The big green killing machine: What is VAD?

This is the first in a series of occasional articles dealing with the human cost of the various policies being pushed by what I call the big green killing machine. I’ve never viewed fighting the perversion that environmentalism has become as some sort of intellectual wrestling match waged in the blogosphere. It’s a real war against a malign anti-human movement that in reality is killing people right now, this moment, this morning, afternoon, evening and night. There are real people dying the real death in the developing world because of it. Never forget this. Every time you stand up and fight eco-fascism, you’re fighting for the lives of essentially defenseless people.

VAD stands for Vitamin A Deficiency. It’s not a problem we have in the developed nations but it’s a big one in the developing world. A deficiency in vitamin A causes several direct and indirect medical problems but the most noticeable effect is on eyesight. It causes blindness and mainly in young children. Each and every year, approximately half a million children in the developing world go blind because of it.

The blindness is irreversible and half of those children die within a year of losing their eyesight.

The problem is malnourishment rather than under nourishment. There simply isn’t enough vitamin A in the available foodstuffs grown in large parts of Asia and Africa. The solution was to try using gene technology to modify a crop commonly available in the developing world so as to insert some vitamin A content. The crop chosen was rice and work began in 1992 by Ingo Potrykus and Peter Beyer. The work these two scientists did was not only prodigious in terms of sheer effort but technically brilliant as well. I can’t think of anyone more deserving of a Nobel Prize than them but they didn’t get one and probably never will.

They succeeded. By 2000, they had engineered a new strain of rice by splicing in a gene from a Daffodil, of all things. This gave the rice its distinctive yellow colour and is the reason for its common name, golden rice. Golden rice has something no other rice has; beta-carotene which is a provitamin. A provitamin enables the body to produce another vitamin; in this case vitamin A. Subsequent development of the strain has increased the beta-carotene content by over a factor of twenty. A small bowl of this rice will deliver all the vitamin A that a human being needs.

This rice has been tested more than any other biotechnology product ever developed and has shown no adverse effect on humans or the environment whatsoever; absolutely none and it delivers the necessary vitamin.

It has been ready for production and distribution to those people needing it for years and in all likelihood, will stay that way for more years to come. Why in the name of common humanity, isn’t it available now you may ask?

The answer is the environmental movement. The availability of golden rice, like its development, has been systematically obstructed at every turn by the green movement. The means have been legal or regulatory as well as downright illegal. Their problem is they have a zero tolerance of any biotechnology, even if it will plainly save lives today. Fanatics cannot change their minds.

At the same time, they’ve no alternative solution to VAD so in the meantime it’s business as usual for them; their hooligans will keep on uprooting test crops (while inviting the media along for the photo opportunity) and stalling golden rice as much as possible in the regulatory and legal structures. Since they also have a large influence on the disposition of foreign aid monies, this is used ruthlessly to intimidate poor countries showing any sign of introducing the crop.

If, in any country in Europe or any state in the USA or indeed any country in the developed world, half a million children were going blind each year because of a simple preventable vitamin deficiency, something would have been done about it long ago and bloody quickly too but that’s the problem, the victims are in the developing world which is well out of the way and everybody’s football to kick around anyway. Too many people think they know what’s best for them so what is ultimately a chic lifestyle choice in the developed world ends up killing people and blinding children in the developing world.

The last time we in the developed world had large numbers of VAD victims to deal with was in treating the survivors of Stalin’s gulags and Hitler’s concentration camps. Many of them suffered from night blindness, which is the first stage of VAD induced total blindness. I’ve chosen to write about one specific aspect of the harm VAD does around the world but it’s a bigger problem. The WHO estimates it effects the health of one-third of under-five children worldwide and kills 670,000 of them annually. If you want to find out more about the full effects on VAD on humans, have a read here. It’s grim stuff.

I chose VAD to begin this series of articles on the big green killing machine because the numbers involved are much smaller than in its other crimes against humanity but remember those numbers are people and in this case, predominantly young children. Each one is a family tragedy. It is an aspect of human psychology that people can relate to small numbers. Once the numbers run into the millions, it’s simply too big to empathise with. As Joseph Goebbels reputedly said, the death of six people has a bigger impact than the death of six million. Subsequent pieces will unfortunately be dealing with the murder of millions.

