conclusion.

Uh...what about deleting a hard drive?

Wow, disregarding testimony because of language translation to throw out evidence: 266. The Panel therefore disregards the evidence of Ms. Mongongu on this topic. The Panel notes that her recollection would be almost 10 months after the fact and given that there was some confusion in the translation going on between English and the French language in which she testified there seems to be some uncertainty that she really understood what was being asked of her in this portion of her testimony.

Maybe that's why Floyd wanted to deposition the techs before the arbitration. Oh yeah, the panel decided against that and decide to throw part of their testimony out.

I'll stop posting stuff because the more I read, the more pissed I get.

OK, one more: 273: It must be noted however, that Dr. Goldberger is the director of a forensic
toxicology laboratory at the University of Florida. Dr. Goldberger’s lab is not a WADA accredited laboratory and Dr. Goldberger testified that the transfer of a bottle from one individual to another should be documented; he was not able to point to a document produced by WADA requiring transfer documentation. The Panel agrees with Dr. Goldberger that this may be a better practise and notes that it is the practise followed by both the WADA accredited Labs in UCLA and Montreal. However, the proper interpretation of the WADA Technical Documents does not lead the Panel to conclude that such an approach to naming the transferor and transferee is required under the Technical Documents....What the Respondent has established here is that there may be a better standard and a higher standard imposed upon laboratories that are not WADA accredited laboratories or self-imposed by WADA Laboratories. The proof of some other procedure, alternative standard or a better practise engaged in by other laboratories is of no consequence in rebutting the presumption because it is not a requirement of WADA accredited laboratories. Whether or not it is good practice to document these transfers is irrelevant to the laboratory’s adherence to the ISL in this case. Therefore, the Panel finds there is no breach of the Internal Chain of Custody as that concept is defined and applied in the WADA Technical Documents.

Talk about letting the lab off for SLOPPY Work...

Ken (EnvironmentalChemistry.com) said...

RE: Michael @ 6:50 PM,

Wow, some nice quotes. I agree, WTF. I really like the idea of Floyd taking this to a U.S. Federal court if he can. They admit to all kinds of problems in the findings and then convict him anyways. This was a farce.

Heads need to roll in WADA

Michael said...

Ken,

I'm pretty sick to my stomach feeling bad for Floyd - and any other athlete in this system. The two Arbs hid behind lame WADA rules and basically ignored Floyd's witnesses. Somebody needs to watch their bank accounts, much like the Germans are doing to Ulrich. Makes you wonder about the meeting in China.

I think Campbell's got balls. I think he should write a book or at least go public with what went on behind closed doors. He's got to be pissed.

Whareagle said...

I think there was mention of testimony in front of Congress. Rant - should we get the pens rolling again and write Capitol Hill?

Whareagle said...

One more thing.

WHERE ARE DAVIS AND MEIER-AUGENSTEIN? They should be firing off HOT HOT HOT opinions about this crap.

Michael said...

Whareagle,

Maybe they are just reading the decision. I hope they hold a press conference or something. These guys seemed very sharp during the arbitration. I find it hard to believe M-A screwed up his retention time argument. But I'm sure Botre made is seem that way in private.

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

Whareagle,

It may well be time to consider another campaign. It's getting to be appropriations season again, and now would be the time to hold certain people's feet to the fire if they want a continue chance to drink from the Federal trough.

m said...

Campbell in his dissent engages in a lot of angry hand waving about technical rules violations. He doesn't really address the scientific points made in the majority decision.

The Landis fan's mantra is that it was all about the "science". Yet Campbell spends much of his time on record keeping, procedural fairness and leaks. He doesn't really address the IRMS testing result, upon which the majority's finding of doping is based. He comes across as a blowhard and hack.

This is his response to the positive IRMS test result for stage 17.

"There must be some sound scientific reason why a reputable laboratory like UCLA mandates the
identification of two metabolites to have a positive test. Because Mr. Landis conclusively proved
that more than one reputable laboratory would have declared his stage 17 sample negative, I cannot
be comfortably satisfied that he tested positive and USADA has failed to sustain its burden of proof."

As Catlin of UCLA testified, WADA and UCI legally only require 1 metabolite.

So was he operating in a parallel universe to the majority decision?

pfinjt said...

m 10:23:

This is about the science. At least two antidoping labs require that two metabolites be out of range to declare a doping positive. Others require only one. What is the scientific basis favoring one metabolite over two?

WADA "legally" requires only one. What if WADA "legally" required anything they wanted? What if WADA said "whatever criteria we want to use" constitutes a doping violation. Would that be OK? UCLA is a respected lab - they require that two metabolites be out of range. What scientific basis do the other labs have for requiring only one?

m said...

