Sale of Human Organs in China

http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/rm/2001/3792.htm

Sale of Human Organs in China

Michael E. Parmly, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
Hearing Before the Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights, House International Relations
Washington, DC
June 27, 2001

Chairwoman Ros-Lehtinen and Members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear at this important hearing to address the issue of the sale of human organs in China. The removal of organs from executed prisoners without proper permission from family members along with the trafficking in these organs is a serious, deeply disturbing subject that raises a number of profoundly important human rights issues. The State Department welcomes the opportunity to update the committee on our assessment of the problem and what the Department is doing to encourage China to put an end to this abhorrent practice.

As you know, reports of Chinese authorities removing organs from executed prisoners in China, without the consent of the prisoners or their families, are not new. The Hong Kong and London press carried the numerous reports as early as the mid-1980s, when the introduction of the drug Cyclosoporine-A made transplants a newly viable option for patients.

Our concern about such practices is also not new. We repeatedly raised this issue with high-level Chinese officials throughout the 1990s, pressing for changes in Chinese policy and practice, and urging changes in China’s legal and medical systems to ensure the protection of individual rights and the guarantee of due process. We have also covered the issue of organ harvesting in our annual human rights report on China to put the spotlight of international attention on this issue. We consider organ harvesting from executed prisoners, without permission from family members, to be an egregious human rights abuse that violates not only international human rights law, but also international medical ethical standards.

Unfortunately, despite our efforts, as well as those of human rights activists like Harry Wu, human rights organizations, and concerned medical professionals, the practice of harvesting organs from executed prisoners continues in China. The lack of transparency in the Chinese criminal justice system, the secrecy that surrounds prison executions, and the removal of organs make actual documentation of the practice impossible. However, the anecdotal and circumstantial evidence regarding the practice of removing organs from executed prisoners for sale to foreigners and wealthy Chinese is substantial, credible, and growing. It cannot be ignored. Credible sources include public statements by patients who have had transplants in China, doctors who have provided post-transplant care to these patients in the United States and elsewhere, and testimony by Chinese doctors and former officials who claim to have witnessed or taken part in such practices or to have seen incriminating evidence.

In the past, according to available evidence, the majority of patients receiving transplants in China came from other parts of Asia, including Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand. A leading kidney specialist in Malaysia has estimated that over 1000 Malaysians alone have had kidney transplants in China. More recently, deeply troubling reports of Americans receiving transplants in China have been made public. American doctors, including Dr. Thomas Diflo, who will be testifying in a later panel, have reported seeing transplant patients from China in need of follow-up care. These patients have stated that they were informed by hospital personnel in China that the organs that they received came from executed prisoners.

The Department of State is also aware of reports that it cannot independently confirm, of other, even more egregious practices, such as removing organs from still-living prisoners, and scheduling executions to accommodate the need for particular organs. In addition, there are compelling first-hand reports that doctors, in violation of medical ethics codes, have performed medical procedures to prepare condemned prisoners for execution and organ removal. As former Assistant Secretary John Shattuck testified before this committee in 1998, our concern about the abhorrent practice of removing organs from executed prisoners without consent is compounded by our concerns about the lack of due process. According to Amnesty International there were 1,263 confirmed executions in 1999; according to another report 800 prisoners were executed in May 2001 alone as the government conducted another "strike hard" campaign against crime. A high court nominally reviews all death sentences, but as our Country Report on Human Rights Practices points out, and as a recent New York Times article graphically described, the time between arrest and execution is often days or even hours. Some prisoners are taken directly from the courtroom to the execution grounds. Appeals of sentences consistently result in confirmation of sentence.

The lack of meaningful consent further compounds our concerns about this practice. According to Article 3 of China’s Provisional Regulations on the Use of Executed Prisoners’ Corpses or Organs (1984), a corpse may be used for medical purposes if nobody claims the body or the family refuses to bury it; the prisoner voluntarily donates the body for use by medical facilities; or the inmate’s family consents to its use after death. The first category opens the door to abuse because families are often not notified of impending executions or are too far away or unable financially to make the trip to claim a relative’s body. Also, bodies are routinely cremated immediately after a sentence is carried out, making it impossible even for those families who are able to claim a family member’s remains to determine whether or not the body has been used for medical purposes.

