Wednesday, February 23, 2005

'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Feb. 23

Guest: Robin Wright, Laura Trevelvan


KEITH OLBERMANN, HOST: Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow? The lost souls of 9/11. It is now official. The effort to identify the dead at the World Trade Center is over for 1,161 victims. There are no remains to bury.

The president finishes up in Germany, says there is unity about a policy toward Iran and nuclear weapons. But what is that policy?

History uncovered. Again. Now it is Martin Luther King in color from the pulpit the day after 1965's infamous bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama.

And more wedding snafus for Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles. The public has to be invited, which is OK because the queen won't be there, nor her husband, nor his two brothers, nor Charles' sister. Yes, it is another episode of desperate royal house wives.

All that and more now on Countdown.


OLBERMANN: Good evening. It was an announcement that all of us to some degree have known was coming for the last 1,261 days, especially those of us in the New York area, especially those of us in the families or in the honorary families of the more than 1,100 men, women and children for no human remains were identified amid the ruins of the World Trade Center.

Our 5th story on the Countdown, finality, or in the case of the 9/11 victims of New York, a lack of finality. Graves empty, funerals without caskets. For 1,161 families, and in a sense, for 9,720 unidentified bone and tissue fragments that is way it will have to be. Until further notice, the medical examiner of the city of New York announcing that the skill of forensic science has now been exhausted for now. For the foreseeable future, it has given up trying to I.D. the body parts.

It has been a grim and solemn effort and it began on that awful sun bleached day in September of 2001.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: KFWE's Keith Olbermann has a live update from New York City.

OLBERMANN (voice-over): Body parts found on the 14th floor of the World Financial Center. With efficiency and dispassionate of a bank teller, a woman dispatcher repeat the grim news, body parts found on the 14th floor of the World Financial Center.

That was the Friday, September 14. And by then, the grisliness of those discoveries had been superseded by the hope of closure, of identification by D.N.A.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I spent my entire career looking at dead bodies and looking at the destruction of one human can do to another. I've never seen anything like this.

OLBERMANN: For 3 years and 5 months, Dr. Robert Shalier has led the New York medical examiner's office in its forensic examination of 9/11. From a small cramped lab, Dr. Shalier and his colleagues respectfully but meticulously studied nearly 20,000 human remains. They have sometimes had no more to work with than a single tooth. Yet they identified well over half of all victims.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would love to be able to identify everybody. I don't think that's possible.

OLBERMANN: As of September 11, 2003, only 40 percent had been identified. Today, the number is 58 percent. But for the still unidentified, the science is not there, not yet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Michael Paul Rigusa.

OLBERMANN: The family of New York City firefighter Michael Rigusa was lucky, his remains were not identified, but in November 2002, his parents were reminded that he had given blood. There would be something of Michael Rigusa to bury.

And what of the others who have nothing or little to inter?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kenneth Albert Zellman.

OLBERMANN: Barry Zellman's brother, Ken, was on the 99th floor of the North Tower that morning.

Part of Ken Zellman's right leg was identified. That was all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE; We made the decision that enough. It's been two years. And now it is time to bury what we have.

OLBERMANN: His family had held out, hoping for more. Just as the medical examiner's office had held out, hoping for more.

The families, and the scientists have become interconnected in a way no one could have imagined. By some perverse fate, this building, better known as the City Morgue, has become a sacred place for many of the loved ones.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: About every 3 weeks, we still have a meeting at the medical examiner's office with families.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're great at the medical examiner's office.

They want to do right for the families.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're as concerned about our emotions and our well being as we are for theirs. It has become a very close working relationship, almost a family type of relationship.

OLBERMANN: Thus close working relationship evolved into something new. For years, the examiner's office had predicted the 1,100 or more would not be identified. The final number is 1,161.

But preparations have been made for them. The unidentified remains will be interred, carefully preserved and housed, in hopes that someday, they will be identified.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE; I'm hopeful that sometime in the future, there will be technology that can address those samples so that these remain can be returned to the families or maybe even make new identifications from them.

OLBERMANN: In the interim, they will be kept here, below the memorial that will rise soon enough to all of the dead of the World Trade Center. Their resting places will have no names or grave stones, but we will remember, nonetheless, that they are here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE; And my father, William Ralph Rob. I love you, daddy.


