However, Wolf omits significant details that render this comparison obscene. By the time the act was passed, the Communist Party had already been banned, the moderate-right Center Party had been cowed into submission, and only the 94 deputies of the center-left Social Democratic Party dared cast their votes against the legislation.
The vote took place in the Kroll Opera House in an atmosphere heavy with violence and intimidation. Evans quotes one deputy: "Young lads with the swastika on their chests... made us run the gauntlet, and shouted insults at us like 'Centrist pig,' 'Marxist sow.' In the Kroll Opera it was swarming with armed SA and SS." Otto Wels, the leader of the Social Democrats, gave the last opposition speech to be given in the Reichstag for twelve years. He concluded with the words, "Freedom and life can be taken from us, but not honor."
"Wels was not exaggerating," Evans writes. "Several prominent Social Democrats had already been killed by the Nazis, and he himself was carrying a cyanide capsule in his waist pocket as he spoke, ready to swallow should he be arrested and tortured by the brownshirts after delivering his speech."
Wolf also draws parallels between Stalin's totalitarian gulag system of prison camps and the prison at Guantanamo Bay, which she says bear "fingerprints from other systems." According to her, one of these fingerprints is "the use of water." She proceeds to compare the three confirmed instances of waterboarding to Soviet penal practices. Wolf blithely states that "the NKVD poured icy water on uncooperative prisoners held on shipboard prisons." Again, she leaves out vitally important details.
Here she refers to Let History Judge by the Russian historian Roy Medvedev. He describes the miseries and death concomitant with transporting people by cattle car, such as 200 women who were shipped across Siberia in a wagon made for eight cows before arriving at Vladivostok for transport by ship to Magadan. He describes prisoners dying of starvation and being thrown overboard. "A riot or an organized protest was met with icy water, poured into the hold from the Sea of Okhotsk. Thousands of prisoners died after such a bath, or were delivered frostbitten to the hospitals of Magadan."
Wolf writes that "all dictatorships and would-be dictators strategically target key individuals." She goes on to list these "key individuals": outspoken university professors, entertainers, and public figures. She then nominates former University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill as the primary "key individual" targeted by our "would-be dictators." This is how Wolf describes Churchill: "He wrote an essay that argued metaphorically that many of the 9/11 victims were not 'innocent.' Ill-timed. Callous? Certainly. But in an open society, hearing offensive language is the price we pay for open debate."