Many have expressed the view that condemned prisoners and their families cannot make free and fully-voluntary decisions on organ donations because of the very nature of incarceration. In the United States, Federal Bureau of Prisons regulations do not allow organ donation by federal prisoners, unless the donation is to an immediate family member. Other countries have similarly strict laws and regulations regarding organ donations by prisoners.

Recent reports indicate that the phenomenon of organ trafficking has expanded beyond trafficking in the organs of executed prisoners. Our posts have reported increased numbers of Chinese media reports of organ harvesting from hospital cadavers by corrupt medical and hospital personnel, and the sale of organs by poor people for cash. This trade in human organs takes place openly, including on the Internet. Chinese web bulletin boards have reports of organs for sale and discussion of corruption in the "organ business." We are monitoring this trade closely and are raising our concerns with the Chinese government.

The lack of due process and consent, coupled with credible evidence of harvesting organs from executed prisoners and from hospital cadavers, raises serious human rights concerns. We, like Congress, are committed to press the Chinese authorities to take strong action to address human rights abuses wherever they occur. Despite the lack of transparency in China’s legal system, we are making every effort to determine the magnitude of the problem and how effectively Chinese authorities have implemented Article 3 of China’s Provisional Regulations on the Use of Executed Prisoners’ Corpses or Organs (1984) and other pertinent regulations governing the practice of organ donations, sale and transplants. We are also pressing the Chinese to enact and implement legislation or regulations that prohibit removing organs from executed prisoners. In the weeks and months ahead, we will step up our efforts to work with countries in the region, with allies, and other like-minded countries to put an end to organ trafficking. And, finally, we are committed to investigating and prosecuting to the fullest extent of our own law any criminal acts over which the United States has jurisdiction. While we will continue to press the Chinese on this issue, we recognize the enormous challenge we face. The complex social issues in China involving severe rural poverty, along with corruption among poorly paid prison and hospital administrators who harvest organs from prisoners and patients without their consent, play a large role in this issue.

During the course of the 1990s, in response to repeated inquiries and demarches by the State Department, our ambassadors to China and other Embassy and State Department officials, the Chinese have provided information on their official policy, including two documents on regulations promulgated on April 6, 1996, governing organ donation. The regulations provide that "the buying or selling of human tissues and organs is not allowed. The donation or exchange of human tissue and organs with organizations or individuals outside national borders is not allowed." However, the Chinese have not responded to our inquiries about the extent and scope of harvesting and trafficking in human organs and about Chinese authorities’ efforts to implement their own regulations.

We most recently discussed the issue of organ harvesting in Washington with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) International Organization Director and senior Chinese Embassy officials on June 26. I participated in the meeting and specifically mentioned that I would be testifying before this committee today and would have to say that the United States was appalled by the number of highly credible reports coming out of China about the removal of organs from executed prisoners and about trafficking in those organs. I noted that enforcement of Chinese regulations governing organ donations appeared to be woefully inadequate. Our interlocutors responded that such practices are illegal in China and that those who are found to engage in such practices are brought to justice. I responded by asking that Chinese authorities provide us with evidence of such prosecutions. We also raised the issue on June 14 in Beijing with the MFA Human Rights Division Director and here in Washington with the Chinese Embassy. We informed Chinese Embassy officials of the increased level of attention being focused on this issue in the United States and urged China to work intensively to ensure that its organ transplant policies are consistent with international standards. We also urged China to take steps to combat the actions of those who engage in such unconscionable acts, pointing out that they are a perversion of medical ethics and state power as well as an egregious human rights violation.

Assistant Foreign Minister Zhou Wenzhong was in Washington last week and we communicated to him the strong bipartisan support that the issue of human rights has in the United States. In the months ahead, we will continue to make clear our strong opposition to the repugnant practice of coercive organ harvesting and will press the Government of China to ensure its organ transplant policies and practices are in compliance with international human rights norms as well as international medical practices. We will urge them to enforce all regulations governing organ transplants, to prosecute those who violate existing regulations, and to pass and implement new legislation. We also will share the testimonies delivered here today with our Embassy in China and instruct our Embassy to raise the allegations made in them with the appropriate officials in China. They will be asking Chinese authorities for evidence that those who engage in the practices discussed here today are brought to justice. In the United States we will investigate and prosecute all violators over whom the United States has jurisdiction to the fullest extent of the law.