OLBERMANN: All the families whose lives were redirected by the finality of that awful day share one minimal wish, if only they had one last contact with their loved ones. But even that can simply prove just as painful, albeit in a different way. They buried a soldier today in Columbus, Georgia. He had not only prophesied to his family that he would not be coming back from Iraq, but as our correspondent Don Teague reports, he had made extraordinary preparations for when he didn't.


DON TEAGUE, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The night before deploying to Iraq with the 3rd Infantry Division, Sergeant First Class David Salie recorded a series of videotaped messages for his wife and children.

SGT. DAVID SALIE, U.S. ARMY: You're without a daddy in person, but I'm always with you.

TEAGUE: It would be Salie's third combat tour after Panama and the first Gulf War.

(on camera): Sergeant Salie did not have to go to Iraq, he had been assigned to work here as an instructor at Fort Benning Air Borne School. But Salie felt so strongly about the U.S. mission in Iraq, he volunteered for a unit he knew would go.

(voice-over): Deep down, he also knew something else.

DEANNA SALIE, WIFE: He rolled over and looked at me and said, Dee, I'm not coming back.

TEAGUE: That's why he secretly recorded the videos to be viewed only if he didn't return. And then Valentine's Day, just 4 days into his Iraq tour.

LT. COL. JIM SALIE, (RET): FATHER: It was just a sinking feeling. It was a terrible, miserable day.

TEAGUE: Salie was killed by a roadside bomb.

DEANNA SALIE: I am a little mad at him for leaving me, because I don't know how to live without David.

TEAGUE: His family left only with his words.

DAVID SALIE: You're without a husband in person, but I'm always with you.

TEAGUE: He also spoke of love of country and helping the Iraqi people.

DAVID SALIE: This is my chance to hopefully help some people live the same kind of life that we have.

TEAGUE: Words of comfort to Deanna who knew her husband was willing to sacrifice his life for others.

DEANNA SALIE: And he send word to a lot of the single soldiers' families, don't worry about your son, I'll stand in front of him.

TEAGUE: Today at Fort Benning, soldiers stood to honor Sergeant Salie. His brother who flew back from Iraq just yesterday.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On behalf of a grateful nation...

TEAGUE: Presented the flag to Salie's wife.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is my distinct honor to present this flag to you.

TEAGUE: No words for the sorrow, but Sergeant Salie left his own words...

DAVID SALIE: The price was worth it.

TEAGUE: For those who loved him.

DAVID SALIE:... in my heart.

TEAGUE: Don Teague, NBC News, Fort Benning, Georgia.


OLBERMANN: If the family has unwanted finality, if the World Trade Center victims have little hope of any finality, then those who loved Terri Schiavo have again today have finality postponed. Thought to be on the verge of giving final judicial consent to the removing of the feeding tube keeping the brain damaged Florida woman alive, Judge George Greer ruled otherwise today.

Our correspondent Mark Potter is in Clear Water, Florida, with the details. Mark, good evening.

MARK POTTER, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Good evening to you, Keith. Judge Greer said that he issued the two-day stay, which goes until Friday at 5:00 p.m. Eastern time, something to give himself more time to put together his decision.

He said after hearing from the attorneys, at a hearing today and receiving a flood of paper work, he simply needed that time to write down his thoughts.

We're told that we will likely get the order now Friday afternoon, probably late in written form. We do not expect to have another court hearing. And we will be here until we receive that ruling.

Now, the judge has several options. One, he can simply end that stay Friday afternoon, which then clears the way for Terri Schiavo's feeding tube to be removed right of way. Or he can order the tube removed, but then give the family, the parents, some time before that happens to prepare for that and perhaps to file appeals. Or he could honor their request and issue a much longer stay so that they can pursue other legal avenues and perhaps have Terri reexamined using new medical technology.

Now, George Filos, the attorney for Michael Schiavo, Terri's husband, and legal guardian who has long argued that the feeding tube should be removed, says that if he gets green light, the full legal clearance to remove the tube, he will do that immediately arguing that there have been too many delays all along.

The parents, however, who want Terri kept alive, say what's the rush? They say this is a life and death decision and it should precede slowly still. And they say they simply cannot fathom that their daughter would be starved to death. So against that back drop, the ruling Friday is seen as critical. But Keith, even that may not end this battle that has been fought for years in court. Back to you.

OLBERMANN: Mark Potter in Clearwater, Florida. Great thanks, Mark.

Also tonight, President Bush in very clear terms saying the U.S. and Europe are united on an Iran policy, except Europe's Iran policy appears to be a carrot and ours, a stick.

