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A member of the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday threatened an amendment to block funding for Pentagon propaganda efforts, citing reports critical of their management and others exposing the Pentagon’s contractor for tax evasion.
Recent reports published by USA Today exposed the dubious nature and exorbitant costs of the Pentagon’s “Information Operations,” (IO) which the newspaper described as “the modern equivalent of psychological warfare,” or war propaganda.
Leonie is an international, woman-owned professional services company specializing in cultural advisory, strategic communication, and mission support services. We help our clients overcome the social-cultural challenges of engaging groups at the neighborhood level in hard to reach locations around the world.
Experience: National and international experience in multi-media communications and production. (Learn more about our Proven Experience)
Offices: Washington, VA; Los Angeles, CA; Tampa, FL; Baghdad, Iraq; Kabul, Afghanistan
Global Media Alliance: 200+ communication companies in 106 countries; Access to 91,000+ employees in 2,000 offices worldwide
Core Solutions: Research and Planning, Media Production and Distribution, Digital Media and Creative Services, Cultural Advisory Services
Awards: Excellent customer ratings and recommendations
Associations: USO, World Affairs Council, US Chamber of Commerce
Regional Expertise: Middle East, North Africa, South America, Southeast Asia
Leonie Industries, which the Vanden Brook and Locker investigation called the U.S.'s top contractor in Afghanistan, is an interesting company. It was founded in 2004 by a Lebanese-American brother and sister, Camille Chidiac and Rema Dupont, and has cobbled together $130 million in Pentagon contracts for, as Vanden Brook and Locker put it, "plant[ing] unattributed broadcasts, plaster[ing] the countryside in war zones with billboards, stag[ing] concerts and drop[ping] leaflets" in Afghanistan. An Army colonel told the USA Today reporters that the stuff the Pentagon was paying Leonie to was "gimmicky" and "unserious." The Pentagon has cited Leonie for failing to adequately heat its facilities in Afghanistan.
According to a 2010 lawsuit filed against Leonie, Chidiac, and Dupont—by none other than their father—the brother and sister had no experience at all in Middle East affairs when they founded the company, and in fact stole Leonie from their father after he asked them to establish it to house a family business. Chidiac, the lawsuit claims, left Boston University under a cloud in 2002 after accusations of "serious academic misconduct and/or plagiarism," which Chidiac blamed on a "Jew professor." Prior to his involvement in Leonie, USA Today reported, Chidiac "worked as an assistant director on a series of low-budget, direct-to-video movies."
After wresting Leonie from his father, the lawsuit says, Chidiac began paying himself $95,000 per month. Chidiac and his sister both own multi-million dollar homes in Los Angeles; according to USA Today, they both have been slapped with more than $4 million in federal tax liens.