The most stupid words of 2009 have already been written. They come from the pen of Hamid Ghodse, president of the International Narcotics Control Board, in his foreward to its latest report.
He writes: "multilateral drug control should be considered one of the greatest achievements of the twentieth century."
The Board adminsters the prohibitionist policies of the 1961 UN Convention on Narcotics and its various additions; 95 per cent of UN member states have signed up to the rules restricting the use of 119 narcotic substances.
The result has been an unmitigated disaster. Demand for narcotics has not diminished but soared, fuelled by an unregulated criminal trade worth hundreds of billions worldwide. Corruption has muliplied, police forces and governments have been subverted, British troops die in Afghanistan, millions of users have been imprisoned for doing something that caused no problem to others, and harm reduction policies have been given little room for development.
I have no reason to believe that Mr Ghodse is in the pay of the drug barons, but like their 1920s US predecessors in the era of alcohol prohibition their immense profits depend on the application of the Narcotics Board's control policies.
They don't have to pay him; he is their dupe.