And history newly found on tape the day after Selma's infamous bloody Sunday in 1965. Martin Luther King on film in color. You're watching Countdown on MSNBC.


OLBERMANN: Yesterday, some part of the vast floating American consciousness paused and fixated on one of its favorite subjects: John Fitzgerald Kennedy. New home movies of the 35th president had been released by the JFK Library. Of practical news value, they contained only the unexpected images of him playing golf, something he had been loathe to let photographers capture after he had attacked President Eisenhower for having played golf so much.

But we watched even if we didn't know exactly why we watched. In our 4th story on the Countdown tonight, something in the same vein but far more relevant to this Black History Month. It was Sunday, March 7, 1965. Civil rights protesters were beaten as they attempted to cross the Pettis Bridge in Selma, Alabama. It was Bloody Sunday.

The day after, the Reverend Martin Luther King would meet with other leaders to discuss what to do next. And nearly 40 years later, it turns out someone at that meeting was carrying not just a movie camera, but a color movie camera. Our correspondent is Mike Royer.


MIKE ROYER, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Not many folks had color video cameras in the '60's. Not many had movie cameras at all. But Lawrence Huggins did have a color camera and 40 years ago, he captured these images of a calm, yet determined Martin Luther King Jr as he helped organize hundreds of marchers.

This is the first time these pictures have ever been broadcast. Pictures of Dr. King in the pulpit of Brown Chapel Church the day after Bloody Sunday. He came to encourage marchers, those who just the day before had been tear gassed and beaten.

LAWRENCE HUGGINS, FILMMAKER: The first time I saw him in person was the Monday night mass media after Bloody Sunday when he came back to greet the 450 ministers and people from across the nation, that he had invited to come to Selma to help us out here.

ROYER: Along with Dr. King at the pulpit, another civil rights pioneer, Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth, seen here to Dr. King's right.

This extraordinary film has been kept in the home of Lawrence Huggins all these years. He's held on to the film, reluctant to share it until now. When Huggins took these picture, his thoughts weren't so much about preserving history. These fellow marchers were family, friends, students, fellow teachers, all family.

The video shows a young John Lewis from Georgia. This very brief shot of Dr. King with marcher who had come all the way from Hawaii to join in the march.

And after Bloody Sunday, these images show that the struggle for voting rights began to attract a wide range of marchers from Catholic priests, other clergy and a mixture of black and white citizens who knew the time for change had come.

HUGGINS: All the marchers on Bloody Sunday was African-Americans.

After Bloody Sunday, the march became an all-American march, because Dr. King went on television that same Sunday and invited people of good will across America to come. And people from all walks of life, about 450 ministers from many different faiths and Americans came.

ROYER: And no matter faith, no matter the race, they all came together for a single cause. And now 40 years later, we have a new glimpse into just what happened, a new window into history, thanks to Lawrence Huggins seen here 40 years ago, and his 8-MM camera.

Mike Royer, NBC News, Selma, Alabama.


OLBERMANN: From history to his hysterics, some Japanese police not making their brethren feel too proud tonight in "Oddball." Run away! Run away!

And the art of the handshake: From the politicians to the average Joes, what your glad-handing says about and you the other guy. Stand-by.


OLBERMANN: Time now to redirect our attention from the strife and care of the day's real news to consider instead the enlightenment provided by art and beauty. And when I say art and beauty, of course, I mean, the gates and guys walking through fire in Thailand.

Let's play "Oddball."

A New York cab drivers are many things, but who would know they were art critics? A city cabbie, making a sharp turn in New York Central Park, hit a of patch ice, slid over the curb and hit two of the gates.

No, no, sir, these are not supposed to be knocked down until Saturday no doubt by angry villagers carrying flaming torches. Unfortunately, spare gates are standing by. Within half an hour, the two damaged crochet wickets had been replaced, for now.

Then there's anti-Christo. As he calls himself, Hargo. He designed this, the gates of Summerville, Massachusetts, which stretch from Jeff Hargidorn's (ph) front door to his kitty litter box, stretching to his refrigerator and finally to his stairs.

He put pictures up on his Web site. And within 24 hours, has gotten four million hits, offers from museums and there will be a special ceremony tomorrow at City Hall in Summerville.

