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root is unable to change file permissions!

Hello Debain Users,
We have an interesting phenomenon occuring on one of our servers. We have noticed that two files in the /bin directory have had their executable permissions removed and we are unable to chmod the files as root.
current file permissions:
-rw-r--r--   1 root     root        35464 May 31 13:02 /bin/login
-rw-r--r--   1 root     root        54152 Aug 29  2001 /bin/netstat
when trying to change permissions:
ns:~# whoami
ns:~# id
uid=0(root) gid=0(root) groups=0(root)
ns:~# chmod 755 /bin/login
chmod: changing permissions of `/bin/login': Operation not permitted
We have tried doing the same thing from the rescue disc login prompt. same outcome.
This seems to be a serious security issue. Root user seems to have lost control of some files. Other files can be changed using the above commands.
Any ideas?
Best regards,
Andreas Hatz

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