The abuse of surveillance power makes it clear the US should be stripped of its exclusive rights to control and monitor world information, and financial regulation, the former French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin told RT.
RT: Let’s start with the fallout from the NSA scandal that effected France, French Ministers have called the revelations shocking, how surprised were you personally to find out the US government was snooping on millions of French citizens?
Dominique de Villepin: Well, we knew that some practices existed, but such an overall system – this came as a surprise for everybody. The importance of spying into private lives seems so big that it really looks something unacceptable between friends, between allies. And I think that it is very important now to find a way to change this system, because there is no argument, no reason that can be given to explain such a thing. Of course, fighting against terrorism is very important, and we should try to fight through cooperation – financial cooperation, intelligence cooperation, but spying on the private lives of citizens – this is something we cannot accept.
RT: But does France really have the right to complain here, when the Le Monde newspaper complained in July that the French government has a mass spying program of its own, and the Obama administration said that everyone is up to it?
DV: Well, I believe we should not mix the subject. That every country might use intelligence in order to counter terrorism – that’s, of course, something that one can explain. But to have such an extensive program going into private lives, going into using Internet, using a program like PRISM which is the one that the US has been using – this is something which is of so great importance that it cannot be accepted, in fact, what we are seeing today is the incredible privileges of the US administration of the control of the world system.
We knew that the US was controlling the financial system through the banking dominance of some big banks, through the dollar currency as the reserve currency, through the control of risk, for example, through the three most important rating agencies in the world. But controlling Internet, controlling the information in our world – this is a privilege, a monopoly that cannot be accepted. And I think it’s very important, while powers are changing hands, we are seeing today that the hyper-power of the US is no longer anymore a reality, we must go from a spirit of confrontation and spying, like the one we have seen, to cooperation.
And I think it’s very important that the whole world community comes together and puts things on the table and through discussion, through cooperation we find a way to control the system in a cooperative way in the interests of the whole world. For example, the Internet should be controlled not only by the US but the whole world community. The same for culture, we see the monopoly today of a country, like Hollywood by the US. Such monopolies are not acceptable in the world, because we know that if we are going to follow up in the same direction, then confrontation might be inevitable. We need cooperation, and we need to look at all the areas where we have such privileges in order to create a spirit of cooperation.
Reuters / Tobias Schwarz
RT: Francoise Hollande says he will push new EU data protection legislation, why did we not have similar calls earlier when other EU countries like Germany for example fell victim to surveillance?
DV: Well, I think there’s a lot of surprise coming out of all this. I do remember when the story came out in July, past July, I was in China and I came up very strongly against this information, saying that we could not accept such a thing. I think, France and the French government, the French President were willing to have more information. Now we are really seeing the extent of the spying on the world, on spying on private lives, spying on France and many other countries. And now that we know the extent, we really can all realize the necessity for taking a strong cooperative action and changing this overall system. Of course, we cannot accept – again, there is no reason that can be put forward to justify such techniques; terrorism cannot justify such a technique. We see that the system goes far beyond the objective of fighting against terrorism.
RT: And Barrack Obama has now of course said the US will review its intelligence gathering practices. Why were damning exposes and the outrage of a close Washington ally like France needed for the US to start reconsidering its methods?
DV: Well, I believe that for many people in the US this was normal; they keep saying that this is legal, that the US has the right abroad to utilize such techniques, and I think, that’s part of being exceptional that the US feels. But power doesn’t only give the possibility of using power. Of course, the US because of their power, they have a real responsibility in world governance, but they have to take this responsibility for good, in the general interests of the world. When we see that they are using such responsibilities in their own national interests, then we can see that there is a competition between world interests and national interests. And that’s why I believe it’s very important to change the world governance.
We need a Security Council in the UN that can go much further in implementing world interests. We need an economic security council that can change the financial and economic order. We see that giving to just one country the capacity to control and to monitor world information, world culture, world financial regulation – this is not in the interest of mankind, of humanity. And we should correct this.
And it’s very important now that through cooperation, through dialogue, all the countries of the world get together and try to find ways to monitor, to control, because we see that these excesses, these practices are not acceptable for democracies and for world interests.