Lastly, Hargo's (ph) rival, Christo himself, a has a new target. No, not Iran, although I'm thinking that could kill 2 birds with one stone, Colorado. Something called "Over the River," described as a kind of roofing over of a four to six-mile stretch of the Arkansas River in 2008 or 2009. Given that their last project in Colorado, Valley Curtain, was torn apart by high winds in 1972, news about "Over the River" might have Colorado residents racing for grandma's house.

Speaking of racing for safety, these are Tokyo policemen and they are running away from a criminal. The two officers apparently being pursued by a guy with a baseball bat who had just crashed his car into a waterfront building. Not an atypical human response to this situation, but as Japan's prime minister noted, when the culprit came towards them, they didn't try to restrain him but ran away. I was surprise asked amazed when I saw this.

The man was eventually arrested, charged with resisting arrest with threatening officers with a baseball bat. The suspect was then tested for steroids.

Another page now from our files, strange things people do in other lands. Get out the aloe vera and the bactine, because it is the annual fire walking festival in the southern town of Patani (ph) in Thailand celebrating what is described as a local Buddhist deity.

One who apparently likes to see his co-religionsists walk, run or dance through flame.

Does the phrase stop, drop and roll have any meaning to you people?

Some ran alone, some ran in groups, some with images of Lin Qorn Yu (ph) on their shoulders and some with dragons on their heads.

The fire run is supposed to burn away bad luck to say nothing of any unsightly, or unwanted hair or skin.

President Bush and his European welcome. A surprising number of protesters catching police off guard in Germany. And what is the Iran policy that the president says he and the Europeans have settled on?

And how could there be space in it to permit countries to sell Iran potential weapons of war. These stories ahead.

But now here are Countdown's top three newsmakers of this day.

No. 3: Rita Duffy, an Irish artist. She wants to tow an iceberg from Norway to the harbor in Belfast. An Iceberg to Belfast. Belfast, where they launched Titanic. Nice.

No. 2: Albert Tasker of Key West, Florida. He is a prosecutor for the Florida state's attorney's office in Monroe County. And after a few drinks, he reportedly had this great idea to run naked across a parking lot of a motel and then jump into the car of a friend. So he did. Except that jumping naked part, he jumped into the wrong car.

The woman driver who was waiting for her boyfriend had him arrested.

And No. 1, Sean Connery, the actor in a legal scuffle with his downstairs neighbors in New York City. They say they're daughter went to his door to ask him to turn the music down, and Connery's appearance and response quote, "was that of a rude, foul-mouthed, fat old man." "The game is afoot Trebek!"


OLBERMANN: On the diplomatic level, it is as if the disagreement between continental Europe and the United States over the war in Iraq never happened. What lies beneath the surface of that in the hearts of Jacques Chirac or Gerhard Schroeder is anybody's guess.

But in our third story on the Countdown tonight, no guessing is required as to how the official statement reads from the various heads of state on the president's tour of Europe. As David Gregory report from Germany, it is this: We may not have agreed on Iraq, but we all agree on Iran.


DAVID GREGORY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The president was treated to a warm welcome in Germany today. The bitterness over the Iraq war faded, though not forgotten. In its place, the first signs of common ground on Iran. Both Mr. Bush and Chancellor Schroeder agreed today on the goal.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Iran must not have a nuclear weapon for the sake of security and peace.

GREGORY: How to force Iran to give up its nuclear designs is where Europe and the U.S. remained divided. Germany, France And Britain are pushing for economic incentives, diplomatic carrots over sticks. But the president has taken a harder line, refusing to join the negotiations or rule out military action. Today, however, Mr. Bush tried to calm European nerves, still frayed over Iraq.

BUSH: Iran is not Iraq. We will work with them to convince the mullahs that they need to give up their nuclear ambitions.

GREGORY: Aides say during his private talks with Mr. Schroeder, the president signaled new openness to the European approach, so long as Europe and the U.S. retain a tough united front against Iran. Iran has become the new test for the U.S. and its allies as they try to move beyond the Iraq debate. In a moment of reflection, the president suggested today that much of the problem is that Europe saw that 9/11 attacks as a mere passing moment in history.

BUSH: For me and my government and many in the United States, it permanently changed our outlook on the world. Now, those two additives cause us to sometimes talk past each other. And I plead guilty at time.

GREGORY: Tomorrow, Mr. Bush concludes his European tour with what is shaping up to be a testy summit with Russian president Putin. Amid U.S. demands that Russia end its recent backslide from democratic reforms.

David Gregory, NBC news, Mainz, Germany.