Thank you.

 



Released on June 27, 2001

FBI Aims For World’s Largest Biometrics Database

FBI aims for world’s largest biometrics database

Sat Dec 22, 2007 6:32am GMT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The FBI is embarking on a $1 billion (504 million pounds) project to build the world’s largest computer database of biometrics to give the U.S. government more ways to identify people at home and abroad, the Washington Post reported on Friday.

The FBI has already started compiling digital images of faces, fingerprints and palm patterns in its systems, the paper said.

In January, the agency — which focuses on violations of federal law, espionage by foreigners and terrorist activities — expects to award a 10-year contract to expand the amount and kinds of biometric information it receives, it said.

At an employer’s request, the FBI will also retain the fingerprints of employees who have undergone criminal background checks, the paper said.

If successful, the system, called Next Generation Identification, will collect the biometric information in one place for identification and forensic purposes, the Post said.

(Reporting by Rachelle Younglai; Editing by John O’Callaghan)

© Reuters 2007. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by caching, framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters and the Reuters sphere logo are registered trademarks and trademarks of the Reuters group of companies around the world.

Communist China Penetrates NSA in Hawaii

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Article published Dec 21, 2007
China taps into U.S. spy operations


December 21, 2007


By Bill Gertz – China’s intelligence service gained access to a secret National Security Agency listening post in Hawaii through a Chinese-language translation service, according to U.S. intelligence officials.

The spy penetration was discovered several years ago as part of a major counterintelligence probe by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) that revealed an extensive program by China’s spy service to steal codes and other electronic intelligence secrets, and to recruit military and civilian personnel with access to them.

According to officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity, China’s Ministry of State Security, the main civilian spy service, carried out the operations by setting up a Chinese translation service in Hawaii that represented itself as a U.S.-origin company.

The ruse led to classified contracts with the Navy and NSA to translate some of the hundreds of thousands of intercepted communications gathered by NSA’s network of listening posts, aircraft and ships.

NCIS agents discovered that the translation service, which officials did not identify by name, had conducted contract work for the National Security Agency facility at Kunia, an underground electronic intelligence post some 15 miles northwest of Honolulu that conducts some of the U.S. intelligence community’s most sensitive work.

Kunia is both a processing center and a collection point for large amounts of Chinese- and other Asian-language communications, which are translated and used in classified intelligence reports on military and political developments.

Naval intelligence officials familiar with the Chinese spy penetration said the access to both "raw" and analyzed intelligence at Kunia caused significant damage by giving China’s government details on both the targets and the sources of U.S. spying operations. Such information would permit the Chinese to block the eavesdropping or to provide false and misleading "disinformation" to U.S. intelligence.

The officials did not say how long the Chinese operation lasted before being detected.

NCIS also discovered a major Chinese intelligence operation that sought to recruit Chinese Americans as spies, and to recruit Navy and civilian intelligence workers with access to Kunia’s secrets.

According to the officials, China’s program to recruit intelligence workers was discovered in 2005 after a Navy cryptographic technician was caught accepting a no-cost visit to China, paid for by Beijing’s government.

The case led to an NCIS probe that discovered other intelligence personnel, many of them nearing the ends of their careers, who were targeted by Chinese intelligence for recruitment.

The ethnic recruitment effort involved similar tactics. China’s intelligence service used intelligence officers and supporters to identify Chinese Americans with access to secrets who would be approached and offered free visits to China, often to meet relatives. The Chinese would then use the visit to attempt to recruit the Americans as spies.

Chinese-American ethnic groups in the past have denounced the U.S. government for singling out Asian Americans as spy targets, accusing counterintelligence officials of racism. But the Chinese recruitment program shows that Beijing actively seeks to develop spies through such ethnic targeting.

NSA and NCIS spokesmen declined to comment when asked about the Chinese intelligence-gathering operations in Hawaii.

I.C. Smith, a former FBI special agent, said both China’s civilian MSS and military spy service, known as "2 PLA" for the Second Department of the Chinese military, are targeting NSA.

"There can be no higher target for an intelligence service, and that includes China’s MSS and 2 PLA, than gaining access to an adversaries’ codes and electronic intelligence," he said, because it is the ultimate in "foreknowledge" advocated by ancient Chinese strategist Sun Tzu.

