The Black Rod

The origin of the Usher of the Black Rod goes back to early fourteenth century England . Today, with no royal duties to perform, the Usher knocks on the doors of the House of Commons with the Black Rod at the start of Parliament to summon the members. The rod is a symbol for the authority of debate in the upper house. We of The Black Rod have since 2005, adopted the symbol to knock some sense and the right questions into the heads of Legislators, pundits, and other opinion makers.

Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

We are citizen journalists in Winnipeg. When not breaking exclusive stories, we analyze news coverage by the mainstream media and highlight bias, ignorance, incompetence, flawed logic, missed angles and, where warranted, good work. We serve as the only overall news monitors in the province of Manitoba. We do the same with politicians (who require even more monitoring.) EMAIL:

Friday, June 16, 2006

Winnipeg Bandidos: Book 'em, Danno. Murder One.

Two months after The Black Rod first revealed a connection between Winnipeg Bandidos and the murder of 8 gang members in Ontario, police have swooped in to make arrests.

The local Bandidos were on a run to Toronto the week before the slayings. Police still want to question one member who returned to Winnipeg before the massacre.

Three Winnipeg Bandidos including former East St. Paul cop Michael Sandham are charged with first degree murder, while two persons (believed to be wives or girlfriends) are charged with being accessories after the fact. Sandham has long been rumoured to be the leader of the Manitoba chapter.

The names of the accused are not as well known as rival Hell's Angels who have often been in the press but are not unknown to the local scene. Dwight Mushey, 36, and Marcelo Aravena, 30, are both well known in the Winnipeg martial arts communities, which may be a clue why the police called the investigation Project Octagon.

The tall and dapper Mushey was a Kang's Taekwondo Academy Black Belt and returned to Winnipeg in 2004 to manage a nightclub after living in Toronto.

The husky Aravena has competed as both a boxer and Muay Thai MMA fighter with mixed results. His boxing record is 7-32-1. Three of his wins have been against Pine Falls own Richie Goosehead and two victories were over fellow Winnipegger Colin Courchesne.

Mushey is one of 17 people who was charged in Operation Diversion in September 2004, the RCMP/DEA sweep of suspects in an international ephedrine smuggling ring. Ephedrine is used in the production of crystal meth.

Aravena is also no stranger to judges -- boxing judges. The judges for his last in-ring conquest were local lawyer Robert Tapper, Crown attorney Rich Saull, and former boxer and mayoral candidate Danny Vandal.

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