By Stanislav Yakovlev
The ongoing doping scandal against Russia has been gathering pace thanks to the efforts of one man only, Grigory Rodchenkov, who used to chair the anti-doping laboratory in Sochi, to the greatest shame of the laboratory. The statements from this man of extremely doubtful reputation were laid the foundation of the report, the author of which draws a parallel with the case of Alexander Litvinenko, to the greatest shame of the author of the report.
Litvinenkno was a political propagandist of the marginal genre. The word 'probably' permeates through all reports about the investigation into his death. They contain no direct evidence, but they do contain many pieces of circumstantial evidence that mostly contradict to each other. To make the ends meet, Goldfarb had to invent that Litvinenko had been poisoned twice, or probably even thrice. A phrase like "traces of polonium were found" would make any radiochemist collapse. The investigators, who realized that they could not make a mountain out of a mole hill, stated that Lugovoy was guilty just because of the fact that Russia refused to deliver him to Russian justice. Last but not least, Litvinenko's activity, his death and investigation into his death is politics and nothing but politics.
It does not make any sense to deny the political constituent of the WADA report, because the author of this report deliberately and consciously makes it a political document.
There are quite a few questions at this point. Grigory Rodchenkov speaks of himself as the person, who falsified athletes' doping samples and produced some special sort of undetectable doping, a mixture of various steroids - methenolone, and trenbolone oksalandron, alcohol based. The cocktail was intended to be used as mouthwash. If the doping is hard to detect, what was the point in falsifying the samples? Rodchenkov claimed that the athletes probably ate something that unmasked his cocktail of drugs. This is a strange statement to make, because what kind of an invisible doping drug is it if it manifests itself in the body depending on what one eats with it.
According to Rodchenkov, all Russian athletes without exception were taking doping, and if some of them had clean samples, then those were fabricated results.
As for the recipe of Rodchenkov's cocktail, even Richard McLaren, the author of the report, describes his invention with a word 'fancy.' He then refers to experts' estimates (what experts?), who said that steroids dissolve in alcohol a lot better than in water, and the intake of drugs through the bucal membrane [whatever that means] by rinsing significantly reduces the likelihood of their detection in contrast to other forms of intake, such as by swallowing or injection.
The question is not about where steroids dissolve. The question is what they become afterwards. Was Rodchenkov's cocktail really a doping drug and what influence could it show on the body of a professional athlete, if this athlete uses the cocktail as mouthwash? If there is either negative influence or no influence at all, then Rodchenkov's cocktail appears to be fake and the man himself is a dreamer.
The second question is about the technology to falsify athletes' samples. So, we have the anti-doping center, where specialists from a variety of countries work. Surveillance cameras are everywhere and inspection checks take place on a regular basis. Yet, inspections do not happen at night, so Rodchenkov was doing his "evil deeds" under the cover of darkness. As a matter of fact, this is a lie. Night-time inspection checks at the anti-doping center take place on a regular basis too. However, there were not many of them during the time of the competitions as there were too many other problems to deal with. Rodchenkov explains the reason why the Federal Security Bureau was keeping an eye on the entire center and the adjacent territory. The FSB was supposed to make a proper warning in case of a sudden inspection.
How were such special operations conducted? There was a specially protected area in the center, where the samples were stored. There was also a not very protected area, where there was a back room, that by some strange and inexplicable coincidence was sharing the wall with the highly protected storage room. In that wall, there was a hole that would be covered with a special cabinet during the daytime. So, when night would fall, Rodchenkov's assistant would go to the storage room, while Rodchenkov himself would go to the back room, where he had organized a special underground laboratory.
His assistant would then hand over the sealed bottles with "bad" urine through the hole in the wall, while Rodchenkov would then give them to a FSB agent, who was playing the role of a plumber. The plumber would take the bad bottles somewhere before coming back a couple of hours later with a batch of unsealed bottles and clean urine.
Rodchenkov the alchemist would dispose of the bad urine, disinfect the bottles, fill them with clean urine from the "plumber" and season it to his liking, i.e. bring the samples into their "clean" form and hand them over to his assistance through the hole in the wall. He had to do it again the next night.
