Behind the Scenes: The Syrian Embassy

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Yesterday we went to the Syrian Embassy in Washington, D.C. We wanted to take you inside the embassy to show you something you probably have never seen before. Last night we showed you the video of the inside of the embassy and our interview. Today the still pictures are posted. The Syrian Embassy is very modest compared to embassies of some other nations.

The Syrian Embassy is in an area where there are several other embassies, but not along "Embassy Row" (Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.) where the more elegant embassies can be found. What is interesting is the Syrian Embassy's neighbor: Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Yes, Washington, D.C., is a "small town" in many ways. People were also surprised to learn that the ambassador to Syria has three separate pictures of himself with President Bush, Secretary of State Rice and former Secretary of State Powell prominently displayed in the embassy. Yes, they posed with him while calling his country the rogue nation. Washington can be "cozy."

Here is another interesting fact: The Syrian ambassador (Imad Moustapha) has a blog and it is (mostly) unrelated to politics or international matters. He does post some official pictures. The address for the ambassador's blog is The ambassador says he writes it — no ghost writer for him! By the way, I suppose we should not be surprised that he has a blog on the Internet — before he became the Syrian ambassador to the United States, the Ph.D. ambassador taught computer science. So computers are a huge part of his life.

I got a voicemail from Catherine Herridge's husband JD yesterday… he called because Catherine was busy packing the family. Yes, Peter passed his last medical examination and does not need to stay near the hospital in Pittsburgh. The family can now go home. They will drive back to Washington, D.C., tomorrow. All is well — this is wonderful news. One other thing, could the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center be any greater?

By the way, did you see the articles about Katie Couric holding up a Delta flight for her producer? She got slapped around by the media for it. Don't forget that Katie Couric also did the unthinkable on the shuttle to NYC awhile back — she gave up her aisle seat to someone and took a middle seat! That gesture is also unthinkable — unthinkably nice — no one wants a middle seat. As we get ready for the Couric roll out, we might think about cutting her some slack — she is there because she has staying power and has beaten out everyone else. I don't know her (never met her), but I am willing to tip my hat to someone achieving great success rather than wanting to take her down a few notches because of jealousy.

Now for some e-mails — by the way, many of the e-mails relate to Mel Gibson and his recent arrest:

E-mail No. 1

Hi Greta, I didn't know Mel had a drinking problem. Now we all know. Anyway so many people look up to the so-called Hollywood stars and it takes something like this to see the true person come out. To me it just shows what kind of person he truly is.
Love your show but could you "please" add other topics in your show besides all war coverage. Is there any news on the stabbed real estate agent in Texas?
Tammy Billings
Lakeland, TN

E-mail No. 2

Dear Greta,
Mr. Gibson said some things he shouldn't have and apologized profusely for them. Leave him alone already. (I don't mean you personally of course) As far as preferential treatment? Of course he got it! He's a famous star! What would they have the sheriff do? Throw him in with the all the common criminals? O.J. Simpson didn't spend one day with the regular riff raff in jail, and he was accused of two murders! This is a perfect example of reasons not to drink. The big uproar wouldn't have anything to do with him being a person of faith?
Troy Woolridge

E-mail No. 3

Hi Greta,
Regarding Mel Gibson, first of all I think it is a shame when people drink too much and especially drink and drive. I was not there so I don't really know what happened, but I think it's curious to me how the remarks he made became public. I think because of his religious beliefs and the making of the movie "The Passion of Christ," I think Hollywood and people who dislike him and his views would do anything to bring some negative and nasty publicity to him. Now don't get me wrong I am not defending the remarks he made, I am only wondering if this was a preferred "Hollywood" actor if this would of even come out. Yes there is a double standard and we all know that.
Toni A. Petti

E-mail No. 4

Hi, Greta,
I personally LOVE Mel Gibson and I know I can forgive him. Alcoholism runs in my family, and it is very UGLY. I do, however, think he will be crucified by many for this one. I don't know what the hell he was thinking! I hope he gets help.
Your loyal viewer in Boerne, TX

E-mail No. 5

Dear Greta,
Somebody, somewhere is keeping a nugget of what really happened (that night) out of the story. Personally, I'm looking for one thing: If Mel sues for libel or slander, he's innocent. If he doesn't, and the case is hush-hushed into a slap on the wrist/community service, he's guilty.
P.S. Greta, Norm Crosby made his comedy career mispronouncing names ON PURPOSE. Give yourself a break — we do!
All the best,
Mick Rosati
Alta, WY

E-mail No. 6

Hi, Greta,
I have always thought of Mel Gibson as someone as having total control of his life. Too bad he has to be addicted to alcohol. I am sure he is truly embarrassed for his actions. Hopefully he gets help with his problem. Kind of makes me think of him differently now… the same as Nick Nolte's DUI problems… very sad
Paulette W.
Lodi, CA

E-mail No. 7

Mel made a mistake, but to crucify him is a bit harsh. I wonder how many other people have said outrageous things when they've had too much to drink. Mel admitted his drinking has been a problem all his adult life. He has apologized. He is now in rehab. I hope he is sincere about his disease, and not doing this to please the public, because it won't work. He has to do it for Mel, and his family. I do not think he is racist.

