Posts Tagged ‘Homeland’

‘We will do NO press on this’ – CIA emails on Claire Danes’ first visit to Langley

Published January 20th 2017

Newly-available emails show that when Claire Danes first visited CIA headquarters, she did so in very low-key fashion after a friendly CIA agent got her in. This confirms that the Agency have been involved in the production of Homeland since the first season, and shows how even their liaisons with the entertainment industry are sometimes done very quietly. In this piece I recap Danes’ first trip to Langley and identify the agent who took her there, who has since joined the Council on Foreign Relations.

Homeland Season 6 – Tom Secker on Porkins Policy Radio

Published January 19th 2017

This week I joined Pearse to talk about the beginning of the new season of Homeland, and how it isn’t quite what we expected. The entire 6th season is set between the US presidential election and inauguration day and while the president-elect is female, she is no Hitlery Clinton. Instead she is a peacenik who wants to withdraw from Syria, and believes the domestic terrorist threat is overblown. Meanwhile, a young Nigerian-American Muslim is arrested after making videos about the history of terrorism in the US, including the assassination of Meir Kahane in New York in the early 1990s. We discussed this case and why it’s odd that a CIA-assisted series would be drawing people’s attention to it.

Review: The CIA in Hollywood

Published May 8th 2016

Tricia Jenkins’ The CIA in Hollywood was one of the books that inspired me to start this site, and the recently published second edition expands considerably on the original. Because the CIA is resistant to FOIA requests and other forms of inquiry, Jenkins amassed a wide range of open source materials and interviewed various people both from the CIA (or formerly of the CIA) and from the entertainment industry. The result is an extremely accessible book on how the CIA operates in the film and TV industries and a very well researched academic textbook. For researchers, spy enthusiasts and fans of curios The CIA in Hollywood is not only an important book, but also an intriguing and at times disturbing read.

ClandesTime 066 – Homeland Season 5 Episode 12 ‘A False Glimmer’

Published December 23rd 2015

This review of the finale of Homeland discusses not just the final episode but the entire season. We reflect on what is new and different about this fifth season, from the religious dimensions being crow-barred into the show to the use of Russians as the enemy image and hackers as second-level terrorists. We examine the storyline of the recruitment of the Laura Poitras character by the BND, both drawing a parallel with the real life person and identifying this as a metaphor for Homeland as a state-sponsored show. We dwell on whether the CIA staff actually hate Laura Poitras, unaware that she may be an asset of some section of the Agency.

As the conversation progresses, we outline the idea that Homeland is an experiment to see how far they can make people doubt their own perceptions of not just the show itself but also the geopolitical realities it sometimes portrays. We explore the idea that Homeland is designed to assault the audience’s confidence in their own perceptions. We wrap up looking at Homeland’s obsession with predicting or commenting on current events, often events that happen during the production or broadcasting of the show. We outline Alex Gansa’s recent admissions that the major creative players in the show – including Claire Danes and Mandy Pantikin – attended four days of meetings at a private club in Georgetown. The meetings were arranged by former CIA deputy director John MacGaffin – the main consultant on Homeland – and involved currently serving CIA officers, State Department officials and White House staffers.

Homeland Season 5 Episode 11 – Porkins Policy Radio

Published December 20th 2015

On this penultimate episode of our Homeland series Tom and I begin by venting about our hatred of Alison. Next we move onto the shows continual use of women as negative characters. We discuss the similarities between Alison and real life Russian spy Anna Chapman. We look at the parallels between these two characters and the notion that Alison will receive a hero’s welcome if she returns to Russia. Next we explore if the Russian government would actually let an attack happen, as Homeland suggests, in order to galvanize the West to fight ISIS. Tom and I lay out some of our theories as to why the Russian’s don’t talk about the Gladio operations (Boston, 9/11, Paris) that they clearly are aware of. We discuss the emergence of yet another evil female spy this time in the form of a German Foreign Office offical. Later Tom and I discuss one of the major takeaways from this season: that the CIA no longer engages in torture. Through out this season we have seen several distinct plot lines that lead us to believe that the CIA no longer uses this brutal tactic. Tom and I discuss the moral issues surrounding torture and the aspects of torture that are never brought up in the debate. We discuss how the show uses the character of Marwan to illustrate that torture doesn’t work, and how this is most likely a deliberate propaganda move to wipe clean the CIA’s hands. We also note how the show has routinely made the German’s look not only like torturers, but Nazi’s and Stasi as well. Tom and I also touch on Hollywoods false portrayal of strong female characters in movies such as Spy, and how this is really just more of the same. Later we move onto the portrayal of Laura Poitras in the show and how this may reflect the CIA’s various desires to portray her as hero and villain. We round off the conversation by discussing some very interesting listener emails and tweets.

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