All this looks very fancy. Why was there a hole in the wall? Did Rodchenkov like moving furniture or what? The director of the anti-doping center locks himself in the back room, where he stays for hours. A plumber visits the same room on a regular basis - he goes in and goes out, then goes in again and goes out again, carrying bags of clinking glass. Yet, the malefactors carry the sample bottles from the back room to the storage room through a special hole not to raise any suspicion.
Is it a joke? Finally, where did the FSB officer go? Rodchenkov changes his testimony on this matter more frequently than he changes his socks. At first he says that the officer would go to the neighboring building, then he says that he did not know where the officer was taking the bottles to, and now he says that the officer was going to a local FSB department.
Well, the distance between the anti-doping center on Mezhdunarodnaya Street in Sochi to the FSB Directorate on Teatralnaya Street is about 30 kilometers, or an hour. It took the jet-propelled FSB officer two hours to do all of his job. The special object was somewhere near, but where was it exactly? Was it on the Olympic territory, where no one paid attention to it whatsoever? If Rodchenkov and no one else can not identify the whereabouts of the special object, where the FSB officer was going and what he was doing there, then why assume that the officer was going anywhere at all? Did that special object exist in reality just because Rodchenkov said so?
What about the backroom of alchemy? Was it a room with state-of-the-art equipment, like, for example, a machine for opening sealed bottles of Olympic urine? It also appears that disinfecting those bottled required the genius of Mr. Rodchenkov himself and the work could not be done without his participation. The most striking moment in Rodchenkov's story is the following: the officer would return the bottles filled up, but they were opened. How did Rodchenkov dispose of unclean samples? If there was a sink and some sort of a sewage system in the back room, then it means that it was not a back room at all. Did Rodchenkov go to the men's room in the building to get rid of unclean samples?
Rodchenkov knows one thing for certain: if you want to sell your story to the West, you need to paint the story in darkest colors about the omnipresent KGB.
Here is another very interesting question. Why was there an unprotected room in the highly protected anti-doping center, even though the entire center exists just because of that particular room? I am talking about the sample storage room. According to the map of the center, the storage room is located in the security zone. Didn't security notice any strange manipulations with furniture in that room?
How was Rodchenkov unsealing the sample bottles? He claims that it was not him, but the FSB that was opening them. Well then, how was the FSB opening those bottles? Did they use a magic wand or the power of mind? Why couldn't Rodchenkov go to the FSB facility himself? It appears that the special facility does not exist and neither does the bottle-opening technology.
Opening Olympic samples is impossible. To do that, one needs to have a special tool that breaks the cap into two. The structure of such bottles was described in the NYT. They are not common bottles - there is a whole sealing mechanism on those bottles.
The reporters found an elegant solution to the problem:
"No laboratory personnel ever witnessed the FSB's method for removing the caps of the bottles. In order to verify that the caps of the bottles were removed the IP conducted its own experiment. The IP is satisfied that the caps of the bottles can be removed and the caps were not counterfeit." End of quote.
Really? If the caps of the bottles can be removed, then why not share the striking discovery with the Olympic Committee and security experts who were testing those bottles for years? Why not share this with Russia? This is an international scandal after all. If you have decided to lift the veil to expose the truth to the world, then the veil has been lifted, but where is the truth? Do you want us to just believe what you say, because "you know?"
Ok, let's assume that the caps can be removed indeed. If this is the case, where is the evidence to prove that someone was removing exactly those caps from exactly those bottles? Here the evidence goes:
"Using the spreadsheet of the protected athletes, certain Russian medal winners identified by the IP and other information provided by Dr. Rodchenkov, the IP developed a list of 95 urine samples for further analysis as directed by the IP. These samples were removed from the Lausanne Laboratory where they were stored after the Sochi Games and transported to the London Laboratory.
A representative set of 11 B bottles was randomly selected for examination by the IP scratches and marks expert. The expert confirmed that all 11 samples had scratches and marks on the inside of the bottle caps representative of the use of a tool used to open the cap. Thus, of the representative set of samples that the IP suspected of having been swapped, 100% of the bottles have evidence of tampering."