OLBERMANN: The greeting was not 100 percent warm. Even protest organizers in Mainz were surprised when 12,000 people showed up to carry banners reading Bush go home, and number one terrorist. They and the police had expected about 6,000. The rally never got within the president's earshot. There were no arrests, although police did confiscate one poster said, we had our Hitler, now you have yours. That protest focused on Iraq.

Yet clearly the Bush-Schroeder spin forward was about Iran. This countries foreign focus has obviously changed on that subject, but to what?

In hopes of getting some answers to that question, I'm joined now by Robin Wright, diplomatic correspondent of the "Washington Post." Good evening, Robin.


OLBERMANN: A simple way of asking this first, do we have a policy and a strategy towards Iran and nuclear weapons, and if so, what are they?

WRIGHT: Well, the administration has a very strong position when it comes to Iran's weapons of mass destruction. And has taken a very firm line in insisting Iran that has to abandon any effort to convert a peaceful nuclear energy program into a weapons program. But on the broader issue of what to do about Iran politically, since it is one of the three countries in the axis of evil, the administration has a very difficult time figuring out what policy will work.

During the first Bush administration, there was no real formal policy. It was always on hold. One of the first challenges the administration faces now is coming up in the next few weeks or months with a more specific policy. We're beginning to see the outlines of it in the language Bush is using in Europe.

OLBERMANN: Is that language beginning to be used or still being used somewhat strategically, as they used to call it, deking (ph), a deliberate attempt to confuse the Iranians? Let me play that strange sound bite from Mr. Bush's news conference yesterday and then get that answer to that question.


BUSH: This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous. Having said that, all options are on the table.


OLBERMANN: There was laughter in the room there after the president added, all the options are on the table. Was he joking, was he covering all his bases? Or was he being inscrutable to confuse the Iranians?

WRIGHT: Covering all his bases. The fact is the administration does want the European effort to succeed. But it has very serious doubts that it will, that it convince the Iranians to get involved. The Europeans, ironically, think that the United States has to be involved in order to get success. So, there still is a real gap, and not only between Iran and the United States, but also between the United States and its closest allies.

The administration doesn't want to take over, take off any options. But it does want to hold the stick out there, that look, we're not going to tolerate the weaponization of a nuclear energy program.

OLBERMANN: Let's parse the first part of that statement, this notion as he put it, this notion that the U.S. is getting toward attack Iran is simply ridiculous. But it is nearly three years ago in Europe, in fact it was in Germany in May 2002, and Mr. Bush said, I told the chancellor that I have no war plan on my desk, which is the truth. And he was answering a question about invading Iraq. Do statements like these pertaining to the Gulf area, to the Middle East in the larger sense, do they have a shelf life? Can we measure it?

WRIGHT: Well, the issue is credibility. And the fact is, when you contrast it with what the administration said in the run up to Iraq, there's a very fair comparison. He used the same kind of language. I think the administration has said, over and over, for now there's no military plan. I think what the president was trying to do with that language is signal to the Europeans, that he's not the cowboy they see him as. And that he's not a gun slinger, happy to take on any rival whenever he can. So it's part an image ploy, while still keeping policy options open.

OLBERMANN: Robin Wright, diplomatic correspondent of the "Washington Post." As ever, we appreciate your time and your insight.

WRIGHT: Thank you.

OLBERMANN: Getting back to the issue of official diplo-speak, as opposed to reality on the ground. The picture of Europe and America unified against Iranian nukes requires one not to look in a certain direction. Namely in the direction of those European companies selling potential weapons to Iran.

Our chief investigative correspondent is Lisa Myers.


LISA MYERS, NBC CORRESPONDENT: The island of Kish, Iran, and air show hosted by Iran for defense and aerospace company, eager to do business with America's adversary. Mullahs mixed with Ukrainian generals amid photos of the Ayatollah Khamenei. Iran made its contempt for the U.S. clear. Emblazoned underneath this helicopter in Farsi, death to America. It is generally illegal for American companies to do business with Iran. But NBC News found more than a dozen European defense and aviation firms eager to fill the void. Some do business with the Pentagon, yet were actively selling their wares to Iran.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We sell to the Iran Air force.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We do sell mainly to security people like police.

MYERS: We showed what we found to arms expert John Pike.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that the Europeans would sell their grandmothers to the Iranians if they thought they could make a buck.

MYERS: This is the boot for the French company EADS, and its subsidiary Eurocopter, which has launch a campaign in the U.S. to get a bigger share of Pentagon contracts, featuring these ads wrapping the country in the American Flag. But if this company is so pro American, why is it ignoring U.S. Policy To isolate Iran?

