As Halloween approaches, sinister forces are at work east of Eugene in Walterville, home of TrineDay Press.
The small press run by former Portland hippie Kris Millegan faces the horrors of bankruptcy from a lawsuit roguishly organized and bankrolled by the mysterious Special Forces Association, a fraternity of active and retired Green Berets.
The target of the lawsuit brought by seven former Green Berets is Expendable Elite: One Soldier's Journey into Covert Warfare (www.expendableelite.com). The 2003 book is about an allegedly top-secret Vietnam War mission in which U.S. Army Special Forces soldiers, or Green Berets, were sent to kill the crown prince of Cambodia.
The Rogue isn't in a position to verify the account, but doesn't like it when someone is getting bullied. The lawsuit doesn't seek a specific money amount, but Millegan says the legal fees would be enough to bankrupt his business.
TrineDay specializes in conspiracy-theory books, the kind in which corporations, the Mafia and the occult are all guilty, and most crimes can be traced back to the CIA.
"Of all of my titles, Expendable Elite is probably the most pedestrian," says the 56-year-old Millegan.
Yet a few months after publication, he received several letters from the Special Forces Association, calling the book a lie and threatening to sue for libel.
Then things got spooky.
Retired Lt. Col. Daniel "Dangerous Dan" Marvin, the 72-year-old author and commander of the troops in the book, says several fellow soldiers read the manuscript before publication, corroborated his accounts and agreed to let him use their names. Suddenly, those same men appeared as plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
Marvin says one plaintiff told him he couldn't talk about it. The wife of another told him her husband would lose his pension if he spoke to Marvin.
The Special Forces Association, which wrote about its plans for a lawsuit in its winter 2003 newsletter, wouldn't comment. And the attorney for the plaintiffs didn't return phone calls.
The case goes before a federal district judge in Charleston, S.C.—on Halloween, of course.