Patrick Moore, a founding member of Greenpeace, who subsequently resigned from the organisation in protest at the direction it had taken, called the people preventing the introduction of golden rice, “murderers”. I agree but would qualify it, they’re child murderers. If there is a Hell, I hope they burn in it.


Related articles :

Click for all articles in the Big Green Killing Machine series.

Some thoughts on fanatics and how to fight them.  

Click for a list of other articles.

31 Responses to “The big green killing machine: What is VAD?”
  1. Katabasis says:

    Great piece Pointman – I look forward to others in the series!

    You might be interested, in turn, in my Churnalism series.


    • Pointman says:

      Hello and a hearty welcome to the blog Katabasis. I followed your link on “Churnalism” and would encourage any regular readers here to do the same. I knew our MSM was passive but the percentage of pieces simply cut and pasted from press handouts surprised even me.

      You’re doing what journalism used to do before it became a lapdog adjunct to the PR industry, the old fashioned leg work that all investigative journalism was based on.

      I knew the MSM was lazy but those stats are appalling



  2. mlpinaus says:

    Thank you Pointman for a good exposition upon the “franken food” propaganda….. The Greens are essentally about a deep hate of people now… used not to be so, but simply reading their manifesto in Australia will convince you. The reduction to about 1 billion of us is to be done in the third world, out of sight being out of mind….. Another topic for the future might be about the ban upon the manfacture of DDT……..


    • Pointman says:

      Hi Marcus. The Greens do seem to contain a lot of population controllers (nee Eugenicists) and certainly the populations being culled by their policies are in the developing world. Population does seem to be just another one of their several Malthusian fallacies.

      Yes, I’ll certainly be covering DDT and Malaria in an upcoming piece.



    • Brian H says:

      Note, however, that DDT was never actually banned, just disparaged and scare-mongered to the extent that international support for its distribution and use was withdrawn. Same effect. It’s now being re-introduced in many areas. It’s no magic bullet, because resistance can and does develop, though.


      • creeper00 says:

        I live right on the Mississippi River. For the first thirty years of my life I never saw a bald eagle. Since DDT has gone out of common usage we have seen an explosion in the population of bald eagles…so much so that four years ago they were removed from the endangered species list. Now they fish outside my window and perch in our trees. That makes me reluctant to advocate a return to widespread use of DDT.

        That having been noted, there must be some balance that will control insect-borne diseases like malaria without endangering birds of prey. I look forward to reading your thoughts on that, Pointman.

        Also sir, do you object on general principles to everything environmentalists are attempting to accomplish or do you differentiate between some goals? I’m still confused as to how the global warming hoax impacts underdeveloped nations. My own guess is that corrupt leaders may use it for their own purposes but it certainly doesn’t seem to have slowed the destruction of old-growth and rain forests. I do not see their loss as a good thing.

        Still working on this.


  3. Blackswan says:


    Great start to what I’m sure will be a great series.

    While Genetic Modification of plants can undoubtedly serve humanity well, as in the example you describe, I have always had great reservations about the ethics behind the Patenting of seeds and food crops. We know of huge monopolies which already exist that restrict the availability of such crops and manipulate and control prices, leaving impoverished Third World subsistence farmers continually in debt as they struggle to feed their communities while growing so-called Cash Crops for the West.

    Such Modification undoubtedly extends shelf-life and extends food-miles, meaning that food can now easily be shipped around the world for consumption on different continents from its source. Since the dawn of agriculture, seed selection from the largest and most robust plants has been reserved for the next year’s planting but so many modern patented seeds are hybrids which will not reproduce.

    While we can be distracted by arguing the minutiae of Climate Science, the really big sleeper issue has to be food security. The Gangrenes never say exactly how they will reduce the world population, but surely control of food and water is at the heart of their scheme.


  4. Keith Hill says:

    Hi Pointman.
    My first visit here – via Jo Nova/P.Gosselin but I have noted and enjoyed your posts before on Jo’s site.

