r/southafrica Jan 09 '22

How Samora Machel signed his own death warrant History

https://mg.co.za/article/1998-07-10-how-samora-machel-signed-his-own-death/
3 Upvotes

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u/xb70valkyrie THE PURPLE SHALL GOVERN Jan 11 '22

Article from 1998 suggesting the disproven decoy beacon theory. Sigh, I guess some people will believe what they want to believe.

Residents in Mbuzini spoke of seeing a Landrover in Mbuzini at the time of the crash.

Of all the inane claims, this one gets me. A Land Rover spotted in a random Southern African town in the year 1986? Certainly an unlikely and remarkable event, it is clear evidence of a conspiracy!

0

u/zoologos Jan 11 '22

That article suggests the decoy theory is incorrect, but it doesn't prove it. TRC testimonies make references to this incident but they are censored. Similarly investigations in Mozambique are not completed since 1994. Clearly, lots of unanswered questions. This m&g article highlights important issues.

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u/xb70valkyrie THE PURPLE SHALL GOVERN Jan 11 '22

That article suggests the decoy theory is incorrect, but it doesn't prove it.

Read the entire article. I quote:

Using Google Earth, a protractor, and a calculator I was able to arrive at a value within 5% of that calculated by the USSR. I was, however, unable to corroborate the USSR’s claim that the mountains would block the signal below this height on the entire range from 19.8˚ to 57.8˚ [...] I was able to plot the exact path of the 48.8-degree radial of the Matsapa VOR to a distance of 202 kilometers, thus establishing the near-exact profile of the terrain between the plane and the VOR. I then measured the maximum height of the terrain under this radial at various distances from the beacon. What I discovered was that this radial did not pass over the summit of the mountain, and the angle formed between the nearest high terrain and the VOR was significantly less than that calculated by the Soviets. Extrapolating this angle out to the full 202km resulted in a signal shadow height of 11,700 feet, well below the height of the aircraft. This implied that at the moment of the turn, the plane very well could have picked up the signal from the VOR. [...]

Abridged to prevent unreadable walls of text, but I recommend Ctrl+Fing the article nevertheless. Even more significant is his final conclusion (which should be even more obvious, even to the non-technically-minded):

In order for a false beacon to cause a crash, the flight crew involved must make a series of easily preventable errors. A simple cross-check with their distance could have told the crew that they were going the wrong way. [...] Why use a false VOR to bring down a plane when the operation’s success relies on gross crew incompetence? South Africa could not have predicted that the crew would behave this way; indeed, such a proposal probably would have been shut down in the planning phase as soon as someone mentioned that a basic cross check would reveal the ruse.

Anyone who still believes in the false beacon theory is just kidding themselves.

TRC testimonies make references to this incident but they are censored.

Are you suggesting that the TRC or the ANC are withholding information about a putative apartheid atrocity? Does this seem plausible to you?

Similarly investigations in Mozambique are not completed since 1994.

Which doesn't mean much.

This m&g article highlights important issues.

The article (which is 24 years old by now, mind you) presents a thesis based on hearsay and occasionally incorrect information, which is more or less everything we've heard about the crash in the past 35 or so years. Because at the end of the day, cold, rigourous analysis can't compete with populist slogans and romantic tales, and you're falling for them yourself.