Posts Tagged ‘Homeland’

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.

ClandesTime 065 – Homeland episode 10 ‘New Normal’

Published December 10th 2015

This much more dramatic episode of Homeland was the basis for a fun review discussion this week, touching on the hints towards the deep state, the portrayal of the Laura Poitras character, the implausibility of the CIA’s handling of the Russian double agent problem and Pearse’s hatred of Allison. We also discuss the mysterious origins of ‘terrorist videos’, particularly those coming to us via the SITE intelligence group, and how this is reflected in Homeland, and discuss why this episode made an explicit reference to the recent attacks in Paris. We round off talking about Pearse’s enjoyment of the Carrie-Astrid relationship in the show, any my love of post-industrial architecture as the setting for both a jihadi terrorist cell and the CIA’s discovery of that gang.

Homeland Season 5 episode 9: The Litvinov Ruse – Porkins Policy Radio

Published December 6th 2015

On this episode of our Homeland series Tom and I spent the first half of the episode dissecting the falsehoods that this particular episode as put forth in terms of the legality of spying. Suddenly aware of the rule of law and constitutional rights we see all the major characters in this episode pushing this agenda of doing everything by the book. Tom and I discuss how this is an obvious ploy to reassure the watchers that the CIA and other foreign intelligence agencies are now longer breaking the law when they spy on you. While all the characters are trying to gather legal evidence of Alison’s Russian mole status, Tom and I break down how the CIA would never go through the trouble of getting this sort of information let alone entertain the idea of going to a federal trial. We also touch on the series attempts to demonize the character of Alison; this time using her own sexuality as negative characteristic.

Later we move onto a topic that both Homeland and ourselves have mentioned time and time again: the gas attack in Ghouta, Syria. We discuss how Homeland has continually used the Ghouta massacre as a plot device and the meaning behind it. We talk about how the show is now advancing the narrative that not only is Assad using chemical weapons but also ISIS and other terrorist organizations. We break down how Homeland is trying to convince us that everyone in Syria is a “bad guy” and thus drastic action in Syria must be carried out. Tom and I also talk about the difficulty in actually producing and delivering Sarin, and talk about the Aum Shinrikyo attack in Tokyo as an example of a Sarin attack by a non-state actor. We talk about how this theme may be one of the overarching narratives that Homeland is pushing. Tom and I also talk about how Homeland’s ISIS cell wants UN recognition and the ridiculousness of it. We also talk about how the Islamic State already exists and has UN recognition in the form of Saudi Arabia. We round out the conversation by touching on our recent podcast with the Homeland Hackers and provide some more thoughts on why we believe they are in fact genuine.

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