    Your aims as set out in “About me” are very laudable and much in line with my own views. I’m no brilliant mind or scientific genius but having lived 78 years on this wonderful planet I have seen and survived many previous environmental and pseudoscientifc scams. This has given me some capacity to weigh up the pros and cons of any given situation and my BS detector is always set on high. It kicked in immediately the UNIPCC AGW fraud reared it’s head !

    The first thing I realised was that the MSM could not be relied on for information as it had neither credibility nor objectivity on the matter. Fortunately I discovered blogs such as this and continue to be amazed at he excellent links provided by erudite, observant, investigative posters, enabling anyone to research, evaluate and make up their own minds.

    As part of an older generation I was initially wary of genetic engineering, but articles like this show the potential benefits to mankind in general and the world’s poor in particular. Thank you for this excellent informative start to my further education and what promises to be an excellent series.


    • Pointman says:

      Hello and welcome Keith. Thank you for introducing yourself and your kind words.

      We live in a world saturated by the MSM but it’s a single-view uncritical monolith. Blogging, whether as a writer, reader or contributor, grew out of people’s frustration with it. It’s our way of saying “Hang on a moment, I don’t agree, I have a problem with your happy clappy whizzzo idea”. It’s all that’s left to object to an idea or policy. It has the added bonus that you realise you’re not the only one out there either.

      I look forward to contributions from the wisdom given to you by your seniority. Strength of arm and length of days!



  5. MikeO says:

    I gather you have read Patrick Moore’s new book “Confessions of a Greenpeace Dropout: The Making of a Sensible Environmentalist” I would urge you all to get hold of the book and read it. You will learn a lot about the general environmental movement through his eyes and realize we are dealing with Neo Paganism. They believe in a world that is centred on mother earth as the primary aim, humans are a long way down the list. In Antarctica the last few years there has been a battle to prevent the Japanese from catching whales. I admit I am not being rational but in spirit I support the effort. Then I must consider this from the book:

    On the other extreme, Paul Watson, the early Greenpeace activist who is now head of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, believes, “We need to radically and intelligently reduce human populations to fewer than one billion.” He warns, “Curing a body of cancer requires radical and invasive therapy, and therefore, curing the biosphere of the human virus will also require a radical and invasive approach.”[2] A little genocide anyone? It’s only a virus. The pope looks pretty good by comparison.

    And I shudder at giving this misanthropic society any support or approval. When you examine the Green solutions it becomes quickly apparent that they do not solve to the perceived problems. There many of these solutions but they have two things in common. The effectiveness is usually minimal and the effect on humans large. I do not think C02 is a problem but if I did then Nuclear and Hydroelectric would be effective solutions but most of the Greens are totally opposed. The more I learn about wind power the more I realise how useless it is. Every ton of emissions saved costs $1149 using wind farms because of natural gas co generation and gas is an evil fossil fuel anyway.

    My hypothesis is that efforts from environmentalism that kills people are not a mishap. Reduction of the human population is the intention not preventing AGW. Most if not all of the Green actions can be explained in this way. There is a saying if it quacks like a duck then it is a duck. The Western world is faced with a large powerful neo pagan religion which wishes to destroy it by radically reducing the population.


    • mlpinaus says:

      Yes, they do hate us and by definition themselves…… The collateral damage is usually the weak and thus the poor. Now in Australia we have them in a position of power after July. I guess I hope for an Eureka moment ……


      • MikeO says:

        I’m in Canberra a retiree and I voted against the pack of wallys so don’t blame me. The coalition dissapoints me as well. I wish that they would frame a policies to

        1. encourage improvements in fuel usage,
        2, establish a body probably using the ADF to address disasters,
        3. comission a study to determine the most cost effective way to reduce emissions.
        4. have a policy to move on the best plan when the rest of the world does.

        If you look at my link above it P 12 the only means Australia has of reducing it’s emissions is nuclear I suspect. Labor wants near $20/tonne higher than that is political death. The Greens want $120/tonne will they accept less? Remember the CPRS it died because the Greens said not enough! We can only hope they do the same they might. BTW the debate revolves around household expenditure but that is only 11% of usage the other 89% is industry, transport, manufacturing and so on, the debate is stupid surely the Coalition realizes this?



