Since then, the journalist says the Bulgarian authorities have interrogated her, have demanded she reveals her sources and the newspaper eventually fired her.
Following a month-long investigation, Gaytandzhieva says she found an Azerbaijan state airline was frequently transporting weapons to the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Turkey under diplomatic cover. The transportation of weaponry was, according to Gaytandzhieva, part of the CIA’s secret programme to supply anti-Assad fighter in Syria. The Bulgarian journalist says she found that the weapons made their way to al-Qaeda and ISIS terrorists in Syria and Iraq.
American Companies Implicated in Weapons Flights
In the report, Gaytandzhieva published a number of secret internal memos that had been leaked to her by an anonymous source.
In July this year, Trud published Gaytandzhieva’s report about Azerbaijan’s Silk Way Airlines carrying weapons with diplomatic clearance for Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Congo.
The story, which can be (1) read on Trud’s websites, notes how in December 2016, Dilyana Gaytandzhieva found and filmed nine underground warehouses full of heavy weapons with Bulgaria as their country of origin in Eastern Aleppo.
The report implicates American companies as being amongst the main customers of the “diplomatic flights for weapons” service provided by Silk Way Airline. The report states:
“According to the register of federal contracts, over the last three years American companies were awarded $1 billion contracts in total under a special US government program for non-US standard weapon supplies. All of them used Silk Way Airline for the transport of weapons. In some cases when Silk Way was short of aircrafts due to a busy schedule, Azerbaijan Air Force aircrafts transported the military cargo, although the weapons never reached Azerbaijan.”
The report goes on to state how the federal contracts registry signed a $26.7 million contract with Purple Shovel, a Veterans Administration (VA) certified service, which affords its clients with a single point of contact to transport materials and aid to anywhere in the world.
Silk Way Airling Flights
Gaytandzhieva’s story talks of US contractors involved in the same program for non-US standard military supplies. According to the report, Orbital ATK received more than $250 million in just two years and transported weapons on six diplomatic Silk Way Airline flights in the summer of 2015, flying from Azerbaijan to Bosnia and to Afghanistan.
Following the publication of her report, the Bulgarian investigative journalist, says she was interrogated, faced with demands to reveal her sources and eventually fired for exposing how the CIA ran weapons to terrorists through Azerbaijan.
On August 24, Gaytandzhieva posted a tweet, reading:
“I’ve just got fired for telling the truth about weapons supplies for terrorists in Syria on diplomatic flights.”
In (2) an interview with News Front, the journalist spoke of how she was fired without any explanation. Gaytandzhieva said in August she received a phone call from a special agent from the Bulgarian National Security Agency, who asked her to come to the premises without explaining the reasons for her being questioned.
She went to the office and they interrogated her about her sources. The journalist said she understood they had launched an investigation into the leaked documents about the weapon supplies for terrorists. Gaytandzhieva says she realized the Bulgarian officials were not investigating the content of the documents but rather the way she had received them.
A few hours later Gaytandzhieva got a phone call from the newspaper where she worked and was forced to sign her resignation letter. So far, she doesn’t understand the reason why she why her contract suspended.
Bulgaria Corporate Government Media
Gaytandzhieva went on to say how instead of having independent media, Bulgaria has mainstream, corporate media, which follows the official government agenda. As a result, it is very difficult for investigative journalists to speak up.
“It is about journalism in general,” says Gaytandzhieva, adding how her story shows how journalists are not allowed to work freely and independently. Gaytandzhieva also said how she is grateful for the likes of News Front and (3) RT for allowing her to explain the situation and reveal the truth.
Dilyana Gaytandzhieva’s story is the latest example of authorities attempting to quash journalists from reporting uncomfortable truths, thereby violating the freedom of speech.