MICHEL TRIPIER, EADS: As a European country, we're not supposed to take into account embargoes from the U.S. Of course, the emphasis is on the civil helicopters. We're not offering military helicopters here.

MYERS: Yet, prominent on the company's video in Iran, a military helicopter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're marketing a navy helicopter.

MYERS (on camera): A military helicopter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It says navy on their own promotional videotape.

MYERS: Why would they do that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I guess they're hoping Iran's Navy is going to want to buy it.

MYERS (voice-over): EADS, says that helicopter just happened to be on the video. And that it abides by and U.S. and European rules against sell military goods to Iran. This company, FinMechanica, recently won a contract to build a new version of Marine 1 for the president. Yet here it is, showing off its helicopter to Iran.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This company is building the American president's new helicopter and they're trying to trade with the enemy.

MYERS (on camera): Is Iran an enemy of the United States?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think they're our enemy at this point. I mean, they're behaving like our enemy.

MYERS (voice-over): Steven Brian (ph), used to be the Pentagon official responsible for preventing technology from going to countries like Iran. Now he's the president of FinMechanica in the U.S.

(on camera): Why would your company trade with a country that you yourself call America's enemy?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because in Europe, they don't call it the enemy. If it is a civilian item, and it doesn't threaten anyone, then I don't have a problem with that.

MYERS (voice-over): Europeans subsidiaries of NBC's parent company, General Electric, have sold energy and power equipment to Iran. But G.E. recently announced it will make no new sales. Still, even with the president now pushing hard to isolate Tehran, European allies are likely to continue their role as what one company called, a reliable partner for Iran.

Lisa Myers, NBC News, Washington.


OLBERMANN: From international diplomacy to personal diplomacy. Shake, shake, shake, shake, shake, shake, shake your hands. There's more to the hand shake then ever you imagined. And apparently less to jury selection than ever you imagined. The Jackson jurors may be seated now. These stories ahead, now though, here are Countdown's top three sound bites.


SAMMY SOSA, MLB PLAYER: I don't want to make comment. I don't want to say nothing, you know, about Mr. Canseco. He don't name me. He don't name me. No, no, no. He don't name my name.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That takes me to the end of my beginning words here to you. If I had a glass, which unfortunately I don't, I would raise it and propose a toast to German-U.S. friendship and cooperation.

BUSH: Gerhard, before I raise my imaginary glass, I do want to thank you for your hospitality.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So we're going to have a hit here?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Massaging the backhand.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can somebody go get that please?



OLBERMANN: At the time, Johnny Pesky was 76-years-old, the grandfather of the Boston Red Sox baseball club. A Portland native born John Michael Peskivich (ph), salt of the earth, ex-manager, ex-player, announcer. We finished our interview and he drew me into a handshake you would describe as fairly typical of a 76-year-old man of Croatian heritage. And then I suddenly realized he was transferring into what could only be called a soul handshake. From Johnny Pesky.

Our number two story on the Countdown, the handshake seemingly mundane, never reflected upon. But as Johnny Pesky suggests, and as Countdown's Monica Novotny suggests, experts say it is a veritable computer printout of information about both shaker and shakee.

Good evening Monica.

MONICA NOVOTNY, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Keith, good evening. The history of the handshake goes back to Roman times. Men would greet one another with an open palm to show they were not carrying a weapon. Today, as confirmed in a recent British survey, the handshake is still considered to be an important way to make a first impression. A weapon in its own right.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't tell you how he does it, Henry. He's a genius with it.

NOVOTNY (voice-over): In politics, movies about politics like "Primary Colors," and everywhere else. It pays to be fluent in the unspoken language of the palm to palm greeting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A politician typically saying in a handshake, I'm someone you can trust. You can rely on me and count on me. And by the way, vote for me.

NOVOTNY: Robert Brown, author of a book on the humble handshake, believes pressing the flesh goes beyond the first impression. It is a form of communication that's not limited to the rope line.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You'll see minor movements that are revealing, that are telling huge stories. Maybe a little bit of a push, a pull, a squeeze, a finger.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I never even thought about it.

NOVOTNY (on camera): What do handshakes convey to you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just greetings, nothing more.