    • Pointman says:

      G’Day Mike. Yes, I’ve read his book. When you read his thumbnail sketches of some of the leaders of the environmental movement, you can see what scary people they really are. As I said, “It’s a real war against a malign anti-human movement “. If these people are ever allowed to get their way, it’ll be genocide.



      • MikeO says:

        Hi Pointman. Do you get CCNET? Recently there has been a lot about shale gas extraction. It appears to be a solution to much of the the USA and European energy needs. It works and will produce cheaper energy but guess who is against it? The environmentalists of course I guess it does not improve the body count. Perhaps they need a new motto “Things that work and are cheap can not be Green”. BTW the Murdock press are certainly not sympathetic to the religion here. Bob Brown the Greens leader here attacked them calling them the hate media. Does Murdock in the UK also go against the religion?


  6. MikeO says:

    Not concerned but just a note. The time stamp on my last comment says 7:09am but I actually submitted it at 16:09 EST. So I guess that is your the server time in the UK maybe.


  7. Pointman says:

    There are several issues with GM crops that have been referred to by commenters here. Yes we have to be sure they’re safe and yes, they are patented. Affroximately $3 million dollars was spent on developing golden rice. I have no problem with a company making a profit as long as it’s not based on predatory pricing. At the end of the day, golden rice would be a replacement for the current species of rice being grown by farmers across the world so if it’s priced out of their reach, they simply won’t use it. As in all trade, setting the correct pricing point is obviously vital.

    The developing world is beset by many problems. Too many to be cured by any one magical approach but I do think they can be tackled or alleviated by going after them one by one. Around the world, 3 billion people depend on rice as their staple crop. Potrykus knew that if he could improve its nutritional content, it would benefit 3 billion people. That’s about half the population of the planet. Simple really.

    He’s retired now but he’s followed through and successfully negotiated what are called Humanitarian Use Licenses. These allow the royalties to be waived for subsistence farmers who do not make more that $10,000 per year from the crops and they’re permitted to hold back a portion of harvested seeds to be planted next year. Basically, the poorest and most needy will be the first to benefit from golden rice.



    • Blackswan says:


      Thanks for clarifying things – Humanitarian Use Licenses sound to go some way to protecting the poorest farmers. There are many problems with such people growing crops to feed the West, let alone themselves.

      For example, a few months back I saw a TV documentary on the hideous practices involved in harvesting cocoa beans for sale to the European chocolate market. Very young children are enslaved in this trade as their small, light, agile bodies are ideal for climbing the trees to gather the crop. It was a revelation – I had no idea that when we indulged in the finest Belgian or Swiss chocolate, some poor little kid was being penned up without education or health care and forced to work at the behest of traffickers in this child labour market, bought and sold like livestock – all to satisfy the tastes of self-indulgent wealthy Westerners. When they grow too big to be useful they either ‘disappear’ or are dumped in townships to fend for themselves.

      As usual, it’s the shipping agents and middle-men who rake in the cash. How the predatory Monopolies and corrupt officials involved can be reined in is anybody’s guess. Shipping Golden Rice to those who need it most will likely also fall prey to these voracious jackals.

      It is curious that since much GM food is supposedly designed to make the crop need less herbicides, fungicides and fertilizers, the use of all those chemicals has risen, not declined. Wonder why that is?

      Much as the Climategate emails revealed the true extent of corruption within the Climate Industry, I think we need a whistleblower or two who will blow the lid off the graft and corruption within the Food Industry, from primary producers through trade agreements and food-miles to actual Manufacturers and the additives and preservatives they use. While VAD affects the poorest of the poor, I’d like to know why our own children and young adults are falling victim to the most aggressive and virulent cancers, unheard of fifty years ago.

      There’s a common denominator somewhere and I’d like to know what it is.


  8. DirkH says:

    People bringing up the patent argument should consider:
    A patent expires after 20 years.
    Did you use a computer to post your comment? All parts in a computer are covered by patents; a lot of them have already expired. Would you demand that a vital technology as computers must be free of patents so no company can get a hold on us? If not, why not?
    Are you driving a car? Did you know that car parts are covered by patents?
    I could go on…


    • Blackswan says:

      Hello DirkH,

      I understand how patents work and agree that they are necessary. For the subsistence farmers of the Third World, twenty years is a generation. Last time I looked, we don’t die without computers or motor vehicles or any other boon of modern technology.