Getting U.S. electronic intelligence and codes would give China specific information on what is known and allow Beijing to take defensive measures "based on knowledge, not supposition," Mr. Smith said, adding that "it also allows for disinformation to be done with confidence and it basically gives the intelligence service every advantage over the enemy."

The NSA Hawaii operations center employs several thousand people and was recently expanded at a cost of more than $350 million. An NSA press release in August stated the expansion is "one facet of the agency’s efforts to evolve a global cryptologic enterprise that is resilient, agile and effective in prosecuting a dynamic threat environment."

The facility was singled out for criticism in the past by intelligence reform advocates because of its restrictive policies on information-sharing.

Bin Laden Comes Home to Roost

Bin Laden comes home to roost

His CIA ties are only the beginning of a woeful story

 
BRAVE NEW WORLD
By Michael Moran
MSNBC

NEW YORK, Aug. 24, 1998 – At the CIA, it happens often enough to have a code name: Blowback. Simply defined, this is the term describing an agent, an operative or an operation that has turned on its creators. Osama bin Laden, our new public enemy Number 1, is the personification of blowback. And the fact that he is viewed as a hero by millions in the Islamic world proves again the old adage: Reap what you sow.

Befpre up click on my face and call me naive, let me concede some points. Yes, the West needed Josef Stalin to defeat Hitler. Yes, there were times during the Cold War when supporting one villain (Cambodia’s Lon Nol, for instance) would have been better than the alternative (Pol Pot). So yes, there are times when any nation must hold its nose and shake hands with the devil for the long-term good of the planet.

But just as surely, there are times when the United States, faced with such moral dilemmas, should have resisted the temptation to act. Arming a multi-national coalition of Islamic extremists in Afghanistan during the 1980s – well after the destruction of the Marine barracks in Beirut or the hijacking of TWA Flight 847 – was one of those times.

BIN LADEN’S BEGINNINGS

As anyone who has bothered to read this far certainly knows by now, bin Laden is the heir to Saudi construction fortune who, at least since the early 1990s, has used that money to finance countless attacks on U.S. interests and those of its Arab allies around the world.

As his unclassified CIA biography states, bin Laden left Saudi Arabia to fight the Soviet army in Afghanistan after Moscow’s invasion in 1979. By 1984, he was running a front organization known as Maktab al-Khidamar – the MAK – which funneled money, arms and fighters from the outside world into the Afghan war.

What the CIA bio conveniently fails to specify (in its unclassified form, at least) is that the MAK was nurtured by Pakistan’s state security services, the Inter-Services Intelligence agency, or ISI, the CIA’s primary conduit for conducting the covert war against Moscow’s occupation.

By no means was Osama bin Laden the leader of Afghanistan’s mujahedeen. His money gave him undue prominence in the Afghan struggle, but the vast majority of those who fought and died for Afghanistan’s freedom – like the Taliban regime that now holds sway over most of that tortured nation – were Afghan nationals.

Yet the CIA, concerned about the factionalism of Afghanistan made famous by Rudyard Kipling, found that Arab zealots who flocked to aid the Afghans were easier to “read” than the rivalry-ridden natives. While the Arab volunteers might well prove troublesome later, the agency reasoned, they at least were one-dimensionally anti-Soviet for now. So bin Laden, along with a small group of Islamic militants from Egypt, Pakistan, Lebanon, Syria and Palestinian refugee camps all over the Middle East, became the “reliable” partners of the CIA in its war against Moscow.

WHAT’S ‘INTELLIGENT’ ABOUT THIS?

Though he has come to represent all that went wrong with the CIA’s reckless strategy there, by the end of the Afghan war in 1989, bin Laden was still viewed by the agency as something of a dilettante – a rich Saudi boy gone to war and welcomed home by the Saudi monarchy he so hated as something of a hero.

In fact, while he returned to his family’s construction business, bin Laden had split from the relatively conventional MAK in 1988 and established a new group, al-Qaida, that included many of the more extreme MAK members he had met in Afghanistan.

Most of these Afghan vets, or Afghanis, as the Arabs who fought there became known, turned up later behind violent Islamic movements around the world. Among them: the GIA in Algeria, thought responsible for the massacres of tens of thousands of civilians; Egypt’s Gamat Ismalia, which has massacred western tourists repeatedly in recent years; Saudi Arabia Shiite militants, responsible for the Khobar Towers and Riyadh bombings of 1996.