E-mail No. 8

Being artistic and wealthy does not excuse bad behavior in most places — Hollywood is one of many exceptions.
Beckie Drumheler
Charleston, WV

E-mail No. 9

Hello, Greta,
I'm more concerned about Mel Gibson's belligerent attitude toward the arresting officer than with his remark about Jews causing all wars. Anyone with a brain cell working knows Jews don't cause all wars. That statement was obviously the ranting of an ignorant drunk. I think he's damaged his reputation with fans.
Mel B.

E-mail No. 10

I'm tired of reading and hearing all this nonsense predicting that Mel Gibson's days in front of the camera are over. Nothing can be further from the truth. Mr. Gibson can always get a job as the weatherman on the Al Jazeera network.
Jim Greene
San Francisco, CA

E-mail No. 11

Speaking as a person who's been battling alcoholism for most of my life (4 years sober now!) I can truly believe that Mel Gibson did not mean any of the garbage he was spewing the night he was arrested. I have said sooo many asinine things that I did not truly believe when under the influence. I believe he needs to get and stay sober to prevent this from happening again. Hopefully those offended by his comments can get past what was said and realize Mr. Gibson is just an individual in serious need of help for his alcoholism.
Roland Durocher
Marshfield, WI

E-mail No. 12

Dear Greta:
How sad — Mel's human like so many others. Believe the story is blown out of proportion in relationship to its importance. As far as I recall, Mel never said he walked on water. He obviously was out of control if we are to believe the reports.
Let's be glad no one was injured, let him face his demons and try to regain his self control and get on with his life. Maybe he got special treatment, maybe not. Who cares? If the officer(s) recognized who he was and felt sorry for him, let due process take its course. He will no doubt have his day in court as he should. He seems to obviously regret his inappropriate actions and behavior and is probably mortified that his family will be embarrassed as was he once he sobered up.
Nancy Hagen,
Leesburg, FL

E-mail No. 13

Hi Greta,
I think it is terrible the ramblings of Mel Gibson. And as for his apology it is too little too late. I have always been of fan of his and thought him very gifted but after this I doubt I will want to see anything he makes.
And making the excuse he has a drinking problem just does not cut it. He chooses to take this path. He could have easily gone for help. I have no pity for him and I am not Jewish. He should definitely be ashamed of himself. I notice he got very little air time on FOX.
Pat Engel
Holtsville, NY

E-mail No. 14

Love your show! Regarding Mel Gibson, what he did and said was horrible. Please remember this, though: To err is human, to forgive... divine.
Susan Jackson
Mackinaw, IL

E-mail No. 15

Hi Greta,
Just read your report on Washington, D.C., crime rate and thought you might like to hear from a victim of crime first time: Some young men were determined to do a drive by shooting on me. I was able to defend myself by pointing my .45 at them — they left in a hurry and did not bother me.
Second time: Another nice young man was attempting to rob me when I reached for my gun in my pocket. All I saw was elbows and heels for the next 200 yards as he ran.
My wife was raped and if she had her .38 in her purse that night it would have been a different story. In all those cases you showed on the film clips none of the people who were killed had a firearm to defend themselves and had to wait for a cop to show up to write a report on their death. Here is an interesting statistic for you: "Of incarcerated felons surveyed by the Department of Justice, 34 percent have been driven away, wounded, or captured by armed citizens; 40 percent have decided against committing crimes for fear their would-be victims were armed."
Want to reduce serious crime by 34-40 percent? Well, maybe this is one solution. It seems to work really well in the other states, why not in D.C.? People should have a right to defend themselves with equal force.
Thanks for doing a good job.

E-mail No. 16

We love the pictures of "Pink" watching "On the Record." Our dog isn't that sophisticated — she only notices and runs at dogs she sees on the screen. Also loved the comments in support of your coverage of Catherine Herridge and little Peter.
Speaking of Catherine, guess what we got in the mail Saturday? Yep, a thank-you note from her for our gift to the organ transplant fund. What a classy lady — with all she has to do, she's still writing those five notes a day. God bless her and hers!
Edith Greer
Roanoke, VA

E-mail No. 17

I have been a big fan of Mel Gibson for many years. I thought he had beaten his drinking problem. I do hope he will get help and lick it once and for all. And I do hope his disparaging statements are just a result of his drinking and not what is truly in his heart.
At least he had the courage to apologize quickly and personally and not through his publicist which most entertainers do.
A fan of yours also,
Naomi R. Johnson
Lenexa, KS

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