      To monopolise and control food supplies which are the very stuff of life for so many, smacks of profiteering if not racketeering to me. Humanitarian Use Licenses and their incumbent conditions sounds to me like it would protect everyone’s interests.

      Maybe not enough of us in the West have ever been really hungry enough to be able to distinguish between ‘wants’ and ‘needs’. Guess we’ll get to find out soon enough as our respective Economies are trashed.


    • Pointman says:

      Hello and welcome Dirk.

      Golden rice also uses the work of at least thirty other companies who hold the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) for those pieces. Negotiating the humanitarian licenses must have involved hundreds of hours of committee time. Potrykus deserves a Nobel for that at least and $10,000 pa is a very generous threshold in terms of the developing world.



      • MikeO says:

        I understand Black Swan’s point about actions that disadvantage “Third World” subsistence farmers putting them in debt. I think that is entirely another issue though. The issue of this thread I thought is that there are many things the environmentalist’s oppose. Their objection is that GM is not natural and that everyone should have access to enough land to grow our own! At first sight this seems remarkably stupid. It does though show the argumenents against Golden Rice or any other GM product is contrived in order to block it’s use through Fear Uncertainty and Doubt. The effect of their policy would drive civilisation back to an agrarian economy. In such an economy 70% to 80% of population are farmers. This was what it was in the 1800s when the life span was about 40 and there was general misery. In recent times the Khmer Rouge tried this and the result (mass death) seems to be what the Environmentalist wants, is there another logical explanation?


  9. Brian H says:

    Edit note: “called the people preventing the introduction of golden rice, “murders”. I agree but would qualify it, they’re child murders.”
    People are not “murders”. Those are killings. People are “murderers”.

    A similar misuse seems to be common that bugs me: calling manufacturers “manufactures”. Which is not even a real noun, except when referring to the act of manufacturing.


  10. Blackswan says:

    It seems not everyone is grateful for, or prepared to use this type of agriculture …

    “Haitian Farmers Reject Monsanto Earthquake Relief Donation and Burn GMO Seeds

    In what many believe to be an attempt to backdoor its products into a new market, Monsanto has donated hundreds of tons of patented hybrid seeds, fertilizers and pesticides to earthquake stricken Haiti.”

    “Peasant leader Chavannes Jean-Baptiste told IPS News: Farmers want to preserve their traditional “organic agriculture that respects the environment and fights against its degradation. We defend native seeds and the rights of peasants on their land.” Jean-Batiste also said “Fighting hybrid and GMO seeds is critical to save our diversity and our agriculture” and maintained that a “county has a right to define it own agricultural policies, to grow first for the family and then for local market, to grow healthy food in a way which respects the environment and Mother Earth.”

    “First for the family and then for local market” without the World Trade Organization dictating what we must and must not import, grow, ban or quarantine.

    “Global Research called Monsanto’s initial donation of 475 tons of hybrid seeds and chemicals a “new earthquake” and “deadly gift”.

    In Australia in general, and Tasmania in particular, we have lost our disease-fee status for much of our Primary Industry as the WTO demands we honour our treaties and trade in anything they demand. These policies don’t always benefit everybody.


  11. creeper00 says:

    I’m becoming more confused instead of less. We recycle, reuse, resell and compost whenever possible. That would seem to make us environmentalists, yet we have little in common with the environmentalists cited here. What on earth are we to call ourselves? If I reject the “green” hierarchy’s agenda does that leave room for caring about the earth and her inhabitants?

    The more I learn the less I know.


  12. Lars Silén: Reflex och spegling says:

    Translated into Swedish and Reblogged with link back to the original article.


  13. De MA says:

    Reblogged this on De Morele Autoriteit and commented:
    Vitanime A tekort, gevolgen en oorzaken


  14. NoFixedAddress says:

    Just in case you need to grind your teeth at night.

    An update on an old Golden Oldie by Matt Ridley


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