Indeed, to this day, those involved in the decision to give the Afghan rebels access to a fortune in covert funding and top-level combat weaponry continue to defend that move in the context of the Cold War. Sen. Orrin Hatch, a senior Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee making those decisions, told my colleague Robert Windrem that he would make the same call again today even knowing what bin Laden would do subsequently. “It was worth it,” he said.

“Those were very important, pivotal matters that played an important role in the downfall of the Soviet Union,” he said.

HINDSIGHT OR TUNNEL VISION

It should be pointed out that the evidence of bin Laden’s connection to these activities is mostly classified, though its hard to imagine the CIA rushing to take credit for a Frankenstein’s monster like this.

It is also worth acknowledging that it is easier now to oppose the CIA’s Afghan adventures than it was when Hatch and company made them in the mid-1980s. After all, in 1998 we now know that far larger elements than Afghanistan were corroding the communist party’s grip on power in Moscow.

Even Hatch can’t be blamed completely. The CIA, ever mindful of the need to justify its “mission,” had conclusive evidence by the mid-1980s of the deepening crisis of infrastructure within the Soviet Union. The CIA, as its deputy director Robert Gates acknowledged under congressional questioning in 1992, had decided to keep that evidence from President Reagan and his top advisors and instead continued to grossly exaggerate Soviet military and technological capabilities in its annual “Soviet Military Power” report right up to 1990.

Given that context, a decision was made to provide America’s potential enemies with the arms, money – and most importantly – the knowledge of how to run a war of attrition violent and well-organized enough to humble a superpower.

That decision is coming home to roost.

International Editor Michael Moran writes a weekly column on foreign affairs.

URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3340101/


© 2007 MSNBC.com

Sources: Hijackers’ ex-landlord was FBI informant

Sources: Hijackers’ ex-landlord was FBI informant

From Dana Bash, Kelli Arena and David Ensor
CNN

WASHINGTON (CNN) —A former landlord of two of the September 11 hijackers was an FBI informant at the time, knowledgeable sources confirm to CNN.

The two hijackers, Khalid Almidhar and Nawaf Alhazmi, lived in San Diego in the fall of 2000 and were taken in by a Muslim man after he met them at a local Islamic center. The landlord had been an informant for the FBI, supplying information about the Islamic terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah.

The revelation, first reported by Newsweek, focuses renewed attention on possible mistakes made by U.S. law enforcement and intelligence prior to September 11. Newsweek reported that the FBI informant lived in close quarters with the two future hijackers.

"The FBI concedes that a San Diego case agent appears to have been at least aware that Saudi visitors were renting rooms in the informant’s house," Newsweek reported.

Some members of the congressional committee investigating the intelligence failures and the September 11 attacks knew about the relationship between the landlord and the FBI, and the point will probably come up when the panel holds public hearings, expected later this month.

U.S. intelligence officials said that in January of 2000, when Almidhar and Alhazmi attended a meeting of known terrorists in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, that fact was communicated by the CIA to the FBI. Yet it was not until August 23, 2001, that the CIA warned the FBI and other law enforcement agencies to watch for the two men, and that they might try to enter the United States.

By that time, Almidhar and Alhazmi had been in the U.S. for more than 11 months.

The FBI contends the agency was never told about the two men before August 23 and says it can find no record of any such communication between CIA and FBI to show the information might have been overlooked. The FBI has maintained that position in its dealings with congressional investigators and has asked the CIA to document, if possible, having sent word earlier.

The San Diego landlord, reached by CNN on Monday, has refused comment.

 
Find this article at:
http://archives.cnn.com/2002/US/09/11/ar911.hijackers.landlord

Nano Ceramic Coating Boosts Titanium Implants

Nano Ceramic Coating Boosts Titanium Implants


Doug Smock, Contributing Editor — Design News, October 22, 2007

New materials developments will help boost the already booming market for medical implants.

Researchers at the University of Arkansas hope to commercialize a process in which biocompatible titanium is coated with a ceramic nanowire material, creating surfaces that can last longer for hip replacements, dental reconstruction and vascular stents. Muscle tissue may not adhere well to the smooth surface on uncoated titanium, potentially reducing the useful life of the implant to just 10 years.

