Smear Campaign Against William Llewellyn Attempts to Discredit Underground Anabolics Book
by Millard Baker
An anabolic steroid expert’s plan to analyze the ingredients of various anabolic steroid preparations has made a few steroid manufacturers very nervous. The project involves laboratory analysis of various steroid products found on the underground black market.
William Llewellyn, the leader of the quality control project, has faced threats, intimidation and organized attacks on his credibility, reputation, and character after revealing his intention to publish the results in the forthcoming book entitled “William Llewellyn’s UNDERGROUND ANABOLICS”.
Balkan Pharmaceuticals, a pharmaceutical company registered in Moldova, has systematically pressured Llewellyn to remove Balkan steroid products from the project since the book project was first announced at the beginning of the year.
Alin Daniel Hauck aka “Alin” of Balkan Pharmaceuticals has resorted to intimidation, threats, and attempted bribery in an effort to influence and/or suppress information in Llewellyn’s underground anabolics book.
Alin has organized a “smear campaign” to damage Llewellyn’s reputation as much as possible in order to discredit the underground anabolics book.
Llewellyn has steadfastly refused to acquiesce to Alin’s demands (”Open Letter to Alin (Balkan)“, July 18).
I just want to make sure, Alin, that you are aware that your behavior has no effect on the book. No matter how insulting you may be, it will not change my ability to publish an impartial book. If your company is good, the reports will show this. But with all this behavior, I am very concerned you know already there will be problems. I hope I am wrong.
I have been the direct subject to his hostile emails and attacks for weeks, and am getting tired of it. I will not let Alin affect my impartiality.
Alin has found at least one ally sympathetic in his campaign against William Llewellyn. Anthony Roberts has abandoned any pretense of impartiality in support of this effort to discredit William Llewellyn. Roberts’s recent articles about Llewellyn have, not only indirectly fulfilled but, conveniently coincided with Alin’s threats against Llewellyn.
Anthony Roberts is a much-maligned blogger known for his ruthless, and often personal, attacks on various individuals associated with the supplement industry and the anabolic steroid subculture. Roberts has been widely criticized for the judicious use of anonymous rumors and unsubstantiated allegations to substantiate his stories. Roberts has been unapologetic about his use of internet gossip in his blog to promote “the truth”.
Anthony Roberts could be considered an unwitting participant in Alin’s smear campaign against Llewellyn. Observers would hope that Roberts was simply blinded by his own prejudice and animosity towards William Llewellyn rather than maliciously abandoning his objectivity to perpetuate a personal and vindictive campaign against Llewellyn.
But Roberts rejects the notion that anybody is using him to do their dirty work. Roberts strongly denies any bias when writing about Llewellyn. He is convinced his characterization of Llewellyn is likely true based on the credibility of his anonymous source(s) and his supposed “firsthand evidence”.
Anthony Roberts also vehemently denies singling out Llewellyn as part of a personal vendetta. He defends his attacks by pointing out that he has not included all the rumors provided by Alin because he considers some unfit for publication; additionally, he claims that he obtained many of the rumors independent of Alin.
Relationship Between William Llewellyn and Anthony Roberts
The strained relationship between Anthony Roberts and William Llewellyn predated the Balkan Pharmaceuticals threats against Llewellyn.
The publication of Roberts’ first book “Anabolic Steroids: Ultimate Research Guide” in 2006 included large sections of data in tabular format that appeared to have been copied directly from “William Llewellyn’s Anabolics 2005”. Roberts distanced himself from that controversy claiming the decision was made by his co-author and publisher.
A less-than-cordial relationship emerged particularly after heated exchanges occurred in bodybuilding forums over disagreements regarding steroid advice.
Anthony Roberts launched a new round of attacks upon Llewellyn’s credibility and expertise last year after ECW Press agreed to publish Roberts’ proposed manuscript about the steroid subculture entitled “Generation S“.
The contract with a “real publishing house” emboldened Roberts to assert his superiority over Llewellyn as a writer and a steroid expert. Roberts has since repeatedly attacked the credibility of “self-published” authors, specifically Llewellyn. The attacks have been largely dismissed as little more than bickering and/or jealousy by a rival author.