NOVOTNY (voice-over): But according to a University of Alabama study, Brown is right. It turns out, glad handing is directly related to your personality. When unbeknownst to them, participants' hand shakes were rated, evaluators were correctly able to determine key personality traits about them. Brown breaks it down into categories, and you know who you are.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The bone crusher is somebody that is probably relatively insecure. They overcompensate the dead fish. This is somebody not taking responsibility for themselves. High five, we're in the same group together.

NOVOTNY: Don't forget the two hander.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's an attempt to pretend that they know things about you, that in fact, they don't.

NOVOTNY: The pulling.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They grab your forearm or upper arm or they pull you into a hug, just trust me. Well, yes, I don't trust you.

NOVOTNY: And finally, the one to strive for.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The all American handshake is a fully engaged regular handshake. That's the gold standard.

NOVOTNY: It turn out people aren't afraid to share their personal arsenal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The bro handshake which is, you know...

NOVOTNY (on camera): A little looser.


NOVOTNY: OK. I'm messing you up. Oh, wow. OK.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you're an attractive woman I met in a bar or something, you know, maybe it will be like this.

NOVOTNY (voice-over): Keep that to yourself, buddy. There are those who abstain, concerned about germs, Howard Hughes, Donald Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Baloney. I mean, look you wash your hands.

NOVOTNY: So, from late night to politics.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here's my private space and you're allowed.

NOVOTNY (on camera): It looks almost like they're dancing.

(voice-over): Almost everyone partakes in the shake. The question is, what does your say about you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't shy away from it. Except it. Touch it. Do it.

NOVOTNY (on camera): How was my handshake?



NOVOTNY: My hands are freezing. Thank you.


NOVOTNY: According to Brown, there are four steps to a good handshake. the First is to engage, be fully present during the exchange, then pause for a moment. Don't be the first to pull away. Observe what information was presented by the person you were shaking hands with. And finally, remember, did you get the same handshake going into the interaction as you did coming out. Apparently sometimes people change their shake based on whatever the interaction has been.

OLBERMANN: Countdown's Monica Novotny. OK, put it there. Let's show this. Come on. Come on. All right, ready?


OLBERMANN: OK, thanks very much.

NOVOTNY: I'm going to thumb wrestle you next.

OLBERMANN: You'll lose that bet too.

We all get the shakes thinking of the months left of the story leading tonight's edition of our celebrity round up of news and gossip, "Keeping Tabs." It is your entertainment and tax dollars in action. Day 464 of the Michael Jackson investigations. And today, the Judge Rodney Melville, making the surprising and simple announcement, "We have a jury." That's right, 12 lucky winners. Men and women ranging in age from 20 to 79, who will be treated to months of everything they ever wanted to know or perhaps never wanted to know about the pop star and the accusations of child molestation.

Among them, three Hispanics, no African-Americans, one woman whose grandson has registered as a sex offender. Another whose sister and two nieces had been raped or molested. They thought the jury selection would take weeks, in fact, it was wrapped up in five days, not counting time off for the defendant's nausea. So, now it is time for everybody else's nausea, the trial.

Could Jeff, I'm an reporter but I play one on TV, Gannon wind up testifying? Not at the Jackson trial, but one in the future, in the case of the outing of the CIA Operative Valerie Plame. Gannon, really name James Guckert, told the "News Industry Magazine" editor and publisher, yesterday, that he kept and might turn into a book a daily journal of his nearly two years covering the White House.

Big oopsy since he alluded to CIA memos about Plame in his interview with Plame's husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson. Two member of the House Judiciary Committee, representative, John Conyers and Louise Slaughter have today asked special prosecutors in the case, in the Plame leak case, to subpoena Gannon's journal. They also asked the Government Accountability Office to check out whether stories by Gannon may have violated laws against government funded propaganda.

Coming up, to be middle aged in England, to get married and to have no guests. Four more RSVP's to his wedding, and they're all in from his family, and they were all marked, regret, cannot attend. They'll be giving away tickets to passers by next.



OLBERMANN: Previously on "Desperate Royal House Wives."

PRINCESS DIANA: Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.


QUEEN ELIZABETH: It has turned out to be an (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

OLBERMANN: Their love burned for 30 years. Now on the eve of their wedding, dark forces are gathering. Will his mother - what about his ex-wife's brother Earl. And who is minding the castle on "Desperate Royal House Wives."


OLBERMANN: What, I've got to do all the voices around here? This is better than the foresight saga or brides head revisited. And unlike most British TV series, it lasts longer than 13 episodes.

