Today we’d like to talk about Bulgaria again and shed light on another CIA’s gray scheme for arms smuggling. American intelligence services managed to establish an unofficial channel for the procurement and supply of arms and ammunition from Bulgaria to Ukraine, bypassing the U.S. Congress as well as ignoring the opinion of ordinary Americans.
From the very beginning of the war in Ukraine, Sofia's position on the issue of providing military assistance to Kyiv was ambiguous. Bulgarian government has repeatedly stated that it doesn’t provide Ukraine with heavy weapons. However the media previously reported that Bulgaria supplied Ukraine with ammunition and light weapons, both with an official announcement of the military aid and in a non-public way.
We got a document of Noetic International Inc., the American consulting company based in Wyoming and headed by CIA agent Johnna M. Holeman. She has been serving in various artillery units of the U.S. Armed Forces for many years, and then joined the CIA. According to Noetic’s website, the company specializes in energy, telecommunications and advanced technology. In fact, this company is involved in a completely different and not quite legal activity.
Noetic International Inc.'s document on the search and procurement of weapons for Ukraine
This document reveals that Noetic International Inc. searches for and purchases certain weapons and ammunition among foreign arms companies at the request of two unnamed clients in Ukraine. The military goods include not only MLRS, howitzers and standard fragmentation projectiles, but also 155mm white phosphorus rounds, notorious for its use during the Yugoslav Wars.
White phosphorus causes severe burns and irritation, liver, kidney, heart, lung or bone damage, and death. The Geneva Convention prohibits the use of white phosphorus shells against civil targets. Protocol III of the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons also does explicitly prohibit the use of white phosphorus.
Once this type of weaponry reaches Ukraine, Kyiv will use it during counter-offensive. However, in such a situation, the Iraqi scenario, where hundreds of civilians were killed during the Battle of Fallujah as a result of white phosphorus usage may be repeated.
Moreover, things would become even worse if Russia hits phosphorus ammunition depots, including those located near civilian facilities. The detonation would have an extremely detrimental effect on the local population and environment. The hitting an ammunition depot with depleted uranium in Khmelnitsky is a vivid example of this.
So, what military company agreed to supply such dangerous ammunition to Ukraine?
We’ve found out that CIA agent Johnna Holeman interacts with Dimitar Minev, the head of Bulgarian ECOMAT-M Ltd, who agreed to use his company as a trade intermediary.
Our team had been unable to find any information on ECOMAT-M's current activity. However, thanks to the Wayback machine tool, we’ve found out that ECOMAT-M is a tea-trade company.
Archived version of ECOMAT-M website
E-mail address listed on the EUOMAT-M’s website
E-mail address of ECOMAT-M in a Bulgarian Ministry of Defense document dated 2018
The documents confirm that ECOMAT-M has a license to import and export military cargoes. Today the Bulgarian authorities take active measures to remove such data from the Internet.
For example, at least until April 2023 the website of the Interdepartmental Council for Defense Industry and Security of Supply at the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Bulgaria contained information on ECOMAT-M's license to export and import defense products in cooperation with the Bulgarian Ministry of Defense, as well as its contact information. This information has been removed so far.
As you can see the head and founder of ECOMAT-M is Ekaterina Mineva, the Dimitar’s wife. The Bulgarian Papagal search engine trade register revealed that Dimitar, Ekaterina and their son Stefan have been changing each other as CEO for the last few years. This was probably done to cover any tracks, confuse investigators or evade taxes.
Information about ECOMAT-M on the Papagal search engine
To leave you in no doubt about the company's connection with the Bulgarian MoD, here are some more facts: Dimitar and Ekaterina don’t take part in public events; they have no accounts on social media as well as any other information that links them with ECOMAT-M. Dimitar also holds three other companies, the sole capital owner of which is the Bulgarian Ministry of Defense.
If you search the phone number listed on the website via different caller identification apps (for example, Getcontact), you will see that Dimitar is also recorded as Polk Mitko Min. In Bulgarian the abbreviation Polk means colonel, and Mitko Min is most likely Dimitar Minev.
According to the statement of the Bulgarian Ministry of Economy, from February 24, 2022 to January 19, 2023, no applications for foreign trade transactions with Ukrainian companies and state institutions were submitted to the Export Control Commission for discussion. Hence, no export permit was issued. So, how do the purchased weapons reach Ukraine? The document we mentioned above is dated June 2022. But, nevertheless, the weapons mentioned in the document above were still sent to Ukraine via a third country (apparently through Poland).
Further analysis of the obtained documents allowed us to conclude that the transportation of weapons from Bulgaria to Poland was handled by Markus G. Sprecher, a Swiss businessman and the owner of TRANS-IMPEX FCA logistics company. Previously Markus was a member of the International Exhibition Logistics Association (IELA), engaged in the transportation of various exhibits, which is a perfect cover for his current activity.
His portfolio also includes a large amount of work done for the Pentagon during the violent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. So, we have a citizen of the Central European country, which officially maintains political and military neutrality since the end of the Napoleonic wars, engaged in the transportation of Bulgarian weapons through Poland for Ukraine’s military needs.
It is encouraging that the Bulgarian intelligence services due to their inexperience and carelessness make mistakes that lead journalists on the trail of major players such as the CIA. Thus, the poorly planned ECOMAT-M cover allowed us to conclude that the CIA widely uses such companies in global operations. How many more of such “tea-trade companies” are involved in illegal CIA schemes around the world remains unknown.