Saturday, September 20, 2008

CAS Landis Decision; CAS Fraud?

After a long hiatus from the blog sphere and after some tough reflections on cycling matters, I have come to the conclusion that some comments are required about the CAS Landis decision.

First: The Floyd Landis CAS decision was an injustice. The CAS arbitration Panel not only dismissed every point of contention offered by the defense concerning the unacceptable behavior of the Chatenay-Malabry personnel; the testing methods; the poor lab work; the clerical errors; the lack of chain-of-custody; as irrelevant in causing the Adverse Analytical Finding they added insult to injury by lecturing the Landis defense team for pointing out these errors. Absurd.

Why the CAS spent so much time defending Christiane Ayotte's impartiality was shocking. True, from the beginning, when Landis tested "positive" for synthetic testosterone on the "A" test, Christiane Ayotte as director of the WADA accredited laboratory in Montreal, began a media campaign telling anyone who would listen that Landis' test results showed the "precursors, markers, and metabolites of synthetic testosterone." These statements were part of an organized attempt by WADA "trial by media" to poison the case against Floyd Landis. Christiane Ayotte was an active part of this disinformation campaign along with former WADA president Dick Pound, UCI president Pat McQuaid, ASO owned L'Equipe, a publication that was provided leaked test results by LNDD, et al. As a result of these biased and untruthful attacks against Floyd Landis, Maurice Suh should have requested and been granted exclusion of Christiane Ayotte from testifying in arbitration hearings because her statements showed a callous disregard of ethical conduct and blatant violations of WADA protocol.

Later Christiane Ayotte became a focus of concern in the Floyd Landis AAA arbitration hearing because as a director of an accredited WADA laboratory her judgement seemed to be tainted by a need to protect WADA more than admitting that LNDD testing methods may have produced "false positive results" of delta delta scores. Christopher Campbell commented that in any other context than a doping result generated by a WADA accredited laboratory; Ayotte would have admitted that the method used by LNDD to configure the origin and termination of a Gaussian peak measured by Carbon Isotope Ratio (CG/C/IRMS) by a inexperienced laboratory technician could and probably did result in human error that generated fatal "false positive" results. Instead Christian Ayotte defended the Standard Operating Procedure of LNDD as sustainable even arguing that the WADA accredited laboratory at Montreal used the same methods in calculating carbon content of metabolites of exogenous and endogenous origin. The CAS arbitration Panel agreed with Ayotte saying that Dr. Davis would have had to have used extreme manipulations of the origin and termination of a metabolite peak to arrive at the conclusions of errors that he demonstrated to the Panel as mistakes in delta/delta calculations. In any case, the CAS Panel argued; even though the person who did the manual estimation of the carbon content of the metabolite was inexperienced; she was certified by COFRAC in an accreditation examination done previously to the Floyd Landis Tour de France LNDD testing ; therefore her results were valid. Even if her manual configuration of the metabolite peaks did contain some error; the error was not large enough to cause the Adverse Analytical Finding. This contention is incorrect, however. If one examines the AAA Panel decision one will find very large errors in carbon content scores and delta/delta values depending on which process and by which software was used to determine these values. Manual Processing, OS/2, or Masslinx. There also was a problem found on the Total Ion Content files of the Floyd Landis LNDD Stage 17 "B" tests, a small "peak" as Dr. Brenna would describe it; or a "blurb" as Dr. Ayotte would describe it; a "peak" or "blurb" never satisfactorily explained by Dr. Brenna that would have influenced the peak origin and termination points even if the small "peak" would have been noting more than random background noise and would have contained no carbon at all. This would have distorted the delta/delta valuations. The CAS was completely out of line when it dismissed this fact as not enough to produce the Adverse Analytical Finding.

The CAS was completely out of line by defending Christiane Ayotte as a "fair and balanced" actor in the Floyd Landis arbitration hearings. By her own admission Christiane Ayotte admitted that she would have never participated unless she was convinced that Floyd Landis used synthetic testosterone and this conviction of Landis' guilt made her opinions suspect as regards to the testing methods used by LNDD. The CAS was irresponsible in defending Dr. Ayotte in the most in objective way imaginable.

The CAS was also irresponsible in cheer leading WADA players in the Landis case. Even though Dr. Brenna, Dr. Catlin, and Dr.Botre are all WADA accredited lab directors, the CAS considered these people impartial, unbiased, and infallible in doping testing. Possible conflicts of interest of these people forcing them to defend WADA for financial or other reasons rather than to examine the evidence in an impartial fashion was never considered by the CAS. Or if the conflicts of interest by WADA players were considered in the Floyd Landis case; they were deemed insufficient to cause the Adverse Analytical Finding.

Quite a distinction from people who defend innocent athletes from abuse of the WADA juggernaut. The CAS Panel condemned Maurice Suh, Dr. Davis, et al., in a vicious written attack as attempting to undermine the current anti-doping crusade by introduction of trivial objections to LNDD and WADA testing protocol. In this matter the CAS Panel could and must be considered irresponsible as every person, even athletes, enjoy due process protections and an opportunity to present their defense by experienced professionals. It is a requirement of any defense in doping arbitration hearings to attack sloppy laboratory work, incompetence, mistakes, anything that might have caused the Adverse Analytical Finding, especially when any one factor or combination of factors probably did cause the Adverse Analytical Finding; as did happen in the Floyd Landis case. Floyd Landis' defense of his innocence should have been praised by the CAS Panel not condemned. This is inexcusable and sets a bad precedent for other accused athletes who wish to defend their honor from senseless predatory defamation and bad laboratory science. The CAS Panel should be ashamed of their conduct and apologize to Mr. Floyd Landis and his defense team now.

Did Floyd Landis dope? The AAA said yes and the CAS confirmed it. But until I look Floyd Landis and the eye and ask him, "did you Dope?" Call me foolish but I am convinced still that Floyd Landis would not dare to lie to me. So, the answer for me until I ask the question and get an answer from Floyd Landis is "I don't know." Maybe I will never know.

2 comments:

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

VV,

As usual, a well-written and well thought out piece. Welcome back.

- Rant

("Eightzero") said...

Well said. I join your opinion.