William Llewellyn’s Credibility as a Steroid Expert
William Llewellyn’s credibility and authority as an anabolic steroid expert has been well established over the past decade notwithstanding Roberts’ assertions to the contrary.
Llewellyn has spent the majority of his professional career educating readers with an honest, balanced and evidence-driven assessment of anabolic steroids, their non-medical use and the health and social implications.
“William Llewellyn’s Anabolics”, the encyclopedic compendium of anabolic-androgenic steroids and performance enhancing drugs, has became the authoritative reference guide on the topic for steroid users as well as health care practitioners, physicians, law enforcement, prosecutors, sports organizations and harm reduction agencies.
International government agencies have purchased hundreds of copies of Llewellyn’s Anabolics. The reference book has been used specifically to train and educate federal agents about this class of pharmaceuticals.
Impetus for 2009 Smear Campaign
The announcement of Llewellyn’s forthcoming book entitled “Underground Anabolics” early this year was the impetus for a new round of attacks against Llewellyn that moved beyond simple assertions disputing his expertise. The rumors not only questioned Llewellyn’s credibility and integrity, but maliciously accused him of engaging in criminal activity.
The following allegations originated with “Alin” of Balkan Pharmaceuticals. Alin threatened to spread these rumors if Llewellyn did not remove the information about Balkan Pharmaceuticals from “Underground Anabolics”. Llewellyn refused comply with Alin’s demands. Alin’s rumors subsequently appeared in Anthony Roberts’ blog and were attributed to anonymous sources.
Unfounded Rumor(s) that Llewellyn Accepts Bribes
RUMOR: Underground labs have bribed Llewellyn for favorable treatment in the book and/or that results have been manipulated or excluded in exchange for monetary payment.
Alin admitted to offering Llewellyn a direct bribe. Llewellyn refused. Alin then tried to characterize the bribe as “advertising” in February 2009 based on the understanding that Balkan would not appear in “Underground Anabolics”. Llewellyn refused.
Alin threatened to spread the rumor that Llewellyn did in fact accept the bribe. The rumor subsequently appeared in Anthony Roberts blog.
Alin later threatened to spread the rumor that Llewellyn was bribed by British Dragon years ago; the source of Alin’s rumor was the conveniently deceased co-founder of British Dragon.
Unfounded Rumor that Llewellyn is a Steroid Dealer
RUMOR: Llewellyn has partnered with underground labs to illegally distribute anabolic steroids; specifically implying that Llewellyn has a financial interest in promoting certain underground labs.
Alin threatened to spread the rumor that Llewellyn had partnered with other underground labs if Llewellyn did not remove Balkan from the book. Llewellyn refused.
Alin has alleged that one of the individuals involved in sample collection for UNDERGROUND ANABOLICS was involved in steroid sales. Alin accused Ronny Tober of operating Generic Supplements and Dutch Labs. Furthermore, Alin threatened to disseminate the rumor that Llewellyn was also involved in running these underground labs with Tober.
Alin was the source of a list purportedly connecting Llewellyn to Generic Supplements; Alin emailed the list to various individuals on or approximately June 25, 2009. The list appeared on Anthony Roberts blog on July 15, 2009. Roberts stopped short of alleging direct involvement by Llewellyn although the implication was clear.
Accusations Against Ronny Tober
Anthony Roberts has repeatedly attempted to discredit Llewellyn based on his relationship with Ronny Tober and other individuals that allegedly sell steroids. Roberts’ assertion has been that Llewellyn’s books can not be unbiased or impartial when using sources that are (allegedly) involved in criminal activity.
Attempts to discredit William Llewellyn due to his utilization of sources that participate in the illicit underground steroid market are disingenuous. Most anabolic steroids used for non-medical purposes originate and are obtained from the androgen black market. Consequently, sources actively participating in illegal steroid distribution are essential to understanding the current state of and the operation of the market.
Journalists’ and Researchers’ Use of Sources Involved in Criminal Activity
Journalists routinely utilize sources involved in illegal activity. The source(s) that leaked the names of Alex Rodriguez, Sammy Sosa, Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz did so in violation of federal law. The Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams expose of the BALCO steroid scandal in “Game of Shadows“ relied almost exclusively on grand jury testimony illegally leaked by their source.
