The Harper government knew, and was utterly indifferent about captive abuse in Afghan prisons long before the story broke to the public in April of last year.
Amnesty International Canada and the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association had to drag the Harper government before a Federal Court judge to get them to turn over documents they were determined to keep secret. Documents including a Canadian correctional services inspector asking Ottawa for better boots because she was "walking through blood and fecal matter" when she inspected the prisons.
Blood? Fecal matter? What kind of prisons show off that sort of thing to international inspectors? Even a neo-con Tory can figure that out.
From The Globe & Mail:
Another report noted that the warden of the main prison in Kandahar, where many prisoners handed over by Canadians soldiers were held, had been fired after charges that he raped juvenile detainees. Cosmetics and hashish were found in his office. He was exonerated because an Afghan military judge said it was "impossible for a drunken man in his 50s to commit an act of rape," reported a Canadian official in a cable to Ottawa.
At one Kandahar secret police prison, all inmates are shackled in leg irons around the clock. Some have been kept that way for more than a year.
...since May, after the government hastily arranged follow-up inspections in the wake of news reports, a different, but equally disturbing picture, emerges.
It is of scores of disappeared detainees, of strong evidence of torture and abuse continuing despite the inspections and of a frantic effort, in the first few days after the stories appeared last April, to paint a far rosier picture than documented in secret diplomatic cables.
Harper and his gang knew about it, they tried to conceal it and, when it came out they tried to mislead the Canadian public about it. In stubbornly continuing to consign detainees to this treatment, they were knowingly making Canada a party to it.
Even if the Conservative pols were willing to bury the truth, surely we could have expected our top military leaders to preserve the honour of the armed forces by bringing this out. They seem to have gone American too.