By Eyder Peralta
Northwest Public Radio, May 24, 2012
The co-owner of a propaganda firm that received about $120 million in Pentagon contracts since 2009 has admitted to running a misinformation campaign against USA Today journalists.
Leonie Industries put out a statement today saying the campaign was run by Camille Chidiac, who owns 49 percent of the company, using "non-Leonie funds to participate in the online activity."
"This was the act of an individual, not the company," the statement reads. "Leonie was not aware of and did not authorize Mr. Chidiac's online activity concerning the reporters."
The misinformation campaign stems from articles the paper ran in February that exposed criticism for the millions of dollars spent on "poorly tracked marketing and propaganda campaigns" in Iraq and Afghanistan.
USA Today reports that in his campaign against the reporters, Chidiac created "fan sites" with #s matching the names of the reporter and editor who worked on the stories and then filled those sites with content that criticized the journalist's past reporting. One expert quoted by the paper called it a "sophisticated reputation attack."
Today, Chidiac came clean telling USA Today,
Of course the bigger question here is whether the U.S. government or its contractors had turned its propaganda machine on American citizens. (The Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 severely limits the propaganda the U.S. can use nationally.) Leonie tried to distance itself from Chidiac. In its statement, Leonie said Chidac has stepped down in 2008 as president of the company. But USA Today points out that Chidiac "has continued to represent Leonie at various conferences..."
The Pentagon told the paper that it was "deeply disappointed to read this disclosure from Leonie Industries," adding that "smear campaigns — online or anywhere else — are intolerable, and we reject this kind of behavior..."
In 1995, Camille Chidiac started his career working in media production departments for television and film studios in Hollywood, CA. Some of Camille Chidiac’s credits include work as a commercial radio and tv producer, a music video producer and director, an executive producer, stage manager and first assistant director with over 35 feature film and television credits to his name. Chidiac got his early film production experience at the same independent studio that launched the careers of Martin Scorsese, Ron Howard, James Cameron, Curtis Hanson, and Francis Ford Coppola.
Some of the companies Camille Chidiac has worked for include Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox, MTV Networks, Vh-1 Networks, HBO Films, Miramax, Turner Network, BMG music, Island/Def Jam and Capitol Records.
2002 Black Friday (first assistant director)
200 1 Instinct to Kil l (first assistant director)
2001 Black Scorpion (TV series) (first assistant director: second unit - 2 episodes)
– Fire and Brimstone (2001) (first assistant director: second unit - as Camille C. Chidiec) – Home Sweet Homeless (2001) (first assistant director: second unit - as Camille C. Chidiac)
2000 Submerged (additional first assistant director)
2000 Cement (additional first assistant director)
2000 The Stray (first assistant director: second unit)
2000 Love Her Madly (first assistant director: second unit)
1999 From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman's Daughter (video) (first assistant director: blue screen unit - as Camille C. Chidiac)
1999 Dirt Merchant (first assistant director)
1999 Hitman's Run (first assistant director: second unit)
1999 Jimmy Zip (first assistant director
1999 Active Stealth (video) (first assistant director)
1997-1999 L.A. Heat (TV series) (second unit first assistant director - 20 episodes, 1997-1999) (first assistant director - 8 episodes, 1997-1999)
– Legacy of a Buffalo Soldier (1999) (first assistant director) – Cop Killer (1999) (second unit first assistant director) – Danny the Eel (1999) (second unit first assistant director) – Bad Reputation (1999) (second unit first assistant director - as Camille C. Chidiac) – In Harm's Way (1999) (first assistant director) See all 28 episodes »
1999 Last Chance (first assistant director)
1998/II Black Thunder (first assistant director - as Camille C. Chidiac)
1998 Recoil (first assistant director)
1998 Running Woman (first assistant director: second unit - as Camille C. Chidiac
1997 The Underground (first assistant director: second unit)
1997 Executive Target (first assistant director: second unit)
1997 Little Bigfoot (second second assistant director)
1997 My Ghost Dog (TV movie) (first assistant director)
1996 Pure Danger (video) (second assistant director: second unit, second second assistant director)
2001 Celebrity Undercover (TV series) (stage manager - 4 episodes)
– Incubus (2001) (stage manager) – Green Day (2001) (stage manager) – Charisma Carpenter (2001) (stage manager) – Tara Reid (stage manager)
1997 L.A. Heat (TV series) (production coordinator - 2 episodes)
– Too Young to Die (1997) (production coordinator) – Daybomber (1997) (production coordinator)
1996 The Sweeper (video) (production assistant)
1996 Skyscraper (video) (production assistant)
2010 The Road to Nkunda (documentary) (co-producer)
1997 True Vengeance (video) (grip)
2010 Norman (special thanks)
Camille is the 7th great-grandson of General John Sevier, the first Governor of Tennessee