Arroseur Arrosé…

L'Arroseur Arrosé was one of the first ever movies to be filmed and shown in cinemas by the Lumière brothers in 1895. I'm not just saying that to display my (quite considerable) education but more importantly because this phrase (meaning The Sprinkler Sprinkled, litterally) has become an expression in French used to describe these moments of sweet irony where someone's proud plan fires back at him. The latest wikileaks affair (also dubbed cablegate) allows us to witness just such a moment of irony, although I find it more sour than sweet.

After 9/11, virtually every government in the western world, led by the US example, started toughening their home security measures, allowing all kinds of previously illegal surveilance measures like wire tapping, video-cameras in all kinds of place etc. Some people in the civil society were shocked, angered and scared by this drastic attack on civil liberties. This is what government answered: "If you have done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear". The implication was clear: only those who have done something wrong will be against government snooping into their private lives.

Wikileaks has just released an unprecedented amount of internal diplomatic communications emanating from US Embassies and Foreign Affairs. These memos are a treasure trove for journalists that allow citizens a peak into the cluelessness, arrogance and stupidity of those who govern us (alongside, presumably, some sound decisions, which of course journalists don't write about so much because it's what you'd expect and nowhere near as fun).

Politicians the world over are furious at being exposed as the normal, frail and petty human beings that they are, and they're going to quite astounding extremes to make it known. Wikileaks has been the target of massive DDOS attacks ever since these memos were released (which of course must be the work of evil illegal chinese hackers who just happen to work with the US government on this one) and has been kicked out of a string of hosting companies scared of the retaliation of governments. Right now, the French ministry for the digital economy, in a bout of anger and with no legal grounds whatsoever has ordered OVH (French hosting company of wikileaks) to take the content off the internet.

I don't really have an opinion about the release of these secret memos in and of itself. I can see both sides of the equation. I do have an opinion about the reaction politicians have. And I have one answer for them: "If you have done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear..."

L'Arroseur Arrosé.