It just so happens that they took 95 bottles, but picked only eleven that they showed to an expert (name?) who found scratches and marks on all eleven caps. A representative set implies the inspection of all bottles, including those that have scratches and those that have no marks. If there are marks on some and no marks on others, one can make certain conclusions from this. Yet, if every bottle has its own marks and scratches, it means that it is impossible to use the bottle without leaving marks and scratches on it. If it is possible, then where is an example of an immaculate and unmarked bottle?
The key word here is 'representative.' Believe what we say, because "we know."
OK, let's assume those marks were left after the bottles were opened. What kind of traces are those marks then? Not hard to explain at all - piece of cake:
"The scratches and marks expert also demonstrated, in the presence of the Professor Richard McLaren, how to assess that scratches and marks were indeed on the inside of the caps by observing the difference in depth between the outside and inside of the cap through the microscope."
What does the outside of the cap have to do with it? Furthermore, how can one unseal and then seal back the bottles to leave the marks that can only be seen through a microscope?
Rodchenkov also explained that he treated clean urine sometimes with water and sometimes with salt. McLaren started hunting for salted urine. He picked 32 sample bottles based on their SG levels and the presence of marks and called official representatives of the Olympic community.
"To test this hypothesis, the IP selected 32 sample bottles based on their SG levels and / or the existence of scratches and marks for urine examination. This selection of samples for examination was carried out in the presence of Beckie Scott Athletes' Representative on the WADA Foundation Board and Claudia Bokel, the Elected Athletes Representative to the IOC. They were asked to randomly select an additional 8 A samples for inclusion in the testing process."
The official representatives requested more bottles be included in the check. The results exceeded all expectations: six our of forty samples contained an unhealthy amount of salt, but only two out of six bottles had "marks and scratches." Either traces of intrusion exclude intrusion, or an increased level of salt in athletes' urine is a normal phenomenon.
Strangely enough, the report claims that Rodchenkov was using common "table salt." In urine, there are different kinds of salt, such as phosphates and oxalates associated with oxalic acid that is contained in large quantities in all sorts of vegetables.
Nevertheless, six cases of salt per 40 bottles, with two of them being suspicious, prove only one thing: Rodchenkov is a bullshit artist.
"The Laboratory analytical analysis has established that some samples had salt levels in excess of what can be found in a healthy human urine analysis, thereby confirming interview evidence that salt had been added."
Was it added to all the six bottles or in only two or was it not added? Interestingly, the maker of those sample bottles, a Swiss gentleman with his family business of any years of experience and immaculate reputation, asked for explanations.
"We're all a bit speechless, to be honest," Ms. Berlinger said Friday. "We're seeing a lot of support. No one can believe it."
The Swiss gentleman's reaction was published in The New York Times - the newspaper that published Rodchenkov's stories. The Russian media showed no interest in the person named Berlinger. Yet, the question remains: what is it with the empties?
My answer is simple. Rodchenkov lies. I do not know whether he lies in every word that he says or he lies or selectively, but he lies a lot about the events in Sochi. McLaren did a good job to bring conclusions of anonymous experts in correspondence with Rodchenkov's lies. The only time, when McLaren had to play the game the honest way was in the case of the representative analysis of salt levels in the urine, but he failed and disproved himself.
Rodchenkov has been promoting the scandal, the only evidence in which is Rodchenkov himself. When there is a question about the sample bottles, Rodchenkov immediately refers to top secret mysterious FSB agents of whom he knows nothing because they are FSB agents. Salty urine arguments appear to be his last trump card, even though he perfectly understands that this is not a rare case for athletes.
The most surprising thing about all of this story is that no one wants to ask questions. There are no questions in the Russian media field either. The Russians simply ignore the questions that they hear from the West.
Here comes the last quote that I would like to bring to your attention:
"The IP investigators were not able to confirm the presence of Dr. Rodchenkov's fingerprints or DNA on any of the B sample bottles."
This is a direct quote from the report. Page 73. Rodchenkov did not even touch those bottles. It does not bother anyone, does it?
As buddy Spider used to say in such cases: "I hate it here."
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