Our number one story on the Countdown tonight, the marriage of Prince Charles of Great Britain and Camilla Parker-Bowles. Looks like only one thing could further reduce the dignity of attending such events, pay-per-view. The latest, not only will the queen not attend the nuptials, neither will here husband Prince Phillip, nor their younger sons Andrew or Edward nor daughter Ann. But Charles' sons Harry and William will be there, hopefully neither will wear a uniform of any kind.

Several British newspapers reporting that the queen is steamed over the haste of the marriage. And the farce that was ensued, after the couple announced a wedding at Windsor Castle, before realizing that a civil service in the castle would have made that place eligible for any British couple to have a civil service for the next three years. As it is, holding the wedding inside the Windsor Guild Hall, will mean that the public will at least get to clamor outside. Maybe inside if any more family members decide not to attend and have to fill up the seats.

Then there's this latest surprise, might the marriage be illegal under British law? The 1836 act of parliament, that created civil marriages, specifically barred members of the royal family from participating in them. Britain's lord chancellor says that act had been repealed. The marriage is legal. But a prominent British attorney helpfully pointed out, that under a 1753 law, as a royal, Charles could simply proclaim Miss Parker-Bowles his wife, no license, no wedding, no embarrassingly short guest list.

You know kids, there's still some time to give that one some serious thought.

Joining me again, to discuss this ceaselessly unfolding disaster area is BBC News correspondent, Laura Trevelvan. Laura, good evening.


OLBERMANN: Here they are getting married, finally smoothing over all the past disasters, and the smoothing over itself has turned into a disaster. How did this happen?

TREVELVAN: You might well ask. I mean, this is a right royal mess, as the British papers are very much enjoying writing as headline. "A Catalog of Cockup" is another one. The point about it really, is that the royals, they may be dysfunction when it comes to relationships, but they've always been absolutely brilliant on protocol. Who sits where. How we get things done.

But with this, what's gone wrong is the protocol. And that's so unusual, and probably very destabilizing for the royals at this moment. Because as you just reported, first of all, there was a mess up over the venue. It turns out they can't have a civil ceremony in Windsor Castle. Now, that's something that some flunky in the palace should have researched, but didn't, and it makes Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles look very silly and it's embarrassing. And then we have this question over the legality of the marriage. And now the lord chancellor in Britain has to stand up and say, is legal.

But the most puzzling, perplexing, what did she mean by that, issue of it all, is why is the queen now not patting over the road from Windsor Castle to the town hall. What does she mean by that? It's like in the 19th century, when one states man would die and all the rest were puzzled, what did he mean by that. Nobody knows. Is it because she disapproves of the wedding? Is it because she doesn't want to go to a civil ceremony, because she's head of the church Of England. But effectively, it's being interpreted as a snub, even though the palace is saying, it's just she doesn't want the wedding to be anything other than low key.

OLBERMANN: You said, cross the road. Is it literally that close from the Castle to the guild hall in Windsor?

TREVELVAN: Windsor is a pretty small town. If it wasn't for the royals, it probably wouldn't really exist. It's very close, very close indeed. And I'm sure it would have seated the queen wonderfully when it was all going on under the same roof. But as it is, it would be a big to do if she was going to leave Windsor Castle to go to the guild hall. It would be a huge television outside broadcast, with everyone following her. So, she's not now going, and neither are any of the other royals, you were reporting. But they all were going to attend the blessing of the wedding, which will happen on the same day, inside Windsor. And then the queen is hosting and paying for the reception.

OLBERMANN: But finally here, we have an incident which the queen takes an action, and then as you said, the rest of her family is staying away from the ceremony as well. She is teflon. She is a teflon queen, if you will, if you want to borrow an American political expression. Could any of this finally rub off on her. Would people resent the fact that she helped take the royalty out of the royal wedding.

TREVELVAN: Well, I think ultimately, her seeming ambivalence towards this marriage, towards this relationship, reflects the ambivalence of the British public. I mean, if look at all of the Web sites, all of the phone calls, what everybody is saying, she pretty much in her ambivalence is reflecting that of the British nation. But I still predict, come the day, that Britain will be engulfed with a warm wave of gratitude towards the couple.

OLBERMANN: Yes, like the rest of the citizens of England wouldn't go if they were invited invited.

Correspondent, Laura Trevelvan of BBC news, as always, great thanks for interpreting for us.

That's Countdown, thank you for being a part of it. I'm Keith Olbermann. Good night and good luck.