Porkins Policy Radio episode 38 Homeland season 5 ep. 1

In honor of our favorite CIA television show, Homeland, Tom Secker and I have decided to cover every single episode with a separate podcast. We’ll be switching off hosting duties every other week.

In this inaugural episode, we take a brief look back to where all of our favorite characters left off at the end of season 4. Jumping ahead two and a half years, we see that Carrie has left the CIA, Saul has been promoted, and Quinn seems as crazy as ever. Tom and I discuss the new setting of this season, Berlin, and the implications of locating it in Western Europe. We also get into some of the major plot themes being laid out including: Edward Snowden, mass surveillance, ISIS and the threat of Islamic sleeper cells all over Europe. We break down how this season seems geared towards more of a niche audience immersed in the intelligence world, and round out this episode with our predictions for the rest of the season.

Download PPR episode 38
Show notes:

Homeland Season 5 episode 1 “Separation Anxiety”


Q Lazzarus – “Goodbye Horses”

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  • AvaJeremy  On October 9, 2015 at 2:29 am

    Homeland is about Carrie Mathison, and I think the CIA aspect and everything else is secondary. So since the show is about Carrie, the writers and producers will tailor everything to fit her perspective and experiences to drive whatever story they want to tell. They don’t necessarily focus on what is or isn’t a political hotspot obviously. They don’t even focus on anything that might really be going on in the world. But there is just enough truth in every morsel of fiction.

    The writers are focused on Lebanon because that is where Carrie was an analyst in the early 2000s before she went to Iraq. Beirut is also where Saul was the station chief in season 2. This current story is a continuation or recall to episode 2 of Season 2 entitled “Beirut is Back”. If you recall in that episode, Abu Nazir arrived in Beirut to meet with the high ranking husband of a woman who was an asset of Carrie’s. There was an attempt by the CIA to take out Nazir, but some of the henchmen guarding him ended up taking the bullets.

    In a sense, Beirut is Back again. The whole premise of the first part of season 5 is that someone is gunning for Carrie, and her whole past comes into question because she is attacked in Beirut (in episode 2, sorry spoiler alert!). So after that, she must put the pieces together and figure everything out in Berlin.

    Also, Russia will definitely play a factor as the season progresses, perhaps even leading into the finale.

  • Tenor  On October 10, 2015 at 12:04 am

    Please accept my sincere, but perfunctory, appreciation of you and Tom Secker’s work.

  • Tenor  On October 10, 2015 at 12:12 am

    Regarding the focus on Lebanon and Hezbollah, the Clean Break and other Zionist/Neo-Con policy papers seem to emphasize their destruction is a paramount goal that requires the destruction of Syria, etc., in order for Israeli domination of Lebanon to be complete. Of course, on the way to that, smashing functioning secular Arab societies is a necessary bonus.

  • Tenor  On October 10, 2015 at 1:34 am

    Dear Pearse & Tom,

    During your discussions of US spying on Germany, I was surprised you didn’t reference the NSA/CIA spying scandal in Greece that erupted into public view after its Olympics. The Intercept* published James Bamford’s piece on this 9/29/2015, https://theintercept.com/2015/09/28/death-athens-rogue-nsa-operation/

    The US persuaded the Greek government that its Olympic Games were targeted by terrorists so Greece should allow the NSA to plant a bug in its national Vodaphone Telecom. The US promised to remove the bug and stop all electronic eavesdropping after the Games. Apparently modern Greek politicians are unfamiliar with the Illiad. After the Olympics, NSA merely changed its targets & focused on important Greeks, e.g., the PM and his wife.

    Somehow, this came to the attention of Greeks, who were able to trace the intercepted digital flows to a CIA mobile in the U.S. Embassy. Shortly after the scandal broke, a 30-something senior Vodaphone engineer – who expressed work-related fears for his life to his fiance & who may have been recruited to plant the bug and/or was a whistleblower – appears to have been suicided.

    In February 2015, Greece issued an international arrest warrant for a Greek-American CIA officer who had worked under cover in the US embassy and reputedly was the best CIA recruter in Greece during his long stay.

    Bamford recorded two contradictory versions of the CIA role. The CIA claims that although the NSA is definitely required to notify the CIA station chief, and usually notifies the Ambassador, of its spying operations abroad, in this unique instance, it did not do so. On the other hand, the intercepted signals reportedly were sent to CIA phone in the Embassy.

    Similarly, the article tells a story of the CIA recruiting the humans need to install NSA supplied tech in targeted networks — e.g.,, the CIA officer is being accused of recruiting someone inside Vodaphone to plant the bug — while elsewhere the article refers to Snowden docs that sound like the NSA has its own programs for recruiting such foreign agents. In the halls of cracked mirrors, the intertwined tangle of CIA/NSA seems difficult to unravel – though one would think such ruthless ambitions would clash.

    *Hope I am not discredited in your eyes by referencing the Intercept. If I couldn’t listen to information, and even opinions, from people with whom I have serious disagreements, or understand that people act out of complexities of conflicting motives and needs, I wouldn’t have been able to benefit from the anti-imperialist information provided by Scott Horton. Of course, his loveable persona also washes away a lot of the revolting odors wafting from the spectrum of Free Marketeer ideologies.

  • qainiratha  On October 11, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    What I found very fascinating about this episode, is the CIA’s apparent comprehension of how muddy their strategy in Syria is. Espacially in the light of the overt Russian involvement in that conflict past week. A lot has bin said about Russia’s actions, and I don’t want to try to make a descent detailed statement about that here. But what seems very clear is that the US looks pretty incompetent right now in regards to Syria.
    What puzzled me most during the unfolding of the Russian involvement in Syria is precisely this. Why does the US look so foolish? People say Putin is a great strategist, but tbh his move into syria is not the most genius thing ever. It’s pretty straightforward. I mean the US was supposedly doing the exact same thing for more than a year. So why did the US, maybe more spefically the CIA, let it come to this? What is the strategy here? It seems highly implausible to me that the US was caught “off guard”. And this episode seems more proof of that. Surely if some writers in Hollywood figured out that the strategy in Syria was not realy going anywhere months ago, the CIA would have figured it out by now. And that’s leaving out the clear involvement of the CIA in the making if homeland. So, my point is, it’s almost as if the security state wants to look incompetent. And the logical follow up of that is: to what end? I have the feeling both the coming homeland episodes and the actual developments in Syria the coming weeks and months are going to shine a bit of light on this weird turn thingd are taking.

    Sidenote: thanks to both Tom and Pierce for their highly inspirational work

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