If you are a pro cyclist like Landis you've agreed to play by the WADA/UCI rules, not the UCLA /NCAA/? rules. End of story.

Michael said...

M 10:23

I think you missed an important part. Campbell didn't act like he was a scientist. He's a lawyer and he based his dissent on the evidence presented.

Go read the majority decision. Do you really think Mclaren and Burnet understand what was written. I'd almost bet money it was written by Botre. There's no way they could become experts on IRMS in 10 months to write such a decision. There decision is hard to read and understand. Campbell's is straight to the point. Ex...have of the graphs don't have any evidence they came from Landis' sample.

I expected more.

Ken (EnvironmentalChemistry.com) said...

M, science is about proper procedures, record keeping and repeatable results. Campbell's dissent goes to the heart of this. Even the majority agreed that they were concerned about procedures, record keeping and training not being as rigorous as they would expect to see.

m said...

Ken,

The majority decision specifically addresses the record keeping and training errors raised by Campbell in his dissent. They find that these errors did not, in this case, affect the IRMS scientific results.

Campbell, on the other hand does not really attempt to specifically discredit the IRMS scientific results in his decision. He admits that the Meier testimony about the retention times was wrong. He argues that because the UCLA lab requires 2 metabolites, the French Lab must also do so, even though there is no WADA technical regulation requiring that, or any persuasive scientific evidence that this is necessary for a scientifically valid finding of doping. I don't see any other arguments he makes specifically against the IRMS results, but maybe I missed something. So I think he did a very poor job countering the central scientific evidence of doping relied on by the majority decision.

Bruce said...

Another good lie:

256. This evidence was apparently introduced to suggest that there was a conspiracy within th eLab to ensure that the samples of Floyd Landis would be found positive. The difficulty with the theory of conspiracy is that the Lab was conducting the analysis of the Stage 17 sample without knowing on whose sample they were working.

But they did know, because of the TUE on his sample record for his hip medication.

Bruce said...

COC issues, which I think are the strongest issue Floyd has to push, are in Paras 260-279 of the majority opinion. They have a few holes.

For example, in Para 267:

Even if one has regard to the testimony of Ms. Mongongu so as to conclude that in fact the bottle was given to Esther Cerpolini at 11h25 and there was no documentation of this transfer; then, the Panel notes that there is no
requirement in the WADA documents to record the transfer. The Technical Document 2003LCOC states,
"Within the Laboratory . . . When not in an individual�s possession, it
should be documented that the Sample or Aliquot is within a controlled zone (Ref International Standard for Laboratories 5.4.3.2). The Sample or Aliquot must be in an individual�s possession when in an
uncontrolled or unsecured area of the laboratory. The entry in the Laboratory Internal Chain of Custody should be completed at the time that any change in possession occurs.

Bill Neumann said...

FWIW, here is what may be the key testimony from Dr. Meier Augenstein that acts as a rebuttal to the Final report findings regarding the GC/IRMS relative retention time argument. From the testimony regarding a visual comparison between the GC/MS and the GC/IRMS graphs:

Q. This one looks like this one, so we're going to say that's that. And this one kind of looks like this one --
A. Just by appearances, this would be foolish. And the reason why this would be foolish is because this chromatogram -- this is a chromatogram of a steroid mixture. This is a chromatogram of an amino acid mixture. Amino acids have nothing to do whatsoever, chemically, or chromatographically for that matter, with steroids.

This seems like a more compelling argument for why you can’t eyeball the graphs compared to Dr. Brenna’s argument that relative retention time calculations between GC/MS and a GC/IRMS results is meaningless because of the extra plumbing.

The extract from TD2003IDCR seems pretty clear to me that Dr. Meier Augenstein’s argument is applicable since TD2003IDCR applies to gas chromatography which is what results from both GC/MS and GC/IRMS, and it also addresses the reason for using retention times; making sure the technician is calculating the right peak.

Essentially, since the two graphs are looking at different compounds; steroid mixture versus amino acid mixture there’s a good reason to suspect that you can’t just eyeball the two graphs to figure out where a particular peak in a GC/MS output is located on the GC/IRMS output. This was addressed in the testimony and Dr. Augenstein provided examples that showed that there isn’t always a matching pattern between the two types of graphs. Furthermore, Dr. Brenna’s arguments that you can’t calculate a valid relative retention time is specious since he’s being overly literal and ignoring the obvious fact that you can subtract out the constant time that it takes the compounds to go through the extra pluming before you calculate the relative retention times. That’s obviously what D. Augenstein did to come up with his 6% to 7.2% values