An alkali and heat are used to create the titanium-oxide-based ceramic nanowires. “The cost of the process would add $1 or less to each titanium implant,” says Z. Ryan Tian, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences in Fayetteville, AR. The University of Arkansas plans to license the technology.

A month after Tian and a group of researchers placed a nanowire-coated joint in mice, muscle tissue was growing on the surface. “We saw beautiful tissue growth — lots of muscle fibers,” Tian said. “We’ve added one more function to the currently in-use titanium implant.”

The nanowire material is engineered to encourage growth.

“We can control the length, the height, the pore openings and the pore volumes within the nanowire scaffolds” by varying the time, temperature and alkali concentration in the reaction, says Tian. “This process is also extremely sustainable,” requiring only that the device be rinsed in reusable water after the heating process, he says.

The sizes and shapes of the pores can be changed so the coating can be applied to vascular stents used in patients to support diseased arteries. Tian says the nanowire coating could potentially replace a complex polymer structure that releases drugs through a mechanical process over time. According to Tian, the ceramic coating could deliver drugs over a longer period of time.

There are indications that use of drug-eluting stents may be waning due to reports of patient problems. One Swiss study reported at the World Congress of Cardiology last year that patient death rates were higher if they had drug-eluting stents. It wasn’t known if the carrier material had any culpability in the problem.

The material may find more immediate use as a coating for medical instruments generally. Items coated with the materials are easily sterilized when rinsed in water and exposed to ultraviolet light. Tian says photons cause a charge separation on the material, splitting water molecules into free radicals that destroy bacteria. “You could just use water to rinse and UV light to sterilize surfaces,” Tian says.

In the meantime, Tian said his research team is studying application of the ceramic coating to plastics and other materials.

Other researchers are studying different ways to improve the performance of implants. One route to improve hardness is to coat titanium with a diamond-like carbon material. The National Natural Science Foundation of China has studied application of boactive ceramic coatings to improve the effectiveness of titanium implants.  In Switzerland, Nobel Biocare has developed a full ceramic dental implant that replaces titanium. The implant has been in clinical trials for more than two years and is still under evaluation. The company has been working with industrial ceramics for more than 20 years. The effort is part of a drive to develop metal-free components for dental restoration.

Nano Ceramic Coating Boosts Titanium Implants

Nano Ceramic Coating Boosts Titanium Implants


Doug Smock, Contributing Editor — Design News, October 22, 2007

New materials developments will help boost the already booming market for medical implants.

Researchers at the University of Arkansas hope to commercialize a process in which biocompatible titanium is coated with a ceramic nanowire material, creating surfaces that can last longer for hip replacements, dental reconstruction and vascular stents. Muscle tissue may not adhere well to the smooth surface on uncoated titanium, potentially reducing the useful life of the implant to just 10 years.

An alkali and heat are used to create the titanium-oxide-based ceramic nanowires. “The cost of the process would add $1 or less to each titanium implant,” says Z. Ryan Tian, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences in Fayetteville, AR. The University of Arkansas plans to license the technology.

A month after Tian and a group of researchers placed a nanowire-coated joint in mice, muscle tissue was growing on the surface. “We saw beautiful tissue growth — lots of muscle fibers,” Tian said. “We’ve added one more function to the currently in-use titanium implant.”

The nanowire material is engineered to encourage growth.

“We can control the length, the height, the pore openings and the pore volumes within the nanowire scaffolds” by varying the time, temperature and alkali concentration in the reaction, says Tian. “This process is also extremely sustainable,” requiring only that the device be rinsed in reusable water after the heating process, he says.

The sizes and shapes of the pores can be changed so the coating can be applied to vascular stents used in patients to support diseased arteries. Tian says the nanowire coating could potentially replace a complex polymer structure that releases drugs through a mechanical process over time. According to Tian, the ceramic coating could deliver drugs over a longer period of time.

There are indications that use of drug-eluting stents may be waning due to reports of patient problems. One Swiss study reported at the World Congress of Cardiology last year that patient death rates were higher if they had drug-eluting stents. It wasn’t known if the carrier material had any culpability in the problem.