Not surprisingly, Llewellyn utilizes sources of information and contacts that may be involved in illicit steroid distribution. If one wishes to obtain underground anabolics for laboratory analyses, they must be obtained from the illicit underground steroid market. There is no other way to secure analyses of illicitly-traded steroid products. Identifying and proving associations is one thing but drawing conclusions based on those associations is another matter entirely.
Challenges of Obtaining Steroids from Black Market
The chain of custody for obtain steroids from the black market is not an easy task. Llewellyn openly addresses the challenges of obtaining, verifying and testing samples trade on the black market in a disclaimer for UNDERGROUND ANABOLICS.
“It is important to emphasize that all of these samples were obtained from the black market. Inherently, products that are traded through illicit channels are very difficult to verify for authenticity. Given the high prevalence of counterfeiting with steroid products, even at times the counterfeiting of underground labs, these are named as “Listed Manufacturer” only. No attempt to verify these products has been made, and we cannot say for certain if any specific item is legitimate or counterfeit. These results, therefore, are not meant as a direct assessment of these labs. It would take more testing and source verification to make any conclusive judgments. Instead, when bad results are seen, it is a warning for products bearing the same name/lot number on the black market.”
Cybercrime Used to Intimidate William Llewellyn
Some personal attacks against Llewellyn have not been directly linked to Alin and/or Anthony Roberts.
William Llewellyn’s Body of Science website was targeted by a distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS attack) largely originating in Moldova on June 12, 2009. The DDoS effectively shut down Llewellyn’s website for seven consecutive days.
Alin was considered the prime suspect given the threatening emails sent to Llewellyn in the preceding weeks along with the Moldovan server connection. However, Alin publicly denied involvement and there was no evidence conclusively linking Alin to the DDoS attack.
Alin admitted talking to Anthony Roberts on June 14, 2009 about who may have been responsible for the DDoS attack. Alin curiously admitted sharing access to Roberts “PM box” when disclosing details of this conversation with Roberts.
“Creating” Anonymous Sources to Attack William Llewellyn
An obscure bodybuilding forum was curiously started on July 8, 2009. Bodybuildingarea.com prominently promoted personal attacks against William Llewellyn and his wife. An anonymous source identified only as “Juicecop” posted a list of several new unfounded assertions in addition to the ones previously made by Alin and/or Anthony Roberts.
Anthony Roberts, while denying authorship, quickly reposted Juicecop’s “homework on William Llewellyn” on his blog the very next day. The text of at least one additional post by Juicecop found its way onto Roberts’ blog and revealed private personal information about Llewellyn (coincidentally fulfilling another one of Alin’s threats).
The sudden appearance of a new “anonymous source” to corroborate and coincide with an intensified attack against Llewellyn is highly suspicious to say the least.
Alin Daniel Hauck and Anthony Roberts would like to have us believe that, somehow, before they came along, Llewellyn had pulled the wool over everyone’s eyes regarding his expertise, his impartiality and his business practices. However, Llewellyn’s credibility and professional reputation are based on a substantial body of work in the industry.
William Llewellyn’s work stands on its own merit. It is not easily discredited by unfounded rumors and unsubstantiated allegations disseminated by individuals with their own respective conflicts of interest and biases against Llewellyn.
Threats, intimidation and illegal attempts to censor/influence the information in Llewellyn’s book have failed. The bodybuilding and steroid community are the beneficiaries of Llewellyn’s refusal to respond to the demands of Balkan Pharmaceuticals.
The publication of lab analyses of black market androgens provides a valuable service to anyone who has any involvement with non-medical steroid users. Any who uses such products should be aware of the risks associated with steroids produced by underground labs and/or illicitly traded on the black market. The risks of counterfeit, illegitimate, contaminated, and/or bogus products should always be acknowledged.
Users of black market androgens should be no less paranoid about the quality of the products than the manufacturers who fear adverse lab results from the quality control testing conducted by William Llewellyn for UNDERGROUND ANABOLICS.