The material may find more immediate use as a coating for medical instruments generally. Items coated with the materials are easily sterilized when rinsed in water and exposed to ultraviolet light. Tian says photons cause a charge separation on the material, splitting water molecules into free radicals that destroy bacteria. “You could just use water to rinse and UV light to sterilize surfaces,” Tian says.

In the meantime, Tian said his research team is studying application of the ceramic coating to plastics and other materials.

Other researchers are studying different ways to improve the performance of implants. One route to improve hardness is to coat titanium with a diamond-like carbon material. The National Natural Science Foundation of China has studied application of boactive ceramic coatings to improve the effectiveness of titanium implants.  In Switzerland, Nobel Biocare has developed a full ceramic dental implant that replaces titanium. The implant has been in clinical trials for more than two years and is still under evaluation. The company has been working with industrial ceramics for more than 20 years. The effort is part of a drive to develop metal-free components for dental restoration.

Al Qaeda Suspect: U.S. Government Gave Me LSD

Al Qaeda Suspect: U.S. Government Gave Me LSD

BY JOSH GERSTEIN – Staff Reporter of the Sun
October 11, 2006
URL: http://www.nysun.com/article/41305

An alleged operative for Al Qaeda imprisoned for 3 1/2 years as an enemy combatant is saying he was tortured and forcibly medicated with "a sort of truth serum" while in a Navy brig.

Jose Padilla, 35, was arrested in 2002 on suspicions that he was plotting a radioactive explosion, also known as a dirty bomb. He spent several years in a military jail in Charleston, S.C., without facing criminal charges. As legal wrangling over his fate continued, prosecutors in Miami charged him late last year with providing material support to a terrorist group and conspiring to murder, maim, and kidnap Americans abroad.

Lawyers for Padilla, who was born in Brooklyn and converted to Islam while in prison for gang-related crimes, made the claims of torture in a motion filed last week with a federal court in Florida.

"He was threatened with being cut with a knife and having alcohol poured on the wounds. He was also threatened with imminent execution," the chief federal defender in Miami, Michael Caruso, wrote. "Additionally, Padilla was given drugs against his will, believed to be some form of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) or phencyclidine (PCP), to act as a sort of truth serum during his interrogations."

Padilla’s attorneys argued that the alleged torture constitutes "outrageous government conduct" that requires that the criminal case against Padilla be dismissed. Judge Marcia Cooke has already dropped one of the charges against Padilla, but he could still be sentenced to life in prison on the other charges. The trial has been delayed until next January, at the earliest.

A top Al Qaeda leader, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, reportedly admitted during interrogations that he tasked Padilla with locating radioactive materials and scouting out locations for a dirty bomb. However, the pending indictment against Padilla makes no mention of such a plot.

A spokesman for the Navy referred questions about Padilla’s treatment to the Justice Department. Prosecutors handling the case did not respond to calls seeking comment for this article.

Rupert Murdoch Loves Hillary Clinton

Rupert Murdoch Loves Hillary Clinton


NEW YORK, May 9, 2006


(CBS) To call them a political odd couple would be a rash understatement.

Conservative media mogul Rupert Murdoch will host a fundraiser for liberal New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, the Financial Times reports.

The mating ritual of the unlikely allies has been under way for months. Clinton set political tongues to wagging last month by attending a Washington party celebrating the 10th anniversary of Fox News, the cable news channel owned by Murdoch.

The Financial Times quoted one unnamed source as describing the Clinton-Murdoch connection in this way: "They have a respectful and cordial relationship. He has respect for the work she has done on behalf of New York. I wouldn’t say it was illustrative of a close ongoing relationship. It is not like they are dining out together."

The fundraiser will take place in July, the newspaper said. Clinton is the frontrunner for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, though she has not indicated whether or not she will run.

Clinton has worked hard to take the edge off her reputation as a card-carrying liberal. She has has collaborated with congressional conservatives on some peices of legislation, called for a "common ground" on abortion and cut a political figure some on the left see as decidedly un-liberal.

Clinton, who made her debut in the Senate Armed Services Committee four years ago, has never voted against any major Iraq military spending legislation. She has also taken two high-profile trips to Iraq – journeys that may have helped to strengthen the credentials of a senator with no military background or experience.

Clinton, who says she’s "always been a praying person," has moved into the territory John Edwards had hoped to claim as the moderate Democrat who cares about the average American.

©MMVI, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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